Cosmic Star Heroine Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

We’re supposed to “reach for the moon” in our goals. That way if we fall short we’ll still land among the stars. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given that the nearest star is several light-years farther away than our moon. But the point is sound.

Zeboyd Games’ moon is represented by classic, beloved 90s Japanese RPGs such as Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, and Phantasy Star. It’s a big reason I backed the game on Kickstarter several years ago. To take on some of the best RPGs in gaming with an indie budget and two-person development team is a daunting challenge. While Cosmic Star Heroine falls short in some ways, it still lands among the stars as one of the best games I’ve played this year.

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Pokémon Sun and Moon Review [Pixelkin]

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A lot is riding on Pokémon Sun and Moon. Pokémon popularity is at its highest point since its inception in the 90s, thanks to its 20th Anniversary and hit mobile game Pokémon GO. Yet we haven’t seen a new, non-remake Pokémon title in three years.

Pokémon Sun and Moon represent the largest shift in the series we’ve ever seen. These are still classic monster catching and battling games aimed at kids, but the numerous improvements and new island setting make Pokémon Sun and Moon a hugely successful entry in the popular franchise.

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Yo-Kai Watch 2 Review [Pixelkin]

While Yo-Kai Watch’s older brother Pokémon drops you into completely new worlds in each new game, Yo-Kai Watch 2 brings you back to the familiar city of Springdale.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

While Yo-Kai Watch’s older brother Pokémon drops you into completely new worlds in each new game, Yo-Kai Watch 2 brings you back to the familiar city of Springdale.

More yo-kai, new features, and improved abilities build upon the successful ideas in the first game. But even time-travel doesn’t save it from the feeling that you’ve already done all of this before.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 begins with one of the cringiest clichés of the JRPG – the amnesiac protagonist. Your chosen hero (either Nate or Katie) has their titular watch stolen and memories erased, creating a terribly painful prologue sequence for anyone that’s previously played the first game.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 wrestles with trying to appeal to newcomers as well as veterans of a game that was just released last year outside of Japan. The new yo-kai you meet are often well-designed additions, but you’ll also stumble upon a lot of repeats from the first game’s roster.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

Dragon Quest VII Review [Pixelkin]

If you have the time to dig in this 3DS remake should easily become the definitive version of Dragon Quest VII.

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Back when the original Dragon Quest VII (called Dragon Warrior VII in the US) was released for the Sony PlayStation in 2000, it was already dated. The old-school 2D sprites were a big step backward compared to Final Fantasy VII’s fully 3D polygons. This new 3DS remake brings a much-needed graphical facelift, improved translations, and streamlined additions to entice turn-based JRPG fans to one of the genre’s forgotten gems.

Dragon Quest VII is all about time travel. Your hero and some childhood friends open an ancient shrine on your home island – the only island in the world. The shrine contains portals to other islands in the past. Each new island brings new characters, quests, monsters, and dungeons. The islands then appear in the present for even more monster-slaying content.

Time-travel requires assembling the tablet portals from fragments you find scattered throughout these islands. The main story focuses on exploring new islands, righting the wrongs of the past, and defeating Dragon Quest’s colorful array of enemies.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

Final Fantasy Explorers Review [Pixelkin]

Fans of Crystal Chronicles and online RPGs may find some enjoyment, though the action can quickly grow repetitive if playing alone.

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Final Fantasy Explorers Logo

Over a decade ago Final Fantasy fans were presented with an odd spinoff. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles used a much more action-oriented, real-time combat system. The big hook was allowing friends to venture together in a static world, not unlike your typical online role-playing game.

Final Fantasy Explorers offers the same quest-driven gameplay with a threadbare story and piles of loot to collect and craft. Online multiplayer lets you play together with up to three other explorers using a variety of classic Final Fantasy classes such as Black Mage, Knight, and Ranger. Fans of Crystal Chronicles and online RPGs may find some enjoyment, though the action can quickly grow repetitive if playing alone.

Read the full Review at Pixelkin

Xenoblade Chronicles X Review [Pixelkin]

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a fantastic genre blend of the best elements of Western and Japanese RPGs.

Read the my full review at Pixelkin

xenoblade chronicles x

Platform: Wii U

You stand on a cliff overlooking the Grieving Plains. The grasslands and lakes of Primorida stretch out in every direction. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the fascinating native creatures. Humans are the aliens here. The domed city of New Los Angeles is your last bastion of safety in a dangerous world full of tyrants and treasures.

Welcome to planet Mira. Welcome to Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Read the my full review at Pixelkin

My Top Ten Games of 2015: #3

The astonishingly gigantic open-world RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X is my #3 Game of the Year for 2015!

My Top Ten Games of 2015

#10 MASSIVE CHALICE

#9 Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void

#8 Tales from the Borderlands

#7 Ori and the Blind Forest

#6 Super Mario Maker

#5 Yo-Kai Watch

#4 Fallout 4

#3 Xenoblade Chronicles X

xenoblade-chronicles-x

I’ve gained a real cynicism and disdain for Japanese games over the last decade. JRPGs were and are among some of my all time favorite games – back in the 90s.

Since then I’ve largely fallen out of love with them. Their storytelling goes in increasingly bizarre and goofy directions, and my distaste for anime is exemplified by grating cutscenes, voice-work, and writing that was previously the marquee of cutesy pixels and simple text.

So, it’s a pretty damn big deal that not only did I enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles X, but that I’ve ranked it so high on my Game of the Year list. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2015: #3”