Digital | ON: GAMES

Ruins, crystals and robots: Classic games get remastered

by Brian Ashcraft

Contributing Writer

Whip smart

© 2009 - 2020 ASTERIZM CO., LTD. / GAME PRODUCTION DIVISION NIGORO ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
© 2009 – 2020 ASTERIZM CO., LTD. / GAME PRODUCTION DIVISION NIGORO ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

It’s been a long road for indie game La-Mulana. Work on a remake for the original 2005 game started in 2007, and it was finally released on the Nintendo Wii in 2011. A crowd-funded sequel, La-Mulana 2, was released two years ago, and now both games come bundled together.

La-Mulana’s plot is similar to “Indiana Jones.” It tells the story of a whip-carrying archaeology professor exploring the ruins of an ancient civilization; the sequel stars the professor’s daughter. The game itself is old-school, with retro graphics and very challenging gameplay.

How hard is La-Mulana? Pretty hard! It’s a Metroidvania-style game, a 2D platform subgenre focusing on exploration. These days most games have easy modes, and although the game’s Nara-based creators have kept that trend in mind, the game still forces players to think carefully about what they’re doing to avoid dying.

La-Mulana 1&2 will be released on August 6 for ¥6,578 for Nintendo Switch. If you’re looking for a challenge (well, in this case, two), definitely pick up this bundle.

bit.ly/lamulana1-2 (Japanese only)

Crystal clear

© 2003, 2020 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
© 2003, 2020 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

During the past decade, Square Enix has been going through its catalog and remastering classic titles. The latest to get this treatment is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Originally released in 2003 on GameCube, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition features improved graphics, new music, new dungeons, new voice acting and cross-platform playing, allowing players on different hardware to play with each other online.

The original game’s backstory is fascinating. Square, the company that later merged with Enix to make Square Enix, had gone off to develop Final Fantasy VII for Sony, jeopardizing a long-standing relationship the studio had with rival Nintendo.

However, the situation between Square and Nintendo did improve. To not violate its then exclusive deal to make PlayStation games for Sony, Square used a shell company called The Game Designers Studio to develop Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo GameCube. The shell company, long since dissolved, developed only this one game. Now, of course, Final Fantasy games appear on all sorts of game hardware.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition will be released on August 27 on Switch and PlayStation 4 for ¥5,280, and on iOS and Android for ¥2,820.

bit.ly/ffcc-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/ffcc-en (English)

Suit up

© BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT INC.
© BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT INC.

This is turning out to be a big year for Gundam. A full-size Gundam, complete with movable frame, is being erected in Yokohama, while another, Freedom Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, is going up in China. The latter is the first official life-size one ever outside Japan. Plus, a new Gundam game is coming to the PS4.

The Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. series got its start in Japanese arcades in 2010, making this year its 10th anniversary. In the latest entry, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On, players once again face off in giant mechas in two-on-two battles and multiplayer modes (fret not lone wolves, there is also single player). Players can select from over 180 mecha units from the Gundam universe. There are also online ranked and casual matches for players to compete in and, for those who prefer offline multiplayer, the game can be connected via LAN (local area network) cable.

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On will be released on the PS4 on July 30 for ¥9,020.

bit.ly/maxibooston-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/maxibooston-en (English)

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