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Free Anime photo
Free Anime

PSA: Get started with some free shounen anime from the Microsoft store

Binge on some action
Jul 04
// Red Veron
You like free stuff? I love free stuff, especially if its legit and made super convenient. So here's some first seasons of some shounen action anime to get you started one some battle action goodness. What's shounen action, y...
Ultra Street Fighter 4 photo
Ultra Street Fighter 4

Ultra Street Fighter 4 gets release dates, alternate costume trailer

It's almost here!
May 15
// Pedro Cortes
After months of devouring any news that escaped the clutches of Capcom, we finally know when we'll get our hands on Ultra Street Fighter 4. Come June 3, you'll be able to download the upgrade on Playstation Network, or June ...
Japan Flix's new release  photo
Japan Flix's new release

Watch out for Taxis: Japan Flix releases Hong Kong Affair

Be careful when traveling alone.
Jul 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's been a while since we have heard from Japan Flix, but they're still active in bringing over Japanese films as digital releases. Speaking of which, it turns out that Japan Flix has released Perfect Education: Hong Kong Af...

Drink some Dr Pepper: Battle Ground's new DLC is out now

The True Ending has been achieved.
Mar 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
I don't know much about Phantom Breaker, but I find it interesting that Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate is playable fighter in the game. Speaking of which, MAGES has sent some new DLC from the future to Phantom Breaker: Battle...


Xbox owners rejoice, Neon Alley is now on the Xbox 360

Just in time for
Feb 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
Sad that you don't have a PS3 to check out the upcoming premiere Fate/Zero's dub on Neon Alley? Well, if you own an Xbox 360 and have an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, then your body is ready for Neon Alley's release on the 360...

Jet Set Radio grinds on to the Vita

May 25
// Josh Totman
Looks like our graffiti loving group is not only going to be on Xbox Marketplace and PSN, but also on the Vita this summer. The Vita version will be a direct port of the HD version with Vita enhanced controls. Meaning that th...

Sega brings Monster World IV to XBLA in a bundle

Mar 15
// Bob Muir
Sega and Westone's Wonder Boy series was really strange when it came to naming conventions. Wonder Boy started visiting Monster Land and Monster World, and before you know it, Sega put out a Genesis game with the unwield...

Guilty Gear is back!

Feb 17
// Elliot Gay
Well how about them apples? Arc System Works' high speed and mildly insane classic fighting game series is looking to make something of a come back with the PSN and Xbox Live release of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus. A port...

Fight cavities! New Last Exile and Guilty Crown on Xbox

Oct 31
Do you know what I like to do after a long night of trick-or-treating? Chill in a Sumo chair, flip on my Xbox 360/PS3/Wii/Unbiased Game Console of Choice, and play some videos games while munching on snickerdoodles and knickn...

Japanator Doesn't Recommend: Bangai-O HD Missile Fury

May 09 // Tyler Jones
Bangai-O HD Missile Fury (Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: TreasurePublisher: D3Release Date: My 4th, 2011MSRP: 800 MS points (US$10) Bangai-O is a variant of the arena shooter, or dual stick shooter, putting you in control of a flying combat mecha capable of moving and firing in 8 directions with the two analog sticks. Though previous incarnation have appeared on N64, Dreamcast, and Nintendo DS, Missile Fury introduces new mechanics and has a unique set of missions. Simply moving and shooting won't get you very far. The Bangai-O has two concentric circles around it; one is yellow and encompasses the area just around you, while the larger blue ring takes up a much larger portion of the screen. If there are enemies within the blue circle, homing shots will lock on and all shot types will be powered up, and will power up again while enemies are within the yellow circle. Pressing the right trigger when you're not moving activates a freeze attack, stopping enemies and bullets within the yellow circle for a couple of seconds. Pressing RT while moving causes the Bangai-O to dash in your current direction, slamming into and damaging enemies and plowing through hostile shots unharmed. Both of these use the dash gauge, which charges on its own over the course of three seconds to hold three charges. Activating either will also make the Bangai-O invincible for the duration of the attack, about one second, and the invincible time is shown by a radial meter that appears around the player. This introduces the first glaring problem with the controls. The throw of the trigger on a normal Xbox controller is somewhat long, and missing that link between successive invincible times by an instant can mean death. While a button with a shorter activation distance might help, I couldn't help but feel that the invincible time meter was misleading, as I sometimes would start taking damage while there was still a little meter left. I'm not sure whether it's a problem with my mis-judging button presses or an actual problem with the timer (or just my imagination), but it's intensely frustrating. The most important weapon in the Bangai-O's arsenal is its counter attack. You can store a maximum of 10 uses on your EX gauge, and these are used to fuel the counter. Holding the left trigger starts a similar invincible time that the dash moves use. Holding the trigger longer will result in a stronger counter attack, though holding it too long will leave you vulnerable after the invincibility time ends. Releasing the left trigger will launch a ring of shots outwards from your location in every direction if the right stick is neutral, or you can send all shots in one direction by aiming the right stick. The counter will be stronger the more enemies are near you, and you can also press RT while charging to add up to three extra EX charges to your attack. A fully powered up counter while you're surrounded by enemies looks pretty apocalyptic, as it results in you firing hundreds if not thousands of gigantic powered up bullets. Bewilderingly, this is how I land myself a lot of seemingly unfair deaths. The normal rhythm of the game involves dashing into danger, freezing some enemies and shots, charging a counter, releasing it and then dashing away to safety or your next counter use, as the space fruit released by destroyed enemies powers up your EX gauge. When you use a powered up EX attack the game zooms in on the Bangai-O briefly as it does its missile launching pose and you can't move again until it's done, but there's no visual indication of when you can move again and like before, a split second's hesitation to use invincibility can result in death. It stands to reason that after using a super powered mega-attack that no enemy should be able to get through to you in the moment that you're vulnerable, but I found myself dying after these EX attacks on multiple occasions. On top of this, the level design is all over the place in terms of quality. The can be quite varied but unfortunately, a lot of the places the missions go bring more tedium or frustration than the variety is worth. Many involve waves of enemies, where clearing the map or reaching a certain goal will cause new enemies to spawn all over the entire map, and sometimes right on top of you with no warning. The stages often require you to collect target items or defeat specific enemies before moving on, which are highlighted in red on the map. Sometimes you just need to defeat all enemies in an area. However, there are these one way gates in several stages, and if you go through them before you got all the targets then you'll be stuck with no way to go forward and no way to go back to clear the missed targets, forcing you to restart the stage. With such a straightforward game design goal, namely making millions of things explode, you'd think that the stages would be mostly geared towards this, but you'd be wrong. Missile Fury uses its engine on occasion for completely the wrong mission types with startling regularity. Many of them severely limit or remove one or more of your abilities, like dashing or freezing, and others have you stumbling slowly through sparsely populated corridors, unable to charge up or use a decent counter attack. The time I knew I had to put down the controller and walk away was when I came across an actual, really real, honest-to-Lordi stealth mission. A stealth mission. In Bangai-O. With all these problems that I've mentioned it seems superfluous to mention the totally adequate graphics, which make it fairly easy to differentiate the zillions of tiny things happening on screen, or the fitting, upbeat music. The same goes for the tacked-on multiplayer and level editor modes. None of those will erase all the times I went back to this game trying to convince myself that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was and failing utterly. I wouldn't feel right about recommending this game to anyone and advise you skip over it in favor of something better.  

Bangai-O HD Missile Fury is a game that I couldn't complete, and as such will not give a numerical score. There are several reasons for this, but a big one is that there is no coherent main mode to finish. You are simply give...


Guardian Heroes update coming to XBLA this fall

May 06
// Tyler Jones
News broke yesterday that Treasure's classic brawler Guardian Heroes is getting a much deserved downloadable re-release this fall when it launches on Xbox Live Arcade. An American copy of the game is fairly rare and expensive...

Potential Moon Diver Sequel to be called Super Moon Diver

May 05
// Tyler Jones
If any of our lovely readers recall the Super Nintendo days (AKA the Good Old Days), you'll clearly remember the mass of games that began with the word Super. This went for all kinds of SNES releases: sequels to games on earl...

Moon Diver now up on Xbox Live Arcade

May 04
// Tyler Jones
The most important thing that I can tell you about Moon Diver right off the bat is that its director, Koichi Yotsui, also is responsible for the 1989 Capcom arcade classic Strider. Strider is among my favorite games ever, and...

Japanator Recommends: Trouble Witches NEO

May 04 // Tyler Jones
Trouble Witches NEO (XBLA)Developer: Studio SiestaPublisher: SNKRelease Date: April 27, 2011MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points (US$10) Trouble Witches NEO is a horizontal sidescrolling shooter, putting you in control of one of nine female characters, along with her animal companion, as she shoots her way through six increasingly hectic stages. That synopsis may remind some of you of last year's excellent Death Smiles, though the games share few similarities past those common to the genre. There are two main modes available on the title screen: 360 Mode and Arcade mode. Arcade is a straight port of the version from Japanese arcades, with no real extra frills. Aesthetically, 360 Mode is optimized for high definition wide screen TVs and features nicer, re-done artwork. It also gives you more game mode choices: 360 mode (basically an updated Arcade mode), Story mode (arcade mode with added openings and dialog before the boss fights), challenge mode (containing score attack and boss rush modes), and online multiplayer over Xbox Live. Trouble Witches has some elements to distinguish it from other shooters, though is a simple game to pick up and play, requiring only a joystick or d-pad and three buttons. One button activates the basic shot, one toggles the magic field on and off, and the third activates spell cards. These cards act as both special weapons and shields; activating one temporarily upgrades your shot for a certain duration or until you get hit. You don't start the game with any spell cards, nor do you lose or gain them after losing a life; they must be bought at the shops that dot the levels. The magic field is the most interesting and most technical aspect of the game. Each girl has an animal companion that floats alongside her, following slightly behind the same path that she travels. It shoots a different shot from your character when the shot button is pressed, but also serves a more important role when the magic field is activated. When this occurs, the familiar becomes enveloped in a circular area that can catch and dramatically slow enemy bullets, though the duration of the field is limited and drains magic from your MP bar. Destroying an enemy who's shots you've captured in this way turns the bullets into coins that add to your score and GP, and can be used to purchase spell cards. However, letting an enemy escape the screen causes any slowed bullets to point towards your character and return to full speed. Hopefully this intrigues most of you readers, though make no mistake; Trouble Witches can be enjoyed on a lot of levels. I happen to like shooters with deep play mechanics and scoring systems that take time to appreciate and master, but if that all goes over your head, you still have a very fun game on your hands. And did I mention that Trouble Witches has cuteness in spades? From the character art to the music to the interactions in story mode, you can't help but be immersed in the adorable nature of this game. My favorite character, Sakurako, is a foreign girl who dreams of becoming a witch just like the magical girls on her favorite anime shows. The main character Pril is a witch in training with one of those Japanese green and yellow 'beginner' marks on the end of her wand. I could go on, but they're all about as lovable as a tub of bunnies. Their Japanese voices also are very competently done and don't get repetitive, though the animal companion noises as they constantly toggle the magic field on and off might. While there are also English voices available, they are sadly quite bland and phoned-in, and best switched off immediately. One of the few other tiny complaints is that the game does not explain itself quite as well as it should. When you go to arcade mode and start a game you are offered to watch a 70 second full tutorial, 30 second brief tutorial, or to go straight to the first level. These options are absent in the 360 mode that most players will likely go to first. I'd highly advise any new players to watch the full tutorial before playing, and it should have been in 360 mode. The nine playable characters all have different statistics as far as their shot strength, movement speed, and MP recovery, though these stats are buried in the How to Play screen. It would be more helpful if these were shown on the character select screen, as the amount of information presented is awfully hard to memorize. That being said, each of the nine characters plays differently enough to be interesting. Nobody felt obviously underpowered, though some characters would need more practice to understand how best to use them. Each character has a unique opening and interactions with the stage bosses, so playing through the game as everyone is a treat instead of the chore it is in some games with loads of characters. Similarly, each of the stage-end bosses behave very differently, requiring different tactics to defeat. Each area feels very fresh due both to the boss variety, the dramatic changes in scenery, and the steadily increasing difficulty. Ultimately, Trouble Witches NEO is a cute game full of depth and appeal, and only a few minor problems prevent this release from being a flawless shooter. Score: 9.0 - Fantastic. Negligible flaws. Otherwise very, very good; a fine example of excellence in the genre.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a demo for a very cute doujin PC shooter called Trouble Witches. Having more than a little fondness for both shmups and cute anime girls in witch hats, I was very interested in tracking down th...


Preview: Bangai-O HD Missile Fury

May 03
// Tyler Jones
I clearly remember there being a lot of hype for the original Bangai-O back in the Dreamcast days. The game was notorious for hectic action and high risk gameplay, rewarding you for getting as close to danger (enemy shots) as...

Get ready to jump on the Xbox Live! for NIN2-JUMP

Apr 26
// Tim Sheehy
I'm not sure how I should describe Cave's upcoming action-platformer, NIN2-JUMP. The gameplay mixes classic platforming with some unique visuals that seem like an ukiyo-e puppet show on crack -- not that t...

BlazBlue gets ready to squeeze every last penny from you

Jul 02
// Bob Muir
Last year's BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger from Guilty Gear veterans Arc System Works was a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre. While in 2009 fighting games received a sudden renaissance across the board, including prominent...

Get Fullmetal Alchemist goodness on PSN and Xbox LIVE

Feb 13
// Josh Tolentino
While I myself questioned the necessity of a full-on reboot of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, I'm not about to deny anyone some hot Elric action.Apparently, neither is FUNimation, since you can get your hot Elric action on al...

Square Enix's Death By Cube launches January 20

Jan 10
// Jon Snyder
[Originally posted on Destructoid by Jim Sterling] Ever heard of Death By Cube? You should have, because it's absolutely mental. Square Enix's blood-soaked and hilarious looking shooter Death By Cube has been finally been giv...

Microsoft and Viz are all lovey-dovey, discounts Viz anime shows on XBLA

Jun 18
// Brad Rice
If you're a digital distribution fan, and have plenty of space sitting on your Xbox 360's hard drive, then you might as well go ahead and hop onto Xbox Live and download episodes of Bleach, Naruto, Death Note, and Blue Dragon...

More anime invades your console through the Xbox Live Marketplace

Nov 12
// Chelsea Thompson
With the success of selling episodes of Naruto on Xbox Live, VIZ Media has decided to release two more anime: Bleach and Death Note. These will be download-to-own purchases with pricing at 160 points per episode or roughly $2...

Go find 'The Tattooed Hitman' over on Xbox Live

Dec 16
// Brad Rice
If you've been desparate for some yakuza action, then Cherry Blossom Eiga points out that over on Xbox Live, you can dig up The Tattooed Hitman, directed by Kosaku Yamashita. The film is up on the site for only 200 MS points,...

Manga Entertainment titles now coming to Xbox Live

Sep 27
// Brad Rice
Manga Entertainment has announced thaat they are going to be releasing a set of their titles on Xbox Live. So now, if you just have to get your Astro Boy on your 360, here's your opportunity.-Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alo...

(School) Swimsuit Idols

Jun 29
// Matthew Whitehead
Last time it was buruma, and this month Bandai-Namco has released what was probably the most wanted item for Idolmaster for the Xbox 360 -- school swimsuits for the girls for the low, low price of 1200 Gates (about 1800 yen...

FUNimation to put out titles on Xbox Live Marketplace

Jun 06
// Brad Rice
Starting next week, you'll be able to find the first couple episodes of several anime titles on your Xbox 360. FUNimation is releasing Samurai 7, Gunslinger Girl, Basilisk, and Trinity Blood. As of yet, there's no pr...

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