Games I play: Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the umpteenth game in the Atelier-series by Gust. An often cozy, slice-of-life RPG with focus on alchemy—a robust crafting system that’s at the core of its gameplay. I first came in contact with the series on PlayStation 2 with Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana and its sequels during my first “buy all Japanese RPGs” period. With Ryza on Switch getting glowing reviews, I thought I’d try jumping back in.

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Games I play: Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk

Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a game by Nippon Ichi Software in one of my favorite genres. A genre that’s notoriously niche and hard to search for online. It’s a “turn-based first-person party-based dungeon crawler”—try saying that three times fast. Also known as a D(ungeon)RPG or blobber on account of moving all your units as one big blob.

You take on the role as the book Tractatus de Monstrum, Tractie for short, and explore the labyrinth beneath the town of Refrain at the orders of Madame Dronya and her adorable assistant Luca. In classic NIS fashion you create your own party of characters—puppets in this case. With a staggering amount of gameplay systems and customization, the game invites you to spend time grinding and navigating menus, rewarding you with plenty of power if you do.

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