The Genii of Bull Moose regrets that they did not review these releases last year. Here they are for the primer of this year. From an addictive RPG game with stunning graphics and a focus on story telling, to Tokyo Nights, they do not dissapoint
Nier: Automata for PS4: An action RPG from Platinum Games (Bayonetta Series) that wasn’t on my radar until it blew up online on Black Friday. Why were customers so hungry for this game about anime robots in weird outfits? Well, turns out, because it’s got amazingly fluid gameplay, and a story about existentialism and humanity that only works on a narrative level because it’s a video game. I’m such a sucker for games that use the concept of gameplay and player interaction as a story-telling device, and Nier:Automata fills that niche. On the surface, it tells the story of androids created by humans to fight evil robots that have taken over the earth in the far future – but the more times you play the less clear it becomes who the good guys and bad guys are. Combined with slick and satisfying action combos and an incredible soundtrack Nier:Automata is the sleeper hit of the year in the world of games.
Tokyo Nights: Female J-Pop Boogie Funk 1981-1988: Culture of Soul is known for putting together some great collections of music you don’t hear in the states very often – and this might be their best one to date. Super funky and synthy. A great background track for your next cyberpunk RPG session
Specter Ops (board game): Technically came out in 2015, but I only discovered it this past year. Specter Ops is a player vs player board game where one player tries to sneak around the board and capture objectives while the others track them down – but the twist is that the “hunters” play face up on the table, and the “agent” marks their moves secretly. Based loosely on the 1983 board game “Scotland Yard” Specter Ops is a cat & mouse chase which combines intuition, trickery, and a little bit of luck. If you’re getting deeper into board games and have already mastered games like Settlers of Catan and Pandemic then Specter Ops is a great addition to your collection.
Tusmørke – Bydyra LP or CD (I will know how to pronounce this by Monday – CB)
This is available on CD but you really want the record, preferably the transparent green one. One of the members of Norwegian progressive rock/folk band Tusmørke works in a public after school program in Oslo. He and his brother wrote two musicals for the school to perform. Tusmørke and the children from the school perform all the songs here. The vinyl comes with two books – one has the full text of both musicals (with stage directons) in both Norwegian and English. The other book has the sheet music. It’s hard to believe you get all this for $23.
Forêt Endormie - Étire dans le ciel vide – LP (only)
Jordan Guerette, best known as the guitar player from the black metal band Falls of Rauros, headed in a completely different direction for this side project. It’s best described as chamber music – the core instrumentation is violin, cello, piano, marimba, and quiet electric guitar. Jordan sometimes sings in French. Jordan obviously is a big fan of French composers like Eric Satie and Olivier Messaien.