Archive for May, 2012

Japan Import: Persona x Detective Naoto novel stars Naoto Shirogane

May 22, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Persona x Detective Naoto novel stars Naoto Shirogane

Take a look at that woman in the picture at the right. Does she look familiar? If you love the Persona games she should, as she’s a slightly more mature Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4. Go ahead and take a moment to do a double take, I don’t mind.

Apparently, that’s what she’s going to look like only one year after Persona 4 and Persona 4 Arena. It’s her character art for the Spring 2012 light novel Persona 4 x Detective Naoto. It won’t be mandatory reading, as it’s just a short novel spin-off looking at an adventure Naoto will eventually have after the events of Persona 4.

It actually looks at a case Naoto has been assigned. Touko Aoi, another detective, has gone missing and Naoto has been called in to help find out what’s happened. She might have been the perfect person to call, as it seems Touko’s disappearance has ties to a new website called Mayonaka Site. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that it sounds strangely similar to the Mayonaka Television the team investigated in Persona 4. Naoto gets paired up with Sousei Kurogami, apparently some kind of “mechanized” detective and goes off to save Touko.

It sounds interesting, but I just can not get over Naoto’s new hairdo. She had completely short hair in Persona 4. There’s no way she’d have hair down to her waist a year later.

As far as a localization, we probably won’t see this in North America. After all, we haven’t gotten the Persona 4 manga series yet. I wouldn’t recommend importing it either. It’s a novel after all, and there probably won’t be enough pretty pictures to make the purchase worthwhile if you can’t read Japanese.

Read [Dengeki Bunko (Japanese)]

Read [Japanator]

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Important Importables: Girls RPG: Cinderellife

May 20, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Girls RPG: Cinderellife

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Japan gets weird games. It’s the country that’s brought us Katamari Damacy, Muscle March, LSD (the video game), Cho Aniki and let’s not forget Duel Love.

So just when you think they shouldn’t be able to surprise us anymore, they do. Which brings us to Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife, a simulation/RPG about becoming a hostess in a hostess bar. By the way, it was initially designed for young girls. Which is why today we’re going to look at it and why we’ll probably never see it released outside Japan.

What’s Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife?

Well, initially Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife was a mobile game. Level-5 created Kyabajoppi for cell phones. It was a game where people created a custom hostess and had her work in a bar, serving customers. Some of the customers were even famous characters from manga or anime. It was a very casual endeavor, but worked well. So Level-5 decided to beef up the experience and bring the simulation to the 3DS as Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife.

The handheld adaptation was designed to have more of a story to it and more motivation to keep playing and doing well. Players’ avatar is a young woman who comes to the city of Neo-Ginza in the hopes of transforming from an ordinary, girl-next-door into a princess. Which means working in the hostess bar/club The Castle, I guess. Her goal is to become The Castle’s number one hostess, which means impressing customers so they’ll order expensive items. Doing well levels up her abilities and earns her money, which means she’ll be able to get better clothes and such, as well as rise in popularity. The hostess can also explore Neo-Ginza when she’s not working, and even use spare money to improve her apartment.

The general point is to spend days making your avatar look cool. When night comes around, you go to work and talk to two or three visitors. You listen to what they say, say what they want to hear and then they’ll buy stuff from the bar and like you. Yes, that’s kind-of creepy. That happens for the entire rest of the game, with occasional special events happening as your character rises in popularity.

So, WHY won’t North America ever see Cinderellife?

Oh, you mean aside from the fact that this is a hostess simulator? Well, that’s probably the least if this game’s worries, if you can believe it.

Let’s start with the big reason – it didn’t sell well in Japan. In it’s first week, only just over 9,500 copies were sold. That’s not a good thing. If it isn’t selling in the one country where the concept should appeal to people, then no company’s going to want to take a chance on releasing this niche game in other regions where it’d be even more of an oddity.

Then, there’s the concept. This is a hostess simulator. Your goal is to make your avatar the best hostess in Japan. Now, if this were a mature game or a mini-game in a larger game like Yakuza, that’d be no big deal. But the whole point of this game is to become a hostess in a bar, hanging on men’s every words and getting them to buy drinks and stuff. It’s the kind of niche game that’d really only work in Japan, but it’s not even working there.

Finally, there are the character cameos. A few famous video game, manga and anime characters come into the bar where your hostess works. Three of the guests, for example, are Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, Lupin III from Lupin III and Endou from Inazuma Eleven. Now, the last cameo is no problem since both Girls RPG and Inazuma Eleven are Level-5 games, but getting permission to use those other characters in other regions could be a licensing fiasco since different companies hold the rights for them outside of Japan. (That’s the reason why we never got the fantastic Jump Ultimate Stars DS game – licensing nightmare!)

All this means no Cinderellife for us. Sorry if it looked interesting or funny, but it isn’t going to happen. The only way we’ll be able to play it is if some third party company decides to release a region-free adapter for the 3DS that would let us play games from other regions.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Kairosoft.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Gunner’s Heart.

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

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Japan Import: Project X Zone being made by Monolith Soft

May 18, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Project X Zone being made by Monolith Soft

Everyone’s buzzing about Project X Zone in Japan. It’s a action/strategy crossover RPG for the 3DS featuring famous characters from Capcom, Namco Bandai and Sega games all working together for the greater good. In short, it sounds like it has the potential to be really good. However, the latest announcements will certainly start raising people’s expectations. Famitsu has just revealed that Monolith Soft is the game’s developer.

This is exceptionally good news as Monolith Soft has been responsible for a number of fantastic RPGs in recent years. For example, they’ve developed Xenosaga, Baten Kaitos, Soma Bringer and, of course, the recent media darling Xenoblade Chronicles. The company’s also proven it knows what it’s doing when it comes to crossovers, as it created the Namco x Capcom RPG. We never got that game and it wasn’t a huge success with critics, but it did still develop a rather devoted fan following.

While details about Project X Zone are scarce right now, we also know now how battles will proceed. They’ll start out as strategic, with enemies and allies arranged on a grid. When a battle triggers by characters moving next to each other, it will shift to a 2D, beat’em up kind of battle. If other allies are near the character involved in the battle, they’ll join in for support attacks. Characters from Darkstalkers, Dead Rising, Space Channel 5, Street Fighter, Tales of Vesperia, Tekken, Valkyria Chronicles and Xenosaga all have confirmed appearances so far.

As you can probably guess, there’s still no word on whether or not Project X Zone will be released outside Japan. Since all the characters appearing are Namco Bandai, Capcom or Sega owned, all three companies would have to approve. Namco Bandai’s the one in charge of the affair, so let’s hope it decides 3DS owners worldwide need some crossover love.

Read [Andriasang]

Popularity: 2% [?]

Japan Import: Tales of the World: Tactics Union is an Android app

May 18, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Tales of the World: Tactics Union is an Android app

Namco Bandai is really moving forward with the Tales series. Even though it hasn’t decided to reveal the next entry in the main series just yet, it has decided that people need to know about the next portable Tales. People in Japan should grab their smartphones and tablets, because Tales of the World: Tactics Union is coming July 2, 2012. The only quirk is that it’s only a kind-of free-to-play game.

Like the other Tales of the World games, Tales of the World: Tactics Union is a mashup/spinoff. Characters from multiple Tales games all join together to fight for a common cause. There’s no word yet on if there will be an original player avatar, as there were in the Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon or Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology series, but there will definitely be two original mascot characters. It also looks like there’ll be a fairly robust cast list with cameos from other games, with Asbel (Graces, Sophie (Graces), Lloyd (Symphonia), Guy (Abyss), Natalia (Abyss), Flynn (Vesperia), Norma (Legendia) and Rubia (Tempest) all confirmed as party members.

The most intriguing part is that Tales of the World: Tactics Union is going to be a first for the Tales of the World series. It’s a turn-based, strategic RPG. Players will go into a battle, direct party members to move along a grid and hope that their side is the last one standing. Each character will retain some of their special skills from their original adventures, which can then be used against their new enemies.

Now, let’s elaborate on the sort-of free-to-play thing. It is free, only technically it’s not. People in Japan who are part of the ¥390 (~$4.88) KDDI Android device au Smart Pass app service can play it for free. (KDDI is a Japanese mobile carrier, in case that part left you flumoxed.) If you’re not part of that, you can’t play at all. There’ll also be a cash shop, which is expected because every free-to-play game has a cash shop with extra items.

Odds are, we won’t see Tales of the World: Tactics Union outside Japan. It’s a shame, because it seems interesting, but sometimes these things happen.

Image Source: Famitsu

Read [Famitsu (Japanese)]

Popularity: 2% [?]

Japan Import: Goodbye Aqua Blue 3DS

May 12, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Goodbye Aqua Blue 3DS

It’s the end of an era people! The 3DS is only just about a year old, but one of its color schemes is going into the vault! Nintendo has decided to retire the Aqua Blue 3DS in Japan. Which pretty much means once the Aqua Blue 3DS units on Japanese store shelves are gone, that’s probably it. People would have to settle for the black, pink, red, white or Cobalt Blue model instead.

From what it sounds like, that color scheme will stop being made before the end of the month in Japan. Nintendo of America has yet to release a statement to say if this discontinuation will carry over to North America, Europe and Australia. I wouldn’t be surprised if it does, but you never know. On the plus side, it could make your ordinary blue 3DS a lot more valuable.

Not that it matters. I doubt there’s going to be some mad run to collect the last Aqua Blue 3DS units. Especially since Japan already has 3DS units in Cobalt Blue. People will just have to settle for a slightly darker color. Of course, if this happens here, then prospective 3DS owners will have no other “blue” options, but I think they’ll survive.

By the way, did I ever mention how awkward it is to write a store where you have to talk about multiple 3DS systems? It’s just so tempting to go with 3DSes, even though it sounds and looks horrible. Which do you prefer, 3DSes or 3DS units?

Read [Nintendo 3DS (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

Important Importables Review: Gunners Heart for Windows

May 12, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Gunners Heart for Windows

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Title: Gunners Heart
Price: $19.95
System(s): Windows
Release Date: June 5, 2009
Publisher (Developer): DHM Interactive (EasyGameStation)
ESRB Rating: N/A. PEGI 7 for ages 7 and up.
Pros: Graphics are good for a doujin game. Easy to play, even if you are playing the original Japanese version. Can upgrade your gunner and get items. Each gunner has different kinds of weapons. Two people can play, or you can have the computer control a second ship to help you. New Game+ lets you keep unlocked weapons. 20 levels to play through.
Cons: Story is practically non-existant. You will need to learn to how use some weapons correctly on your own, as the game doesn’t explain much. Targeting enemies with some weapons is troublesome, even after you learn how to aim properly. No unlimited continues. Each level is really short. Spamming barrel rolls can make your ship overheat.
Overall Score: 7/10

EasyGameStation has got it good. After all, most Japanese doujin game makers don’t expect to become world famous developers, but titles like Recettear and Chantelise have helped the company get the recognition it deserves. The funny thing is, Gunners Heart proves that EasyGameStation has always been this good and deserving of recognition, even back when it was creating original sequels to existing games.

Everybody wants this necklace!

Since Gunners Heart is an on-rails doujin shooter, story isn’t really a big deal. You don’t have to worry about feeling left out if you didn’t play SkyGunner. All you really need to know is that Ciel, Copain, Femme and Rival are pilots who fly gunners, which are sort of like planes, but also look like hang-gliders. In the previous game, the first three were pretty much established as defenders of the town of Rive, fighting against a main name Ventre and his Poulets who want to cause all kinds of trouble for people. Rival was, well, their rival.

In Gunners Heart, our quartet has come across a pendant artifact that is apparently Very Valuable. So much so that Ventre has returned with his Poulets and two new, female agents to try and steal it from Ciel, Copain, Femme and Rival. Which means each level has players picking one of our crew of heroes to take flight and try and shoot down Ventre and his agents and keep them away from the artifact. It’s not particularly memorable or riviting, but the character art is cute.

Not terribly memorable, but still quite entertaining.

Gunners Heart is a pretty basic, on-rails shooter. Which means it’s pretty different from the original game, which allowed players to fly pretty much anywhere they wanted. Still, for this entry the on-rails thing works really well. The goal is, after all, to defeat as many enemies as possible, chaining together attacks if possible, to earn a huge score and tons of coins so you can buy items and upgrades for your gunners. This way, all you have to worry about is dodging, moving, aiming and shooting. Plus, it means that EasyGameStation was able to put together a better looking game, since the level runs are all predetermined.

It also staves off the curse of repetitiveness by offering an assortment of characters and weapons. While you only start off with Ciel and Femme, you eventually can use Ciel, Femme, Copain and Rival on story missions, with each having different weapons. Granted, the controls are always the same and it isn’t like you need certain characters to take down specific enemies or bosses, but having a choice is refreshing and does provide some incentive to return to the game. Plus it’s quite easy to control, meaning you’ll have no problem using your keyboard to fly through the skies and take down opponents.

The only thing that may trip up your overall experience is the rather common adjustment periods. For example, you’ll take some time getting adjusted to how the different secondary weapons work, like missiles and bombs. That’s because your standard gun automatically aims, but most of the secondary weapons tended to require you to manually aim at the enemy you wanted to hit. Which means wasting valuable time trying to get your enemy in your sights. That, combined with Gunners Heart not offering much time to adapt to using different kinds of equipment can make playing a little difficult.

Bosses also require a bit of thought as EasyGameStation took care to ensure they’re more challenging than the standard opponents. Each one has a certain kind of gimmick to defeat and they gradually get more difficult. It’s good, because it does end up requiring more thought than the rest of the game, but it was also a little frustrating if you decided then was the perfect time to start using a more effective secondary weapon you weren’t terribly familiar.

One final thing to note is that EasyGameStation also went out of its way to ensure players don’t spam secondary weapons and the ever-helpful, bullet-dodging barrel roll. Each time you do a barrel roll to avoid enemy fire or use a special weapon, the temperature of your gunner goes up. You can see how hot your ship is by looking at a gauge near your character’s portrait. Gunners Heart is somewhat similar to PixelJunk Shooter as a hot ship is a susceptible ship. It won’t directly kill you, but it could indirectly get you killed as overheating means you can’t do anything for a short while until your ship cools down. While I do think it was a good idea to tie that gauge to the extra weapons, I was disapppointed to see it connected to barrel rolls since that’s a necessary function that I found I often needed to dodge waves of bullets in later levels.

A fun little shooter that you don’t have to think about.

Lighthearted is pretty much the perfect word to describe Gunners Heart. It’s a cute little game that isn’t terribly taxing or challenging, but still can bring a lot of joy to someone who takes the time to sit down with it and tackle a few missions. Granted, there may be some adjustment necessary to get used to using various weapons and the story isn’t stellar, but it’s an entertaining time-sink. Besides, it provides EasyGameStation fans a chance to see what one of the developer’s earlier games looked like, so they can appreciate how far the company has come.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks quickly over Girls RPG: Cinderellife, and why it will probably never get a North American release..

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about EasyGameStation games.

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

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Japan Import: Crystal White Vita coming in June

May 10, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Crystal White Vita coming in June

Time for the least exciting news ever. A new Vita color is coming to Japan! It isn’t a flashy or pretty though. There aren’t even any special designs on it. No, the next Vita is just a plain, old, Crystal White variation. I guess you can consider it special because it has been dubbed Crystal White, whereas the current Vita color is only referred to as Black.

This new Vita isn’t available just yet. It hits Japanese stores on June 28, 2012. People who waited will be able to grab the standard Wi-Fi version for ¥24,980 (~$313), while the Wi-Fi/3G version will cost ¥29,980 (~$375). In each case, that purchase just gets you the system and any necessary cords. You still have to buy a memory card and games.

If you do want a Crystal White bundle, you’ll have to wait a few weeks until August 30, 2012. That’s when the Next Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Vita bundle will be released. That gets you the game, a Hatsune Miku AR card to use with it, a 4gb memory card, a decorative sheet with Miku that can go over the Vita’s rear touch pad and, of course, the Crystal White system. You’re really going to have to pay for that kind of luxury though, as this bundle will cost either ¥34,980 (~$438) or ¥39,800 (~$498), depending on the kind of Vita you want.

The Vita is a region-free system so you could import this new color of the handheld, but I strongly recommend waiting. While North America often doesn’t get the fancy color DS, 3DS or PSP units, I think we will eventually see the Crystal White Vita here. After all, Sony released the white PSP in North America as part of a bundle. Be patient and maybe you can save yourself some money.

Read [ (Japanese)]

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E3 2012: GamerTell’s localization predictions

May 6, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

E3 2012: GamerTell’s localization predictions

E3′s only a month away! It’s time to get excited. More important, it’s time to start speculating. A lot of Japanese games are out there that haven’t been announced for worldwide releases yet, and there’s a good chance some of them could end up being “surprises” announced at the show. Which means now is a good time to think about some of those games and consider if they’re possible candidates for possibly getting released outside Japan.

So I decided it’s time for some more localization predictions! I’m going through some games that could show up. That way, you’ll have an idea of what to look forward to and hope will show up at the show.

Sure Things:

  • Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS): This is a given. It’s selling well in Japan and Nintendo’s already called dibs on a Fire Emblem: Awakening website. I’m guessing the announcement will be one of the highlights of Nintendo’s press conference.
  • Monster Hunter 3G (3DS): Over 470,000 copies were sold in the first two days after it debuted in Japan and most of the translation’s already done since it’s an enhanced version of Monster Hunter Tri. Oh yeah, we’re getting it.
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PSP): Atlus hasn’t let us down yet when it comes to Persona games, and I’m sure they’ll make sure we get the PSP port of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. E3′d be as good a time as any to announce it.
  • Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney (3DS): A worldwide, simultaneous release of this adventure game would be a thing of beauty, and entirely possible if Capcom and Level-5 work together.
  • Tales of Xillia (PS3): Namco Bandai’s all about showing love for the Tales series now and Xillia is supposed to be one of the best entries yet. This would be an absolutely perfect E3 2012 surprise.

  • Possibilities:

    • Atelier Ayesha (PS3): NIS America’s been pretty awesome about bringing Atelier games to North America. Odds are they’ll snap up Atelier Ayesha, so this is really a matter if “when” rather than “if.” I’m guessing we wouldn’t see this until E3 2013, but NIS America could surprise us and announce it early.
    • Beyond the Labyrinth (3DS): JRPGs were plentiful on the DS, and they’re migrating to the 3DS as well. It wouldn’t be totally surprising to see some publisher pick up this pretty dungeon crawler with turn-based battles. I could see a company like Atlus, Aksys or XSEED taking a chance on it.
    • Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterflies (Wii): Nintendo of America took a chance on Spirit Camera, the Fatal Frame spin-off, but that really wasn’t a great game and could hurt the chances of us getting the Wii port of Fatal Frame 2. However, it is already confirmed for Europe so who knows.
    • Final Fantasy Type-0 (PSP): The one thing FF Type-0 has against it is that it’s on the PSP, and it’s practically dead. Unless Square Enix decides to make this a PlayStation Store exclusive, we probably won’t see it.
    • Pandora’s Tower (Wii): This is the last Project Rainfall Wii RPG. The Wii is nearing the end of its life, but let’s hope Wii U backwards compatibility convinces Nintendo or some other company to take a chance on it.
    • Rune Factory 4 (3DS): It’s could be a bit early to announce since it isn’t out in Japan yet, but I’m sure Natsume or XSEED will make sure North America gets Rune Factory 4.
    • Tales of Hearts (DS): I’m tempted to say there’s no chance we’ll see this, since it’s a DS game, but there is always a chance Namco Bandai could release it as a 3DS eShop exclusive.
    • Tales of Innocence R (Vita): The DS version of Tales of Innocence was a really great RPG. Combine that with Namco Bandai’s desire to support the Tales series now and there’s a good chance Tales of Innocence R could be revealed at E3.
    • Tokyo Jungle (PS3): The idea of helping animals survive in a post-apocolyptic Tokyo, with one of the stars being the cutest video game Pomerian since Ghost Trick‘s Missile, seems like just the kind of crazy game that could develop a cult following. Especially since you can play through missions or just go through a survival mode as an unlocked animal.

    • Long Shots:

      • Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (3DS): Call it a gut feeling, but I don’t think Square Enix would consider any localization plans for Bravely Default before seeing how the game performs in Japan.
      • Conception: Please Have My Babies (PSP): Spike Chunsoft may have issued an English language press release indicating interest in releasing Conception overseas, but somehow I don’t think North American publishers are ready to take a chance on a PSP dating sim-RPG about making Star Children to send into dungeons to fight demons.
      • Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife (3DS): Abysmal sales in Japan, lots of cross-over characters and the fact that it’s a hostess simulator mean we’ll probably never see Cinderellife outside Japan.
      • Next Hatsune Miku: Project Diva (Vita): As awesome as Sega’s Hatsune Miku music games are, especially since they let you import your own songs, the virtual idol doesn’t have enough of a following to guarantee an English release for this.
      • Project X Zone (3DS): This isn’t even out in Japan yet, so I think it’s way too early to hear a North American announcement. Besides, there could end up being licensing issues, like there were with Jump Ultimate Stars, that could keep this trapped in Japan.

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Important Importables: EasyGameStation games

May 6, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: EasyGameStation games

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North America and Europe aren’t the only regions that have indie games to rely upon. People from every country do their best to make something special that delivers a message and entertains people. In Japan, these kinds of games are called doujin games. EasyGameStation is one of these doujin developers that’s become so well known and successful that it’s not only famous in Japan, but worldwide due to some of it’s amazing experiments. So today in Hot Japanese Imports, we’re going to salute them by looking at some of the best EasyGameStation games.


Recettear is EasyGameStation’s most well known release, thanks to Carpe Fulgar’s English localization. It’s also considered by many (including me) to be the developer’s best game. Of course, it’s no wonder why. Recettear is an original tale that mashes up simulation and action RPG games with one of the funniest scripts ever.

See, Recette’s dad took off and left her with a mound of debt. She has to pay it off, with the help of a fairy named Tear that’s watching her progress and making sure she actually pays it. To get that done, she decides to open an item shop for adventurers. This means part of the game tasks players with going through dungeons, battling monsters with adventurers to get items to sell, while the other part has them running a shop and selling those acquired items at a huge markup to customers. People can even play an endless mode with no time limits or other requirements after beating the main game.

If you’re interested, you can grab Recettear right now. It’s on Steam for $19.99.


Another pleasant and popular EasyGameStation hit is Chantelise, an original action RPG that’s already been released outside of Japan. Like Recettear, it focuses on the adventures of two heroines and involves a fairy, but this time the story’s a bit more serious and there’s more of a focus on the action RPG battles.

Chante and Elise are sisters who’ve fallen victim to a witch’s curse. As a result, Chante was turned into a magic-using fairy. Fortunately, Elise is a swordsgirl and the two can battle their way through dungeons to find out what’s going on and obtain a cure. The two make the local town of Town their base of operations and set out to explore the local areas and beat down bosses. (Expect a few good twists in the storyline!)

Most interesting is the magic system. Chante is the magic user and casts spells by stocking up on colored gems dropped by defeated enemies. So while players control Elise, they can occasionally direct Chante to use magic attacks based on the gems collected.

Chantelise is available in English thanks to Carpe Fulgar and I highly recommend it. You can pick it up on Steam for $9.99.

Gunner’s Heart

Gunner’s Heart is going to surprise people because it isn’t an action, RPG or even general adventure game like the other four EasyGameStation games we’re looking at today. Instead, it’s an on-rails shooter that was designed to be an unofficial sequel to the PlayStation 2 game SkyGunner, by PixelArts. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Atlus actually released it in North America back in 2002.

Gunner’s Heart brings Ciel, Femme, Copain and Rival back as playable characters for an all new adventure concerning a mysterious pendant that the threatening Ventre and his minions, as well as many other people, want.

It’s pretty easy to play. You fly your plane along the track, trying to shoot down enemies while avoiding being shot. It’s been translated into English, just like Chantelise and Recettear, and can be bought at GamersGate for $19.95.

Duo Princess

Our final EasyGameStation highlight of the day is one that isn’t available in English, at least officially. One of the developer’s first games was Duo Princess, a direct sequel to the Square Enix PS1 game Threads of Fate. It stars the two princesses from the original, Mint, who was always playable, and Maya, who is playable for the first time.

While the original Threads of Fate was a straightforward action RPG, Duo Princess is more of a general action game with a few mild RPG elements. For example, you don’t level up, but Mint and Maya can find new magic spells and do occasionally need to collect items to restore their hit points and mana points.

It is sad that there’s no official translation, but people willing to find and pay for an import copy can still have hope. There’s an in-progress fan translation with a released patch from Kaneda. You should be able to get by using that.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews Gunner’s Heart for Windows PC.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports went over everything we know about Tokyo Jungle.

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