Review: Puyo Puyo Tetris (Nintendo Switch/Playstation 4)

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A Puyo Puyo game, released in the west. Such a strange sentence to type out in the context, due to the Puyo Puyo franchise being one of those notorious cases of a series being stuck in Asian shores with maybe the rare localized title or import title that quickly comes and goes. The last time a major Puyo Puyo game was in American and European territories was the 2004 title Puyo Pop Fever, and since then the series has been quiet. Aside from the occasional table scraps like the port of Puyo Puyo Tsu on the Wii Virtual Console, the version of Puyo Puyo Tsu in SEGA 3D Classics Collection, and the Puyo Puyo 39 minigame in Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX, the series has otherwise been absent.

But that all changed with Puyo Puyo Tetris, a game that has existed since 2014 on multiple systems. Unlike other Puyo Puyo games prior, Puyo Puyo Tetris gained notable attention in western territories for years. It might be a case of a silver lining in an otherwise rough year for SEGA or the controversial practices the Tetris brand has been associated with, or just it being a very fun game, but regardless Puyo Puyo Tetris was requested for localization for quite a while. But now it is 2017 and we finally have the game in western shores, more specifically for the popular Playstation 4 and Nintendo’s recently released Nintendo Switch.

After such a gap between the game’s original launch in 2014 and the 13 years since the last time a major Puyo Puyo title was released in the west, is Puyo Puyo Tetris the comeback that has been long overdue, or was there a reason why western fans were were denied Puyo Puyo for so long?

Review: Persona 5 (PS4)

It seems that with every new release, the more popular that the Persona franchise becomes and it’s hard to believe that the franchise is now celebrating 20 years of greatness. Now with the release of Persona 5, we take another dip into the velvet room and live the regular life of a Japanese high schooler. I mean, isn’t this how it is over there? Today we review Persona 5 and see if this game was worth the wait.

Review: Yakuza 0 (PS4)

Yakuza 0 takes us back to Japan during the 1980s, offering up a brand new tale in the Yakuza franchise. But with so many titles in the franchise, can Yakuza 0 offer up enough content to make it worth your money? Is this a safe game for newcomers? Hit the jump button and find out.

Review: Puyo Puyo Chronicles (3DS)

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25 years has past by for the Puyo Puyo series (27 if counting Madou Monogatari). Originally the series was conceived as a modest puzzle game in the same vain as Dr. Mario or Tetris on the MSX and Famicom Disk System, before making it big with the arcade games Puyo Puyo and Puyo Puyo Tsu. Even after the demise of Compile at the beginning of the new millennium, SEGA would still keep up the legacy of the franchise with the occasional new game and merchandising. Enough so that Puyo Puyo is considered one of SEGA’s “core” franchises in Japan.

Now that it’s the 25th anniversary of the Puyo Puyo series, naturally a new game would be released to compliment this milestone. However the new game in the series, Puyo Puyo Chronicles, takes a slightly different approach from the norm while at the same time trying to keep things familiar for long time fans. Is it a worthy milestone celebration chronicling the series strengths, or a sign that this chronicle should end?

Book Review: “Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games”

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Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games was written by Ken Horowitz, who runs the long running SEGA-16 fansite. As a longtime Sega fan and lurker on various sites, especially before I started this blog, I was a huge fan of what Ken was doing at Sega-16.  One of the biggest resources the site offers is a review for almost every single Sega Genesis game published. That’s quite the feat. While his work on getting a review for almost every single Sega Genesis game is amazing, I truly love his website because he interviews some of the most interesting people from Sega’s glory days. I first heard about the site when doing research on Sega Technical Institute, after finding his interview with Roger Hector about his time being director of the studio I started checking daily for more Sega historical content. Ever since then I have been a huge fan of the site, when I heard Ken was writing a historical Sega book we invited him on our podcast (listen to that below).

Review: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (Nintendo 3DS)

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Prior to sitting down to write out this review for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, the third Sonic Boom game and the second to appear on the Nintendo 3DS, I told myself I would not fall into the reviewers trap of carting out some year that pinpoints when the Sonic series “went bad”. Not only have far too many reviewers done this already, but often I feel they are incredibly misinformed. Sonic Boom was, and is, a product of SEGA of America. While Sonic Team members do have their names attached to the multimedia project, credit really should go to select SEGA of America staff, OuiDo! Productions, Big Red Button and Sanzaru Games. Past games like Colors, Generations and Lost World were completely separate, both in canon and production, and as such I think it is unfair to say that the failings of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric should sully the main brand.

Sonic Boom was a chance for SEGA of America to fully control a piece of the Sonic pie, and while some elements of the multimedia experiment fell flat, others were and are actually quite enjoyable, namely the TV series and the short lived Archie Comics adaptation. When Sonic Boom is at its best, it evokes the old Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon and early Archie Comics. Light, funny and self-aware whilst retaining the sense of adventure. Does Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice fall into this category? Did Sanzaru Games learn from their previous title? Am I going to ask questions with the promise of answers if you click “Continue Reading”? Find out in my review of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice!

Review: Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse (3DS)

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Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is not quite a sequel, side story, or even an expansion to the well-received Shin Megami Tensei IV.

If you took the movie Die Hard and filmed a What If ending showcasing what could happen if Reginald VelJohnson’s character Sgt. Al Powell had infiltrated the Nakatomi Plaza instead of waiting on the sidelines, then you would find yourself in a similar situation. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse uses this What If scenario to fine-tune the gameplay from its predecessors and treat players to a very satisfying RPG for the Nintendo 3DS.

Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X (PS4)

SEGAbitsReviewMikuXSEGA’s Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X takes its popular IP based video game series to the PlayStation 4 for the first time, also available on PlayStation Vita. This review will be based on me playing Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X on the PlayStation 4 and it being the first game in the series for me all I ask is: please be gentle! What did I think? Is this a good starting point for people that have been sitting on the sidelines for the last few years?

Lights, camera, action because it’s time to review Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X.

Review: 7th Dragon III Code: VFD (3DS)

7thdragonreviewI have been complaining that SEGA should bring over the 7th Dragon series since it debuted on the Nintendo DS way back in 2009 and now we finally got our first entry with 7th Dragon III Code: VFD (which has been confirmed to be the last entry as well). The7th Dragon series had SEGA veterans like Rieko Kodama (Phantasy Star, Skies of Arcadia fame) and composer Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage series, Etrian Odyssey) involved to help craft the long running series. While we missed out on first couple games and a couple of spin-off titles; its nice to finally get to play a official localized version of the game.

But was the last game really worth the wait? Well, let’s find out.

Review: SEGA 3D Classics Collection (Nintendo 3DS)

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SEGA 3D Classics Collection is the latest in the long line of compilations that SEGA loves to produce. For years the company has to rereleased various titles in a neat packages for convenience, often times Genesis titles from the golden days. Examples include both Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gems Collection, SEGA Genesis Collection, and SEGA Smash Pack. However, few of these compilations were released on handheld systems, and often times arcade games would get the short end of the stick. So SEGA 3D Classics Collection is a bit special in this case since it has several games that you don’t normally see in these compilations like Power Drift, Puyo Puyo Tsu, and Maze Walker.

Review: 3D Out Run (Nintendo 3DS)

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Out Run / Outrun (アウトラン) is a very important game in the history of SEGA, released back in 1986 on arcades and later ported to various consoles. Out Run was a massive success for SEGA, selling over 20,000 cabinets worldwide in its year of release. Almost 30 years later, we get a brand new port on 3DS with 3D Out Run. Is this port worth your time? Well, let’s talk about that…

Review: 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros (Nintendo 3DS)

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I’m going to be honest, when SEGA and M2 announced that 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros was going to join wave 2 of their 3D Classics, I was sold. Fantasy Zone is just one of those games that doesn’t get enough appreciation in the West and having it release digitally will mean that more people get to enjoy this underrated classic. But how is the port? Well, let’s jump right into the review…

Review: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (Nintendo 3DS)

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In late October, SEGA released the first piece of the Sonic Boom franchise by way of the Archie comic book series of the same name. Despite the much touted TV series and video games, the comic book was our first official trip into the Sonic Boom universe. In my review of the first issue, I noted that I really enjoyed the fun, loose, self-referential nature of the comic book series. I compared the Sonic Boom comic to Archie’s early Sonic the Hedgehog issues. My exposure to the franchise continued with the TV series, which I also enjoyed, noting that the series felt very much like DiC’s 1993 series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. By this point, I was feeling fairly positive about Sonic Boom. And then the video games released.