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Monsters, mushrooms, meow meows and Puzzle & Dragons hits the arcade

Weekly digest from Tokyo

Monsters, mushrooms, meow meows and Puzzle & Dragons hits the arcade

As well as being one of the largest mobile game markets by revenue, Japan is currently also one of the most dynamic.

It's a good opportunity, then, for PocketGamer.biz to hook up with Indie Navi, a site which is dedicated to the coverage of Japanese mobile and indie development.

Set up by two enthusiastic and experienced translators, you can find out more about the services they offer here, check out their news here, or email info (at] indienavi.com.

Otherwise, let's get on with the show - the five most interesting stories from the Japanese mobile games industry.


Click here to view the list »
  • 5 An unusual partnership for GungHo

    Jounetsu Tairiku is a popular documentary program on the TBS channel in Japan which follows the day-to-day lives of successful celebrities, creators, and inventors. Given how successful GungHo has been of late, it's no surprise Kazuki Morishita, GungHo's president and chief developer, would be featured on the show.

    What is surprising is the approach the innovative game creator has decided to take: rather than simply allowing the production crew to follow him through his day, Morishita is involving the TBS crew in the creation of a new GungHo title.

    Morishita writes that the title will be for smartphones and tablets, and will incorporate elements of the Jounetsu Tairiku's outlook and presentation. The TBS crew will stay on until the title is complete, giving viewers a unique and in-depth look into the world of games development.


  • 4 Meow Meow Star Acres downloaded over 1 million times

    Colopl continues to gain clout with the ongoing success of one of its latest smartphone titles. In only 40 days of its release, Meow Meow Star Acres has surpassed 1 million downloads in Japan.

    Meow Meow Star Acres takes the addictive farming sim formula and simplifies things with touch controls. Players sell crops, eggs, and other goods to improve their farms and to spruce up Star Acres as they see fit. The formula seems to be working - as of 22 April, the title enjoyed a 4.4 average rating on Google Play and a 4.5 on the App Store.

    Meow Meow Star Acres is available in English for Android and iOS through Colopl's Kuma the Bear brand.


  • 3 Mixi releases improved outlook thanks to Monster Strike

    In a report released on 25 April, Mixi offered an improved outlook for its 2014 financial year.

    Mixi raised its estimated sales total by 600 million yen to 12.1 billion yen ($121 million), and its estimated operating profit by 260 million yen to 460 million yen ($4.6 million).

    The improved financial outlook is being attributed to the runaway success of Mixi's smartphone title Monster Strike. A look at the quarter-on-quarter sales and net profit comparison in Mixi's press release bears this out, showing the company switching from operating losses in Q1 - Q3 to an operating profit of $10 million in Q4, the quarter in which Monster Strike began to take off.

    Although the improved outlook isn't enough to bring the company into the black, it has reduced the expected loss total from 350 million yen to 120 million ($1.2 million).


  • 2 Neo Mushroom Garden hits 500,000 downloads

    Though barely known outside of its homeland, the Mushroom Garden series continues to be a fan favorite in Japan. In only ten days from its release, the latest title has been downloaded over 500,000 times in Japan.

    Like its predecessors, Neo Mushroom Garden is genuinely free-to-play. The series' developer, Bee Works, makes most of its money through physical goods. This time around, Bee Works has teamed up with Bandai to release "hero" versions of the adorable fungi in capsule machines around Japan.

    Neo Mushroom Garden is available for Android and iOS in English, complete with the latest "mushroom heroes" update.


  • 1 Puzzle & Dragons Battle Tournament released

    Puzzle & Dragons Battle Tournament, the arcade collaboration between Square Enix and GungHo, was officially released at select locations throughout Japan on 24 April.

    To build excitement, Square Enix released a new video showcasing battles with familiar P&D monsters. The video also gives a good indication of how the action-oriented, multi-player battles unfold.

    For its part, GungHo announced a limited-time Battle Tournament-themed dungeon in the classic smartphone version of the title, and a limited-time gacha.

    Between the two, players will be able to encounter and earn the powerful Madoromi Dragon and the main characters (designed by Testuya Nomura of Final Fantasy fame) from Battle Tournament.


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PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.

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