It’s been a tough last half of the year for me, but while my writing wasn’t so strong, I was still ‘filling the creative well’ by consuming tonnes of great story in my favourite mediums. So for the next couple of days I’ll be posting about my favourite books and anime of 2019 but up first is games.

Whoooo baby there were so many Atelier releases this year. First they served me up the 20th Anniversary celebration game Nelke and The Legendary Alchemists(more on how much I loved it below), then Atelier Lulua(with a return to Arland, but sadly not my thoroughly-missed time limits), and then as a surprise at the end of the year they released Atelier Ryza instead of holding onto it for a 2020 release (sadly I’ve not played much of it yet so couldn’t speak to anything but the graphics of thus far ;p ), so it’s like NIS was telling me to never stop throwing money at them. I obliged.

So let’s start with Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: A city builder with every single alchemist (and a few other notable characters) from every Atelier game, clearly I was already there (with bells on!). The story tied it all together pretty nicely and all the side stories with each and every one of the alchemists were so much fun, especially for the characters I didn’t already know (I came into the series with Atelier Iris (the first one) on PS2) but knew a little about from the Atelier Series Chronicle art book (2009). The new characters were cute and I was sailing the hell out of the Nelke/Lotus ship too.

The game mechanics were fairly simple, but still fun, though in the early portion of the game, the exploration and combat was a little frustrating because of the time it took up, but you need those damn materials, but once you can send people out gathering through explored areas you could just dash though the area, and then send people there to gather when you got home, much easier. Easy enough that I managed to get the true ending on first playthrough ;p

Honestly, I had so much fun with it that immediately upon finishing my first playthrough I took my new game plus and started a second run. I’m fairly sure that a decent amount of my delight springs from the fact that we were back to time limits. The time limits aren’t excessively difficult, but just their mere existence gave me that little bit of challenge I think I’ve been missing from the last few releases of the franchise.

I’ve recently noticed they’ve made some DLC extra stories and am trying my hardest to resist jumping back in for a third play through to experience them!

The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince – I mentioned in my similar post last year I was hanging out for this game. I’m usually not into side scrollers all that much(I want to bash my enemies with a sword, not jump over them), but the art and the storyline overrode my usual objections and I gave it a try.

The story is so good. So good. The game is pretty quick to get to the final stage but a fun path there, but ARGH! the boss stage is such a bitch. I think I replayed the first portion of it for as long as I played the entire rest of the game trying to make it through. However the ending will make your struggle worth it. Fairy tale fans who aren’t afraid to Groundhog Day the hell out of themselves in the boss stage will love it.

Crystar – a magical girl style game, of course I’m there!  The graphics are super pretty. I love the set designs and the costume designs a lot, and I love little details like how the sisters have matching (but different coloured) argyle patterns at the top of their thigh-highs when in casual dress. I also like how occasionally they switch up the art style, with the memories sometimes flipping into the scratchy sketch style.

The story is dark, so heads up for a bit at the very start for those who have suicide related triggers as they hit that theme a few times with several of the butterflies right off the bat (though kudos to the voice actors for hitting the notes just right to make the lines resonate powerfully too). I haven’t gone very far yet though, because it only recently showed up in Aussie stores, but I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Despite the grimness of the story line there’s still lolz aplenty, eg/ that line “I didn’t have my phone, not that I could use it as a butterfly’. And there’s a lot of sweetness too. Also, thank you whichever developer included the fact that playing with your dog warms your heart back up because yes, yes it does <3

Persona Q 2 – yass for Fem MC, my team was almost exclusively Akihiko, Chie, Shinjiro, P5 MC and Fem MC, except when quests demanded otherwise. Those first three as your front line team was a killer combo BTW, get Chie to Counter and Shinji to All Guard(with a persona who regularly nullifies physical damage ;p ) and bwahaha enemies are smacked down for even trying to hit me. I was genuinely frustrated when I started to play Etrian Odyssey Nexus and I couldn’t find a similar set up XD (for those not in the know The Persona Q series is the Persona characters thrown into Etrian Odyssey style gameplay with the combat, dungeon style and map drawing like in EO, hence my irritation when I switched to such a similar game but couldn’t get the same dynamic rolling).

It was a good story too, my heart went out to FemMC when they met up with the P3 team </3

Little Briar Rose – Ok, fairy tale game, killer ‘stained glass’ style art, and cheap as chips on the Nintendo store? Shut up and take my money (actually I think I ended using my Gold points to buy it, but shhh). If you don’t love the art in this game then I feel like you and I can’t be friends any more. (j/k of course, but we might be rocky for a bit ;p ) .

If you mess up you get cursed (I got the chimney wrong on the gnome house and was turned into a gnome ;p ) and another prince (also controlled by you ;p ) comes in and takes up the quest where you failed. The puzzles are funny and cute, and as I already mentioned the graphics are too beautiful.

My only issue is it never told me it was autosaving, nor gave me any self saving options. I played for quite  a while looking for save options or an ‘autosave’ icon to appear flashing, I never saw them and started to get worried about how long I’d played without saving and how if I exited I might lose it all and have to start over only to find the save point was just a few minutes further from where I was ;p It seems to autosave after most actions though.

Mistover – I downloaded the demo almost for the hell of it (I saw an anime style game had a free demo and was pretty much ‘why not?’), and to my surprise the game play when I tried the demo was EVERYTHING I needed in a game at that moment. The ever changing dungeons, the classes, the combat style, the group combo attacks, the town when you head back there, the difficulty, just yes. Please sir may I have some more. If you like Etrian Odyssey and/or Persona Q then you should like this.

I really like the edgy anime style art too, plus the premise and characters in town were good fun. Also, the demo is pretty extensive if you want to give it a try and not just take my word for it.

Pokemon Sword/Shield – naturally I grabbed the latest Pokemon game promptly (though I spent weeks agonising over which one, I mean Sir Fetch’d or gorgeous psychic-type Ponyta amirite!?), and TBH all the changes I heard people whinging about prior to release didn’t bug me at all. We’re back (after Let’s Go Pikachu/Eeevee) to proper old school catching, there’s fun gyms, I get to dress up all cute again, the Wild Areas are fun and great for leveling (plus who doesn’t love looking for that fishing chick and getting pearls off her over and over again ;p I’m rich, rich I tell you!).

For the first time ever you can catch eeveeloutions in the wild too! (Though by the time I could get over to the island I’d already bred my eevees and evolved them and was running around with my all eeveeloution team.

I got a bit frustrated by the ‘you can’t even catch the pokemon without certain gym badges’ thing. If I and my pokemon are good enough to whittle the wild pokemon’s HP to 1, then put it to sleep it doesn’t get a goddamn choice IMO (RAGE!!!). (this sounds very problematic on re-reading ;p I’m talking about catching pokemon I swear)

I love surprise trading too. (I’ve got a million level 1 eevees ;p ) Dynamaxing is pretty cool too. Definitely a solid addition to one of my longest gaming loves.

one must even be considerate of thugs ;p

Kuukiyomi(consider it) – an unusual little game with puzzles on how to be considerate, eg/ if you’re part of a pair just standing on the escalator side by side one of you drops behind or in front of your friend to let someone striding up the escalator go past you without slowing down.

It was far from expensive and I thought Id give it a try. I’m waiting for real quandries like ‘do you wash your neighbour’s side walk when washing your own? Because some neighbours see that as you making them owe you one, so it isn’t considerate ;p

I totally sat down too fast in the school ‘stand, bow, sit’ one and fell backward on the chair ;p I only wonder if there are other options, like different ways you might have been considerate. I’m also a little disappointed, I wanted to get rankings eg/ S-rank considerate or A/B/C/D-rank ;p

A shout out is owed to the re-release of Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch, but it since it’s just a re-release, I’ll just include a link to my original review which stands true for this playthrough also.

You might notice more of my games were Indie titles compared to last year. I’ve been using my Switch a lot more and have been taking advantage of the Nintendo store and a few sales it’s had ;p

Games I’m hanging out for next year include:

  • Animal Crossing – OMG you guys, did you see you can make your own tools! And you can pole vault over rivers and and and, just give it to me NOW!
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake – haven’t we all been waiting too long for this?
  • Atelier Dusk Series Deluxe pack – hey NIS, Y U no give me physical copy to buy? Won’t stop me. Totally playing Escha to Logy as soon as I download it ;p
  • Cris Tales – that art, gimme gimme gimme
  • Re:Legend – looks pretty damn cute, did y’all see that screenshot where you’re riding an axolotl?
  • And lets face it we all know I’ll play Persona 5 Royal.

Any game you really loved this year, or are super keen for in 2020?