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Digital Down-Low for 01/14/2022: ESP stands for EXTREME SPACE PERIL

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Do you know what all of this weeks new games have in common?

That's right; they were made with computers! The hip new invention everyone is talking about!

Kicking off with... the first thing I noticed when I pulled up the eShop this morning, we have Radirgy Swag! It's a shmup-em-up set in the fast paced an exciting Japanese gig economy, where your spaceship also has a sword! That's about all I can glean from the eShop, so that's all you're getting from me! Enjoy these new facts, and do with them as you will!



Picross S7 is another game where I don't really feel like I need to strain myself with an explanation, but that's mainly because "Another big pack of Picross Puzzles" doesn't really warrant a thorough description. You knew how interested you'd be before you finished reading the title. I still haven't played Picross S6, so I'd be lost in the plot and don't want any spoilers.


Demon Gaze Extra is a gussied up re-release of a PS Vita (I think? Maybe PSP?) game that was released back in 2013, when that console was still technically viable to release things on. Now it's nearly a decade later and you can play it on your TV instead! I guess you could have already if you bought a PSTV, too. But now I'm getting lost in hypotheticals; what is relevant here is that it's a first person dungeon crawler, and you got a weird peeper what lets you controls monsters by looking at them and the description doesn't do much to explain things beyond "Magic Monster-eyeball" and "This is a a remaster!"


Medium-Naut is probably the release I'm most jazzed for this week, and it's a new, budget release from the same crazy cats and kittens what made La Mulana and its sequel, La Mulana 2: Still Mulanin' It. Also technically it was released last week, but it slipped through the cracks of my focus. It's a troid-em-up where you're a SPACE WITCH tasked with exploring a crashed spaceship because it's too damn haunted, and also all the weapons and upgrades are poisonous so the more you equip the lower your health will go, so you have to carefully manage your offensive and defensive levels, which is a pretty neat way to handle a survival horror game.


Speaking of BIG SPACE PROBLEMS, Astroneer is here to also present you with some interesting ones! It's an explore-y and base-buildy kind of deal where you're a Space-Man or Astro-Gal what's gotta explore weird planets, build junk on 'em, and muck up the local geography. Like No Mans Sky, but before all the updates that made everyone say "No Mans Sky is an incredible game! You should play it!"


And wrapping up the through-line of games about surviving hostile alien worlds, we've got Nova 111, which is just the latest in a long series of ports of this game, and which I am only about 60% sure I've played before. It's a puzz-em-up where you've got a spaceship which is stuck moving in turn-based time, while the enemies do not; not unlike Crypt of the Necrodancer, or the recent Shovel Knight: Puzzle Dungeon. EXCEPT, this one is in space! Where all the Star Wars's live!


Duel Princess is one of those lane-style RTS games, like League of Legends, except sideways. And also with an art style that would like to know if you are deeply invested in looking at bosoms. Because BOY... is that where the focus is. And looking at the publishers existing catalog, gotta hand it to them for figuring out where their niche lies and playing to their strengths.


And speaking vaguely along those lines, but much more wholesome in general, we have Eternal Radiance which is equally Action RPG and a visual novel, one of the few times when the move from "Choose Your Own Adventure Book" to "video game" makes sense! Be a lady knight who wants to be a better overall quality of knight and also makes friends and has steamy romances along the way, and also chops the h*ck out of critters all long the way.


Headland is also an action RPG, but without any of those pesky "novel visuals" to get in your way. This 'un is a Zeld-em-up where you're a bored kid who has to smash the personification of boredom in his imagination. Like beloved classic, Day Dreamin' Davy!


Game Battle Tycoon is a competitive game where instead of beating the crumpus out of each other, you're playing old video games at each other (technically new video games, but they're based on Space Invaders and Tetris and the like), BUT ALSO you can just beat the crap out of your opponent to make them lose. You know... like a cheater.

A criminal cheater.

One of the playable characters looks like a cross between Totoro and Bub, so that ain't nothin'.


And I guess that's it? Sure, let's say "yes".
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Demon Gaze Extra is a gussied up re-release of a PS Vita (I think? Maybe PSP?) game that was released back in 2013, when that console was still technically viable to release things on. Now it's nearly a decade later and you can play it on your TV instead! I guess you could have already if you bought a PSTV, too. But now I'm getting lost in hypotheticals; what is relevant here is that it's a first person dungeon crawler, and you got a weird peeper what lets you controls monsters by looking at them and the description doesn't do much to explain things beyond "Magic Monster-eyeball" and "This is a a remaster!"
I don't suppose anyone here can speak to how this game handles character progression? I know there's a PSP-exclusive dungeon crawler that has sphere grids, and if this is the one then I'd like to know, because dungeon crawlers and sphere grids are two of my favourite things.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I don't suppose anyone here can speak to how this game handles character progression? I know there's a PSP-exclusive dungeon crawler that has sphere grids, and if this is the one then I'd like to know, because dungeon crawlers and sphere grids are two of my favourite things.
I browsed through a 2 hour gameplay video from the start of the game, and I didn't see anything indicating a sphere grid of any kind.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Bah. The hunt continues... *looks off into the middle distance*

Probably for the best anyway, because a GIS makes it look a bit on the horny/thirsty side for my tastes.

Thanks for investigating, though!
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Probably for the best anyway, because a GIS makes it look a bit on the horny/thirsty side for my tastes.
Yeahhhh, this was pretty apparent in the video I watched. Not a whole lot is a quicker turn-off in a dungeon crawler than a Japanese girl making various noises when you collide into walls.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Make it a gruff Russian man and I'm back on board, though. Just an angry, quiet "...Nyet" every time I bump into a wall.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Wow, lot of things materialized out of the ether this week. Got options when the Designated Arcade Thingy shows.

Star Balls is a physics puzzler where you choose and customize one of three robots what turns into balls to do things like golf and timed courses and stuff.


dweeMIXED: Thwee Pack is a trio of trippy indie games! Ticket has you as a sentient shoe in a crazy world where devils are angels, New Ice York is a mystery game where the city has been frozen over and you must figure out the how and why of it, and Mealmates is a party game where you do stuff to build the most delectable food golem.

Now usually I try not to say that games were made on all the drugs...but these ones have a very MS Painty Adult Swim-esque "We smoked all the Mary-Wanee" look and concepts to them so that feels like a pretty accurate descriptor this time.


ASTRONEER is a space exploration game where you and possibly some other players go explore mysterious planets and build bases and stuff, kinda like a more low rent No Man's Sky.


Duel Princess is a very gacha-y looking paid tower defense game advertised with the following line: "There are also many sexy rewards that men all over the world can enjoy!" So yeah, not expecting the best representation here.

But hey, least it only looks like a gacha.


Aery Dreamscape is the lastest entry in the bird-flying-around series! In this one, the bird invades people's dreams.


Nova-111 is a sci-fi game mixing real time and turn-based aspects where you explore big scary worlds in your starship while trying to repair the temporal vortex.


Eternal Radiance is a very budgety-looking 3D action RPG where a female squire and her two best friends go across the land chasing a thief.


Sniper Time: The Shooting Range is an E for Everyone game where you shoot targets with a sniper rifle. Gots to train Bimmy for all those bleak genocide simulators making up the majority of AAA gaming from an early age, I guess.


Headland is a game about exploring a fantastical imaginary world and taking back your creativity via the least creative of things: another white human male protagonist.


And the latest Pixel Game Maker series thing is Game Battle Tycoon! It's a score attack game across several different types of retraux games. But in this ring, the best sport is a poor sport! You can attack your opponent and steal their controller to deliberately screw them up!
 
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Speaking of BIG SPACE PROBLEMS, Astroneer is here to also present you with some interesting ones! It's an explore-y and base-buildy kind of deal where you're a Space-Man or Astro-Gal what's gotta explore weird planets, build junk on 'em, and muck up the local geography. Like No Mans Sky, but before all the updates that made everyone say "No Mans Sky is an incredible game! You should play it!"
I played this a bit with some friends and it's pretty fun co-op, but bare-bones no man sky more or less tags it. There does seem to be some genuine mystery, but it wasn't something as a group we really had that much interest in I guess. I will say in general it is a pretty good game though. It's fun to mess around with and the crafting and whatnot is... well basically as good as the 1000 other games that are doing that.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Wow, a pretty big shadow drop this week. Here's a few more games.

Japanese Rail Sim: Journey to Kyoto is a pile of real-life Kyoto train footage with a bunch of gaudy UI stuff and a $50 price tag tacked onto it. Not sure who would pay such a premium for the Dragon's Lair of train simulation games, but it's a thing you can buy.


Radirgy Swag is an anime SHMUP where a boy and girl with thick glasses have a business where a robot shoots and swords things.


VAZIAL SAGA XX is a Sengoku era simulation game...that is entirely in Japanese.

Look, I get that the Switch is a huge money maker and all but it'd be nice if you put some effort into actually localizing your vidyagames. Especially when they're highly complicated sim games.


To Be OR Not To Be is basically "Hamlet, but what if the Internet wrote it and contributed art to it". So lots of wacky absurd nonsense.


And by far the biggest shadow drop of the week is SNK VS. CAPCOM: CARDFIGHTERS' CLASH! This has both the SNK and CAPCOM versions and you can use their individual save data to have the games trade and battle one another as well! It is already on my Switch!


And Arcade Archives brings us GunNail this week! This NMK/Tecmo SHMUP has you blowing up lots of crazy screen-filling mechanical stuff!
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
I regret that I have no Simpsons memes or Animal Crossing screen caps to share with this, but I felt this release needed to be mentioned anyway.


Remember QuickSpot? It's basically one of those newspaper "spot the difference" puzzles, except it's digital, and the details in each puzzle change after every viewing to keep things spontaneous. It originally debuted on the Nintendo DS to a lukewarm reception, but really, it's a great game if you know what to expect from it and can find it for a reasonable price. Twenty dollars for the Switch port is... not a reasonable price, but I'm certain the cost will plummet in the near future, just as Katamari Damacy and Mr. Driller Drill Land have in the past.

Also, there's Fight 'n Jokes, an Italian import inspired equally by Street Fighter II and whatever illicit substances the designers picked up in Amsterdam while on vacation. The cartoon graphics have aged gracefully, but the character designs are puzzling and the puns are incomprehensible outside of its native Italy. See, Miopinja wears glasses and is clumsy because he's a myopic ninja. Also, he fights with fish, because... uh, I haven't figured that one out yet. At least the cameo apperances by not-Heihachi, not-Sagat, et al are amusing.

 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
I assure you I did not forget Fight 'N' Jokes last week.


But thanks a bunch for the background info on this game! I did not know this was a port of an obscure DOS game from 1997, but that definitely explains why the pixellated graphics look pretty solidly old school.
 
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