January was surprisingly stacked as far as new games go. I was busy enough with stuff like Monster Hunter Rise and God of War, but I also got to play a bunch of other neat games – some of which may have flown under your radar. This time I have five such games to show you guys, so thanks to the publishers who sent them to me in order to make this list possible and let’s go ahead and get started.

Please, Touch The Artwork

You’re usually told NOT to touch the artwork when in a museum, so this game is basically the exact opposite of that. It’s one of those zen puzzle games with simple art and seemingly simple gameplay, but a good amount of depth and challenge underneath that veil. Some puzzles have you moving colors and matching an artwork to another while some have you moving dots along the actual canvas. These get increasingly complex as you go on and there are over 160 such puzzles to go through spread across three different game modes.

For a casual puzzle game, it’s pretty good – and with some simple, yet effective graphics and music too. I’ve already completed a bunch of the puzzles, but this is one I can see myself playing in smaller chunks over the next week or so until I clear them all – it’s the perfect type of puzzler to play in-between larger games and if that’s your thing then it is worth a look.

Please, Touch The Artwork retails for $10 USD and is available on Steam and itch.io as well as Android and iOS.

Marshmallow All the Way Home

We just got Primal x Hearts 1 AND 2 a few months ago and now Shiravune is back with yet another Marmalade visual novel – this time Marshmallow All the Way Home. And right off the bat, the production values on this one are noticeably higher. Not just the visuals, music, and settings and all that, but I found the writing to be more engaging as well.

You play as Ryou Miyahara, who was kicked out and lives out of a cardboard box now. The story starts with a chance meeting that has Ryou end up living and working in a cake shop – “Marshmallow Tree”. It is from there that you get to know all the heroines, the inner workings of this cake shop, and develop this story full of comedy, romance, and just a little bit of drama. It kinda reminds me of Amairo Chocolate from a little over a year ago, but honestly, this one is much more interesting.

Turning around this cake shop and making it successful, getting to know the interesting heroines, and yeah – there’s a ton of romance later on too. It’s just a nicely packaged slice of life comedy all the way through and I’ve had a great time with it thus far – I might even end up doing a full review once I’ve cleared all the routes. If you’re into this genre, definitely check it out.

Marshmallow All the Way Home retails for $30 USD and is available on Johren.

Dimension Tripper Neptune: TOP NEP

I like arcade games and I like Neptunia, so yeah, TOP NEP is pretty much my jam. It’s basically a straight rip of Space Harrier with a Neptunia skin, but for a 20 minute arcade experience, it’s fun enough if you’re a fan of the series. You get the different Neptunia character as power-ups, take down enemies pulled from various Neptunia games, and listen along to a surprisingly boppin soundtrack. And unlike some other Space Harrier-type games I’ve played, the depth perception actually works and doesn’t feel off.

But really there isn’t much to say about this one. Straightforward, yet effective gameplay with a Neptunia skin slapped over it. Yeah, it’s a bit low effort, but I can’t deny it was at least fun for the time I played it and if you’re a Nep fan, I’d give it a light recommendation.

Dimension Tripper Neptune: TOP NEP retails for $5 USD and is available on Steam.

Expeditions: Rome

I honestly thought this would be a turn-based strategy game, but was surprised to learn that it’s actually a party-based tactical RPG kinda similar to Divinity or Pillars of Eternity. Not that I’m complaining though, it’s a fairly solid crack at that genre and with some nice combat, really cool set design, and dialogue that doesn’t overload you like a lot of others tend to do in this genre. The setting speaks for itself and you’re quickly thrown into this story of political intrigue, war, family drama, and this is all done with full voice acting too.

And when you’re not doing that, there’s the combat. You get a full slate of unique abilities, character types, modifiers, and an inventory system too. It’s not the most complex I have seen from the genre, but it’s not bad either. The game is roughly 30 or so hours long, so it’s a bit of a big boy too. I have yet to clear it myself, but I have had fun with what I’ve played and would recommend it if you are into this genre. 

Expeditions: Rome retails for $45 USD and is available on Steam and GOG. You can support the channel and potentially get it cheaper by buying the Steam version through my Gamesplanet partner link.

The Seventh Sign -Mr.Sister-

Now here’s a visual novel I have seen practically no one talk about. It’s by the same studio that did How to Raise a Wolf Girl a couple years ago – which may have had some issues, but was fun enough to warrant giving this one a look. And yeah, it’s pretty much exactly what I expected. A short, roughly six hour kinetic novel with a small cast of characters, some supernatural elements, and a heavy emphasis on slice of life stuff. 

You play as Reiji, who slips on the stairs and dies, only to be saved by a god who implants some of her divine powers into him. Unfortunately, both the protagonist and the god that saved him will die if these powers are not returned, so they must work together to do so. It’s a simple plot setup all things considered, but it does provide the basis for which the rest of the story is told – mainly lighthearted slice of life stuff. In a way, this kinda makes for an interesting dynamic, as you would think a plot like that would make it more serious, but nope, it’s actually kinda comfy instead.

There is romance too, with just a single heroine despite multiple others being a part of the story. I wouldn’t say it’s the strongest recommendation, but if you’re into these short, slice of life VNs then it’s at least worth a shot.

The Seventh Sign -Mr.Sister- retails for $20 USD and is available on GOG, itch.io, and directly from publisher Sekai Project and Denpasoft. 

And that is it for this month’s list. A bit more stacked than last month and with some nice variety too – a couple visual novels, a CRPG, even a Neptunia game. February is looking pretty stacked too, so we’ll have to see how that compares around this time next month. Anyways, thanks for watching and as usual, I have included all of the links for these games in the description below – even the ones in the intro and outro. Subscribe for more and I’ll see you guys in the next one.