Kit Kat Quest

Last update: 03/05/19

I had long known that Japanese Kit Kats were a bit of a phenomenon. People at work would bring back bags of green tea, strawberry and melon Kit Kats from their trips to Japan. Two and a half years ago, I took the plunge and ordered a selection box of eight mini Kit Kats from the Japan Centre. Over coffee, my tasting companions and myself tried them, and I wrote down our reactions verbatim, resulting in the first iteration of this blog. Continue reading

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Final Fantasy Play Time Analysis

Whilst trying to get an estimate of how long I’d need to set aside to play Final Fantasy Type-0, I found myself on the website How Long to Beat. I soon found myself fascinated by the statistics on offer, and decided to carry out some simple analysis on the main sequence Final Fantasy titles. I’d recently tackled FFXII and FFXV, and the impression I was left with was that the main storylines of these newer games were much shorter than in the ‘good old days’. But would the general player experience confirm my hypothesis? Continue reading

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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Back in the day, my relationship with the original PS2 release of Final Fantasy XII was as brief as it was disappointing. Long gone were the days when the release of each new FF game was cause for anticipation and excitement. Also gone were turn-based battles and random encounters, in favour of a weird hybrid of real-time and menu-base encounters. It all felt very painful and jarring, and I gave up after struggling through to the Garuda boss without collecting the berries needed to weaken him.

By the time I was ready to return to the game some twelve years later, an HD remaster – The Zodiac Age – had been released. I played the PS4 version of The Zodiac Age, which lacks a couple of extra features added for the Switch and XBox One releases. Nonetheless, enough has changed to make the experience a lot more enjoyable. Continue reading

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To The Moon/Finding Paradise

SigCorp is a company with a remarkable technology. For people on their deathbeds, they promise the fulfilment of any wish – thanks to a machine that lets its trained operators work backwards through the memories of a client, allowing their mind to work up a new narrative based on their desires. Right before they die, the client’s memories are rewritten, allowing them to briefly believe in the happier life they never actually got to lead. Continue reading

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The Red Turtle

When a storm leaves our nameless protagonist shipwrecked on a desert island, he naturally turns all of his efforts to escaping his plight. Unfortunately, every raft he builds is destroyed by a giant red turtle whenever he sets out to sea. In his frustration, he attacks his nemesis, only to find that it later transforms into a beautiful young woman. As the man gets to know his new companion, he starts to abandon his thoughts of escape, in favour of building a life with her on the island. Continue reading

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Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

On a distant island live the Iorph – an ageless race of pale haired ethereal beauties also known as the Clan of the Separated. They spend their days weaving their thoughts and memories into a special cloth as Hibiol, and keep themselves strictly detached from the outside world. But for lonely orphan Maquia, everything changes the night their village is attacked. Maquia finds herself stranded in the outside world, where she rescues a human baby from his dead mother’s arms and decides to raise him as her own. As the years pass, her adopted son grows and matures, whilst Maquia does not. Can their relationship really endure the vast disparity in their lifespans? Continue reading

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Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first film from Studio Ponoc, a breakaway from Studio Ghibli. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the film looks and feels very much like a Ghibli title. It’s based on The Little Broomstick by British author Mary Stewart, a novel which sounds like it should be a classic that every English-speaking child has read, but which I’ve actually never encountered before. Continue reading

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Mini-Editorial: When is a game truly completed?

I have this thing about finishing games I’ve started, even the ones I didn’t enjoy that much. I have unfinished games stretching back 10-15 years that I fully intend to complete someday. I have games that were a chore to play – Star Ocean 4 and 5, I’m looking at you – that I still feel uneasy about having abandoned. Don’t get me wrong – I know that my limited spare time can be put to better use than to force myself through the tedium of Star Ocean 4. Even if I had no other pressing demands on my time, I could find a lifetime of things to do that were better than Star Ocean 4. But still, I’m wired such that I get some degree of satisfaction out of feeling that a game is complete. Continue reading

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New Little King’s Story

I love kingdom building games. I enjoy developing my realm, getting my citizens happy, exploiting natural resources, and so forth. I’m not so much a fan of the inevitable wars with other kingdoms, but I’ll put up with them if the AI doesn’t cheat too badly. I’m also not terribly enamoured with the slew of kingdom building games for mobile and tablet that require you to fork over real money or slowly accumulate in-game currency to progress.

Earlier this year, I found myself really getting into Ni no Kuni II’s kingdom building mechanic, and, within all the above constraints, I wanted more of the same. I wanted something absorbing, but not a Civ-level timesink that would steal away the next few weeks of my life before I even noticed. Ultimately, I decided to settle for a game I’d purchased ages ago but never quite got around to starting – New Little King’s Story. Continue reading

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Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha versus … Raidou Kuzunoha?


Gouto: ...Well then, it's time to become the first cat in space.

Every protagonist worth his salt needs a feline companion.

In the sprawling SMT franchise, the Raidou Kuzunoha games stand out for being a bit different. With real time battles and in-field exploration using demon abilities, the two PS2 games thrust us into the life of Raidou Kuzunoha XIV, a high school student, devil summoner, and part time assistant at a detective agency.

Even though many assets and locations are re-used between the two games, there are plenty of differences between them. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out…fight! Continue reading

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The Four Classic Chinese Novels

Eighteen years ago, I collected a much coveted PS2 system on release, and had to choose a game to go with it. I picked Dynasty Warriors 2 as the best of a limited selection, and ended up rather enjoying. One unintended consequence of this was that I learnt of the existence of the material that inspired it – the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In due course, I read and enjoyed two English translations of ROTK. Continue reading

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