Tee it up
Since 1997, Sony has been delighting players with its cute and fun iterations of Everybody’s Golf (Minna no Golf). The latest, Everybody’s Golf VR is the first virtual reality entry in the long-running series, and is just as entertaining as its predecessors —so, strap on your PlayStation VR headset and swing that virtual club.
Everybody’s Golf VR (digital download, ¥4,212), to be released for PS4 and PSVR on June 7, is the most realistic entry in the golfing franchise. Players swing a motion-controlled PlayStation Move controller to hit the in-game ball, adding a fresh spin to the series. You will need to practice your swing — turn over your wrists too soon and the ball will veer to the side. To make the experience as accurate as possible, you can select your height and the side from which you hit (right handed or left handed) in the Play Standing mode. The game is designed specifically for the motion controls, which makes playing more realistic, but there is also sitting play mode, as well as a DualShock 4 controller option for those wanting a more traditional gaming experience. Players are also joined by a virtual caddy, who provides advice and encouragement.
This isn’t, however, a golf simulator to train for a real game. The caddy, for example, will feed players chocolates and you won’t need to swing the motion controller with all your might to crush the ball. Instead, focus on hitting the ball square on to get good results. Feel free to yell “Fore!” in your living room, though.
Out for blood
In 1997, Koji Igarashi, the games designer known to fans as “Iga,” wrote, programmed and helped direct Konami’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night — considered the best in the action-adventure Castlevania series. Iga went on to work on around 15 of the series’ games. Because of Castlevania’s popularity and its shared style of gameplay with Nintendo’s sci-fi action-adventure Metroid, Metroidvania emerged as a subgenre of games. With a focus on exploration and leveling up to unlock new or secret in-game areas, Metroidvania games are not all 2D, but there is definitely a prevalent retro style.
Then in 2014, the unthinkable happened. Iga left Konami. Fans were apoplectic.
In 2015, however, he launched a Kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Its Metroidvania-style gameplay and gothic art immediately appealed to fans and, at the time, it was the most successful video game Kickstarter ever, raking in $5.5 million. Now, four years later, the game is finally coming out. Make no mistake, this isn’t Castlevania. It’s Bloodstained, but the core gameplay should delight fans who’ve been patiently waiting to explore another Iga adventure.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is priced at ¥5,480 and will be available on PS4, Xbox One and PC on June 18, and on Nintendo Switch from June 25.
An indie challenge
The first La-Mulana game was hard. So, it’s no surprise that its sequel is, too. These indie games are not for those who shrink from a challenge, but rather for those who relish one.
Created by indie game team Nigoro, La-Mulana 2 takes players back to the La-Mulana ruins to solve puzzles, explore, and battle demons and skeletons. This time, it’s Lumisa Kosugi, daughter of archeologist Lemeza from the first game, who wears the fedora and wields the whip as she makes her way through the malevolent tombs. The Indiana Jones comparisons are apt, but the La-Mulana games are classic Metroidvania-style games, owing much to the gameplay of Metroid and Castlevania.
In its look and gameplay style, La-Mulana harks back to a different era of games, when the skills of players were pushed to their limits while trying to clear 2D stages. Its developers say players should be able complete La-Mulana 2 in about 50 hours. While playing, it’s a good idea to take copious notes (yes, with pen and paper!) and even screenshots while exploring the ruins because information gleaned from them will be helpful while figuring out the various puzzles.
Originally a PC game, La-Mulana 2 (digital download, ¥3,218) will be released in Japan on June 27 as console versions for PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Details about an English-language international version will be coming soon.