My first experience with an Atelier Game was Playstation 2 With Atelier Iris back in 2005. Almost 20 years ago. Today for an Easter present, my fiancé gifted me a Nintendo Eshop Gift card – what a good fiancé, right? lol. So I decided to buy some of the older Atelier games in the digital deluxe trilogy “packs”. These packs are also available on PS4. And many of the games are available as stand-alone entries too. Steam on the PC is another good place to look for Atelier games because they actually have some of the older games that have been re-released for PC. Plus there’s always steam sales – although these titles almost never ever go on sale. Boo.
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World is a brand new game by Koei Tecmo Games to celebrate 20 years of the series. Wow has it been that long already? I still remember the first 2 games way back when. And you know what else I remember, a little-known Nintnedo DS offshoot game in the Atelier Series called Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island which came out about 10 years ago.
So why Am I mentioning Atelier Annie? Because, if you’ve ever played it, then you know what to expect from Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists. Both games are unlike any of the rest of the Atelier Games, and instead put you in a role of managing a city and completing missions to advance.
Nelke has some really negative reviews – at least on Steam, but I purchased Nelke anyways, on a hunch it’d be like Atelier Annie, and you know what, I’m not disappointed. If you liked Annie, you’ll like Nelke. Conversely, if you hated Annie, you’ll hate Nelke, and if you’ve never played either game, well there’s only one way to find out then, and that’s by giving it a go for yourself.
The reviews on steam are complaining how different Nelke is — and to some — how boring it is… But honestly Atelier Annie was one of my favorites in the series. I loved the humorous story / humorous main character, and yes, I enjoyed the more “Sim Like” gameplay of building a city.
Nelke is not without flaws however; Unlike Annie, it lacks the humor and charm, and feels a bit dry and dull so far in the story. I’m 4 hours in at this point… which brings to another flaw, in that 4 hours in, I’m still in the tutorial… This game is very very very linear in the tutorial… Like almost everything will be on lockdown… for a long while… expect your first 8+ hours to be linear AF….
After that though there really is a TON of stuff to do in this game. It is NOT boring at all. You can craft items, gather materials, build new buildings, talk to your villagers, discover new recipes, sell items in your shops, and invest in new routes and tools to use in your adventures. There are simplistic turn based combats and different characters to recruit to your village.
You have to complete some required, and other optional tasks within a set number of days within the game. This can make it difficult and frustrating, so save often and in multiple save slots to try to minimize time lost if you miss a goal.
The game either runs slow on my laptop, or just is really slow by design, to the point where its a little frustrating. It may just be my laptop though and can probably be improved if I adjust some settings.
The main complaint a lot of people have is that while exploring you do nothing but watch your characters walk by on the screen. They will converse, gather items, and occasionally run into random enemy encounters. The battles are also slow and tedious. I do agree with these basic gameplay flaws. However, they don’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the other aspects of city building and mission completing and watching my city grow and evolve based on my decisions and choices made in where to invest and what to build next, etc.
The graphics are insanely adorable as always with the Atelier series.
Unlike a lot of the other games in the Atelier Universe, this one does not have English voice acting. I do like to have the original voice actors, but I also sometimes like to have an English cast too. I was disappointed they didn’t offer both.
I assume replay value is high because each city you build will be pretty unique and you will attract different stores, different npcs, and different quests based on how your city is developing.
All and all I’d rate the score card like this:
Title: Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists – Ateliers Of The New World –
Platform – (for this review The PC version was used.) It’s also available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
Where to Purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FMZZYK1?tag=amz-mkt-chr-us-20&ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-org00-win10-other-nomod-us000-pcomp-feature-scomp-wm-5&ref=aa_scomp
Geeky: 3/5 – Points for bringing back some of the popular characters from this series over the past 20 years.
Sweetie: 5/5 – For the casual gameplay and kawaii art
Overall: 53/70 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”
Gameplay: 7/10 – I do love the sim aspects, having been a huge fan of Atelier Annie (easily one of my top 3 games in the Atelier universe). But I do agree that the game is slow and the wait for the payoff/reward is pretty steep. The game also doesn’t run great, can’t tell if it’s just my PC though maybe.
Story: 3/10 – I’m not loving the story, or lack there of. I’m 4 hours in and there’s not much of any story to be found; it does keep hinting at solving a mystery about a fruit from a legendary tree. But compared to other Atelier games the story feels less engaging so far.
Characters: 10/10 – I love seeing popular characters from the Atelier games return all in a brand new game. I also love the new characters that were created just for this game.
Voice Acting: 7/10 – The original Japanese voice cast does a great job and sounds super cute, but where’s the dual English voice acting? A bit disappointing especially for a 20th anniversary edition, you’d think they would have put a little more time and effort into the localization on this one. It feels cheap and rushed to not have both to choose from.
Music: 10/10 – Always love the music in the Atelier games, and Nelke doesn’t disappoint here either.
Replay Value: 8/10 – I think replay value will be very high, but I’m not looking forward to dredging through 5+ hours of linear handheld tutorials each time.
Overall: 53/70 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”
Overall I would recommend this game to anyone who does not mind slower paced casual simulation games, or to anyone who remembers playing Atelier Annie on the DS. I like Atelier Annie a lil bit more because of the humorous story; but Nelke’s story may pick up and become more interesting. I may come in eventually and update my review scores if I find the story to improve as I get further into the game. Gameplay wise though it is almost identical to Atelier Annie, so if that’s your thing, be sure to check Nelke out.
With the 2018 Winter Olympics well under way, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and anime (such as Yuri on Ice which I reviewed here) that showcases the dedication that a skater must possess. I remembered fondly an NDS game from “a few” years ago that I played that allowed you to take on the life of a professional skater, competing in various events, training, dating, and dealing with drama.
This game, as it turns out, was Imagine: Figure Skater for the Nintendo DS. The game first came out in 2008 (at least in North America), making it “retro” by my definition (I consider anything greater than 10 years old to be retro.) I’m thinking about digging out my cartridge and playing it again this weekend. I’ve also been thinking about rewatching Yuri!! on Ice.
First, you might look at the box art for this game, and think it is for little girls. — Not true! The original boxart in Japan was much better – featuring anime style artwork. Why they went with a photograph of an iceskater on the US version, I dunno. They should have aimed it at anime/otome fans, but this was 10 years ago, before otome games had much foothold in the US.
Gamestop has the game in-stock for just $0.99 cents! – If you have a powerups reward card, Even better, you can grab it for just $0.79 cents!!! OMG… Go, go, go!! If you like anime, ice skating, dating sims, or otome games, it will be the best 99 (or 79) cents you could spend today. Click here to buy it before it’s gone.
There’s also apparently a sequel to this game, called Imagine: Ice Champions. I have not played the sequel yet, but Gamestop has it for just $1.59.
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!
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
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
Continuing the long standing tradition of converting shows and comics into video games (or vice versa), 2016 has delivered us a slew of very decent games. Compared to their predecessors, these games have come a long way from the old days when Bandai meant a relatively short and generic gameplay experience.
This time, from the legit, pokemon direct hosted by the real Nintendo. Watch the entire 6 minute presentation below.
As the direct show explains, Pokemon Sun and Moon will debut in 9 different languages this Holiday Season 2016.
Update: 2/26/2016: Nintendo has confirmed worldwide release of these two titles Holiday 2016 You can watch their live event below incase you missed it.
Previous Update – Newer information at top: the Twitter account claiming to confirm this announcement below has been confirmed to be fake parody account as you can see upon closer inspection the username has an l instead of a t however that doesn’t necessarily mean that Nintendo won’t confirm the announcement of new games themselves tomorrow during their live event only time will tell.
Nintendo of America has confirmed two new 3DS Pokemon games titled Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. No other details were revealed at this time.
— Nintendo of America (@NinlendoAmerica) February 25, 2016
This is still exciting news for Pokemon fans around the world and coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise. Many of us grew up with this series. Hard to believe I was only 14 years old when Pokemon began, and to this day, it continues to entertain children and adults of all ages with it’s adorable characters and addicting gameplay.
A new Mythical pokemon was also revealed last week for the upcoming new pokemon movie. It is not confirmed if this new pokemon will be making an appearance in the new Pokemon Sun and/or Pokemon Moon.
It’s a metal pokemon with a cute round feminine “dress-like” shape and large pink eyes See a photo below:
7th Dragon until now, has remained a title only available in Japan, but that is about to change with 7th Dragon III Code VFD on the Nintendo 3DS.
This quirky little Time Travel RPG sees us in a not too distant future which is at war with powerful dragons. In order to save the world from destruction, you must travel to the ancient city of Atlantis, future capital of Eden, and present day Tokyo.
The artwork features chibi super-deformed, bobble head, big head, tiny body style character designs, giving everything a very cute anime feeling. Check out the trailer below to see what I mean. Very Kawaii!:
With the cute art work, and almost endless ways to customize your hero, this game immediately sparks my radar. I admit, I’ve not heard of 7th Dragon until now. I’m somewhat surprised to see Sega’s name attached to this project, but then again, not really no, because they do own Atlus who is well known for “risky” games like this which “cater to Otaku” – I wonder why they wouldn’t brand this title under their Atlus flagship since it has a lot of loyal fans already which they could then leverage to get more attention for this cute little game.
From the very brief teaser, it looks like it will be an emotionally engaging story as well – We see a character sick in a hospital bed for example.
Most intriguingly of all Destructoid reports that “And as if that weren’t bizarre enough, the role-playing game involves rescuing stray cats from dungeons and sheltering them in a cat café.” And if you don’t know what a Cat Cafe is, you can check out my post for 10 Cat Cafe you can visit in North America.
The whole “Cat Cafe” concept makes the game even more Kawaii and immediately appealing to me (and likely also to my readers). I’m becoming more and more intrigued by this little game and can’t wait to check it out.
The game will release on July 2016 and is available for preorder on Amazon here: Preorder 7th Dragon III Code VFD
Those who click the amazon link above can read even more of the game’s features – Incredibly enough, it even features a dating sim element. Given that the series originally was created and handled by Imageepoch who made Fate/Extra which plays INSANELY SIMILAR to Persona 3 and 4… I can imagine that THIS dungeon crawling RPG will also be very similar to Fate/Extra and Persona 3 and 4.
The Japanese voice cast has been left in tact, and not only do you customize your heroes’ appearances, but also their voices, with more than 40 voices to choose from!
This game is Kawaii to the Max! Very Otaku Pandering, and very very very cute and quirky. Personally, I can’t wait! BRING ON THE CAT CAFE DUNGEON CRAWLING DRESSUP JRPG! This game is right up my alley!
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Mother 3 – known to gamers in the west as “Earthbound” – Lately, there have been a lot of rumors online, including some started by people from within Nintendo which indicate that we MAY be getting an official English release of the game now a decade after it’s original release in Japan.
Even if the rumors prove false, you can play Mother 3 in English already right now today. You can always purchase the Japanese cart and patch it with the free 100% completed English fan translation which you can get here. If you need help on where to buy the cart for the game, check out Play-Asia who specializes in Japanese import games. There’s also some available that are already “pre-patched” which saves you the trouble of patching it yourself on sites like ebay and amazon here for about $25
But let’s hope that the rumors are true since this is what fans really want from Nintendo, an “official” translation. In fact, the creator of the fan-translation patch has offered his full translation to Nintendo for absolutely free. Though this was years ago now. However, stranger things have happened, Nintendo of America decided to bring out Mother 1 (rebranded as Earthbound Beginnings) just last year which sold better than expected and is much older than Mother 3. And with the success of the re-release of Earthbound on Wii U, it seems quite profitable (and plausible) for Nintendo to give fans what they want.
If you’ve never played an Earthbound (or Mother) game, they are very similar to Undertale with lots of customization and freedom, such as specifying your favorite food, favorite color, etc which all get used throughout various parts of the game, as well as a cute, quirky feeling but also very deep and moving story. The charm of the 2nd game, known as Earthbound to western audiences, made it a cult classic among Super Nintendo owners, and it definitely differentiated itself from any other 90s RPG in a very good way.
You can check out a gameplay trailer of Mother 3 to show off the fan translation patch in the video below:
Check out some of the sources below to read more about the Mother 3 Rumors Online:
What changes can we expect from an official Mother 3 localization?
Note: This game has never been released “officially” in English, but it has been fan translated. You can grab the fan translation patch AND the handy walkthru from this site here: https://sites.google.com/site/loverevoguide/translation-project/download They also tell you how to patch your copy of the game.
The game can be purchased from sites like Yes! Asia or Play Asia or occasionally found on Amazon It’s currently only $8 bucks on amazon with 34 copies available, so that’s the one I recommend buying from (at time of this review).
For $8 bucks PLEASE help support the industry and send a message LOUD AND CLEAR that English speaking gamers WANT otome games like this by choosing to BUY the game instead of downloading a rom of it online. (You know, especially since Idea Factory right now IS listening to us American fans and bringing us many of their Otome games, because, this is in fact, also an Idea Factory game too! So chances are good, if they hear us say we want it, they’ll release an official English version.)
Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Otometeki-Kakumei-DS-Japan-Import-Nintendo/dp/B0013D98Q0
So the past few days I’ve been playing this game again. I had tried to play the game a few years ago when the fan translation came out. But it kinda offended me. I’m overweight myself. And the message that it sends to young girls just sucks to be honest. The main problem I have is that all of the characters except for one of them, treat the girl (that’s you by the way) like sheer crap. Like she’s less than human. But the main character is so dumb that she wants their love and affection anyways and so she decides to lose weight to impress these assholes. Okay, fine, if you want to lose weight, that’s cool. I want to lose weight too; but you know, for the right reasons, like not getting diabetes, and being able to keep up with more fit friends and family when they want to go outdoors and be active and well to look and feel better for myself. I mean fuck everyone else. My weight has never been an issue for any of the guys I dated, except for one, and he was an abusive asshole and not worth all the time and effort I put into things. BUT enough about me — Let’s get back to discussing Love Revo.
I began again, because, man there’s a lot of people online who LOVE this game…. I think I must be missing something here…. and I kinda was…. I think when I first played it a few years ago I was confused about how large the girl actually was. The measurements are in Kilograms. I’m like what the fuck she’s only 100 lbs. But no, actually she’s 220 lbs because she’s 100 KG when the game starts, about the same or close to my weight, so yeah, my bad. She is obese. (and so am I) And actually… once you get your weight down to 89 KG or less, the guys begin to be nice to you… which is still PRETTY DAMN BIG…. ESPECIALLY… considering the fact that this game is ONLY available for sale in asian markets — 89 KG is 196 lbs…. Which is HUGE for an asian. Now before you get all mad and butthurt, I’m not trying to stereotype (or body shame anyone for that matter), I’m just saying that over there, with body shaming and stuff, and the peer pressure to fit in, o they would typically be a laughing stock at that weight because you know, that’s just how their society rolls over there. That’s all. Everyone is like a size 2. And if you aren’t a size 2, you’re ostracized by your students, peers, and even your family. SOOOOOO On that note…. Well this game isn’t that bad. Hell. 196 lbs is still Obese by a doctor’s definition, even in America, land of the fat. But it’s a lot healthier than 220 lbs. I’d like to lose 30 lbs like that too LOL. So on that note… This game is not REALLY about body shaming, but about just being healthier. But it’s STILL about losing weight for the WRONG reasons. which upsets me. 🙁
That said, as I continued to play the game, I began to think about losing weight myself. I hate exercise, like most geeky gamer girls probably out there. And I already don’t eat much and eat clean and healthy, lots of veg, etc, so I know for me, the whole obstacle, is I need to exercise dammit. I’m sedentary at work and in my leisure time. Playing this game made me feel like I should start exercising, and that exercising might be fun, and that wow look at her weight drop off, I want to lose weight like that too! I got kinda motivated by it I guess is what I’m trying to say. There are better games out there, that actually you know, help you to burn calories, such as “Walk it Off” or “Dance Dance Revolution” or “Just Dance!”; but still, any game that can make a fat girl want to exercise, has some merit I guess.
There’s also a new recently released, unrelated but similar Otome IOS Iphone Ipad game that helps you work out. I think I might download it (and review it at some point). Which is called, Burn your fat with me girls! which you can grab here for IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/burn-your-fat-me!!-for-girls/id657192163?mt=8 and here for android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.funsolution.nensho_eng&hl=en
Actually the news of the release of the above Otome weight loss IOS app is what prompted me to want to replay Love Revo.
I spent 3 days with Love Revo this week and this is what I discovered:
1.) It’s not as “bad” as I thought in terms of body shaming and making the character “throw herself” at these men.
2.) Not all of the characters are assholes. (Though some of them are and I still don’t like that they only get “nicer” when you lose weight.)
3.) It’s actually really educational and fairly accurate
a. It focuses on weight loss from different core muscle groups such as arms, legs, abs, face, whole body, etc.
b. There are a huge number of different exercises that target the different muscle groups and you get better results by mixing up your workout routine