Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jul 312019

After teasing their new game for a little while now, Zeboyd Games has officially announced a new turn-based RPG called Cthulhu Saves Christmas.

Cthulhu Saves Christmas follows Cthulhu and his allies (Belsnickel, the Snow Maiden, and Baba Yaga-chan) on a quest to saved Santa Claus from evil Christmas figures such as Krampus.

While it’s a turn-based RPG like their previous games, it will also have life sim aspects to build your “R’lyehtionships.”

I’m conflicted about this game right now. On one hand, it’s a successor to Cthulhu Saves the World, which I loved. On the other hand, I ended up somewhat disappointed in their most recent game, Cosmic Star Heroine, despite all my hype leading up to it.

Since Cthulhu Saves Christmas is another parody, I’m hopeful it will have the humor and entertainment of their earlier games. Theoretically, having life sim segments should help prevent the characters from feeling bland, too.

For now, I’ll be keeping my eye on it. What do you think of Cthulhu Saves Christmas?

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Jul 292019

On the weekend, I finished playing The Alliance Alive.

I’m surprised I never blogged about this game beyond a passing reference, because when I played The Alliance Alive’s 3DS demo, I loved it and immediately knew I wanted the game.

The developers previously made Legend of Legacy, a turn-based RPG that lost my interest when I learned it has virtually no story. Then came The Alliance Alive, which was essentially billed as “Legend of Legacy, but with a story this time.”

Indeed, while the story in The Alliance Alive isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a full plot with a large cast of enjoyable characters. Set in a world that has been divided into multiple realms by the Great Barrier, a construct put in place by the Daemons who rule over humans, it follows several groups of characters whose paths eventually converge and set them on a quest to unite the realms.

(Although I didn’t mention The Alliance Alive when I learned about Quartet, this is another example of that style.)

Some of the character development is a little rushed, but I loved the characters and their interactions. There are a lot of little moments that helped bring them to life, and it really seems like the developers wanted The Alliance Alive to feel like a classic JRPG.

Pacing in general is a bit odd, with quick, short chapters that only occasionally slow down.

However, when you want a break from the fast plot progression, there is plenty of reason to explore. The Alliance Alive is filled with secrets and optional challenges, as well as one of my favorite things: character recruitment. After a certain point, you’re able to recruit NPCs to join the alliance, in a system that reminded me of recruiting characters in Suikoden.

(This might be due to the scenario writer being Yoshitaka Murayama, who also worked on the Suikoden series.)

Gameplay is a bit unusual. It’s a turn-based JRPG, yes, but instead of leveling up in a traditional fashion, your attacks level up as you use them and unlock new skills as you fight. I like this, because it ends up somewhat tailored to your gameplay style (even if the unlocks have at least some degree of randomness). There are a lot of little odd design decisions, but overall it’s really fun.

Aside from my comment about the pacing, the only thing I disliked about the game is that the dungeons got less interesting as they went on.

Early dungeons have puzzles, something I miss in JRPGs. Later dungeons, however, are more content to throw a bunch of powerful enemies at you so you can either challenge yourself by fighting them or try to avoid them. I wish there were more dungeons like the earlier ones.

But that’s a minor quibble about an otherwise great game, and if the developers make another story-focused JRPG, I’ll be there day one.

If you like classic turn-based JRPGs, I highly recommend The Alliance Alive for the 3DS or its upcoming HD remaster for the Switch, PS4, and Steam.

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Jul 262019

I’ve never played a Fire Emblem game.

The closest I’ve come is about 30 minutes I played of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.

I don’t remember disliking the game, but I was in the mood for something shorter at the time, so I quit and never went back to it.

(Although I switched to Metroid Fusion, which I didn’t finish until last year, so who knows?)

While checking my 3DS Activity Log (a feature I wish Nintendo would bring to the Switch, since it’s far superior to the vague time tracking the Switch uses), I noticed I also played about 30 minutes of the demo for Fire Emblem Awakening. I don’t remember it at all, but since I didn’t buy Awakening, the demo must not have won me over.

Now Fire Emblem: Three Houses is out, and it’s getting stellar reviews.

The game is getting so much praise, I’m tempted to pick it up and really give the Fire Emblem series a try. Of course, I’m mainly interested in the story and characters, which I’ve seen positive feedback about so far.

What do you think? Should I pick up Three Houses as my first Fire Emblem game?

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