Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for November 2012

As we near the end of the year, game releases are beginning to slow down, which is probably a godsend for the folks still trying to catch up on the smattering of amazing niche titles released last month. Even so, November contains a solid lineup of diverse titles that will be sure to entertain anyone who still has money left to blow before the holidays (and if you do, color us jealous!). While most might be tempted to skip over November’s releases in an attempt to recover from the shock of an empty wallet, we implore you to, at the very least, keep some of these titles on your list for a future purchase, as they are all worthwhile and definitely deserve some attention. From the PS Vita finally getting its must-play RPG to the return of Paper Mario, November is shaping up to be a fine month indeed.

Ragnarok Tactics | GungHo Online Entertainment, Chime, Apollosoft | November 6th

ragtacticsbox 183x300 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for November 2012 Ragnarok Tactics is the second Ragnarok Online spinoff to debut in North America this fall after Ragnarok Odyssey, but that doesn’t mean it’s only enjoyable for fans of the MMO. As the name implies, Ragnarok Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG, featuring battles based on a grid, much like Final Fantasy Tactics. The game features a strong character customization component, and offers five different endings that can be reached by joining one of the game’s three different factions and making certain decisions at critical junctures in the game’s story. Fans of the Disgaea series and other tactical RPGs would do well to check this one out, especially considering it’s one of the last straggling PSP releases.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning |Marvelous AQL| November 6th

harvestmoon3D box 300x266 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for November 2012 The Harvest Moon series isn’t one to be praised for its innovation, but Harvest Moon: A New Beginning may be the most exciting entry in many years. Not only is it the first installment to be developed exclusively for the 3DS, but it offers a new degree of customization, from the player character all the way down to where buildings in the town are positioned and what they look like. In addition, bachelors and bachelorettes can be dated before tying the knot, adding an interesting twist to the romance aspect of the game. With updated graphics and a slew of other new additions such as new animals, crops, and the ability to change hair and clothing styles, Harvest Moon: A New Beginning will be sure to keep fans of virtual farming satisfied for many months come.

Sine Mora |Grasshopper Manufacture, Digital Reality | November 9th

sinemora box 250x300 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for November 2012 If you’ve felt like you’ve heard of Sine Mora somewhere before, fear not, you’re not going senile – the 2.5D shoot-‘em-up was first released on XBLA back in March, but since we didn’t get the chance to mention it then, we thought its Steam debut this month would be the perfect opportunity to give it the acknowledgement it deserves. Sine Mora is marketed as a bullet hell shooter due to its four difficulty levels and traditional arcade shooter gameplay, but it adds an interesting element to the mix by removing traditional health markers and replacing them with a timer for each level that decreases more rapidly as the player is damaged. Reviewers, including one here at VGW, have applauded the game’s gorgeous visuals and excellent gameplay and boss battles, meaning you didn’t get a chance to play it before, the Steam release should definitely be on your radar. We’re still waiting for those PS3 and PS Vita releases, though…

Paper Mario: Sticker Star | Intelligent Systems | November 11th

stickerstar box Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for November 2012 It’s funny to see Mario on a niche gaming list, but though the Paper Mario series holds a special place in many hearts for its mixture of quirky dialogue and RPG systems with the traditional Mario formula, Super Paper Mario‘s move away from much of what made the spinoff series so memorable for fans was gone. But Paper Mario: Sticker Star aims to restore goodwill by returning the RPG elements of the first two entries. As the first Paper Mario for a handheld system, Sticker Star uses stickers as an important part of both the game’s storyline and gameplay, as players need to collect stickers to unlock new abilities and advance in the game. With its unique graphical style and premise, Sticker Star looks to be the return to the golden days of Paper Mario fans have been looking for.

Persona 4 Golden | Atlus | November 20th

p4goldenbox 236x300 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for November 2012 PS Vita owners have been waiting for a must-have RPG since the system launched earlier this year, and Persona 4 Golden is, without a doubt, going to be it. As a revamped version of the hit PlayStation 2 title, Persona 4 Golden has new cutscene animations, social links, Personas, areas, additional voiced dialogue, and of course, trophies, making it the definitive version of Persona 4. Players can even call in help in dungeons via a new online connectivity function, rounding out the updates for the PS Vita re-release nicely. With the release of Persona 4 Golden literally causing a surge in PS Vita sales in its home country of Japan in addition to stellar reviews and consumer feedback, anyone with a PS Vita will need to pick this one up, regardless of whether you’ve played the original or not. And considering the original Persona 4 is king when it comes to JRPGs, fans of the genre are going to be in for a real treat.

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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