So I dunno if anyone's heard of this game yet or not, but Marvelous Entertainment's got a new PSP game in the works called "Yuusha 30" (Hero 30). It got a collective "huh?" from the internet when it was originally announced and billed as a "30-second RPG", with a lot of people fearing it would be a bad WarioWare clone of some sort... but I was intrigued.
And it seems I was right to be intrigued. There's a demo of the game on PSN right now, and hot damn does it ever rock. (:
I'm not even really sure how to adequately describe this game. Suffice it to say, it's really freaking unique, and in a VERY good way. It's more a puzzle game than an RPG, yet it's also kind of a hybrid of both... kinda... and it's got some of the most adrenaline-pumping gameplay I think I've ever experienced.
Basic premise is... there's an evil demon living in a castle, and he's chanting a spell that's going to end the world. And he's only 30 seconds away from completing it. You're a lone level 1 RPG hero who's just arrived by boat, and the Goddess of Time tells you about this, and asks you to stop him. The timer then starts, and you literally have 30 seconds.
Now, during this 30 seconds, you can enter castles and towns, which pause the timer (fortunately). You can also pray at statues of the Goddess of Time to turn back the clock and reset your 30-second timer... but it costs money, and every time you do it, it costs a little more the next time, making it so that eventually, you can't possibly make enough money to reset the timer within the 30 seconds you have - meaning you fail your mission.
And of course, before you're able to defeat the evil demon, you need to assemble a party of adventurers... which means doing dumb little quests to convince them you're worthy of joining (which, of course, take time)... and you need to level up, and get some money to buy better weapons and armor, too... and cross a bridge guarded by a mini-boss...
So yeah. The game is all about doing the most you possibly can in the least amount of time. And it pays to cut it close before praying at statues.
Now, here's the part I didn't mention. The whole game is presented in a faux 8-bit style. The characters, environments, enemies, etc. are all made up of ridiculously oversized "pixels", and have a maximum of 2 frames of animation. May sound like a lazy way to avoid creating detailed art, but it's actually really distinctive-looking, charming, and colorful, and fits the frenetic nature of the game perfectly. It actually looks really freaking good, in fact... much better than it has any right to. ;)
And the music, unlike the graphics, is not 8-bit at all... rather, it sounds like SNES- or early PS1-era music, but *really good* SNES- or early PS1-era music. And it's appropriately fast-paced. In other words, it totally rocks. (:
All in all, this game is really invigorating, and just plain FUN. And it's hard as hell, too! The demo comes with two stages, the first of which is just a really simple tutorial that I beat on my first try (BARELY), but the second is really, really intense, and I failed it my first time through. In it, you have two towns (and you have to get some medicine from an old guy in the second, and give it to an old guy in the first), two castles (yours, and the evil king's), swamps that slow you down, a one-room cave with high-level enemies and a treasure chest containing lots of money, and a bridge guarded by a dragon.
Freaking awesome game, and if it comes out in English (which it probably will, since it's a Marvelous title, and Marvelous now has that partnership with XSEED in North America), I highly recommend picking it up. I'm seriously loving it. (:
Basic gameplay video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXxb1b9lKgA
Oh yes, and the demo only shows off ONE of the game's modes. Apparently, if you play as other characters, the gameplay is entirely different - it's an RTS as one character, a shooter as another, an action game as another, and - as seen above - a classic turn-based RPG as the other. I can't wait to play the full version!