10 Upcoming Anime-Like Games That Deserve Keeping An Eye On
So many games, so little time.
Despite primarily being an anime convention, Anime Expo is a celebration of video games as well. This year was no exception, as studios crowded into the convention's Exhibitor Halls to show off their upcoming games. The following gallery lists out our favorites of the games that were playable (or had gameplay to show).
If any of these games catch your interest, you don't have to wait all that long to play them. Most of the games listed in this gallery are scheduled to release before the end of 2019, with one currently aiming for a 2020 launch. We did our best to cover a variety of genres, ranging from the sprite-based beat-'em-up River City Girls to the arena fighting game Kill la Kill: IF. Though some of these games are based on anime, most simply use anime-like graphics and characters designs.
River City Girls
Developed by Shantae's WayForward and overseen by Dragon Ball FighterZ's Arc System Works, the newest entry in the River City franchise reinvigorates the old school beat-'em-up franchise with some fresh blood. River City Girls stars Kyoko and Misako, the girlfriends of River City main characters Kunio and Riki. After their boyfriends are kidnapped, Kyoko and Misako embark on a quest through the six districts of the city to save them.
Kunio and Riki may be tough, but their girlfriends are absolutely vicious, bludgeoning anyone who gets in their way with an assortment of weapons, throws, counters, and special attacks. River City Girls features 16-bit-style graphics and features a late 80's-inspired synthpop soundtrack. And just like the old River City games, River City Girls is playable both solo and co-op.
River City Girls will release for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on September 5.
Granblue Fantasy Versus
Granblue Fantasy is finally coming to the west, but as a fighting game called Granblue Fantasy Versus instead of a mobile RPG. Like River City Girls, Versus is developed by Arc System Works.
Versus uses a fairly similar combo system to those Arc System Works other 2D fighting games--though Cygames is making Versus far more accessible for fighting game newcomers to learn. There is, however, just enough complexity with how each fighter's special skills work to keep veterans invested. Plus, the best parts of Granblue Fantasy are present in Versus, fleshing out the fighting game with interesting characters, epic attacks, and a phenomenal soundtrack.
Granblue Fantasy Versus is scheduled to release in 2019.
Kill La Kill: IF
It was a good Anime Expo for Arc System Works, as the developer also had Kill la Kill: IF on display for fans to play. The upcoming arena fighting game is based on the critically acclaimed anime, Kill la Kill, telling the story of the series from the perspective of Satsuki Kiryuin.
Both the original Japanese cast and English dub cast have returned to voice their respective characters, and the game features accessible controls so that fighting game newcomers can join in on the fun. Most of the characters seem to control fairly well, but just being able to get some new Kill la Kill content at all--there's been pretty much nothing since 2014--is well worth it.
Kill la Kill: IF is scheduled to release for PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on July 26.
In Indivisible, you play as Anja, a teenage woman whose village is destroyed. Swearing vengeance, Anja journeys into the world in search of those responsible for the destruction of her home, and her travels lead to her encountering heroes in other lands. Anja possesses a unique ability to absorb other individuals into herself, summoning them when she needs them most. As you meet more heroes, Anja will be able to summon them to aid her in combat or utilize their unique abilities to navigate to previously unreachable areas.
Indivisible is scheduled to launch in 2019, releasing for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
AI: The Somnium Files
A mystery-driven adventure game, AI: The Somnium Files deals with a lot of different themes. The "AI" in the title is actually the Japanese word "ai" which is pronounced like eye or I and means love. So the game is about an artificial intelligence yes, but it's also about the hidden meaning behind the human eye, knowing oneself, and exploring the different definitions of love.
The game puts you in the shoes of a detective armed with a cybernetic eye that contains an artificial intelligence. You're tasked with hunting down the menace that is scooping out civilians' eyeballs, and you possess a special machine that allows you to enter the private memories and dreams of witnesses and suspects in order to discover the truth. The game is entirely choice-driven, and is cleverly designed in a way where all of the distinct endings are canon in their own way.
AI: The Somnium Files is coming PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on September 17.
Tales Of Crestoria
Ahead of Tales of Arise, the long-running Tales RPG series continues this year in Tales of Crestoria. The theme of this Tales game is sin and crime, featuring a roster of characters who are all considered the villains of their world.
In Tales of Crestoria, you play as Kanata, who lives in a world where everyone must wear a vision orb. Via vision orbs, citizens are judged by their peers with final judgment for a crime decided by popular vote. When Kanata commits a crime to save Misella, a girl he loves, and she, in turn, commits one to save him, they are each issued the harsh label of transgressor. They escape punishment and then run into the man known as the world's most infamous transgressor, who advises them that they can either own their sin or let it own them. Through sin, the two discover a power greater than they've ever known, one that could change the world.
Tales of Crestoria is scheduled to come to mobile devices in 2019.
Dusk Diver has been collecting positive reviews on Steam while it's been in early access, and now the anime-style beat-'em-up action game is set to release in v1.0. The game doesn't do anything unique, but its willingness to embrace its ludicrous premise and have fun with its characters allows for some enjoyable moments.
Dusk Diver sees high school girl Yumo team up with superpowered Guardians to take on the Phantoms attempting to invade the human world. Watching Yumo embrace the power of her friends to pull off devastating combos on the hordes that get in her way is silly fun. I'm not sure the story will hold, but I'm pretty sure the combat will.
Scheduled to come out of early access and officially release in 2019, Dusk Diver is coming to PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Cat Quest II: The Lupus Empire
I'll readily admit that this game is largely in this gallery because of its creative use of cat puns. I had the most stupid grin on my face the entire time I was playing the Anime Expo demo. That said, the game is more than its jokes and features some fun co-op focused combat and the cutest story about war I've ever seen.
The war from the first game has continued into this one as the Lupus Empire continues to advance upon the Cats of Felingard. In the midst of this conflict, a cat and dog from each side of the war find themselves brought together to complete a quest that will require the two of them. Cats Quest II: The Lupus Empire is an action adventure RPG where you travel from one location to the next, unlocking new weapons and magical abilities to use in combat.
Cats Quest II: The Lupus Empire is scheduled to launch for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile in 2019.
When Rei and her younger sister Mirai end up in Purgatory through bizarre circumstances, a series of accidents causes Rei to kill her sibling for real. After being racked with guilt, Rei is approached by some demons who offer her a deal: be their Executor of Purgatory and they'll bring Mirai back to life. Rei readily accepts, going out to hunt down and kill other souls that have accidentally wound up in Purgatory. Though she does make allies, Rei greatest power comes from her tears and she gains strength while crying.
An action game, you'll slash your way to victory as Rei, summoning allies and unleashing powerful magic abilities to take on greater threats. From what I've heard, Crystar has a great soundtrack. More than anything, I'm curious to see if the game can handle the act of grieving in a believable way, seeing as there are mechanics in place for Rei to cry and pray for the lives she's taken or friends she's lost.
Crystar releases August 27 for PS4 and PC.
Most visual novel game fans only know of one of the titles in the Science Adventure series, Steins;Gate. Both Chaos;Head and Robotics;Notes are pretty good too, though, and the latter is finally getting an English version, called Robotics;Notes Elite, next year.
Like the other Science Adventure games, Robotics;Notes has multiple protagonists and a branching storyline determined by player choice. In Robotics;Notes, a group of students try and figure out if it's actually possible to build a giant fighting robot that's like the ones seen in anime and manga. Their actions eventually lead them to encounter characters from Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head.
Robotics;Notes has already been released in Japan on PS4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, and PS3. A worldwide release for Robotics;Notes Elite is scheduled for 2020 on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.