Coming Soon! 1/21/2013 – ish

After the last two weeks worth of violent, gory games, we get a little break of whimsy as presented by Studio Ghibli. Just make sure you’ve got your insulin shots ready.

Remember. Release dates are quite literally made at the whims of the publisher.  The following are subject to change without any warning.

Honorable Mention

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)

Tuesday January 22, 2012
Given the bad blood between Hayao Miyazaki and video games, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch should have been a dream that haunts every Japanese developer that has ever vied for Studio Ghibli’s attention. Level-5 finally achieved what seemed like the impossible out of sheer good timing, and hopefully the rest of us will be the better for it.

In Ni No Kuni a simple kid named Oliver, who just recently lost his mother to illness, comes across a magical being who takes him on a magical journey through an alternate universe. If he succeeds, he might even be able to bring back his mother. How can he say no to something like that?

On his journey Oliver will be able to tame the various monsters he comes across and have them fight for him while he can cast spells out of his spellbook. Like every other standard role playing game, this alternate world offers a wide variety of quests and hunts, and Ni No Kuni offers an additional incentive to solving other people’s problems. Completing these quests lets Oliver gain new passive abilities like making it easier to tame monsters or getting more experience points out of battle.

But Level-5 didn’t go to Studio Ghibli to figure out how to make a role playing game. They went to them to get their talent for making beautiful imagery and storytelling. Based off of the screeshots and trailers, they got exactly that. Studio Ghibli’s signature clean look and expressive, but measured, colors is evident in just about every screenshot and trailer released. Even the PG rated theme that doesn’t necessarily have to mean that it’s only for kids seem to permeate Ni No Kuni.

Whether or not the actual gameplay holds up may very well be beside the point. Level-5 looks to have successfully marry a Studio Ghibli movie with a game. That achievement alone merits the attention of gamers looking for something different.

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