The 2018 NISA press event took place last Friday, and it brought four new announcements as well as a number of release dates for upcoming games. NISA has used their press events to call attention to games that might otherwise be missed in the past. In 2017, NISA announced the localization of Culdcept Revolt, the first Western Culdcept game since 2006’s Culdcept Saga. 2016 brought the Psycho-Pass visual novel to the West, among other games. This year sees a range from roguelike JRPGs to stylish hacking action. Let’s take a closer look and see what NISA has for the West this year. Note that in the video below, the actual event starts just after eight minutes.

The first major announcement is the release of Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of DuskOriginally released in Japan for the Vita and the PS4, Labyrinth of Refrain is a first-person dungeon crawler developed by Nippon Ichi. In Labyrinth of Refrain, a witch visits a small town grappling with a labyrinth of evil. With the living book, “Tractatus de Monstrum” in hand, you play as said book, and summon “puppets” to fight and clear the labyrinth with. There’s also monster fusing, and a whole host of sidequests to complete.

Curiously, NIS America will not bring Labyrinth of Refrain to the Vita here in the West. Instead, it will release on Steam, PS4, and Switch. No justification for the excision of the Vita release was provided. Preorders are currently available for the Limited Edition only. Although it saw only moderate success in Japan, NISA will bring Labyrinth of Refrain to our shores later this year, in Q4.

The next major announcement was Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded. Set within the massive Touhou Project universe, Genso Wanderer Reloaded is a roguelike RPG that stars many of the same characters. Featuring bullet-hell spells and a colorful cast of shrine maidens, magicians, and more, Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded may not be a bullet-hell Touhou game, but still fits within the expansive canon.

Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded originally released in Japan for the PS4 and Vita late in 2016, with the Switch version coming a year later. The Reloaded release packs in of Genso Wanderer‘s DLC, as well as additional stories and characters. Yet again, NIS America is choosing to release Genso Wanderer Reloaded for Switch and PS4 only. Supplanting the Vita with the Switch is sure to make Vita owners even angrier, but we will have to see if NIS America continues this trend with future releases. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Touhou Gensou Wanderer Reloaded later this year.

The third announcement is stylish brawler Assault Spy. Coming from indie developer WazenAssault Spy looks like a mash-up of Devil May Cry, anime, and tactical corporate espionage. Playing as either the brash CIA agent Amelia or the hapless spy Asaru, you fight to uncover the secrets behind the Negabot megacorporation. NIS America promises the ability to string together ludicrous combos in order to prevent a very hostile takeover by security bots and terrorists. Assault Spy is set to enter Early Access on Steam in May.

The last major announcement is a port of Birthdays: The Beginningnow titled Happy Birthdays. Coming from Nintendo and lauded game developer Yasuhiro Wada, Happy Birthdays places you in control of small, cube-shaped worlds. Looking like a mix of Spore and Minecraft, you can terraform planets and place animals at your discretion. You create your planets using any number of terrain types, as well as evolving animals and plants from single-celled organisms. The Happy Birthdays release promises a new UI, as well as “updated game elements.”

Coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch, Happy Birthdays saw previous releases on the PS4 and Steam. Complaints were levied at the required internet connectivity, as well as the controls and UI. From the press release alone, Toybox and NIS America are clearly aware of these issues. Happy Birthdays is set to be released later this year.

There were also a number of release dates and ports revealed during the livestream:

Clearly, NIS America has a busy year ahead of them. Still, no new Disgaea announcements came as part of the livestream, even as their Japanese counterparts announced the Disgaea HD Remake a couple of weeks ago. With the 15th anniversary of Disgaea coming up this summer, as well as Nippon Ichi promising more Disgaea news to come in the future, there’s still some hope yet for a Disgaea 6 reveal this year. In the meantime, there’s plenty of other games headed to our shores to keep us occupied.

Are you looking forward to any of these announcements? Miffed at the apparent abandonment of Vita owners? Still waiting on Disgaea 6? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Kyle Johnson

Japanese Gaming Specialist

Professional painter. Semi-professional weeb. I've played hundreds of games, but finished very few. I speak Chinese and Minnesotan.