Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for October 2012

We said last month that the fall release schedule was starting to get hectic, but we didn’t realize just how crazy things were going to get come October. You know we’re hard-pressed to whittle our picks down to a mere five games when titles like Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Okami HD are but a few of the exciting releases during the month that didn’t make the cut! (we’re sorry, Layton and Luke!)

Surprisingly, this month is handheld-centric, with a whopping three PS Vita games and two Nintendo 3DS titles. And with everything from a retro-styled brawler to a visual adventure game to –– dare we say it –– a fashion game, this month is the perfect example of the huge range of quality niche titles lurking just beneath those AAA titles that steal all the limelight.

Code of Princess | Agatsuma Entertainment, Bones | October 9th

 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for October 2012There’s a reason why Atlus’ Code of Princess is most often compared to the Sega Saturn classic Guardian Heroes, and it’s largely due to the fact that not only does the game play very similarly, but members of the Guardian Heroes development team also worked on the upcoming 3DS title. Featuring luscious character designs by renowned artist Kinu Nishimura, Code of Princess is a 2D brawler with a whopping 50+ playable characters, 100 different quests, and 4-player online co-op and versus multiplayer modes. We can’t say the 3DS is brimming with must-have 2D action titles, so Code of Princess should be a welcome addition to many a 3DS-owner’s library.

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward | Chunsoft | October 23rd

 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for October 2012What a coincidence –– this month sees the release of not one, but two titles featuring the excellent artwork of Kinu Nishimura! Virtue’s Last Reward is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed visual adventure/puzzle title 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (which was recently rebranded to Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors). Though 999 was overlooked by many, its nail-bitingly intense story and intriguing puzzles made it a favorite for the few who did seek it out on the Nintendo DS. Virtue’s Last Reward is a follow-up that finds protagonist Sigma trapped in an elevator with a mysterious white-haired girl. Much like 999, the ultimate goal is to escape the bizarre situation the characters find themselves in, but getting out alive won’t be easy…

Dokuro | Game Arts | October 16th

dokuro 300x206 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for October 2012Dokuro is a skeleton with a problem. See, he’s fallen in love with a damsel in distress who just so happens to have been kidnapped by his master, the Dark Lord! So what’s a lovelorn skeleton to do? Dokuro decides to change his fate and rescue the princess, defying his master’s wishes and embarking on a journey through his castle in order to reach the safety that lies beyond its doors. Gameplay consists of puzzle-platforming sequences that take place on a 2D plane –– the princess has a tendency to walk forward until she reaches an obstacle she can’t pass, which means it’s up to Dokuro to clear a safe path for her. Dokuro features 150 mind-boggling puzzles and a handful of nifty chalk abilities that utilize the PS Vita’s touch capabilities, making it a perfect fit for the handheld.

Style Savvy: Trendsetters | syn Sophia | October 22nd

 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for October 2012Before you hit the back button in disgust, thinking “VGW’s gone off their rocker,” take a moment to hear us out. There’s no denying that you could fill a landfill with shovelware found on Nintendo systems whose names likely sound a lot like Style Savvy, but anyone with the slightest interest in fashion should not pass this one up. The original Style Savvy for the DS was a surprisingly deep game that featured a wealth of clothes (a fashionista’s dream!) and engaging gameplay systems that found players working their way up from a lowly clothing store clerk to renowned fashion stylist. Style Savvy: Trendsetters swaps out the old character designs for more realistic models in an attempt to appeal to an older audience, and a huge range of new features, including StreetPass functionality and improved options for dressing men, will keep budding fashion gods and goddesses busy for many, many hours.

Ragnarok Odyssey | GungHo Online Entertainment | October 30th

 Best of Niche Gaming: Top Picks for October 2012PS Vita owners have been sorely lacking in a new, quality RPG to tide them over until Persona 4 Golden‘s release next month. Ragnarok Odyssey may not be the traditional turn-based fare hardcore JRPG fans crave, but its fast-paced action gameplay, colorful areas, and plethora of customization options will satisfy the cravings of both RPG fanatics and more action-oriented Monster Hunter aficionados. What’s more, Ragnarok Odyssey is a game that practically begs to be played with three friends, and it just so happens to have solid online multiplayer functionality for that very purpose. It may be dangerously close to Persona 4 Golden‘s upcoming launch, but we’ll wager that you’ll be so enthralled with Ragnarok Odyssey that you won’t mind putting off going back to the world of Persona just a little bit longer.

 

What niche games releasing in October are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

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