Important Importables: Marvelous Entertainment

February 4, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Marvelous Entertainment

Every once in a while, it’s nice to look back at a developer or publisher to learn more about them and acknowledge the good they’ve done in bringing people worthwhile games to play. A major player in Japan is Marvelous Entertainment. Surprisingly, people may not realize that Marvelous may have even had a hand in getting games released in North America and Europe as well. So let’s take some time to relax and look briefly at Marvelous and some Marvelous games you should be playing.

Well, that’s just Marvelous!

The first thing you have to know about Marvelous has one of the best company names ever. I mean, it’s Marvelous Entertainment! You can’t beat that.

Next, you have to know that it’s involved in more than just the video game industry. It produces TV shows, movies, plays and also owns the Artland animation studio and Delfi Sound studio. So while we’re focusing on its gaming presence today, it’s good to know that the company creates lots of good things.

Also, Marvelous Entertainment is primarily a publisher. While it’s true that it has been involved in the development of some games, mainly entries in the Harvest Moon series, it mainly acts as a publisher for other developers’ games. It has worked quite frequently with Imageepoch, Neverland, Hudson Soft, ArtePiazza, Vanillaware and Grasshopper Manufacture. So while you may not see Marvelous’ name on the box of the game you’re playing, there’s still a good chance it had something to do with its creation.

Marvelous Entertainment also does a lot of work outside of Japan. It established Rising Star Games, its European branch, back in 2004 with Bergsala AB. That way, it could have an easier game of getting its games into Europe. It sold its part of Rising Star Games in 2010, though it still works with the company on occasion. Then, in 2005, Marvelous acquired AQ Interactive and turned it into Marvelous Entertainment USA. In addition, it has a co-publishing partnership with the U.S. based XSEED games that started back in 2008. The company also allows other companies, like Natsume and Atlus, to publish its games so a larger audience can enjoy them.

These are Marvelous games.

If there’s one series that is practically synonymous with Marvelous, it’s Harvest Moon. It’s the company’s hallmark series, including the Rune Factory spin-off, and is part of the reason why the company has become as successful as it is. It happened with good reason too. Despite the occasional small bug or glitch, the Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games are mostly solid, well made and entertaining adventures for people who want to play a farming-life sim or take part in an action RPG that occasionally asks you to farm or make friends.

Those aren’t the only games the company is responsible for, as it’s had a number of incredible games released throughout the years. Here are a few in particular that are available in English and deserve some love.

  • Avalon Code (DS): The world is ending, and players must catalog everything in a massive book so it can be remade after the apocolypse and everything restored. It is an action RPG and was released in North America in 2008.
  • Contact (DS): The player is using the DS to “control” a boy named Terry and make him help a mysterious Professor collect power cells while avoiding CosmoNOT terrorists. It is an action RPG and was released in North America in 2006.
  • Fate/Extra (PSP): A young man or woman finds him or herself caught up in the Holy Grail War. Only with the help of a Servant can the new magus survive and perhaps have one wish granted. It is a turn-based RPG and was released in North America in 2011.
  • Half-Minute Hero (PSP): Players control a hero, evil lord, princess or knight and get each of them through 30 second adventures to save the world. It has RPG, strategy, action and shooter modes and was released in North America in 2009. It was updated and ported to the Xbox 360 as an XBLA title in 2011.
  • Little King’s Story (Wii): Corobo is the newly crowned king of Alpoko and it is up to him to get his followers to build up the kingdom to make it a wonderful place to live. It is a combination life sim and real time strategic RPG and was released in North America in 2009.
  • Luminous Arc (DS): People in the Cardinal Kingdom and throughout the world are taught witches are bad, but a young knight named Leon and his friends learn there’s more to the story and the world is in danger. It is a strategic RPG with visual novel elements and was released in North America in 2007.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii): Players travel across Japan either as the fugitive, amnesiac ninja Kisuke who’s trying to prove his innocence or as the possessed princess Momohime trying to flee to safety while completing the spirit of the man possessing her. It is an action RPG and was released in North America in 2009.
  • No More Heroes (Wii): Travis Touchdown takes an assassination job to pay for a beam katana he bought online, ends up becoming the 11th ranked assassin by the United Assassins Association and has to keep killing and trying to be number 1 or all other wannabe assassins will hunt him down. It is an action RPG and was released in North America in 2008. An updated port was released on the PS3 in 2011.

If you are only going to try a few, then definitely go for Avalon Code, No More Heroes and Contact!

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks into the nD.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about the GP2X, Wiz and Caanoo.

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