It’s been known for Japanese game releases to bunch up in the same month, and sometimes even the same day, and 25th April 2013 is one of those occasions, with 4 notable game releases going on sale on that date.
First up we have Photo Kano Kiss, a dating simulation game. Photo Kano Kiss is an enhanced version of the game Photokano for the Playstation Vita, and the game currently has an anime adaptation airing, with the voice actors from the game reprising the roles. The player is a 2nd year high school student who receives a digital camera from his father and starts taking pictures in school, and naturally, those pictures are of various beauties in the school.
The main part of the gameplay consists of choosing where to go during your breaks in the day, and the choice you make will lead to various story and free events. When you go to locations that aren’t shown on the guide, you can get an encounter with one of the heroines, where if you make the right choices, you will be able to start a photo session with them in an outfit other than their normal school uniform, such as swimsuits or gym outfits.
As for the photo session, Photo Kano Kiss adds two new methods for taking photos, making full use of the Vita’s capabilities compared to the PSP’s. Other than the original Finder mode, where you controlled the camera with the analog stick, there is now a Touch mode and Gyro mode. Touch mode allows you to control the camera with the touch screen, making it easy to zoom and change angle with touch actions, while Gyro mode works like a real digital camera, where you move the Vita to change the angle for the photo. Photo Kano Kiss also gives you more freedom in the angles for taking your photos, making low and high angle shots possible.
But don’t forget, even with all this fun photo-taking, this is still a dating simulation, so the aim should be to get to a confession with the heroine you like the most. That would the end, the goal that you should aim for. However, Photo Kano Kiss adds an extra week of events after the confession entitled Love Love Days, with new events for you to enjoy, up to the Sunday date where you will get a new ending with that heroine! What’s more, during this week’s photo sessions, you can actually touch the heroine and take pictures of their reactions!
And for the heroines, we have 7 of them, and from left to right they are Niimi Haruka (voiced by Itou Kanae), Muroto Aki (voiced by Nakahara Mai), Sakura Mai (voiced by Kanemoto Hisako), Sanehara Hikari (voiced by Mizuhashi Kaori), Masaki Nonoka (voiced by Saitou Chiwa), Yunoki Rina (voiced by Oogawa Asuka) and Misumi Tomoe (voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki).
Photo Kano Kiss releases on the 25th of April for the Playstation Vita, and costs 7140yen for the package version, and 5800yen for the download version.
The next game on the list is the sequel to the hit science adventure story game of Steins;Gate, entitled Steins;Gate Phenogram of Linear Restraint. Unlike the first game, where we saw everything from the viewpoint of the main character Okabe Rintarou, this time there are 10 different stories told from 10 different viewpoints. So this game, rather than necessarily being a sequel in terms of story, is probably more for filling in gaps and fleshing out the original story and characters.
The first story is entitled ‘Dr. Jekyll on lines’, and is told from Okabe Rintarou’s point of view. In it, he is a hero of justice who protects the peace of Akihabara as ‘Alpaca Man’. Using D Mails and the Time Leap Machines, any case is easily solved. His true identity is known only to Shiina Mayuri, who made his Alpaca Man suit by hand. One day, a Makise Kurisu in grave clothes appears, and although her appearance was shocking, the words she said to him would ring the bells of warning.
Next is Hashida Itaru’s story, ‘Bird Singing in Cage’, which covers a part of his story that was rather shrouded in mystery in the anime. We know that Amane Suzuha is his daughter from the future, and that he will have a wife named Amane Yuuko, but we didn’t know how they met. This is their story, and it seems to have been a rather eventful meeting, from his first meeting with the ‘Chopstick Girl’ leading to mysterious memos and codes, and ending with some hacking and Lab Member teamwork, and from the screenshots, including Suzuha kicking ass. So the daughter might have played a part in saving the mother? That is one fun part of Steins;Gate: How you can end up with such interesting developments.
The next character is the one who looks to be taking a prime role in the upcoming Steins;Gate movie, Makise Kurisu. And her story is titled ‘Vermilion Sooteer’. Sooteer is ソーテール in Japanese, and probably refers to ‘Soter’, a word with Greek origins meaning a saviour, a deliverer. Which is an obvious hint that in this arc, Kurisu will be responsible for saving somebody, possibly Okabe or Mayuri. This story takes place when Okabe has grown despondent of saving Mayuri, and Kurisu manages to get him to explain what is happening. But despite her efforts, and even with the influence of Feyris’ father behind her, Mayuri still died, and Kurisu was overwhelmed by the pain at her death, and her own helplessness in stopping it. And at this point, her phone rings, and it’s from Doctor Nakabashi, her father. What happens from here on is left a mystery that will only be answered in the game itself.
Falling squarely in the ‘fun possibilities’ section is Amane Suzuha’s story. And as the picture above, it does end up with her, herself, and herself yet again, in an interestingly-titled ‘Ghosting Rendezvous’. After the Time Machine had broken from the rains after it had appeared at the Radio Kaikan building, Suzuha was in shock over not being able to go back further into the past. With that, her purpose was completely lost, and it was at this point that ‘that’ appeared before her. ‘That’ being another 2 Suzuhas, that is. One of them wore a military uniform and was calm and collected, while the other was a very relaxed and in a maid uniform. Are these two memories from other world lines, or are they just a delusion created by Suzuha’s imagination? Nobody knows. But with help from these 2 and cooperation from Hashida Itaru, Suzuha manages to start on the goal of fixing the Time machine, and with that, she becomes more involved with the Lab Members, including her father, Hashida Itaru.
On a more mellow note, Tennouji Yuugo’s story ‘A Strange Building Filled Of Love’, paints a picture of a father who worried about whether the house he provides for his dearly loved daughter Nae is truly a good enough place for her. With those feelings in mind, he comes into a windfall of 300 million yen and after some thought, decided to renovate the building. But 1 year later, with the new building finished, Nae’s face is dark. Filled with regrets for the construction, Tennouji ends up going to Okabe with the idea of sending a D-Mail to fix the situation. Just what is it that Nae wants, that will satisfy her?
And next, for Feyris’ story ‘Super hero Chat-noir’, it starts with Feyris hearing some rumours of some Occult-tic incidents happening in Akihabara. And naturally, she can’t let some rumours of her beloved town go unnoticed, so she starts investigating the incidents together with Suzuha as the Guardian Warriors who protect the justice of Akihabara ‘Chat-noir’, dressed in outfits made by Mayuri. However, as the investigation progresses, she finds out that the shopping street had planned and executed this, entirely without any consultation with Feyris, who held the shadowy reigns of influence over the town, and Feyris was shocked by this. And Suzuha even ends up warning her to leave Akihabara. Exactly what will she do?
Urushibara Ruka’s story is aptly named ‘Hermaphroditus in Labyrinth’, and seems to be set in the part of the story where Ruka is female, due to the D-Mail that he had sent. Ruka has been deeply hurt by the sight of Mayuri dying before her eyes, and what runs through her heart are the memories of the fun times she had with Mayuri, as well as the words Okabe said to her. “You were actually…a boy”. And that she was a female because of the D-Mail her self in another world line had sent, and that the various changes ended up causing Mayuri to die too. When Okabe Rintarou feels that he was responsible for Mayuri dying, Ruka declares that there is no need for him to worry. But Ruka wishes to at least fulfil Mayuri’s wish of seeing her cosplaying, and so she requests to Time Slip.
And now, for the viewpoint of the one who is deeply at the heart of the entire story. Mayuri’s story is entitled ‘Eternal Polaris’, and seems to be one of the more serious and painful storylines. In this story, Mayuri feels that both Okabe and Kurisu have been acting weirdly of late, and because of the painful faces they make from their worrying, Mayuri comes to worry about them too. So she gathers her determination and tails Kurisu and eventually talks to her. From that, she learns of how Okabe has to move to a timeline in which Kurisu will have to die in order to save Mayuri. And Kurisu has come to face that and has prepared to sacrifice herself. But after Mayuri has heard the truth, she cannot endure the fact that Kurisu will have to be sacrificed. And so, Mayuri hardens her determination. What does she do? Once more, you’ll have to play the game to find out. But Mayuri is truly one to feel for others; the picture above is of her tears and reaction upon learning of how Okabe has kept jumping from timeline to timeline, trying to save her.
This promises to be a very interesting storyline, where we get to see the story from the point of the character most painted as the villain, Kiryuu Moeka. Her story is called ‘Quantum excited in Coma’, and tells of how she came to the Future Gadget Laboratory upon the orders of her superior and mother-figure, FB. It started with just observing them, but it progressed to her joining the Lab Members after she reported that the Handphone Microwave might be a time machine. But with her interaction with the Lab Members, especially with the warmth from Kurisu and Mayuri, she starts to have some misgivings. But before those feelings have a chance to take root, FB’s orders start to escalate, and it finally ends with the meetup with the active team at the Future Gadget Laboratory, and the orders to kill the Lab Members.
And the last storyline is once again told from Okabe Rintarou’s viewpoint, and this one is titled ‘Three Contrapasso About The Abduction’. When he can’t find Mayuri nor contact her, he sends a D-Mail to himself of the past to not let her go out. The timeline changes, and after confirming that she’s fine, she ends up causing a fire in the lab. Okabe sends a mail to the past to stop that, and once again the timeline changes. This time, there wasn’t a fire at the Lab, but there are numerous bloodstains on the bed at the Lab. And Okabe, fearing the worst, decides to Time Leap. While searching to find out who those bloodstains came from, Okabe is accosted by a man in a black cloak, and once again loses sight of Mayuri. 3 different world lines with their own dangers, but even with the repeated changes in the world line they all congregate at one point. This is probably an exposition of how Okabe was when he started on his desperate quest to save Mayuri.
Steins;Gate Phenogram of Linear Restraint releases on the 25th of April for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms, at the price of 6800yen for the regular edition and 11000yen for the limited edition.
Next up, from the makers of the ‘overwhelming’ game comes Attouteki Yuugi Mugen Souls Z. While it’s predecessor’s theme was of being overwhelming in many ways, Mugen Souls Z has a theme of being ‘irrational’, from the new protagonist to the various worlds the game takes place in.
The new protagonist is named Silma (voiced by Misawa Sachika), and her class is that of a “Final God”. And the first irrationality about her is that the coffin beside her serves as her bed and always travels with her. And she also has some irrationally appealing fanservice scenes.
The protagonist of the previous game, Shu-Shu also returns in this game, but due to an accident, she gets turned into a tiny version of herself, and her class changes accordingly from “Absolute God” to “Palmtop Absolute God”.
Of course, there are other new characters in the story, including a hero on a journey to find the legendary weapons, a mysterious boy who is aiming for Silma’s life, as well as various Final Gods of the 12 worlds in this game.
And speaking of worlds, just like the first game, Mugen Souls Z involves taking over each of the worlds present in the game. However, the first game only had 7 worlds, based on the elements that are also present in the names for each day. Mugen Souls Z has 12 different worlds, and they correspond to the 12 signs of the zodiac, and are associated with colours.
As for Silma, she also has quite a few irrational abilities, such as this game’s equivalent of the “Moe Kill” ability of the previous game. Called “Charm Captive”, the first step has Silma display a “Fetish Pose” to the enemy. How effective each pose depends on what the enemy’s weak point is. And like the first game, Silma’s personality also affects how effective the pose will be.
If the pose succeeds, the coffin will open up and suck in the enemy as a “Sample”, and you can use the energy of that Sample to attack the enemy and get various different effects.
Actually, that coffin can suck in just about anything, be it from planets or even your own comrades. Which leads to some rather entertaining and exciting scenes.
The coffin can also release that energy in an ability called “Final God Soul”, which enlarges Shu-Shu from the normal palmtop size to enormous levels, where she will then absolutely obliterate your enemies. But this ability has a chance of going berserk, and hitting your own allies as well.
And the mothership battles from the first game are also back! But this time, your G-Castle has been upgraded, and it now looks like a super robot! With new types of commands added to the game, and the ability to upgrade your G-Castle with parts that you find, this promises to be an interesting part of the gameplay.
Attouteki Yuugi Mugen Souls Z releases on 25th April for the PS3 at a price of 9429yen for the Limited Edition, 7329yen for the Normal Edition and 6300yen for the download edition.
The last game on this list is Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon Portable. It covers the timeline that occurred during the 2 seasons of the anime, but there are original voiced scenarios written by Kawakami Minoru, the author of the original light novels, added for the Adventure part of the game.
As the game progresses, the character you set as the commander will develop and deepen their relationships with the other characters, which will lead to various conversations. Also, if they have reached a certain level of trust with the commander, you will unlock a special event for that character!
During missions, your characters will appear in a cute graphig form, but how they look also depends on what style you selected for them. Styles in this game are like classes, and there are a total of 11 different Styles. Shown below, from left to right and top down, are the Student, Carouser, White Magician, Black Magician, Shrine Maiden, Alchemist, Knight, Hand-to-Hand Fighter, Samurai, Ninja, Worker and Swimsuit. Swimsuit isn’t a Style that can be chosen normally, but changes the outfit of the character when they have the Swimsuit item, and will allow for special events. Each Style has their strengths, and have their own different set of Skills, and not all Skills are meant for combat.
You can also create your own ‘mob’ character, with a name of your choosing, once you fulfil certain conditions. To be able to create a male mob character, you need to clear the game one time. To be able to create a female mob character, you need to upgrade the ship Musashi to the superior Frame. Mob characters have balanced parameters, and can also change their Styles just like the story characters.
At each location that Musashi stops at, you will be able to undertake Missions. There are 3 types of missions, namely Combat, Negotiation and Harvesting, and while some are based on the anime, there are also original missions, with a total of about 1200 different missions. The party of characters undertaking the mission can consist of up to 4 characters (3 main + 1 helper) of your choice. With the large number of characters in this game, that makes for about 1500 different possible parties.
Other than the missions, you will also have to manage Musashi itself, deploying people to work in various parts of the ship, upgrading it and repairing it. As mentioned earlier, not all Skills are meant for combat, as some of them are meant to help you boost various capabilities of Musashi, such as gaining food every turn or reducing the difficulty of certain kinds of missions. These sort of effects require a character with the right Skill to be deployed to a certain part of Musashi. As Musashi is upgraded, the bonuses can increase and/or change, and your resource limits will increase, something that is required for the later part of the game, as higher level characters also consume a higher amount of resources for missions.
Also, there are two different types of Frames you can upgrade Musashi to. When upgraded to a higher rank of the normal Frame, the number of positions you can deploy characters to in Musashi will increase, as well as the revenue rate. The other Frame you can upgrade to is the Financial Frame. As expected, it has different bonuses from the normal Frame, with a greater focus on boosting gathering as compared to combat. Changing Frames costs a lot though, so it’s best to choose the Frame that suits your playing style best.
Musashi has it’s own HP, and it goes down with every mission you perform. As at each place you dock, you have a deadline that you have to leave by, and travelling will also eat into it’s HP, there’s an option to spend time and money to restore Musashi and recover it’s HP, so that you will be able to leave and continue the story.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon Portable releases on 25th April for the PSP, and is priced at 10479yen for the Limited Edition and 6279yen for the Normal Edition.