Anime Expo 2016 Round Up/Megapost

One of the things I like about AX is that there’s also of focus on anime-style games (and a whole lotta free shtuff). A fair amount of companies come out and showcase their work through booths, panels and other events. So for this post I’m going to quickly go over all the games that caught my attention during my experience at Anime Expo!

One thing I need to get out of the way is that literally none of the gaming booths this year gave away any in-game items. It was all physical stuff which makes slightly bummed, and kind of wonder if there was some policy in place or something as this wasn’t the case before.

First Impressions

Rune Story

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Developer/Publisher: Colopl NI, Inc.
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, with IAP
Playtime: Approx. 40 minutes

I attended a panel held by Colopl on the Do’s and Don’ts of localizing games. In it, the NA team talked about their decisions in localizing Rune Story, known as Shiro Neko Project (White Cat Project) in Japan. Let’s just say…a lot of mistakes were made… lol. Some of which are still present in the game, unfortunately.

The biggest strength of the game I found was the combat system, how it was real time which is nice to see on a mobile game. However, it’s still clunky and just doesn’t come off as smooth combat. I also liked that you can actually equip your weapon and see it on your character. Another thing I’m confused about is the option to reverse controls so that you move with your right hand, and it can be anywhere on the screen. It’s pretty awkward as I’m left-handed, though I didn’t check to see if there was a way around it. I also question the decision for this game to be in vertical orientation! It feels so cramped. I guess it plays better on tablet.

That being said the art for the game seems to be pretty inconsistent. Character design is mismatched between Western style for the main characters and anime art. Level design leaves a lot to be desired (too many  empty patches of grass, etc.) The NA team also mentioned how they got rid of a lot of the text, changed some story around, and tried to focus more on showcasing 3D models versus the anime 2D art which is a real shame. Oh, and like always, English voices are pretty bad.

Part of these changes were made in hopes of making Rune Story stand out and not just be an exact port, but I don’t see any reason why to make the game more western when it’s strength should be otherwise – because there’s clearly a market for it. What’s to stop me from playing the Japanese version? Um, I can’t read Japanese. 😛

Free swag I got: Rune Story drawstring bag
Will I keep playing? Probably not.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

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Developer/Publisher: A-lim/Square Enix
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, with IAP
Playtime: Approx. 15 minutes

I found out that Brave Exvius released right before AX and decided to give it a go. First of all, I know that A-lim developed Brave Frontier. Second, that’s exactly what this game is…just FF-themed and with slight improvements. I don’t know why but I really couldn’t bring myself to keep playing as I just couldn’t stop comparing it to BF which I’ve totally had enough of…

Free swag I got: None, I didn’t even stop by the booth lol
Will I keep playing? Nope.

Warriors of Glory

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Developer/Publisher: Kick9
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, with IAP
Playtime: Approx. 2 hours

“The Past, Present & Future of Mobile Gaming” sounds like pretty hefty workshop but I thoroughly enjoyed Kick9’s presentation. They mainly went over trends found in mobile games such as using daily events to maintain an active playerbase; and of course, promoting their games. While the focus was on their two games Puzzle Monster Quest and MOBA Legends, the game that caught my eye the most was actually Warriors of Glory. Wait, let me just comment on how insanely generic these titles are, lol.

Anyway, WoG plays out like a typical ARPG a la Diablo-style and is even an online-multiplayer. It’s very western and practically nothing about it stands out, lol. But I really, really liked the combat system. It’s fluid and the skills look nice, though dodge could be improved. Oh, and English voices, yuck.

Free swag I got: Puzzle Monster Quest Rubik’s cube from panel, didn’t visit booth
Will I keep playing? Maybe.

Phantom of the Kill

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Developer/Publisher: Fuji & gumi Games/gumi
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, with IAP
Playtime: Approx. 1 hour

Gumi this year decided to pour their blood, sweat and $$$ into promoting the heck out of Phantom of the Kill cuz Brave Frontier seems to be doing well enough while Chain Chronicle & co. can just fade to the background. Anyway, they had huge booth with stage and VR activity, and featured a main event that premiered a full 21 minute-long animation, a bunch of promo videos and a current campaign with girl group Dempagumi who treated us to a nice concert. I felt like 70% of the people there were actually for them and not the game so much. lol.

Wow. Just…wow. How many games can say they have it’s own full length animation? Made by Production IG (of Psycho Pass) no less. I actually found it pretty cringey with all the jumps in the story in trying to fit everything in, but some people might like it.

Anyway, the actual game. Imagine my position when you are just so hyped by all this promo. And mind you the game is just extremely polished. There’s cutscenes, voice acting, amazing art, UI and effects – the whole nine yards…But GOD DAMN the actual gameplay is disappointing. It’s basically, as I’ve been told, Fire Emblem but in chibi 3d. :> Yeah. Turns take 5ever, too cuz AMAZING BATTLE SCENES. This was after spending ten years just downloading the game so I really…don’t know what to think of this game. I mean it’s great, I want to like it. But it’s nothing new. I expected a lot more, but maybe I just need to play more.

Free swag I got: Stickers, a nice PotK bag. A free Dempagumi concert. Zero looks naise (eye candy).
Will I keep playing? No.

Soccer Spirits

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Developer/Publisher: BigBall Co., Ltd./Com2uS Corp.
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, with IAP
Playtime: Approx. 3 hours

The Com2uS booth featured Summoners War and Soccer Spirits. Having played Summoners War I decided to check out Soccer Spirits but ended up mightily confused as the demo was basically a super OP account with 99 million of all the currencies. @_@ I had no idea what was going on lol so I just spent the time just summoning drawing for characters and throwing money around like it was nobody’s business.

Having downloaded the game and playing on my own time, I had a much better experience. There’s a lot of information thrown at you and I’ve yet to grasp all of the mechanics, but I found the gameplay to be pretty fun. I think the main catch of the game is collecting all of the characters because the art is absolutely amazing. The story, in which you are a high school soccer team enlisted to win the Galaxy League competing against other planets’ teams IN SPACE….is rather…far-fetched but actually pretty interesting, haha.

I first saw this system in Fantasy War Tactics (by Nexon) but Soccer Spirits features a “Chain Character” system in which you gain bonuses from having certain characters either on the same or enemy team depending on their relationship which each other. I find it funny how Noa has Brett under Friendship but Brett has Noa under Affection – talk about friendzone. With this, each character has a bit of backstory and really adds to the nature of “collect ’em all.”

Free swag I got: Angelmon mini-figurine from spinning a wheel, Soccer Spirits fanart booklet.
Will I keep playing? Yeah! Who knew this game would be so fun.

Star Crossed Myth

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Developer/Publisher: Voltage
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, but limited
Playtime: Approx. 1 hour

I’m glad otome games have a presence at AX despite being a fairly niche market. Voltage’s booth was pretty big. Anyway, following the guide book they gave me, the games can be divided into three types (there’s actually 4, I guess). Since I have no interest in the western-style games lol I’ll mainly focus on the novel time and party type. Star Crossed Myth falls under the Novel type in which you just gotta pay your way through all the routes.

I had a bit of change in my Google wallet so I decided why not, and bought Dui’s main route because he seemed the least abusive lmao. The story is pretty typical but it was pretty funny seeing Dui uh..spazz out (trying to avoid spoilers). Conclusion: not worth. What you get versus what you pay for is just too little content for the price (3.99) and that’s only the “main story.” Epilogue, side stories, etc. all must be purchased as well and so you’d have to pay nearly twenty dollars just for one route.

Free swag I got: None, though they may have been giving away a fan.
Will I keep playing? Nope. Might check out their Party style games though.

Shall we date? Blood in Roses+

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Developer/Publisher: NTT Solmare Corporation
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, with IAP
Playtime: Approx. 2 hours

NTT Solmare suprisingly wasn’t at AX this year, but that didn’t stop me from getting the itch to check out their games again. Having played Ninja Love, I chose to play Blood in Roses+ solely because the main heroine actually looked nice and had a face, hah. So far the story seems interesting. Thing is, the prologue only really introduces four characters at best yet you had the option to choose from six. To play it safe I chose one of the main-ish options to see how the story is meant to originally played out, so right now I’m pursuing Rupert. The game is in “party” style as I’ve mentioned earlier; so rather than paying directly you are just gated by a ton of energy, requirements, mini-games, etc. So far it does a far job but I feel like tickets or whatever (the resource to actually see the story) take too long to refresh at four hours for one. Games of this type usually refresh all at a set time (4 am) but not this one. *shrugs* I think I actually prefer the latter.

Will I keep playing? Probably.

Midnight Cinderella

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Developer/Publisher: Cybird
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Free to Play, but limited
Playtime: Approx. 1 hour

Cybird made their first NA appearance, as I’ve been told, at AX, and featured two games: Midnight Cinderella and Destined to Love. They had a choose your suitor board from both games of the guy you liked most. Having no idea for either I chose Byron because he had an eyepatch. 😀

The premise of Midnight Cinderella is that you were a common girl who, overnight, had suddenly become a princess! Your main task is to find a fitting suitor to rule together and bring prosperity to the kingdom. It was pretty interesting to find out Byron is actually king of the neighboring kingdom (talk about ambitious), and I ended up choosing him for my first route. Midnight Cinderella feels like the opposite of Blood in Roses+ in that it’s very forgiving with tickets, but is quite stingy with its requirements, haha.

Free swag I got: None, they ran out of stuff. 😦
Will I keep playing? Probably.

On My Radar

Period Cube

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Developer/Publisher: Otomate/Aksys Games
Platform(s): Playstation Vita
Price: TBD
Release Date: 2017

I went to an Aksys Panel where they revealed a whole slew of upcoming ports and other announcements. Of course, the titles that caught my eye there the otome games! Too bad I don’t have a Vita, nor do I ever plan on buying one, lol. I immediately recognized the art for Period as it has the same artist from Black Wolves Saga (Kuroyuki).

Bad Apple Wars

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Developer/Publisher: Otomate/Aksys Games
Platform(s): Playstation Vita
Price: TBD
Release Date: 2017

Collar x Malice

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Developer/Publisher: Otomate/Aksys Games
Platform(s): Playstation Vita
Price: TBD
Release Date: 2017

Tokyo Ghoul Dark War

Developer/Publisher: GameSamba
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Price: Probably free, with IAP
Planned Release Date: Soon-ish? Summer 2016

No images, but I managed to try out a demo of GameSamba’s upcoming Tokyo Ghoul mobile game. It pretty much plays like any other ARPG, so there’s nothing much to write home about. 😛 I do admit I didn’t spend much time playing it, though.

Indivisible

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Developer/Publisher: Lab Zero Games/505 Games
Platform(s): Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, XBox One
Price: TBD
Planned Release Date: 2017

Lab Zero, the developer behind Skullgirls, featured its new title Indivisible at their booth. The demo I played was actually even more of a work-in-progress than the prototype, I noticed. Anja didn’t even have colors for some of her stances! Indivisible seems part platformer, part turn-based, part fighting game based on what I experienced.You can definitely see the influence of Skullgirls in the attack animations and combat style. You can try out the prototype here

 

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