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RPGs Coming This Week, 9/27/21

Artwork from Dale North's Alchemic Cutie Soundtrack

Do you have seasonal allergies? Lord, have mercy, I do. I love autumn, I really, truly do, but the crack of fall just nukes me. You see, I don’t just have seasonal allergies. I’m allergic to darn near everything under the sun… and under rooftops as well. I suppose we all react a bit poorly to dust, but when the weather changes that stuff will set me down like a champion wrestler, it really will. And you can imagine full gladly how much I clean my house as a result, but all that cleaning just amplifies my wall-shaking sneezes.

So, what is a Quinton to do? If I can’t be inside, and I can’t be outside, because either way, I’m going to sneeze loudly enough to wake the dead, what is my solution? “Sleep,” some might quip. And some would be mistaken. You see, not only do I need to be awake in order to be productive and thus keep this apartment in my name, but I’m burdened by glorious purpose; I like being awake. It’s true. It’s a curse.

My solution, then, is to… be outside. I’m going to suffer regardless, but the changing of the leaves and the cooling of degrees creates a more pleasant spot and really gets me moving. There’s something great about the outdoors, which is, I suppose, why they call it “the great outdoors” in some circles.

The consequence of all this outside tomfoolery is that I’ve less time to spend playing RPGs. And the fundamental problem with this arrangement is that I quite enjoy playing RPGs. And, when you see just how many RPGs are coming this week, the 27th of September, 2021, I believe you’ll rather agree with me that I’m missing out.

Alchemic Cutie – September 28th (XB1, XSX)

Alchemic Cutie Talking to a Frog

Check out this clump of dirt! It’s made of dirt. But do you know what isn’t made of dirt? Alchemic Cutie, that’s what. At least, I’m pretty sure it isn’t made of dirt, because it looks like a lot of fun and dirt is, broadly speaking, not a lot of fun. You’ll tame wild jellies, which are kind of like the Slimes from Dragon Quest. You’ll raise them as though they’re your children, raising them in all the ways that parents typically raise their young; nurture them, assign them tasks, and finally, breed them with powerful stock to ensure optimal stat growth for future generations.

There’s also alchemy. A ton of alchemy. You can create special items with robust effects, aiding you and your Jelly kids on your reckless adventures in between the challenge of getting to know your neighbors. Including a nice frog dude named Gert. The game’s been delayed a couple of times, a fact that I was reminded of just now when I noticed that I told everyone it was coming sometime in 2020. That was my third ever article here at RPGFan, so it holds a sacred place in my heart.

Even though I was lying to you.

Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero’s Bonds – September 28th (iOS, Android)

A battle in Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero's Bonds

First things first: no, there isn’t any form of punctuation between Dragon Quest and The Adventure of Dai.” It reads like A Hero’s Bonds is part of the Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai franchise, which is… well, I suppose it’s kind of true.

Here’s a neat wrinkle on the ol’ Yuji Horii formula. Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero’s Bonds isn’t an original video game, per se. The Adventure of Dai is an anime. It’s an anime based off of a manga series, which spawned a shorter-lived show back in 1991 before being reborn just recently as a new series destined to adapt the entire manga story. Naturally, this hubbub can mean only one thing: a smartphone gacha game. (There are other games, too, but this was always the likeliest outcome.)

Combat seems snappy, perhaps even promising! It’s action-based, with three “lanes” that the game’s characters rush down at all times. You’re given heads-up of incoming monster parties and enough time to prep. Battles are performed automatically, but swiping left and/or right will compel your mates to bust out special abilities ripe for the reckoning.

Astria Ascending – September 30th (PS4, PS5, Switch, XB1, XSX, Windows)

A turn-based battle in Astria Ascending

Kazushige Nojima is a prolific person. He’s co-written the scenarios for such beasts as Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, and Final Fantasy XIII. If you’re unfamiliar with such niche videogames, then here’s one you’re sure to recognize: Tantei Jingūji Saburō: Kiken na Futari. Indeed, the man is still churnin’ them out today, being a major creative force in Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Wait a minute. This isn’t supposed to be a Nojima biography. Nor is it a Hitoshi Sakimoto biography! But the legendary writer and his composer pal are both big keys behind the production of Astria Ascending, a turn-based RPG with an interesting twist. Namely, your party of eight colorful personalities is unlocked from the very beginning. The cast has known each other for years, and they’re in the twilight of their time as heroes. Their inevitable, prophesied deaths are on the horizon, but until these last three months are ended they’ll still be out in the world fighting Noises (read: scary, no-good do-badders).

Come for the plot, but stay for the beautiful, Vanillaware-esque visuals. Also, our Astria Ascending review is already live!

Impostor Factory – September 30th (Windows, macOS)

A shadowy locale in Impostor Factory.

“A bonkers time-loop tragicomedy murder mystery thriller featuring multiple casualties and a suspicious cat, from the creator of To the Moon & Finding Paradise.”

I don’t like to direct-quote Steam pages often, as I’ve noted before on the rare occasions that I… direct-quote Steam pages. Every so often, the publisher prints something so far beyond the spectrum of my own descriptive capabilities that I am left with no choice. Bonkers time-loop tragicomedy murder mystery thriller. Hello, what? Where do I even come into this? You already know everything you need to know, not only about Impostor Factory but also Freebird Games’ startlingly witty advertisers.

All right, I’ve gathered my bearings. I can add my own words to the mix now. Let’s see… ah, the Steam page has a list of the game’s key features. Perfect. I can reword these into my own… uh… wow… damn, this is written exceptionally well, too. “A story that will make you curse at the screen. A cozy mix between adventure game elements and classic RPG aesthetics. Dialogues that read so wrong but feel so right. An espresso execution with zero filler and no time drains. Long cat.”

You know what, I give up, just go here and read the rest.

Mary Skelter Finale – September 30th (PS4, Switch)

A whole lot of everything is happening all at once in Mary Skelter Finale.

Will the Blood Maidens finally get their happily ever after? Wait, who are the Blood Maidens? Oh no, this is a trilogy, and Mary Skelter Finale is the third and final game. Wow, I came here completely unprepared this time. I didn’t know this trilogy existed. OK, so there was Mary Skelter: Nightmares, which released several years ago. We have a review for it. Then came Mary Skelter 2, which admittedly we do not have a review for, but I’ll forgive us just this once. (Do you have any idea how many RPGs there are? A lot!)

Along slithers Mary Skelter Finale, and the adventures of Jack and the Blood Maidens — fairytale reincarnations, as it happens — are drawing to a close. The Massacre Pink does everyone a dirty, scattering Jack and the Blood Maidens like leaves in the wind only just after the folks finished climbing a tower. That’s messed up. So, you know, get everybody back together and level up your job classes so you can administer punishment where punishment is appropriate. (By the way, these are dungeon-crawling RPGs. It occurs to me I should at least classify these games instead of giving you two paragraphs that don’t tell you anything.)

Rogue Lords – September 30th (Windows)

A tinted-red battlefield in Rogue Lords.

You’ll need some sympathy for the devil in Rogue Lords, or at least a healthy dose of psychological separation, because the star of this dark fantasy roguelike is the Dark Lord himself. “Evil geniuses” are at your disposal, so deploy them well, spreading chaos in their wake.

The story setup’s a real tearjerker. The forces of good sent you and your wicked minions packing decades past, filling the world with nice things and happiness whilst you despaired because you couldn’t spread that self-same despair wherever you walked. Well, revenge is a dish best served two-dimensionally. Go out there. Kill the nice people. Be evil. And when you falter, reset your game and be evil all over again. Because if there is one thing that good people invariably underestimate, it is evil’s capacity to come back time and again whenever it is “sealed away.”

Seriously, stop sealing away evil. Just nuke it from orbit. This happens every time, you guys.

Also, of note: This week marks Rogue Lords‘ debut on PC, but developers Leikir Studio and Cyanide Studio are planning to bring it to PS4, Xbox One, and Switch in the future as well.

UNSIGHTED – September 30th (PS4, Switch, XB1, Windows)

A main menu filled with crunchy RPG and action elements in Unsighted.

Alma’s got a rough life. For starters, she’s an Automaton. I don’t know precisely what that entails within the universe of UNSIGHTED, but I doubt it’s wonderful. She awakens to a world ravaged by war. Get this: it was those pesky humans’ fault. Alma and her fellow Automatons will lose sentience fast if she doesn’t traverse the world of Arcadia with a purposeful stride, because the force that gifts Automatons with sentience is withering away. Before long, she and her friends will become mindless killing machines. That sucks!

Gameplay in UNSIGHTED blends the cool platforming of a Mega Man X game with the crunchy, craft-and-upgrade package of a more modern affair. If you stick around in a spot for too long, important NPCs might just lose their sentience before your eyes. The constant passage of time results in different endings, too, so there’s potentially a lot to love here. This is one of those games I didn’t know a whole lot about going into this week’s column, and I’m walking away quite intrigued…

Games on New Platforms This Week

  • Chernobylite – September 28th (PS4, XB1) Released just two months ago on PC, Chernobylite is bringing its frightening blend of action RPG and survival horror to bear upon consoles. Check out Abraham Kobylanski’s strong review here!
  • NEO: The World Ends With You – September 28th (Windows) Another recent arrival, NEO: The World Ends With You is the long, long, long-awaited sequel to the excellent DS classic. PC players, rejoice! You nabbed this former console exclusive so fast, the Reapers’ Game blinked and missed it.
  • Darksiders III – September 30th (Switch) This one, by contrast, is a few years old as it makes its journey to the House of Mario. Darksiders III didn’t exactly blow Peter Triezenberg’s brain off, but then, life is hard enough without the loss of one’s mind.
  • Death’s Gambit: Afterlife – September 30th (Switch, PC) Afterlife is to Death’s Gambit as coffee is to an expensive, outrageously-portioned Italian meal — more of a good thing, and now with a bolder, more nuanced flavor. Taste it for yourself on Switch and Windows this week.
  • Xuan Yuan Sword 7 – September 30th (PS4, XB1) As if there were somehow not enough RPGs arriving on September 30th already, the latest in a decades-old Taiwanese series about Chinese historical settings and a certain legendary blade descends upon PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a slice of “you thought you had enough on your game-playing plate” and a slash of “but you didn’t, and I can prove it.”

I took some allergy meds and passed out on the couch for four hours! Can you believe it? Four hours. But I’m up again, and that’s the most important thing, right? I’m still alive, no matter what my nose believes to the contrary.

But you know what? It’s not going to stop me from finishing this week’s column. Because I love writing “Coming This Week.” And I’m happy when you’re happy.

And because my boss needs it on his desk by first thing in the morning.

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