List by Lindsay M.
Happy birthday PQube! The publishing company (soon to turn developer — read that news here!) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, which makes it the perfect time to look back on some of the games that makes us heart PQube with every new game announcement. You’ll likely recognise the name as being behind at least one of your favourite titles; PQube has its tentacles everywhere, with genres ranging between visual novel, horror, fighting, and more… and several titillating titles amongst those genres.
Let’s be real, we just can’t mention PQube without giving a massive shoutout to Gal*Gun: Double Piece, as well as its sequel, Gal*Gun 2. Gal*Gun is a subversive rail shooter that features a boy being harassed by some very persistently horny girls; it’s a flip on the many-boys-falling-over-one-girl trope, while putting the girls in a position of power. This isn’t the series’ first time appearing in a Friday Ten; it was also included in our list of misunderstood “pervy” games.
2. White Day: A Labyrinth Named School
Shall we take a sharp turn away from panties, and towards horror? The game was developed in 2001 but not easily available in the west until PQube stepped up, and for that alone the publisher has our eternal gratitude. While it does feel a tad dated, Matt S. loved it enough to rate it 4.5 in his review of the title. The spiritual beliefs presented in White Day are those predominant amount Koreans, especially Taoism. You can feel the difference between this Eastern horror and something from the West. Less monsters jumping at you, and more creepy stories about very sad things happening to everyone.
3. Root Letter
Root Letter immediately got a place on this list due to its place in my heart but when the list was mentioned to other DDNet staff, it was brought up again. It seems that those who play Root Letter end up heavily affected by the experience, where they are searching for a long-lost pen pal who may have been murdered… or a ghost? The title is heavily rooted (see what I did there?) in the local culture of Matsue in Shimane prefecture, which is represented quite accurately in Root Letter. It’s another high score from us, too, as Matt S. rated it 4.5.
4. Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash
Let’s return to the ladies we love from PQube-published titles with Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (published by other companies in America, PQube has handled it – and other Senran Kagura titles – in Europe and Australia/ New Zealand). Featuring the usual busty cast of Senran Kagura, Peach Beach Splash puts them into water fights instead. Enough said. Well, enough said by me — you can check out Pierre-Yves L.’s 4-star review here!
5. Guilty Gear Xrd REV2
Another example of where PQube stepped in to handle the European release, and one of the publisher’s shining gold stars, without question, is the Guilty Gear series. This most recent entry, Guilty Gear Xrd REV2, is so good that our Matt C. rated it five of those same shining stars (you can read his review here). An update to Guilty Gears Xrd Revelator, REV2 does a wonderful thing by adding a handful of new characters and levels, and very little else; as such, it is available both as an add-on for Revelator and a standalone title. According to Matt C., as written in the aforementioned review, the title is a “deep, complex, stylish” fighter that is easy to pick up for both longtime fans and those new to the series.
Steins;Gate is perhaps one of the most well-known visual novels, that has spawned into many other titles, manga, and anime. Originally released in 2009 for the Xbox 360 of all consoles, it’s since been ported to PC, PSP, iOS, Android, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. It’s actually a sequel to Chaos;Head but in all honesty, we prefer it (not that Chaos;Head, also handled by PQube, is that bad itself!). In the game, a pair of friends are heading to a conference when they find a girl laying in a pool of her blood. From there, protagonist Rintaro is thrust into a world of disappearing people and time travel, courtesy of SERN (yes, the fictionalised version of a certain real-world science organistaion). He starts sending D-mails (short for, get this —DeLorean Mail!) but that causes problems among the timelines.
7. Shantae: Half Genius Hero Ultimate Edition
Everyone’s favourite video game genie is back in one brilliant packaging of the game with Shantae: Half Genius Hero Ultimate Edition for the Nintendo Switch, which is why this is the only time I’m mentioning a specific version of the game in this entire list. The DDNet review, courtesy of Matt S., concludes by giving it five stars, a slight increase from the original release two years prior. The 2D platform is set in the Middle East and promises, according to Matt’s review, superb level design. The Ultimate Edition is, according to him, “as good as platformers get on the Nintendo Switch.”
8. Punch Line
Punch Line is another PQube-published title with overt sexuality driving the narrative by providing a parody of the upskirt fetish, especially prominent in anime. But you’re not seeking panties; rather, you’re trying to avoid them, as you’re playing as a boy who will pass out and cause a meteor to hit earth every time he sees panties. Too bad he only has female neighbours (minus the one ghostly kitty cat), and none of them can’t see him… Seriously, Punch Line is an amazing concept. Just play it.
Rabi-Ribi is like Metroidvania plus bunny girls. Bunny. Girls. I bet you’re already to scrambling to play it, but just in case you’re not sold, you’ll want to check out Clark’s review here. Vast, connected environments play host to protagonist Erina. Mysteries loom overhead during her adventure. Oh, and bullets will fly, so take those bunny ears into account when ducking! (I kid.) In his review, Clark notes influences such as Touhou, Is the Order a Rabbit?, and Nekopara, so if any of those have caught your interest, Rabi-Ribi could be for you!
10. Cat Quest
I saved the best for last, because cats are awesome and Cat Quest is pretty darned awesome too. Ginny W. gave it 4.5 stars, and I’m inclined to agree with that rating. The story follows a cat trying to save their sister, and along the way it discovers its a rare cat breed that can defeat dragons. Downright cool! The gameplay fits like an action-RPG glove, with a good amount of adorable graphics to top it off. I may have known that cats questing would be genius, but did you?
– Lindsay M.