Omega Force’s catalogue of Warriors games has become incredibly prolific over the years, with dozens of instalments spanning many historical periods and franchises. Throughout this catalogue, they’ve carved out a niche for themselves in the “spectacle fighter” genre, though for the uninitiated, it may as well be the “shonen anime: the game” genre. Each title is a pure, unadulterated power fantasy, giving the player control over numerous heroes who are capable of slashing through scores of enemy soldiers with little more than a wave of their hand. While the overall gameplay tends to stay somewhat similar, the key difference is always the setting. The franchise has visited Hyrule, ancient China, and even Gundam…Gundam-land, but now it’s time to make a return trip to Japan for the latest Samurai Warriors title: Spirit of Sanada.
I found Block’hood to be deeply unsettling.
Now, that’s something of an odd emotion to feel when playing a cheery, colourful city-builder, no? With its intricately detailed cities (known as “‘Hoods”) that can consist of dozens of structures carefully stacked on one another, it seems like a lovingly optimistic view of the future. Catwalks criss-cross between constructs, providing elevated walkways to navigate the vertical landscape. Glasses clink in bars, internet cafes emit bleeps and whirs, and clothing stores sell the trendiest fashions to citizens. It’s a veritable utopia.
Suddenly, things collapse. Businesses fall into disrepair. Apartments cave in and lose all sense of life. Protesters line the streets as black clouds swirl in the sky. The veil is lifted, and the weight of everything you’ve done comes crashing down with the city you worked so hard to build. The clothes in those stores were manufactured in sweatshops around the corner, which in turn received their supplies from pollution-producing cotton fields. The internet cafes distributed electronics that were made with plastic, and therefore, oil. The apartments were constructed on the graves of trees, driving out assorted wildlife in the process.
Remember when you were in high school (or maybe elementary school) and you learned how to type? The teacher would sit everyone in the class down at a different computer, and you’d spend time learning about the “home row”, proper posture when sitting at the computer, and how typing with only two fingers on the keyboard at any given time is a horrible atrocity. (Author’s note: It’s not actually. You type how you want to type. Just never let me see it, because a part of me will die.) Well, if you remember that, congratulations! And if you don’t, then perhaps this review dates me, though whether it’s in a good way or a bad way is open for debate. Anyway, those that remember such typing classes and their associated programs may remember some of the games that were incorporated in. They were often simple affairs; tending to be very Space Invaders-esque, with various objects falling from the top of the screen requiring you to type different words to destroy, eat, or otherwise interact with them. Epistory: Typing Chronicles acts as a modern reimagining of such games, including more complex gameplay mechanics, a story and collectibles, and an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic.