Quintessentially Quirky - The Oddities of Tokyo Game Show 2013

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (PS3)

What is It?

A 2.5D fighting game based on the long-running JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga series since the late 80s. The game brings in a roster of spirit users, muscle-bound vampires, and horse-riding pilgrims who fire mind bullets -a majority of them named after rock musicians and their music, mind you- as they battle each other mano-a-mano.

Following the basic template of Street Fighter IV, the game adds in new mechanics such as side-stepping on the battlefield to avoid projectiles and control spacing, canceling from regular and special moves mid-combo at the cost of their heart heat gauge (the game’s equivalent of the super meter), and stage hazards that are triggered after knocking down an opponent onto a highlighted spot.

Already out in Japan and getting extra promotion in TGS, the game has sold half a million copies on its debut week according to sales chart site Media Creates. To put things into perspective, the popular Street Fighter IV sold 123,857 units on its first week.

Localization chances?

JoJo is indeed a go-go. Namco Bandai announced that the quirky fighting game will be out in North America in 2014. In the meantime, fighting game fans can catch up with the long-running series through some heavy manga reading, or tune in to the recent 2012 anime adaptation of the first two chapters.

Drag-On Dragoon 3 (PS3)

What Is It?

Old-school PS2 gamers may remember the Drag-On Dragoon series; it was localized as Drakengard since 2004. The first two games were third-person action hack-and-slash fests in the veins of the Dynasty Warriors series, with its sole hook being that players can command and ride a badass dragon either on the field or in the air at any given situation.

The upcoming third game is not only sticking true to its saurian-piloting and beat-em-up roots, but also introduces two different female protagonists, Zero and One, with a dark backstory and a promiscuous streak. Heck, the former has four manservants of different age groups who protects her as well as satiates her ever-growing libido. Keeping up with the game’s grueling nature, Zero and One can amplify their combat prowess if they are covered by oodle amounts of blood on the battlefield.

Localization Chances?

Yes, given that the first two games were localized before. Publisher Square Enix is mum about its English existence at the moment. Copies outside of the US and Europe would be distributed in limited amounts given its niche status.

Game Center CX: Arino in District 3 (3DS)

What Is It?

This collection of 15 NES-styled original games is styled after retro titles like Mega Man and Super Mario Bros. Examples include Rumi and the Magic Broom, a platformer inspired by the Super Mario Bros. series, and Wing Hero, a horizontal 2D shoot-em-up where players can blow on a microphone to elevate away when things get too hot. Saurus Boy is what happens when someone combines Land Before Time with Mega Man; the main character fights in a prehistoric world using different dinosaur outfits with varying power-ups

This otherworldly collection is a tie-in to the Japanese TV show Game Center CX, which is hosted by comedian Shinya Arino. In each episode he has to finish a retro title in 24 hours as well as explore gaming culture in the whole of Japan. Because only in that country, TV execs can profit from a show where a middle-age comedian plays old video games for entertainment.

Localization Chances?

Most likely no. The first Games Center CX title on the Nintendo DS was localized previously under the name Retro Games Challenge in North America to mediocre fanfare and sales number. The show is gaining popularity on international markets thanks to subtitled DVD releases of past episodes, so there’s that.

More after the break...

Danganronpa 1.2 Reload (PS Vita)

What Is It?

A murder mystery adventure game that combines a unique 2.5D motion graphic art style with a twisted scenario. Fifteen students are trapped in Hope’s Peak Academy, and according to a talking robot bear called Monokuma, they can only get out by killing one of their own and covering up their tracks. Players unravel the story through the eyes of the student Makoto as they have to unravel murders through investigations and evidence-hunting, with each case’s culprit decided through a class trial.

If players guess the culprit's identity correctly during a class trial, he or she will undergo capital punishment for disrupting the sanctity of the academy. Fail, and the killer walks scot-free while everyone else gets the axe.

Dating simulation aspects do creep up, as Makoto can hang out with the remaining students, bond with them via conversations and gift-giving. Think the Ace Attorney adventure game series combined with anime high school tropes and the “whodunit” aspects of Saw, and that’s Danganronpa in a nutshell.

Localization Chances?

The verdict for this crime caper being in English is a resounding “no”. Despite the unconventional-yet-brilliant combination, there has not been a publisher from North America or Europe daring enough to bring this niche title overseas. However, the game’s publisher Nippon Ichi said during a TGS press event that the American branch will announce something really soon, so fingers crossed.

Otoranger (iOS)

What Is It?

Rhythm games have been flooding mobile devices as of late with the likes of the Tap Tap Revenge series and, er, Snoop Dogg’s Way of The Dogg. Capcom decides to put in their own spin on the genre by adding in Power Rangers-like superheroes and RPG elements for team and stats-building.

Tailored after Puzzle & Dragon's hybrid mechanics, players have to combat wave upon wave of super villain henchmen and sentai-styled monsters in a stage by hitting the cues on-screen perfectly to the beat of the background music. The more precise a player’s input is, the better the outcome and damage. Greater inputs will allow them to go into Fever mode, where the heroes summon a giant robot akin to the Megazord to deal a heckaton of damage on anything waylaying their path. If that isn't enough to satiate a music lover's tastebuds, the game's simple-yet-striking art style is easy on the eyes.

Localization Chances?

Unlike most titles on this list, mobile games have a good chance of making it out in English if oddities like Party Wave and Puzzle & Dragon are concerned. A concept like Otoranger can work outside of Japan thanks to the long-lasting popularity of the Power Rangers series (since 1993 up until now) and portable rhythm titles.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Battle Pentagram (PS Vita)

What Is It?

The anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica was renowned for its trippy aesthetics and fresh take on the magical schoolgirl warrior premise. Naturally, that makes for perfect video game fodder as Namco Bandai is developing a third-person action game where players control a group of school girls brandishing bow & arrows and machine guns as they fend off evil butterflies and loli-witches in the dead of night.

Borrowing cues from roguelike RPGs, players have to balance whatever finite resources they have as they play through multiple dungeons tailored out of a Lewis Carroll-inspired LSD trip. To mix things up, gamers will be coupled with an A.I partner during missions. Their performance and effectiveness are determined on whether players make an effort in talking to them and building a relationship during the day portions of the game. So far, there hasn’t been any word on the game’s touch screen features. One hopes that Namco Bandai takes the high road and make sure it doesn’t involve dress up

Localization Chances?

The odds aren’t in Namco Bandai’s favor. While the premise and concept seem tame enough, the anime series it’s based upon is not even close to the mainstream levels of shows like One Piece and Naruto. Pushing out an English release for a moderate number will be an uphill battle in licensing and cost justification.

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