Shenmue I & II, Headed for Xbox One, PS4, Steam & Sunshine, Sento-Sake

Their crowd-funded sequel, Shenmue III, is still on its way, but how should someone new to the series get up-to-date with the premier picking-up-objects-and-turning-them-over-in-your-hand sim? It turns out that Sega is publishing the first two game on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for Windows.

The updated versions of the game promise a better user interface, more modern controls with the original as an option, higher resolution choices, and a subtitled Japanese audio experience if you’d prefer that over the English voice acting. There aren’t any pre-order bonuses, and no price is up yet, so it’ll be good to wait for the games to be released this year and read how the ports turned out.

It doesn’t sound like they’re changing much at all, but it’s good to see the original Shenmue games available off of the Dreamcast and the original Xbox. I’d like to take a crack at playing II, which I’ve got somewhere but never got it going on my old Xbox.

This is mostly unrelated but I’ve been watching the completely ridiculous Japanese television series Sunshine, Sento-Sake, and it is a complete trip. Unfortunately the show is only available via Amazon’s Prime Video service.

Here’s how I would describe it: A guy working as a business-to-business ad salesman is extremely mediocre at his job, but always finds a way to relax in the middle of the day at a public bath, and then gets some beer and good food. I heartily recommend it for anyone interested in seeing someone appreciate the joy of relaxing and savoring food and drink, but be prepared for lots of old butts in those Sentos.

Dan and Bianca Ryckert recommended Sunshine on their new podcast, and I feel like they’re the best at explaining the fun in the show if you’re put-off by the butt warning. Check out that episode of their podcast here.

Puyo Puyo Tetris is on Windows Today

That sounds like a morning breakfast show, doesn’t it? Well, Windows Today isn’t a thing, but Puyo Puyo Tetris is out for Windows via Steam, today, it’s $20. I played a short bit and it felt just as good as it does on the Switch, which reviewed well as we discussed previously. It is very odd to have a lot of visual novel cutscenes that take forever to tell their story inbetween levels of the single-player campaign, but those are easily skipped if you’re not interested in anime characters screaming at each other about how their worlds have been ripped asunder to bring Puyo Puyo and Tetris together.

Puyo Puyo Tetris for Windows on February 27th

Almost everybody seems to have liked Puyo Puyo Tetris on the Switch and PlayStation 4. Sega  combined the Puyo Puyo and Tetris puzzles games, but you can also just play either in a bunch of different modes. It came out early last year and it’s finally hitting Windows via Steam on February 27th.

Caty McCarthy’s review of the Switch version for US Gamer:

In Arcade Mode, both solo and multiplayer, there are six particular types of battling: Versus (choosing your poison before battle: Puyos or Tetriminos), Fusion (a combination of Tetris and Puyo Puyo in the same field), Party (where cleared items obstruct your nemesis in different ways, such as speeding up time), Challenge (a challenging six different modes in a row), Big Bang (where preset Tetrimino or Puyo patterns await you, and you clear them as fast as you can), and finally, my personal favorite mode, Swap. In Swap, the player musters through two games simultaneously: a Puyo Puyo match and a Tetris match. The maps shift back and forth between the other every 25 seconds, and as your maps build, the game grows increasingly tense with each swap. One slip-up, and it could spell the end.

Not every mode in Puyo Puyo Tetris is a rousing success though. Some modes—like Fusion and Big Bang—feel tedious and not as frenetically quick-witted as the others. In Swap, I had to be agile and constantly be aware of my maps’ structures. In Fusion, the mixture of Puyos and Tetriminos operating in the same space just makes for a cluttered, frustrating experience. Big Bang, while fun for a match or two, only works on the pretense of its repetition. And once that’s been seen, it loses its fast-paced feverish joy, and becomes the most boring of all the modes.

Puyo Puyo Tetris is up on Steam for Windows with a pre-order discount of 10%, but I’d hold off until reviews are out just in case this port doesn’t turn out so hot.

Ex-Theme Hospital Developers Making New Theme Hospital

If I said “Two Point Hospital” out-loud you might think I was discussing some asinine venture-funded startup designed to revolutionize the medical experience for anyone wealthy enough to afford it. Thank goodness, Sega and Two Point Studios are just making a new hospital management game using developers who have worked on Theme Hospital before. EA still owns the Theme Hospital name, so that’s why it’s called Two Point Hospital instead. It’s supposed to be out late this year, and there’s a Steam page for it.

Sonic Mania is a Surprisingly Good Sonic Game

I’ve been kind of blindsided by this one. Although I don’t enjoy many of the mechanics in even the supposedly good original Sonic games, there was something special about them at the time that has been elusive to any of the developers working on the countless Sonic games since the first few on the Genesis.

From everything I’ve heard and read, Sonic Maniafrom Christian Whitehead and other third-party developers, fulfills the promise of a Sonic game in a way that Sega has been unable to fulfill. That includes the pitfalls of the original games, but without dumbass additions like guns that ruin modern Sonic games.

It’s out now on Steam for Windows as well as the Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 for $20.

Shenmue III Costs More than 2 Million to Make

Patrick Klepek on Shenmue III‘s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign:

There’s something curious about Shenmue III on Kickstarter: it’s only asking for $2 million. It took $47 million to build the original game. What’s the deal? As it turns out, Sony’s partnering with its development.

It’s ridiculous that this partnership to fund Shenmue III isn’t mentioned on the Kickstarter page. Of course the game doesn’t cost $2 million to make, that goal is just as much bullshit as the $500,000 goal from Bloodstained. Although the Bloodstained crowdfunding campaign was good enough to mention the external investment in their video.