TGS 2019 Game Previews [Day 1: Michael] - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Thursday, September 12, 2019

TGS 2019 Game Previews [Day 1: Michael]

<-- Day 1 [JC] | Day 1 [Michael] | Day 2 [JC] -->

Trials of Mana

Trials of Mana remake
(Sony booth)
Unfortunately, the only playable version of the remake was on Playstation 4 (which I played), but since it’s coming to Switch, I will base my impressions on this version. So far, it seems Trials of Mana is a good looking update to the old Super Nintendo game. The gameplay and the boss battles are spiced up to modern standards, but the gameflow, the music and the design of everything still feels very much like the old game. A game to look forward to! On a side note: the graphics for the Playstation 4 version were not exactly pushing the envelope, so I think we can expect the Switch version to look similar, with perhaps only slight modifications for performance. 

Spanner (Alpha Code)
A co-op roguelike where one player controls the main character (who can do the fighting and destroying of stuff) and one player controls a small robot, who can float, generate light and whip up a shield. Seems like a fun game, even if a bit frantic (since the game has some bullet hell elements to it as well). The developer assured me this game can be played alone, though I don’t know how doable that will be considering both characters’ skills are very necessary in surviving. 
Giraffe and Annika

Giraffe and Annika
(Atelier Minima)
A very cute looking 3D exploration game where you take control of the titular Annika to do… well, I didn’t get that far to be honest. Explore, I guess? It has a very interesting battle mechanic that seems a bit like a rhythm game. I sucked at it big time (I probably should have read the tutorial), but it’s definitely a game to keep our eyes on. It looks really good as well. 

Vigil The Longest Night (Glass Heart Games)
2D Dark souls; that’s basically all you need to know to understand what this game is about. It needs some polishing here and there but what I played had promise. The way everything was animated and drawn felt much like the games from Vanillaware, which means big hand-drawn sprites. I liked it. [video below]

The demo at the Tokyo Game Show only had one single battle you could fight, so I can’t say anything about the rest of the game. However, from what I saw, the game definitely shows promise. It’s a JRPG style game that takes many cues from Octopath Traveller in terms of graphical style. While the battle itself dragged on a bit (I really hope the actual game’s battles will be a bit quicker or that this was supposed to be a boss battle), they nailed the music for the game and the spell effects also look great. Very early stage I presume, but definitely one to keep in mind. 

Block Planet (Stand alone indie booth)
Played this together with James (I lost quite badly). Looks like a fun party game that is best played with 4 players locally. I am not sure how long it would stay entertaining though. 

Tunche (Hypetrain)
They told me it was a brawler game with an actual progression through it, though the version they had to show everyone at Tokyo Game Show was a brawler in which you defeated enemies in waves. What I played was quite fun though and the game looks absolutely fantastic with its hand-drawn graphics. [Video below]

One Step From Eden (Single developer)
It’s a roguelike game where you battle waves of enemies basically. The developer told me that the game was heavily inspired by the Megaman Battle Network series and it shows. He has the speed and strategy of the battle system down. My only complaint is that I am not sure whether just the battle system of the Megaman Battle Network series is enough to sustain an entire game. 

Life X Zero
Life X Zero got me by surprise. My first impression from looking at it was not that good, but once I started playing it, the game had me laughing in the first few minutes. It’s a parody game, especially made for people who already have played plenty of games. The area I started in was based on the opening area of Metal Gear Solid. I had to navigate the area in stealth fashion, with the major change that the main character was absolutely hammered. When I got to the first guards and they were like “nope, I am not seeing this, let me look the other way forever” I just couldn’t help but laugh. Looking forward to seeing more of this game. 

Mosaic (Krillbite Studios)
The most “alternative” game I played at Tokyo Game Show. Mosaic is a game about a guy who I assume is very busy with his midlife crisis. It’s a game that’s more about the message rather than the gameplay (it plays really slowly and offers very little interaction). I think it has potential, even though it is not necessarily entirely my cup of tea. 

Haven (The Game Bakers)
Haven is an action adventure about a couple adventuring in the world. I didn’t play very long, but I really liked the dynamic between the couple and how they did things that, well, couples do. That may sound strange, but this kind of interaction is rather rare in games. I want to see more of this when it comes out. [video below]

Valfaris (Steel Mantis) - James stranded me at a boss battle that kept wrecking me hard, but it was quite fun. Valfaris is basically a futuristic Contra with extra blood and guts. Hard, unforgiving, but fun. The only thing I missed in this game were the weapon types you can get in Contra. A little bit of adapting your own playstyle works better when you have some choice in what weapons you prefer.  [video below]

Games Michael wishes would come to Switch as well

Stoneshard (Hypetrain)
Stoneshard is a roguelike game that, rather than random levels, seems to focus more on random item placement. You play as a grizzly old guy that looks like he could flex himself through his enemies. The game is currently PC only, and with the control scheme it would require some engineering making it ready for Switch as well, but I really hope we will see this one on the Switch as well one day. 

The Witch’s House MV
The Dangen representative at the booth told me this was a remake from a pretty old Japanese game. While I think the main character’s animation could use some work, the sprite work on the environment is nothing short of top notch. The game is a horror game and I believe the goal is to locate the titular witch in a house that constantly changes and tries to kill you at any opportunity it gets. This game feels like a good fit for the Switch library too, so I hope they may change their mind about keeping it PC exclusive. 

Zombie Rollerz (Zing Games)
Zombie rollerz is a roguelike game where you defeat massive hordes of zombies by rolling balls into them in true pinball style. It’s colorful, quick and easy to pick up.  I had a ton of fun with what they showed at the Tokyo Game Show. Here’s hoping they will port this to Switch one day. 

(Unspeakable Pixels)
Out of all the games I wish would come to Switch, this one tops the list by far. Batbarian is a metroidvania game about a barbarian and his pet bat, making you wish your pets could even only be half as adorable as this bat is. The game looks downright fantastic and sports a good amount of humor as well. The barbarian for instance takes his one-liners from the Schwarzenegger school of script writing and it’s glorious. I saw this as a video at BitSummit 7 this year and am glad I finally got to play it. We NEED a Switch version of this. 

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