Unable to attend the Summer Comiket, the way to get all of the hottest indie comics and games in Japan? That’s okay, because a Steam sale has you covered. To be more precise, it’s a Japan Indie Games Festival focused on doujin titles that were picked up and localized for a global audience. It’s an interesting promotion, even though the Carpe Fulgur games aren’t included. However, doujin games are a bit of a mixed bag. Some may be more than adequate ways to expend your time, but might only be considered “fascinating” because they’re imports.
There are three doujin games this Steam sale that really deserve your money, and I’m here to convince you to spend $2 to $5 each on them.
We’ll start with Unholy Heights, a game who’s 3DS port I desperately wished had received a localization. But that never happened, so we’ll make do with the $1.99 PC version instead. This title stars a devil who purchased an apartment building, and is renting out rooms to monsters who will defend him against heroes and pitchfork-wielding townsfolk.
Paying the landlord for the right to protect him sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is. While part of the proposal is standard tower defense fair, the other half is making sure the apartments’ features and furniture are desirable enough to make people want to live there. It’s charming, and well worth $2.
One Way Heroics is another hidden gem. Oddly enough, it’s being featured as a sale item during this Steam sale, but there’s no discount applied to the pricing. No matter, $3.49 is a more than fair price for a rogue-like JRPG. Players shouldn’t get too attached to characters, because death is a constant in this procedurally generated game. Not that it matters, since there are many heroes and dimensions to scour in hopes of eventually becoming strong enough to defeat a Demon Lord.
This is one of those games where you buy it now so you can say you were into it before it was cool. It’s being remade for the Vita as Mysterious Chronicle by Spike Chunsoft. Find out what drew the company to it! It might lure you in as well!
We’ll wrap this up with the most famous of my Japan Indie Games Festival Steam sale picks, La-Mulana. This is the remake from Nigoro and Playism and is temporarily $4.94. Did you grow up loving Castlevania? La-Mulana is a lot like that, only with an Indiana Jones-inspired protagonist and fewer vampires. (The number of skeletons in the game is comparable.)
The thing about La-Mulana is that you’re buying a lot of game (and frustration) for $5. This is a challenge. You won’t breeze through this game. It takes time to learn the nuances of the game. Even when you do win, you may find yourself driven to return and see if you can have all 26 characters appear at the end.
The Japan Indie Games Festival Steam sale will end August 17, just after the Summer Comiket ends on August 16, so you have a few days to decide if I’ve done enough to convince you to play one of these games.