[EXPRESSO] Nikke: Goddess Of Victory iOS | Anime Asses Frontline

Time to try my hand at another anime gacha with anime girls using rifles or being rifles or the usual military themed shit, because it scratches many itches, especially if your game lives by the profitable (and Houshou Marine-approved) “i don’t want to be happy, i want to be horny” motto.

Especially anime asses wrapped in spandex, because that was how i found about this game pre-release, by v-tubers laughing their butts off… due to incredible jiggle physics.

And yes, this is one of these that doesn’t even try to hide it, or to be also cute, no no, Nikke Goddess Of Victory is incredibly horny from the get-go (it’s from the Destiny Child developers, after all), so i guess points for brazen honesty.

Yeah, the premise is that you’re the ever-so-common amnesiac rookie commander ordering around anime girls with guns in a war against machines. So basically a worse Girls Frontline that wants to have it serious but also alternates between shock value scenes and abudant anime asses. It’s trash, but the dialogues can be somewhat engaging at times, the game looks pretty good, has nice UI, a good soundtrack, even a good english VA and some nicely animated cutscenes.

Gameplay its where things are a little different than the usual, as it’s… a on-rail shooter , basically a touch version of Time Crisis without the “rails” part, with 5 characters team, rpg elements like skills to activate and chain, alongside the usual modern on-rail shooter stuff.

This choice of gameplay also makes it easier to flash the player with pantyshots and latex wrapped anime dumparoos jiggling due to recoil, but it’s fun enough to be played in short bursts, the bosses thankfully provide some challenge not found in the normal stages, and the free-to-play trappings aren’t that awful.

[EXPRESSO] Blue Archive iOS | Gacha, Girls & Guns

More gacha? Want more gacha? There’s always more gacha to talk about, not so much play as often gameplay it vestigial obligation or barely there so it can technically be considered a “videogame” and not a “JPEG slot machine”. And because these things always wants all your time. And money.

What kind of free-to-play anime gacha game is Blue Archive?

The story (as far as explained by the prologue) it’s basically A Certail Magical Index via Girls Frontline and a touch of Girls Und Panzers, minus the magical elements and sci-fi robots, so it’s a basically an island full of academies and anime girls students & prefects (all sporting halos, animal ears, etc) going around with weapons, riding tanks in broad daylight, and you’re the “Sensei” that shouldn’t be there but it’s now de facto leader tasked to resolved the current crisis.

Even if you’re amnesiac, like in Arknights, for example.

It’s fairly generic niche anime bungum.

Gameplay it’s mostly what expected, as you witness your selected team of 3 characters (plus supports) automatically proceed, shoot (and take cover if possible) through the battlefield, leaving you to basically just use skill cards for special attacks, buffs, etc

Each unit uses a specific type of gun, it’s more proficient in a specific type of terrain and belongs to a certain class, but that’s it, ultimately it’s about picking the right team combinations, the rest it’s windowdressing.

There is a grid based “strategy map” to move the units around before the auto battling segments, which reminds me of Girls Frontline…. minus lots of strategic elements. So ultimately it’s very similar to Princess Connect, a waifu collector “bonsai game”, with some decent character designs and good production values.

I will admit i enjoyed this one a bit more than Priconne, but not by much.

[EXPRESSO] Contra Returns iOS | Better than Rogue Corps

This isn’t technically new, since it has been available in China for years, but i guess someone at Konami woke from their slumber and figured out they didn’t release it westward yet.

I mean, this is the same company – among OTHER things – that wanted to release 3 Silent Hill games in the same month, cancelled a project involving Junji Ito, Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and keeps embarassing itself even with the few things it still peddles as videogames, instead of pachinko and/or slot machines.

Who the hell knows.

And i wanna stress that, because i’m almost surprised by how this is actually decent, fun even, and furious since Konami decide to release that abomination of Rogue Corps and ask full price for it, when the older free-to-play mobile game by chinese developer Timi was miles better.

Sure, it looks cheap, the art direction it’s kept familiar to the Contra bombast even if you can still kinda tell it was handled by a chinese team (as in, it’s solid but kinda generic), but it’s actually proper Contra devoid of bullshit (like overheating mechanic for weapons in a shooter)), and it’s actually playable enough with touch controls, while it supports (and plays better with) gamepad.

There’s the gacha, the power level bullshit and all the upgrading n equipping and shit that comes as standard with the mobile free-to-play model to get you hooked and all the usual crap we fully expect from this business model.

It even leans big into the nostalgia for the olden days, but it actually backs it up on the gameplay department, nothing great in terms of level designs, but considering the trappings of being on mobile and free-to-play, Contra Returns it’s definitely fun enough to waste some time on it.

Didn’t expect that.

[EXPRESSO] Pikmin Bloom iOS | Flower Fitness

Remember that mobile Pikmin game from Niantic that was announced some time ago?

Well, i kinda forgot, but it’s out now pretty much everywhere, so here we are with “Pikmin Go”.

Yeah, it uses pretty much the same augmented reality format, with the need to keep the app open and walking to hatch stuff. Here instead of eggs you have Pikmin seeds, each requiring a certain amount of steps to be taken in order to “harvest” the Pikmin, and you can use nectars to make the collected Pikmins grow flowers and award you with petals, which are needed.

To be honest, i was amazed when i played for the first time, went through the tutorial phase and realized…. that was it. Look, i have been playing Pokemon Go since launch, so i’m not that picky on regards to gameplay, but there is something as too damn simple, even a mobile game like this.

Yes, you can use up petals to plant flowers while moving, which helps in growing both your seeds, and the big flowers on the map, were you can sent the Pikmin into expeditions, to gain nectar, Pikmin cosmetic accessories and more Pikmin seeds, but that’s really it.

Not that i wanted combat from a Pikmin game, and it being very close to an idle game makes some sense, but still, i feel bamboozled, i can’t really imagine it appealing to the main Pikmin fanbase, neither so much to casual players.

I can’t really be to angry or confused about this, i really can’t since even the marketing frames it as something akin to a fitness app than a game, but it doesn’t make for an engaging activity, as there’s no stakes or big goals to work towards, even as a casual thing to fiddle with while walking.

[EXPRESSO] World Flipper iOS | Pinball Isekai RPG Action

“Flipper” it’s a short-term for pinball outside of America, FIY.

And i’m fairly sure we didn’t have a pinball RPG gacha game before, i remember there was a spin-off of FF XV of sorts for smart devices, but whatever, it’s a far more alluring proposition in a overly satured market of idle games, mild rpgs, and everything in the middle.

The plot it’s basically an isekai tropes salad, but the faux 8 bit graphics are nice enough, presentation is decent, and doesn’t bombard you with too much plot or terminology right away.

Gameplay is a bit different than expected, as it’s not set up as a traditional pinball affair, with the heroes acting as single “ball” but also able to dash while launched to attack the nearest enemy, and launch skills with a pretty typical but pretty good control scheme for touch devices.

There is a bit of depth, with enemies exposing weak points at certain times, the more combos you get in a row powering up your shot to make the team spring a stronger attack, there’s Fever Mode, and overall there’s quite enough to keep it easy to play in short bursts but not mindless.

Of course, this comes with the inevitable free-to-play trappings, events, upgrade trees/maps, but the less annoying ones, just energy consumption and gacha for characters using the main premium crystals/gems, one with gacha advantages for using gems obtained by poning up cash.

But still, it’s not that bad, and honestly it’s good, good fun, way more captivating than expected, even disregarding the obvious methods to try hook you in, World Flipper it’s one of those free-to-play games that you end up back into because you actually wanna play it.

A rare sight, even aside it delivering to the underserved niche of pinball games.

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla Defense Force iOS | ♫ To protect Mother Earth… ♫

The second of the three mobile Godzilla games promised by Toho for 2021, advertised a month ago as Godzilla Battle Line, published by Nexon and co-developed by Neople and Studio 42.

After the odd but cute stats raising-pet simulator of Run Godzilla, now we have a more traditional offering for a mobile licensed spin-off game. It’s not exactly a proper tower defense, but more of a tapper with RTS elements: units despatch and attack automatically the enemy waves from building you can upgrade, but you can also tap on them for extra damage (especially when their weak points show up), or use the various Kaiju Cards left by fallen monsters and/or obtained via card packs, of course available to purchase for real money.

It’s a decent little timewaster, a little more engaging than the usual tapper, but it’s aggressively monetized, even if it’s oddly pushy in making you watch ads to boost stats like production speed or to get resources, instead of just saying “cough up the cash to save time”, and i feel it’s the lesser evil of the options they could have gone with. BUT it still feeds into the same objective: to get you spending real money on the card packs and batches of premium currency, especially since the game remembers you revenge can be had easier by wiewing ads, etc.

Presentation is good, the story is what you’d expect, as an EDF commander you organize a defense line to repel kaijus attacking Earth, often sent and/or resurrected by the evil aliens called Xilliens. By progressing you get new locations to build bases, the ability to summon new allies with passive abilities, new monsters (some obscure references to Toho’s non-Godzilla material), making for a decent and entertaining loop, even if you’d wish for a bit more depth to it.

That Old Gray Mare: Pretty Derby

Remember Uma Musume? Yeah, ironically the anime version, which is usually used to prop up the main attraction of the media franchise… almost managed to have 2 entire seasons (and a chibiesque mini-anime) out before the game released just a few weeks ago (and today the PC version released via DMM, japan only of course), at least in Japan and i guess other asian countries.

I really should have covered the anime series (given i’ve already covered almost all Azur Lane anime iterations), but at the moment my schedule is full, so probably later this autumn. I would like to give the game itself a shot and make an EXPRESSO review eventually, but i can wait for an eventual western release of the app.

I wouldn’t expect an official western release anytime soon, considered the game was supposed to launch in 2018, but it’s Cygames and we did eventually get Princess Connect Re; Dive (which i didn’t like, but whatever), so it’s possible.

So that’s that, back to Giant Monster March!

That’s the sound of 10 years of Ken’s Rage

Sorry to “interrupt” Dino Dicember, but i wanna talk a bit about Koei’s musou series based on Fist Of The North Star, dubbed Ken’s Rage. If you follow any gaming news site, you’ve might already know of this, but since we do have some preview footage running around, i feel the time it’s right to talk about what Koei did to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Ken’s Rage.

(images taken from Siliconera)

Continua a leggere “That’s the sound of 10 years of Ken’s Rage”

[EXPRESSO] Pokemon Café Mix iOS | Got Milc?

Pokemon Cafe Mix iOS.PNG

Another Pokemon puzzle game, another free-to-play (or more correctly, “free-to-start”, as Nintendo themselves likes to call these games) for mobile and Switch, this time with a cutesy pastel cafè aesthetic, as you manage a Pokemon cafè, operated by and for Pokemon, alongside a human girl, who acts as a general assistant-tutorial figure.

This is done via puzzle challenges, thankfully not of the “match 3” kind (we already had plenty of those with a Pokemon license), nor or the Panel The Pon/Puzzle League variety, but in turn based grid-less form, with the objective of linking together chains of pokemons, in order to activate an ability, destroy special blocks, or because of a stage requiring a certain quota of Pokemon pieces/icons to be matched.

Each pokemon has a specific ability, a specialization for a certain kind of dish (drinks, sandwiches, desserts, etc.), and as you progress you unlock more critters but also more recipes and new expansions for the cafè, which in turn introduce new elements and stage objectives, with some random chances of increasing the friendship level with a certain pokemon, who will join the staff.

The gameplay is decent, but the more free-form, grid-less style of level design makes it too reliant on abilities and consumable objects, a bit too helpful in this case, especially because you can also activate them during the stage, not just before. All to push you into buying the premium currency, which happens a bit too fast, it won’t take long to realize so with the limited energy system, timers and the extra turns costing a lot of “gems”.

While i’ve seen worse monetization schemes and freemium economies, there’s also the fact i’ve seen and played way better puzzles game. This is a very cute distraction (with a tad manipulative freemium economy), but not much else.

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