In an age where pretty much every major console is region-free and most games are localized globally anyway, the allure of importing games is not what it used to be. However, there was a time when Japan would get games years before the rest of the world. At times, notable games would never make it across the shore. Heck, it took decades for the now-massive Fire Emblem franchise to get a chance at international stardom.
Though I remember the days of seeing import order sheets in the back of video game magazines, I didn’t really start importing games until the Nintendo DS era. The advent of online made it not only easier for me to learn about these great Japan-only games, but to buy them as well. Here are a few titles I bought from a faraway land!
Years after the Toys-to-Life bubble burst, Ubisoft took the bold step into the deserted space with Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Unlike Skylanders or Amiibo figures, Starlink takes a modular approach with its toys. As such, you can customize your loadouts by strapping a unique pilot, ship, and weapons to your controller before entering warp speed. It doesn’t hurt that the Nintendo Switch version gets access to console-exclusive Star Fox content, including a sweet-looking Arwing toy. Is the game worth the trouble of slapping all of this extra plastic onto your Joy-Con controllers?
Happy New Year! Not exactly a New Year’s Resolution, but after months of collecting dust on my shelf, let’s get back to Shadow of the Tomb Raider! This time, Lara has discovered a hidden city and must get the box before Trinity does! Also, tune in to watch how badly I suck at Tomb Raider!
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Buy Shadow of the Tomb Raider Now From Amazon.com
Over the past decade, I’ve overcome so much in the world of fighting games. Coming into Street Fighter IV as a lapsed fan of the genre with barely any skills to begin with, my knowledge and skills have developed to a point where I’m proficient in numerous fighters. However, there’s at least one entire sub-genre that I suck at: 3D fighting games.
Tetris Effect works brilliantly as one cohesive experience, but if I were to isolate one aspect of it as standing out, it’s the music. Adding Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s taste for electronic ambiance and international rhythms works wonders for creating the synesthesia that occurs when playing the game. As soon as I finished up my first stream with the game, the first thing I did was to find the soundtrack online. I need this in my ears even when I’m not playing the game. The news I found was…disheartening.
Tetris Effect isn’t designed to be the most competitive or eSports ready version of the game. With the way that the game goes out of its way to obstruct your field of view for the sake of looking cool, it’s generally meant to be more about being absorbed into the vibe that the puzzle, music, and visuals create in unison. However, I understand that none of that matters when you’ve failed the final Journey mission for the hundredth time, or you fall well short of your friends on the leaderboards.
Though the core game is decades old, there’s still much to learn about this classic block-stacking game, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the modern Tetris ruleset. Maybe these tips will come in handy with whatever obstacles the game throws at you!
[NOTE: I did not play the game in VR at the time of writing, so I don’t touch on it or factor it into my current opinion of the game]
Tetris is the closest thing we have to gaming perfection. Universal appeal, easy to learn, difficult to master, and inherently designed in such a way that you’ll never win, but you can always do better. Feel free to make a case for any other game, but Tetris being the highest selling game of all-time with no signs of slowing down decades into its never-ending lifespan is a testament to its greatness.
How do you reinvent gaming’s equivalent of the wheel? If you’re Tetsuya Mizuguchi – most famous for his work on trippy games such as Rez and Lumines – you change the context of what the Tetris experience is through flashy visuals, modern electronic music, and VR support. I can’t speak to the VR side of the game, but the sheer act of playing the block-staking action in Tetris Effect becomes less about exercising your brain and more about being absorbed in the feeling that the entire experience creates.
Finally getting around to a game I’ve been eyeing for quite some time. Let’s play Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero! Apologies for the abrupt end, but I was really enjoying this one so far!
Buy Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero Now From Amazon.com
What should be a glorious day for Miles Morales’ dad goes sideways as the Demons crash the party. Also, Spidey’s investigation into Martin Li reveals that the scope of this conflict is much bigger than he anticipated.
I was taken aback at how long the Valkyria Chronicles 4 demo was to the point where I didn’t have enough time to finish it while streaming the other night. For now, here’s a look at the first two missions in the demo! Full demo impressions coming soon!
Buy Valkyria Chronicles 4 Now From Amazon.com