#WeeklyGameMusic: Main Menu (Epic Mickey)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

Now that love is over, it’s time to return to an old classic (made new (but is now old (this is so confusing))).  Epic Mickey could be described as Warren Spector’s darker remix to the classic Mickey cartoons, and its music follows suit.  James Dooley’s composition has such a classic Disney charm to it, yet manages to be more ominous than its inspiration.  A fitting re-arrangement to a game that looks at Mickey’s less kind, devious personality.

Epic Mickey‘s story is a simple one: darn old Mickey screws up big time when he fiddles around with Yen Sid’s beautiful sculpture that, itself, holds many denizens such as Oswald the lucky rabbit.  Out of pure curiosity, Mickey tries to create his own things using the magical brush, but instead creates a living monstrosity that tries to consume him.  Panicking, Mickey chucks paint thinner at it and flees before Yen Sid gets back.  Years later, and significantly more famous, Mickey completely forgets about the incident until Blot, the monstrosity, manages to take Mickey while he’s asleep into the demented world named Wasteland.

Epic Mickey is a 3D platformer that revolves around an unusual tool and weapon.  Mickey’s paintbrush can throw both paint and thinner, something that he uses to both construct and destruct the world around him.  This proves to be important when Mickey needs to construct new platforms, or break down a wall that’s in the way.  The paintbrush can also be used for combat, with paint turning enemies to allies, and thinner practically destroying them.  Much of the morality plays around which type of tool you prefer to use, and as a result, a few story elements may change on your play habits.

Epic Mickey was original developed for the Wii.  No other ports exist.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Where the Sun Shines (Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? – Deep Blue Sky & Pure White Wings -)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

Cover Art
Cover art from https://vndb.org/v972

With love up in the air, I had to look for something special.  And now, I’ve found it…in a obscure Japanese visual novel called Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? – Deep Blue Sky & Pure White Wings -!?  Regardless of its hentai origins, this week’s music is incredibly catchy.  I’ll forgive you if the moment you’ve played Where the Sun Shines, a lovely tune by Yasuhisa Watanabe, you started dancing.

So, forgive me for the scarce information, but this is what I can gather about Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? through a few Google searches.  The game is a regular visual novel that focuses on a simple slice-of-life of an average Japanese high school club.  You play as Sorata, an average student and a member in astronomy club.  As it turns out, the student council deems the club unworthy (which, unfortunately for the lazy club members, is a logical conclusion), forcing the members to come up with a ridiculous plan to redeem themselves: compete with the aviation club to pilot electric gliders for a world competition.  And so, their flight begins…

Unfortunately, I was not able to gather what kind of visual novel Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? is.  That is, typically, visual novels can be divided into one of the two categories: choose-your-own-adventure like Katawa Shoujo, or stat building like Long Live the Queen and Hatoful Boyfriend.  Given the (very) few reviews out there that mentions that honing in on which girl (and a guy) to date tends to be easy lends me to believe it’s the former type of game, but I can’t be too sure.  What I can confirm is that, yes, this is another erotic Japanese game (unlike Long Live the Queen and Hatoful Boyfriend), though a tame one at that.  Much like Katawa Shoujo, sex scenes are treated as an end reward rather than a pornographic journey.  Additionally, since the settings is set firmly in a non-magical world, there aren’t any tentacle monsters or other bizarre fetishes.  Lastly, replaying the game with the same starting choices actually leads to new branches in the story as well, increasing the replay value.  This does, yes, include more sex scenes.

Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? – Deep Blue Sky & Pure White Wings - was released on the Playstation Portable and PC.  It is, as far as I can tell, a Japan-only game.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Miller House (The Witch’s House)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

What better way to start a romantic month with an RPGMaker horror game? Accelerated heart rate is easily mistaken for love and all that. Anyway, this week’s music is a free music called Miller House, composed by Presence of Music.  It’s used effectively during a shocking plot twist from a Japanese horror game called The Witch’s House. A twist so good, it makes every M. Night Shyamalan plot-line boring.

The plot of The Witch’s House is deceptively simple. A young blond-haired girl named Viola wakes up in an opening of a forest, and finds herself stuck in a very unfortunate situation.  The forest itself is too thick to pass through, and the passage that it creates only leads to one of two dead ends. One end is blocked by an enchanted and stubborn set of rose bushes that can’t be cut by a machete; the other leads directly to a haunted house. Without much else to do (and being encouraged by a creepy, talking black cat), Viola dives right into the house.

It’s worth noting that for most first-time players, the house will kill Viola within the second room she enters. Yup, it’s that kind of game. As a defenseless girl, Viola will very frequently get hanged, poisoned, crushed, decapitated, eaten, fall, and other wonderful ways to die in this surprisingly detailed game. This game relies on a trial-and-death mechanic to solve every puzzle, although the majority of the puzzles do provide cryptic hints. Similar to other RPGMaker horror games, The Witch’s House also has a few chase moments that, due to its rarity, is shockingly effective at making the player’s hair stand on its ends. It’s rare to find a game that utilizes jump scares well, yet still feel fair and possible to beat. Just be prepared for all the blood and gore: this game does not compromise.

The Witch’s House is a freeware PC game originally developed in Japanese by Fummy (ふみー). An English translation of it exists as a free download at:
http://www.vgperson.com/games/witchhouse.htm

#WeeklyGameMusic: Liberation (La Muerte de Papo) (Papo & Yo)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

This week’s music comes from a touching and tragic game called Papo & Yo.  Despite it’s fantastical (or more correctly, magical realism) settings, the puzzle platformer touches what it’s like to live under parental abuse.  It’s quite fitting, then, that the credits music for this game, Liberation (La Muerte de Papo) by Brian D’Oliveira, depicts a sad, hollow echo of what feels like a child trying to connect with his/her parent, but the feeling isn’t reciprocated.

Papo & Yo starts with a small, South American boy named Quico hiding from what appears to be a monster (only the shadow is revealed).  While being cramped inside an air duct, a magical chalk drawing of a portal appears near Quico.  As if entranced, our hero walks through the portal, teleporting him to what looks like a bright, colorful outdoors of a slum neighborhood.  Immediately taunted by a girl about the same age as Quico, he ventures out in the new universe he’ve stumbled upon filled with incredible art and imagination.

As a 3D puzzle-platformer, Papo & Yo has a lot of interactive chalk drawings acting as switches, gears, or pulleys to affect the surroundings.  Playing around with these drawings can cause various effects, including twisting the ground to turn into walls, or making buildings fly like birds to create platforms.  Despite this creative core, however, the most vital game element is the uneasy relation the player has with a monster.  Helpful but lazy, the monster can help push heavy objects or provide his bouncy belly as a way to jump towards higher platforms.  Unfortunately, said monster also has a horrible addiction to frogs, causing it to become angry and immediately attack poor Quico.  The puzzles in the game regularly has the player guiding the monster to vital puzzle elements while it’s in a docile state, and avoiding it as soon as frogs hops in at the most inopportune times.

Papo & Yo was originally developed as a downloadable title for Playstation 3.  It is now available on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux.