Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games range from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.

Watch me play these games and more at Twitch.tv/OnePunkArmy

5. Sundered

The Metroidvania genre of games remains ever popular among gamers, especially those who speedrun games. This genre derives from the Metroid and Castlevania series, 2D platforming games that emphasized items, weapons, exploration, epic bosses, and often backtracking with new abilities to access new areas. Games of this genre also tend to reward players who complete the game in under a certain amount of time, which makes this genre very popular for speedrunning. Earlier this year, we saw the release of Sundered, a Metroidvania game with a twist. In Sundered, while the important rooms remained a constant, the game randomizes the rest of the maps. For example, if you want to get from point A to point B, you could possibly go straight through, but on another visit to this section, you may have to zig-zag through the room. Aside from this, Sundered features an upgrade tree, where you spend EXP on upgrading paths in the tree to reach stats and skills. If you enjoy this genre, definitely check out Sundered.

4. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

The Danganronpa series has trended for the past few weeks with the recent western release of Danganronpa V3. The core series plays similarly to the Ace Attorney, where you gather clues and evidence to take to trial, and use what you know and have to call out the lies of the witnesses and true culprit. The Danganronpa series has also had a few spinoff games, including Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. Essentially Danganronpa 1.5, this game takes place soon after the events of the first Danganronpa game, so Another Episode includes characters from the first game. Unlike the rest of the series, Another Episode plays like a third-person shooter. You make you way through the city trying to escape the hoards of enemies wanting to kill you, and you get a gun that holds multiple types of ammunition. While this sounds basic, the game has its own story that continues off the first game, so fans of the series will not want to miss this installment.

3. Super Cloudbuilt

We used to have a great parkour game, but it contained so many bugs and glitches that many people laughed off any game that contained parkour as the main focus. This negative perception of parkour games may change with the recent release of Super Cloudbuilt. At first, Super Cloudbuilt may appear as a 3D platformer with graphics that resemble the Borderlands franchise. The prologue serves as the tutorial for the game, and introduces you to the mechanics of dashing, wall-walking, jumping, and more. Sooner or later, you gain access to weapons, and then you need to incorporate attacking as you do the parkour stuff. This all appears easy to grasp, but once you realize that you usually have less than a second to time your movements and attacks right, you will find the real challenging meat of this game.

2. Nex Machina

These days, one can not easily find arcade halls still in operation. Trends change, and people prefer their mobile devices or consoles rather than going to the arcade to play games. As such, arcade-style games have largely faded away as gamers make their way towards online games, especially shooters and team-based arenas. Some game developers still cherish traditional arcade games, which led to the development of Nex Machina. Simple to pick up but difficult to master, this twin-stick shooter feels like an arcade machine in your hands. You use a controller’s dual joysticks for primary controls: one to move, and one to shoot. The pace of the game makes you feel like playing an arcade game, as the game holds nothing back when it comes to throwing enemies in your face. Luckily you can pick up items, weapons, and power-ups as you plow your way through each section. Pick up Nex Machina today for some good old shoot ’em up action.

1. A Hat In Time

Gamers just want a bit of nostalgia in their lives. They want games that remind them of the games they played growing up. So when new games come out that resemble older games, you can bet it will have a lot of people interested in it. Enter A Hat In Time, an indie 3D platformer available for multiple platforms. One can call A Hat In Time the spiritual successor to Super Mario Sunshine. Gameplay will remind many gamers of the first generation of 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie. The protagonist can run, jump, attack, use skills/tools, and more to explore the world, all while collecting hourglasses, which resemble Super Mario 64’s Stars or Banjo Kazooie’s Jiggies. With cute charm, a vast world, multiple terrains, intuitive controls, A Hat In Time stands out as one of the most underrated 3D platformers of the current generation of video games.

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Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Since the beginning of time, civilization has always asked what came first. While the public can typically attribute tangible items with an origin, everything else requires documentation to pinpoint an origin, unless generally accepted. For example, the gourmet food truck trend started in early 2009 with Kogi BBQ, which everyone will say started it all. When you look at expos for comic books, all fans will tell you that the San Diego one started it all. But with the San Diego Comic Con selling out in seconds every year, what else can fans do? Sure they can shell out the cash for super inflated after-market passes, but why not travel up the coast two hours to Los Angeles County? LA County hosts a handful of comics events and cons, some of which can appear as large as the San Diego one, such as Nerdbot-Con.

Nerdbot-Con 2017 returned to the Pasadena Convention Center this past Saturday to a massive crowd easily in the thousands. For as large a turnout that appeared, this expo consumed the entirety of the conference center, the entire east building, to hold that many fans. Taking place in all rooms of the conference center, dozens of comic book writers and artists traveled here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars took place in the surrounding meeting rooms for those who registered ahead of time. Throughout the day, various activities took place on the show floor to keep attendees entertained, such as live bands, scene reenactments, karaoke, dancing, and more.

Even to those not interested in comics, everyone should attend a comic expo/con just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly donned their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of this year’s Nerdbot-Con.

Missed out on Nerdbot-Con? Keep an eye out for other similar expos, such as Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con in late October, BlizzCon in early November, and Anime Los Angeles in late January. You have plenty of time to work up that unique and amazing DIY costume that everyone will want to take a picture of.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Since the beginning of time, civilization has always asked what came first. While the public can typically attribute tangible items with an origin, everything else requires documentation to pinpoint an origin, unless generally accepted. For example, the gourmet food truck trend started in early 2009 with Kogi BBQ, which everyone will say started it all. When you look at expos for comic books, all fans will tell you that the San Diego one started it all. But with the San Diego Comic Con selling out in seconds every year, what else can fans do? Sure they can shell out the cash for super inflated after-market passes, but why not travel up the coast two hours to Long Beach? After all, Long Beach plays home to the semiannual Long Beach Comic Con, which costs less to attend and has not ever sold out.

The 2017 Long Beach Comic Con returned to the Long Beach Convention Center this past weekend to a massive crowd easily in the thousands. For as large a turnout that appeared, this expo consumed two of the convention center’s halls to hold that many fans. Taking place in both Halls B & C, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists traveled here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars took place in the nearby meeting rooms for those who registered ahead of time. Diehard fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions. For a large space, it took some time to walk through every single aisle to gaze at all the work on display.

Even to those not interested in comics, everyone should attend a comic expo/con just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly donned their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of this year’s Long Beach Comic Con.

Earlier I had mentioned that this event occurs semiannually. Just like earlier this year, the comic con took place across two days, while the Spring event operates as the Long Beach Comic Expo. The next expo will take place in the middle of February next year back at the Long Beach Convention Center. Although existing under a different name, the same organizer runs both events, so you can expect largely the same things at the Spring expo. You can check out what else they have in store on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Until then, keep an eye out for other similar expos, such as Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con in late October, BlizzCon in early November, and Anime Los Angeles in late January. You have plenty of time to work up that unique and amazing DIY costume that everyone will want to take a picture of.

The 2017 Long Beach Comic Con returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this upcoming weekend. This two-day all-ages expo of comics, video games, anime, manga, and toys brings together fans, artists, designers, and more from around the world to meet with like minds and share interests. With plenty of speakers and workshops, the expo ensures that any attendee would find something to stay occupied. The Long Beach Comic Con has plenty more information to share on their website, as well as all their social media, such as their Facebook and Twitter pages. For those posting about the event, use the hashtags #LBCC #LBCC17 or #LBCC2017 since all three will refer to the event.

The convention runs on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend: starting at 10am to 7pm on Saturday, and 10:30am to 5pm on Sunday. Purchase your admission by 5pm this Friday to gain access to the convention half an hour earlier. Presale admission costs $40 to attend on Saturday, $35 to attend on Sunday, or $60 for the entire weekend. Admission passes at the door will cost $5 extra. Parking at the convention center costs $10 per vehicle. Those looking for free parking will not find much in Downtown Long Beach, so either park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or take public transportation from elsewhere. This expo takes place mainly indoors, so most visitors will not have to worry about sunlight or excess heat; however, anyone intending to remain outside for prolonged periods for photographs should apply sunscreen just in case.

What comic convention can rightfully call themselves a Comic Con without cosplay? Hundreds of attendees always display their creativity and craftsmanship with the various costumes donned to this expo. Sure the majority wear costumes less original than anticipated (such as Star Wars characters – sorry Slave Leia fans), but for those who put on something new or different, I salute them all. Check out some of the better costumes from last year:

Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games range from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.

Watch me play these games and more at Twitch.tv/OnePunkArmy

5. Airtone (Steam link)

Virtual Reality technology remains in its introductory phase at this point. VR has not gained too much media attention, as the technology to use it costs about as much as a high-end smartphone. For now, you may find some virtual reality gaming centers – like how department stores used to demo video games, some shops specifically have VR games for you to try. Virtual Reality expos and events also take place occasionally, allowing you to try out VR before making the plunge with your wallet. At this year’s VRLA Expo, I got to try out a handful of VR games, including the VR rhythm game, Airtone. Fans of anime and/or rhythm games would love to check out Airtone, combining the music and characters with the rhythm of tapping or holding on to points along the song track. Song tracks contain three colored notes that each correspond to a different action: touch the green notes, click on yellow notes, or click, hold, & follow pink notes. On harder difficulties, Airtone can really give you a good workout! Dozens of VR rhythm games exist, but none as fast-paced as Airtone.

4. Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni (Steam link)

Anime games have to walk a careful line. Most anime games have scenes or images not suitable for children. As such, anime games receive a bad rap from other gamers due to the cheesy fanservice content. Still, this manages to entice lots of gamers to check out the game anyway, especially if the gameplay has even more ridiculous mechanics. The hack & slash genre usually employs ridiculous mechanics of one versus the world, where a sole person takes out hundreds of foes in one battle. Dynasty Warriors perfected that formula, but that series lacked something. When you take hack & slash and combine it with fanservice, you get the Senran Kagura series. The Senran Kagura series revolves around dozens of high school girls with shinobi powers. Armed with a variety of weapons, these girls can beat up hordes of baddies, and when the going gets tough, like in many anime series, they can transform into a more powerful forms. As for the fanservice part, when the girls take too much damage, their clothes rip off. The series has a handful of games, but the publisher behind it has also entered another franchise, Valkyrie Drive, which led to the launch of Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni. While Senran Kagura wants to introduce you to lots of girls, Valkyrie Drive prefers to keep the roster smaller so that they can develop on characters and their stories. The gameplay remains mostly the same as Senran Kagura – characters have a variety of weapons, characters can transform to gain stronger combat prowess, and you fight off dozens of foes at a time. If you like anime games or hack & slash games or both, check out Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni.

3. Kritika Online

The peak popularity of the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) occurred years ago during the high times of World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, and Final Fantasy XIV. Since then, hundreds of MMORPG’s have launched around the world, most with the free-to-play model. Additionally, the MMORPG genre has paved the way for other multiplayer online games, such as MOBA’s (multiplayer online battle arena) and ARPG’s (action role-playing games), one of which includes Kritika Online. From the publisher behind Tera Online, Kritika Online has come to deliver another ARPG experience to the west. Kritika Online recently entered Open Beta, a term used by game publishers to officially launch the game while allowing bugs and imbalances to exist. However, that does not detract from the fun of Kritika Online. Featuring four classes that branch off into more subclasses, WASD movement, and lots of skills to combo with, Kritika Online can make for a good casual experience to the MMORPG waiting for the next big thing. Do note that this game contains heavy pay-to-win features with the microtransactions. With premium costumes & titles giving stats, and the Elite membership giving unfair boosts, if you do not spend money on this game, do not expect to do too much at max level other than grind for gears.

2. Little Nightmares

Horror in general has captivated the hearts of countless people all over the world. To the typical person, horror typically associates with movies, as in horror movies. Horror also refers to a plethora of video games, from psychological horror to survival horror. Establishing a sense danger and uncertainty makes for a great horror game, something that Bandai Namco has done with their recent release, Little Nightmares. Launched last season, Little Nightmares combines elements of puzzle, platforming, exploration, and horror all into one package. The player controls a child who wants to escape from an unknown area, but on the way out, the player encounters many horror-themed villains, such as a doll-keeper with long extendable arms and a cannibalistic butcher. The player must traverse from room to room, solving the puzzles in the room in order to progress. Criticism for Little Nightmares mainly revolves around the short duration of the game. The game contains five chapters, and each chapter takes between 30-60 minutes to complete. Although initially short, this game will get some DLC to add more chapters with greater difficulty. If you enjoy solving puzzles while having a sense of pressure or urgency, check out Little Nightmares.

1. Aaero

Rail shooter games have existed for a long time. Gamers still remember the classics such as Gradius and Raiden, as well as modern favorites like the Touhou series. On another level, rhythm games have existed for a long time as well. People recognize games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero worldwide, with a majority of rhythm games originating from Japan. But what happens if you love both genres of games and want to somehow combine the two? Independent developer Mad Fellows Games has done just that with their entry into the gaming market, Aaero. This visually-stunning game takes the mechanics of a rhythm game and throws in the elements of a rail shooter. The player will automatically move forward through a stage, and will encounter both rhythm and shooting gameplay. On the rhythm side, the player must follow a line, called the Ribbon, that moves with the beat of the stage’s song. On the shooting side, the player can shoot down baddies that appear, but for best effect, the player should shoot to the beat of the song. Shooting not on the beat will cause the shots to fire slower, as well as reward less points. With unique gameplay, stunning graphics, a great independent soundtrack with some popular hits, and a global leaderboard, Aaero represents one of the most underrated releases of 2017.

The 2017 Anime Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center starting this Saturday and running through Tuesday. This annual 4-day expo for all things Anime & Manga attracts exhibitors and fans from across the globe for the largest gathering of its kind in the world. What started as a simple expo for those in the Anime industry has grown to encompass anything remotely related to the art of Japanese art & animation. Today, this large expo now hosts artists, designers, vendors, video game companies, technicians, actors/actresses, voice actors, models, musicians, singers, cosplayers, and much more to spread their work out to the public as well as interact with the fans. With so much to do, so many people to see, and so many people wanting to get in (tens of thousands of visitors on the first day!), naturally the organizers had to make this expo cover a span of four days every year.

As the current world’s largest expo of its kind, one can expect sheer overflow of people in the area for miles. Road traffic does not face as much of a problem, save for the exuberant parking prices that reaches upwards of $40 per vehicle. Pedestrian traffic causes the most headaches, from the uncontrolled crosswalks to the endless line of jaywalkers. If anything definitely terrorizes attendees, the line to enter the expo causes the most grief. From getting in line to getting into the building, the wait in the mornings usually takes hours to enter. Strangely, very few attendees complain about this, as if they accept this year after year. Upon questioning some attendees from previous years, they mention that at least a hundred attendees camp overnight, and that entering the line at 8am when the expo opens still takes over an hour to get in. They also mention that the first day always sees the most amount of attendees, which sounds reasonable. Lesson learned: if attending Anime Expo, either attend extremely early on the first day, or attend on the second and/or third day.

The actual expo covers the entire span on the convention center, both the South Hall and the West Hall. The main expo occurs in the South Hall, while the West Hall houses the miscellaneous activities, such as workshops, video game competitions, cosplay contests, and more. The expo simply has too much going on, so I understand why most attendees purchase either the two or four day pass rather than just a single day. The expo contains different sections based on the content; for example, attendees would find the artist booths at the back, the autographs at the right, the merchandise in the middle, and celebrity/actor appearances at the front.

For any type of expo or convention of this nature, sure we may want to pay attention to the exhibitors, but at the heart of any gathering of this kind, our attention instantly turns to the cosplayers. Attendees love to dress up as their favorite character to show their pride and/or craftsmanship, while some simply slap together a lazy costume just to blend in somehow, such as the hundreds of attendees with a Teemo hat. For Anime Expo, the world’s largest expo of its kind, attendees either go all in or go nothing.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Since the beginning of time, civilization has always asked what came first. While the public can typically attribute tangible items with an origin, everything else requires documentation to pinpoint an origin, unless generally accepted. For example, today’s gourmet food truck trend started in early 2009 with Kogi BBQ, which everyone will say started it all. When you look at expos for comic books, all fans will tell you that the San Diego one started it all. But with the San Diego Comic Con selling out in seconds every year, what else can fans do? Sure they can shell out the cash for super inflated after-market passes, but why not travel up two hours to the greater Los Angeles area? We have witnessed countless comic events in Southern California, with one seemingly popping up every weekend or two. But how does one know which event to go to compared to others? It takes the brave to venture out and seek the new comic events, and many found that the Comic Con Revolution held up to its promise to deliver a fantastic comic con experience.

The 1st Annual Comic Con Revolution took place at the Ontario Convention Center this past Saturday to a massive crowd easily in the thousands. For as large a turnout that appeared, this expo worked in a very small space to hold that many fans. Taking place in most of the rooms on the first floor, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists traveled here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. Eager fans could gain access to the entire show floor for the low price of $25 per person or $15 for teenagers, with children 12 and under entering free with a paid adult admission. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars took place in the surrounding meeting rooms for those who registered ahead of time. True fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions. For a small space, it took some time to walk through every single aisle to gaze at all the work on display.

Even to those not interested in comics, everyone should attend a comic expo/con just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly donned their best gear for this expo. Check out some of the amazing costumes that I encountered at Comic Con Revolution below.

Considering the massive turnout for this event along with the cramped space, not only do I foresee Comic Con Revolution returning next year, but I also predict that they will have to expand their space to accommodate for all the extra vendors and attendees that will want to attend next year. Comic Con Revolution joins the ranks of big comic events in Southern California, such as San Diego Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Con/Expo, Wonder Con, Los Angeles Comic Con (formerly Comikaze), Anime Expo, Fantasia Comic Con, Comic Excitement Con, and lots of others. Keep in touch with future updates from Comic Con Revolution by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The Robo Toy Fest returned for its annual event this past Sunday. Taking place at the Pasadena Convention Center, this all-ages expo features dozens of artists and vendors all showcasing any media involving robots or mechs. From Transformers to Power Rangers and more, any fan of robot toys would love to see everything here. Visitors would find more than enough toys around to keep their interests piqued for hours. Admission only costs $10 and allows in-and-out privileges the entire day. Robo Toy Fest normally operates along with Brick Boutique, but for some reason that event did not return this year, so Robo Toy Fest operated on its own. For a small event though, one could see everything present within half an hour. However, the event organizers provided some extra content to entice visitors to stay, such as complimentary snacks and special guest celebrities doing autograph signings and photographs with visitors. I specifically saw one of the Red Rangers from one of the Power Rangers seasons, as well as the actor that portrayed Liu Kang in a Mortal Kombat movie. For those with expanded interests, plenty of vendors present provided merchandise from video games, comics, anime, manga, and more, giving fans more to see than just robots.

Robo Toy Fest returns at different times of the year. Last year, Robo Toy Fest took place in October, way off from this year in May. The organizers of Robo Toy Fest also put on a lot of other similar events at the Pasadena Convention Center, which I will list below. Make sure you like Robo Toy Fest on Facebook to see what else they have coming up. To better understand what transpires here, check out these other similar events held at the Pasadena Convention Center:

Many fandom events have occurred recently in Southern California. The term “fandom” refers to a broad range of pop culture interests and hobbies, from comics to video games to anime/manga and more. The most popular ones cost the most to get in, but a lot of smaller ones often do not cost much, if not completely free, to attend, and more often than not the smaller ones still attract a huge crowd, such as TitanCon 2017. Hosted at the student union on the Cal State Fullerton campus, TitanCon represents a locally-run community event around all things anime, manga, and video games. Taking place this past Saturday from 11am to 10pm, this free and all-ages event attracted thousands of fans of anime, manga, and video games to this quaint gathering for a fun day of mixing and mingling. Visitors would find artists, vendors, merchandise, mobile food vendors, live entertainment, cosplay contests, video games, a maid café, and more.

While it may not have the abundant amount of content that larger conventions and expos would have, Coast Con still had enough content to keep visitors occupied for hours. The student union primarily contained all the happenings of TitanCon, where attendees would check in, find the artist/vendor hall, check out all the programming, enter the maid café, play games, and more. On the other side of the student union from the check-in table, the majority of cosplayers gathered on all floors. The cosplayers took advantage of the stairs and the large outdoor space to handle all their photos, dancing, and acting.

Since none of the programming took place at the southeast section of the student union, this represented a great place to not only relax, but for attendees to mingle and meet others. I have attended countless fandom events in the past, but always attended as a regular person with a camera. This time, I actually arrived in costume, providing me with an entirely different experience. Many attendees stopped me to take a photo of me, while many others wanted to converse with me. Sure this distracted me from taking hundreds of photos like I usually do, but experiencing the life of a cosplayer more than made up for it, as I now understand how other cosplayers feel. While it may sound like a silly concept to people not into comics, anime, video games, or other forms of media, I highly encourage everyone to try cosplaying at least once, and not just buying a premade costume from a Halloween store.

Expect many more fandom events in Southern California in the near future. SoCal has Comic Con Revolution taking place in less than two weeks from now. The granddaddy of all anime events, the Anime Expo, takes place on the 4th of July weekend as it always does. The major maestro of comic cons, the Comic Con, takes place just three weeks following Anime Expo. Remember that smaller events will always occur between then, so always check with your local community to find more events to visit.

Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games ranged from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.

5. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (Steam link)

We start off the list with a game not suitable for children. The hack & slash genre usually employs ridiculous mechanics of one versus the world, where a sole person takes out hundreds of foes in one battle. Dynasty Warriors perfected that formula, but that series lacked something. When you take hack & slash and combine it with fanservice, you get the Senran Kagura series. The Senran Kagura series revolves around dozens of high school girls with shinobi powers. Armed with a variety of weapons, these girls can beat up hordes of baddies, and when the going gets tough, like in many anime series, they can transform into one of two more powerful forms. As for the fanservice part, when the girls take too much damage, their clothes rip off. The series has a handful of games, but this post focuses on Senran Kagura: Estival Versus. Essentially part two of the second timeline (the first timeline started on the Nintendo 3DS), Estival improves a lot of gameplay from the first game and adds new characters and modes. The base game released for the PC in mid March and costs $39.99 with additional DLC sold separately, which includes new characters and extra costumes. Keep in mind that this game will spoil some of the story from the first game, so if you want to learn more about the lore of Senran Kagura, I highly suggest looking at the first game, Shinovi Versus.

4. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Those who have played the Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) games will not want to miss out on the Danganronpa series. While both games have an anime art style, Ace Attorney focus on courtrooms and attorneys, while Danganronpa focuses on high school teenagers. However, gameplay in the Danganronpa series remains similar to the Ace Attorney games – you spend time investigating for clues and evidence to solve murder cases, then you go to trial with your found evidence to solve the case while disputing lies and inconsistencies told by the others. These games really test your mental capacity to spot even the minor details where something does not match up or someone said one word wrong. The first game in the series, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, comes to you for $29.99. The first game does not have as many mechanics as the later games, but serves as a backdrop for the setting of the Danganronpa universe, explaining why things work the way they do in their world. By completing the first game, you avoid spoilers if you decide to play the later games.

3. Master X Master

Out of the most popular video games across the globe today, League of Legends remains one of the top games. Consistently in the top 5 watched games, League of Legends has set a benchmark for the MOBA genre for others to compete with. Other MOBA games such as DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm, Smite, and Vain Glory still have a decent audience, but simply cannot compete with the juggernaut known as League of Legends. However, a new challenger appears with the hopes of gaining as much popularity as the aforementioned games. Enter Master X Master (MXM), a different approach to the standard MOBA game. Developed by NCSoft, MXM represents an Action MOBA, a step in a different direction than the rest. The game plays in a top-down isometric view similar to League of Legends, but uses WASD to move instead of click-to-move that the other games have. Players uses the mouse to aim and attack, not move (unless a skill causes movement). This provides a unique spin to the genre, and sits in a nice medium between a MOBA and an ARPG (Diablo, Path of Exlie, etc). MXM currently operates in Beta this month, and as such will close their servers on April 27th. Check out their website to register to play right now, and keep an eye out for its official release, which should occur later this year.

2. Hollow Knight

Independent game developers often face troubles getting their game up and running. Obstacles include marketing, funding development, programming, and much more. Often times, it makes sense to crowdsource, or ask for small donations from the public in order to get going. Some crowdsourcing can fall flat, while others can garner lots of attention. Luckily in the case of Hollow Knight, their crowdsourcing efforts paid off, and Hollow Knight represents one of the highest crowdsourced games in existence, if not the highest. Also luckily, the developers followed through on their promise to deliver a rich, immersive, fun, and difficult game all at the same time. Released in late February, this 2D action-platformer game carries elements of traditional Metroid and Castlevania games, where the protagonist explores a large world to obtain upgrades to further explore the world. Players have fallen in love with Hollow Knight’s art style and high difficulty that tests a player’s true gaming skill. $14.99 gets you a great experience that will provide countless hours of entertainment.

1. Giga Wrecker (Steam link)

Sometimes a company makes one product so popular that the general public recognizes that company for one product, even if that company has many other products. For example, in the beer world, when one mentions Hangar 24, most people will immediately think of their Orange Wheat beer. In video games, this occurs quite often, especially with a little company called Game Freak. When people hear Game Freak, they immediately think of Pokémon. However, Game Freak makes many more video games than just Pokémon. They make a lot of singular games without a series, which kind of sets Game Freak as an indie developer. One of their games includes Giga Wrecker, a charming throwback to 16-bit era games. Those who have played Mega Man, Metroid, or Castlevania games will know what to do in Giga Wrecker, a puzzle-platformer with some action elements. Many of the maps have puzzles that make use of gravity and physics in order to reach an item, switch, or door. Some of these puzzles can greatly frustrate players, but the satisfaction of finally solving a room means so much. Players will also encounter eight boss fights throughout the game that take place in a single room similar to Mega Man. Giga Wrecker released in mid-February, costs $19.99, and includes a level builder/creator that you can share online for others to try.