Okay, I know you’re expecting Hyperdimension Neptunia in this week’s Important Importables, but there’s a bit of a delay. It’s for a good reason. It looks like Nintendo is retiring the DS, so I decided it’d be better to salute the system this week by looking at 10 weird DS games from Japan. Also, my Play-Asia order hasn’t shipped yet, meaning my copy of Last Window: The Secret of Cape West probably won’t be here until mid-May 2013. So, a delay it is!
Game developers decided to take a lot of chances with the DS, mainly because it was the first time they ever had a chance to develop for a system with two screens. Especially since one of them was a touch screen. It offered a lot of opportunities, and as a result there were a lot of weird DS games. We’re going to go over 10 of the ones I think are weirdest to celebrate the life of the DS.
- 10: Nanashi no Game – This one is for the Ring, or should I say Ringu fans. It’s a first person, survival horror game about a cursed game. If you play this messed up RPG, you’re going to die. Which means the player holds the DS like a book for the first-person sections, where they’re trying to investigate the mystery of the Nameless Game, and holding it like a regular DS as they play said cursed game.
- 9: Ouendan – Ouendan isn’t really unusual for its gameplay. There are a lot of music games that involve tapping in time with on-screen indicators. It’s more for the story. The idea that there’s a group of cheerleaders going around, rooting for people in time with famous JPop and JRock songs, makes me smile. It’s never been done before and it’ll never be done again… unless Nintendo has an Ouendan 3DS planned.
- 8: Vampire Knight DS – Dating sim games are hardly unusual, but Vampire Knight DS has to get a special mention for being so weird. It’s based on a manga and anime series of the same name and follows Yuki as she tries to woo one of the vampires at the special school for vampires and humans she attends. Also, there are weird Peeping Tom (Thomasina?) and vampire hunting mini-games and multiple event images where her face is oddly obscured and she’s being attacked by said vampires. It’s so romantic.
- 7: Slide Adventure: Mag Kid – This isn’t so much a weird DS game in terms of concept, but in execution. You have to have a peripheral that plugs into the GBA slot and allows you to control the game by sliding your DS around on a flat surface. It’s a neat idea, but the GBA-slot-less DSi and DSi XL rendered it obsolete.
- 6: Akogare Girl’s Collection: Mister Donut – Okay, video games for girls that are essentially dream job simulations aren’t unusual. Akogare Girl’s Collection: Mister Donut is, because it assumes the highlight of someone’s life would be getting to work for the Mister Donut restaurant chain. To make it easier to understand, this weird DS game is basically Imagine: Dunkin Donuts. I guess it’s cute, but I’d rather my imaginary!daughter were playing a game showing her how cool it would be to have a job as a doctor, veterinarian, teacher or journalist.
- 5: Zombie Daisuki – I’m still amazed this oddly adorable, real-time strategy game with simulation elements never made it outside of Japan. The goal of Zombie Daisuki is to raise cute zombies and send them out to get revenge on the people who made them zombies. When they aren’t out causing trouble, you’re making them stronger and more awesome.
- 4: English of the Dead – Remember Typing of the Dead? It was a modified version of House of the Dead 2 where people typed words to defeat zombies and monsters. English of the Dead is the same thing, only substitute typing with tapping letters on an on-screen keyboard to write English words. It was designed to be an educational tool and, due to the oodles of English, is pretty much fully playable outside of Japan.
- 3: Joshikousei Nigeru! – There’s a budget line of games in Japan called SuperLite 2500. If you’d think that would mean typical, cheap games, you’d be wrong. One of the illustrious entries in this series is Joshikousei Nigeru!. Basically, you’re trapped in a haunted, monster-infested school and the only way to survive and escape is play match-3 puzzles. That’s both weird and unexpected!
- 2: Zekkyou Senshi Sakeburein – You will probably never, ever see Zekkyou Senshi Sakeburein outside of Japan. If you do, buy it. This rare DS game is a Club Nintendo Japan exclusive reward for people who had accumulated 500 points. It’s an action game where you control a team of Super Sentai, or Power Ranger-style characters. This is done by yelling the moves you want them to perform into your DS/DSi’s microphone. This game also has the honor of being the only weird DS game on this list that’s pretty much unplayable if you don’t know Japanese.
- 1: Duel Love/Doki Doki Majo Shinpan – I lied. This is really a top 11 weird DS game list. That’s primarily because I couldn’t decide which of these two games was weirder, so it became a push. Besides, they’re both really weird for the same reason. Both games involve using the DS touch screen to take part in mini-games that involve touching characters. In Duel Love, which is a dating sim for girls, you’re giving guys massages, wiping away their sweat or spying on them in the shower. In Doki Doki Majo Shinpan, you’re a high school boy touching classmates to try and find the “witch mark” on them that proves they’re a witch. If pressed, I’d say Doki Doki Majo Shinpan is worst and the “winner”, because it’s far more inappropriate, but Duel Love comes pretty close.
If you get the chance to get one of these weird DS games, go for it. I’d say at least half of them are import-friendly. If they aren’t, then at least you get the (dubious) honor of saying you own one of these crazy games. I know I can proudly say I own about 1/3 of them!
COMING NEXT TIME: Important Importables goes over all the Hyperdimension Neptunia games so you know what’s going on with the series.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables listed 10 import DS games that should be on the 3DS eShop.