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Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for December 2012

As we near the end of the year holidays, things have undoubtedly slowed down in the game industry, but that doesn’t mean December doesn’t have some noteworthy niche game releases. From a must-have rhythm game for the PS Vita to an old-school tabletop-style RPG for the 3DS, there’s a truly interesting mix of titles this month if you’re willing shell out that hard-earned dough or put an extra title or two on those last-minute wishlists. Even if you can’t afford them now, we certainly suggest you keep some of these titles in mind for a future purchase, as they definitely shouldn’t go unnoticed!

GungHo PSone imports | December 4th

gungho 300x274 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for December 2012GungHo Online Entertainment America has done North Americans the honor of releasing not one, but six PSone Classics import titles to the PSN. The company has taken on a new initiative to bring over Japanese import titles much in the same way MonkeyPaw Games has done in the past, and with six intriguing titles to choose from, we simply can’t pick just one! Each title is delightfully obscure and priced at only $5.99, making them quite the bargain. The first slew of games made available this month contains shoot-‘em-up Zanac X ZanacKendo Rage sequel Makeruna Makendo 2, mech battling game Vehicle Cavalier, a delightfully strange board game called Art Camion Sugorokudenpuzzle title Lup★Salad, and something called Finger★Flashing that we’d much rather leave up to your imagination.

DJMax Technika Tune | Pentavision | December 4th

technikatune 300x125 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for December 2012Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F has taken Japan by storm, proving how capable the PS Vita is for rhythm titles, but aside from the rhythm strategy title Orgarhythm, North America has seen little in the way of rhythm games for the handheld. The first purely rhythm game to hit North American shores, however, is DJMax Technika Tune, a port of an arcade favorite that has players tapping icons on a screen to the beat of the music. With over 60 songs that each come with high-quality music videos that utilize the PS Vita’s beautiful OELD screen, DJMax Texhnika Tune will appeal to both fans of the arcade version and rhythm game affictionadoes looking for something for the often-neglected PS Vita.

Chulip (PSone Classics) |Punchline | December 4th

chulip Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for December 2012Chulip is one of those wonderfully obscure PS2 imports that came relatively late in the system’s life as an exclusive to GameStop, meaning many did not get the chance to play this quirky title. its December PSN release, however, makes the game more accessible than ever before, meaning now’s the time to experience this one-of-kind kissing simulator. That’s right: in order for you to muster up the courage to kiss the girl of your dreams, Chulip has players running errands around town and kissing various villagers. Just be careful, or the protagonist might just die of heartbreak! It’s worth noting that Chulip does have some gameplay flaws that have not been addressed in this as-is PSN release, but it still might be worth a look for those who appreciate some of the stranger things to come out of Japan.

Uncharted: Fight for Fortune | SCEA Bend Studio | December 4th

uncharfight 300x175 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for December 2012When Uncharted: Fight for Fortune was announced just a few short weeks ago, jaws dropped across the industry. An Uncharted card game was probably the last thing fans would’ve thought to ask for, but the team behind Uncharted: Golden Abyss went ahead and developed it anyway, and we’re surprised to say that it doesn’t look bad at all. Players create a “team” of Faction cards featuring famous and lesser-known characters from the Uncharted franchise and battle opponents cards. Cards can even be equipped with Resource and Fortune cards to boost their stats and add special abilities, and the game features a unique connectivity feature with Uncharted: Golden Abyss that allows players to transfer over artifacts found in the game for use in Fight for Fortune. This PSN-only release is shaping up to be fun for both Uncharted fans and card game players alike.

Crimson Shroud | Level-5 | December 13th

crimsonshroud 300x187 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for December 2012Crimson Shroud is the third game in the trio of Guild-01 titles to come to the North American 3DS eShop. The RPG, by Tactics Ogre creator Yasumi Matsuno, seeks to emulate the experience of playing a tabletop RPG, complete with dice rolls and a text-based story. Since Crimson Shroud also comes with both Japanese and English text options, it’s the perfect game for those looking to practice their Japanese but not ready to commit to importing a 100% Japanese-only title. And at just 5-6 hours for a single playthough, it may just be the perfect bite-sized story-driven RPG for niche game-loving 3DS owners.

About Anne Lee

Anne will tell you whether or not you’re missing out when it comes to those pesky Japan-only releases. When she isn’t researching gender and sexuality in Japanese popular culture, she’s playing the quirkiest games she can get her hands on. Region locking is the bane of her existence.

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