Scar of the Doll – Impressions

 

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One of the fun things about being the community manager for a game publisher is you get to play a lot of games you wouldn’t normally come across. Scar of the Doll is one of those games. I’m not usually someone who goes for visual novels so it would have never been on my radar. But I’m glad I didn’t get the chance to overlook it, and here are my impressions on why you shouldn’t overlook it either.

First, you’ll have to excuse me for being a bit tight-lipped on details, but the men upstairs don’t want any spoilers, and if I tell you how uuugk…

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That would have been a spoiler.

What was I saying? One of the first things that struck me about Scar of the Doll is that it hits you with that just slightly off kilter feeling right from the beginning. Even before the first major “wait, what” moment, there are several minor moments that just feel slightly odd.

The main character will hear a sentence that is just absurdly out of place for the current conversation, or timelines of what you say compared to things other people are saying don’t line up. Or when I checked the answering machine and hrghk….

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Spoiler…

Nothing strange there. Yeah. I’m fine. This is exactly how I left things.

This slightly odd feeling never let’s you feel completely comfortable.

The second thing I noticed is that this game is an excellently paced mystery. Every time you think you’ve got it figured out they’ll reveal “Oh, you’re right about X, but there is MORE…”

Just as you figure out one thing, the next mystery appears, and these mysteries aren’t coming out of nowhere either. Because the third thing is that this game loves details.

And those details, little bits you’ll forget like how when you get off the train that…. uhghkkk…

NO SPOILERS

NO SPOILERS!

Did something happen? Why is my desk so clean? And was it really this late? Oh well, need to finish this up.

The details always set up the reveals. Every time the mystery deepens, all these little details you’ll have completely forgotten about, or thought were just little ways of making the player feel uncomfortable, those were all pointing to something else behind the immediate mystery. The mysteries never feel like they came out of nowhere, they always had small hints, but you’ll overlook those hints. And then, a new mystery springs from those little hints, like a matryoshka doll of mysteries.

Wait? Where are you going? The article isn’t over yet. Did you hear a cell phone ringing?

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Scar of the Doll-Coming Soon

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A mysterious disappearance, a devoted sister.

Travel to Tokyo as Asumi to uncover the secrets behind your vanished sister. From master storyteller Hidehisa Miyashita, the scenario writer for the critical and cult darling Folklore, play Scar of the Doll, April 20th on Steam!

This brand new remastered version of the Child Dream classic features upgraded visuals and new content! Find your way through the brilliant and chilling mystery. Can you find your sister? Can you uncover the mystery? Will you be able to face the frightening truth?

Find out on April 20th!

We used to Fight As Children…
We Fought Over the TV…
I wanted to watch cartoons and you wanted to watch science programs…
In the end I’d always burst into tears…
And you’d always let me watch what I wanted…
Father was always busy…
It was always just the two of us…
We used to go to the festival every summer…
Always…together…
You smiling beside me…wearing the same yukata…
But one year we stopped going…a boy picked you up… I knew you liked that boy
I used to stand by the door watching you…
The teddy bear you gave me that one day… I still have it. I’ve been taking good care of it.
The darkness of the night is scary…it makes me more aware of how lonely I am…

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Steam VR Sale!

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Happy Belated Birthday to the HTC VIVE! The Vive was released one year ago yesterday and it is time for a celebration.

The fun of VR is to put yourself INTO the game. To get an immersive experience that lets you be part of the action. And hey, immersing yourself into situations outside your every day life sounds like a good way to celebrate a birthday!

So let’s look at the three Degica Games on sale in VR this week!

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It’s time to be awesome at the biggest sport in the world, with Head It!

Your teammate has set you up, and all you have to do is get your head in the game. Be loved and adored by the fans as you get goal after goal. The world of soccer is yours for 50% off, so don’t let that goalie stop your shot!

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Or maybe, it is time to show off your mastery of the Japanese art of the sword in Samurai Sword VR. Dash through beautiful scenery as you cut down your foes.

Less an honoable Samurai and more an underhanded ninja? Then instead master the 2 kunai/shuriken only levels. Either way, you can see the world of Japan surround you, for 50% off.

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And what is the best thing you can do to celebrate? Break stuff! And as it is in the virtual world and not reality, there is no mess, no cleanup, just pure unbridled joy at watching stuff get knocked down in Destroyer!

Ancient ruins float in the sky, why they are there? Who cares, let’s tear it all down! Embrace your inner child and throw things at it until it all comes down for 50% off!

No matter which game you get, let’s all celebrate the success of the Vive by immersing ourselves in a whole virtual world of fun!

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Degica Games + Steam Anime Sale = Sugoi Deals Sugoi Games.

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NANI?!

Steam is once again doing their Anime Sale, and that means it is time for more deals on Degica Games!

You want to know more about a few games in the sale, ne?

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DoDonPachi Resurrection, the latest CAVE game to land on Steam for 30% off! Giant kawaii robot girls, sugoi ships, and so, so many modes modes! What more could you want from a bullet hell shooter?

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And speaking of danmaku, we’ve also got RefRain ~Prism Memories~ for 40% off! From doujin circle RebRank, RefRain is a dive into cyberpunk hacking as represented by deep shooter gameplay.

These two Degica Games, and many more are on sale now, so run over to the Anime Steam Sale to find the game for you.

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And of course, our Studio Saizensen Week is still ongoing, so head over there to learn about a giveaway, contest, and more!

Between the Anime Sale and Studio Saizensen Week, there is no way you don’t want one of these Degica Game deals. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. It’s not like we like you or anything. Baka. *blush*

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Saizensen Week: Umihara Kawase Day

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The Studio Saizensen Week continues, but today is all about Umihara Kawase!

The Umihara Kawase series are puzzle platformers unlike any other game you’ve ever played. Using a fishing line and hook, Umihara, joined by others in later games, swing, hang, climb, and even launch themselves using the lines elastic quality. With their interesting physics mechanics, the Umihara Kawase series is a game you can spend years mastering, or jump in today and have fun.

You can get the entire trilogy for 70% off right now on Steam!

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Want to know more about the series? Join us later today on Twitch as we stream with Mr. Kondou, the illustrator of the series. He’ll be answering questions from the chat, so don’t be shy about posting your best questions for him. We’ll be streaming at 6PM Pacific, so set your alarms and don’t miss out!

We also have the Sayonara Umihara Kawase Time Attack Contest still running until April 3rd!

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See if you can be the master of Stage 6, or just see how you can do for fun. There are plenty of great prizes, but make sure to read ALL the rules! We look forward to all your entries!

Umihara Kawase is a game you could waste days, weeks, or even years in. Take this opportunity to get this legendary series today.

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Studio Saizensen Week!

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Hi everyone, it’s STUDIO SAIZENSEN WEEK!

So what does that mean? It means big sales on all things Studio Saizensen on Steam! But we don’t just have sales, we also have cool events! Let’s take a look at what we have for you this week.

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For the fight fans among us, we have Blade Arcus From Shining: Battle Arena at 50% off! Pick your two fighters, and challenge the world!

And this week, and every week, be sure to drop in on our Thursday Fight Nights Stream! You can join in on Twitch at 5:30 PM Pacific. Talk the game with our host Brett, or jump in on the open lobby now that you have picked up the game!

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Prefer your fights to be a bit of a brawl? Then check out the Beat’em Up/RPG Hybrid Code of Princess! Regain your throne for 50% off, and that isn’t all, for the duration of the sale, you get the OST free (be sure to select the bundle!).

Enjoying Code of Princess? Be sure to enter our Studio Saizensen Week Giveaway for your chance to win a Code of Princess Box Set
(with custom drawing in the case by Kinu Nishimura)
, along with other Saizensen prizes!

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But how can we talk Studio Saizensen without Umihara Kawase! You can get the trilogy right now for 70% off! So hop, skip, jump, swing, launch, or drop on over to the Steam store to get in on this deal.

Already a master, join in on our Sayonara Umihara Kawase Time Attack contest. Not a master? Try it out anyway, who knows, you might be a prodigy!

And as a special treat, join us Wednesday, the 29th at 6pm Pacific for a special Umihara Kawase stream, with Mr. Kondou himself answering your questions!

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Learn more about all our events on the Studio Saizensen Week Page! Don’t miss out on all the fun and games!

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Thanks! VR Sports takes off as our #1 VR Game!

After only two days, our new title, VR Sports has taken off! Thanks to everyone out there that picked it up, VR Sports has become our #1 VR game ever.

And we can see why!

Much like Wii Sports did for the Wii, VR Sports does for the HTC Vive. It is a great game to show off how VR can be used, and is excellent with anyone of any skill level or age.

VR Sports gives you 7 sports to choose from:

Bowling

bowling

Homerun Derby

baseball

Soccer

soccer

Basketball

basketball

Japanese Archery

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Clay Shooting

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Boxing

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Each game requires an entirely different set of skills and control, and you will have difficulty levels perfect for easing you into each one.

And once you’ve masterd the games, you can compete with everyone around the world to be the best VR Athlete, with online ranking!

So pick it up, put on your headset, and be prepared for a workout!

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Antagonist Header

Heroes have had the spotlight for far too long! In Antagonist, you get to play as the lead villain (and actor), Dark Lord D’Vil.

Dark Lord D’Vil is a rising star at Evil Productions, a production company that shoots only the most “realistic” video game cutscenes. For D’Vil, and the other villains, it’s just acting. But for the heroes, the scripted events are all too real.

After an incident at the top of a volcano, D’Vil is forced to team up with Hero of Light, Ralph, in an “improvised” adventure. Will you work together to uncover the dark truth behind Evil Productions, or will you clash like true hero and villain?

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HISTORY

Antagonist started out as an entry in the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest. It ended up placing 1st in the RPG Category among 100’s of submissions. Degica approached the developer, NIVLACART, about expanding the entry into a commercial game.

NIVLACART worked on/off for the last few years, expanding the story, adding new characters/scenes, enemies, updated art, a “combo system” and much more! The game is now finally approaching it’s full release on Steam, March 17, 2017!

Click here to go to the store page

ABOUT THE GAME

Antagonist is a Visual Novel/RPG hybrid. The gameplay is broken into two parts: the dialogue scenes and the more traditional RPG turn-based encounters.

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Most of the story is conveyed through dialogue sequences between D’Vil and other characters. Like most visual novels, the player will have dialogue choices to make that will affect the exchange. There are also a few critical decisions that will determine if the player takes the good or evil path.

One of the best aspects of Antagonist is the charming characters and their banter. D’Vil and Ralph have a love/hate relationship that you’ll want to see to the end. D’Vil and Teeth have a fun villain/sidekick dynamic going on, with Teeth always there to keep D’Vil’s ego in check. There are also plenty of familiar faces from other game universes that have taken on “punny” alter egos. RPG Maker veterans like Eric, Terence, Yvla, Ulrika, and Bennett also make an appearance.

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When it’s time for an encounter, the game will switch to a combat scene. Combat plays out in an Active Time Battle System, with both the player and enemies taking turns. The player can control D’Vil, but his partner is AI controlled.

Later in the game, you will be able to perform “combo” or “follow up” attacks. If you time D’Vil’s action with your partner’s action, you’ll be able to perform a devastating combination attack! Some of these will also change the properties of the attack, e.g. a damaging attack becomes a buff. Skill descriptions will often give hints into which skills combine and their effects. These need to be used tactically to overcome later encounters!

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Antagonist also doesn’t slouch on the presentation. It has beautiful, hand-drawn portraits and CGs, and a rockin’ soundtrack!

Antagonist hits Steam March 17, 2017! Click here to go to the Steam Store page and make sure to add it to your Wishlist to be notified when it becomes available!

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Shmups Beginner Advice Tips #3

Time for another set of Shmup tips from Nick, our community manager and Shmup newbie. In our previous articles, we’ve discussed 6 small tips for beginners. Let’s look at 3 more, this time, we look at positioning and movement!

And of course, remember, these are all very basic, and just, of course from my own experiences. I’m sure some experts out there could school me on a few of these.

Tip 7: You have 4 directions to dodge!

I know this seems kind of obvious. Really. Really it does. But sometimes, when you get playing, you focus mostly on left and right (or up and down for side scrollers), and just sort of… well forget the other two directions exist.

And games like XIIZEAL give you a few more reasons to remember to move forward and backwards.

And games like XIIZEAL give you a few more reasons to remember to move forward and backwards.

Quite a few attacks are much easier to dodge by going forward or backward rather than side to side, and you can also use forward and back to throw off the “rhythm” of tracking shots.

Tip 8: Find a good default position

Usually, when I’m playing, I find the default position for my ship when I’m not being harassed or trying to target things.

Obviously, the best position during this time is halfway from each side (or top to bottom on a sidescrolling game). Some people prefer all the way to the back to have the longest time to react to things, but I personally like to be one ship length away from the back, which gives me a bit of room to dodge backwards.

This position in EXZEAL is about where I tend to hang out.

This position in EXZEAL is about where I tend to hang out.

Now, the better you know a stage, the more you’ll know where you need to be during each lull, but this position gives you a pretty good chance to get into the proper position when enemies do start coming.

Tip 9: All else being equal, dodge towards the center

If a bullet is coming for you, and you can dodge left, or dodge right. If all else is equal (not heading towards a target, there isn’t a giant laser beam on that side, etc), you should dodge towards the center.

One of the things that kills me the most in shmups isn’t missing a dodge, it is completely running out of room to dodge. And the fastest way to do that is to consistently run to one edge.

Running out of room to run in this Crimzon Clover World Ignition capture!

Running out of room to run in this Crimzon Clover World Ignition capture!

Always try to give yourself an out, and dodging towards the center gives you the most outs.

So what do you think? These tips still going the right direction? Do your expert eyes see some flaws in my strategy? Tell me in the comments below.

 

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Our Valentine’s Sale is Fluttering Away

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Valentine’s Day is passed, but there is always room for more love! And you have until Monday 10am Pacific to pick up these loving deals, and more, on Steam! So don’t be shy, take a chance. Your great love could be right around the corner!

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Nursing school is hard. Especially for a wishy washy, floating jellyfish of a student who only seems to be there because she wrote in a book as a child that she wanted to be a nurse.

Asky will have to learn about growing up, nursing, and love, in the yuri visual novel Nurse Love Addiction! Will you be there to guide here through? Buy it during the sale to get 40% off and the soundtrack for free!

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Can love survive Alternate wartorn realities? Play as Takeru, a normal high school boy, in the first two parts of the Muv-Luv Saga. First, experience a tongue in cheek high school comedy romance. But right when things are seeming to make sense. Right when everything has settled down and it is happily ever after.

It is time for war. Takeru awakens in a war-torn version of his world. Many things are the same. His friends are mostly still there, though they don’t remember him. His school is still there, though it is now a military academy… Can he figure out what to do, and how to save humanity? Buy now to get Muv-Luv for 40% off and experience this critically acclaimed visual novel today!

Check out these deals, and all of the other great deals on Degica Games, ending this Monday. Also be sure to check out the new giveaway entries to give yourself more chances to win!

And most of all. We hope you had a great Valentine’s and continue to have a lovely weekend!

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