Windaria Anime Movie Review

Title: Windaria

Alternative Title: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1986 (Japan initial release), 1992 (US, (VHS) first US release), 2004 (US re-release (DVD) with title change)

Where to Watch: I don’t support piracy here, but as a heads up, ALL of the “US Releases” of this film are very severely edited. And YES, that includes even the subtitled versions! I highly recommend that you watch the original Japanese version at least once before passing judgement on this beautiful movie. Of course, I grew up with the VHS in the 90s, and I STILL loved even the heavily edited dubbed version of the film way back then. Last year, I finally got the chance to watch the original Japanese version. A lot of content was cut from the English version, including significant amounts of story content. They change the order of certain scenes, remove most of the violence (and drugs and sex) and have completely re-written the script of the original film to better suit an American audience (where cartoons were (and still are) primarily intended for children). Also all of the music is different in both versions, although it’s very good in both versions as well. Still the overall theme and plot and moral of this heart breaking anime remains the same in both versions. That’s why I really recommend you to try to watch the original film – and then still go ahead and buy the English DVD or VHS to support the creators :). I’m not going to tell you where to find the original online, but you can find it if you look. And then you can purchase the Windaria North American DVD here.

Geeky: 3/5 The music is beautiful, but the artwork is very outdated (losing 1 point). Interestingly enough, the Japanese DVD includes 2 versions of the film, 1 being a “pilot film” where the animation and coloring style is different. (I have never seen this version). Despite the outdated artwork, the character designs are cute and memorable, I often think someone working on Pokemon drew inspiration (perhaps even subconsciously) for fan-favorite Eevee from the little pet squirrel/cat like creature in this film. The story is dark and full of action (and sex and drugs and gore in the original Japanese version). Therefore I feel this film would appeal to all geeks regardless of their genders. I’m removing one more point for the heavy handed editing of all of the US versions of this film. It’s been almost 15 years since the film has been brought to American audiences (for a 2nd time) – so perhaps some day we will see a company pick up the license for this film and do it justice with a more faithful English adaptation.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The story is soul crushingly sad. If you like sad anime, this is for you. Both versions of the film, even the mangled US version(s), still show the tender love stories of the central characters, and demonstrate the costs of war and greed. I happen to be a fan of sad love stories, and this particular anime reminds me of almost a Romeo and Juliet type of fairy tale, 2 lovers who can never be together, and 2 other lovers who have everything but still manage to mess everything up in the end. It’s also a story of regret, love, and greed. It imparts morals to the viewer, to value the love you have or else it may slip away. And that even if you are poor, if you have love, you can be happy. Or you can overlook the happiness you have right in front of you and only realize what you have once it has slipped away. The emotionally engaging story is also heightened by a fantastic music score which further draws the audience into the film.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Story: 9/10 – I removed a point again for the poor handling of every commercially available North American release of this film. Otherthan that small complaint, I give the story 10/10. Even the badly edited version. I loved the anime back in the 90s, and I still love it today. It’s a tale that withstands the tests of time. Universally relateable to anyone who has loved and lost.

The story of Windaria intertwines the fates of 2 very different couples. One couple is a princess and prince from neighboring kingdoms. As tensions mount between the kingdoms, and war seems inevitable… Can their love survive? The other couple lives in a small farming village caught between both warring nations. Their village has remained neutral for years, but as war descends around them, can that peace last? The people of the neutral village are poor, but live happy lives not knowing the tragedies of war, and protected by spirits who live in a giant tree. But can people be influenced to take a side when wealth and adventure knock on their door? How will the war change the lives of the people in this tiny village?

Everything is connected, and you cannot escape war. You can’t remain neutral. You must make a decision and take a risk. What will you risk? Will you risk your life? Your love? Your Home? And how will the war change you? Can you return to your old life after the war ends? Will there even be anything left to return to?

Windaria examines all of these heavy hearted deep thinking questions.

The setting of the story is also very intriguing. We have 2 nations at war. The haves and have nots. One kingdom has plenty of water and wealth and prosperity. They control the flow of water to the neighboring nations. The other nation does not feel they have enough water. They are not nearly as wealthy or powerful as their political neighbor. The lands between the two nations are full of magic and mystery. There is a river where people go crazy and see horrors which are merely reflections of their own fears and feelings, there is the giant magic tree which protects the neighboring farming village, and there’s the ghost ship which takes souls to the other side.

Interestingly enough, although the setting and time of this anime appear to be fantasy based, there is no magic or “fantasy”, instead we see a strange blend of technology in a fantasy world. Airplanes, motorbikes, guns, grenades, tanks, etc.

Characters: 7/10 – I’ll be honest here, it is REALLY hard to like the main character of this film. He is a giant D-bag. Not even gonna lie. You’re going to hate him. He rather have drunken sex and spend all day exploiting his power to get more drugs and wealth and concubines, than return to his girlfriend even after the war ends. It’s not until his own life is in danger that he flees and comes back to his village… or what’s left of it anyways. – Maybe at the end, he has a change of heart, but that doesn’t make up for what a huge D he is in the majority of the film.

The first 15-20 minutes of the film, they build this character and his love up to have this idealistic beautiful love. Everyone in the village recognizes the love between this pair. They are utterly adorable together. They have it all. But that’s not enough for our main character.

In stark contrast, his lady love waits patiently for his return, even when the rest of her village leaves and tries to get her to come to safety with them. This made me hate the main character even more. And when she forgives him for everything, that too amplifies my anger at this character.

But I suppose this is the point of the entire movie. It still isn’t easy to watch or to like, sympathize, or side with the supposed main character of the film.

Our other 2 main characters are considerably more likeable. They are victim of circumstance. They never get a choice in the events happening to them. They are bound by duty. They don’t get to choose a peaceful life of love – which puts into perspective even more, the stupidity of the main character for never realizing the happiness he had back in his own village.

The relationship of the prince and princess is doomed from the start, however, they often dare defy the duties and responsibilities forced upon them, and meet in secret anyways to profess their love and promise each other that one day they will be together. I have never really been 100% sure about the end of their relationship. I can’t tell if what she did was intentional or accidental like perhaps she was playfully chasing and playing with his gun / flirting around. Or if perhaps, she felt the weight of her duty, and decided to put her kingdom above her love and pull that trigger to once and for all, end the war. Either way, their relationship ends in spectacular Romeo and Juliet fashion.

 

There are a number of minor characters too with very intricate and detailed back stories, including a “crazy” woman who never talks to anyone as she waits for her love to return. Her love chose to become a captain of a ship taking souls to the other side. The captain cannot leave his ship for a specified number of years. (I believe it was 10 years? I can’t recall right now).

At the end of the film, we see that our main character wishes to become the captain of this ship to follow his lady love to the other side. (This is more clear in the Japanese version of the film). The crazy woman and main character both meet in the end (I think maybe the main character was contemplating jumping off the cliff) and he sees the crazy lady still there, waiting for her husband to return. So he resolves also to wait for his love as well. (although I’m pretty sure she can never come back – although a lot of Asian religions believe in reincarnation and so perhaps it is that which he is waiting for, or for his own life to end so then in the afterlife, they can be reunited.) This shows how much thought went into even the most minor of characters to make them have heavy plot focus.

Art: 2/5 – The artwork is dated, because this anime is from the 80s. On almost every website I’ve visited in the past, this anime has horrible reviews. I feel it’s not judged fairly and people are overlooking the beautiful love stories and tragedies and focusing solely on the artwork and animation quality. The character designs are still cute though, and some of the background environments are very pretty. But overall, I’d tend to agree the animation is not clean enough and the character styles are outdated by today’s standards. That still never detracts from my enjoyment of this film.

Music: 5/5 I love the music in Windaria. Both the Japanese and English tracks fit perfectly with the themes and scenes of the film. The music carries much emotion and helps tell the story, complementing the action scenes, and especially painfully highlighting the sad tragic scenes of the anime. I especially love the vocal tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I really dislike both the original Japanese, and the English voice acting of most of the characters. I guess it’s typical for how old this anime is, but almost all of the performances were cringe-worthy. That’s even more reason why someone should pick this license back up and bring in a fresh English cast. The story is so good, and the performances here just do not do it justice at all.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Windaria Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix PS4 Videogame Review

Title: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix

Platform: PS4 (note this release combines various Kingdom Hearts games originally found on the PS2, GBA, Nintendo DS and 3DS)

Genre: Action Roleplaying Game ARPG

Publisher: Disney + Squarenix

Where to Buy: $49.99 on Amazon (at time of this writing)

Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 The games have fun gameplay, good graphics for the age of the games, and a great soundtrack. However, the Disney segments can be a bit too kiddie for some more serious gamers, and although the entire series is about the juxtaposition of light and dark, the light hearted disney characters can sometimes take away from immersing yourself in the deeper darker story of Sora and his friends.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This game is cuteness overload by combining well loved Square and Disney characters. It also has a surprisingly deep, relatively dark (for a Disney product at least), and mature storyline, which evolves and grows deeper and darker from game to game as characters grow and evolve.

Gameplay: 10/10 Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG. You play as Sora, a young boy who dreams of leaving his home town on a tiny island. When the game begins you are asked to choose a weapon. You may choose between shield, sword, and magic wand. You’re also asked which weapon you will give up. This allows you to customize your fighting style to match your preferences. You’ll also be asked a few questions. These questions do not have any significance on the story, but they do have a large impact on how quickly you will level up throughout the game.

A tutorial will give you a taste for how combat is in each of the games. You can run, jump, push and pull objects, climb, and use your chosen weapons as you chain attacks, dodge, defend, and parry to take down your foes. Enemies will drop small glowing orbs which can offer XP or sometimes restore health or other benefits. You will have to run around and touch the drops, because they do not get added automatically.

After settling into the game, you are allowed to freely explore the island, interact with NPCs, and engage in several minigames, such as fighting or racing with your friends on the island. You will see many familiar faces from both Squaresoft and Disney franchises.

Fairly early in the game, Sora gets his wish of leaving the island, and the rest of the game is played through traveling between different worlds, each representing a key franchise from Disney or Squaresoft. There are numerous battles to fight, areas to explore, sidequests, mini games, and hidden goodies. In fact, to find everything, across all games will take you almost 300 hours (and you’ll be awarded with an extra ending in each game). There’s plenty of content here to sink your teeth into, even for the most seasoned of gamers.

The action based combat is fun and snappy, while the mini games and interaction with a wide variety of characters gives you a break from the hack n slash combat, creating a well balanced game that equally values action as well as adventure.

Story: 8/10 I find it jarring at times how the story jumps between worlds, and I sometimes cringe at some of the Disney characters (and I consider myself a Disney fan! But it can really take away from the story, just when things are getting interesting to flash back to Goofy or Donald, especially with their well known silly voices and all). This can all make the story less immersive. However, at the heart of the story, you have a coming of age tale and a love triangle between 3 best friends. You watch throughout each game as Sora and his friends evolve and grow and change and how their friendships and relationships change as well. The story from each game is directly related from one game to the next. We’ve already watched Sora age by 2 years (and gotten a glimpse at a very young Sora as well). When Kingdom Hearts 1 starts, Sora is 14. By the end of Dream Drop Distance, he is 16. Many speculate he will be 16 or 17 in Kingdom Hearts 3. We witness Sora’s changing emotions as he transitions from adolescence to young adulthood. The main theme song in Kingdom Hearts 1 even hints at this with the lyrics of the chorus stating “Don’t get me wrong, I love you, but does that mean I really have to meet your father? One day when you’re older you’ll understand what I meant when I said No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.” Those lyrics perfectly describe the relationship between Sora and Kairi. An innocent love, a boy who still quite often views love/girls as “gross”, and a boy embarrassed by his emerging feelings of love for Kairi. And we witness not only how friendship can grow to love, but also how platonic friendships can change to rivalries when two boys love the same girl. The depths of both Riku and Sora’s love for Kairi is perhaps the best thing about the story.

I recently picked up Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix. I had played the original KH1 and KH2 on Playstation 2 but that was over 12 years ago now. And I had not played the other side games.

Every game in Kingdom Hearts is connected, and contains the same 3 characters, Riku, Kairi, and Sora, and the story gets deeper and more complex as the games go on as more is revealed building upon back stories and prequels and sequels and spin off games. It can be intimidating for someone new to the franchise to pick up the games now with almost 15 years of games to catch up on.

Many people recommend the following order to play the games in to get the most out of the story:

Kingdom Hearts 1 (1.5 remix)
Re: Chain of Memories (1.5 remix)
Kingdom Hearts 2 (2.5 remix)
358/2 Days (1.5 remix)
Birth By Sleep (2.5 remix)
Re:Coded (2.5 remix)
Dream Drop Distance (2.8 remix sold separately)
0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage (2.8 remix sold separately)
X Back Cover (2.8 remix sold separately.)
Unchained X (free mobile game, available separately)
Kingdom Hearts 3 (sold separately – coming soon)

So you will need bare minimum to purchase 3 games

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix
Kingdom Hearts 2.8
Kingdom Hearts 3

And optionally download and play Unchained X on your cell phone.

Some of the “games” above are actually “cutscenes” because they could not emulate the nintendo DS “touch screen” on the PS4. So each of these nintendo remakes are movies which reuse old, and add new cutscenes to tell the story.

You can alternatively purchase and play these Nintendo games separately. But you should be fine with just the cutscenes from an understanding the story standpoint.

Characters: 10/10 I really enjoy watching Sora and friends evolve, age, mature, and change over the course of multiple interconnected games. I also really do enjoy seeing favorite characters thrown in from Final Fantasy and Disney. It’s a strange mashup but it works surprisingly well. If you are either a Disney or Squaresoft fan you will love the cast of characters in these games.

Graphics: 7/10 – Taking into consideration the age of the games, I think the graphics are beautiful and memorable. They are vibrant, full of color, detail, and fun. The character designs blend Disney’s whimsy and charm with Squaresofts more stylistic approach. Sora also reminded me of a brunette Cloud wearing Mickey’s big “clown” shoes. The bobble headed appearance of the characters, makes them cute, but it’s almost a bit too juvenile, given that even when we first meet Sora and friends in KH1, they’re already teenagers. I feel like they look like Precious Moments dolls, and about 7-10 years old because of the proportions of their heads to bodies. — Luckily, the artwork does improve in later games.

Take a look below:

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 1 (Does he look 14 to you? Not even close in my opinion).

14 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1

14 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2 (He is supposed to be 15 here, looks about right.)

15 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

15 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 3 (Speculated to be 16 or 17 here) (meh this design is alright, I expected to see something like Final Fantasy XV quality here. There are very few details in the hair/face and almost no shading on the clothing, it just looks kinda flat/plastic-y… not what I’d expect from a PS4 title. He does look a tiny bit more mature, slimmer face, etc.)

Music: 10/10 I’m a big Utada Hikaru fan, and I love the opening theme “Simple and Clean” – as I mentioned, I feel the lyrics foreshadow the coming of age story and changes that our little island buddies are about to experience. She also sings “Sanctuary” the opening theme of Kingdom Hearts 2. And it has been confirmed that she will also be involved with the opening for Kingdom Hearts 3. My favorite Utada Hikaru song though will always be “First Love”. The Japanese versions of the tracks are also quite catchy even without knowing the lyrics or understanding Japanese. The background music is also fitting and full of adventure and wonder.

Voice Acting: 6/10 – The voice acting is definitely hit or miss for me. Some characters I think are perfectly cast, and others way off mark. Some give pretty convincing performances, while others are too overdramatic and/or the opposite, lack any feeling or emotion in the deliverance of their lines. The iconic Disney characters also can tend to annoy and detract from the story with their overly cartoonish voices for which they are so well known.

Replay Value: 9/10 Although the games are linear, there are multiple games in this “bundle”, and each game has a secret ending, usually only uncovered for completing all side quests, or playing on the hardest difficulty settings, which will take you around 270 hours total according to How long to Beat. Even if you don’t want to go for the secret endings, you’re still looking at over 130 hours of gameplay just for the main stories of each game. For just $40something, that works out to around 30 cents per hour of entertainment. Therefore your return on investment is quite high in this title, even if you might only play each of the games once.

Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix PS4 Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

The Best Upcoming & New Release 2018 PC Games for Girls

Back in the 90s I barely played PC Games, because so few existed that appealed to my tastes. There were exceptions of course, Torment, Fallout 1 and 2, Baulder’s Gate, Icewind Dale, King’s Quest (and other Sierra titles), Ever 17 (and anything else by Hirameki International), Petz, Black and White, Creatures, Graduation 95, and a handful of other gems that weren’t available on my consoles.

But largely, console gaming was the highlight of my childhood. That’s where all the anime games or JRPGs or story rich games were, especially in the 16 and 32 bit eras, which still remain my favorite gaming period of all time. Genesis, Sega CD, SNES, Saturn, PS1, PS2, and Dreamcast, the majority of my favorite games, still to this day, lived on one of those great consoles.

But nowadays, I barely play console games anymore. Occasionally there may be an exclusive that catches my eye, such as Persona 5 on PS4, or Tokyo Mirage Sessions on the Wii U. I even bought a Wii U just for that game in fact.

But now, so many games are cross platform, and so many people like me, who grew up in the 16 and 32 bit eras are making their own indie games now such as To the Moon, Always Sometimes Monsters, Rakuten, Undertale, etc. This completely changes the gaming landscape. Now PC is by and far my preferred gaming “platform” of choice.

And where once, JRPGs reigned on Consoles, they now thrive on the PC or even on mobile devices, and in the past 5 years we’ve seen a huge explosion of visual novels and Otome games as well on both PC and mobile – and barely any of those have been released (at least in English) on consoles.

Where once the PC had almost no games that appealed to my tastes, now suddenly, more and more each year, I find the PC to offer so many games I want to play that I don’t have the time, nor money, to possibly play them all! I have over 700 steam games already (and a handful on Origin, and about 50 more on GOG, and then of course my old CDs from the 90s which have yet to get released digitally.) And that’s not taking into account the PC’s ability to emulate the console games I own (probably around 300+ games there too). And emulation is perfectly legal as long as you own the original games, which I still do.

This puts the number of games I can play on my PC right now today, without buying a single thing, at well over 1,000 games! — How many of those games I’ve actually played, is probably around 25%, and how many I’ve beaten to completion / all endings etc, is probably like 5%. lol. But the point is, there has never been a better time to play girl games on your PC. If you’re a girl, there’s plenty of games that you should check out on PC. This wasn’t the case 20 years ago; my how the landscape has changed!

Here is a list of games due out in 2018 that are on my radar! I’ve selected these games for one of the following reasons: Decisions Matter, Branching Plot, Multiple Endings, Cute/Kawaii Graphics, Excellent Story, Innovating (or at least really fun) Gameplay, and Customization. If you look for the same qualities in your games, check out the list below. Warning, it’s long.

This list is not in any order – largely it’s sorted by release date, because that’s how I was browsing the games while researching this post.


Sea Dogs

Our first recommendation reminds me of Horizons New Dawn, one of my all time favorite super nintendo games.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/764670/


Sorcery Jokers

This visual Novel Has Some Beautiful Graphics

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/703730/


Til the Dawn, Waiting

This looks sad, and also features animals, a powerful combination to tug at any heart strings

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/761760/


Franky the Bumwalker

Super cute and colorful adventure game that probably doesn’t take itself too seriously.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/761310/


Dragon Cliff

This indie RPG features an extesnive crafting system and city building aspects as well as cute retro graphics.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/758190/


Stunt Corgi VR

If you’re lucky enough to have a VR headset you might like this title that lets you create obstacle courses and watch a cute corgi try to navigate the courses you create.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/665080/


Project Bits

If you like rhythm games, you might like this one with cute anime artwork. Plus it’s free to play.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/581150/


The Mind Hero

An anime visual novel where you help 8 different characters overcome their trauma. It aims to teach psychology inside a video game. It’s also free and features a comic book style.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/502050/


Katyusha

This looks to be a very emotionally engaging and beautiful pixel retro style RPG. The developers have said that the game uses real-life world war 2 letters that were written by soldiers to their families.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/749160/


Battletech

The ability to customize everything about your mechs and the appeal of mecha genres from decades of anime such as macross, robotech, go lion, voltron, evangelion, gundamn, etc, make this appeal to me, despite the more dark realistic graphics. The gameplay looks fantastic. And who doesn’t love giant robots?

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/637090/


In The Valley of Gods

Explore pyramids in this narrative adventure.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/687440/


Villages

This game aims to balance the skills and economy of its players so that they are forced to work together. Sounds promising. Let’s see how that works once the game releases.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/749820/


Grow Bot

This just looks so utterly adorable!

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/661680/


Boyfriend Dungeon

With a name like Boyfriend Dungeon, how could this not make our list? It’s an otome dating sim and hack n slash RPG adventure, where the boys are weapons.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/674930/


The Iron Oath

I am beyond excited for this game! True, it doesn’t have the visual aesthetic that I like, but nearly everything about the gameplay appeals to me greatly! Decisions matter, the guild management sounds fun, every character has a back story. Characters die / perma death, you recruit new characters, I’m ready to play this awesome looking tactical RPG.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/699330/


Living the Deal

Business Management and Life Simulation Game. This one is high on my wishlist (despite how hideously ugly the characters look lol).

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/647550/


Wolf Gang

Play as cute wolves chasing cute sheep in a game which promises unlockable content and character customization.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/761040/


Freedom Planet 2

Furrie fans and fans of old school Sonic games still love the original Freedom Planet, and soon the wait is over for the much anticipated sequel.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/595500/


The Forgettable Dungeon

Co-op Action RPG that you can play with up to 15 friends.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/375810/


Next Up Hero

This MMORPG has some unique gameplay features, such as no healing, except for when you die. When you die, you come back as an “avenger” and can heal other players, until you decide to take over one of their corpses and rejoin the fray. When you die, someone can also take over your character. So don’t get too attached.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/613280/


Leilani’s Island

This super colorful platformer looks like a lot of fun and has a great brightly colored retro style.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/664640/


Sentou Gakuen: Revival

This is an MMORPG Visual Novel. All of the characters in the novel are other players just like you. Not sure how that will work out, but it’s innovative and different – that’s for sure. And that alone makes me curious enough to want to play this one.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/405680/


Dungeon of Zaar

Dungeon of Zaar has a great style, and some fun looking gameplay mechanics including pvp and local multiplayer.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/613590/


Wytchwood

Wytchwood looks absolutely beautiful and the crafting and exploration gameplay mechanics really appeal to me as well.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/729000/


Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

They promise that choices will truly matter in this RPG inspired by D&D and featuring pirates on the high seas.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/560130/


Cyberdimension Neptunia 4

A new Neptunia game, because why not? I love the cute graphics and silly nonsense storylines of these games.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/632350/


Jenny LeClue

I love the handdrawn artstyle here. But what I love even more is that decisions and choices matter and “permanently” influence other “characters” (by that I think the Devs mean in sequels or episodic content that will be created.) The Devs also say that “The goal is for everything to be interactive, to reward players who poke and prod at every last item and object with insight, secrets, and humor.” Which fits my playstyle anyways. Exploration is often my favorite part of gameplay.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/319870/


Tunic

They don’t have much information available. But you play as a fox in a colorful world.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/553420/


Transference

This is a VR game although it’s not listed as requiring a VR headset to play so that remains to be seen. If I’m able to play without a VR Headset (because I don’t own one yet), I’m going to be all over this game. It has a deep “psychological” story. Your choices matter. The Devs say “The choices you make from every angle ripple through time and space, as you learn their story.” – I’m extremely interested in this game – maybe even enough to break down and buy a VR headset if it requires one.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/647570/


Skull & Bones

This must be the year of pirate games. This is the 3rd such game to make my list. You start out very low, and then recruit your own gang of pirates and customize everything about your ship, as you grow your infamousy and riches. You can play alone or with up to 5 players.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/370010/


Donut Country

This somehow reminds me of Katamari, except instead of rolling things up, you’re a hole and you swallow things, and the more things you swallow the bigger your hole gets, allowing you to swallow even larger things. I love Katamari, so I suspect I’ll love this game too. The cute colorful graphics also appeal to me.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/702670/


Wattam

Speaking of Katamari, here is a new game from Katamari’s creator. In this game you explode everywhere. The bigger your explosion, the more friends who come to play. The graphics are super cute, things like frying pans, bacons, eggs, poo, etc all with cute little anime faces drawn on. It’s very colorful. And there’s nothing else like it.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/702680/


Darksiders III

If you’re a fan of the first 2 Darksiders games, the 3rd installment is due out in 2018.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/606280/


Lost in Harmony

They’re hailing this as the first musical runner – but I don’t think it is, because I distinctly remember a game on PC a few years ago that let you run to any MP3 on your PC. But well regardless of if it’s first or not, it looks fun. You can create your own levels, as well as customize your characters.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/509400/


Just Us

Animal breeding, farming, crafting, fishing, foraging, and probably a pretty deep philosophical story about a couple questioning if they’re the only people left in the world after a catastrophic event.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/612660/


Lost in Bardo

Pretty looking pixel game with a philosophical story and puzzle solving gameplay.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/741730/


Jengo

A gorgeous looking point n click adventure paying hommage to many 90s retro games.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/671430/


Chiffa 2

Play as a cute little fox trying to save his best friend, a chicken, from a big bad wolf.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/563600/


OSM Old School Musical

The crazy looking chaotic gameplay and colorful retro graphics make this rhythm game stand out from the rest

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/398030/


Orcish Inn

Very cute survival game in which you farm, build, and manage a tavern.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/533800/


College Days

Visual Novel with some very pretty artwork.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/467700/


Astrologaster

Interesting concept for a game, you cast and interpret astrology charts as a doctor to answer your patient’s questions. I’m kinda interested in astrology (especially numerology (not necessarily related to this game just as an aside)) so my interest in this title is piqued by sheer curiosity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game about astrology before.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/742520/


Village Monsters

Animal Crossing clone, looks cute, fun, and relaxing.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/679830/


Where Cards Fall

This looks fun, and seems to have a fairly decent story about childhood memories shaping our perspectives as adults.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/589450/


Alone Without Her

A story where your choices matter about a man who survives while his wife dies in an experiment that would freeze them for 1,000 years. The concept sounds similar to Passengers, which I saw last year and rather liked, so I’ll probably enjoy this story too.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/527560/


Miracle Mia

This game looks very colorful and cute.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/608670/


Cursed Lands

For the first time in any Winter Wolves game you can sleep with more than one love interest. The devs say – However, they also caution you to be ready to deal with the consequences of that decision. You can bluff and intimidate enemies in this RPG / Dating sim hybrid.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/758320/


Fault Silence the Pendant

Takes place 5 years before the events in Fault Milestone One

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/487500/


Xaiga Wars

Visual Novel with Very Cute Graphics

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/727960/


A Near Dawn

A Psychological Visual Novel / Point n Click adventure with full voice acting and multiple endings.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/728170/


Unto The End

This game looks both beautiful and challenging, and it also features choices and consequences that change the story of the game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/600080/


Once Upon a Coma

I love the art style of this game. I’m betting the truth at the end of the story is also pretty sad.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/733210/


Broken Reality

Colorful Adventure Game which is set in a parody world based on the 1990s internet. Cut ads with your katana, collect likes to upgrade your social media accounts to reach new worlds, purchase upgrades, and make new friends. The Devs promise a game with no violence as well.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/757480/


We the Revolution

Fun looking political simulator based on the French revolution.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/736850/


Dodgeball Rising

Cute looking anime style multiplayer dogeball game

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/687580/


Riverbond

Gorgeous looking little voxel game with lots to explore and collect

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/459370/


Kitten Super Adventure

I actually promoted this game awhile back I’m excited because it looks to combine Spyro with Adorable kittens.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/347530/


Mineko’s Night Market

Play as a cute girl, in a cute Japanese inspired world, full of cats! Extensive crafting system, fun mini games, and a market where you can sell anything you make or find. I’m definitely picking this game up!

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/762940/


Indivisible

From the dev team that brought you Skullgirls comes a new 2D adventure, with music provided by the composer of Secret of Mana.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/421170/


The Eldritch Zookeeper

Raise horrible monsters in this simulation game inspired by Themepark World and Dungeon Keeper

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/654960/


Battle of the Bands

Another visual novel game. This one doesn’t look terribly good to me, but I will play it before passing judgement.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/467710/


Spoxel

Looks quite similar to Terraria. I love Terraria… but I wonder what this game has that will differ enough from Terraria to make me want to purchase yet another minecraft clone.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/746880/


Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass

Colorful little RPG with an Adult Story

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/706560/


The Gardens Between

Beautiful puzzle game with time travel and nostalgia.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/600990/


Knights and Bikes

This charming adventure game is full of nostalgia and looks fun, especially in multiplayer. It’s from the creator of Little Big Planet and Tearaway Unfolded which I loved both of those games, so I have pretty high hopes for this one as well.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/592480/


Rainswept

Love, Relationships, and unresolved trauma? Sign me up for that. 🙂 This looks to have a fairly deep and depressing story.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/772290/


Booth

I have a feeling this game will play like Papers Please or Beholder. You work in a food inspection booth, how you react to NPCs determines your fate and changes the story and endings.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/761350/


Futurust

A hand-drawn point n click adventure game about robots.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/745980/


My Girlfriend

A visual novel in a highschool setting with cute girls.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/467690/


Ciel Fledge

Basically Princess Maker – Which I have reviewed here. I need more Princess Maker in my life, so heck yeah, I’ll be buying this.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/738270/


The Luckless Seven

Visual Novel that differentiates itself from the rest with an innovative card game system.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/433370/


The Last Night

Absolutely beautiful looking scifi game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/612400/


Echo Tokyo

Dark Visual Novel set in a dystopian Tokyo

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/506640/


Tiny Thor

Colorful looking retro platformer where you throw Thor’s hammer to attack your foes.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/541310/


City Game Studio

Manage your own gaming company

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/726840/


Prehistoric Kingdom

Jurassic Park simulator anyone?

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/666150/


The Adventure Pals

Cute Comical and Colorful little platformer

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/396710/


Deiland

Anime sandbox game with farming and quest mechanics similar to Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/760620/


Warped Reality

Cyberpunk Visual Novel with truly lovely anime inspired artwork

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/604030/


Ooblets

OMG I almost forgot about this game. I remember when it was first announced, and now, the wait is almost over, as it will launch some time in 2018

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/593150/


Reality Raiders

Perhaps inspired by Secret of Evermore and Chrono Trigger, this little indie RPG lets you travel through different periods in the past to understand your present and shape your future.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/671770/


Mystic Destinies Echoes

This visual novel has a somewhat realistic painterly style and takes place in Atlantis.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/721550/


Snares of Ruin

6 Romanceable Ladies. You can form platonic or romantic relationships. How you interact with them determines the flow of the story.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/766940/


Detective Case and Clown Bot: The Express Killer

This point n click has cartoon-network or simpsons esque animation. It probably doesn’t take itself too seriously either.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/711920/


Beavers Be Damned

Cute 2 player Co-Op game where you play as cute beavers avoiding crazy obstacles as you try to build your dam.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/764570/


GNOG

Adorable colorful puzzle game that takes place inside monsters’ heads. Seems to have an emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving. My only concern is it may be quite short as it only has 9 levels.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/290510/


I Saw Her Standing There

Colorful kinda abstract looking action/puzzle game with over 300 levels to explore. The devs say that their game is “about love, death, and pancakes”.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/453910/


Wonder Wickets

Colorful and Cute Miniature Golf game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/598640/


Dab on Em Haters

Celebrity Vlogger Simulation with cute pixel graphics – Caution this one has explicit insults and hate speech, but that’s kinda the point of the game. Pick which topics to vlog about, then respond to your comments. The goal is to like positive comments while “dabbing” negative comments. (Do you know how old this game makes me feel? I thought dabbing was a thing kids do with their arms for selfie pics, that some football player started. Since when did Dabbing become a negative word? lol. I’m too old for this game. lol.)

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/769060/


CasinoRPG

I actually mentioned this game in a roundup of Casino Simulation Games – It used to be a web browser based game, and now it’s coming to Steam. I don’t know what if any improvements or changes have been made between versions. It’s a city building simulation that lets you build, run, and play in your own casino.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/658970/


Midnight Quest

Very cute looking point n click adventure game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/698450/


Heroes of Arzar

Cute, free anime collectible card game

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/628190/


Meanwhile

Well, I had never heard of this comic or the author, Jason Shiga, until just now. The art style kinda reminds me of the Oatmeal. Apparently this comic creator incorporates puzzles and choose your own adventure elements into his comic books (maybe similar to the goosebump novels I read as a kid back in the 90s? lol). I’m curious to check this game, and some of his comics, out now.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/714980/


Love Story: The Beach Cottage

I usually don’t play hidden object games – I know a lot of girls love them, it’s just never been my cup of tea. But this one sounds intrigueing because of the sad story. A woman very late in her life (50+) returns to a beach home to execute her deceased father’s final will. She hasn’t been back in this house for over 40 years, and she will relive memories of her first lost love and become stronger in the process.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/770880/


Survived By

This is an MMO Bullet Hell Game with Permadeath. After you die, you come back a little bit stronger as one of your descendants. It says there are different descendants to collect. Might be interesting, although probably also very frustrating too.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/606140/


I Love My Brother

While many readers will be put off by the nature of this story being such a taboo subject, I’ve included it in the list anyways for a few different reasons. 1.) It’s a visual novel. 2.) You play as Beth (a girl) 3.) This makes it an Otome Game. 4.) It’s a game told by reading entries in Beth’s Journal 5.) The journal is full of cute colorful stickers, beautiful handwriting, and other charming graphics. 6.) The story doesn’t bother me that much. Some of my favorite Korean Dramas have that incest component, such as 90 Days Time to Love and Autumn in my Heart. 7.) Little Sister Kana is one of the greatest visual novels of all time. 8.) If the game handles the story tastefully, and doesn’t make it just a raunchy taboo fantasy, there’s potential here for a very sweet and sad love story (such as in the games and Kdramas I’ve mentioned above). 9.) For all of those reasons I will give this game a shot.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/769210/


Sister’s Love

I can’t tell if this game is the same as the one above or not. It also is about a brother and sister in love. Different names though. It’s also told through a journal, although the stickers and graphics in the journal look different. In this one they have a more mature/romantic look, and in the other a more bright colorful cheery innocent look. Anyways it’s included for the same reasons as the above.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/771520/


Maze of Adventures

The retro style colorful graphics in this puzzle game look quite cute.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/766740/


Lunch Truck Tycoon 2

Open World Simulation Game that lets you manage a food truck. I want some street tacos now lol.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/660120/


Nantucket

I don’t really approve of hunting whales and dolphins (IRL), but the game sounds fun anyways. Loosely based on Moby Dick, this game allows you to customize your ship and crew as you sail around the world to hunt Moby Dick, in what they call a whaling strategy game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/621220/


Ascendant Hearts

Humorous Parody Visual Novel with some lovely graphics that pokes fun at itself as well as the genre.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/595730/


Dude, Stop

I don’t really know if there’s any point to this game lol. People seem to think it’s funny. At least the developer thinks he is funny. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. But it’s strange, and dares to be different, so it earned a spot on our list anyways. The point of the game is to do the opposite of whatever the developer (narrator) tells you to do, or not, it’s up to you. His narration changes as you play depending on your choices. Make him angry and he will yell at you.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/574560/


Cicadas

I really love the artwork in this visual novel. Cicadas are annoying though. I distinctly remember hating that sound effect in other visual novels (I think Tsukihime used them? I can’t recall which novel it was now, but it talked about it being hot in the summer and the cicadas hissing. And it had this horrible cicada sound effect and no background music at this part, and it drove me crazy.) — Anyways here’s another visual novel with probably more equally annoying cicada buzzing sound effects. PS: I always thought Cicadas were a Japanese thing – until last summer when I heard them in real life, here in Western Pennsylvania. They apparently only come up from their burrows once every 17 years – Thank god because they are annoying AF. And I have a phobia about insects. — I’ll still play this beautiful visual novel, despite my fear and loathing of Cicadas (or insects in general lol).

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/710840/


My Big Sister

I kinda feel like this game is trying too hard to be dark and edgy and “cool”. The character you play as is a 12 year old girl (although the devs can’t seem to decide if she’s 8 or 12 as they make reference to her being 8 as well). She tries to rescue her 19 year old sister after they are both kidnapped. The graphics are cute, but the writing looks like trash. How many 12 year olds cuss like sailors? They say she has a sarcastic playful attitude and that she’s not as scared as her big sister – but still, that seems too much. This game’s script looks terrible and that’s just from the screenshots and trailer. Random explicit words for no reason at all do not make your game more “adult” or “dark” or “edgy” or “cool”. In fact, it kinda makes your game the opposite of those things. Of course, occasionally well timed explicit words can add to the feelings/emotions of a story. But when there’s 3 or 4 expletives used within a 6 sentence paragraph, that’s way too many. Which is a shame, because the graphics and actual gameplay look very nice.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/733300/


Spring Breeze

Chinese Visual Novel (with English subtitles) where you date twin sisters and experience university life in China. I feel this translation and writing may be subpar, but the graphics are really pretty, so depending on the price, it may still be worth checking out. Sounds short. 10 scenes, and only 2 endings.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/692790/


Tale of Toast

Very cute looking free-to-play MMORPG. It promises to not be pay-to-win as the only micro-transactional items will be things like transferring to another server or buying cosmetic only items such as pets and costumes (that do not grant stat bonuses). It has optional PVP and procedurely generated dungeons. It uses a classless system and includes crafting and exploration.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/640150/


FEN: Prologue

Survival game that has you dumpster diving for resources. Cute pixel graphics and a procedurely generated world.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/736830/

As an aside, there’s another game, simply called FEN that will release at the end of the month as well.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/771170/


Foxus

Beautiful game where you play as a fox, doing things foxes do, hunting rabbits, exploring the forests, etc. It reminds me a lot of Shelter 1 and 2 (dunno if it’s by the same dev team, or just inspired by such games though).

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/644130/


Skelattack

Play as an adorable skeleton and his best friend, a cute little bat in this rogue like, where monsters in the dungeons are friendly and human invaders are the enemy.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/605800/


Talk to Saki

An idle visual novel game, where time passes in real time. You type questions to Saki using keywords, and check in on her every day. New conversations happen each day.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/771100/

(as an aside, there’s also a game called Talk to Aya that came out about 2 months ago and is $1.99 on steam. Aya is more “my type” because she reminds me of myself. While Saki is very athletic and outdoorsy, Aya is an indoors type who loves manga.)

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/731930/


The Pirate’s Fate

Over 300 choices that matter with 45 different romances in this gorgeously animated furrie game.
http://store.steampowered.com/widget/553480/


Stage Fright

This game meshes together 2 very different genres, rhythm and horror game. The better you play, the harder the game tries to scare you and the more difficult the game becomes.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/771470/


MatchyGotchy

Adorable Colorful Virtual Pet Game

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/772700/


The Red Strings Club

Interact with customers as a bartender with a story presenting moral dilemmas and decisions about happiness and the means to obtain it.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/589780/


The Scent of Summer

Virtual Reality Game (VR Headset Required) where you walk home with a cute anime girl.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/778260/


Iconoclasts

Cute platformer with a heart wrenching story.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/393520/


Staxel

Adorable anime voxel farming game, similar to Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/405710/


Lost Sphear

From the creators of I am Setsuna

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/525240/


OK K.O.! Let’s Play Heroes

Super cute and colorful game based on the cartoon network show of the same name.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/680700/


My Time at Portia

Seems to pay hommage to Rune Factory, Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, Atelier, Mana Khemia, and other similar gaming series

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/666140/


Wildlife Park Remastered Gold

Includes remastered versions of Wildlife Park and Wildlife Creatures. You can train, breed, research, and catch various animal species.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/664120/


Zweii The Arges Adventure

Beautiful looking humorous JRPG from XSEED with tons of minigames and a leveling system that involves eating or hoarding and trading food for better food.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/427680/


Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds

This beautiful looking indie RPG pays homage to many great 90s and early 2k RPGs. It includes minigames, crafting, and city building aspects as well as traditional turn based RPG combat.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/556740/


Luvocious

3 games in one. The first is a dating sim/visual novel. The second is more of a traditional JRPG/Dungeon Crawler. The final one is a scifi setting with gun based gameplay. Each with an anime and retro feeling.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/714730/


Dead in Vinland

I’m already sold just by this feature right here “Build your community of up to 14 playable characters. Meaningful choices will alter the relationships in your team and the story. Expect romances, hatred and betrayals!” – But in addition to that, it has a huge world with over 150 maps to explore and more than 150 items to craft as well.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/573120/


Onmyoji

Very colorful and beautiful strategy game set around the characters and stories within Japanese folklore.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/551170/


Dust and Salt

Decisions matter in this narrative adventure game

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/766630/


Egypt Old Kingdom

City Building and Political Simulation in Ancient Egypt.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/646500/


Celeste

Beautiful little platformer with plenty of secrets and mysteries to unravel.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/504230/


Grisaia Phantom Trigger 4

The story that began with Fruit of Grisaia continues in this new installment

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/761670/


Timber Tennis

Cute and colorful pixelart in an online or local multiplayer tennis game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/321160/


My Life as a Maiden

Cute looking visual novel where you play as the only boy (disguised as a girl) at an all girl’s school. (This theme is done to death in these games, but the nice artwork may be enough to make this one worth picking up as well.)

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/754840/


Melancholy Republic

Decisions matter as you take the role of a young heroine trying to run the country after her father’s assassination in this JRPG inspired indie game with an excellent soundtrack performed by a live orchestra.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/436240/


Ultimate Arena: Showdown

The graphics look a bit crude, but the game seems wacky and different, and fun, and does feature large amounts of character customization.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/757160/


Clumsy Knights

Very cute little indie RPG with an extensive crafting system

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/765360/


YumeCore

This looks cute and colorful, although a bit nonsensical and crazy.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/771240/


Make Sail

Build Sailboats, sail to other islands to gather materials to make better sailboats, and rinse and repeat.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/417200/


Slave Story

Cute anime style game where you play an indie game maker and interact with a cute anime girl.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/736520/


Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

A collection of short stories from authors all over North America

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/447120/


Minotaur

Point n click game with nice anime style artwork and dark story.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/680590/


Soul Saga

Gorgeous looking indie game inspired by classic JRPGs

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/251590/


Mhakna Gramura and Fairy Bells

This is by the same author as Fault Milestone One and apparently, at one point, these visual novels were all books? Hundreds of years ago? Like in real life? I was not aware of that. This is a kinetic novel meaning there are no choices, no branching plots, and only 1 ending. However it is beautiful and part of a very popular series of visual novels. The story is mentioned in several of the games, but only recently has the full text been discovered because the book is hundreds of years old. This makes it kind of an interesting way to preserve history.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/753220/


Fatal Twelve

Another very beautiful looking visual novel with female protagonist.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/620210/


Bacon May Die

Very colorful brawler game with cute little pigs. Customize your pig and fight off hoards of bacon hungry zombies. It looks cute and has a good sense of humor as well.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/646240/


Serment – Contract with a devil

Indie tactical RPG and Dating Sim hybrid with lots of cute anime girls.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/632900/


Final Fantasy 12 Zodiac Age

A remake of FFXII with a few new gameplay mechanics.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/595520/


Foto Flash

This may be similar to Sonicomi which I reviewed here.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/778610/


CHUCHEL

Cute funny little puzzle adventure game with adorable characters.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/711660/


Startup Freak

This game lets you simulate many aspects of building a startup conmpany, from designing your office, hiring team members, researching and developing new products

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/722660/


Into the Breach

Interesting looking strategy/simulation game with mechs and time travel.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/590380/


Mulaka

Action RPG with gameplay similar to Zelda and based on ancient Mexican lore.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/623640/


Scythe

Boardgame with strong focus on faction choice and strategy.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/718560/


RPG in a Box

If you’re looking to create your own games, RPG in a Box may be an alternative to the popular RPG Maker series.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/498310/


Guardians of Arcadia

A very cute anime indie game inspired by classic JRPGs

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/456140/


Shots Fired

Explore with your cellphone, take photos for buzzfeed (fuzzbeed), and avenge your wife and daughter (and reclaim your tv) in this pixel based action adventure game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/650120/


Episicava

Anime styled episodic visual novel

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/618430/


Toe Jam & Earl: Back in the Groove

The original games on Sega Genesis are some of my favorite childhood memories. Days and weeks on end spent playing with my best friend.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/516110/


Griftlands

It seems decisions matter quite a bit in this cartoon style indie RPG

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/601840/


Omina Mortis

I like the concept of this game, which is basically a visual novel in story book format; however, it is clear English is not their first language. Their steam store description needs help, and if that’s any indication as to the quality of the writing within the actual game, this game may be nearly unplayable. For example the description says: “In Omnia Mortis you will be confused by a tangle on the edge of mystic and action detective that will be fully solved only after multiple passing the game.” – I’m already confused just by reading this description LOL. I get that they meant to indicate it has multiple endings, or “only after passing the game multiple times” or “only after multiple play throughs” but “only after multiple passing the game” sounds really awkward and incorrect as a native English speaker… and I’m still not sure what they’re trying to say with “on the edge of mystic and action detective” – What does that even mean? — Concept seems good – but they really need to hire some English language play testers and proofreaders. Hopefully with enough proofreading and playtesting, this will end up to be a nice game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/644340/


A Song in the Void

This seems far too short, clocking in around 6 hours of gameplay, but it seems innovative by the fact that every aspect found within the game reacts and grows with the music.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/746900/


Earthlock

Inspired by Retro RPGs of the late 90s, Earthlock looks like a great upcoming indie game. You can also grow trees to bring kittens into the world which sounds pretty cute.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/761030/


Moonlighter

Cute pixel RPG with procedurely generated dungeons and shop keeping elements

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/606150/


Rain or Shine

Very cute looking VR game that requires a VR headset

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/714610/


DragonFangz

A challenging rogue-like dungeon crawler with adorable anime graphics

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/749850/


Love Bites

Visual novel about vampires. Appears to have 2 playable characters (1 male and 1 female) and 4 romance options (2 male and 2 female)

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/617970/


Into Oblivion

A drinking simulator where you mix and drink virtual drinks with other players and bet who will get sick first to earn coins to get new items from the shops to customize your characters.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/618990/


Prisma and the Masquerade

Absolutely gorgeous looking platformer with a female protagonist and orchestra soundtrack.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/544470/


Long Gone Days

Awesome looking visual novel with shooter elements and gorgeous anime artwork.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/510540/


Samurai Forge

A collectible card game with an interactive story that changes according to players’ decisions

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/617350/


Swordart Online Fatal Bullet

A Multiplayer game based on the famous Swordart Online anime.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/626690/


Marie’s Room

Seems to have an interesting story about childhood friendship, perhaps with a few twists and some drama. A bit of mystery too.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/648390/


Movie Studio Tycoon

Select a genre, choose your script, hire and train directors and actors, compete with other studios to win awards.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/630440/


Orwell Ignorance is Strength

This political thriller aims to warn us about how we give and how others use our private and personal information and how such information can be misinterpreted and to what lengths people or our governments will go to to protect us from perceived threats within this information.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/633060/


Parkasaurus

Colorful Cute Dinosaur “Jurrasic Park” Simulation game where you travel back in time to collect dinosaur eggs, and switch to first person to handle dinosaur rampages.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/591460/


The Swords of Ditto

I love the graphical style of this cute little indie Co-op RPG.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/619780/


One Helluva Day

Another interactive fiction game where English is clearly not their native language. Hopefully the game will be proofread and play tested sufficiently because judging from the steam description, the creators struggle with English grammar. Aside from questionable writing and formating, the concept of the game looks promising. You play as a business owner trying to save his failing company, as well as trying to save the world. There are multiple endings, and you can either work together to help other characters, or take advantage of them to achieve your goals. How you work with others, determines which endings you receive.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/603680/


Monmusu

Adorable anime graphics in this free to play game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/533540/


Secret of Mana

Remake of one of the best SNES games of my childhood.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/637670/


Detective Gallo

Humorous point n click adventure game with a cartoon duck as the hero.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/556060/


Austen Translation

This solo or multiplayer rogue like marriage simulation borrows heavily from various visual novel mechanics

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/706880/


Speed Dating for Ghosts

Cute looking dating simulator by a former Bioware developer.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/746400/


Roguemance

A roguelike pixel game that pokes fun at relationship drama

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/742530/


Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Story heavy open world historical RPG with player choices and consequences.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/379430/


The Longest Five Minutes

Humorous pixel RPG where the main character has amnesia right before the final boss fight.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/504110/


Wandersong

Colorful cute indie game where you play as a traveling bard.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/530320/


Crossing Souls

Colorful retro inspired game set in 1980s California

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/331690/


The Seven Districts of Sin

Short cute visual novel with some nice anime artwork and 9 different endings to discover.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/782190/


A Case of Distrust

Play as a female detective in this 1920s visual novel.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/717610/


Catmaze

Cute indie anime pixel sidescrolling adventure game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/620220/


Monster Garden

Cute, very short (1 hour per play through) game with multiple paths and multiple endings with over 15 monsters to meet. You can’t meet them all on a single play through which adds some replay value, despite still being a short experience.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/719660/


The Painter’s Playground

Create or collect 2D artwork and trade it in an online marketplace with other players

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/722330/


Card Crawl

Dungeon Crawler played with a deck of cards. Solitaire like gameplay with deckbuilding mechanics.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/745000/


Opus Rocket of Whispers

Indie hand-drawn painterly styled game with an emotional post-apocalyptic storyline.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/742250/


Feudal Alloy

Cute looking indie action RPG with robots.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/699670/


The Forbidden Arts

Anime style action platform adventure game.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/735060/


We Were Here Too

Emotionally charged Co-Op adventure game

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/677160/


Minion Forest

Adorable monster raising game

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/767340/


The Best Upcoming & New Release 2018 PC Games for Girls was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Ancient Magus Bride Anime Review

Title: Ancient Magus Bride
Based On the Manga by Kore Yamazaki
Episodes: 24 Episodes
Genre: Fantasy, Super Natural, Mystery, Romance, Slice of Life
Studio: Wit Studio
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Overall: 38/45 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 – A great story with high production values, a good blend of action, comedy, mystery and romance make this show a hit with geeks of either gender. I took away 1 point for the somewhat slow pacing of the early episodes, and 1 point away for the character designs – they don’t feel as clean or modern as most other contemporary anime characters, even though I understand that’s the style also of the original manga.

Sweetie: 4/5 – Chise is a unique female lead. In the begining she is broken inside, however we watch her become stronger and transform due to her magic training and new found feelings and emotions.

Story: 10/10 – (Note there may be spoilers in this paragraph up to episode 12). The story is quite interesting, Chise has seen strange monsters and creatures since she was very young. Paralyzed by fear, Chise withdraws from the world around her. Her parents are unsure how to handle her, so her dad runs off and her mother kills herself. Chise is passed off to other family members but they also don’t know how to handle Chise’s unique condition. At one point, Chise discovers someone very similar to herself, able to see the same creatures as well. He grants Chise a special book. In the end, he entrusts Chise with a special request which leads her on her path. Chise wants to escape her world, to the point she tries to kill herself, and doesn’t care what happens to her or anyone else. Sensing Chise’s magical abilities, men approach her and get her to sign a contract, placing her in a strange auction for magical goods. Elias meets Chise at this auction and purchases her to be his apprentice, and future bride. Thus Chise’s magical training begins. Chise is later discovered to be a Sleigh Beggy. A person who can see spirits and fairies. These people usually live short lives because their magic powers are so strong and so draining. Elias is working on a spell that can break the “curse” upon Chise, while also showing her love and affection and giving her a home for the first time. Chise’s heart begins to open and she too begins to show Elias what it is like to be loved for the first time. As part of their “honey moon” they travel around the world helping people with magic quests, which further help Chise develop her skills and talents.

At time of this blog post, the series is halfway complete, with many more mysteries and questions to be answered:

What/Who is Elias? (I haven’t read the manga, and I’m probably way off base, but I wonder if he’s at all related to the person who gave her the book at the beginning of the anime)

WTF happened to Chise’s little sister/brother? Maybe it’s as simple as a miscarriage? Maybe it’s related to why Chise’s mom killed herself?

Why did Chise’s mom kill herself? (It’s later revealed that she at one point really loved Chise, and that both of her parents saw the same spirits and creatures that Chise sees)

What happened to Chise’s father? Will he ever be back in the picture?

Will Chise die from her magical abilities, or will Elias find a way to save her?

Will Elias ever become human?

Can Chise and Elias’ love survive all of the odds against them?

All of these questions keep you intrigued and watching each week.

Characters: 8/10 – The characters are interesting and unique. Chise starts out very weak and hard to like, but as the series progresses she matures and finds her own confidence and independence. We also witness the relationship and Elias’ changes as well. All of the minor characters are also awesome. Silky is so funny even though she is silent. And the back story of how Chise gets her familiar, Ruth, is very touching. Ruth is one of my favorite characters in the anime.

Artwork: 3/5 – I’m not a fan of the character designs as mentioned above; they just don’t seem very clean and kinda have a retro vibe. The backgrounds and effects on the other hand are lovely.

Music: 5/5 – This anime has some of the best music I have ever heard. I love both the opening and ending, but my favorite song is Iruna Etelero, the flower song that Lindel sings in episodes 11 and 12. It’s maybe my favorite song, ever, of all time, from anything, tv, anime, video game, radio, etc. It’s so beautiful and soothing.

Voice Acting: 5/5 – The voice acting is also another highlight of this anime. They really make the characters more unique and bring their emotions to life. From the deep booming voice of Elias, to the sweet soft voice of Lindel, or the sarcastic and sadistic voice of one of the series’ first villains, each character is well cast.

Overall: 38/45 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Ancient Magus Bride Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Please Save My Earth Anime and Manga Review

Today I’m reviewing a very old manga / anime which is often credited as being (one of) the first (widely successful) Shoujo manga. Its art and story influenced other mangaka like Naoko Takeuchi – In fact there are many similarities between Please Save My Earth and Sailor Moon.

For example, both Please Save My Earth and Sailor Moon deal with lovers who were reincarnated on another planet having lost memories of their past lives and fated to meet again and remember sometimes happy, sometimes painful and sad memories. Both manga also focus heavily especially on the Earth and the Moon. There’s super powers in each one, and tales of friendship, betrayal, trust, love, jealousy, greed, and bullying.

Please Save My Earth is quite a bit darker than Sailor Moon. It’s more violent, it deals with more adult themes, and pushes some boundaries in what is common for a young girl to be reading.

Both manga also have same sex relationships and other issues that most other comics – or any form of entertainment media – typically shy away from.

Please Save My Earth features a love triangle and a lot more drama and suspense around this relationship dynamic, in fact, the relationship becomes catalyst for some of the series’ action and fighting scenes later.

But at the heart of both manga, you find a love story that has survived even after the main characters’ deaths. The timeless love story with its themes of reincarnation and the endearing characters as well as action and drama make it easy to see why Please Save My Earth is one of the best selling and most influential comics for girls of all time. It sold over 15 million units in Japan alone. Not counting reprints and other editions in other languages.

The English manga is hard to find now as it is out of print. Copies pop up from time to time, but typically sell for over $50 per issue. With 21 issues, things can get expensive quickly. Luckily, thanks to the wonders of technology, there is a cheaper solution. You can get the kindle editions of each volume for around $6 a piece. Click here to see all of the kindle editions of Please Save My Earth Manga.

If you do want the physical editions of the paper back manga, Barnes and Nobles as of this writing currently has most of the volumes in stock for $9.99 each. Much cheaper than amazon. There are a few volumes which are out of stock; and there’s the fact that this manga has been out of print for 10+ years now. So if you’re interested in those out of stock issues you will have to turn to sites like Amazon or Ebay. Here is a link to purchase the paperback Please Save My Earth manga on Barnes and Nobles Website.

The only version of the anime I have ever seen has been horribly butchered and edited – at least I’m assuming it has been significantly altered – I haven’t seen the original source material. If you look closely at the credits of both the dub and the sub English anime versions, you will see it says “Based on the screenplay by so-and-so” Based on? That’s odd. Why wouldn’t it just say “Screenplay written by so and so” – This tells me a lot of liberties were taken with this release.

Even though I’m sure the original screenplay far exceeds any of the English versions, I have never seen it available anywhere online (such as fansubbed, or etc with a more faithful translation.) So all I can do is merely speculate at the existence of some far superior anime than that which I grew up watching as a kid. Despite all of that — It’s still one of my favorite anime of all time.

Sadly, the anime is only about half of the story. It covers the first few volumes of the manga, but there’s still much much more left to be discovered. The anime is good, but really, if you want to understand the whole story, and see it as it was meant to be told without all the editing, then just go read the manga.

This anime is SCREAMING to be remade – from the facts that:

  • It was horribly edited for an English Release (not that anime studios in Japan probably care about this)
  • It is old and no longer licensed nor easily available
  • It never told the whole story of the manga
  • It is one of the best selling shoujo manga of all time and a critical influence to many other famous shoujo series including Sailor Moon
  • It’s a tale as old as time – Star Crossed Reincarnated Lovers and the tragedy and highs and lows that this all entails
  • It has mass market appeal – there’s a ton of fighting and action – there’s also a ton of romance and drama
  • The original one had ugly artwork and I would like to see it with a cleaner animation style and more attractive character designs.
  • But those screams seem to fall onto deaf ears! Will we ever see a proper 26 episode full season anime adaption of one of the best shoujo manga of all time? (based on sales figures) – It seems that since it SOLD VERY WELL – there would be an AUDIENCE (of at LEAST 15 million fans) wanting to see a GOOD FAITHFUL anime adaptation – and something longer than 6 episodes and a pasted together OVA or 2.

Why has this not happened yet? lol. If I was in an animation studio somewhere… this would be on my radar.

I digress… let’s take a look at the score card below:

This review will kinda combine both the anime and manga into one review, without distinguishing between the two. Whether that is fair or not, I dunno, but they are both similar enough I figure that if one version appeals to you, the other will as well.


Title: Please Save My Earth

Anime Directed By: Kazuo Yamazaki

Anime Studio: Production I.G.

Based on the Manga Please Save My Earth By Saki Hiwatari

Anime Length: 6 episodes, 30 minutes each, plus 2 OVA which try to add events which happen before and after the anime some of which are from the manga, others of which are made up for the OVA.

Manga Length: 21 volumes

Genre: Shoujo , Mystery, Romance, Slice of Life, Scifi, Fantasy

Overall: 39/45 87% B+ Very Good Anime and Manga for Girls

Geeky: 5/5 – I think this manga is sufficiently dark and actiony enough that it will appeal to all geeks regardless of their gender. It has enough action to counter balance against the romance and relationship issues.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Every time I encounter this theme, of reincarnated lovers, I love it. The theme is just so touching and fascinating and makes for the perfect love story. Other similar anime and manga include Air, Big Fish and Begonia, Chinese Ghost Story, Sailor Moon, and Betrayal Knows My Name.

Story: 10/10 – Story in Please Save My Earth is full of mystery and suspense and many plot twists and changes. It also has a ton of romance and very sad moments. As things begin to unfold, the story gets more and more intriguing. The slice of life, super natural, and action, and romance all combine into one epic story about love, sacrifice, loss, and forgiveness.

Characters: 10/10 – The characters are very real feeling, with a lot of deep seated emotions. Each one is learning to struggle with their past life memories which have now resurfaced as they try to figure out how best to save the world. But as you can imagine, having two minds within one body can take its toll on each of them.

Artwork: 2/5 – This anime is ugly, I admit. And the manga isn’t much better, although as the manga progresses we do see the evolution of the artist’s skill and style which is rather fascinating.

Music: 5/5 – I really love the ending theme to the anime, and many of the background tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 – Typical 90s voice acting, not that great, but honestly not really that bad either. The original Japanese cast of course is fine.

Overall: 39/45 87% B+ Very Good Anime and Manga for Girls

Please Save My Earth Anime and Manga Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure Retro Videogame Review

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure is an anime musical strategy JRPG first appearing on PS1 and Later on the Nintendo DS. This review focuses on the PS1 version.

Preface: Okay, while researching some stuff (such as release date, etc) for this review, I discovered there was a sequel, and now I am sad AF because the sequel never left Japan….. Major Heartbreak!

WARNING THIS LINK ABOUT THE SEQUEL HAS HUGE SPOILERS ABOUT BOTH GAMES!!!! READ AT OWN RISK!!! 

The original is one of my all time favorite games. I love all the songs, the heart warming, touching story, the cute characters, adorable graphics, simple grid based turn-based Strategy JRPG gameplay, and use of the puppets in battle.

I greatly prefer the version by Atlus on the PS1, much more than the version by NIS on the DS, because Atlus dubbed all of the songs in English, while NIS only left them in Japanese. If I remember correctly, the version by Atlus let you choose to play them in the original Japanese as well. If it’s a musical, it’s more fun in English, so we can sing along, am I right? 🙂 I still can remember the words/melody to a lot of the songs even though it has been years since my first or subsequent play throughs. NIS also changed the gameplay from a grid based system to a straight forward turn-based traditional JRPG style of combat.

For the purpose of this review, since I prefer the original, and the two games are significantly different in terms of gameplay, this review only covers the PS1 game by Atlus. Now onto the review…

Title: Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

Alternate Titles (Also Known As): Marl Kingdom, Little Princess Marl, or Marl Okoku no Ningyo Hime in Japan. Also referred to as The Adventure of Puppet Princess.

Genre: Strategy RPG

Publisher: Atlus

Platform: PSOne

Release Date: 2000

Where to Buy: If you want new, factory sealed, you’re looking at $250. Luckily, many used copies exist for under $35. You can check the current price and purchase Rhapsody for the PS1 here.

You can also find the Nintendo version here. Though if at all possible, I’d really urge you to play the PS1 version, it’s just so much infinitely better.

Overall Score: 73/90 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 – Dated as this game may be, its bright colorful graphics are still quite pretty. The combat is nothing spectacular and it is linear and simple. The big “geek” points go to the fact that the game is literally a musical. The characters break out into song and dance and the soundtrack very much tells us the story. There are well over a dozen or more vocal tracks and all of the characters are fully voiced. Interestingly enough, wikipedia tells me that it was almost entirely a one girl show, what a talented voice actress! She gave voice/song to all except for 3 or 4 of the characters.

Sweetie: 5/5 – the graphic style is so cute and colorful, the characters are very full of emotion and there is a ton of humor, as well as romance, and a message about the meaning of family, and morals, and just… everything. Also strong female leads, which was pretty rare “back in the day”. This game is a must play for all girls.

Overview: 10/10 – There is simply nothing else in the world like this game. It’s an anime musical JRPG. It has adorable graphics, touching, amusing, and likable characters, and is brimming with “feels and emotions”. From a technical standpoint, there’s really nothing ground breaking here. It is very typical of gameplay in most other Strategy JRPGs of its time. But the music and characters set this game apart and make it an extremely unique experience.

Gameplay: 5/10 – Gameplay isn’t bad, but it’s not the reason you play this game. This game is very easy and simple. The main character takes a back seat, supporting her army of puppets who move around a grid and use various items, attacks, and abilities to thwart their foes. It’s a linear game that takes you from point A to point B, pretty monotonously and mindlessly. This game is carried by the music, voice acting, memorable characters, and touching story. There are different costumes you can find and different puppets you can add to your team, but other than that, it’s a pretty straight forward experience if you’ve ever played any other Strategy JRPGs before.

Story: 10/10 – Cornet is a kindhearted girl who has a magical gift in that she is able to communicate with dolls and puppets. One such doll is Cornet’s faithful sidekick, Kururu. Kururu has guided the young Cornet all her life. Cornet is often lonely as her mother passed away at an early age. However, despite her loneliness, Cornet remains cheerful, kind, and helpful to all of the villagers in part thanks to her puppet friends. She is regarded as a simple and sweet girl, and many of the villagers take pity on her for not having a mother.

Although she is just a common girl, Cornet has fallen in love with the Prince. Unrealistic as her love may be, Cornet has always believed in “dreaming big” and her innocent outlook on life leads her to hope that anything is possible.

Cornet isn’t the only one with eyes for the prince however. A beautiful witch appears in the kingdom one day with her sights set on the prince. When the prince refuses her advances, the witch casts a spell on him turning him to stone.

Thus begins Cornet’s series of quests to reverse the witch’s curse. The witch has many henchmen and lackeys who try to interfere in Cornet’s plans.

As she travels, Cornet will make new friends and enemies, both human and puppet alike. Also she will learn more about herself, her mother, and her unique gifts and talents.

Characters: 10/10 Cornet is the star of our show, a simple, pure hearted girl who can talk to puppets. She lost her mother when she was very young and has mostly been raised by a strange talking puppet named Kururu.

Prince Ferdinand is the prince who early in our story is turned to stone. Cornet and Marjolly are both in love with the Prince.

Marjolly is a wicked but beautiful witch who vengefully curses the prince when he refuses her romantically. Marjolly is also not very skilled at magic, and somewhat of a “bumbling idiot”. Her spells often have very unintended consequences and/or back fire. She is often less “evil” feeling and more of a “comedic relief” despite being the main villain in the game.

Kururu is a “living doll” who has always watched out for and guided Cornet. The two are extremely close. And there is a secret that Cornet does not know about her puppet friend.

Etoile is a wealthy and beautiful, but ill tempered and spoiled girl who is close to Cornet’s age. Although she is “better than” Cornet in almost every way, she still feels jealous and inferior and threatened by Cornet. The two have an interesting love/hate relationship, frenemies if you will.

There are many other delightful and wonderful characters as well.

Graphics: 7/10 – Although dated severely, the graphics remain bright and colorful and still attractive, even 17 years after its initial US release. Also in a time when retro gaming is very popular, and pixel art is “in” – what was once old, is now hot again. An interesting thing to note, although there are many, many cutscenes, these are done with the same sprites and pixel graphics as the rest of the game, unlike other anime games of that time such as Persona and Lunar which use a more hand-drawn or anime style for their cutscenes. This in one way helps keep things cohesive and flowing well from one moment to the next, however, it does result in less detailed cutscenes. The sprites are still adorable and animated and capable of conveying a lot of emotion despite the simple sprites. I would love to see a new release with anime cutscenes (like Lunar and Persona) and/or celshading used throughout the game and cutscenes (such as with Catherine).

Music: 10/10 – Easily 10/10 – one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time because of the huge number of vocal tracks and how they tie in so closely to the story – in fact, they ARE the story. Many of them are insanely, like seriously insanely catchy!!! I love the songs in this game!!

Voice Acting – 10/10 – They sing and act, and as I mentioned, one girl gives voice to about 6 of the main characters – very talented!  If you hate dubs (which trust me, I usually do too!) you can also play with the Japanese audio. 🙂 But then you can’t sing along, or as easily get the song stuck in your head the next day lol.

Replay Value: 3/10 – It’s linear, and simple, and the only reason you will want to replay is to re-read the heartwarming story, and hear that awesome soundtrack again. I’ve replayed this at least 3 or 4 times now and love it every single time – but objectively, yeah there’s really nothing here story or gameplay wise for increased replay value.

Overall Score: 73/90 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

The Red Turtle Anime Review

I just purchased and watched “The Red Turtle” last night. The silent animated feature length film was done, in part, by Studio Ghibli, famous animators of feature length family favorite anime films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo, and The Cat’s Return, just to name a few.

I have to admit, I didn’t really do my research on this title (and didn’t realize it was a silent film until I began watching it), but every time I saw a preview, I just wanted to see it oh so badly. When I realized I could buy it for only $10 more than the “rental” price ($15 vs $5) I immediately purchased it.

For about the first 20 – 40 minutes of the film, I felt disappointed and disinterested; that quickly changed as the plot began to advance, and by the end I was so emotionally invested that I was crying.

Read on for the full review below.

Title: The Red Turtle

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Release Date (theatrical limited release) : January 20, 2017 (dvd / bluray) : May 2nd, 2017

Length: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Geeky: 3/5 – The beautiful artwork has a story book like quality while the musical score helps covey the feelings of the wordless cast of characters.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Without any voice, this movie still manages to tell an uplifting, wholesome, sad, touching, and romantic tale. This film reminded me of the Song of the Sea (which I also HIGHLY recommend and will eventually get around to reviewing). It also reminded me of a silent “Little Mermaid”. Or a little of the Tom Hanks “Castaway” film or Swiss Family Robinson.

Overall:  42/50 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Story: 8/10 If you’ve watched any of those films, you can guess some of the themes present in the Red Turtle, a story about a man shipwrecked on an island trying first to leave the island, then coming to accept his new life and live off the land.

There’s really several stories within the story here if you’re paying attention. At first, it is just the man and the sea and land and creatures there of. But a miracle occurs one day, turning a lonely devastated man, into a protector, caregiver, lover, and eventually father.

It’s a very circle of life tale. You watch all of the characters as they age, grow up, grow old, while witnessing their triumphs and struggles as they evolve and grow.

Although there are no words, and it takes some getting used to (at least for me; the only other silent film I’ve ever liked is Wall-e.), if you keep watching, you will eventually fall in love with the characters, and by the end it will leave you in tears, as it did for me.

It does start slow. I think the first 30ish minutes of the man being alone on the island could have been cut down to about 10-15 minutes and still conveyed the same point, that he is unable to leave the island, that he is angry, cold, bitter, and vengeful, etc. — Still after the appearance of other humans, we witness how their love for him changes the man into a much different and better person.

Characters: 8/10 : The characters have no names, and no real back stories. It’s never explained exactly how or why things happened the way they did; whether that was intentional to allow you to insert yourself into their shoes, or just the nature of the silent story telling format, it doesn’t matter because the characters are still incredibly real, raw, and full of emotion and personality even without back stories and without voices. I felt an immediate connection to the characters and felt myself emotionally invested and caring about what fates and circumstances fell upon them.

Animation: 8/10 – Although it’s not done in any kind of “traditional” anime style (big eyes, fantasy hair colors, etc), it still has charm. The sea, the starlit sky, the forests, the land, and even the characters. This film had to rely 50 / 50 on music as well as animation to tell the story. The characters’ movements had to convey their emotion. This is no easy task, yet it is one that this film excels at. Whether it’s capturing the curiosity of a small child, the desperation and isolation of a lonely man, the love and tenderness of a woman, or the animals who share the island with the small family, there is no shortage to emotion and charm in the animation.

Music: 10/10 – Think of this as basically Fantasia meets the Little Mermaid. The music score, when music is present, is vital in telling the story. Many times throughout the film there will be little to no music and only ambient noises and sound effects. This makes the power of the instrumental musical pieces even more powerful when it is used to convey the emotions of the cast or even the power of nature itself.

Overall:  42/50 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

The Red Turtle Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Big Fish and Begonia Anime Review

Overview:

Big Fish & Begonia (also known as Da Yu Hai Tang) is not technically an anime since it is from China instead of Japan; however, it is a beautifully animated fantasy adventure with a lot of heart. The quality of the animation is on par with Disney or Studio Ghibli.

The story has a few plot holes and pacing issues, but overall, the emotional impact of the story telling makes this film a must watch. The story may feel familiar if you’ve watched Disney’s the Little Mermaid, or another Chinese animation from the 90s, Chinese Ghost Story. Despite the similar concepts, Big Fish & Begonia still manages to add its own unique twists and takes on concepts of forbidden love and reincarnation.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

Review:

Title: Big Fish & Begonia (Da Yu Hai Tang)

Release Date: July 2016 (China) (Not yet licensed for North America)

 

Production: Bejing Enlight Media

Geeky:  5/5 – The production values are top notch. The quality of the animation, music, and acting are all on PAR with Disney or Studio Ghibli. Many consider this film to be the “dawn of animation” in China. It took 12 years to complete, and the level of dedication, time, care, and skill that went into making this film really shows.

Sweetie: 4/5 – I did decide to deduct one point for a few major plot holes and pacing issues. However, the themes of love (often times unrequited), life, death, and reincarnation make this film very “sweet” indeed. I was not expecting to cry as much as I did by the end!

Overall: 47/55 85% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Concept:

Concept: 10/10 I am in love with the concept behind this film. I am a huge fan of Chinese Ghost Story and also the Little Mermaid.

I even prefer the old 80s Japanese version of the Little Mermaid over the Disney one (blasphemous, I know, right?). Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney’s Little Mermaid too. But the reason I love the non-Disney version so much is because of how sad it is.

Spoiler for the Japanese Little Mermaid below:

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

I know this sounds horrible to some people who always insist on watching movies with a happy ending, but I’ve always loved tearjerkers, even as a child. There’s just something so touching and sweet about this tragic tale. It also happens to follow the original story more closely as well.

So if we combine that 80s Little Mermaid with Chinese Ghost Story, we get something very similar to Big Fish & Begonia. Chinese Ghost Story is another beautifully animated Chinese film. (The animation was done by a Japanese studio). The story involves a young man who finds himself lost in a literal “Ghost Town”. All of the city’s inhabitants are spirits who have passed over. There, he meets a beautiful woman who also happens to be a ghost. Eventually the two of them fall in love; however, the only way for them to be together is for both of them to reincarnate back on earth.

Story:

Story: 7/10 The story of Big Fish and Begonia revolves around Chun, a young girl who has just become an adult in her society. Chun is from a mystical world. The movie describes the world by having Chun narrate that they are not gods, nor humans, but “others”.

In this mystical world, all adolescents become dolphins and journey to the human world for 7 days as a right of passage. During this time if they should come into contact with humans, they will not be allowed to return back to their own world.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

However, a sea squall occurs which traps Chun in a fisherman’s net on her last day on Earth. The past few days, she has spent observing the humans and their world, especially one young human who loves the sea. This human sees that Chun is trapped in the net and swims out to save her.

Although he is able to free Chun from the fisherman’s net, he drowns in the storm. Chun tries to save him, but is only able to retrieve his ocarina. Chun can’t forget the young man or his grieving family even when she returns back to her own world.

Chun discovers that there may be a way to revive the young boy and return him back to his world. She trades half of her life in exchange for his. In doing so, she also irreversibly links together their two souls. Should one of them perish, so shall they both. To complicate matters, his soul must remain a fish until returning back to the human world. In Chinese legends, there was a big fish who could fly through the skies. Thus Chun names him after the fish of legend, Kun.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

Many sad things happen along the way, but Chun resolves herself to complete her mission, even if it costs her her own life. As much as Chun cares for Kun, there’s another character who equally cares for Chun. He is her childhood friend named Qiu. With the same resolve that Chun takes to protect Kun, Qiu takes similar resolve to protect Chun, also willing if necessary to trade his life for hers.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film and loved the concept and story. My complaint with the story is the introduction of minor characters halfway through. They abandon certain concepts they have introduced, and create inconsistencies and plot holes. Here are a few examples.

1.) In theory, Chun should not have even been able to return back to her world. Contact with humans was forbidden. Yes, her world begins to suffer, and everyone turns against her. But, when the film starts, her mother warns her not to let the humans see her and tells her that another girl just took the journey and was unable to return for breaking this rule.

2.) At one point, a villain will escape into the human world. (You’ll know what I’m referring to if you watch the movie). After escaping into the human world, we never see or hear from this villain again. You would think it had some motive for wanting to go into the human world and that some consequences may occur in the human world as the result of introduction of this character. We’re never shown exactly what those consequences are.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

3.) When returning to the human world, all memories are supposed to be erased; however, that doesn’t seem to happen. There’s also the issue or significance of the necklace that Chun is wearing at the end, that I don’t recall being explained. It seems the creators want your attention to be called to the necklace from the swinging and shining animation and camera zoom and pan given to that scene. What significance exactly did the necklace hold?

This next bit might be a Spoiler for the end of Big Fish and Begonia

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Characters

Characters: 8/10 Qiu makes this film for me. He begins as a bit of a child-like impish, practical jokester. By the end of the film, he has matured so much, and sacrifices so much as a result of his love and desire to protect Chun.

Chun likewise grows as a character, with her resolve to protect Kun. She goes against her elders, her mother, the people of her village. She is shunned as a result of breaking the laws of her people. While it would be easy to harbor a grudge against the people who have cast her out of their tribe, she instead endeavors to help them when tragedy befalls their home.

Chun also realizes what she was warned, that we cannot ever truly atone for our sins. As a result of helping Kun, other people begin to suffer. She realizes the weight and consequences of her actions; however, it is too late to change course.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

Qiu learns a similar lesson. He asks how to save and help Chun, but the answer he receives eats away at him. He asks a shopkeeper if he has anything that can make him forget his sadness. The shopkeeper offers him a drink, but he warns it will also take away his happiness. He learns that in order to have happiness, you must also experience sadness.

The minor characters are also sources of wisdom and have a lot of heart, especially Chun’s grandparents who help her even after their own death.

I did deduct 2 points because there are some characters that are forgotten and abandoned, and even Kun himself feels underdeveloped as a character. It was hard for me to like the relationship of Kun x Chun because so much more development had been put into Qiu compared to Kun.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Production Value:

Animation: 5/5 This is one of the most beautifully animated films I have seen, not just from China, but from anywhere. It blends beautiful 2D and some nice 3D animation techniques. The fantasy world and characters are all unique and mesmerizing.

Voice Acting 5/5 Big Fish and Begonia is a very emotional film, and to pull that off, it makes use of talented voice actors who can capture and convey their feelings of love, guilt, grief, and despair.

Music: 3/5 Music also has a Disney-ish feeling and helps tell the story. I especially liked the song during the ending credits. There a few Disney-ish feeling “song/dance” skits, which can sometimes detract from the mature and dark feeling of the film; these are brief, but not as well handled in my opinion as similar scenes in Chinese Ghost Story, which makes great use of music interludes to tell their story. The music also doesn’t feel that memorable in Big Fish and Begonia, but it is overall, quite lovely.

Overall: 47/55 85% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Big Fish and Begonia Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

New Cardcaptor Sakura Anime is “In the Works”

Crunchyroll shared news lastnight that a new Cardcaptor Sakura anime has been announced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga. Earlier this year it was reported that a new Cardcaptor Sakura manga would be released that would continue the adventures of Sakura and her friends as they enter into Junior High.

No information is available at this time as to if the new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will follow the newly announced manga, or whether it will be a series or stand-alone movie, or perhaps a reboot or remake of the original series (for example, taking the route of fellow magical girl Sailor Moon and what she did for her anniversary with the new Sailor Moon Crystal anime), or perhaps this new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will be something new entirely. Also no release date or voice actor cast or further info has been released just yet, which indicates it may be well into 2017 or even 2018 before we actually get to see this new anime.

Crunchyroll currently has all of the original anime to view on their site. I personally need to sit down and marathon them all at some point. Over the years, I’ve seen a dozen or so episodes and at least 2 of the movies, and from what I’ve seen it’s a very cute show! Just so much to watch and so little time that I never “got into it” as much as I would expect to be into a magical girl romantic comedy / fantasy adventure such as this.

Now that the new show has been announced that motivates me to want to hurry up and watch the original episodes 🙂 I know what my plans will be this weekend lol. Anyone else?

New Cardcaptor Sakura Anime is “In the Works” was originally published on