Aksys Games 2019 Summer Tour Preview
A couple weeks ago, GotGame was invited to check out the Aksys Games 2019 Summer Tour. Giving us a quick tour of five of their upcoming games, we gladly accepted. Nintendo Switch owners will be happy to know that each one will be released for the Nintendo Switch as well. Of course, some will be available for PlayStation 4 and Steam as well. While we didn’t get to go deep into the games, we still came away with a good experience. Here’s what we had to say about each game.
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late [cl-r]
Releasing for both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, the latest iteration of the Under Night In-Birth series comes with several new features. Revealed at the EVO 2019 Grand Finals, this update will give all fighters new moves, balance changes, and new stories. Of course, with updated fighting games, there’s usually additional characters. Londrekia Light joins the roster, a member of Ritter Schild investigating mysterious happenings.
Londrekia being the new character, of course I had to try him out. His moves utilized ice-based attacks, attacking his opponents with shards of ice and freezing them. One of my favorite moves with him was the ability to place an ice trap for an enemy to be frozen in place, leaving them open to attacks. I had a chance to work through his entire arcade mode story, fighting against ten opponents and overcoming each one.
I’ve never played an Under Night In-Birth title before, so this was a fresh experience for me. The game has auto-combos, much like a lot of other recent fighters. The sprite graphics are detailed and stylish, bringing back fond memories of arcade games. Action moves at a fast pace and feels very reminiscent of games like BlazBlue or Guilty Gear. Fans of the developers previous series, Melty Blood, will likely feel right at home. Combining visual novels and fighting games seems like a good fit for those that want deep lore and stories.
For the gameplay, players will utilize four action buttons, combining them for unique and powerful attacks. Three of the buttons perform light, medium, and heavy attacks, and players can cancel them with ease. Players can even perform a “Reverse Beat”, doing a heavy, medium and light attack, the opposite of the traditional order. The game has two gauges as well. The EXS gauge acts as a super meter, building when attacking or taking damage from an opponent. A separate GRD gauge works like a charge system, and can even be spent to fill up your EXS gauge. The GRD gauge can even be used to buff the player with a “Vorpal State”, increasing their abilities.
It’s not easy to grasp all the details of a fighting game from a brief demo. This can especially be true with a fighting game as complex as this one. Players can look forward to playing this one in early 2020. We’ll likely have more information in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled. For now, check out some screenshots below.
Described as a storybook style platformer with a Dark Souls level of difficulty, Ghost Parade is a bit deceptive. With Metroidvania elements and a charmingly haunting visual style, the game stars a young girl named Suri. Making her way home from school, she gets lost in a forest and ends up on a perilous journey. In an odd twist, the villains of the story happen to be humans, as they plan to destroy the forest. Suri must work with supernatural allies to save their home from certain doom.
As mentioned before, Ghost Parade is a platformer. I didn’t have a lot of time with the game, but I went through the beginning stages of the forest. There were mushrooms to bounce off of to gain extra height, but I had to be careful of fall damage. Falling too far will be instant death for Suri. There are friendly ghost allies to recruit and utilize their special abilties. One of the ones I came across provided me with a special forcefield, one which could deal damage to enemies too. Suri’s main weapon of choice seems to be a lantern, though we suspect there may be more weapons as you progress.
The checkpoint system is pretty forgiving, but the game is definitely more challenging than one would expect. I often fell to my death, underestimated “weak” enemies, and even got taken out by traps. Despite the difficulty, the game offers a fun visual style and even has a webcomic to help introduce players to the characters. I unfortunately didn’t have a lot of time with the game, but for what I played, it was pretty enjoyable. It reminds me a bit of Hollow Knight, so fans of that title may want to keep this on their radar.
Ghost Parade will release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam later this year. We’ll likely have more information as it becomes available.
Waku Waku Sweets
A genre of games that has been rather silent as of late is the cooking simulator. A genre that was previously dominated by Cooking Mama has been relatively silent lately on consoles. That’s about to change with Waku Waku Sweets, a 3DS port coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch. The game will take the 3DS game, Waku Waku Sweets: Happy Sweets Making, and bring it to the Switch with improved visuals.
Unlike Cooking Mama, Waku Waku Sweets combines cooking with a fun story. Players will take the role of Lime, an up and coming pastry chef who gets a new job at the Fil Rouge bakery. During my demo, I experienced Lime’s first day as she met her new manager, Chifon, as well as her new co-workers. Since it was her first day, Lime was immediately trained to bake a Chifon Cake by her supervisor Kazuma. It’s hard to tell so far, but the way Lime reacts around her male co-workers suggests potential romantic situations.
The cooking all uses motion controls, going step by step with unique motions. For the cake, I had to first break eggs by moving the joy-con in a downward diagonal motion. I then had to move the controller left and right to sift the flour. Rotating motions stir the ingredients and tilting the controller pours the batter. It feels similar to Cooking Mama on the Wii, though a bit simpler. One thing that took a little getting used to was having to hold the L button for each action.
After Lime’s first day, she gets paid and leaves the bakery, opening up new areas to explore. On her way home, she walks through the park and encounters a character named Puffee. Mistaking Puffee as a stuffed animal, it turns out that Puffee is a “Sweet Fairy”, there to make Lime’s wish to become an amazing pastry chef come true. In order to achieve this, Puffee needs happiness to power her magic, so it’s up to Lime to bring joy to the various characters.
Even though I’m not the target audience for this game, I can see a specific group of gamers enjoying it. It has a colorful anime style, cute pastries, and easy to grasp controls. While the story might not be anything award winning, it feels like something children will grasp easily. With over 100 recipes and lots of characters to interact with, it may be able to satiate some sweet-tooths. Waku Waku Sweets will release sometime this Winter.
Spirit Hunter: NG
This horror visual novel is a spiritual successor to Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, which released last year. Coming this October, Spirit Hunter: NG is making some changes to the formula. Players will now be able to play the game with a toned down mode to reduce disturbing imagery. Of course, we prefer to play with the full horror experience.
Spirit Hunter: NG stars a young protagonist named Akira, though the player can change his name if they wish. They can even alter his appearance if they like. While searching for his younger sister in an old town in the 90’s, Akira discovers supernatural spirits appearing in the town. As Akira meets characters, he can change the direction of the story based on his decisions. New to Spirit Hunter: NG is the new “Judging” system, which allows players to choose reaction expressions. This can also change the course of the story, leading to several alternate endings.
We didn’t actually play Spirit Hunter: NG, but we did watch another member of the press play. He even took our input for some of his decisions, so in a way, we still had a part in the demo. During the time, we enjoyed some soothing music and a lot of moments that implied scares. During the first moments of the game, we saw the choice system appear only once, making the player decide how to respond to seeing the Police. The first time, we chose to hide, though the police still notice your face and appear at Akira’s home to arrest him the next morning. Leading to a game over, it brought us back to the previous choice. Running away gave us a better chance, allowing us to avoid the officers entirely.
Various characters introduce themselves throughout, providing layers to the narrative. When we thought something scary was about to happen, it turned out that it was just an innocent prank. While we’ve seen some of the scary elements in screenshots, we never came across them in our demo. Of course, that was likely to change if we were going to play much longer. Either way, visual novel and horror fans will likely have a lot to enjoy here. If you enjoyed Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, then this should be right up your alley. Spirit Hunter: NG will release on October 10th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.
Fishing Star World Tour
Finally, we get to another Nintendo Switch exclusive title. Fishing Star World Tour allows players to collect fish from around the world with motion controls. Using a colorful style, the game offers several unique locales, each with their own species of fish and aquatic life. While the game has plenty of easy fishing spots, there are some with even more challenging catches.
One of the earlier locations had a lot of small fish to catch. Players will cast their lure out and can move the rod to bait their fish. Once a fish bites, then the player will flick up the rod to begin the battle. Using both joy-cons, the player will rotate one in a reeling motion to bring the fish in. Occasionally the fish will swim against the pull, and will add tension to the line. The player has to move the rod in certain positions to lower the tension gauge and weaken the fish. When the fish gets close enough, the player can catch them and see the size of their prize.
It can make for a lot of movement, especially without an actual rod to solidify the controls. Luckily, the game is also compatible with the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con fishing rod. For owners of the cardboard accessory, they can use it to bring a bit more realism to their game in a separate mode. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try it with the Toy-Con fishing rod, but it sounds fun. The fishing rod was my favorite experience with Nintendo Labo, so it’s great to see other games support it.
Having caught a lot of easy fish, I went to seek a bigger challenge. Moving to a more difficult location, I found one where I can potentially catch a Great White Shark. When I found it, I tried to lure it in with the same bait, but it wasn’t interested. It was then that I found out that you can change the bait, each fish having their own preference. Upon changing the bait, the shark started to show interest, and I began my attempt to bring in the beast. It took a few tries, as the shark was much stronger than previous fish. It snapped my line three times before I finally had enough patience to bring it in. When I finally caught it, I felt like I had finally conquered the game.
With colorful visuals and what seems like tons of fish, Fishing Star World Tour seems like a good choice for fishing fans. It offers an arcade feel with the realism only brought to life with motion controls. Unlike the rest of the games in our preview, Fishing Star World Tour is available on the Nintendo eShop right now! If you prefer your games to be physical, then you’re in luck. The game will be available on a physical card on September 26th, 2019.
That does it for our Aksys Games Summer Tour preview. We had a lot of fun, even if we had only a little time to check out all the games. It seems like Aksys Games has a little something for everyone, but with a stronger focus on visual novels. Is there anything on this list you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.