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Steam Comiket Sale photo
Steam Comiket Sale

Go nuts for doujin games with Steam's Summer Comiket Sale


Indie-credible Deals
Aug 11
// Josh Tolentino
If there's one thing otaku like more than otaku things, it's otaku things bought for cheap, which makes Steam's latest excuse to have a sale especially relevant. Y'see, Summer Comiket is happening right about now, and the ota...
Muv-Luv photo
Muv-Luv

Watch out, BETA: Muv-Luv localization to get Kickstarted


Coming soon to a Kickstarter near you
Jul 01
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like visual novel fans are in for some good news. The gang at DegiGames and Ixtl have revealed that they're creating a Kickstarter to localize Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative. While the funding campaign wil...
VA-11 HALL-A photo
VA-11 HALL-A

Drown away your sorrows with a new VA-11 HALL-A trailer


Just what the bartender ordered
Jun 26
// Salvador GRodiles
Back when Japanator Managing Editor Josh Tolentino wrote about VA-11 HALL-A, the bartending game that's set in a cyberpunk setting, my interest for the title was at a normal level. While I didn't get to play the project's pr...
Naruto: Ninja Storm 4 photo
Naruto: Ninja Storm 4

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 summons the flashy ninja techniques


Gameplay no Jutsu!
Jun 17
// Salvador GRodiles
I may have dropped Naruto back in my early college years, but to this day, I still enjoy the gameplay and ridiculous animations of the series' fighting games by CyberConnect2. Speaking of which, the folks at Bandai Namc...

Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

This is Metal Gear Solid V's big trailer, and its thesis


And a lot of talking
Jun 15
// Josh Tolentino
No matter what you might think of Hideo Kojima and the series that made his name, there's no doubting that each one is something of an event, and it looks like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won't be an exception ...
Tales of Zestiria photo
Tales of Zestiria

Huzzah! Tales of Zestiria heads to the PS4 and PC


Now featuring more zesty delicacies
Jun 14
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be super fashionably late to the party, but it's not everyday that a Tales of title gets a special treatment like this. While it's been hinted that Tales of Zestiria was getting a Playstation 4 and PC release for ...

Review: Starless: Nymphomaniacs' Paradise

May 18 // Soul Tsukino
[Warning: This is a very adult game and is unsuitable for minors. This review is work-safe, but the game is definitely not. It also contains plot spoilers. Seriously, you've been warned.] Starless (PC [reviewed])Developers: Roll7Publisher: JAST USAReleased: May 11, 2015Price: $39.99 Anyway, Starless: Nymphomaniacs' Paradise is a game brought to you by the same group that brought you Bible Black (the titles are references to the 1974 album Starless and Bible Black by prog rockers King Crimson) . Starless was first released in Japan in 2011 and even has a hentai anime series based on it. The game was licensed by JAST USA and the English translation was released in May of 2015. The story is a rather simple one. You are Sawatari, a poor kid about to be off for college. He has no job, little money, and more importantly no girlfriend. He is desperate for some quick cash since, while he has his driver's license, he can't afford a car and if he doesn't have a car, he can't get a girlfriend. He find an ad for a house servant position in the back of a car magazine that advertising 4 million yen for 2 weeks worth of work. PERFECT! Not really.  It turns out that he will be serving the Mamiya family. A rich, influential, but somewhat reclusive clan who are, to put it simply, sexual predators. So while he does do menial house chores, most of the time he and the other staff are just sexual playthings for the family. You must survive the 2 weeks (actually it's like 16 days) trying not to buckle under the stress, offend any of the family members, or die. The characters in the game really do fall into one of 2 categories, they either make you feel sorry for them, or you want them to die a million deaths. The main character, Sawatari, is a decent guy and I will admit he pretty much shared my personal feeling for a lot of the events in the story. The fellow staff members of the house are Sachie. A cheerful girl who starts out like a decent person but as the game goes on, she turns into a lazy good for nothing who either tries to get you to do all her work or take money from you to gamble away to one of the family's daughters. You also meet Mikako, the older gentle mother like figure who works in the kitchen, and her son Matoko, who is about your age (supposedly anyway) and very feminine. You are then joined by fellow new staff member Mitarai, an innocent girl who much like you has no idea what she is getting into. On the other side of things are the members of the Mamiya family. The mother, Marie, is the current head of the family, with her husband have died. She abuses her power to torture people to do whatever she wants. She also has constipation problems that gets mentioned.. a lot. Her eldest daughter is Marika. She is soft spoken and gentler, but she is more putting on a front. She takes a liking to Sawatari and is always trying to convince him to stay and get married so he can father her children. Then there is the younger daughter Marisa. She is a spoiled rotten brat who is implied that she is underage. She does everything to torment you, so guess who you spend most of the game dealing with? Yeah, you grow a urge to want to punch her in the mouth rather quickly. You also have Marie's son, Kyouichi. He has zero interest in you and spends most of his time either in his room playing video games or in the arms of Mikako, since he has a mother fetish.   There are other characters that show up in the last few days of the game, but they are all minor and don't have a lot of depth to them. The mechanics of the game are good. You get the basic menu for a visual novel with Save, Load, Skip, Options, and so forth for buttons. The skip function only works on skipping parts of dialog you've already seen, so it's useless until you've beaten the game already. The English translation is decent but I found a few spelling errors along the way. Nothing horrendous and there didn't seem to be a whole bunch of them, but they were there. The art is very well done for the game, even if in typical visual novel style they reuse several art frames, with minor added differences, in many scenes. Noticed that I'm avoiding talking about the actual game play yet? This game is not for the faint of heart. If you have never played a Japanese visual novel before, Don't start with this one. The games I played before are nothing compared to this. This story isn't some cute story about a fumbling loser who has a girl he kind of likes, this story is about flat out abuse. Depending on which of the different endings you end up with (I played to 5 different endings), the sex is only consensual once to four times, the rest of the time everything is watching characters get raped, abused, tortured, humiliated, and degraded in every worst nightmare way possible. The things that go on in this game cross the gambit from incest, bestiality,  and a horrendous amount of scat play. Even some of the more benign scenes are "pissed away" if you know what I mean. There is nothing subtle here. What little consolation there is, is that the American producers of the game removed the art explicitly showing poop (let's just say the farting sound effect is used quite a bit though), animal encounters, and dismemberment. Well, that's a load off my mind. Although they created a patch to put them all back in if you want.  Besides the actual acts that are committed in the game, the game repeats itself way to much. For a good chunk of the two weeks you have to "dress" the youngest daughter every morning. Once or twice is one thing, but they play these scenes out multiple times with very little difference. Same goes for the morning breakfast scene between Kyouichi and Mikako. Neither scenes are very fun to watch either, unless you really get into that kind of thing. The game also doesn't skimp on the other scenes either. Very little of the different scenes have you just doing a quick moan & groan and then you are done. Scenes are stretched out to an ungodly amount, with the excuse of being drugged and injected with hormones and aphrodisiacs. Again, if you are really into this kind of thing then I guess you would enjoy it, I'm not so not only does this game feel like a chore to play before the first day is even done, but it actually made me strain the muscles in my throat trying not to hurl all over my computer desk. And the sad thing is that it really isn't worth it. Now, maybe this is the difference between the American sensibility and the Japanese sensibility, but for me if I played this game and had to watch not only the first person character but the characters I feel pity for go through this for 2 weeks, I'd like an ending that really gives the Mamiya family the what for. I wanted to see the mother reduced to a drooling vegetable (or worse), the snooty brat daughter get mauled by her own dog, something. But nope, even the best of the endings has you leave with only part of the money, Sachie makes off better than you and in none of the endings of the game do any member of the family have anything bad happen to them. So after playing this game for nearly a week waiting for one of these rich pieces of shi... err... garbage to get their what for, it doesn't happen. As I have read from others who played it, none of the endings has any member of the family have anything happen to them. Yeah, not a satisfying ending for me at all. But it's not like it's the first game to do that. Typically these kinds of games never have a "everyone has a happy ending" finale to it. So in all, I can not recommend this game unless you are an absolute hardcore visual novel fan. I'm not so I found this game not only to be the stuff of nightmares, but it seems like it's a parody of the genre. It's just one terrible over the top scene after another padded out to the point where I'm just as glad to have the 2 weeks done as the main character is. The endings were not worth the time it took to play this, let alone the physical strain of me not seeing my dinner come back up on my keyboard. If there are any positives to this game is that the art is good, the characters are decently written, and the damn thing didn't crash. Beyond that I found absolutely nothing redeeming in this whatsoever. If you get your rocks off on this stuff, more power to you. but if you aren't turned on by repeated scenes of rape, sex with animals and people crapping all over the place, avoid this like a case of the clap. [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
Starless Review photo
So many shades of rape
So here I am, brand new writer for Japanator looking for content I can write for the site. The offer is made to review a game that I had heard plenty of buzz about in Starless: Nymphomaniac's Paradise, a visual novel type gam...

Review: Chroma Squad

May 05 // Josh Tolentino
Chroma Squad (PC) Developer: Behold StudiosPublisher: Behold StudiosReleased: April 30, 2015MSRP: $14.99 Not that they really needed to, of course. Such a "feature" would interfere with play, and there's plenty of service in the game as it is for fans. The play, in this case, is of the turn-based tactical variety, as if Behold took XCOM and ran it through the parodic, pixelated filters of Knights of Pen and Paper.  Like the former, players will manage a small squad of combatants, with unique classes and abilities, running them up against groups of goons and the occasional boss, one turn at a time. Like the latter, every mechanic serves as a distillation of tokusatsu's essence through heavy referencing and a clear, almost palpable appreciation of the source material. The premise alone is ripe enough with potential that it's baffling more games haven't taken advantage: Players manage a fledgling production studio, with each mission treated as an "episode" of an upstart spandex superhero show. Names, casting, and even catchphrases are up for customization, as well as the requisite selection of bright primary colors to outfit the roster with. If players want to commit sentai sacrilege and name a non-red-colored character the "Lead," no one can stop them but their inevitable guilt (guilt, I say!). Cast members can also be selected from a pool of actor candidates, each with their own special qualities.  [embed]33795:4709:0[/embed] When the cameras start rolling and the minions exit wardrobe, the fight is on. The goal of any given mission is to amass as much "audience" as possible, by performing flashy attacks, fancy stunts, and of course, winning the fight. Additionally, optional "Director's Instructions" add extra conditions, such as finishing off boss monsters with a screen-filling finishing move, or not killing off the boss before dispatching the cannon-fodder minions. Such extra goals help introduce variety to the combat, which is more simplistic than one might find in XCOM or other dedicated tactical titles. Enemies follow simple patterns and lack much in the way of extra abilities, so most of the tactics devolve to crowd and ability cooldown management rather than more elegant stratagems. Chroma Squad's main mechanical wrinkle comes in the form of "Teamwork," which allows squad members to leapfrog over each other to boost their movement range, or carry out simultaneous attacks with adjacent teammates. This, alongside somewhat simplistic giant-mecha boss battles, give the game enough of a unique flavor to override its otherwise thin tactical substance.  Following the mission, gained audience is converted into "fans," and also into increased studio funding, the better to buy one's way out of Papier-mâché costumes and into somereal spandex duds. Behind the scenes, the studio itself can be outfitted with various upgrades that improve performance in each episode. Buying health care for the actors improves their health in combat, and improving the lighting on set reduces enemies' chance to dodge or counter blows. Materials dropped in combat can also be used to craft customized gear with semi-random statistics, a useful (and cheap) alternative to costly store-bought costumes and weapons. Fan mail can be answered for flavor and smaller benefits, and players can even choose marketing agencies to confer more benefits. Going with a niche-market enthusiast firm might increase the amount of fans gained after an episode, but will likely lack the mass-audience-gathering benefits of a more mainstream advertising push. Tradeoffs like that characterize much of Chroma Squad's meta-game. Speaking of meta-things, the game's narrative and missions regularly break the fourth wall, and form one of the game's potentially divisive aspects. While the self-aware script and obvious understanding of tokusatsu's many conventions and tropes lend it an endearing level of charm, some players might be turned off by references to dated Internet memes and other metahumor. Personally, I found the story hit quite a bit more than it missed, but I will admit that at times the dialog read more like a forum chat log than a script, and wasn't always helped by rough spots in the localization and editing. Then again, it's not like tokusatsu attracts its fans for complex plotting and characterization, so it may balance out in the end for players in the right mindset. What isn't as easy to let by are some unfortunate, if minor, technical and design blemishes on Chroma Squad's pristine pixelation. Mission scripts would occasionally freeze in "cutscene" mode, forcing me to start the mission over. A nasty little bug accidentally equipped low-level equipment on my giant robot, making some late-game boss battles much more tense than I'd have liked them to be. One bug even gave me control of an enemy unit rather than my own squad members for a few turns! Thankfully, dev posts on the forums appear to indicate that Behold is aware of most of the bugs I encountered, and a patch is in the works at the time of this writing. Beyond that, the lack of a mid-mission checkpoint or save, or a mission-select option is inconvenient for players wanting to explore the game's branching story paths (especially for those curious to see what Behold has to say about Kamen Rider). That said, the team has stated a New Game+ option may yet be in the cards for a future update, so repeated playthroughs may become more appealing in the future. Zordon may have wanted "teens with attitude," but Chroma Squad and its unabashed, utterly geeky love-in for all things tokusatsu shows something even harder to find: A game with heart and soul. That heart shines through the rough edges, and in some ways even turns them to its advantage. It might have taken quite a while in getting here, but fans of spandex-clad superheroic finally have the videogame to help them fill that little fantasy. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]  
Chroma Squad photo
Lights, Camera, Henshin!
Ever since a badly-dubbed lady popped out of a dumpster on the moon, sending a weird computer-man to seek "teenagers with attitude," geeks of a certain age have been on the lookout for a game that can capture the es...

Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Get hyped for Chroma Squad's tokusatsu-inspired trailer


Live-action transformation sequence included!
Apr 24
// Salvador GRodiles
Ahem. Excuse me while I go get my transformation device. As the resident toku guy on Japanator, it's no surprise that I'm super excited for Chroma Squad, since the game lets us manage our own tokusatsu studio. Best off all, ...
TyranoBuilder photo
TyranoBuilder

Rawr: TyranoBuilder lets you make your own visual novels


Sounds like a roaring good time
Mar 23
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be prehistorically late to the festivities, but there's something intriguing about Nyu Media's collaboration with STRIKEWORKS. Thanks to their cooperation, TyranoBuilder, a user-friendly program that lets you create yo...
Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Pull out your Henshin Devices: Chroma Squad gets a release date


Now featuring flashy bucket helmets
Mar 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Heroes and heroines; it's time for us to transform into our Ultimate Form-- excuse me while I change into Crocodile Sunshine. Why you say? Because Behold Studios has announced the release date for Chroma Squad, the...
Tokyo School Life photo
Tokyo School Life

Enrol as a Virtual Exchange Student in Tokyo School Life


School Girls in seifuku 'nuff said
Feb 19
// Anthony Redgrave
Visual novels are nothing new in Japan but they're still incredibly niche in the west. I don't think we'll be seeing copies of Clannad or School Days on the shelves of Gamestop anytime soon, but they're gradually finding thei...
Neptunia Re;Birth1 photo
Neptunia Re;Birth1

[Update] Planeptune rules: Neptunia Re;Birth1 heads to Steam on Wednesday


Steam is ready to embrace Gamindustri
Jan 24
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: Idea Factory International revealed that Neptunia Re;Birth1's debut on Steam was slightly delayed, and the game's release date is now Jan. 29] It's been a good while since Idea Factory International announc...
Phantom Breaker photo
Phantom Breaker

PSA: Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds hits Steam today


You can't go wrong with 2D beat em' ups and magical girls
Jan 23
// Salvador GRodiles
If you've been itching to play a fun 2D beat em' game on the PC, then you'll be happy to know that MAGES' Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds game's now on Steam. Thanks to Degica's help in making this release possible, more...
Steam sale photo
Steam sale

PSA: Anime is the name of Steam's weekend game sale


Now with more amorous avians!
Jan 09
// Josh Tolentino
Of all the geeky trends people took note of in 2014, one of the least appreciated is the Japanese gaming industry's growing embrace of indie development and global digital distribution. Sure, it's been happening for the last ...
Americana Dawn photo
Americana Dawn

Despair: Americana Dawn's Kickstarter failed to reach its goal


Let's hope that this project isn't over
Dec 23
// Salvador GRodiles
Oh my. I never expected that it would come to this, but I'm afraid that Americana Dawn's Kickstarter couldn't achieve its $70,000 goal, since they were only able to rake in $28,239. While this means that Foster's jo...
Naruto: UNS4 photo
Naruto: UNS4

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's first trailer gets straight to the end


More particles, more ninjas, more QTE madness
Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
The Valley of the End, that is, which, if you're unfamiliar with Naruto history, is a big ol' waterfall created by the final battle between ninja historical figures Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju. The location f...
Kinoko Collection photo
Kinoko Collection

Sure, why not make game about Mushroom Girls?


Meet your new Shroom-mates!
Dec 16
// Josh Tolentino
Really, why not? The last few years have seen a Cambrian Explosion for weird games, and people are now taking notice of good ol' Japan, which has been doing weird for longer than just about anybody. Of course, I could just be...
Dragon Dating Sim photo
Dragon Dating Sim

Wait, what? It's a Dragon Dating Simulator


Literally
Dec 04
// Josh Tolentino
I'm conflicted about this. On the one hand, it's really cool that designers outside Japan are taking visual novels and relationship-centric games more seriously. More people making more types of games can only be a good thing. On the other hand...Dragon Dating Simulator.
Visual Novel photo
Visual Novel

Huzzah: J-List/JAST USA unleashes a series of new announcements


Just in time for the holidays
Nov 28
// Salvador GRodiles
The holidays are among us, which means that many outlets are having a bunch of sales as we speak. Speaking of which, J-list is having a sale until Dec. 2 where people can get up to 18% off any product (based on how much they ...
Contest Winners! photo
The lucky five!
Free stuff is great, isn't it? That's likely what you all were thinking when you signed on to our giveaway with Moenovel for free Steam copies of If My Heart Had Wings! Sadly, we only had five copies to give away, and we've j...

Americana Dawn photo
Americana Dawn

Journey through Colonial America in Americana Dawn


It's time to relive American history as an RPG game
Nov 24
// Salvador GRodiles
There's something amazing about seeing two great things come together to form a nice package. In this case, Max Lam and her team, Bit Bonton, have opened a Kickstarter for Americana Dawn, a JRPG-influenced game that lets the...

Contest: Win Steam copies of If My Heart Had Wings!

Nov 18 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]33274:4319:0[/embed] Here now is your contest question: What is the name of the school Aoi attends?
If My Heart Had Wings photo
Just answer one simple question!
[Update: Contest is over, everyone! The winners will be contacted by the email address they signed up for Japanator with!] We've got a treat for you story-game fans out there, and it comes to you courtesy of our buds at ...

Final Fantasy XIII-2 photo
Final Fantasy XIII-2

Final Fantasy XIII-2 time-warps to Steam soon


Time-tripping on the machine of the future
Nov 12
// Josh Tolentino
Ever since Final Fantasy XIII hit the PC way back in the halcyon days of last month, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the rest of Square Enix's grand, ill-fated trilogy would eventually make it over as well...
Counter SAttatrike Titan photo
Counter SAttatrike Titan

Counter-Strike on Titan?


AWP some kawaii titan
Oct 31
// Hiroko Yamamura
Now here's a collaboration I didn't see coming. Attack on Titan is teaming up with the Nexcon developed Counter-Strike Online game in Japan. It's an Asian market version of the popular Valve shooter, which I spent endless hou...
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles PC comes very soon, for pretty cheap


Defend Gallia on a budget
Oct 30
// Josh Tolentino
We already knew that Valkyria Chronicles was coming to the PC in an unexpected, but entirely pleasant surprise, but Sega wasn't forthcoming with the actual details. Until now, that is. The game's coming out on November 1...
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles finally rolls onto PCs


Only 6 years late to the game
Oct 28
// Hiroko Yamamura
One of the all time favorite games around the Japanator office is the 2008 PS3 strategy game, Valkyria Chronicles. It's unique mix of strategy, twisting story, amazing character design, and surprisingly deep character develop...
MangaGamer sale photo
MangaGamer sale

Celebrate Moe Day with MangaGamer!


Also, it's Moe Day!
Oct 10
// Josh Tolentino
October 10th is a special day for fans of moe and puns, because today is Moe Day! Why, you ask? Well, the Kanji characters for "October 10th" (十月十日) just so happen to line up just right to spell th...
Final Fantasy XIII photo
Final Fantasy XIII

TGS 2014: Final Fantasy XIII trilogy coming to Steam


All hail the PC Master Race
Sep 18
// Josh Tolentino
I think it's safe to say that I'm in the minority when I say I actually liked the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. They were flawed and the whole Fabula Nova Crystalis affair smacked of troubling hubris on the part ...
VA-11 HALL-A photo
VA-11 HALL-A

Get robots drunk in VA-11 HALL-A's cyberpunk bar


Future boozefest
Aug 20
// Josh Tolentino
OK, I'll admit it right now: The main reason I'm posting about VA-11 HALL-A, a indie bartending game, is because of its website, located at a domain called (and I'm not kidding) Waifubartending.com. These people know wh...

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