See what Yoot Saito (Seaman) and Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy Tactics) bring to two of the compilation's four games.
Published by Level-5, Guild 01 is a four-game collaborative effort between Suda 51, Yoot Saito (of Seaman fame), Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy Tactics), and Yoshiyuki Hirai of the Japanese comedy duo American Zarigani. Each game brings distinct styles and ideas from each of the respective members involved, creating four unique experiences. At the moment, there is no word as to whether or not this game will leave Japan, but having sat down with it for a significant amount of time, I think gamers in the west should be on the lookout for Guild 01.
With each game offering a distinct experience, I felt it appropriate to partition for each specific segment in this set of impressions so you can get a good idea of what the developers had to offer in their respective titles. In this set of impressions, I focused on Aero Porter from Yoot Saito and Crimson Shroud from Yasumi Matsuno.
Aero Porter (Yoot Saito)
Yoot Saito is known for wacky games such as Seaman on the Sega Dreamcast and Odama on the Nintendo GameCube, and is considered a genius by many. Aero Porter, while not as quirky as the two previously mentioned titles, is a unique experience that puts the player in control of sorting through and getting luggage loaded onto an airplane.
As soon as luggage starts rolling in, it gets sent down below to a luggage carousel. The game starts with three carousels, but as you get more experience and money for your airport, you can open up to six. Each carousel corresponds to a plane that is identified by a color, with the bags for each plane being the same color (i.e., red bags go on red planes). To direct the bags to the correct carousel, you use the L button to send the bags below and the R buttons to bring them to a higher level. This doesn’t happen instantaneously, however, as you have to direct the bags when they reach a certain point on the carousel. As soon as the bags are on the correct carousel, you use the D-pad to select those you have ready and then press A to load the plane. Each plane allots a certain amount of time, usually no more than three minutes, for you to get the baggage stowed.
While the concept behind the game is simple, it can be quite challenging, especially as you unlock more levels of the carousel. With the bags being mixed up, you have to constantly make sure you don’t send the wrong bags to the wrong level. There are also other things you have to worry about. Power, for example, plays a part in your airport, and a gauge on the screen indicates how much you have left in your airport. To cut down on the power used, you can turn off the lights on each carousel level by using the Circle pad. However, this can somewhat inhibit your ability to distinguish the color of bags on each level. When the power gets around a quarter of the way depleted, a battery is sent down the carousel and it is your job to make sure it gets down to the bottom level to be properly loaded. Other special events include a special VIP plane you have to load, and even acts of terrorism you must thwart—from time to time, a bomb is detected and has to be loaded into a special truck before it goes off.
Your time in your airport corresponds to an in-game day, lasting from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., with the in-game clock working at a sped-up pace. At the end of the day, players are shown how much money they brought into the airport. Things like loading a blue suitcase on a red plane cost the airport money, and take away from how much money you earn for that day.
Aero Porter is a unique experience I have never seen anywhere else. While the visuals seem like something out of a DS game (not to mention the fact the game doesn’t support 3D at all), the concept is still addictive and engaging. Aero Porter isn’t an overly deep game, but the unique concept should keep gamers hooked for a while.
Crimson Shroud (Yasumi Matsuno)
Crimson Shroud is a bit of an oddball addition to the Guild 01 package. While I’ve spent a little less than an hour with the game, I’ve found it extremely slow, and difficult to get through. Yasumi Matsuno has said Crimson Shroud is supposed to have a plot similar to that of a short story, and given his pedigree of working on games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII, I don’t doubt it in the slightest.
Crimson Shroud takes place in a world where magic was discovered 1,000 years back and has become commonplace, completely changing people’s lifestyles. People need a magic charm to utilize magic, though they are typically limited to one kind of magic. The mythical Crimson Shroud, however, is said to allow the user to make use of all magic.
The game itself is a throwback to simple RPG elements, and focuses on three main mechanics: exploration, combat, and story. It also features an old-school system based on dice rolls, which literally take place on the screen. The characters and enemies in the game are stationary game pieces, giving Crimson Shroud a board game kind of feel. Extremely text heavy, the game has quite a bit of content to get through to progress its story.
While the art style looks great, the character models don’t look nearly as polished. Textures are also murky and take away somewhat from the visual style. In contrast, the map and menus found on the touch screen have extremely sharp 2D artwork. The models aren’t terrible, but compared to Kaihō Shōjo, I wonder why the character models and background couldn’t have been cleaned up a bit more. Despite these misgivings, the stereoscopic 3D looks great.
Concept art for the game
Crimson Shroud is the kind of game that should appeal to a small audience. From what I have played of the game, Yasumi Matsuno accomplishes what he intended to do in making a short story with tabletop game elements. Though I enjoy Dungeons & Dragons kind of games, playing a similar kind of game digitally and by myself can be a bit boring.
You can look forward to impressions of the other two games in Guild 01, Kaihō Shōjo and and Rental Bukiya de Omasse, next week.