Tag Archives: Factory

Haven Review: Xmas Shooting – Scramble!!

Fruitbat Factory is at it again bringing us another delight from Orange juice! No, not the beverage that got our YouTube channel suspended for three months. The game design group! This time its Xmas Shooting Scramble!

Like its previous Bullet Hell titles its come out with like QP – Shooting is dangerous we are back for another round of insanity and mischief lead by the chibi’s from that as far as I know represent their development team at Orange Juice.

This game though has a plot, which at the very moment you start arcade mode you are chasing down someone who has stolen the presents from Bunny Girl Santa! That devious little bastard, Who dares steal from Santa! Well besides villains like Team Rocket and other characters throughout the history of games and television.

But back on track on track now, the game controls just like its predecessors and its pretty easy and straight forward to the point where anyone can pick it up and start playing it and have little to no issue understanding the controls, the configuration, and everything else.

It really feels like they just re-skinned QP-Shooting is dangerous in terms of mechanics and just made a new story. Which is forgivable in this case because its a bullet hell game and if you are like myself you just kind of expect bullet hell titles to just be pumped out over and over again. There isn’t anything wrong with it unless they “literally” just re-skinned QP – Shooting is dangerous and trust me they didn’t and they did manage to fix a few bugs as well.

Like their previous titles the music is very delightful and spot on, as is the actual gameplay where you can challenge your friends and family and prove to them all you are the dominate gamer of the household and that your bullet hell skills should be recognized.

But what it ultimately boils down to is do you like Bullet Hells, do you like anime ladies dressed as Santa, because you know thats a fetish and people are into that. Do you also like cheesy dialog to explain why you are firing energy waves and protecting yourself with little reindeer than look no forward! When Christmas rolls around we have found the ideal game title for you that is not only nicely made, runs smooth as silk, but also has lovely animation in terms of game design in it.

If you liked QP – Shooting is dangerous than you will definitely love this title.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish

TitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

One of the things I quickly learned when I was in Japan is how rich and complex is its culture. The written language for instance, utilizes basic Chinese characters, but then requires speakers to learn multiple pronunciations for each character, depending on its use in a sentence. It then compounds the issue with two more alphabets not found in Chinese, each of which must be carefully integrated alongside the Chinese script. Needless to say it was a challenge to learn! Also during my journey I considered a serious study of shogi (Japanese chess). I was already a decent player of traditional (aka “International”) chess, so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem to learn a new variant. It turns out that shogi makes traditional chess look like checkers! It’s a lot of fun, but very tough.

Bird But this report is neither about language nor chess. It’s about the unique phenomenon known as manga…the Japanese graphic novel. If a manga becomes a cartoon movie, it’s then known as anime. Either way, our motif of extreme complexity continues as we try to decipher plot and purpose, both within and outside the bounds of story. Submitted for your approval: Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish, developed by Pomera Studios and published by Fruitbat Factory. As a graphic novel presented in video game format, this title has properties of both manga and anime. The object of the game is to make your way, one screen at a time, through the trials and twists of a highly convoluted story line. Red is for Anguish is the first installment in what is purported to be a series of Magical Eyes stories. Early indications suggest that each episode will contain a different color in its name.

TwinsSo what can we say about this novel without spoiling the plot? I don’t usually quote outside sources when writing, but here I must make an exception. I’ve read several reviews, and they’re all under the impression that the story centers around a businessman who claims to have had his arm cut off by a living doll. Now I’ve been playing this game for several hours and guess what; no businessmen, no dolls and no arms. Before getting into what I did find, I’ll post a quick disclaimer:

Recently a large patch was released for Red is for Anguish, resulting in one of two possibilities:

1. The aforementioned story arc has been removed, replaced or simply pushed forward a few hours.
2. No change has been made to the story at all; I just need to grind ahead to find it.

If the latter is the case, then you can ignore everything I’ve said so far (although Japanese chess really is an amazing game).

ChefWhat I found in Red is for Anguish is as follows. The story opens with an animated fairy tale of sorts. A sweet little girl, loved and admired by the townsfolk is cursed by a monster to become destructive. Two brave heroes appear in an attempt to lift the curse. The people of the town realize that the destruction is not the girl’s fault, and are intent on forgiving her, should the curse be broken. The girl, still self-aware, vows to become a champion of curse removal in the future, if she’s able. How’s that for a non-committal, anti-spoiler review?

Classroom We’re on a roll, so let’s continue. After you see the fairy tale to its conclusion, the story shifts to modern-day Japan, where an affluent woman can’t seem to shake an unnatural attraction to her own grandmother. This emotional bond grows so overwhelming that it winds up killing the younger, after which the elder becomes distraught and also dies. It seems that in this universe if you die a highly emotional death, you return as a zombie-like creature bent on leeching life from others in a fruitless attempt to restore lost relationships. Such has happened to the younger woman, who now wanders the streets aimlessly. A young man happens to encounter this newly made zombie-woman, resulting in…martial arts combat, of course!

At this point I was really hoping to see a businessman’s arm, or at least a few of his fingers. But alas, not yet. In fact by now you should see how the title goes; one arc after another, and seemingly unrelated. The small amount of story I’ve cited occurs right at the very beginning, and the screenshots I’ve included have nothing to do with any of it. They are however part of the actual game…I swear.
MapAs you read through the title’s plethora of dialog, special keywords will occasionally show up in a bold, colorful font. You can click these to learn more about Japanese culture in general. Also, from time to time you’ll come across an exciting mini-game embedded into the story. This is called “Reasoning Mode” and presents in the form of a pop-quiz. If you’ve been paying attention to the plot, you should have no problem answering the questions and earning bonus scenes and content as a reward. If you happen to answer a question incorrectly, you can always restore from a previous save. Considering the game gives you 150 save slots, you should have no problem returning to any specific point in the story!

So overall, is Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish worth it? For fans of interactive manga, the answer is yes. Priced on Steam at $15 (USD), it’s a good value. Add in the 13 Steam achievements and it upgrades to “very good”.

In the meantime, expect a lot of information (and a fair amount of confusion) to be thrown at you during play. Dialog is odd at the best of times and downright creepy at others. This is quite entertaining and helps to balance the tedium often associated with lengthy graphic novels. So enjoy…and as always: Ikimashou!

-Chris Roberts-
RedIsForAnguishScale

Haven Review: Sora

SoraTitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Sora (空) is a Japanese word for “sky”. It also happens to be the name of the protagonist in an upcoming indie bullet-hell shooter developed by OrangeJuice and published by FruitBat Factory. Sora takes place on a planet torn apart by war. Out of the chaos a girl is born with a natural instinct for combat. She is compelled to fight, yet she knows not why (kind of like my mother-in-law).

Sora05Sora‘s premise is simple: shoot and dodge your way through ever-increasingly difficult waves of enemy ships. The game features an optional tutorial, which is presented on a matrix-style grid. The text-based instructions are a bit wordy and hard to follow at times, so most of your learning will be by doing. Move your little Sora character using familiar up, down, left & right directional keys. You’ll also want to map a “sprint” key to evade oncoming enemy shots. Be warned however, sprinting causes Sora‘s shields to heat up. If they overheat, she’ll take more damage when hit by enemy fire.

During the tutorial you’ll learn about weapons, of which there are three:

Long Range Laser: Instantly fires at a locked-on enemy ship. Although it doesn’t inflict heavy damage, it provides an instant strike that cannot be parried by the enemy.

Long Range Missile: Fires at a locked-on enemy ship, but with less speed than the laser. Enemies can fire at it, blowing it up before it reaches them.

Melee Sword: Sora must fly close to the enemy to inflict damage. This makes her vulnerable, but a skilled player can actually morph the melee attack into a variety of power-combos! If you get into trouble, try performing a quick “sprint-evade”. Remember that sprinting causes your shields to heat up, so frugality is key here.

Sora2Before long the tutorial will become fast and frenzied, with bullets and missiles flying everywhere. So when you feel you’ve learned enough, it’s on to the main game!

The first stage has you soaring through overcast skies, dodging new and varied bullets, pellets, energy orbs and rockets. The enemy ships are also sturdier than they were in the tutorial, so you’ll want to conserve your sprints and heavy missiles, lest you overheat too soon.

The real fun for me was in discovering new environments and enemy tactics. I’ll keep the number of screenshots limited, so as not to spoil them. A few extra screens can be seen on Sora‘s Steam Store page. The game officially releases on January 5, 2016.
Sora56So what, if any suggestions can we give for future development? Let’s make a list:

1. Keyboard mappings are awkward. Game play requires to you to switch attacks and maneuvers quickly. So unless you have very long long fingers, you’ll find your gaze darting from screen to keys often. Of course, you can avoid all of this by simply using a console controller, which seems to be the developer’s intended way to play.
2. The game lacks mouse support. I’d much prefer to attack with a click, rather than a key press. Again, the controller mitigates this issue.
3. There’s no easy way to review key bindings. About half way through the tutorial I wanted to look at my mappings. I pressed ESC, and was given two options: restart the tutorial or restart the entire game! Eventually I did remember where all the important keys were.
4. There doesn’t seem to be a natural way to quit the game. Only by pressing ALT-F4 or switching to the desktop and closing the game manually was I able to do this.

Of course, these are first impressions. If there are some special ways around any of the above, I’d love to know them.

At the moment, pricing information for Sora is available neither in the Steam Store nor on GamersGate, where this title will also be sold. If you like the idea of a sweet moe character battling her way through sheer bullet-hell, I’m sure you’ll find value in any reasonable price!

So is Sora worth it? I would say yes. It’s that casual, yet addictive arcade experience that will keep you coming back. A few tweaks to the interface and controls will go a long way to boosting the overall score.

SoraScale-Chris Roberts-