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We've been through it before.  Japan is weird.  Sure they have interesting technology, videogames, cellular phones, car companies, but they also have something like TubGirl.  They also have a strange fascination with creating young female anime characters so sexually charged that you might think they would make a pedophile blush.

Thankfully, there is a game called  Trouble Witches, currently on the PC and coming soon to the XBLA.  The only reason I think the game isn't sexual, even subtly sexual, is that it's all in Japanese: speech, most in-game text, style.  Wait, is that Korean?  I dunno, I'll stick with Japanese for my sake.

There is one character that runs a store that is in a giant floating pumpkin hot air balloon (?) that starts out talking slow, and gets more excited as you purchase things from her.  You can also tap the cursor on her that excite her and her heart level goes up.  Keep doing it, and you piss her off, and she turns into a psycho-looking woman from the innocent-looking girl you first met.

Trouble Witches is a shmup where you control people instead of planes, spaceships, tanks, or various beasts.  Being witches, you can fly.  This much I can figure out by myself about the game.  Why I'm doing it, who I am, what's happening, and why it's so gooey cute is beyond my understanding.  Even more strange, she grows breasts & more hair.


The first level totally kicked my ass, with two boss battles sandwiching some intense bullet heaven action alongside a train trundling along in the background.  The first Boss Battle was against a witch and her familiar (?), while the second battle at the end of the level was with a giant ship with a glowing heart that shoots waves of bullets and every now and then a death beam.


Sounds cool, a ship that shoots tons of bullets and has a heart, right?  Well, that heart is, well, it's a valentine heart.  It's not a pulsing organ out of Lifeforce or Salamander, it's a heart you see floating around Sally's head when she sees Linus in Peanuts cartoons.  At least they didn't follow the cliche of a bloody messy heart, I suppose.

Below: Valentine Boss Ship

It's probably a good thing I don't know what the story is or what the characters are saying, and the fact that I don't know what's going on at all doesn't faze me one bit.  Some games in English piss me off because they tell stories that are often so silly and stupid, I can hear my brain cry.

That being said, the gameplay is tight, and it looks great.  The animations are smooth with absolutely no slowdown. Even with a screen completely filled with bullets, enemies, your super-powered mega-bomb, that little creature that flies around next to you, and a bunch of windows open on the PC at the same time.

If you have a PC and enjoy shmups, it would be a good idea to check this one out if you have the means.  The weirdness will kill you, but the gameplay will have you coming back for more.

Above: This might say "Trouble Witches"

Below:  English & Japanese, living together

Below, Clockwise:

Innocent-Looking Girl, Mad Pumpkin Lady, Angry Boss,

Full Screen, The Witch, No Fekkin' Clue


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