Hey, welcome to Good Goings! A monthly series where I’ll celebrate some stuff that has happened or is yet to happen in the otaku sphere. The world can bring us down sometimes so it’s important to kick back, relax and remind ourselves of the things we’re happy about. It feels like there’s never been a better time to be a geek nowadays so pop on the kettle and let’s get cracking with what goodies have come up this month…
Welcome! This is another long one since a Nintendo Direct just came out (man, I feel like there’s one of these every month!) But first, over on Otome Corner…
I promise I’ll stop gushing about Cupid Parasite (Switch, 2 November 2021) now but I couldn’t ignore its awesome Limited Edition. Keychains, drama CDs and an art book with some other goodies? Oh, Idea Factory, you spoil us! Preorder Cupid Parasite’s Limited Edition on their online store from 4 October 2021.
The long awaited Step 4 expansion for Our Life: Beginnings and Always (PC) is now available! This heartwarming epilogue takes place five years after the ending of Our Life and is sure to be a sweet sayonara to Sunset Bird.
Over on Kickstarter, Apocalyptic Dream, an adult otome about twins in the midst of a zombie outbreak, has been successfully funded. Citing inspiration from Corpse Party, the Zero Escape series, and Dangerous Fellows, this is an ambitious otome with dual protagonists, nine love interests (including LGBT romance), and oodles of physical merchandise for backers. Seriously cute pins, jewellery and prints! Midnight Springs Deco is a new outfit with a background of making accessories so I’m keen to watch their transition into game development, especially as they’ve made such a unique pitch! The project is still at patient 0 but there’s a rough release window of early 2024 for Steam and Itch.io.
The last bit of otome-ish news this month is about that pretty boy sword sim: Touken Ranbu Online, which finally came West last April. It’s getting a musou spin-off! Touken Ranbu Warriors is releasing on the Switch on 24 May 2022. This 1v1000 hack n’ slash will get the heart pumping as you lead the time-travelling Touken Danshi swordsmen on an adventure to stop Japanese history from unravelling. This is the first musou to draw from a joseimuke series and it’s being developed by Omega Force in conjunction with Koei’s otome branch, Ruby Party, who are handling the visuals so exciting stuff all around!
An unexpected revival is in the works as Monster Rancher returns for its 25th anniversary with Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX (Switch) on 9 December 2021. The original monster raising RPG was truly innovative for its time, utilising a mechanic that let you generate monsters by inserting CDs into your Playstation. I don’t know how the remaster will revive this feature but this game is certainly a nostalgic trip!
Talking about surprising releases, I’ve noticed lately that several games typically exclusive to console have stealth dropped onto Steam. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, Moon Remix and even Bravely Default II! As a fan of Japanese games, I remember the dark ages when PC ports were much more scarce and/or badly optimised so this move towards more cross-platform releases warms the old cockles. At any rate, more options (and potential sales) are always cool. One day in the near future, I’ll be playing all my JRPGs on Switch and Steam Deck…😎
Is it me or has Nintendo been relentless recently? I’d only just recovered from last month’s Pokemon Presents and Indie World Direct, before they dropped the big Nintendo Direct … (watch it here!) As always, these are my personal highlights – it just turns out a lot caught my eye. Oops.
Like a shooting star out of nowhere, Kirby is hurtling into the third dimension in Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch, Spring 2022). I think this is the pink blob’s first 3D outing and it looks amazing! The camera pans around and you see this beautifully desolate cityscape overrun by lush greenery and adorable monsters waddling around. I love the style – modern with intriguing nooks to explore but with that soft whimsical charm Kirby games are renowned for. The stages are open sandboxes a la Super Mario Odyssey and there seems to be a good variety of them – an abandoned theme park, scenic beaches, and dusty desert, etc. So many Nintendo franchises have massively expanded their worlds this gen, but I believe Kirby would work especially well with this newfound freedom since he’s simply so fun to float around with. I wouldn’t have ever predicted this announcement since I’ve always associated Kirby with 2D but looking at the trailer, just yes… though, for real, where is my man Meta Knight?!
The second superstar of this showcase was undoubtedly Bayonetta 3 (Switch), which people have been understandably clamoring for ages. Well, our badass witch returns to stomp some celestials with some hella stylish hair. Platinum knows how to make them and seeing Bayonetta strut her stuff with some slick combos makes me want to play her old games again! I’m loving how her braids recall little Cereza from the first game and, of course, you’ll be catching up with some of the umbra witch’s epic summons. After several years of being fashionably late, Bayonetta’s return will be all the more sweeter when she arrives in 2022.
Another series rising from the dead is the Castlevania Advance Collection (PC, PS4/5, Switch and Xbox One/X/S), which compiles Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, Aria of Sorrow, and Dracula X into a reasonable package available now. I’m psyched about this since I’ve always wanted to play the GBA Castlevanias but getting hold of them was difficult. Hooray for affordable remasters! They’ve also added rewind, replay and save/load features so butterfingers like me have a fighting chance.
I was also surprised by the sudden drop of Actraiser Renaissance (PC, PS4, Switch, mobile), a remake of the SNES platformer x god game that sees you control the Lord of Light. While the story isn’t particularly unique, the mixture of 2D platforming and urban planning is where this game shines. The remake adds additional story content and has developed the simulation phase to include tower defense elements too. I’ve never played this game before and not sure I will but it’s rad to see old classics revived for a modern audience.
Now, the JRPG that specifically called to me was Square Enix’s Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (PC, PS4, Switch), a card-based tabletop style RPG that faintly reminded me of Crimson Shroud. While card games have been making the rounds, Voice of Cards possesses an unconventional style where the entire game is presented via the medium of cards. The presentation appears simple with only the brief embellishment of ornate tarot-style character cards – and it’s special for it! Not many Japanese games have played a similar hand and I’m expecting that its conventional sword and sorcery veneer will conceal some fresh twists considering this game stems from a bunch of NieR veterans with the inimitable Yoko Taro acting as creative director. Expect the unexpected this 28 October 2021.
Many people will be excited about Splatoon 3 (Switch) in 2022. There are the familiar turf wars spruced up with fresh abilities…then boom furry tentacle? Return of the Mammalians is the confirmed story mode and involves – as you can guess – splating furry monstrosities. The Squid Researcher really sold it 😂.
Now, a few party games: Mario Party Superstars (Switch, 29 October, 2021) features five prettified N64 boards and 100 classic minigames. Apparently the minigames have been selected from the entire history of Mario Party but I kind of hope there are original ones too. Anyway, this should be good for the family, although all modes have online play so you can go solo if that’s your thing. Between this and the recently released WarioWare: Get it Together the holidays should be set!
Alternatively, if you’ve played the hell out of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, have a look at Chocobo GP (Switch, 2022). That’s right, a Final Fantasy Mario Kart, though there are a few twists. First are unique character abilities but I think there’s greater potential in the levelling system for items as abilities get stronger if you pick up multiple magicites of the same element (e.g. Fire -> Fira -> Firaga), adding an element of strategy where you have to decide between short or long gains. This will most likely appeal to longtime fans since some of the characters appear pretty obscure…but hereeee we go, Chocobo!
Along with that flurry of news, we got loads of updates and release dates:
Rune Factory 5 is finally, finally confirmed for 22 March 2022. Same sex marriage also confirmed, which is gonna make it hard for me to choose between twelve cuties. Praise the goddess, I can’t wait!
Triangle Strategy, an Ogre-like SPRG I’m excited for, is launching 4 March 2022. Square Enix has fine-tuned some stuff following demo feedback. UI, difficulty settings, and other QoL features – all good stuff.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut, a detective RPG you can play straight or off the rails, is available digitally from 12 October 2021 and physically early 2022.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is trundling onto the Switch 11 November 2021. I wonder whether we’ll eventually get the remake that’s in the works…
Deltarune’s second chapter is now available as a free update for the already free first chapter. Future chapters will apparently be priced so I guess this is kind of a long demo?
Monster Hunter Rise is getting a large DLC expansion next Summer 2022 called Sunbreak that adds new areas, monsters and story/hunting content. Very gothic!
Also, look out for some presentations this October: Sakurai will be revealing the final Smash Bros character on 5 October 2021. Any ideas who it is (don’t say Waluigi 😅)? An Animal Crossing Direct is also coming soon to go over November’s free update and, yes, Brewster confirmed (hopefully everyone will get their coffee and chill now…)
Lastly, there were some big surprise announcements!
The Nintendo Switch Online is receiving another membership plan towards the end of October that lets you play a collection of N64 and Sega Genesis games. So far nine N64 games and fourteen Sega Genesis games will be available with more to come:
N64: Dr. Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Mario Tennis, Sin & Punishment, Star Fox 64, Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, WinBack: Covert Operations, Yoshi’s Story
(Banjo-Kazooie, F-Zero X, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Mario Golf, Paper Mario, Pokémon Snap, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask to come)
Sega Genesis: Castlevania: Bloodlines, Contra: Hard Corps, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Ecco the Dolphin, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, Ristar, Shining Force, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage 2, MUSHA, Phantasy Star 4, Shinobi 3, Strider
I was never very nostalgic for the N64 or Sega Genesis (truthfully, I was hoping for the GameCube instead) but hopefully this makes some people happy! The updated price for the expansion pack has yet to be confirmed but so long as it isn’t ludicrous, it should be a good deal for people who want a legit way to play without pulling out the old controllers.
And the weirdest news of all was Miyamoto casually popping up to announce an animated Mario movie for the 2022 holiday season. What?! Chris Pratt as Mario?! Jack Black as Bowser?! I’m taking some time to get my head around that. Either way, I’m glad it’s not live action and the father of Mario still looks so happy haha.
Thanks for reading all this way! Overall, I think it was a pretty damn good Direct and it had a lot of stuff people had been (repeatedly) asking for. I’m definitely picking up a lot of them when I have some spare cash. March is going to be expensive… What about you? What announcement got you most excited? As always, let me know about your own Good Goings in the comments and have a great day!