Friday, 30 May 2008

First Impressions: Osouji Sentai Clean Keeper


Released at the end of April, Osouji Sentai Clean Keeper has the honour of being the first ecchi game to be released on the Wii.

Having said that, it's not an erogame by any stretch of the imagination and, aside from some innuendo filled CG images, (rewarded for clearing chapters) the game is quite tame.


Gameplay revolves around talking to girls in a mainly school based setting, in order to progress the game into one of the cleaning based action sequences. As the game is quite text heavy, (with each girl being fully voiced with some great voice acting work) I'm missing out on the finer details of the story but, from what I can gather, it involves a group of girls and a group of not-so-good girls and dust mites which attack the characters and need to be cleaned off using various remote actions.

The first one learnt is quite simple - lock onto the enemy with B and rapidly tap A to remove them. The others I have encountered have been to lock on with B and move the remote is a horizontal or vertical fashion. There is a meter at the bottom of the screen where you can select different powers, but none of these have been unlocked yet.


It's esentially a dating game with a mini-game at the end of each chapter. There doesn't seem to be much difficulty as on my first encounter with one of the mini-games, it took me a good 5 minutes to figure out what to do, all the while my character was being attacked and I wasn't faced with a game over screen. I imagine later chapters will increase the difficulty, and hopefully amount of action sequences.


Overall if you have a Japanese Wii or chipped Wii and are a fan of anime and/or dating sims then this is worth a look. I would say that this is the Wii's iDOLM@STER, i.e. an import only title which obtains cult status from the few importers who have played it.


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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Pump It Up PSP


Took advantage of the Playasia weekly special last week and picked up both Pump It Up PSP games for £10 or so. As they don't ship PSP stuff to Europe, smshun from the NTSC-UK forums kindly offered to order it for me and ship it on so big thanks!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Tokko


I got the Tokko complete collection a few weeks back and finshed watching it a couple of days ago and thought it was pretty good. It was the UK release I picked up and I'm not sure if the US release is the same, but it features some pretty awful dubtitles which are reminiscent of some of Manga's older releases with lots of profanities added. Doesn't take away from the release too much but it's an issue nonetheless.


I'm a big fan of this sort of over-the-top gorefest and in that respect, it didn't disappoint. The story was interesting enough but the other big issue with the series was that it just kind of ended (which I've read is because the manga similarly has no real ending and the animation team decided to just follow it rather than create an ending of their own). Hopefully a second season will appear at some point to continue the story, which I thought was decent enough aside from the end.

There were some great characters, from Ranmaru's over-loving sister Saya to cop-cum-Yakuza Kaoru, although most of the main characters weren't fleshed out all that well.


Definitely reminded me of older anime, the violence and nudity filled stuff that Manga used to be (still are?) notorious for, which in my eyes at least is a good thing.
Overall I really enjoyed it and hope to see more in the near future!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

DiRT


Picked this up today, it's something I've been meaning to pick up for ages but never got round to it. With Grid out at the end of the month, also developed by Codemasters, this seems like as good a time as any to pick this up in anticipation for Grid.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Oshiri Kajiri Mushi no Rhythm Lesson DS

Format: Nintendo DS
Release Date: 10th April 2008 (Japan)
Official Site

In 2007, a song appeared on Japanese TV show Minna no Uta featuring a 'bottom-biting bug' which went on to break the top 10 in Japan. The song features the bug shown above who bites people on the ass in order to get closer to one another.

For one reason or another, this concept was translated into a game for the DS in Japan and falls into the rhythm action genre.


As the game is intended for young Japanese children, the gameplay is neither deep nor difficult, but the game still manages to be highly entertaining, especially if you are a fan of this sort of uniquely Japanese type of thing.

Gameplay revolves around the touchscreen. There will be an instrument (initially a tambourine) and stars laid out in a circle around the screen. Once the Mushi avatar passes each star, you tap the instrument in order to play along to the song. To start off with, this is very easy and basic but eventually, once the instrument advances to drums (which gives you 3 different drums to hit and slightly more complex rhythms to play) and then xylophone, (amongst others) things gradually get a little harder and more complex, but never become a struggle to get through.


The lack of difficulty and repetitiveness is countered by the sheer amount of levels to play through. There are over 100 stages which is impressive even if several of the musical tunes are reused constantly, albeit on different instruments.

In addition to the main story mode, there are other options such as the ability to enter free mode where you can play around with different instruments with no time limit or score to beat which is a nice touch.

Also worth pointing out that the first print of the game came with a pretty cool bag which, although I'm not going to use it, is nice to have!


Overall, if you are a fan of either rhythm action games or oddball Japanese games (DS or otherwise) then this is well worth your time and money.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Raiden Fighters Aces


My decision to get GTA IV for the PS3 has meant that it has been a quiet few months for my 360. Indeed, I have oddly enough bought just 4 games for it this year - Burnout Paradise, iMAS: Live For You, Operation Darkness and Raiden Fighters Aces.

With GTA IV all wrapped up and, despite having both Okami and Osouji Sentai Clean Keeper (more on that later hopefully) yet to start and making up my current Wii backlog, I've been drawn back to Aces lately, mainly finishing off a few more Achievements, and in doing so have found myself falling in love with the 3 titles contained on the disk. Not an abnormal thing I suppose, considering that all things shmup instantly strike a chord with me, but, Virtual Console aside, it's been a while since I've played such an old-school shooter.

By way of a brief introduction, Raiden Fighters Aces was released exclusively for the 360 in Japan on the 27th March this year and contains Raiden Fighters 1 & 2 aswell as the third in the series, Raiden Fighters Jet.
Gameplay wise, it's not so much Bullet Hell as it is retro. You have 3 games here with more in common with the like of 1942 and 1943 than ESPgaluda or Ibara.




















The games move quickly, with relatively little in the way of power ups (at least not in the same vein as the previously mentioned Cave titles) and the pulsing music helps to keep things going.

In my eyes, the first title is the best of the three, with the second being similar but a bit more frenzied, and Jet being a little easier and with a different scoring system and level progression but at heart is still very much a Raiden title.
Boss Rush mode is available in each of the three games and provides a welcome challenge.

As mentioned at the start of the post, the achievements have kept me coming back to this. Besides the standard "complete each game" task, you also get tasked with one-crediting and completing Boss Rush modes for each game. Add to this score based achievements and a few hidden ones (mostly concerned with how long you play the game for, from one hour to a massive 96!) and there is definitely a lot of replay value here.




















In the end, despite a strong showing of shmups (Senko no Ronde, Shikigami no Shiro III, Ikaruga, Triggerheart Exelica) and hardcore, niche Japanese titles (iDOLMASTER and Live For You), Raiden Fighters Aces stands out among the crowd and is a must buy for fans of the game or shooter fans in general.
With the promise of versions of Cave titles Ketsui and DoDonPachi coming at some point in the near future, the 360 is the current gen's console of choice for shmups and Aces is one of the highlights.