Tags Posts tagged with "anime"


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I always appreciate it when JRPGs stray from the typical “saving the world” quest in favor of a more personal and focused one. With that being said, I’ve always had an affinity towards the Atelier series, whether it’s because of the beautiful anime art style or the deeply addictive crafting system, they always got their hooks into me and Atelier Totori Plus was no different. But if you’re a person averse to the overly cutesy, somewhat awkward, moekko brand of fan service that Japan usually traffics in then you’d probably want to stay clear from this game at all costs. But if you can get past that aspect you’ll be pleased to find a unique, incredibly addictive, item-driven RPG.

Atelier Totori Plus is a Vita port of Atelier Totori, a PS3-exclusive that came out in 2011, that brings over all the content from its PS3 counterpart, along with a few bonuses to sweeten the deal. This version comes with all the DLC previously released on the PS3 variant with a bunch of unlockable costumes and a new post-game dungeon that fans of Atelier Rorona would recognize. This gives returning players something to look forward to but not much.

You play as Totooria Helmold (Totori for short), a 14 yr. old girl (13 in the Japanese version) aspiring to be an alchemist in order to become a registered “Adventurer”. She wants nothing more but to see her mother who went missing a few years back and the story throughout remains focused on the people who cares and supports her and it never really develops into anything convoluted or world-altering and the game is better for it.


Thanks to Atelier Totori’s simplistic visuals and design, it was never an enormous drain on the PS3’s hardware which makes it perfect for the Vita. In fact, it looks better on the Vita’s smaller screen than it did on the PS3. It’s worth noting that there are minor frame rate drops and somewhat longer loading times but nothing that overtly ruins the experience. As for the art style itself, Atelier Totori touts highly detailed, hand drawn character portraits that you’ll frequently see throughout the story and is really brought to life thanks to the artistic vision of Mel Kishida. The core game features a light color palette and cel-shaded character models that add a certain je ne sais quoi to the game that makes it stand out.

As for the gameplay, it is divided into three different aspects, combat, exploration and crafting. From fighting monsters to synthesizing items, everything you do in the game consumes time and learning how to manage that is the key to achieving success. Side quests in Atelier Totori come in the form of bite-sized requests, which can be as simple as collecting ingredients to fighting challenging boss monsters. And like everything in the game, time management is key because all of these quests have deadlines and it’s pretty easy to overwhelm yourself when you take on too many at once.


The game utilizes an old-fashioned system. And when I say turn-based, I don’t mean some sort of real-time/turn based hybrid; I’d place it in the same vein as Final Fantasy X or Lost Odyssey where you have allies lined up with a turn grid at the bottom of the screen. In regards to the actual combat, it’s rather dull at the start but picks up later on as the story progresses.

They also add in some features to add flavor to the battles. Sometimes, when Totori is about to be attacked, you’ll see button prompts over your other two other characters. Above the two will be L or R which, when pressed, will allow them to support Totori in various ways. For example, Mimi will jump right in to absorb the attack, and Gino will execute a follow-up attack.


Exploration mainly comprises navigating through the world using map and running through a wide variety of areas that open up as you gain adventurer points that you earn from doing in game achievements. In these areas you will find gather points in which items are procured from.

Combat is further enhanced with the staggeringly deep crafting system that the series is known for. With the ingredients that you can find in the world, Totori can create a wide variety of items that can be used to heal, attack, or support the party. Every Recipe calls for at least two ingredients, which can either be one specific item or any item that falls into a category (like Lumber, Gunpowder, or Herbs).  As well, each ingredient has its own quality between 1(low) and 100 (high), and effects (such as lightning enchantments or smelling funny) that contribute to your synthesized item’s overall rank – which ranges from a quality A to a crappy E.  Although, just because you use quality ingredients, that doesn’t mean your alchemy will turn out.  As you synthesize more and more, you’ll level up Totori’s Alchemy rank, which you’ll need for the harder Recipes – as until you reach higher levels there is a chance you’ll fail and waste your ingredients.  Should you succeed, you will be able to add the sub-effects of your ingredients into the final product.This concoction, mixed with the ingredients’ overall quality and your rank makes just about every single item you create unique, with no two outcomes ever being the same.


Atelier Totori Plus contains English and Japanese language tracks as well as a very unique musical score. I didn’t quite care for the English voicing, it worked but not well, Peter’s voice made me wish I was deaf. Atelier Totori Plus is a very silly and cute game; that doesn’t often translate well into English. So it was a welcome addition that Japanese tracks were included. From a perspective of the Japanese voice tracks, it was very well done. Hearing Mimi throw a tantrum after being thrown some prying words or Totori try to defuse an awkward moment was just classic. It’s also important to note that not all of the game was voiced in English. Many tasks such as synthesizing have Japanese voice over, but no English.

The music itself is hit and miss. There are some very beautiful scores that set a tone of adventure and immersion. However I found myself killing the music as some areas, like Totori’s hometown, features some really odd tunes. It might be me, but I didn’t find the soundtrack appealing at all.


  • Accessible, and unlike most RPGs, ideal for short bursts of gameplay.
  • Unconventional design, opting for free-flow player progression.
  • Item synthesis compliments the core gameplay, offering plenty of depth.
  • 10 unique endings to unlock that extend replay value considerably.
  • Great anime art style and character designs.
  • Bite-sized quests that is ideal for on the go gaming.


  • Minor frame rate issues and technical hiccups.
  • First few hours can be tedious.
  • English voice acting on the male side is weak overall.


Atelier Totori Plus

Developer: Gust

Publisher: NIS America (PS3) Tecmo Koei (PS Vita)

Reviewed: PlayStation Vita version

Yeah. Definitely questionable.
Yeah. Definitely questionable.

I like video game versions of trading card games. Learning to play them via an in-game tutorial is better than consulting a printed rulebook, for one. And it’s much cheaper than buying the real-world equivalent especially with most of TCGs having expansions and collectible price market. It’s also more convenient to just play online (if the game supports it) than to trek to a local hobby shop and find people to play with.

Monster Monpiece is a card collecting battle game from Idea Factory. In the past, Idea Factory has licensed their games to other publishers (like Atlus, etc.) for North American release but this time, they are doing it themselves. I think it’s because the other publishers chose not to have a go at this one for reasons I’m about to tell you.

The gameplay part is solid but the theme is a bit risqué. Cards all depict “monster girls” — anime girls that are sexually suggestive in nature and mostly underaged looking (i.e. lolicon). Cards have the capability for upgrades to power them up by a mini-game system that you would not dare do in public. It involves stroking the front and rear touch panels of the Vita system, an action that is akin to jerking off the male genitalia. This unfortunately plays out via embarrassing moans and grunts from the female character illustrated on the card. After looking around to see if anybody was watching that mess over your shoulders, your efforts are rewarded with new abilities and higher stats for the card; and more importantly, the monster-girl’s artwork on the card will be changed. When I say “changed”, I mean “more naked”. So yeah.

Monster Monpiece’s tale is a typical anime-inspired save the world from a catastrophic event kind of story. The protagonist is ayoung girl named May who is in training to become a card wielder. The plot revolves around May’s relationship with the monster girls that reside magically in their cards (think Pokemon but with cards and loli girls instead of grotesque creatures) and solving the mystery behind an evil power turning other monster girls into “Lost,” or evil monster girl cards in human-speak. Small note, character skits are fully voiced in Japanese. There is no English audio option but the text translation is pretty good.

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I was surprised at the depth of Monster Monpiece’s core gameplay; as a reformed TCG addict I found the rules intuitive enough for lapsed gamers such as myself, or even new players to the genre to grasp. The game is paced really well, and doesn’t just throw you into the flames. It explains the basic stat and properties of the cards then walks you through a sample battle before introducing you to more advanced cards with specific abilities.

Obviously, being a TCG title, battles play out with a turn-based system. With a turn consisting of a player summoning a card to the board, spending mana. A set amount of mana is added to your pool every turn but certain card abilities give you more mana if you need it. The board consists of multiple lanes and squares where you put the cards when you summon them. At the opposite ends of the boards are each player’s “castle”. Your goal is to have a monster reach your opponent’s castle and reduce it to zero hit points. At each of your turn you can summon one card or pass. After that  phase, the cards in play will either move one space towards your opponent’s castle or attack an opposing monster if they are in range. Attack and defense are decided with the cards stats and abilities. ATTACK is how much damage the card deals, HP is how much damage it can take before it dies, and INT is used by healers and buffer type cards.

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The player has absolute control over what cards to use in the deck and one can even save multiple configurations. Each deck can have a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 40 cards. In my experience, getting your deck to the full 40-card limit is more advantageous as the AI often exhausts his deck in a long drawn out match. Running out of cards means automatically losing the match. You can build up your card collection by winning specific cards in the story or buying booster packs with the in-game currency earned by winning matches.

Upgrading your cards will require spending “Rub Points” which you acquire by winning battles. And as I mentioned above, you wouldn’t want anyone catching you doing this. The rewards are great (upgraded stats, new abilities) but they didn’t need to implement that specific gimmick just to do so. Sure, it’s funny the first few times but it is really embarrassing and the developers could have  honestly offered to disable this. You can’t really finish the game and win the more difficult battles far into the game so this awkwardness is unfortunately forced to the player.

There is an online mode where you can battle other players but I was not able to find anyone when I tried it so I reserve my judgement on Monster Monpiece‘s online modes. One other weird thing about the game: it has the Vita’s screenshot feature disabled while playing the game. Hmm, I wonder why.

It’s a shame that Monster Monpiece’s fantastic gameplay is forever trapped in such a sketchy presentation. But if you can look past this (and do the upgrading when no one is around), the game offers solid strategic gameplay that anyone can enjoy.

Rubbed me the Right Way:

  • Gameplay is solid. Surprising amount of strategy involved.
  • Lengthy campaign but structured perfectly to play on the go.

Rubbed me the Wrong Way:

  • Forced gameplay mechanics that are not really needed.
  • The hentai factor.
  • Screenshot feature is disabled while playing the game for some reason.

Monster Monpiece

Developer: Compile Heart

Publisher: Idea Factory

Available for: PlayStation Vita (Digital)

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. We here at 30lives.net is proud to present our new review series, Retro Reviews. Sometimes we all have that itching to play something from the past, something close to our hearts and we are not that different. All of us, right here in 30lives.net, will never let go of our childhood as they were precious to us and to our readers. We start our series with an old indie game: Frank’s Advanture 2.

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Franks Adventure 2 was released by the now defunct?/retired developer Wiesi-Mausland (Now called Wiesi) back in November 2003. This was a follow-up to the hugely popular Frank’s Adventure released earlier in October. Frank’s adventure 2 vastly improves everything that was great about the first game, while also removing the few negative things that hurt the original. It can be classified as a sandbox adventure game with item-trading as one of its biggest points.

It’s frank.


You play as Frank, just a regular guy who seems to have a talent for entrepreneurship, meeting people and a taste for adventure. Immediately the character relates to the player due to his desire for adventure and fun and love. After the saving the publishing company that he works for in the previous game, his boss asked trusted him to help their main branch in the city to help their financial situation. Frank, being the professional and great businessman that he is, bought a plane to the city to save the publishing company that he loves so much.

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we should be like Frank and be a professional


Immediately after taking control of Frank, you’ll see the difference in graphics from the original. Sharper and clearer outlines and colors, tall buildings and busy streets. The game map is nearly 1.5x the size of the original, and there are more dangers in the city than the countryside in the first game. Crossing the street feels just as dangerous due to the many cars, and other surprises that you encounter during the game that truly challenges anybody who wants to complete the game. Character models are also improved massively with the semi-celshading (remember this was 2003) that produces more realistic looking characters during the time of course.

The catchy music that plays while you move around the city is relazing in contrast to the busy streets. However, because of the limitations of the time and the developer’s own indie cred, no voiceovers were given for the great dialogue in the game. They won’t lose points for this because it also shows how focused Frank must be to block out all the distractions in the city just to finish his goal.

Characters with great unique personalities and backstories. This was ahead of it’s time.


Controls are insanely simple and you can pretty much play this game one-handed, a great feature at the time compared to other games released at the time. This is actually the best and greatest thing about this game. More games need to be playable one handed especially in our more busy lives.

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Cameos from some popular characters are here



Franks adventure 2  was released free as well, and still accessible in the internet. This truly is, one of the greatest indie games released in history and was very influential for many games that we enjoy today.

You can play Frank’s Adventure 2 online at Newgrounds. http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/134777

Thank you. Courtesy: NeoGAF

My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (俺妹): Happy End. When I spotted this game’s title gracing a NeoGAF thread, I had to do a double-take. “There’s no way that’s the game’s title,” I thought to myself. But it was. I didnt have enough context to be 100% sure, but the first take-away I got from watching the trailer was that the game’s end goal would be to bang your underaged sister and photograph said copulation, scandal-style. And a quick skim of the anime’s Wikipedia article reveals that I’m not far off the mark:

Kyosuke Kosaka, a normal 17-year-old high school student living in Chiba, has not gotten along with his younger sister Kirino in years. For longer than he can remember, Kirino has ignored his comings and goings and looked at him with spurning eyes. It seemed as if the relationship between Kyōsuke and his sister, now fourteen, would continue this way forever. One day however, Kyosuke finds a DVD case of a magical girl anime which had fallen in his house’s entrance way. To Kyosuke’s surprise, he finds a hidden eroge (an adult game) inside the case and he soon learns that both the DVD and the game belong to Kirino. That night, Kirino brings Kyosuke to her room and reveals herself to be an otaku with an extensive collection of moe anime and younger sister-themed eroge she has been collecting in secret. Kyosuke quickly becomes Kirino’s confidant for her secret hobby.

What is wrong with you people? I’ve seen at least three other outlets unironically cover this game, as if getting a family member off is business as usual in the world of anime. No, it’s thankfully not (confirmed by our resident weeaboo, Franz). I’m sorry, but if you are even slightly excited by the existence of this videogame, please turn yourself in to the authorities and get yourself chemically castrated post-haste. This moe garbage needs to stop, and you pedophiles are part of the problem.  “But, but she’s a 9000 year-old alien witch queen!” Please. The fact that this game is published by one of Japan’s largest and most respected media outlets (Bandai Namco) is exactly why Japanese media is dying and turning into a niche consisting entirely of panchinko machines and toddlers with bolt-on breasts.

Seriously: HELP.

Upon further inspection, the game is actually Pokemon Snap with moe blobs. People are apparently going insane over the fact that you can secretly photograph your kawaii imouto and dress her up in different outfits whilst “uploading” them to an in-game social media service. Jesus Christ. Therein lies the problem: no matter how atrocious your product is, as long it depicts an underaged  Anime character in tight spandex on the box, it’ll sell to at least a niche audience. A very smug fan-populace  that exists only in the like-minded Facebook groups of the world, often seen dressed up in styrofoam and polyester regalia, prepared to lash out with very sterile threats at disruptors of the hive.

How many times do we really need to see over-excitable, spiky-haired protagonists (and their silent compatriots with well-kempt hair on the other side of the spectrum)? Developers really need to think twice before integrating yet another mysterious brunette, submissive blonde, red-haired tomboy princess, tanned  dude in a halter top or klutzy loli in their future videogames. Sadly, this is wishful thinking. My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (俺妹) Happy End will probably sell tens of thousands of units to a niche that is permeating the mainstream (no thanks to the fact that we all somehow think it’s okay to tolerate deviant behavior), and the vicious cycle will forever continue. I realize that I’m not the first person to speak against this type of “fanservice,” but man, someone had to say something.



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Latest installment of Arc System Works’ BlazBlue franchise gets a debut trailer. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma drops in Japan for the PlayStation 3 on October 24.

The video features new fighters Yuki Terumi and Kagura Mutsuki along returning veterans of this 2D fighting game. The clip also has the announcement for the new BlazBlue anime series called BlazBlue: Alter Memory.

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Black Rock Shooter The Game is a title that you should get if you are a big fan of the BRS franchise, and I believe that there is a huge following of BRS in the Philippines going by the number of BRS cosplayers out there.

I haven’t really played a PlayStation Portable game in a while, so reviewing Black Rock Shooter: The Game is a welcome break from all the Vita and 3DS games that I have played like crazy these past few months. The title is based from the character Black Rock Shooter (BRS) by Japanese artist Ryohei ‘Huke’ Fuke. BRS later spawned an animated movie (packaged with the BRS Nendoroid toy figure), manga, anime series and a bunch of other toy collectibles. Not bad for something that started off as a piece of concept art! I first saw this particular game in a toy store of all places. It was bundled in a premium box including a White Rock Shooter Figma and was really expensive back then. Fast forward to a few weeks ago; to my surprise BRS: The Game popped up on the PlayStation Store as NIS America localized the game in English!

Black Rock Shooter The Game is an action RPG/third-person shooter which features the eponymous character fighting in an alternate, post-apocalyptic world circa 2051. In the game, BRS was awakened by a bunch of surviving soldiers (curiously all male, so I guess humanity is doomed) who are fighting in the ravaged city of San Francisco and is tasked to eliminate the alien threat in the world.

The game is not like your usual action RPG where you hack and slash everything in your path; monster encounters play out separately every time you get into battle like in turn-based RPGs. Enemies move forward to attack and it is up to you to defeat all while timing your attacks and dodges in real-time.


Good Points:

  • Good interface and controls. Having a simple interface is always a plus for me in games and the controls are easy to learn and get into.
  • Bite-sized missions. Each stage breaks down into shorter missions that you can carry out in a few minutes so you do not really feel the usual fatigue when playing long stages in games.
  • Interesting game mechanics. The game battles feel like it’s turn-based because enemies take time to attack you (e.g. they move towards you when trying to attack then move back after doing so) but everything happens in real-time. Your attacks are also executed at the same time as the enemies move: you can choose to shoot, use active skills, block or dodge to defeat them.
  • Achievements. The player gets rewards by completing extra challenges in missions. Netting the rewards feels satisfying as it gives you attack or defense boosts as well as active and passive skills that can help you in the game.
  • Music. Imageepoch did a good job in scoring the game as the gritty guitars and rock music fits the overall mood of the game. The opening theme is also performed by One OK Rock, one of Japan’s most popular rock acts.
  • Character animation. Even though I wasn’t that impressed by the game’s overall look (more on this below), the character animations are actually pretty good.
  • Excellent dub and localization. The game has stellar voice acting from Japanese VA veterans like Maaya Sakamoto, Miyuki Sawashiro, Masaki Terasoma and Tomokazu Sugita. NIS did a very good job localizing the game’s character dialogues, making the story more interesting than it really is.


Bad Points:

  • No solid storyline. Sure, you get to learn why the aliens are attacking the Earth plus BRS’s memory comes back with every completed mission in Free Mode, but I found the overall plot to be meandering, with little incentive to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
  • Mediocre graphics. True, BRS: The Game was developed for a handheld that’s almost seven years old; but I think Imageepoch could have gone down another path on the CG/art direction, especially since it’s one of the later game releases for the system. Another gripe I have is with the enemy (alien) designs. They’re just so boring, and are mostly palette swaps; so much so that it makes you feel that…
  • Battles get repetitive.
  • Game view. This is a pretty minor issue but the game switches the viewpoint suddenly from back to front that it throws you off when you are running around.


Things That Can Swing Either Way:

  • You just mostly use only the gun in the game – well, she’s called Black Rock Shooter after all. There are the motorcycle levels that show off her use of the sword although it feels slightly gimmicky but I guess some people may enjoy it as it breaks the monotonous encounters in the game.
  • Difficulty. The game is too easy. Some will probably appreciate its easiness, especially since I think that the target players of the game are the younger anime fans.
  • Unlockables. The game’s replay value gets artificially extended by throwing you rewards such as art galleries and the like. Not quite my cup of tea, but I’m sure hardcore fans of the series will appreciate this.


In Closing:

Black Rock Shooter The Game is a title that you should get if you are a big fan of the BRS franchise, and I believe that there is a huge following of BRS in the Philippines going by the number of BRS cosplayers out there (plus the number of fangirls who screamed at Kaname for cosplaying the BRS male version in last year’s Cosplay Mania). Sure, the storyline is bland—the anime and manga are way better than the game in this regard—but the core gameplay more than makes up for it. The game is enjoyable to pick up and play for short sessions as it makes a good in-betweener for the other long grinds you might be playing, or something to play when you just have a few minutes of free time to spare. The battles can be repetitive, but the boss fights shake things up at least as they are fun and challenging to an extent (I died a few times in some to figure out the patterns), but not ridiculously hard to the point of frustration.

Black Rock Shooter The Game is available as a digital downloadable game via the PlayStation Store for $19.99. Thank you to NIS America for providing us with a review code for the game.

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And because I am such a huge Level-5 fan, here’s another bit of Level-5 news update for all you peons.  They are coming up with another strategy RPG game (I can’t contain myself) in the Little Battlers franchise dubbed The Little Battlers Wars.

No gameplay information for the title has been disclosed as of the moment, but since Level-5 and SRPGs are pretty much golden tickets for me, you can be sure that I will be on to this DAY 1, YO.  The anime (where the game is based from) is set in 2055 where kids build LBXs (tiny robots) and battle them out in cardboard arenas, with pro leagues and all, which is all very Pokemon-esque and will definitely interest kids and bigger kids like me alike.

The game is now under development and slated for a Nintendo 3DS release, bidding farewell to its Sony nest for now.


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If you have been keeping tabs of Indexs (formerly Atlus) smartphone games lately, then you might have already heard of Devil Survivor 2: The Extra World.  This actually is a social game that is tied in the world of the Devil Survivor 2 anime and features characters of the game (and anime) as NPCs that you can encounter from time to time.  This is the third social game from Index, following Persona 3 Social and Persona 4: The Card Battle.

Devil Survivor 2: The Extra World is a game where you build different decks with character, skill, and demon cards.  The premise of the game is that players have been affected by natural disasters all over the world and are forced to fight mysterious invaders of Septentrion through the use of their decks.  You can register starting today at the Mobage website to get a free Io Niita card on the service’s launch on April.

The game is compatible for docomo,  au and Softbank phones, while non-JP residents can access it with Android 2.2 and above, and iOS devices with iOS 4.0 installed and up.

Source: Index



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NANA, the popular shoujo anime based on the eponymous manga by Yazawa Ai, has a Japanese PSP game entitled NANA – Subete wa Daimaou no Omichibiki!? (I think it roughly translates to: “Is it all the Demon Lord’s will!?”)

It is mostly a board game featuring NANA characters as well as custom characters (fangirl players) that live inside the world of the anime.  You do not need to know how to read kanji/Japanese to play this game.  The menu is pretty much basic and you’ll probably figure it out eventually upon trial and error.  It’s definitely for the fans as the game will unlock clothes, characters, items and other things relevant to the NANA universe.

Here’s a mini-review by way of screencaps to show what the game is all about:

Intro screen.

A screencap from the opening video.

The fangirl custom mode has only three stages until you finish the game. But the real gem here is that you can play as the NANA characters to unlock more story stages.

Menu. Choose whether to play NANA characters or create your own.

My custom character. She has Sachiko’s clothes!

The AI players / “rivals”. You can choose from 1-3 AI players to join you, but characters are totally random, and they’re all customs.

First stage’s mission: Go to Black Stones’s first live!

Game interface.

The board is the city where Nana and Hachi lives in. So eventually you will be able to…

interact with them! How cute is Ren?!!!

The interaction screenie.

You can trick your rivals by using your Daimaou card.

Be careful though, as it may backfire!

My character, going on to the next board, to buy a present for Nana’s first live! <333

Every seven turns, you get paid for your arubaito. At the eighth turn, you get your expenses bill :3

After you reach the goal and beating all the fangirls to it, you get to see Black Stones’s live!


When you’re tired of the board game, visit the shop to buy more clothes and accessories or stuff for your room!

Spiffy! I have a guitar bag too <333

Design your room~

You can even invite your new rockstar friends to your pad!

Waaah! Takumi is just too cute!!!

Chatting up Takumi! XD

Also invited Ren over :3

NANA – Subete wa Daimaou no Omichibiki!? is an avatar-centric game heavily marketed and recommended to NANA fans.  This pretty much reminds me of the Square Enix PSP game featuring Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest characters that also plays like a board game (Itadaki Street Portable), but this is a more simplified game that immerses you to anime.