Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around


Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: La-Mulana's eighth boss is about to taste defeat

The sweet taste of victory!
Nov 28
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here and here.] Get ready, people! After weeks upon weeks of exploration and getting killed by traps, I'm finally close to uncovering La-Mulana's final mystery. Sure, I s...

Review: Mugen Souls (PC)

Nov 16 // Christian Chiok
Mugen Souls (PC [reviewed], PS3)Developer: Compile HeartPublisher: Ghostlight LTDMSRP: $19.99Released: October 22, 2015 [Note: This is a review of the PC version of Mugen Souls. Chris Walden reviewed the PS3 original back in 2013.] Mugen Souls follows the story of Chou-Chou, “The Undisputed God” who plans to conquer the universe by subjugating the seven worlds it comprises, as she thinks the planets look pretty. Traveling from world to world with her trusty companion Altis, and loyal peon Ryuto, Chou-Chou’s goal is to turn the heroes and demon lords of each world into her 'peons' (servants), saving the world from conflict in the process. If you’re looking for a serious story, Mugen Souls is definitely far from that option. While the characters are funny, the game's story revolves around moe and vague sexual themes that are never handled with any kind of maturity. It will keep you entertained for the first couple of hours but it will get old fast. Although the game features a lot of complicated systems, the gameplay is relatively simple. In Mugen Souls, players will explore areas on each planet, traveling to event points marked on the map that continue the story, fighting enemies, and finding occasional treasures. While the areas have a lot of detail and are very colorful, but unlike your average open-world JRPG, there isn’t much to explore, unfortunately. Most of the areas are empty as it doesn’t feature any optional dungeons or towns, so there's little point to exploring beyond finding the odd treasure chest or two. Unfortunately, the camera in the game is quite awful, especially when hitting a dead-end. It just goes all over the place and you have to constantly adjust it to normal. This can definitely affect your experience playing the game as it can sometimes leave you vulnerable to enemies, causing them to attack you first. Like your typical JRPGs, players can press a button to swing at an on-screen enemy to begin combat and get the first attack, while getting hit by the enemy first does the opposite. While the player usually gets the first hit during normal encounters, it is recommended that they attempt to make the first hit. The gameplay mechanics in Mugen Souls are similar to your typical strategy JRPG, like Disgaea or Agarest: Generations of War, minus the grid stages and the characters you control being limited to four. The battle system is based on wait time determined by the turn meter on the top of the screen. Once it’s your character’s turn, you will be able to move them to different parts of the field, with the distance varying per character. Depending on the attack, you will be able to attack enemies from far away or close-range as well. Mugen Souls’ strategic gameplay was unique, but I’m more fun of the traditional style featured in Disgaea, Fire Emblem and such. Even though the game features a lot of gameplay mechanics, a lot of those gameplay mechanics feel useless as the game is extremely easy during the beginning of the game, until you reach the massive difficulty spike. I feel like it really lacks a real strategic feel when choosing where to place your characters, something that is imperative in strategy games. I found myself carelessly placing characters without consequences. Not to mention that you will be able to execute most attacks as long as you’re really close. When two or more characters are placed together, you will be able to perform Link attacks. When executed, you will perform various special attacks which are strong enough to knock out strong enemies with one hit. Naturally, the more characters take part of the Linked attack, the stronger it will be. To navigate through these different planets, Chou-Chou her gang must travel using her spaceship the G-Castle. During these travels, you will encounter spaceship battles that play similarly to rock-paper-scissor type affairs where the player can choose between various kinds of attacks and defenses. What really annoyed me about G-Castle battles was that most of them were luck-based. While you’re given a hint of what could possibly be their next move, sometimes that certain hint could mean multiple things and you end up guessing. The fact that I had to resort to spamming once I leveled up makes matter worse. Aside from making each planet’s hero and demon lord into her Peon, Chou-Chou must also make the planet her Peon it truly conquer it. In order to completely conquer a planet, the player must first conquer its continents. There are three methods to do so —paying in gold, having a certain overall kill count, or utilizing Moe Kills. Using Moe Kill is the same as in battle, except the player is given a hint indicating which of Chou-Chou's forms is most effective. The gold points simply give the name of an item in the game's store, which the player then has to give gold equal to or greater than the cost of the item. Luckily, accomplishing these isn’t so bad. However, the last task, which requires the player to meet a certain amount of defeated enemies, which can get quite tedious. One of the reasons being is that regular battles for the vast majority of the game are incredibly easy and quickly become repetitive, thus  players will start skipping battles and then find they have to grind through a bunch of them to capture these points. Aside from the game’s main quests, you will be able to go through easy battles and events via the Mugen Field. While it shares similarities to Disgaea's random dungeons, unfortunately, this mode doesn't provide nearly the same level of entertainment. The point of this mode is to help the player gain new skills, level up old skills, or add defense item slots among other things. Due to the levels being easy, it mostly serves as a place to grind for levels, and with the game's massive endgame difficulty spike, the player will be spending a lot of time there. While in the game’s main lobby (which is inside the G-Castle), players will be able to create their own characters. Unfortunately, creating a battle-worthy character is so much time consuming that it isn’t worth it. I would just recommend sticking to the original characters and focusing on leveling them up. With the game being on PC, it definitely feels superior compared to its PS3 counterpart. The game is definitely colorful and vivid, making it pleasant to the eyes, especially during battle when performing Link attacks. However, what really seems inconsistent was that during the 3D cutscenes, when the character’s’ mouth didn’t move when speaking. As for the soundtrack, while a lot of it is filled with Disgaea-esque tunes, it is easily forgettable. While I’m usually a fan of the soundtrack when it comes to Compile Heart games, I really didn’t enjoy the tracks found in Mugen Souls. However, what I really liked was that the game offered Japanese voice acting as I found the English dub kind of awful. While I would recommend playing the game with a gamepad, the game certainly allows players to use keyboard and mouse. However, it feels kind of awkward, especially when moving the controlling the camera when moving. Being a PC title, it will accept a variety of gamepads as long as your PC can detect them. Heck, I was able to play with my Injustice Fightstick (although definitely nyo recommendable, but it’s still a good thing that it was able to read it.) If you really enjoyed playing Mugen Souls when it released on PS3, I would definitely recommend the PC version as it performs better. However, for those looking to add to their JRPG library, it’s hard to recommend this game. The story feels forced and gets old fast, the exploration is lacking, and the G-Castle battles makes the game a bit hard to enjoy. While the gameplay can be enjoyable, it is easily forgettable.  [This review is based on a digital retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.] Mugen Souls (PC)Developer: Compile HeartPublisher: Ghostlight LTDMSRP: $19.99Released: October 22, 2015
Mugen Souls photo
Conquer the Seven Worlds!!
Since last year, Ghostlight, the UK-based publisher, has been bringing various console-exclusive titles such as the Agarest: Generations of War series and Way of the Samurai 4 to the PC platform. This time around, the publish...

Clannad on Steam photo
Clannad on Steam

Clannad gets its first official English release next week

Sad Girls on Steam
Nov 15
// Josh Tolentino
If you told me even three or four years ago that visual novels would be one of the fastest-growing game genres in 2015, I'd have laughed in your face. But you'd have been right: Ever since it came out that people would be wil...
Muv-Luv photo

Mission Complete: Muv-Luv Kickstarter comes to a triumphant close

The Earth is now saved!
Nov 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Ladies and gentlemen. It looks like we've successfully vanquished the BETA, as the Muv-Luv Kickstarter ended a total of $1,255,444 on Nov. 3. Not only did they managed to achieve every stretch goal possible (such as...

The Legend of Heroes photo
The Legend of Heroes

Love is eternal: Trails in the Sky SC launches next week

Pigs have finally learned to fly
Oct 23
// Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks: I'm happy to announce that we now live in a world where pigs have wings, and hell has frozen over. In other words, XSEED has revealed that The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC hits the PC and the PSN ...
Muv-Luv photo

Humanity Wins: Muv-Luv's Kickstarter is off to an amazing start

This calls for a celebration
Sep 27
// Salvador GRodiles
After an amazing great start on Thursday, the Kickstarter for Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative has reached its goal to be localized in the West. In other words, the BETA might as well pack their bags and leave Earth...
Mushihimesama photo

Shmup giant Cave heads to Steam with Mushihimesama

Return of the Bullet Hell King
Sep 19
// Anthony Redgrave
The bullet hell genre is one of the most niche genres in gaming. Simulation, Eroge, and point and click adventure games have proven to be popular enough to make it into mainstream web news in the past decade, but the shmup fa...
MangaGamer Uncensored photo
MangaGamer Uncensored

Make it Steamier: MangaGamer gets an uncensored game on Steam

Hot stuff
Sep 02
// Josh Tolentino
Well, here's a surprise: It looks like Steam is about to get its first true adult game...of sorts. MangaGamer have just announced that they've managed to prevail on the PC's premier game market to allow an uncensored version ...
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

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

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...
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 ...
TyranoBuilder photo

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...
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 ...
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...

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...

Visual novel CLANNAD is getting a Steam release in English

Sekai Project takes the first big step with Visual Arts/Key
Aug 24
// Jeff Chuang
During their panel at Japan Expo USA, Sekai Project announced that they are releasing Key/Visual Arts's CLANNAD visual novel on Steam. It will be the full-voiced edition of the game. However there aren't much more details bey...
MangaGamer photo

Otakon '14: MangaGamer grabs eden*, euphoria, and more

MangaGamer has a few new tricks up their sleeve
Aug 09
// Salvador GRodiles
As Otakon 2014 continues to invade Baltimore's region, MangaGamer's ready to reveals their latest acquisitions. This time around, the company's working on a goal that'll please many visual novel fans if everything goes accor...
The Legend of Heroes photo
The Legend of Heroes

Cheers! Trails in the Sky's PC version gets a release date

It's time to launch more trailers into the sky!
Jul 23
// Salvador GRodiles
As XSEED Games and Carpe Fulgur continue to work on The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC, the awesome folks at XSEED have announced that the first Trails in the Sky game's hitting Steam and GOG on July 29th (next Tuesda...
Visual Novels photo
Visual Novels

AX '14: Sekai Project to localize Grisaia no Kajitsu, planetarian

Front Wing and Visual Arts on board
Jul 03
// Jeff Chuang
At Anime Expo Sekai Project announced that they are partnering with Visual Arts, the studio that publishes high profile Key titles, to release planetarian in English officially. There was a previous release of it with a ...

Review: World End Economica Episode 1

May 27 // Brittany Vincent
World End Economica Episode 1 (PC)Developer: Spicy TailsPublisher: Sekai ProjectRelease: May 5, 2014MRSP: $12.99 The tale of pipsqueak stock broker Yoshiharu (nicknamed "Hal") is one that piqued my interest right away, as it didn't include your average (and faceless) high school student seeking a girlfriend or sifting through a boring harem. Its sci-fi lilt brought with it an air of freedom from the chains that traditionally bind VN protagonists, and thus I was all in from the beginning. World End Economica follows the completion of mankind's greatest accomplishment: colonization of the moon. Humanity is migrating to space, though this advancement creates as many new problems as it does opportunities. There's a growing rift between those born on the moon and those born on Earth, and it's clear through Yoshiharu's journeys that "moon children" aren't exactly welcomed on our blue planet. As the teenage son of the very first two colonists on the moon, Hal decides he's had it with working-class life and wants to strike it rich through stock trading. He drifts from net cafe to net cafe, a vagabond narrowly avoiding scrapes with the police, until he runs into Lisa, a friendly church owner who gives him room and board. [embed]32623:3921:0[/embed] Unfortunately, there's another teenage runaway who's also taken up residence with Lisa, and she's as tsundere as they come. She's a mathematical genius, but a loner through and through. In case you couldn't guess that simply by looking at her (her character design is typical of the archetype), the novel finds plenty of ways to remind you here and there of how "cold" she truly is. Hal and Hagana simply can't get along, and right about where they begin their ceaseless bickering is when I decided World End Economica just wasn't doing it for me. There's something to be said about new and gripping ideas when it comes to visual novels, and with a story that appears to be heavily focused on elements so far outside the norm for the genre, seeing cookie-cutter tsundere girls and a protagonist who's little more than a selfish brat is more than a little disappointing. It's especially disconcerting when you factor in the main focus of this episode, which happens to be a virtual stock trading competition that Hal will be competing in. There's so much fluff masquerading as character development from the beginning up until the big reveal that it's difficult to maintain even a passing interest in what the characters are actually doing. Given that I didn't connect with any of the cast at all in the first place other than with Hal and his love of money, it was a difficult read. While both Hal and Hagana do tend to soften considerably and both become more personable near the end of the episode, I didn't feel moved to investigate the next one -- especially if it all it's going to deliver is a heavy dose of exposition with characters I'm not even interested in learning more about. And then there's the stock trading itself. For a game wholly based on the idea of virtual stock trading, there's little to no visual representation of said activity or any attempt to involve readers in the economical side of things beyond technical jargon and straightforward descriptions of how playing the stock trade actually works. I was hoping there would be at least a few interesting attempts at making the trading accessible for any type of audience, but it just didn't work out, and with bland visuals and sometimes black screens accompanying simple text, I found myself bored to tears more often than not. When reading is already your primary interaction with a VN, the story has to keep you entertained, and this one failed to on several occasions. Luckily, the CG scenes were quite aesthetically pleasing, even if the character models themselves had an amateurish feel to them overall. Poses don't always seem natural, and there's a strange look to the shading in some areas, particularly the necks on both male and female characters. It's hard to ignore, especially considering the fact that it gives young girls the appearance of having wrinkled skin where there should be a youthful complexion. And the music's nice when it's around, but wholly forgettable. World End Economica has so much going for it: an interesting premise, a protagonist with an actual design and personality (even if it is a little rotten) and the opportunity to capitalize on a business rarely (if ever) explored in video games: stock trading. Unfortunately, it squanders the opportunity to capitalize on these great bullet points and winds up a generic, muddled mess of pacing issues, bland dialogue, and characters too difficult to connect with. There are plenty of other more meaty and fulfilling visual novels out there that may be a little more expensive than this budget indie release, but you'll come out of those feeling much better about your purchase than you would about World End Economica. 4 -- Below Average (4s have some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst games, but are difficult to recommend.)
World End Economica photo
Don't fly me to the moon
[Originally posted at Destructoid.] Visual novels are a finicky medium. It's difficult enough to drum up interest because of their exotic origins, and harder still to find an audience due to their nature -- it's a bunch of re...

Sega Humble Weekly Sale photo
Sega Humble Weekly Sale

Sega offering 19 games in the Humble Weekly Sale

Going in for 18 of them!
Mar 13
// Chris Walden
The team at are really good at pinching the pennies from your virtual wallet, even rivalling Steam's sales with its 'pay what you want' game bundles. This week is no exception, as Sega is stepping up and putt...
Video Games photo
Video Games

Pick up Go! Go! Nippon on Steam

Adding drool-worthy imaginary food to Valve's popular service
Feb 26
// Karen Mead
You certainly can't complain that there aren't enough ways to get your hands on OVERDRIVE's visual novel/Japan travel guide Go! Go! Nippon~My First Trip to Japan: you can download it from MangaGamer, we let you know...
Video game photo
Video game

Cloudbuilt takes ninja-platforming to the next level

Jetpacks, mechs and wall-runs
Feb 04
// Tim Sheehy
Here at Japanator, we tend to be very picky when it comes to covering Western-developed games. When it comes to our gaming coverage, we typically stick to titles developed by Japanese developers or on rare occasions, titles ...
Vidya photo

Final Fantasy XIV coming to steam?

Yeah, seems that way
Dec 14
// Tim Sheehy
If you were one of those people waiting for permission from your Steam overlords to purchase a copy of Final Fantasy XIV, you're in luck. In a recent notice relating to server maintenance, it notes that additional "worlds" or...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...