Developer: Global A Entertainment
Released: February 3, 2009
Like many Atlus games, My World My Way is a little gem that most likely wouldn’t have seen the light of Western shores were it not for them. Luckily for those who have played it, though, it did come across the shores to grace us with a fairly unique RPG with a story and dialogue that is genuinely funny.
My World My Way begins with Princess Elise who has been spoiled rotten her entire life. The one thing she does not have is a man. In order to fix this, her father throws a ball inviting every handsome prince in the land to court her. Fairly quickly, Elise finds her one true love who happens to have a level 99 in Handsomeness. This prince won’t marry her so quickly, though, and tells her he is an adventurer, and for her to get with him she’ll have to prove her worth in combat as well. Elise, ever the proud lass, takes it upon herself to rid the world of some unnecessary evils to get her man. Along the way she is trailed from a distance by Nero, who makes sure she can handle the tasks she must face.
The battle system in My World My Way is pretty standard. It’s in first person view, similar to the older Dragon Quest games, with 3D monster sprites. As you work your way through pre-designed dungeons searching for a boss to defeat, they spring out of nooks in the wall that are visible on the map and predetermined areas, making it possible to avoid the encounters if you don’t want to deal with them. Eventually, you find a Slime companion who can take on the attributes and stats of opponents you battle, including what equipment it can handle, creating extra incentive to battle and find stronger monster for it to absorb.
Battling some bugs early in the game.
What sets My World My Way apart from other RPGs, as well as giving it it’s title, is the ability Elise has to literally change the world around her. By pouting and whining, this girl gets what she wants. By spending pout points, the number of which can be increased with certain foods prepared before resting (along with other stats!), Elise can do things like strengthen or weaken the monsters in the area, make them drop more money or give more experience, or even change the terrain she is on from a wooded area to a sandy shore, changing the monster selection along with it. In battles, you can choose to spend some Pout Points to ensure a first attack, or escape from battle instantly. With this system it is possible to make the game as easy or as difficult as you wish, and is even necessary if you need a certain item drop from a monster that can only be found in a specific terrain type.
Elise finds an item after battle. On the top screen you can see the overworld map in this area. Each of those circles, excluding the ones with the town, gate, and dungeon, can be changed to different terrain types.
Elise travels from area to area, defeating a boss at the gate after completing a dungeon. Another quirk is your ability to choose the enemy you face. Nero, watching from afar, presents you with the option of giving Elise a difficult battle or an easy one, adding another variable to the mixture of the game.
Enemies and characters on screen are pretty nicely detailed in 3D, though some enemies may look a bit chunky, and in conversations the speaking characters are shown in large, detailed 2D sprites. The menus and symbols look nice and flow well.
While forgettable, most tracks definitely serve their purpose, with calming tracks in town, jaunty tunes played on the world map, and a fast-paced percussion driven BGM during battle. Nothing memorable, or too grating, really.
My World My Way is a really great game that may have turned off potential buyers with its admittedly cutesy cover and promising adventures with a princess. However, it has a solid game system, legitimately hilarious dialogue, and a very interesting gimmick. The story can be a bit lackluster, and the ending is slightly disappointing, but when the journey is this fun who cares what happens at the end?
Genre: Action RPG
Released: March 19, 2007
The Custom Robo series has only seen two of its five games released outside of Japan. The first in the series to come to America (on the GCN) is actually the fourth in the overall series, making this DS installment the fifth. The main draw of each game is the part collecting and battling of the small robots, and with the addition of the DS games, online battles.
The game begins simply enough, as RPGs tend to do. You wake up after a dream in which you control a robot and battle against a large spaceship-like foe. The battle ends, you get a robot from your dad, you leave to school, etc., etc. As you participate in local tournaments you climb the ranks of the Custom Robo ladder, eventually participating in the largest of tournaments and uncovering a secret evil plot that must be foiled. It’s all quite typical, so the story isn’t much to pay attention to. It’s the battling that counts.
The “overworld/town” where you will enter buildings and find adults really eager to play with you.
Battle in Custom Robo stray away from the 2D plane that the story takes place on, and switch to full 3D. As you jump about one of the playing fields, which are often diverse and interesting, you shoot and tackle your opponent until his little toy cannot move any longer. The battles can be quick and satisfying, but can be longer and more difficult depending on the foe. Robots move smoothly and controls are generally easy to pick up and learn. At the end of a battle you get money to spend on more parts and diorama stages. These stages are where you can pose your robo in just about any way imaginable and are shown to your opponent before a battle. It’s a fun little thing to do, especially if you plan on fighting online.
What would fighting robots be without hundreds of parts to choose from? That answer is nothing, which is why the creator chose to shove a whole spectrum of parts, little guns, big guns, enormous guns, joke guns, high-jump legs, speed legs, pretty bodies, tiny bodies, handsome bodies, huge bodies, it’s all here, waiting for you to buy, earn, and discover each part so you can create a balanced fighter with which to decimate the opponent. There are even “illegal” parts that can be bought on the black market very late into the game that deal incredible damage but also are costly to use (Doesn’t stop that dang evil organization, though!).
Battling in one of the three view perspectives.
The 2D graphics on the overworld are large and cutesy, and large character sprites in conversations are stylistic and bright. There is an overall aesthetic of childishness in everything but the battles, but if that can be overlooked, or even embraced, they don’t pose a problem at all and give the game a nice charm.
Peppy and lighthearted, the BGM of this game is highly reminiscent of a typical shonen anime. It’s not super catchy, but nothing that gets too old, really, either.
Custom Robo Arena is a very fun game with a lot of content. The story is a lot longer than expected, even if it can drag on or be a bit immature at times. Wi-Fi battles are generally fun and competitive, without being terribly laggy. Overall, it’s a really fun game that not a lot of people picked up despite it having been published by Nintendo itself. Perhaps it was a lack of brand recognition, but whatever the cause of this, there’s never a bad time to discover Custom Robo.
Genre: Monster Raising RPG
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Released: March 6, 2011
Pokémon Black and White are the fifth games, not including remakes, of the long storied Pokémon series. While they are published by Nintendo, it’s actually quite shocking that they are so unknown. They really are fun little games that everyone should try to play.
This game is featured on the Nintendo DS, the second set in the main series to do so. This new upgrade to the system, and with the knowledge the developers gained from Diamond and Pearl, the previous set of games on the system, they were able to create a Pokémon game unlike those that came before.
This game is revolutionary for the Pokémon series in that it does not allow the player to catch any of the 27 Pokémon created in the previous games. This means old favorites like Pikablu go out the window in favor of new favorites to decimate in battle such as Stunfisk. This new crop of Pokémon allow for a greater diversity in battling and trading.
The story begins with you choosing a Pokémon froma box along with your two friends, Bethany and Cherry. The three Pokémon are each of a different type. Smugleaf is grass type, Pignite the fire type, and Wotter the …well, the water type. Each of these has an advantage over another, creating a rock-paper-scissors dynamic in battles.
Choosing a starter. This is the Swedish version of the game, which is why the names are different.
Once you have chosen your starter, you set off on a journey to beat all 8 Gym Leaders to collect badges and take on the Elite 4. This isn’t all to the story, however, as there is a secret plot by an organization, called Team Plasmo, to try to free all the Pokémon since they believe that the Pokémon are being used as slaves for battles.
As you continue on your journey collecting Pokémon to battle with, you grow in strength and bear witness to the greatest story yet seen in a Pokémon game.
The graphics, as previously stated, are better than ever before. 3D buildings and moving Pokémon bring the game to vivid life. Plus the addition of changing seasons gives a fresh feel to the game every few weeks.
The changed seasons within the game.
Absolutely gorgeous. The speakers crank out heavy rock music to go along with the battles, then will actually make a smooth and pleasant transition to intense opera music in dramatic scenes. Buy this soundtrack immediately.
Pokémon Black and White are some of the best unknown DS games available. If you own one of these you will be the cool kid on your street and all your friends will wish they could find this rare gem of a game.
Genre: Racing/Monster Raising and Collecting
Publisher: UFO Interactive
Released: May 11, 2010
Monster Racers is one of the many “Poké-clones” that litter handhelds and, while most of these can often be nothing more than blatant knock-offs with little to no entertainment value, Monster racers is one of the few that shines through as doing something different and being a fun game in its own right.
The game starts with you being, of course, a rookie in a world inhabited by monster who “love to race each other.” No other background is really given, or needed for that matter, since this game isn’t about story so much as it is about pretty fun side-view racing.The game takes place on Earth as we know it today, with one exception. A small chunk of land called “Star island” for its shape functions as a hub of sorts. It is where items can be bought, monsters can be stored, equipment can be equipped, and battles can be had. You travel to every continent, where three areas and three trophy races can be found. In North America, for example, you can explore Niagara Falls, where you will find an abundance of water-type monsters.By winning trophies you advance through the continents and eventually go on to challenge the best racers in the world.
The races themselves are the meat of the game. With your chosen creature, you hold right and jump with the press of a button. Another button will use a special move that recharges over time and with power-ups. It’s a very simple system that is quite a bit more exciting than it sounds. Each area has its own racing track, with some littered with waterfalls that can drag you off the stage, some have quicksand, and others have lava. Different types of monsters handle terrain differently, leading to disastrous consequences if you bring the wrong monster for the track you will be on.
Most of the monster designs are pretty nice without copying other monster series.
Luckily, you are allowed to have three monsters with you at all times. Once you gain the ability to catch monsters the entire game opens up for you. Since there is no evolution system, chances are that you will abandon your starter monster for better monsters as you progress through the game. As you cycle through monsters in the game they gain levels and gain new elemental tolerances, speed boosts, and various other traits that will eventually make it easy for you to find a favorite and stick with it until the end of the game. All of these monsters can also be bred together in order to create fusions that have abilities and tolerance of both parents, which makes a seemingly simple game become much more complex.
By giving a monster colored orbs you find in the game, you can change its color at any time. Not necessarily useful, but extra customization is always welcome.
Sprite-y goodness. The sprites aren’t as pixel-perfect as some other games on the market, but everything is crisp and flows well, without clashing amongst itself. Menus are designed well and are generally easy to navigate.
Using a special ability to gain an edge just after leaving the starting line.
Nothing of interest here, really. Standard tracks that won’t make you bleed from the ears but they also won’t provide for much enjoyment from the BGM alone.
Monster Racers is the kind of game that makes it hard to do it justice with the written word. It’s entertaining and not as much of a knock off as many other monster games are. The racing mechanic is fun and doesn’t wear too thin over the course of the game. It’s definitely worth checking out if you can find it cheaply somewhere, but don’t go spending full price for it.