Sunday, 11 April 2021

Kaleido Festival (PC)


 This is a fangame based on an anime I've never seen called Kaleido Star. From what I've read online, Kaleido Star is about a girl named Sora who dreams of being a circus performer. In this game, you play as Sora, navigating short platforms stages, with the main gimmick being that there's lots of trapezes and trampolines strewn about each stage for you to use. Also, there aren't any enemies (though some stages do have traps that can hurt you, and pretty much all of them have parts with no floor where you can fall to your death (or at least wet failure) in the sea).

 


I was actually pretty disappointed by the circus aspect of the game. Looking at screenshots before I played it, I was expecting a game that focussed mostly on trapezing and doing tricks in the air, getting landings right, and so on. Instead, it's just a time attack platformer, and though you can get chains by quickly jumping from trapeze to trapeze in quick succession without touching the ground, it's ultimately a minor component of your final scoring for each stage.

 


The stages themselves are okay, they gradually introduce new elements as you go along, a lot of them have slightly out-of-the-way areas with more coins to collect, all the standard stuff you'd expect from a game like this. That is, until you get to stage 3-4. This stage starts out strong, with a staircase of trampolines leading up to a trapeze on a much longer pair of chains than any seen in the game so far, but then immediately crumbles. At the end of your swing arc on that giant trapeze are a bunch of traps that you'll hit midair if you try to jump straight up to the next giant trapeze. There's also a row of traps for you to smash into if you try going for a horizontal route lower down. I've had something like thirty attempts at this stage, and I don't know if there's some secret trick I have'nt discovered, or if the developer accidentally left some traps where they weren't supposed to be in their stage editor, but as far as I can tell, this stage is impossible.

 


It's a real disappointment, as that giant trapeze hints at more exciting things to come in later stages, but it seems like I'll nver get to see what those exciting things might turn out to be. As a result of this, and as much as I wish it weren't the case, I really can't recommend this game at all. Sorry.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Tekkouki Mikazuki Trial Version (PS2)


 Obviously, "Trial Edition" means that this is only a demo. But it's a demo of a game that never got released! And that game would have been based on Tekkouki Mikazuki, Keita Amemiya's excellent big-budget giant robot miniseries that aired in 2000! You play as Kazeo, the young boy protagonist of the series, and in tuen, he controls the giant robot Mikazuki to fight off the melon kaiju from the first episode, Suika Idom.

 


To clarify on that explanation, you play as Kazeo, running around on the ground. At the start of the stage, Suika Idom shows up and starts stomping around and destroying buildings. For about a minute, you've got to run around trying not to get stepped on, until some gold text appears on the screen, heralding Mikazuki's arrival. When it shows up, you can press select to alternate between controlling Kazeo and controlling Mikazuki. However, whichever of the two you're controlling, Kazeo is still "you" in the game's world, and you see what Mikazuki is doing from his perspective, wherever you left him on the ground.

 


It's a pretty interesting way of getting across the fact that this is a fight between giantsized combatants, and really, you shouldn't have expected anything less, since this game is by Sandlot, the masters of making games about really big things, as seen in their most famous games, the Earth Defence Force series, and a previous Lunatic Obscurity subject, Chou Shoujuu Mecha MG. It's a shame this game never fully came into fruition, as the monster design in the show is incredible (but again, Keita Amemiya is one of the greatest tokusatsu monster designers of all time), and it might have been cool to have stages where you played as Akane piloting the Gekkouki series of robots. 

 


Though this specific game came out, Sandlot went on to make a bunch of other games, and two of their other PS2 titles in particular build on the concepts put forth in this demo: Gigantic Drive and Tetsujin 28 Go. So I guess I should really seek them both out and give them a try, right? It's very difficult to get ahold of this demo through legitimate means nowadays, but I'm sure that if it appeals to you, you'll figure something out. And if you do, you'll have a fun five or so minutes before it's over, so why not?