A Space for the Unbound

One of this year’s most critically acclaimed games, A Space for the Unboundis an adventure video game set in the late 1990s about two high school students with supernatural powers living in Surabaya. Game director Dimas Novan Delfiano was inspired by seichi junrei, known in English as an “anime pilgrimage,” where fans travel to real-life locations depicted in their favorite series and films. Hailing from Indonesia, he hoped to highlight his personal experience of growing up in that environment and cites the Japanese concept of mono no aware as a feeling he wanted to convey through A Space for the Unbound.

Makoto Shinkai’s collection of works is also said to have been a huge inspiration, and there are strong parallels between Your Name and A Space for the Unbound, such as teenage romance, slice-of-life high school elements and the usage of the supernatural as a plot device. A Space for the Unbound even features a giant doomsday-inducing comet not too dissimilar from Comet Tiamat.

Everdeep Aurora

The recently announced Everdeep Aurora drilled its way into the hearts of wholesome gamers at BitSummit earlier this summer, with its peaceful music and non-combative play. The game is set during an ongoing apocalyptic meteor shower that forces the world’s population to live underground. Players play as Shell, an adorable feline cat who uses a drill to dig into the depths and solve puzzles in search of her mother. 

Its 16-bit aesthetic is reminiscent of classic SNES games like Castlevania, which is said to have been an inspiration for Spain-based developers Nautilus Games. Other classic Japanese video games that influenced Everdeep Aurora include Nintendo’s classic Metroid series and EarthBound

Opus: Prism Peak

Fans of visual novels need to check out the sweet symphonies of the Opus series by Sigono, an indie game studio based in Taiwan. Bearing a beautiful anime art style topped with Japanese and Chinese voice-acting, it’s clear that Opus has taken cues from the way Japanese visual novels are developed and presented, as well as character design and development. “Think about Sephiroth, he’s so iconic. The Final Fantasy franchise really inspired us to build deep, compelling characters. We wanted them to also have stories that people can relate to,” says Sigono founder Scott Chen. 

There are currently three titles within the series, with the fourth, Opus: Prism Peak, announced two months ago. This narrative adventure will see players take on the role of a photographer lost in an ethereal realm, using a camera to find a way home. 


This is probably the first time any of us have heard or read the term ‘pachinko roguelike,’ but that’s exactly how the developers at Red Nexus Games have described Peglin on their Steam page. While unique, it’s certainly also the most apt way to describe a game that will thankfully not bankrupt us like an actual pachinko parlor. 

Play as a Grogu-looking creature to fight dragons so you can take back your stolen gold by collecting special orbs. Peglin is also played in a turn-based RPG format and features powerful orbs, relics and potions that can be leveraged against enemies to achieve victory. Orbs aside, what makes Peglin feel most like pachinko is the addictive game sound that gives you a satisfying rush of endorphins as you watch the pegs pop. It’s clear that the Canadian developers have done their homework. 

Jumplight Odyssey

Space explorers need to check out Jumplight Odyssey by the Australian game studio League of Geeks. This starship simulation puts players in the captain’s seat where you must lead your crew on a perilous adventure across the galaxy all while building, repairing and growing your colony. 

Classic anime fans might have noticed the clear resemblance to the works of Leiji Matsumoto, namely Space Battleship Yamato and Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystemThis doesn’t just end in the design: The way Matsumoto’s work breathes beauty and heart into science fiction, so does Jumplight Odyssey endeavor to with its intergalactic exploration. 


Save the world while going on a date. That’s the premise of Eternights by Studio Sai. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have turned into monsters, you must fight to find a cure and protect your loved ones. There are five love interests to choose from. Pursuing each of them unlocks different story paths as well as skills you can use in battle. 

If you’ve read this far and are wondering why this all sounds so familiar, it’s because Eternights takes bold cues from Sega’s incredible franchise, Persona. This is particularly true when thinking of Persona 5, as both games feature high school-aged main characters tasked with saving the world through supernatural abilities. In terms of game mechanics, both games also share a dating mode, where you get to know love interests, a battle mode when you’re fighting monsters and, of course, the beautiful 2D animated cutscenes. 

More Games and Anime Series to Play and Watch

Love Japanese pop culture? Check out the articles below for more recommendations.