Sakura Agent

Sakura Agent

Akira took the job working for a mysterious agency because it gave him the opportunity for free trips around the world and meeting women. However, despite his high success rate, he is on the verge of getting kicked out due to his antics. He has the opportunity to prove himself though when an influx of other-dimensional beings start making a nuisance of themselves. Sakura Agent is a typical Winged Cloud visual novel with plenty of scantily clad women, comical situations and a paper thin plot. If you are a fan of the genre and the developer you’ll enjoy the game, but everyone else will probably find it a little lacking.

Gameplay: Humorous characters and situations, but the story isn’t exactly engaging.

Graphics: Beautiful character designs, but far too few backgrounds.

Sound: The music is unremarkable while the sound effects and voice acting are non existent

Princess Maker Refine

Princess Maker Refine

Princess Maker Refine is not as complex or feature packed as its sequel, but this also makes it a little easier to get into for newcomers. In addition, the game is priced at half the cost of Princess Maker 2, which makes it a more lucrative impulse buy for players who are curious about the genre. Guiding your adopted daughter on a path to one of many endings is surprisingly addictive and while the game can become a little repetitive, it offers plenty of replay value. There are still some rough edges that will need to be smoothed out with future updates, but overall the game has lost none of its charm.

Gameplay: It looks a little complicated initially, but is easy to get into.

Graphics: Sadly no animations, but the overall visuals still look nice.

Sound: Features some nice tunes and full Japanese voice overs

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks is a game where you get to search large, detailed, hand drawn landscapes for people and items. This is repeated across four different landscapes made up of 14 levels. The gameplay is simple, but addictive, while the monochrome visuals and mouth-originated sound effects further add to the charm. If you are looking for something that is easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep you busy for a while, then we recommend you give Hidden Folks a chance.

Gameplay: Very simple, but finding all the hidden folks is quite a challenge.

Graphics: The art style looks great and some of the larger scenes are really impressive.

Sound: Instead of traditional audio the game uses mouth-originated sound effects for everything

Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale

Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale

Among The Innocent features a very unique setting, interesting story and puzzles that are immensely satisfying to solve. It also manages to keep you on edge the whole time, despite your idyllic surroundings, which is impressive for a game with no jump scares. There are some rough edges, but nothing that should deter you from grabbing this game and helping its protagonist crack the mystery.

Gameplay: Explore a desolate farmstead while solving puzzles using everyday objects.

Graphics: Nothing mind-blowing, but gets the job done and sets the mood perfectly.

Sound: The audio is rather low-key, but definitely enhances the creepy atmosphere

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 ramps up the action and adds a partner into the mix, but the clunky controls really put a damper on the fun. The game is at its best when played in co-op but the single player experience can be a slog at times due to the dubious actions of your partner. If you are looking for scares then you can safely pass up on Resident Evil 5, but if you want a mindless shooter with some impressive set pieces then give it a try.

Gameplay: Action packed but the controls and the AI partner lets things down.

Graphics: Very nice, but some levels look much better than others.

Sound: Good but not exactly memorable

Polarium

Polarium

Polarium has an interesting premise but never becomes as addictive as something like Tetris would. The basics are very easy to grasp and the game simple to play, but even at a low price it just doesn’t feel like value for money. If you are tired of other puzzle game and yearn for something new, then check this out but don’t expect it to last.

Gameplay: Different but just not as addictive as I had hoped.

Graphics: Looks like it was done on the original Gameboy.

Sound: It’s ok, but nothing really stood out

Queen’s Quest: Tower of Darkness

Queen’s Quest: Tower of Darkness

Queen’s Quest: Tower of Darkness is a decent enough hidden object puzzle adventure starring a royal heiress on the trail of an evil sorcerer who kidnapped her infant daughter. The colorful and detailed artwork is certainly very eye-catching, but the animations could have used a bit more work. The story never really takes off either, but there are plenty of hidden object scenes and mini-games to sink your teeth into. While far from the best that the genre has to offer, Queen’s Quest has its heart in the right place and can still provide an entertaining experienced, provided you don’t expect too much from it.

Gameplay: The story and puzzles are a little lacking, but there are plenty of hidden object scenes and mini-games.

Graphics: Colorful and detailed, but the character animations are a little off.

Sound: Decent enough for the most part, but some of the voice overs could have been much better

Pinobee: Wings of Adventure

Pinobee: Wings of Adventure

Pinobee is a unique take on the platform genre but it is definitely a love it or hate it type of game. If you take your time and explore each level or play to see all the endings you will get value for your money, but if you are just going to race through the game you will be looking at the credits in about an hour’s time.

Gameplay: Very easy if you plan on just playing without exploring.

Graphics: Colorful and detailed.

Sound: Whimsical but ultimately a bit grating

Sweetest Monster

Sweetest Monster

Sweetest Monster is the latest release from ebi-hime, which means interesting characters and memorable situations. It is defintely a much darker title than what you might think, but one that kept us hooked right to the very end. At only about 40,000 words it is slightly shorter than the average visual novel, but the story is good and the price very reasonable. Anyone looking for something with a bit more substance than the typical lighthearted cat-girl visual novels should definitely give this kinetic novel a try.

Gameplay: Beautifully written and definitely very memorable despite the lack of choices or story branches.

Graphics: The game only features a limited amount of character sprites and backgrounds, but they are all great.

Sound: There is no voice acting, but the background music and sound effects are of a very high standard

Project Gotham Racing 4

Project Gotham Racing 4

If you are looking for a fast paced racing game featuring some exotic cars (and bikes) then look no further than PGR4. The visuals are outstanding and there is enough content here to keep you playing for a long time. With a career mode as well as some arcade modes this is one racing game you won’t soon tire of.

Gameplay: Pure action packed racing done right.

Graphics: The rain is a visual standout, but the overall graphics are very good.

Sound: Very good sound effects and a soundtrack that should satisfy all tastes