Hot Japanese Imports: Nanashi no Game review for DS

August 10, 2009 - 4:28 pm No Comments

Nanashi no Game

Title: Nanashi no Game
Price: $48.90
System(s): DS
Release Date: July 3, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Square Enix (Square Enix)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero C (Ages 15+)
Pros: Interesting how you shift between the RPG and “real world” for assistance and answers, The real world portion looks very realistic. The game world even has fake glitches, a nice touch. The in-game DS unit is really cool. Good ambiance formed by the game’s surroundings and sound.
Cons: Your character moves very slowly. Storyline is incredibly similar to The Ring.
Overall Score: 8/10

While North American and European gamers have been seeing the typical Square Enix fare recently, that is Final Fantasy ports/spin-offs/entries, the perpetuation of existing series like Kingdom Hearts and the occasional new title like The World Ends with You, Japan’s been seeing more unusual items. Nanashi no Game the first entry in a DS horror series from Square Enix, is one of those games.

Since Nanashi no Game‘s sequel, Nanashi no Game: Me, is going to making it’s Japanese debut soon, I figured now would be a good time to borrow and review a friend’s copy of Nanashi no Game.

Nanashi no Game

If you want to live, better learn how to play the game

If you’ve seen the horror movie The Ring, Nanashi no Game’s plot may sound a bit familiar. You’re a student who has stumbled upon the nameless RPG that carries a curse. Everyone who plays it dies within seven days if they can’t beat the game.

The trick is that you don’t really get to play the game, per say. The game is very glitchy and such, since it isn’t an official release. Instead it acts as an assistant of sorts to help you solve real world puzzles and challenges that pop up due to the fact that you chose to play the game. You will play it a bit, but for the most part it’s your aide in attempting to survive.

You’ve decided to team up with your friend to uncover the truth behind all of the nameless game related deaths, try to prevent new fatalities and perhaps break the curse behind the game.

Nanashi no Game

Sufficiently scary and a trifle short.

Nanashi no Game is about two things, ambiance and immersion. Fortunately, it succeeds in both areas. The way the game is presented, where the RPG takes place on one screen in the standard DS mode, and the investigation and “real world” actions take place on both screens and the DS is held like a book. When you bring up your in-game DS menu, you can read mail or play the “game.” The real world aspect looks incredibly vivid and realistic, and the music and noises are quite eerie and often chilling.

There’s also quite an interesting story behind the game. The reasons for the curse is not only horrifying, but also a bit sad. Nanashi no Game’s “villain” is a tragic figure, so you almost feel sad, despite the fact that this villain has cursed everyone behind the game.

One thing to note is that Nanashi no Game is quite short, at least for a Square Enix game. I finished it after playing for about five days, and typically a Square Enix game takes me over a week to complete. Of course, given that it’s an adventure/horror game, the shortness sort fits given the genre. It’d also probably be a bit unbelieveable if it took you more than seven days to defeat a game where you have seven days to beat a game.

There was an aspect I didn’t appreciate, and that is how your character moves through the “real world” in Nanashi no Game. Walking isn’t even an appropriate description. Crawling would be more accurate. A walking pace is achieved by pressing forward on the directional pad and tapping the touch screen at the same time. I’m sure Square Enix did this to try and build up suspense, or make players more panicked as they struggled to escape a ghostly apparition. Sorry, in practice, it doesn’t work like that. It’s only frustrating! Multiple times I’ve had a ghost end my character’s life because I couldn’t move fast enough to get away.

Nanashi no Game

Japanese-speaking DS owners looking for a horror game will be quite pleased.

I’m tempted to call Nanashi no Game a leisurely sort of horror game, if there is such a thing. While there are the occasional heart pounding risks and ghost chase scenes, it’s more about puzzle solving and exploration. One thing’s for sure, it certainly is an unsettling game. Personally, I’m hoping Square Enix decides to surprise North American and European gamers with a localization, now that it’s become a series.

Also, if you’re someone who likes to import games, don’t import Nanashi no Game unless you’re good at reading Japanese. Since my kanji skills are lacking, I often had to call my friend over to assist me in my adventures and translate words I didn’t understand.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables will be a day late next week, running on Saturday with a review of Ponyo, the English language version of Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables looked at games inspired by Sugar Sugar Rune.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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