Corpse Party  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Corpse Party  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network These 10 niche games on Steam are "so Japanese" must-plays Tue, 12 Jul 2016 05:08:28 -0400 FlameKurosei

There are dozens of Japanese games on Steam nowadays, and some of them are just plain weird -- like the infamous bird-dating simulator, Hatoful Boyfriend.

However, despite being a bit strange, there are still fans who find something "endearing" about this feathered dating experience.

"Why", you ask? This is what a "niche Japanese game" is about: every person has that charming title that's "so Japanese" that they like a lot, yet can't quite explain why. It might not appeal to everyone, but to the player they fill a "certain something" that makes them so memorable and absolutely worth a try -- perhaps not for being good or bad, but for doing something different.

So without further ado, here are 10 of my favorite niche Japanese titles on Steam (in no particular order).

1. Astebreed

2.5D multi-plane scrolling bullet hell shmup

Ah, Astebreed -- just the title of this game alone can be an eyebrow raiser and a pronunciation challenge, but don't let that keep you away.

Astebreed is a fantastic shmup (AKA "shoot 'em up") title where you play as a cast of characters in mechas (er, giant robot suits) fighting off enemy waves. With amazing audiovisual and a constantly changing perspective, this game keeps you constantly on your toes, itching for the next sequence.

In addition, the "so Japanese" feeling from this piece comes from the bullet hell sequences where so many different projectiles are floating on the screen, much like the Touhou game series. While overwhelming at times, it's an exhilarating experience as you dash and shoot your way to a level's completion.

Here's a short demo of the first chapter to let the game speak for itself:

2. Killer is Dead - Nightmare Edition

Stylish third-person character action

From the creator of the No More Heroes series Suda51 comes another character action title by the name of Killer is Dead (the Steam version called Killer is Dead - Nightmare Edition). In Killer is Dead, you play as slick ladies' man Mondo Zappa, a suited gentleman wielding his "Gekkou" katana for hire.

Here's some gameplay from YouTuber deluxe345 as Mondo investigates a strangely built house:

As you can see, the title also has a distinct cel-shading style much like another one of Suda51's titles, Killer7. The game even messes with the black levels, to the point where "pitch-black" environments appear to be a very dark blue.

Look carefully at the top left of this screenshot to see what I mean--and I promise it's not your screen melting.

So what makes this title "so Japanese"? Its incredibly bizarre story-line that never seems to make complete sense -- but that's what makes it more intriguing. For example, a unicorn shows up at some point (yes, a unicorn), and this is what it says:

I don't know about you, but it's not every day a hitman in a tuxedo has a tragic backstory with a talking unicorn in it. The image of plain-faced Mondo riding on the whinnying equine is additional icing on the cake.

I can't help but laugh at how ridiculous it is, and this is what makes Killer is Dead such a memorable experience -- a weird story and fun gameplay.

3. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

Third-person shooter and mecha combat title

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition takes place on a frozen planet by the name of E.D.N. III, where amnesiac protagonist Wayne struggles to remember his past. Armed with the knowledge of handling a Vital Suit (abbreviated as "VS", which are the mechas of this game), he proceeds to travel with a small crew of "snow pirates" in hopes of finding his memories.

Moreover, the small crew travels around the harsh winter landscape searching for large quantities of Akrid (the creatures and inhabitants of E.D.N. III) to harvest thermal energy to survive, and it's usually up to Wayne to slay the big bad encounters.

Here's a short clip from the Colonies Edition of the game (also available on Steam) of the first mission:

Along with fighting Akrid, Wayne also encounters enemy pirates and other VS handlers, so the gameplay goes back and forth between a standard third person shooter and a mecha fighter. Furthermore, there's a lot of handy customization from being able to attach/detach weapons from the mechas, so if you want to heft a giant VS shotgun to kill Akrid on foot, it's entirely possible.

Giant Akrid "Undeep"
"Hello fellow traveler! How nice to eat -- I mean greet you!"

Like Astebreed, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has that "on your toes" feeling where you're constantly moving forward and enemies spawn, kind of like a Japanese arcade game. However, unlike Astebreed, LP: EC at times has quiet moments.

For example, in one gameplay sequence it's quiet except for the crunch-crunching sounds of your feet on the snow, and then suddenly the ground trembles and a giant snow worm ambushes you.

Do give this game a shot if you enjoy mecha-based combat and diverse boss fights, though I would not recommend LP:EC for the story or for the harder difficulty levels, as they can get quite confusing or unfair.

4. Tembo the Badass Elephant

2.5D level-based side-scrolling platformer

Did you know developer Game Freak makes games other than the Pokemon series nowadays? It's true!

Tembo the Badass Elephant is their recent 2.5D platforming title that has a lot of comical charm. A brave and stalwart soldier, Tembo charges into battle, rescuing civilians and steamrolling enemies.

The gameplay feels similar to old Sonic titles, but in a puzzle setting (well, if Sonic was a heavy rampaging elephant). Like Sonic, Tembo can spin and bash himself at enemies, but he also has his own mechanic of spraying water to stop fires and raise platforming plants:

So why is this a niche title? Unfortunately to many, Tembo the Badass Elephant is known as "that not-Pokemon game" done by Game Freak.

Even a Tembo the Badass Elephant article by CallSignDiver on here GameSkinny wrote this for their introduction:

When I first saw the Game Freak logo in the launch trailer, I have to admit, my eyes lit up. I didn't even know Game Freak made anything outside of the Pokémon series. I had to check their Wikipedia page. Sure enough, with the exception of a few obscure one-offs in the early nineties, the list goes: Pokémon,  Pokémon,  Pokémon,  Pokémon, Pokémon, TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT...What the hell is TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT?

Nevertheless, Tembo the Badass Elephant is an enjoyable platformer that differs from Game Freak's standard Pokemon style, and I recommend it to anyone who loves a side-scrolling adventure.

5. Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut

Bizarre third-person open-world survival horror

"Did you see that, Zach?!

Clear as a crisp spring morning! F.K...In the coffee!"

~Agent York

In Deadly Premonition, you play as FBI agent Francis York Morgan investigating in the fictional location of Greenvale, Washington. The town has a mysterious murder of an 18 yr. old woman, and it's up to York to solve it.

This game is categorized as "open world survival horror", but it goes beyond the standard "wandering around solving puzzles and smashing ghoulies" fare. Directed by the talented Swery65, this title has the additional "so Japanese" charm on full tilt.

In particular, York and other members of the cast have little quirks -- traits which make them weird and interesting. For example, York constantly talks to his "imaginary friend" Zach, even when others are around. He also drives around in a police car starting long anecdotes about movies and DVDs to Zach:

"Who is Zach? Are we (the players) Zach?"

And who can forget the cheerful whistling tune prevalent in the game. It makes certain sequences seem almost everyday and normal, in their own eccentric ways. Here's a small scene where York encounters Mr. Stewart, a handicapped old man with an interesting way of speaking:

In terms of gameplay, Deadly Premonition runs on a timed schedule, where certain places (such as a store) only opens at certain intervals, so there's a need to speed up the day to complete key events. How does York fast-forward time you ask? Via a cigarette and his own little mind-world of home furnishings and red leafed vistas, of course:

Yes Metal Gear Solid V fans, Big Boss is surprisingly not the first to implement this mechanic.

...including a charming can of "the pickles" in his diet.

While there are combat moments against various zombie-like enemies, most of the time York is driving around town, asking questions and collecting items for the people of Greenvale. He also consumes a variety of items to recover, including a charming can of "the pickles" in his diet.

To sum it up: Deadly Premonition visually won't win any awards, but the gameplay mechanics and cast of characters has its own unique style that's hard to find outside of a Swery65 title.

6. Jet Set Radio

Third-person sporty trick-based platformer

Jet Set Radio (known in Japan as Jet Grind Radio) is a fantastic rollerblading and spray painting adventure, originally found on the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. Since then, the game underwent an HD facelift and is now available on various platforms, including PC via Steam.

With a distinct audiovisual style, Jet Set Radio takes place in a fictional city of Tokyo-to (known to in-game characters as "Tokyo" for short). With protagonist Beat, players skate around Tokyo, performing tricks and tagging walls with their signature of choice while evading the authorities and rival gang members. The music as loud and expressive as its cel-shaded art style, and will likely leave its graffiti'd mark on your mind after a short moment of play.

Here's the debut trailer for Jet Set Radio:

7. VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

Story-focused pixeled bartender simulator

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action's title speaks for itself -- set in a post-dystopia world, you play the day-to-day as a bartender named Jill, mixing drinks and chatting with the various customers in beautiful pixel format.

For example, here's a screenshot of the player mixing a requested drink:

The characters at the bar are all have their own motivations and roles, ranging from cat-eared ladies to robotic helmet men, each with their own life stories and dialogue to discover:

Other than working and paying the rent, Jill can use her profits to shop for some fun customization of her room, ranging from action figures to even some fresh wall decor. She can also spend time drinking and chatting with her pals, giving the game a very immersive charm.

For more details, here's the trailer for VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action:

If you enjoy simulator games with a shot of personality and story (no pun intended), I suggest giving VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action a try.

8. Stardust Vanguards

Multiplayer local free-for-all in a mecha anime theme

You thought this would be entirely about single-player games huh? Well surprise -- here's a local multiplayer title where you can fight it out against your friends and the game AI to see who reigns supreme!

Titled Stardust Vanguards, this niche Japanese title is a pixeled dueling free-for-all. Up to four players can each choose a colored mecha to shoot, dash, and even summon minions in the skirmish based on a gradually increasing meter.

At certain points in the match, the AI will send out waves of its own enemies against the player mechas. Thus, players can choose to either form temporary alliances to slay this universal foe, or continue smashing each other to bits with the threat of the AI team winning.

Here's the trailer for Stardust Vanguards for a quick look at the gameplay style:

9. Corpse Party

Anime-styled third-person overhead survival horror

Deadly Premonition doesn't quite have the spookiness that horror aficionados desire, but perhaps Corpse Party will satisfy that need.

Corpse Party is a game about a group of high school kids doing a chant on a rainy night, causing them to be taken into an alternate dimension where unsettling child ghosts roam the halls.

Here's a small clip of Corpse Party's gameplay and story:

"butter up my pooper" scene:

As you can tell, the game's characters have a typical "anime style", but don't let this fool you.

The game's western release has a surprising amount of goofy localized dialogue that makes it a stress relief while retaining its creepy charm.

For example, one of the most well-known moments from Corpse Party is the "butter up my pooper" scene, where Seiko needs some ointment for her bottom that's been "drier than a desert".

(Don't believe me? I included screenshots of the scene on the right for your own visual entertainment.)

I recommend Corpse Party on Steam if you want a pixeled horror game that has anime elements and an unsettling story about brutally murdered elementary school kids.

Otherwise, carry on to the final title of the niche Japanese list!

10. D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die

Eccentric third-person whodunit with rhythm elements

The last but not least title on this list is also by SWERY65, a game by the name of D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, commonly known as D4.

D4 is another investigative game starring protagonist David Young in his quest to find his lover's murderer, but with a different perspective.

Unlike the open-world Deadly Premonition, D4 is an episodic (almost like a point and click) title. To inspect an object, the player hovers their hand-like cursor over parts of the screen, and in return a series of small descriptions appear on the object. Players can also use this curse to "grab" or "push" things to earn collectible points, or to discover new clues.

So what makes D4 "so Japanese" and niche? Well, if you found Deadly Premonition's cast to be slightly strange, then D4's characters are something straight out of an abstract art gallery.

"Traveling fashion designers"

For example, by now you're probably wondering who the peculiar green-haired characters are at the top of the article -- I won't give away too much because of spoilers (and you really should see their characters yourself for maximum entertainment), but let's just say they are both "traveling fashion designers".

Also, other than investigating with the hand cursor, D4 has various QTE sequences that function just like a Japanese rhythm game. In particular, there's a "Synchro Rate" mechanic where a player has to act in character of what David would do (as both a detective and as himself) in a given situation.

Here's an example demonstrating both the wacky cast and one of the rhythm game moments:

I recommend this for any person looking for a unique episodic title to add to their library. Like Deadly Premonition but more streamlined, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die has a unique take on investigative gameplay in an amusing light.

And that's it for my list of 10 niche Japanese games -- I hope you found at least one new title to enjoy as you peruse Steam's enormous library of PC titles. Oh, and speaking of which, do you have any niche Japanese titles that you love on Steam? Do leave a comment below!

[Images retrieved from Giant Bomb, KnowYourMeme, and Steam]

More info released on Corpse Party 3DS and Windows version Sun, 17 Apr 2016 06:17:08 -0400 Mark Elgie

XSEED Games released new information Thursday on two new versions of the acclaimed horror adventure Corpse Party.

The PC version of the game will release via Steam, and the Humble Store for $14.99 on April 25, and the 3DS version -- a remaster of the PSP version of the game -- will be released digitally for $29.99.  There will also be a limited edition physical release on 3DS for $49.99. They're all slated for this summer.

This makes three platforms that the first Corpse Party title will be available on in English. Each of the three iterations of the game has something new to offer. According to XSEED Games, the PSP version of the game is the more accessible version:

"If you want to easily play Corpse Party on your living room TV, or you own a Vita or PSTV and want the entire Heavenly Host trilogy (Corpse Party, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, Corpse Party: Blood Drive) in one place, the PSP version is for you!"

The PC version has an entirely different voice track (still in Japanese) and 4 extra chapters, with one being the "Tooth" chapter from Corpse Party: Book of Shadows for PSP and iOS.

The 3DS version has 14 extra chapters, four of which are exclusive to the 3DS. These new chapters help serve to fill in story gaps and develop some side characters who haven't gotten a lot of focus. The 3DS version also has higher resolution character sprites than the PSP version of the game, as well as some new music tracks. The physical 3DS version will be receiving a "Back to School" limited edition, which includes character figurines for Naomi Nakashima and Seiko Shinohara and a soundtrack CD containing 80 minutes' worth of music from the PSP and 3DS versions of Corpse Party that didn't make the cut for the Songs of the Dead soundtrack release.

Visit XSEED Games' Tumblr for more information.



Corpse Party: Blood Covered Review Sat, 16 Aug 2014 21:53:00 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

Warning: This review contains graphic content from a game rated M for Mature. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

Horror is a complicated thing to define, especially in video games. It’s surprisingly difficult to find a game that scares everyone. The only thing that's certain about the horror genre is nothing is scarier than the unknown. No matter who you ask, there is something decidedly unnerving about not knowing the ultimate fate of a victim.  Corpse Party: Blood Covered  has so many unknowns that I’m not sure if it’s being subtle, or it just ran out of scary little girls to shove in my face.

A Reimagining...of a Remake. 

Corpse Party: Blood Covered is the PSP port of the reimagining of the original 1996 classic, and it certainly changes a fair amount of items from the original game.  There was an older remake of the original game that kept the original story and only updated the graphics, which is available for free download. But after playing the remake and the reimagining back-to-back, it does make one wonder why the developers decided to reimagine the game the way they did.


The old (from the remake) is on the left, and the new (from the reimaginging) is on the right.  The newer one looks cuter, which means it'll be harder when he dies horribly right?

I won’t discuss it here though, that’s an article for another day.  The game has gained quite a cult following in the past several years, and it’s not hard to see why - it’s a trip into Japanese horror, which is a genre that many horror movie buffs enjoy on occasion.  Myself included. Corpse Party: Blood Covered isn’t a bad iteration of this genre, but it’s somewhat paint-by-numbers. Allow me to explain in more detail before you sharpen your pitchforks. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Wrong (Endings). 

Corpse Party: Blood Covered has very simple gameplay, walk around, find a thing, solve a puzzle and try not to get the bad ending. There are various small factors in this that determine whether or not you will get the good ending or the bad ending. There are also the wrong endings, but those let you restart from where you left off on the save point. 

Oh come on, she just wants to give your eyes a hug.

If you want to complete the game with the best ending, follow a walkthrough, because there are some things you might not think about the first time around, causing you to get the bad end.  Even with the so-called good endings, this is still a horror game - so you do get to see some grotesque images in beautifully animated CGI.   You also get to listen to good music that really sets up the atmosphere of the game.  If you are sensitive to gore, I would not recommend you play this under any circumstances. This game does not hold back. Which is an issue I will get into later.

Oh this looks safe. Nobody sees anything wrong with pulling a little person apart while chanting? No just me? Okay then.

The plot of this new iteration of Corpse Party is as follows: A group of friends at Kisaragi Academy, their teacher, and the little sister of the main character (Satoshi Mochida) all unknowingly take part in an evil ritual. The ritual is supposed to be a charm that allows them to stay connected forever to a friend that’s transferring to another school. The ritual starts off by ripping a paper doll that looks like a person, and chanting once for everyone that was there.  As soon they finish the ritual however, the ground opens up and they all fall into a hellish dimension, taking the form of Heavenly Host Elementary School, a school with a blood-spattered history. The group is separated in various pocket dimensions where they can’t reunite right away, giving the player a chance to play each individual story arc.

Meet Kokuhaku Akaboji, one of the oddest ghosts you see in the game. You know next to nothing about her, but the game makes you want to find out.

While the main plot is the group attempting to escape this dark and horrible place, the other aspects of it are probably the most fascinating. You go around the school finding nametags of the various characters and through their vague notes, you get to figure out who they were and how they died. There are also Extras at the end of each chapter that allow you to spend time with these characters before their untimely demise. Despite knowing how they died, you want to know more about them and how they lived long before these events occurred. These aspects of the story are rather flawless, and if the main plot had been executed in this way, there would have been fewer problems with the overarching narrative.  

This poor kid. (If you know the game, you'll know what I'm talking about.)  The  three kid's ghosts stories were the hardest to listen to.

More gore isn't always better.

The issue with this story is that it's too predictable and what makes it worse is that it has too many unwarranted "shock-value" horror moments. For example, one of the deaths which seems to indicate that “this place is evil”, also appeals to the gore crowd due to the disgusting nature of the death. While gory deaths are not a bad thing - this is horror after all - the reasoning behind this one was a little…odd. The way they try to rationalize why certain things happened the way they did also spanned way too far away from suspension of disbelief for my own tastes.

The way they wrote it made it seem like the character only died horribly in order to meet some kind of gory murder quota. It’s like they tried present this death to the world with a bodily-fluid-smeared smile on their faces saying “YOU SEE LOOK AT THAT ISN’T IT HORRIBLE! LOVE ME!” At times the gore seemed just like they wanted attention for how graphic the game was rather than the quality of the game itself.

The only subtlety this game has is in this small bag.
There is also a tounge is in this bag, just thought I'd let you know. 

That was another thing this game did - it took things around eighty-four steps further than they should have been taken, for no perceptible reason other than to be horrific.  There were parts of the story that could have been left up to the imagination, multiple parts in fact. To be honest, Corpse Party: Blood Covered is about as subtle as a bull in a china shop. The excessive gore just doesn’t work well, and it’s a shame -  the game would have been a lot scarier if they had just pulled back a little and left more to the imagination.

Gore can be a take-it-or-leave-it thing in horror games, you can either love it or you hate it. But even if you love the gore, there is one thing that is still mind-numbingly gratuitous - the amount of panty shots. This is a horror game about high school kids right? Not a bunch of twenty-somethings playing teenagers? Right? Okay, then why are we treated to constant panty shots of dead girls? Do we really need to see what color of a girl's panties when her skull is caved in? Or how about the heavy implication that a character is masturbating over the dead corpse of someone that has been splattered against a wall? I get it’s to imply that the characters are disturbed, but it comes off as a pissing contest between Corpse Party and it's big siblings, Silent Hill and Fatal Frame. Corpse Party is letting it all hang out, and it's screaming: 


Just because you can show things like that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. I enjoy moments that shock me, but these shocked me for the wrong reason. No game should ever make me roll my eyes and yell “OH COME ON!” when I see the next corpse panty shot.  I know this game has some restraint - I’ve seen it in some cut scenes. It was so close to being great, what happened?!

Clearly splitting up is going well. Don't worry, I didn't spoil a death scene


We should split up. Again. 

Another bothersome thing about the story is the amount of times the characters split up. The first instance is understandable. It makes sense with the teacher trying to be the adult, it makes sense when a character is going insane, and even with some of the puzzles, splitting up makes sense. However, when you’d think that after you first friend nearly died while alone in a cursed place, you’d learn not to go off on your own again.

When it came to a character going to the bathroom in the middle of the woods around this Satan school, I found myself screaming at the screen for another character to go with them! Why?! Why would you ever leave anyone alone in a place where murder ghosts wander free, killing everyone in sight?!  That’s like wondering why you were chased by lions after walking through their pride covered in ground beef and goat entrails.  They do mention that the evil dimension affects the way you think, making you lose hope and eventually give in to the darkness or evil inside you.  But even that doesn’t explain away the very huge lapses in the judgement of characters who are still apparently cognizant enough to create large, elaborate plans for exorcising demons.  

 Even with the ridiculously stupid moments these characters have, they are relatively interesting. Some characters didn't getting nearly as much development as others, and (no surprise here) those are the ones that tend to die.  The story sort of runs the gambit of typical character archytpes, making it relatively easy to guess when a character is going to die.

That said, they do give time to the character that died first, allowing you to actually feel bad that they died that way. The other characters get flashbacks, but you get far more of an insight into this first character than you do the others, leaving some room for thoughts about that character and those they left behind. This particular character was probably the one dead character that was developed beyond an archytpe, while the others were not.  

The characters do develop, but at times they just feel like they are walking in place, not really progressing in the time they have.  They develop just enough to not be flat, but some don’t develop enough to be really called main protagonists. Yuka, the little sister, is the worst offender. Yuka sours a good cast with her infantilized appearance and horrible screeches. She's mainly used for cheap manipulation of the audience.

Why. Just why?


There are girls like Celementine, and then there's Yuka. 

Little girls or younger girls can work as solid playable characters. Just look at Clementine and Ellie. But Yuka just isn’t a good character at all. Yuka is the biggest emotional manipulation I have ever seen a game pull off, and that’s saying something because I’ve played a lot of games where you have to save the helpless girl.  Yuka is basically there to act all cute and helpless so you will want to defend her. 

You could potentially say the same thing about Celementine in Walking Dead Season 1, but Clementine (unlike Yuka) actually grew as a character, learned things, endeared herself to you through her personality, and became an individual character strong enough to hold up her own game. Clementine is 11 years old when the first game starts out; Yuka is 14, but with the mind of someone far younger and potentially stupider. The only development Yuka gets is that she becomes slightly more independent, since she ends up getting separated during the aforementioned bathroom incident. But even then, she won’t stop acting like an infant. 

Yuka, we are in a place full of corpses, blood, guts, killer ghosts. What do you mean "What is it?" How can you not know what it is?

Your entire reason for protecting her is that she’s Satoshi’s sister. Well, that and her "adorable little girl" persona. That's it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to protect young girls from harm, but at least develop the character beyond this sickening little pile of cute with a big brother obsession. It’s not only irritating, but it’s creepy to the umpteenth degree. 

All in all, it should have been better. 

I can see why Corpse Party: Blood Covered has the following it does. It has a thoroughly graphic story that does take some unexpected twists and turns, complete with an interesting core cast.  However, Corpse Party: Blood Covered has a lot of problems in its narrative, and leaves  a lot of room for improvement.  I wouldn’t recommend for anyone who isn’t dying to play it.

If you are curious to see what all the fuss is about, watch a Let’s Play about it to see if you’ll like it before you play it.  While not a bad game, it certainly doesn’t thrill as much as promised, which is a shame, considering how amazing the original version was. This game should have been an amazing experience, but instead was a little girl screaming for big brother while her friends' body parts fly all over the place. A true disappointment.