eden*

eden*

Although it might be set during the last days of a dying planet, Eden* is more about the personal struggles of its interesting cast. The story is wonderfully engaging though and definitely doesn’t pull any punches. Coupled with the amazing artwork and wonderful soundtrack this is a must for fans of the genre. Minori has a great track record when it comes to visual novels and Eden* is definitely amongst their finest.

Gameplay: It is a kinetic novel, so there is no interaction or branching storyline, but the plot is engaging and heartfelt.

Graphics: The visuals are outstanding despite the age of the game and features plenty of cinematic style illustrations.

Sound: The Japanese voice actors do a great job and the soundtrack is incredible

Dying Light

Dying Light

It might not score very highly when it comes to originality, but the sheer amount of fun to be had in Dying Light cannot be beaten. Traversing the city using your parkour skills is a lot of fun and the open world setting as well as first person view makes for an immersive experience. This is the type of game where it is easy to spend hours just goofing around and thanks to its day/night cycle there is rarely a dull moment. If you want to dispatch zombies in spectacularly gory fashion using crazy crafted weapons and parkour skills you won’t want to miss out on Dying Light.

Gameplay: Highly entertaining and very addictive.

Graphics: Impressive visuals and draw distance.

Sound: The music, sound effects and voice acting are all very well done

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

It might be just as short as the lifespan of a real mayfly, but Ephemerid definitely lives up to its claims of being a musical adventure. The handcrafted visuals are charming and the soundtrack is something that you will want to listen to again and again. Don’t let its length and the fact that it was originally an iOS title deter you from experiencing this captivating title.

Gameplay: Not very challenging, but it will put a smile on your face and is very relaxing.

Graphics: Beautiful handcrafted visuals and plenty of unique scenes.

Sound: The soundtrack is filled with some exceptionally good tunes

Pukka Golf

Pukka Golf

Forget about leisurely strolling around a course, carefully selecting an appropriate club, checking the wind speed and then making a shot. Pukka Golf provides you with a golf ball and a hole to sink it in as quickly as possible while throwing all kinds of obstacles in your way. It is a straightforward concept and done very well, making it both fun to play as well as very addictive. With tons of levels, each with multiple goals, expect Pukka Golf to keep you busy for quite a while.

Gameplay: Very easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep you coming back for more.

Graphics: Simple and straightforward without any clutter, but could benefit from some more variety.

Sound: The audio is unobtrusive, but not very memorable

Gravity Ghost

Gravity Ghost

Gravity Ghost might appear to be a very simple and straightforward game at first, but the more you play it the deeper it draws you in. Soaring around the levels using the gravitational pull of the planets to your advantage is a great feeling and I often found myself lingering longer on levels than necessary just to soak in the atmosphere. It is a very tranquil and relaxing game, but with a great story tucked away beneath the surface. If you want to experience a unique title that is not about killing enemies or dying and failing until you succeed check out Gravity Ghost.

Gameplay: Relaxing and entertaining without ever becoming frustrating.

Graphics: The beautiful hand painted visuals and unique art style sets the game apart.

Sound: The soundtrack and voice acting is a perfect match for the tranquil atmosphere of the game

HuniePop

HuniePop

If you are looking for something to be offended by you will find plenty to be outraged about in HuniePop. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a polished and entertaining title that combines a couple of different genres very successfully then you will find that this game is money well spent. Hopefully the developers will flesh out the concept further if they get around to a sequel as there is a lot of potential here.

Gameplay: The puzzle elements are fun and surprisingly strategic, while interacting with the girls is entertaining albeit a little repetitive.

Graphics: Beautifully drawn characters with plenty of clothing and hair variations, but no animations beyond lip synching.

Sound: The professional English voice actresses really bring the characters to life and the soundtrack is rather good too

Rock Boshers DX: Directors Cut

Rock Boshers DX: Directors Cut

Hats off to Tikipod Ltd for managing to create a game that not only plays exactly like a ZX Spectrum title, but a very good one at that. If this game was released back in the heyday of the Spectrum it would have been rightfully regarded as a classic and even in today’s market it is still a lot of fun. Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut isn’t a game to show off your hardware, but if you are looking for fun and a challenge you can’t go wrong with this title.

Gameplay: Very challenging, but also very entertaining.

Graphics: Looks just like a high resolution and very polished ZX Spectrum title.

Sound: Catchy 8-bit tunes and authentic sound effects

Tengami

Tengami

The standout features of Tengami are definitely the unique visuals and great soundtrack, but the tranquil gameplay is also quite good. It doesn’t have an epic story or any action, but the gentle puzzle solving and relaxing atmosphere makes for an interesting experience. The game doesn’t have a lot of freedom, challenge or replay value, but it is quite enjoyable while it lasts and definitely leaves an impression.

Gameplay: The puzzles are fairly straightforward and not very numerous, but interacting with the gameworld by pulling or sliding parts of the scenery is quite neat.

Graphics: The pop-up book world visuals are simply beautiful.

Sound: Features an atmospheric and very appropriate soundtrack by David Wise

NEKOPARA Vol. 1

NEKOPARA Vol. 1

If you are looking for something cute, lighthearted, polished and filled to the brim with catgirls then NEKOPARA Vol. 1 is the obvious choice. Even without the h-scenes, the Steam version is an enjoyable, albeit slightly short, romp. The E-mote system works quite well and the artwork by Sayori is absolutely gorgeous. It is not as long or as involving as some other kinetic novels, but serves as a very polished and enjoyable introduction to the genre.

Gameplay: NEKOPARA Vol. 1 is a kinetic novel, so gameplay is restricted to simply clicking through the story.

Graphics: Beautiful artwork by Sayori and the animation is a lot livelier than what is the norm for the genre thanks to the E-mote system.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for the catgirls, plenty of sound effects and some very nice tunes

Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque: Editio Perfecta

Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque: Editio Perfecta

Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque: Editio Perfecta is absolutely the definitive edition of this great game and an essential purchase for fans of the raising sim/visual novel genre. The plot might not be very epic, but it makes up for it with wonderful characters and gameplay that is a bit more involved than simply clicking through lines of dialogue. With titles such as this and the equally superb Steins;Gate JAST USA is really on a roll.

Gameplay: Some great scenes, characters and a very addictive dice mini-game.

Graphics: Excellent artwork from the very talented Oyari Ashito.

Sound: Great tunes, sound effects and the original Japanese voice acting