The Gamer’s Corner: Awesome Obscure Games Vol. 4
As the school year begins to wrap up, I always like to share a few of the recent games I’ve really enjoyed that may have been overlooked. My picks are quite obscure for my fourth and final edition, but they are all definitely engaging and a lot of fun.
My first recommendation is the 3DS eShop exclusive “Yumi’s Odd Odyssey” which is the first “Umihara Kawase” game to come to the US. Despite its cute exterior, “Yumi’s Odd Odyssey” is a brutally challenging platform game. You play as a young woman named Yumi and you must use your fishing pole to reel in giant bipedal fish and grapple your way through the environment.
The physics in the game are the star of the show, as you must carefully reel in your line at the right time to fling yourself upward and onward. Grappling becomes such a rush; the longer you stay airborne and avoid spikes. You’ll die over and over again throughout the 50 levels, but since death is always your fault and is frequently hilarious, you really won’t mind restarting. Clearing each level and finding each of the collectibles and alternate exits always feels like a huge accomplishment since the game is so demanding.
My second pick is my favorite original Vita game, “Ys Memories of Celceta.” “Ys IV” is an action adventure RPG that sort of feels like a Zelda game with more combat than puzzles. The story is relatively simple in that your main goal is merely to explore and (auto) map out the Great Forest of Celceta.
I normally enjoy RPGs with stronger stories and characters, but I enjoyed that “Ys IV” focused on delivering tons of combat because its combat systems are so fast paced and fun. While you mainly are just hacking and slashing and firing off special moves, there is a bit of strategy in dodging attacks at the last possible second to slow down time and also by switching between characters mid-battle to take advantage of their unique move sets. The graphics aren’t great, but the awesome rock soundtrack establishes the adventurous tone.
My next recommendation is the PS3 2D fighting game “Aquapazza.” I didn’t know anything about “Aquapazza” and its cast of “Aquaplus” characters when I picked up the game but it didn’t matter. “Aquapazza” has only 13 playable characters, but it overcomes the limitations of a small roster through the assist characters you pair up with. There is a ton of variety in the playable characters that either offer new spins on established ideas, like Sasara, who wields a heavy spear and has paladin-like buffs, or are completely original like Manaka, who hilariously fights while holding a stack of books. The online multiplayer isn’t very popular, but “Aquapazza” is still really fun to dig into and play locally with friends.
My final recommendation is the PS3 and Vita music/rhythm game “Hatsune Miku Project Diva F”. I didn’t know too much about the popular vocaloid before I played the game, but the moment I played the demo at Comic-Con last year, I was sold. The game is pretty simple in that you are merely pressing buttons in time with the music, but it feels so good to play and is so lovingly produced that it is really easy to get sucked right in. I was really impressed with the variety of music in the game as well as the high production values on the vibrant music videos. It’s infectious enthusiasm for Hatsune Miku certainly made me a fan of the vocaloid.