Showing posts with label Puzzle Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puzzle Games. Show all posts

Puyo Puyo~n English Fan Translation released!

I’m partial to a bit of Puyo Puyo. Precise Museum, however, really love Puyo Puyo, as evidenced by the plethora of independent Puyo-related English translations this talented team of megafans have completed over the years. Their translation efforts span multiple different types of Puyo media - games, comics, drama CDs, light novels, and more. The reason we’re talking about them today is because they’ve finally added a Dreamcast release to their catalogue: an English translation of Japan-exclusive Puyo Puyo~n (also known as Puyo Puyo 4).

While the classic gameplay of Puyo Puyo doesn’t require a knowledge of Japanese to be enjoyed, Puyo Puyo~n has a lot of story elements that will be missed out on unless you understand the language. Precise Museum’s translation has finally solved this issue for English speakers, so a big thanks goes out to them for all the work they’ve put into making this project a reality.
Anyway, that’s enough talk from me. Here’s a link to get the translation, which is playable on both real Dreamcast hardware and emulators. Also, the team put together a cool trailer for this project, so check that out below.

DeeDee Planet: Beta of Cancelled Dreamcast game Released Online!

Do you like ChuChu Rocket!? Of course you do. Anyone who has ever picked up a Dreamcast controller enjoys Sonic Team's insane grid-based space mouse puzzler. It's a classic, and for some, was an introduction into online console gaming. But not everyone is aware that ChuChu was actually supposed to be the first in a series of Dreamcast network-enabled games. The second game, DeeDee Planet was actually completed by developer Dori Dock and ready to be released, but due to a bug in the online mode, was unfortunately cancelled at the last second. Ever since then, it has remained yet another intriguing mystery in the Dreamcast's (never-ending, it seems) legacy.

PC's photo of the GD-R. Nice Ultimate Collector's Guide in the background!

But thanks to the hard work of one of the Dreamcast scene's biggest stalwarts, and our good buddy, PCWzrd13, the final beta for the game has been found. PC spent a long time trying to find anyone who worked on DeeDee Planet, and after a long search, was able to contact an individual in Japan (who won't be named for legal reasons) involved with the game. This person intended to send PC a GD-R containing the beta a year ago, but those plans were delayed due to the pandemic. But we're now a year on, and PC finally has the disc in his possession. And yes, it's been dumped online for you all to enjoy!

Sakura Wars Columns 2 has been Translated into English!

This year in Dreamcast has already been one for the books. The indie titles, the Easter eggs, the unearthing of massive franchise entries once thought to be lost. One of the biggest deals for me personally has been the current surge of translation projects gracing our favourite system. Just like House of Pain back in '92, Dreamcast translation fever is in effect, y'all. Outdated Hip-hop references aside, most recently, we've seen many patches released, with plenty more in the works (you can see a megathread of all of the upcoming projects here). One individual in particular, Derek Pascarella, has been particularly busy in the first quarter of this year, releasing translations of Neon Genesis Evangelion -Typing E Keikaku-, and the infamous French-exclusive Taxi 2. While the translations of those games were more of a solo effort on Derek's part, he decided to take it up a notch for his next project, so much so that he had to recruit the talents of a whole team. This brand new patch is an English translation of Japan-exclusive Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2. Derek was kind enough to send me some early builds of the translation prior to the public patch release, so thank you, Derek.

Released in 2000, Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2 is the second instalment in a short-lived Columns spin-off series to the Sakura Wars franchise. For those not in the know, Sakura Wars (aka Sakura Taisen) is a Sega franchise that was ridiculously popular in Japan, where it remained exclusive for a very long time. The mainline entries in this series are known for their fantastic steampunk plots set in the Taishō period of Japan (with the plots of later entries finding their way to other countries), as well as a seamless combination of tactical RPG gameplay with visual novel sections, where building up relationships with members of your squad strengthens their morale in battle. If you want to read a bit more about Sakura Wars I've covered it on the blog twice now, with the most recent coverage being on the very good PS4 reboot that was released in April of last year. I've also chatted about it a little on the DreamPod too. 

At face value, Sakura Wars Columns (as the game's title was localised by Derek et al.) appears to simply be a Sakura Wars reskin of the classic Sega falling-block puzzler Columns, which probably saw its most prominent success as Sega's flagship puzzle game for the Mega Drive (or Genesis for you Americans!). But Sakura Wars Columns 2 stays true to the roots of its franchise, with story modes available in the game incorporating its signature visual novel/date sim-style gameplay in between blasts of gem stacking puzzle mayhem. All 12 characters of the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division have their own dedicated storylines (all of which are extremely charming - as is typical of the writing in Sakura Wars), as well as various strengths and weaknesses when it comes to column stacking. And with a tonne of different modes, unlockables and extra content, it's a really great package. I imagine Japanese gamers who picked this game up back in 2000 weren't disappointed, especially since it contained a network match service that allowed players to face off with each other online. These network capabilities have long since been retired, but let’s hope the release of this translation inspires the awesome peeps over at Dreamcast Live to restore them. Knowing them, they're probably already working on it.

Retrospective: Wetrix+

They are tricks. And they are wet. Wet tricks. Wetrix. See? It's taken me approximately 20 years to actually realise that's what the title Wetrix means. It is quite the revelation, I can tell you. Not quite as earth shattering as when I realised Project Gotham Racing was so called because it's a tongue in cheek nod to Metropolis Street Racer's eponymous fictional setting (Batman vs Superman began on Dreamcast, folks).

So Wetrix then. Or Wetrix+ as it is known on the Dreamcast. A sort of remaster of the Nintendo 64 game of the same name, which was developed by Zed Two and released in 1998. The original game does have a fairly interesting back story, with the Wikipedia page documenting that the title began life as a tech demo within in an entirely different project, demonstrating the Nintendo 64's ability to effectively simulate the properties of water. Alongside the stunning Wave Race 64, Wetrix clearly shows that you can never have too many games that show off just how wet your digital water looks.

But what is Wetrix+ though? Well, it's a puzzle game that involves the player manipulating the game 'board' by terraforming it into a series of lake beds and valleys. Bubbles of water then fall from the sky and fill these lakes; and the sole aim is to balance the amount of landmass and water in a state of equilibrium, amassing points the longer you can keep it all in harmony. Sounds fairly simple on the surface - and it is - but there are a number of things that are thrown into the mix to tip the scales against you.

See, as well as water falling from the sky, you'll also receive bombs which will blow holes in your board, meaning that water will escape off the sides and fall into the drain (represented by a meter at the side of the screen). You'll also receive flaming meteors which will burn off any water they come into contact with. Then there's the actual game pieces themselves which are a bit like Wetrix+s' equivalent of tetraminos.

These pieces (which come in an assortment of shapes) are what you use to raise and lower the terrain in order to create your lakes and valleys...however if the landmass becomes too much for the board to take, an earthquake will be initiated, destroying your carefully designed canals and oxbow lakes. Naturally, this means more opportunity for that pesky wet stuff to roll off the board, into the drain and shortening your game session. When that drain fills up, it's game over.

So you see, Wetrix+ is a game of balance, in more ways than one. You need to monitor how much land mass you're chucking onto the game board, how much water you're losing off the sides and through holes, and also be mindful of the various hazards reigning down from the heavens. Sounds like there's a lot going on - and there is - but in practice it's all fairly straight forward once you get your head around it.