Battle of the Backlog: June 2019

Hey guys! So, it’s that time once again for us to brave the waters of the Backlog Battle, our monthly series where we dive into what I’ve played and watched in the past month in order to combat the mountain of titles that are sitting comfortably in my backlog! So then, if you’re ready and your resolve is steeled, let’s get this week’s trip down the Otaku Rabbit Hole started, and let’s jump right into The Battle of the Backlog: June 2019!

Games

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland (Nintendo Switch) – COMPLETE!

Atelier Lulua key visual - otaku rabbit holeFor those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you’ll probably already know that recently I got my hands on the Nintendo Switch version of Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland and fell in love with it. If you’re interested in reading my full opinions on the game, then please check out the review here. However, while I loved my return to Arland in this game, I also thought that my time with Lulua was at an end for now. After only a few short days away, this game drew me back time and again in pursuit of the numerous endings on offer. Combine that with the desire I had for completing the plethora of post-game content on offer here, thanks to the Alchemyriddle, I just couldn’t stay away.

I found that all the additional content was beyond satisfying and has bumped Atelier Lulua to stand side-by-side with my all-time favourite Atelier title, Atelier Shallie. Getting to learn more about the loveable characters and dive head-first back into the world of Arland and all its wonders was something that really gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling in this month. After finally reaching the end and finishing all it had to offer, I’m satisfied that I’ve finally finished this game and my Lulua itch is finally scratched. Overall, I thoroughly adored this game and it will leave a massive hole in the coming months that may just draw me back in for a repeat playthrough really soon!

Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings (Nintendo Switch)

Atelier Lydie and Suelle Key visual - otaku rabbit holeFresh off finishing Atelier Lulua this month, I was in desperate need for a new Atelier game to help fill the void left in the wake of Atelier Lulua. Having skipped the second and third entries in the Mysterious trilogy, and with Atelier Lydie and Suelle finding a home on the Switch, this entry with its dual protagonists definitely stood out as the next must-play game for me to sink my teeth into, especially given my love for Atelier Shallie and its dual protagonists. Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings follows twin girls and alchemists Lydie and Suelle Malen as they set out on their path to become the best possible alchemists they can be for the sake of their mother, who has sadly passed away. One day, while synthesising in their atelier, they hear a strange noise coming from the basement where their father does his paintings. Bravely venturing down, they happen across a strange painting that draws them in, known as a Mysterious Painting – paintings that are created by alchemists that house entire worlds and materials beyond your wildest dreams. As part of their goal to become the best alchemists possible, they decide to undertake alchemy ranking exams, issued by the local palace, to increase their atelier rank and increase their prestige and reputation. However, these tests require that the girls become adept at exploring the world, gathering materials, synthesising and restoring the Mysterious Paintings they come across on their journeys, in what can only be described as a relaxing yet compelling tale.

I have to admit that Atelier Lydie and Suelle is a title I’ve been working through for a while and in some ways is a departure from the tried and tested Atelier formula that I’m used to. I’ve also found that this game has a battle and alchemy system that doesn’t gel as well with me personally as the other games in the series. I adore the story, and I’m determined to keep playing as I’m sure that once I finally get my head into this game, it’ll open up to me and I’ll fall in love with it, just as I have with so many of the other entries in the Atelier series.

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (PS Vita)

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly Key Image - Otaku rabbit holeOtome games have never been a genre that has resonated well with me, despite my love for visual novels as a whole. Back when the twin titles Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk and Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly were announced, however, I was beyond intrigued. The art style and character designs for these games were beyond a doubt some of the most beautiful I’d seen for an otome game, and the trailers hooked me with its feeling of mystery and intrigue. As a result, shortly after launch, I snapped up a copy of each but sadly, as is the case with so many games, they ended up banished to the backlog. Cut to the beginning of this month where, in a slump of not knowing what to play, I finally booted up Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, and I quickly realised that I definitely should have started this one a long time ago.

The story follows your typical female otome protagonist, who one day wakes up in a strange mansion. After coming to her senses, she realises she has no idea who she is or how she ended up in this place. Before she can fully comprehend her situation, she is chased by a hideous monster only to be rescued by a man who just so happens to be in the same position as she is. In an attempt to avoid the monsters and find a safe haven, our protagonist and the tall dark stranger stumble across three more men, all of whom have amnesia. With only a single message on each of their cell phones, they realise that there is no escape from this mansion by normal means. To escape, they must fight and defeat the monsters, and gather kaleidoscope shards for some unknown purpose – leaving them at the mercy of the master of the mansion. While tense at times, this game doesn’t hesitate to use the tried and true otome character tropes, which makes for some surprisingly light and funny moments that help offset the darker moments in the story. The soundtrack is also pretty great so far, but some of the sound effects, most notably the menu sounds, are recycled from Idea Factory’s other big IP, Hyperdimenion Neptunia – which definitely breaks immersion from time to time. On the whole, though, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is a solid otome game/ visual novel with just enough charm to keep you playing for hours at a time, and I plan on playing a lot more in the coming weeks!

Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! (Nintendo Switch)

Chocobos mystery dungeon Every Buddy! key visual - otaku rabbit holeChocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is a game that I’ve wanted to get my hands on for quite some time. Back when this remaster dropped for the Nintendo Switch, I was incredibly hyped, thanks in no small part to the nostalgia I have for the original, which found its home on the Wii. So, after all the great announcements at Nintendo’s E3 press conference, I was flicking through the E-store seeing what post-E3 deals there were and, to my delight, Chocobo just so happened to be on sale. The rest, as they say, was history, and my wallet was made considerably lighter as a result.

The story follows the young treasure hunter Chocobo and his partner Cid on a normal, every-day treasure hunt to the Tower of Sands. However, this hunt turns out to be anything but normal and Chocobo, Cid and rivals Irma and Volg find themselves sucked into a portal, only for them to awake in the mysterious town of Lostime. At first glance, this town and its people seem picturesque and welcoming. However, this town possesses a bell that robs all humans who hear it of their memories. As you can imagine, in typical Final Fantasy fashion, it’s up to our dear little Chocobo to save the townsfolk, restoring their memories and unravelling the mysteries behind the town of Lostime as he goes.

Gameplay is fairly typical for randomly generated dungeons and presents a decent challenge overall, and I’ve lost to some dungeons more times than I’d care to admit. Some of the jobs available to Chocobo are considerably more powerful than others, though, as after unlocking the Black Mage job, I’ve found the game noticeably easier and can breeze through most dungeons with ease, just because of the overall firepower and ability to attack at a distance. This is made especially potent when combined with the help of other monsters/ buddies that you can recruit to travel alongside you in the dungeons, some of whom also have access to distance abilities/ magic that can decimate foes.

Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon is probably the game I’ve sunk the most of my game time into this month, having already cleared over half the total dungeons available in the game, both story-related and side quests, and I hope to have finished it real soon to finally see how the story ends, as I never managed to back on the Wii.

Anime, Netflix and Movies (oh my!)

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Key visual - otaku rabbit holeFor anyone who’s been following this blog for a while, you’ll already know that back when Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind dropped, I decided to check out the franchise for the first time and did a First Impressions of this new chapter in the story of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. However, because I’m absolutely terrible at staying up to date with seasonal anime, I had already fallen considerably behind with Jojo’s, having almost 25 episodes waiting patiently in my watch list at the start of this month. Thanks to a few days off work this month with nothing major on my to-do list, I was finally able to sit down and binge-watch some more of this anime and put a sizable dent in my backlog. I can’t stress this enough when I say that I am so glad I did. This anime gorgeous, the characters are over-the-top excellence and, generally speaking, everything about this anime is a pleasure to experience. While there’s still a way to go before I’m fully caught up, I can’t wait to watch even more and enjoy the adventures of Giorno Giovanna to the fullest!

Well then, guys, we’ve reached the end of another trip down the Otaku Rabbit Hole and we have a successfully completed game to boast at the end of this month’s Battle of the Backlog, too. I hope you guys have enjoyed this week’s entry and I’ll be back real soon with even more otaku goodness for you guys to enjoy. With all that said, until next time, keep it weeby everyone!

Loplop x

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THE IMAGES USED IN THIS REVIEW. ALL CREDIT FOR THE IMAGES GIVEN TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.

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