Monday, September 27, 2010


After much pondering and consideration, I've decided that this blog will not only be dedicated to DS games but also to PSP games. Stylus Screener is now a HANDHELD gaming blog!
Pardon my hiatus but I'm back now and better than ever!

So the news.

Dissidia 012: DuoDeciem has been the talk of the town. Heck, the forums have gotten popular over at Gamefaqs, too. The game I once touted as a shallow fangirl service game with (admittedly) a pretty fun game engine behind it receives the usual Square Enix treatment of a pointless sequel. Of course, more characters have been added and some new stages and they tweaked a bunch of things and so forth.

Again. Impressions:
-Trailer's in Japanese. Couldn't find one with subs, sadly.
-This confirms Lightning and Kain. Lightning parties with Bartz? Interesting.
-There is a new "Assist" which seems to call another character to assist you in battle. Hm.

Also, there have been speculations of (finally) a Chaos story mode.
Finally. My mains get some spotlight!


And for the DS!

Super Robot Taisen L has some new characters! Here's a trailer. :D

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keroro RPG: Kishi to Musha to Densetsu no Kaizoku trailer

And here... have a trailer!

I'm actually quite excited about this that I might actually try and make a fan translation if I feel so inclined!
From the gameplay you see, it's a topdown 2D RPG (Good! and the sprites look clean, too!) with what seem to be three different settings and Keroro dressed up as a knight, a samurai (?) and a pirate.
You can also see the LMBS in action. 8D
Those special attacks look a TREAT.
Epic Tamama Impact.

So! Game's set for next year! I should start brushing up on my hiragana.

And here it is! Project K66 revealed:

This week's fanmitsu has confirmed Project K66 to be... A Keroro Gunsou RPG!

The title has something to go as Keroro RPG: The Knight, Warrior and Legendary Pirate

Looks interesting enough for me to try and slog through when it gets released!
Unfortunately, my info stops there as my very minimal Japanese vocabulary can't help me. :/

According to Siliconera though, it uses the Tales series (Tales of Destiny, Tales of Phantasia, Tales of the Abyss) linear battle system and skits.

Sounds VERY promising to me!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

WE'RE NOT DEAD! DS Tidbits Vol 3.

Alright, first, I apologize to my readers for the lack of posts during such an active month. In a nutshell, my comp went kablooey, projects were due and I didn't have any time on my hands. I apologize.
I have a few reviews to post however and to start things off, here's a bunch of News Tidbits for all of you.

-First off, rumors of a larger DSi hitting the market has been confirmed. Dubbed the DSi-LL (DSi-XL in English speaking countries), this model of the DSi includes a bigger screen and a fatter stylus. Note the size comparison between the DSi and the DSi-XL:

According to a Nintendo spokesman, this is due to Nintendo starting to focus on games that require you to play with people in person. So... they gave the DSi a larger screen. Apart from that, there don't seem to be any other upgrades for the system.
Hm. I dunno about you guys but I think the DS was doing fine in that department, larger screen or no. It's been barely a year since the DSi has been announced and already Nintendo's coming out with an upgrade. IMHO, the larger screen isn't really needed. I'm starting to wonder though if this means the slow phase-out of the Lite and the Phat but maybe I'm worried over nothing.
Though I must say the wine red looks extremely fetching...
The DSi-LL is speculated to be released by the Q1 2010.

-Secondly! Blue Dragon: Ikai no Kyojuu , the second Blue Dragon game to be released on the DS has also been given a speculated English release date as Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow. Strangely enough, Namco isn't handling the publication but rather its subsidiary, D3.
Unlike other Blue Dragon titles, this one gives you a customizable main character which you can name, select a look for and a Shadow.

In this installment, everyone seems to have lost their ability to summon their shadows save for your main character who has a handful of them. These shadows gain levels and have different specialties and abilities.

-Thirdly, have some Luminous Arc 3: Eyes videos! This time around, the game focuses on the conflict between fairies and humans concerning the Eyes that give humans the power of magic. As usual, it's part strategy rpg and part dating sim.

That's it from me for now. In the following days, I'll be posting up some reviews for you guys so sit tight. I've got a lot on my plate at the moment.

To follow:
-Review: Nostalgia
-Review: Style Botique
-Follow up Review: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: Bleach the 3rd Phantom

First Impression:
So I've been on a Bleach fix lately, as those on my friends list would know thanks to the Rock Musical. (Twelve kinds of awesome, I tell ya.) Go figure as I was hyping myself up for this game. Now I'm only a Bleach fan as far as the Soul Society arc. Anything beyond that and I'm not too updated on. Maybe this game can shed some light on it...

Unlike Bleach Blade of Fate and Dark Souls, The 3rd Phantom is an SRPG. Yes, you heard me right. An SRPG.
Battles are played out on a grid where you move your units beside an enemy to attack them. Fights are done on a one-on-one basis with full renders of your character and their opponent. Characters are classified as Power (Zaraki, Ichigo, Renji, etc), Speed (Hisagi, Soi Fon, Yoruichi, etc) and Tech (Ukitake, Hitsugaya, Rangiku, etc) and interact in a rock paper scissors fashion: power is weak to tech, tech is weak to speed and speed is weak to power. Unless you're a big fan, battles are rather slow as you're watching the same battle animation over and over again. Most people complain about it but I don't mind it all that much, really.

Battles aren't all that hard. During fights, you have options to move, attack an adjacent opponent and use skills but 3rd Phantom adds two other things.
First is the option to charge spiritual pressure. Getting it higher gives a higher chance of getting in a stronger attack during fights. Get it to maximum and characters with bankai can activate it to power up and deal some massive damage.
Bankai is a shinigami-exclusive skill that involves releasing the true power of their weapon. Bankai mode differs with each Shinigami and gives them a nice hefty boost to power and defense. Some characters will summon another heavily powered unit to join the fight and some others will have an altered sprite and new attacks during Bankai.
Another thing is the reiatsu field. All over the map are these brown panels (normally invisible until you press Y) which give a nice boost when you absorb them during Spiritual Pressure charge.

Before the game, you are asked to pick between Fujimaru or Matsuri; a brother and sister shinigami pair. Nothing much changes plot wise no matter who you pick. The only difference being in the shikai form of your zanpakuto which you get much later. Fujimaru, the brother and younger twin is a speed type while his sister Matsuri is a power type.
You can name the character you pick as well as give them a last name... and off you go.
Inbetween battles, you get some graphic novel style dialogue and plot progression. You don't select locations to go to. The game handles that for you. You can say it's more of a "read lotsa dialogue, deploy units on the set up screen and let's go kick some arse" sort of deal.
Some time inbetween parts of a chapter, you get something called Freetime. Kon is seen on the top screen and on the bottom screen are panels with different characters on them. These panels can be selected for scenes with that character and your main character. These scenes can net you some exclusive stat boosting items or raise your compatibility with that character which leads to better team attacks together in battle. These scenes have an AP cost and make Kon move forward a certain number of squares depending on the AP cost. On the way, he can pick up icons which can give you an AP discount for one scene selection, a stat boost for your character or restorative items.

Last words:
The 3rd Phantom is a simple enough game. The battles aren't crazy hard and the characters are well rendered. I'd recommend this for anyone who actually enjoys Bleach. For those who aren't, it's a fun little distraction. Beware for squee moments during the beginning of the game.

-Items are hard to come by so make the most of them. You can get them sometimes when you defeat enemies and during Free Time.
-During Free Time, plan out your moves. You only get to keep panels you land on, not panels you pass through.
-You might hit a major snag in Chapter 9. During that battle, I suggest you make use of the suspend save function if Chad's El Diretso doesn't hit. Trust me. You'll WANT it to hit each time.
-If you're having a tough time, remember that free battle (accessible from the system menu on the pre-battle set up screen) is your friend.

Graphics: 3.5/5
The sprites are well colored and true to the character design. The static images are alright but nothing that blows me out of the water. The fighting games had better renders for the action scenes.

Gameplay: 4/5
Some people complain about it being slow but as I mentioned, I don't mind that all too much. The SRPG scenario is simple enough and what can I say, Free Time is pretty fun because of the scenarios that pop up.

Soundtrack: 3.5/5
Voice acting isn't so grating and the background music is pretty nice. Heavy use of some rock rifts during fights. Seems they recycled sound clips from Dark Souls...

The Look and Feel: 4/5
Everything's right there. The top screen is used during battles as a map and to display stats and levels of whatever your cursor's on which is pretty handy considering the SRPG setup.

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: Naruto Shippuden Ninja Destiny 2

First Impression:
Hm. A Naruto game. I'm no big fan of the franchise but I need something to tide me over until the release of Bleach 3. It's a brawler, right? Let's get cracking.

This game tries to be everything. Seriously. It tries to be a topdown RPG, a fighting game and a roguelike/dungeon crawler all at once. I have NO idea why.
Naruto Shippiden: Ninja Destiny 2 is NOTHING like the first Ninja Destiny game. NOTHING LIKE IT AT ALL. The first game was a straightforward fighting game with powerups on the touch screen you can activate during a fight. Ninja Destiny 2 has that... as well as some... extras.
First is Story Mode.
Much like the first game, Story Mode takes you through several episodes of the Shippuden season with you fighting key battles in the series. The story is told in visual novel style with a dialogue box and static pictures appearing on the top screen. However, Tomy decided that this needed more...
So the decided to add a map and a dungeon feature. Why? I have NO idea. The map feature doesn't do anything apart from adding an unnecessary thing to wade through. There are no NPCs to talk to, no shops to buy items from and your next destination is merely pointed out on the map. There is only one place you can do this in though and that's the Konoha village.
Still pretty pointless.
The dungeon feature acts much like a roguelike. You end up wandering through a mazelike dungeon in hopes of finding an exit. There are random encounters in the dungeon against nameless ninja looking characters. These end up with a fighting game battle system. Again, why? I have NO idea either. These battles don't reward you with anything at all. No experience points, no power ups, nothing. Random power ups can be found in the dungeon though so I guess it's not a total loss.

After you finish Story Mode (which can be done in a matter of hours), you unlock quest mode and an extra character for your playthrough. Quest Mode is basically just a really long dungeon with the exception being that your character can level up. Why? Again, I do NOT know. Quest mode is slightly more fun, a little less tedious.
As a fighting game, I guess it's alright. There isn't too much to look at though. You have a small cast of characters (No Akatsuki?! Tomy, I'm hurt. Unless I haven't played enough to unlock everything...) and there are no button combinations you can do to unleash special moves. Well... you can unleash combos of weak and strong attacks but... no down, diagonal down, forward, A, B for you.

Last words:
As an RPG, this sucks. As a dungeon crawler, it's marginal. The battles can get annoying, though... as a fighting game, it's pretty basic. I suppose that this game was targeted to the younger Naruto fans. Sadly, there isn't much to go by for that. I wouldn't say it's a horrible game. I'd say that you should probably rent it rather than buying it. Unless you're a rabid Narutard, this game is SO not for you.

-Make sure to keep your fingers on the L and R buttons. These are used to teleport behind your opponent and block, respectively. Spam for major pwnage.
-After you unlock a certain character, the game gets HORRENDOUSLY easy.
-Kyuubi Naruto... is HELL to control.

During fights, the 3D models look pretty good. On the field, though, they look kinda weird.

Gameplay: 3/5
It's a pretty basic fighting game and a rather basic dungeon crawler once you unlock Quest Mode. Apart from that, there isn't much to look forward to.

Soundtrack: 3.5/5
The background music's pretty ho hum and some parts are stereotypically asian. Mebbe. I can't really tell if they were faithful to the Naruto soundtrack. Someone confirm this? As for the voice acting, it's there. Not as grating as I thought it would be and strangely, Naruto didn't say "Believe it!" every ten minutes.

The Look and Feel: 4/5
Everything is in-your-face and clear. No need to go digging around multiple options. The buttons are responsive and a simple tap on the control pad moves you quite well. Very colorful and pretty obviously targeted at the youngins.

Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playtest: Pokemon Soul Silver

And the Pokemon game I've been squeeing about has been finally released in Japanese. Of course, I got the chance to play it. Well, a good first half hour of it. Here's the rundown:

-The opening sequence now features a nicely rounded 3D Lugia or a Ho-Oh, depending on your version.
-The opening sequence also includes that guy who was chasing after Suicine in the Crystal version. Could Heart Gold and Soul Silver mean a combination of Silver/Gold and Crystal?
-I'm still not too happy with the female sprite design so I went with the male. The character of the opposite gender you choose from the start appears in game though. I'm not too sure if they play the same role as the opposite gender in Pearl/Diamond/Platinum.
-Yes, your pokemon DO walk beside you ala Pokemon Yellow. You can turn around and talk to them, too! When you do, you get little emoticons that tell you its mood.
-The biggest change would be with the menu. The menu can be activated by the X button but always remains on screen on the touchscreen part of the DS. As shown in said screenshot below:

So far, everything feels the same apart from the obvious changes. Makes me even more excited to get my hands on the English version!
Pokewalkeeeeeeeer~~ I WANT IT.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Okamiden Official Trailer

And it's finally here! Okamiden's official trailer.
Yes, this one actually has audio and it shows actual gameplay videos!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Playtest: Loving Love Plus?

And as usual, yours truly just HAD to check out another niche Japanese game which seems to be making waves.

So anyway, just WHAT is Love Plus and what sets it apart from the usual Dating Sim? Love Plus is what I would term as a smart dating sim.
You are (as usual) placed in the role of a lonely young man in highschool in search of his lady love. You have three options: the sisterly-ish Nene, the tomboy tsundere Rinko and the ojousama named Manaka.
It goes like any other dating sim: you spend time getting to know the girls and eventually, one of them confesses their love to you and you ride off into the sunset together.
Of course, this is where the game REALLY begins.

Remember what I said about Love Plus being a SMART dating sim?
Here's why.

After you snag yourself a girlfriend, the game starts to run with the DS' clock, prompting real time events. Visit her during different times of the day and different things can happen. During the first half of the game, you can see the RTC in effect already. I just started my game last night and it's September. The girls are in their winter uniforms and the calendar tells me it's fall.
Another thing is most of the girls' lines are fully voiced. Yes, even your name. This is pretty cool if you name is a common Japanese name. Thankfully, I knew how to spell my name right so... the girls are calling me Shin-kun, much to my amusement. When you input your name, you start off selecting the hiragana for it... which brings up a sub menu with Kanji.
Already I was greatly amused.
Also, eventually, the girls will start sending you text messages which you can reply to. You can also text them and they will text back. Messages are limited to pre-set messages tho so... no chance of sending them anything lewd in hopes of them getting blustered.

You schedule your day from morning to evening and certain activities give you certain stats. Minimal Japanese vocab aside, I can see stats for athletics and intelligence. The other two, I'm not so sure about. Of course, the girls have certain standards concerning your stats...

As you can see, the graphics are pretty good for a static picture. Of course, when you're talking to a girl, you are greeted by a pretty good 3D model. The girls move pretty good. They even have the little ticks some females have (IE, playing with their hair, swinging a bit).

If anything, this is an interesting enough game for those who are... lonely. XD;
It needs Japanese reading skills but if you don't have those, you can rely on audio cues. It's worth a look if for the experience alone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Okamiden Chiisaki Taiyou first footage

So by now, you guys have probably heard that an Okami sequel has been announced for the DS. I've heard a lot of people complaining and saying that it won't be as good as the original or it's gonna look shitty... But come ON, guys. Give the little guy a chance. You can't really compare a handheld game to a console game. Treat em like two separate animals, sequel or no.
Personally, I'm happy that the DS is getting an Okami game. I've long wanted to play it seeing as I'm fond of legends and anything remotely mythical in origin. I always thought the touch screen would make for a great Celestial Brush.
My prayers have been answered!
For Okamiden, it seems you play as Amaterasu's... son? Chibiterasu. And he is ADORABLE. Two seconds into seeing the picture, I squeed in joy. And you can take along other characters who ride on your back and help you in battle.

Anyway, here's the first footage of the game! No sound yet... I gotta say... it does look pretty good. I'm excited!

No, there is no audio for this video.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trailer: Atelier Annie

And once again, NISAmerica brings us a niche Japanese game! You have to thank NIS for things like Rhapsody and Disgaea. It's a hit and miss with these niche games though. Let's hope Atelier Annie is a hit for the West so we can get more of them in english. :D

Apparently, there won't be any dubbing this time around. Word is unconfirmed if this is due to budget constraints or just for the hell of it.
Either way...
Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island hits us all by October!

Review: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

First Impression:
Ah, another Layton game! About time that it came out as it's been out in Japan for a while now. Luke and the Professor are yet again off on another whirlwind adventure and chasing after a mysterious box that kills those who try to open it. Sounds like fun. Let's do this thing.

Like the game before it, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, you control Professor Hershel Layton and his young apprentice Luke as they solve a great baffling mystery. This time, Layton's going after a mysterious box and somehow, this involves a train ride.
As always, the entire thing is stylus controlled. You use the stylus to do most everything: move around, investigate your surroundings, open up the menu and solve puzzles.
This world seems to be a strange alternate universe where people spend their time thinking up brainteasers and almost everything reminds someone of a puzzle. Tapping on a vase of flowers might remind Layton of a puzzle. Talking to someone on the street will suddenly cause them to challenge you to solve a puzzle they've been thinking of. Strange world. Not complaining.

As far as I've observed, puzzles can be categorized into a few major types: There are your visual puzzles which have you staring at something for a long while in order to figure out just what the puzzle needs. There's your math oriented type which makes good use of the memo feature seeing as you'd end up writing your equations there. There's the maze type which has you solving a maze and... my love-it-or-hate-it, the slidey puzzle. You know. The one that has you sliding pieces around the board to form a picture or get something from point A to point B?
During puzzles, the top screen has your hints and puzzle explanation while the touchscreen has your puzzle itself. You have a memo tab which you can tap to bring up a translucent white sheet over your puzzle. Handy for mazes and such where you have to trace over parts or mark them. If you're stuck, you can buy a hint for one hint coin with three hints per puzzle. The first hint is usually pretty obvious while the last hint is usually all you need. Sometimes.

Normally though, your screen looks like this (as pictured above). You have a map on the top screen and on the bottom screen is a large static picture of your current location. Here, you can interact with NPCs, click through dialogue and poke around (quite literally) for puzzles and hint coins.

Over the course of the game, you get to unlock several other goodies which make the game much more enjoyable. First is the camera which you have to put together much like the mechanical dog from the first game. (Where the hell is that dog?!) After you put the camera together, something cool happens.
Second is an overweight hamster. Some puzzles give you hamster toys as prizes and using these toys, you make tubby walk. The more steps he takes, the fitter he gets. (If only it was that easy...) The hamster exercising scene happens with somewhat 3D-ish generated images. Not bad.
Third (And my personal favourite) is a tea brewing section. Some puzzles award you with tea leaves and these tea leaves can be combined to create different sorts of tea.

Last words:
It looks, feels and sounds kinda like the first game. Level 5 took the rule of "If it's not broken, don't fix it" which is good for this sort of thing. All in all, you can say that Professor Layton is a puzzle book done in such a way that it doesn't feel like a boring puzzle book. Fans of puzzles will be happy. There are a LOT to do.

-When you reach a new location TAP EVERWHERE. You never know where a hint coin or a puzzle may be hiding. Try windows and lamps and little pebbles on the ground.
-If you miss a puzzle, they go into Granny Riddleton's shack where you can solve them without penalty.


Graphics: 5/5
I'm fond of the graphic style used for the Professor Layton games. They're crisp and clean. The animated cutscenes are a treat. The backgrounds are colorful and detailed.

Gameplay: 5/5
Everything is controlled by the stylus. One tap brings up a menu, interacts with an NPC and scrolls through dialogue. The puzzles are numerous and vary in both type and difficulty. Some are easy, some are total headscratchers. Both make you think, which is good. The minigames are a great addition. All in all, this is a good pick up and put down game which you can play in bursts of hours... or five minutes.

Soundtrack: 4.5/5
The sounds are nice and the background music played during puzzles I find rather relaxing. Some other tracks aren't all that memorable though. The voice acting isn't tooth grating (Did they get a new voicer for Layton? I'm not quite sure.) and though some people may hate Luke's voice, I rather don't. XD;

The Look and Feel: 4/5
Menu isn't at all awkward. Everything's laid out before your eyes the minute you pull up the menu. Navigation is easy and fairly simple. Some puzzles are easy to miss though but thankfully, they get gathered in one place if you miss their location outright.

Rating: 9/10