Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (PSP Games)

When Chizuru goes to Kyoto to search for her missing father, monsters attack her.  Fortunately, a group of warriors known as the Shinsengumi save her just in time.  Now she finds herself involved in Japanese history in a way she never thought possible.

The plot is loosely similar to HBO’s Rome in that it explores history through the eyes of an ordinary citizen.  This story also interweaves fantasy elements through the lives of the Shinsengumi.

Chizuru and her father are the main factors of this.  The only thing I can say without giving away spoilers is that demons are involved and one element of history that makes it to the game is the introduction of western culture integrating into Japanese life.

I’m sure many of you expect me to complain about Chizuru being a damsel in distress but I’m actually going to give this a pass.  I can’t ignore the fact that this game takes place in a time where the belief that women should stay in the kitchen was very common.  While it’s possible to create strong female characters in a sexist setting (again I look to HBO’s Rome), it is incredibly difficult.  Chizuru has grown up on these beliefs so it’s possible that her subconscious mind will not allow her to take action in a way that in her mind would be inappropriate for her gender.

The game play is your standard visual novel.  During the first three chapters, you make decisions that determine which guy will fall in love with Chizuru at the start of the fourth chapter.  You can choose between Hijikata, Okita, Saito, Heisuke and Harada.  If her relationship with any of them is not high enough, you end up with Kazama.  You can also collect words for your encyclopedia so you can understand what’s going on in the game.  You can also collect pictures for your gallery.

This game is intriguing but gets dull after a while.  I give it 6 out of 10; interesting idea but is a little drawn out at times.

The Royal Trap Demo (Hanakogames.com)

As Prince Oscar’s companion, Madeleine Valois’s job is to train him so that he can marry a princess.  Unfortunately, Princess Cassidy has been abducted and Oscar is the prime suspect.  Now Madeleine must clear his name and discover the truth.

I normally don’t review demos unless the full game won’t be out for a while but I made an exception due to a promotion Hanako Games was running.  As for the plot, other than Prince Oscar, Princess Cassidy has two suitors.  One is the dark and mysterious Prince Nazagi and the other is the over the top Prince Gaston (no relation to the character from Beauty and the Beast).  One of them may be responsible for Princess Cassidy’s disappearance or they might not be.  In addition to these characters, there is also Prince Callum who seems fascinated by Madeleine.  The story was so intriguing that when the demo was over I had to remind myself not to purchase the game right away (waiting for payday).

This game is in typical visual novel form.  You play the role of Madeleine and pick a set of choices after reading the dialogue.  Some choices will help you form relationships with various characters.  If you’re playing the game again, you can choose to skip unread text.

This game is intriguing and beautiful.  If you would like to purchase the game click here.

The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition Part 3: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo Gamecube)

Link has always been known as the boy without a fairy by his fellow Kokiri.  The minute he finally has one he also has a quest.  He needs to gather three items and use them to open the sacred realm, getting the Triforce before the king of the Gerudos, Ganondorf, beats him to it.

What 90s Zelda fan doesn’t remember this game?  It was the first to hit 3D consoles, the first where you got to ride a horse and, for those of you familiar with the fan fiction world, the inspiration for the dreaded My Inner Life.  The first Zelda game I played was A Link to the Past, but this was the first game I owned.  The plot follows that of a typical Zelda game, find three items and then see a huge plot twist.  Now you have to collect more items.  Some plot elements are similar to Peter Pan, such as the fairy and a fact regarding the Kokiri you discover later on.  Navi is the first of her type and boy does it show, but more on that later.  Link, like the rest of the games, is an avatar for the world of Hyrule.  He says nothing and goes where he’s told.  Zelda drives the plot, risking her life to help Link and doing everything she can to save Hyrule.  The lengths she goes to are very daring.

I absolutely love the game play.  You can set any items you find to l, r, or z, taking place of the four c buttons of the N64, save the sword and the shield.  L targeting has helped me on more than one occasion.  The only problem is the fairy that makes it possible is very annoying.  Navi has a tendency to give information when you really don’t need it and sometimes you have no choice but to hear it.  Her targeting usually makes up for it until the second to final battle where she can’t do anything.

As for other features this game has, you can play songs on your ocarina, use your brain to go through dungeons and defeat bosses, and search the world for heart pieces.

Collect four of them to get a free container.  Some heart pieces require mini-games, the shooting being my least favorite but that’s because I can’t get my hands steady enough to complete it.

As a child, I loved this game and I still love it as an adult.  I give it 8 out of 10, the beginning of a new era of Zelda games.

Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters (Bigfishgames.com)

A detective has just discovered the secret place of the Order of Red Riding Hood Sisters.  Unfortunately, the Wolf Queen has captured them.  She also wants to send her wolves to our world.  Can the detective save the Red Riding Hood Sisters and stop the Wolf Queen?

This game is my favorite entry to the Dark Parables saga.  I really love the Order of the Red Riding Hood Sisters and Briar Rose from the first game gets a cameo.  Like the last game, you can also learn the back-story of the group and of certain characters.

The game play is the same as any standard object game except you don’t have to collect an entire list of crap just to add two objects to your inventory.  You have to travel the map and collect objects by assembling the pieces.

Each object has a use in a specific location.  You have an unlimited number of hints and you can collect cursed objects if you want the hint meter to speed up.  You can also play various mini-games to advance the story.  If it’s too difficult, you can just skip it.

As for what I said earlier regarding back-story, collect various items to read the notes in your journal that will help you understand the characters.

You can also play a separate story about the boy who cried wolf.  The story serves as a prequel to the game, explaining how the situation came to be.  The only problem I have is with the beginning where the boy’s father locks him up in the basement for lying, but I guess punishments were more extreme back then.

This game is fun and addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10; an original take on two classic fairy tales.

Wedding Dash 2: Rings Around the World (Gamehouse.com)

Mr. Bigger is having a contest, plan weddings around the world to the best of your ability.  The winner will have the honor of planning his daughter’s wedding.  Does Quinn have what it takes?

The plot is actually pretty cliché, Quinn’s meeting obstacles at every turn and Mr. Bigger’s daughter doesn’t love the man she’s marrying.  You can tell how the game’s going to end, but it’s still fun to watch.

The game play is the same as the last one with the added bonus of sending your photographer, Joe Wright, to snap a picture of various guests.

You can also take their music requests, use champagne bottles to cheer up the guests in line, balloons to cheer up the seated guests and have the bride and groom kiss to cheer everyone up.  Again, you can’t get to the next level until you achieve the required goal.  You can try for expert if you feel lucky.

Like the last game, this one is fun and addictive.  I give it 6 out of 10; a great way to kill time.

Delicious: Emily’s Wonder Wedding (Gamehouse.com)

When Patrick finally proposed to Emily, she couldn’t be happier.  Unfortunately, Patrick’s mom comes to town and everything is one bad omen after another.  Can Emily remove the omens in time for their wedding?

Like the last game, this one uses an episodic format.  The plot of this story is revealed by the title, Emily’s getting married.  Unfortunately, problems arise from the very beginning.  As the game goes on, Patrick and Emily are constantly fighting and you’ll wonder if they’re going to cancel the wedding.

The premium edition comes with ten extra levels that explain what happened while Emily was away.  Edward’s trying to run the restaurant, which isn’t easy with Angela’s obnoxious husband Jimmy thinking he can completely change the restaurant without Emily’s permission.  In addition, am I the only one who finds it creepy that Jimmy calls Edward dad?  Jimmy’s just as old as he is if not older, which makes Angela marrying Jimmy disturbing if you think about it.

The game play is the same as ever.  You serve customers at the table or deliver takeout.

During the second day of each episode, an event occurs that you have to take part in.  The only difference is that in this one you can play various scenarios that allow you to invite previous characters to the wedding.

Some of them are Emily’s ex-boyfriends and an ex-girlfriend of Patrick’s, so I really don’t get why they’re invited.  Watching shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother have taught me that you never invite your ex to your wedding.

This game is fun and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, a possible finale for the Delicious games.

Train of Afterlife (toa.zeiva.net)

A person with no recollection of his or her past boards a train that never seems to end.  A shadow by the name of Little Mary tells this person that they are on the train of afterlife.  At the twelfth hour, the ride will end.  Where it ends up depends entirely on the person.

This game is from the same creators of X-Note.  Only difference is that there’s no romance whatsoever in this game.  The main character, Wind, is riding the train with Little Mary, Darwin, Diyu and Bluebird.  Another character by the name of Wing is also on the train, but this character acts as a constant companion for Wind.

You can talk to each of the four other characters and watch each one of them disappear.  Each one of them has their own insights about life and death and one of them will even play tarot cards with Wind, helping him or her discover his or her past little by little.  When you unlock Wing’s path, you find out who these people actually are.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers but in the end, you’ll wonder if this was all a dream.

The game is in visual novel form and each ending depends on how far you get in three different attributes: awareness, enlightenment, and darkness.  During the game, you can communicate with the other passengers while playing tarot cards.


If you give them the right answers, you can witness their disappearance.  After getting all of Wind’s endings, you get a password that allows you to play Wing’s path.  Four out of five of those endings will give you another password to access a story about one of the other characters.  After that, you get a password to unlock an extra gallery.  As I played this game, I felt that Rule of Rose should have been done in a similar style, talking to each orphan until you’ve unlocked pieces of their and the main character’s story.

This game is very addicting with some interesting takes on death.  I give it 9 out of 10; some of the endings spooked me a little bit.

Romance of Rome (Bigfishgames.com)

Marcus has traveled to Rome to seek adventure and opportunity.  Fortunately for him, the Emperor has lost the ancient relics and his offering his daughter’s hand in marriage to whoever can find them.  Can Marcus succeed in his quest or will someone else find them before he does?

The story itself is simplistic as are the characters.  You have your idealistic hero, your shallow love interest, your evil corrupt senator, your eccentric wise man and a kid filled with dreams.  Still, the characters are entertaining as is the story.

The game play is much more fun.  You collect items around several locations to earn coins.

If you’re lucky, you can also find them.  You use the coins you collect to buy items for Marcus.

You can also do several tasks for the citizens of Rome.  After you’re done, you find a relic that leads you one-step closer to your goal.

The story is simplistic but the game is fun.  I give it 6 out of 10, something to do when you’re bored.

PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville (Bigfishgames.com)

A young couple has hired a detective to find their missing son. Now the detective has to visit the burned out puppet theatre to do so.
The plot’s simple, you go into a creepy theatre and try to stop an evil plan. Meanwhile, you notice something’s up with the puppets.

The game play is standard hidden object. You go around looking for various objects. If you are stuck, you can use a rechargeable hint. You can also skip puzzles that you have trouble solving.

The game is simple and boring. I give it 2 out of 10; don’t bother wasting your time.