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

Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series – Episode 01: Iron From Ice

Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series – Episode 01: Iron From Ice

Previous attempts at turning game of Thrones into a traditional gaming experience has had mixed results, but this adventure from Telltale Games hits all the right marks. It’s got a cast of intriguing characters, gripping storyline and plenty of drama to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its two hour runtime. Interaction is rather limited, but the overall experience is very true to the source material.

Gameplay: Basically a few quick time events and dialogue choices.

Graphics: The game uses a stylish painterly look for its characters and locations.

Sound: Great music and top notch voice acting especially from the television show actors reprising their roles

Loren The Amazon Princess + The Castle Of N’mar DLC

Loren The Amazon Princess + The Castle Of N’mar DLC

The storyline in Loren the Amazon Princess really sucked me in and the cast of memorable characters kept me hooked. The turn based combat also turned out to be surprisingly fun and the game has a ton of replay value. Hopefully with the Steam release the game will receive the attention that it deserves and open the flood gates for more Winter Wolves titles.

Gameplay: A very nice fusion of visual novel and role playing.

Graphics: Although there is no animation the artwork is beautiful.

Sound: Good sound effects and some very memorable tunes

Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender

Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender

Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender might look like a charming, casual game but it has the heart of an old school arcade shooter and will really test your skills. The hand drawn pixel art is beautiful and the whole experience is enhanced by the excellent chiptune soundtrack.

Gameplay: Retro style side scrolling action that packs quite a challenge.

Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn pixel art.

Sound: A rocking chiptune soundtrack that compliments the action nicely

Words for Evil

Words for Evil

Words for Evil impresses with its fast paced gameplay, gorgeous pixel art visuals and large cast of characters. The gameplay is geared more towards stringing together words as fast as possible instead of searching for the longest words which makes for a more action packed feel. Unfortunately, there is no multi-player mode, but the low price tag means this is an easy and worthwhile impulse buy for all logophiles.

Gameplay: Fast paced and quite addictive.

Graphics: Beautiful pixel art visuals.

Sound: Catchy and very fitting

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate started off quite interesting, and had me hooked with its unique story, but by the end I was literally on the edge of my seat. Although it is quite a long game, there is literally never a dull moment. The use of a mobile phone to make choices, and branch the story is a stroke of genius, and with six different endings there is a lot of replay value. If you want to experience a visual novel with plenty of action, drama, suspense and outstanding characters, then don’t miss out on Steins;Gate.

Gameplay: Not only is the story excellent, but there is actually a surprising amount of choices for a visual novel.

Graphics: The artwork and character designs are beautiful.

Sound: The original Japanese voice acting is very good, and the music is equally great

Deadstone

Deadstone

There aren’t that many titles on PC in the top down shooter genre and even fewer that offers as much as Deadstone. It’s got a meaty campaign mode that can be enjoyed in a serious or light-hearted fashion as well as a very addictive survival mode. Throw in the co-op mode, which is unfortunately local only, and you have the recipe for a great game.

Graphics: The visual style of the game is a little dated and lacking in variety, but overall it’s quite polished.

Sound: Nice voice acting during the cut-scenes and the music fits the atmosphere of the game well.

Gameplay: Plenty of content and an addictive experience throughout despite the repetition

Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector’s Edition

Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector’s Edition

If you are not a fan of the genre then Melissa K. And The Heart of Gold is probably not going to change your mind, but it has plenty to offer those that do enjoy these type of games. Considering its mobile origins the visuals are actually pretty good and the gameplay is diverse enough that you are not only spending your time scouring screens for hidden objects. The story didn’t have us complete hooked, but as a whole we can recommend this title to anyone that enjoys a polished casual gaming experience with plenty of replay value and extras.

Gameplay: A nice blend of adventuring, puzzle solving and hidden object scenes.

Graphics: Very detailed and featuring some exotic locations.

Sound: Good music, nice sound effects and solid voice acting overall

Team Indie

Team Indie

Team Indie features an all-star lineup of characters taken from some of the best indie titles of recent years. You’ll also have to put these characters to good use as while the game is a platformer at heart it also features a heavy puzzle element. The game doesn’t quite live up to its full potential though and unfortunately there are some annoyances that drag it down. However, if you enjoy the genre and like the characters it should keep you busy for quite a while.

Gameplay: With its large cast of characters and challenging levels it will take you a while to see and do everything.

Graphics: Nice character designs, but the backgrounds are a bit bland and the animation could have been better.

Sound: None of the tunes, except for the one during boss battles, are exactly memorable