Archive for August, 2012

Japan Import: HarmoKnight could follow Theatrhythm’s success

August 30, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: HarmoKnight could follow Theatrhythm’s success

The Nintendo Direct conference held in Japan on August 29, 2012 was full of 3DS game announcements. One is a bit of a surprise from GameFreak, the company known for all things Pokemon. It seems like Nintendo perhaps got a bit jealous from all the attention Square Enix got with Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, it’s music game with RPG elements, because now HarmoKnight is on its way to the 3DS eShop.

HarmoKnight seems to be an action RPG where you have to keep to the beat to win. Of course, it also looks like it could be a general action game with music elements. I guess we’ll have to see more as time passes. The player controls the titular HarmoKnight, who has to go through various levels around the fantasy world. The trick is that he’ll only be most successful in his battles and explorations if the buttons are pressed in time to the beat.

Here’s a fun little extra. I watched some of the Nintendo Direct conference footage about HarmoKnight. Some of the music sounded like something I’d heard in Pokemon Diamond or Black. So maybe GameFreak will be sneakng some classics into its new app.

A HarmoKnight release date has yet to be announced. Since it’s coming to the eShop and seems pretty far along, we might see it before 2012 ends. Odds are, it’ll be released in all regions, since it is an official Nintendo game and has a premise that should be pretty well accepted everywhere.

Read [4Gamer.net (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

Japan Import: Pink x White 3DS LL is just so sweet

August 30, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Pink x White 3DS LL is just so sweet

The 3DS LL has been out for exactly one month in Japan. I think it’s the perfect time for Nintendo to step in and knock the wind out of some people who already bought one by announcing a new color variation. Well, look at that! No sooner did I mention it, than did Nintendo announce the Pink x White 3DS LL for Japan. It’s kismet, I’m telling you.

The Pink x White 3DS is identical to the current 3DS LL units available in Japan. It’s much bigger than a 3DS and costs ¥18,900 (~$240). The only differences are the colors, since the lid is pastel pink and the insides white, and the fact that it won’t be available until September 27, 2012. (That’s the day Style Savvy: Trendsetter is released in Japan.) Also, it’s about 10% cuter than the normal 3DS LL.

By the way, don’t let the use of the term 3DS LL in this article throw you. That’s just what Nintendo calls 3DS XL units in Japan. I don’t know why it isn’t just called XL there, since that abbreviation is tagged onto the larger unit everywhere else. Maybe it’s something that should be brought up at a press conference or something, because you know that is an important issue.

As always, there’s the region-lock warning to go through. The 3DS is Nintendo’s first region-locked handheld. That means a Japanese 3DS can only play games from Japan and so on. So don’t import a Japanese 3DS unless you’re also willing to import Japanese games for it.

Read [4Gamer.net (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

Japan Import: Tomodachi Collection 3DS lets you make new virtual friends next year

August 30, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Tomodachi Collection 3DS lets you make new virtual friends next year

Let the 3DS region-lock anguish begin. Let me explain. There was an incredibly awesome DS game released during that handheld’s lifespan called Tomodachi Collection. I suppose you could think of it as being similar to The Sims, only with Miis. They had their own little language. You could import friends Miis to the system via the Wii. It was adorable. We never got it, but could import it thanks to it being region-free. The same thing won’t happen with the just announced Tomodachi Collection 3DS when it’s released in Japan early in 2013.

Tomodachi Collection 3DS was one of the new games announced during the Nintendo Direct conference held in Japan. It will basically be a bigger and better version of the original game. You can still import your and your friends’ Miis or create your own, if you’d prefer. You manage their daily lives and even kinda converse with them. The sequel will also allow players to take their Miis out of the barrack-like appartments in which they live so they can go on adventures in surrounding locations.

The original Tomodachi Collection was never localized. Possibly because it came out late in the DS life cycle and would have been quite a bit of trouble to translate. Since it was region-free, that didn’t matter because we could just import a copy, find a guide online if we couldn’t speak Japanese and enjoy. Thanks to region-lock, we can’t do that with the 3DS version of Tomodachi Collection next year. We’ll just have to hope Nintendo decides this quirky life sim is deserving of a larger audience.

Read [4Gamer.net (Japanese)]

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Important Importables: Digimon

August 26, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Digimon

Hot Japanese Imports logo

Okay, so this week I was going to try and simplify the BlazBlue series story. Except when I started to try, I only ended up confusing myself. I had about five paragraphs written up on Calamity Trigger, then realized I messed up and didn’t include some characters and it was a kerfuffle. (Yes, it’s a made up word. Definition? Something one should never, ever attempt to explain in a single column.)

So instead, we’re going to talk about Digimon. It’s the series’ 15th anniversary, after all. Besides, trying to go over its history, games and future will be a lot simpler and won’t give me a headache so terrible that even taking two Aleve won’t help.


From Tamagotchi clone to multimedia phenomenon

If you’re a child of the 80′s and 90′s, you probably remember Digimon’s humble origins. The mid to late 90′s were the time of the virtual pet. While the Tamagotchi was the king, Bandai had a vision. It saw Pokemon taking over the hearts and minds of gamers and saw an opportunity. It could create a Tamagotchi-style virtual pet that would evolve like a pokemon and allow its owner to battle against other Digimon owners. In 1997, the Digimon was born.

Naturally, kids quickly took to the idea. Which meant Bandai couldn’t just stop at Digimon toys. It took the opportunity to flesh out the series and set it apart from the Pokemon and Tamagotchi inspirations by developing anime series and video games that provided an intricate explanation of what Digimon were, how they interacted with people and such. I have to admit, even though Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 came out when I was in high school, I did occasionally watch the show if I woke up early enough on the weekend and it really wasn’t that bad.

Bandai set Digimon apart from Pokemon by making making the Digital World one parallel to our own. In the case of the animes and video games, players were usually some kind of special person who was given a Digivice and the opportunity to be a Tamer in the Digital World. He or she would then acquire a Digi-egg, which would then hatch into one specific Digimon. This Digimon would basically be an intelligent, anthropomorphic sidekick to the player who would fight in battles against bad Digimon or Digimon Tamers called Hackers. The Digimon could also Digivolve to become more powerful versions of their current form. In case you weren’t keeping count, that’s 11 times I had to use some form of the world “digital” to describe how Digimon works.

While Digimon has faded a bit in terms of popularity outside of Japan, it’s still quite successful there. I mean, there have at least four “generations” of the original Digimon virtual pets, six anime series, nine movies, six graphic novels, a card game and 33 video games.

So what’s Namco Bandai doing for the 15th anniversary?

As I mentioned earlier, 2012 is the 15th anniversary of Digimon as a whole. Which means Namco Bandai is going to seize this opportunity to do all kinds of things with the series. For one, a new arc of the Digimon Xros Wars anime series ran earlier this year. The main focus, however, is going to be on video games. Namco Bandai has three new titles planned. One has already just been released, one will be out in a few weeks and the other will be out next year. Odds are, none will probably be released outside of Japan, but that’s okay because all three games are on region-free devices.

The game that’s already available is Digimon Re:Digitize for the PSP. It actually just came out last month and features a whole new cast and concept. In this variation of Digimon, Taiga is a teenager who plays a Digimon MMO. He then gets pulled into the game, where he must work with Agumon to become strong and protect the Digital World. As usual, there are virtual pet elements as well as battling. Not to mention Taiga can occasionally befriend other Digimon and have more partners. It’s also quite notable because Lili from Tekken makes an appearance, as do Taichi and Sora from the original Digimon Adventure anime.

Digimon Crusader is the second game that will be out soon for iOS owners. It’s based on the Digimon card game and allows you to battle against Digimon or other players with your own Digimon cards to see who’s strongest.

Finally, there’s Digimon Adventure. This is the one that will capture the hearts of people who grew up with Digimon. That’s because it’s an RPG based on the original anime series of the same name. Details aren’t really available yet, since this PSP game was only just announced, but it looks like players will definitely be controlling Taichi and Agumon in the game.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports will review the Vita import game Dokuro, if it arrives from Play-Asia as expected.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports offered a brief overview of Rune Factory’s past and future.

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

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Japan Import: PS3 gets weirder thanks to Dream Club Complete Edipyon

August 24, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: PS3 gets weirder thanks to Dream Club Complete Edipyon


Prepare for a massive eyeroll! D3 Publisher is rereleasing Dream Club. The hostess dating sim was originally an Xbox 360 exclusive, but has been sneaking around with Sony handhelds over the last few years. Now, the exclusive relationship has been irrevokably shattered as Dream Club Complete Edipyon heads to the PS3. How disgraceful!

And yes, I really did mean to write edipyon. D3 Publisher’s using that in place of “edition,” probably because it’s supposed to be catchy.

In case you somehow missed it when gaming websites went crazy talking about this weird game, Dream Club involves players visiting a hostess club. They spend money on drinks/food/gifts for the girls and play mini-games with them in the hopes of eventually becoming the boyfriend of one of them. Bad endings involve being friend-zoned or kicked out of the club.

Here’s what we know will be on the Dream Club Complete Edipyon release so far. It will definitely have the Xbox 360 content. It will also have some Dream Club Zero‘s mini-games, though so far only the suggestive banana-feeding game has been confirmed. I’m guessing it will also include all of the original Dream Club outfit DLC. I mean, it is called the complete edition, and when a company says that they tend to include DLC from previous releases.

The PS3 is region-free so if you need a hostess club dating sim with newly added, mildly perverted mini-games in it, Dream Club Complete Edipyon could be your game. It’ll be out before 2012 ends, so you could even make it a Christmas present to yourself. Just don’t go in immediately expecting to be awesome. While there are plenty of mini-games, it’s a dating sim at its core and those are text heavy and winning over the character you want can be more difficult than you’d expect.

Read [Hachimaki Blog (Japanese)]

Popularity: 2% [?]

It looks like The World Ends with You will get a sequel

August 22, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

It looks like The World Ends with You will get a sequel


A heavenly choir is singing from above thanks to Square Enix. The World Ends with You, a fantastic and original DS game, seems to be getting a sequel. This was hinted at multiple times, due to the success of the original game and the appearance of the original TWEWY cast in Kingdom Hearts 3D, but it now seems to be pretty much confirmed thanks to a new countdown website.

The mystery site truely is a mystery, but some familiar visual cues and web address help us out. First, the website address has “subaseka” in it. The original The World Ends with You was called Subarashiki Kono Sekai (It’s a Wonderful World). Shorten that and you get “subaseka.” The lettering for the countdown clock is another major factor, as it’s the same font used in the original TWEWY. Enable the background music and you get dance-pop-techno that sounds like one of the battle or background themes from TWEWY. Even the darkened background scenery looks like the stylized Shibuya from the original.

The countdown ends on August 26, 2012. Then we’ll know what this mysterious “subaseka” site game is for certain. I’m genuinely hoping for a brand new game, with new characters, that continues the story and mythos of The World Ends with You. However, after seeing how good the original cast looked in 3D in KH3D, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if could even be an updated port/remake of TWEWY. Either way, I’d still buy it.

The only thing that’s probably certain is the platform. The World Ends with You was a DS game and I’m sure the sequel would be on the 3DS. You really do need two screens to play this, after all, since in battle your partner fights on the top screen and your hero/heroine fights on the bottom.

Site [Square Enix Countdown Site (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

Atelier Totori Plus could be coming to the Vita

August 18, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Atelier Totori Plus could be coming to the Vita


It’s time for a rumor! Books.com.tw is a website in Taiwan that sells books and video games. It’s just put up a listing for Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland. It’s labeled as a Vita game and is set for a November 29, 2012 release. The thing is, Gust hasn’t announced Atelier Totori Plus yet. Oh snap!

It looks like we’ve got a retail leak on our hands here! There are two Atelier Totori Plus product listings available at Books.com.tw and they’re still online despite people saying, “Hey! There’s a product listing for an announced game there!” Neither listing has any details on the game itself, other than saying it’s for the Vita and one will be a special edition.

Atelier Totori followed a young alchemist named Totori. She’s the student of the previous Arland series star, Rorona. Totori’s mother was an Arland adventurer who disappeared years ago on a mission. Totori knows in her heart that her mom is still alive, so she decides to become an adventurer too and to use her alchemy abilities to explore the entire continent and surround islands to look for traces of her mom. What you do, who Totori socializes with and how many things she accomplishes influences which ending you can get. Pro tip: getting a good ending is really hard and usually won’t happen on the first playthrough.

Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland is the second game in the Arland Atelier trilogy that appeared on the PS3. The first followed Atelier Rorona as she learned to become an alchemist and save her shop in Arland. The third centered on Atelier Meruru as she developed her family’s kingdom through alchemy. While Totori didn’t appear in the first game, she plays a prominent role as Meruru’s teacher in the third. I played each of the three Arland saga games twice and would definitely go back for a third run-through since each has multiple endings.

Let’s hope that Atelier Totori Plus is a sure thing and actually happens. Then, if and when it does, let’s hope NIS America decides to help us Vita owners out again by bringing it to North America!

Read [Game Jouhou (Japanese)] Via [Gematsu] Product Page [Books.com.tw]

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Japanese Pokemon Centers getting Pikachu 3DS XLs

August 18, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japanese Pokemon Centers getting Pikachu 3DS XLs


Why does Japan always get all the cutest things? Why can’t people in North America or Europe get something cute or exclusive too? My latest lament comes courtesy of the new Pikachu 3DS XL. It’s a super special, limited edition 3DS that will only appear in Japan at the official Pokemon Centers. Those are the stores that only carry pokemon merchandise.

Anyways, you can see the Pikachu 3DS XL above. It has Pikachu happily grinning on the front, posed like he’s coming in for a hug. If you flip the system over, you can see his tail on the back. The lid and base are both yellow, while the insides and stylus are white. It’s adorable beyond belief.

If you like the Pikachu 3DS XL and feel like you must have it, you’ll have to jump through hoops and spend lots of money. This is actually referred to as a 3DS LL, which means it’s a Japan-only unit. Thanks to Nintendo and their decision to region-lock this system, it means you’ll be spending ¥18,900 (~$238) on a system that can only play Japanese 3DS games. You’ll also have to find someone to place the pre-order for you and pick it up, as you have to pre-order it at a Japanese Pokemon Center between August 25-September 14, 2012, and then pick it up on September 15, 2012. If you don’t pre-order, you don’t get one.

I have to say that this is definitely the cutest 3DS yet. I’m not sure if it’s the best looking DS, because there were a lot of great looking Japan-exclusives, but it beats out all the other available 3DS units.

Read [4Gamer.net (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

Important Importables: Rune Factory

August 12, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Rune Factory

Hot Japanese Imports logo

If you keep up with GamerTell, you’ve probably noticed we’ve got a few Rune Factory fans on staff. We’ve got a soft spot for the game where players typically play some initially hapless man (or even woman) who winds up in a small town that not only is surrounded by dungeons filled with monsters, but also has a farm where he (or she) can live rent free.

So let’s celebrate the series this Friday! After all, a new entry in the series is out. We can look back at where Rune Factory has been, and then look forward to see where the series is going.

How did Rune Factory get started?

Rune Factory is a Harvest Moon spin-off. It was actually released as a way to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the original series in Japan. Harvest Moon was released on the NES in 1996, and then Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon was released on the DS in 2006. Yoshifumi Hashimoto, the game’s producer, also cited Dragon Quest as a major influence.

That initial experiment in blending farming and dungeon crawling went really well for Neverland Co. Ltd, the developers, and Marvelous Entertainment. It was well received, which lead to a sequel with a new hero and set in a new town. Meanwhile, a direct sequel to the original game called Rune Factory Frontier appeared on the Wii. Since then, Rune Factory 3 has also appeared on the DS and Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny brought the series again to the Wii and for the first time to the PS3.

In more good news, almost every game has been released worldwide. You can get Rune Factory 1-3 and the console releases in North America, Japan and Europe. Australians only have access to the first two Rune Factory DS games, but since the DS is region-free, they can always import Rune Factory 3.

Personally, I’d say Rune Factory and Rune Factory 3 are the best entries in the series. Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny is quite good as well, but it’s light on the farming elements. Rune Factory 2 is interesting, especially with the generation mechanic, but it isn’t as strong as the other handheld Rune Factory games. As for Rune Factory Frontier, I’d only suggest it to serious Rune Factory fans as it has a complicated and often frustrating farming system that requires the finding and gathering of sprites called Runeys.

So what’s next for the series?

I’m happy to report that the Rune Factory series is still going strong. The next entry was just released on July 19, 2012 in Japan! It’s Rune Factory 4 and will be headed to the 3DS on , 2012. The basic formula of the game is still the same. There will farming, relationship building and action RPG elements. A few new tweaks are making the formula fresh.

The biggest change is that there will be a male or female protagonist right from the outset. The only other game with an option like that is Rune Factory 2, and that only happened in the second generation. The second is a city management aspect, as your hero or heroine is royalty. He or she is the prince or princess of the realm, and as such has other obligations aside from farming and networking. Finally, there will be monsters that, when defeated, transform into people your avatar can marry. I suppose the addition of some slight steampunk elements is a pretty big deal, as there happens to be an airship in the introduction.

Speaking of marriage, the relationship aspects have been altered to make Rune Factory 4 more realistic. Your character will now be able to date bachelors or bachelorettes. This is called the lover state and the hero or heroine can have multiple lovers. The game will even zoom in when a romantic moment comes up. When the time for marrige comes, you can have your character marry whoever he or she wants.

Of course, it being on the 3DS means there will be optional 3D as well, but I doubt that matters much to real Rune Factory fans.

Sadly, importing isn’t an option unless you have a Japanese 3DS, due to the 3DS region-locking. Let’s hope Natsume picks it up!

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports explains BlazBlue’s story, so you’ll be ready for Chrono Phantasma.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about the Silent Hill games that never left Japan.

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

Popularity: 1% [?]

Japan Import: Style Savvy 3DS includes men and women’s clothing

August 10, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Style Savvy 3DS includes men and women’s clothing

Did you just hear a squeal of delight? That was me! I proudly admit it. That’s because the first trailer for the 3DS sequel to Style Savvy just hit Japan. Wagamama Fashion Girl’s Mode: Yokubari Sengen! is in development and will eventually be available as a download and on 3DS cartridges. Don’t let the name throw you, as the that’s what the series is called in Japan. (The first game was Wagamama Fashion Girl’s Mode.)

The trailer doesn’t show much in-game footage. We see some video that could be from a fashion show, make up and the dress-up simulations, but mainly it’s about putting out a vibe. The only really new and crucial information involves men. For the first time in the series, players can sell/design/style men’s clothing! As silly as it sounds, I’m excited about hosting a boutique that will appeal to both genders.

Here’s the first trailer, so you can see what Style Savvy for the 3DS will have in store. (Yes, pun intended!)

We still don’t know when this Style Savvy sequel will hit Japan or if it will make it North America. I hope it does! The original game was a fun store and fashion simulation! The only thing that would have made the original better was an otome element.

The sad thing is, we won’t be able to import Wagamama Fashion Girl’s Mode: Yokubari Sengen! if Nintendo doesn’t pick it up. The 3DS is region-locked, so only people with Japanese 3DS systems will be able to play Japanese version of the game. Curse you region lock!

Read [Andriasang] Site [Wagamama Fashion Girl's Mode: Yokubari Sengen! (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

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