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Try the demo for Mario and anime-inspired RPG Blue Omen Operation

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Blue Omen Operation is a self-described "action-command RPG" about two superpowered eccentrics chasing a space sarcophagus. It's currently on Kickstarter (opens in new tab), and with six days left in its campaign has already more than tripled developer BananaSoft's $15,000 goal. It also has a free demo on Itch.io (opens in new tab)

You play as Jiro, a supernaturally strong gearhead harboring an otherworldly parasite, and explore with your partner Yagiko, a distinctly bestial wizard-to-be. Their designs speak to Blue Omen's unique aesthetic, owed to artist and creator "Inker," who cites the works of manga and anime artist Akira Toriyama (opens in new tab) as a major influence. You can view some of his other work on Tumblr (opens in new tab)(warning: some images NSFW). 

Blue Omen's twitch-based combat is slightly more familiar, although less so on PC. It was primarily inspired by Mario RPGs like Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the Kickstarter page says, as well as Warioware. You can see this DNA in its almost rhythmic turn-based combat, which has you use follow-up, quick-time-esque commands to strengthen your attacks, or parry enemy attacks. 

The default controls and resolution are a little wonky, but the demo is perfectly playable. Combat is fast and responsive, and the inventory and skill systems are intriguing. The minimalist art is growing on me too, especially in motion. 

Judging from its Kickstarter delivery dates, Blue Omen Operation will officially release in mid-2019. 

Austin Wood
Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.