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Here's a demo for Tako no Himitsu, a Game Boy Advance-style JRPG with music from Golden Sun's composer

And a lot of magic octopus pets

A 2D character fighting through a sandy area with ruins and a treasure chest in Game Boy Advance-inspired RPG Tako no Himitsu: Ocean of Secrets
Image credit: Deneos

New indie action JRPG Tako No Himitsu: Ocean of Secrets - customary disclaimer: "JRPG" is a contentious term which some feel fetishises Japan culture, while others define it more neutrally as a specific style of role-playing game - is set in a world shadowed by a long-ago war between Human and Octopus. This in itself would be borderline post-worthy, but it's also heavily inspired by Game Boy Advance RPGs such as Golden Sun, and features music created by Golden Sun composer Motoi Sakuraba alongside Terranigma composer Masanori Hikichi.

I wouldn't want it to get around these parts that I used to play handheld console games, in case my official RPS explosive collar detonates, but I loved Golden Sun. It's a beautiful lightshow, with its plush 2D sprites and spinning, zooming battle camera, and an entertaining though rarely challenging fantasy adventure. The first customer service call I ever made to Gamestation as a wee nipper was to ask if they had Golden Sun in stock, the second after reading about the game in a magazine. "We don't have a release date yet," the cruel voice on the other end of the line informed me, smashing my hopes and dreams. Tako No Himitsu doesn't have a release date yet either, but it does have a demo on Steam, and I'll be giving that a go over lunch, because the trailer looks tremendous.

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Some plot from that Steam page: "Wild animals are disappearing, the mysterious Temple of the Order is on the rise, and shadow voids are suddenly populating the land. Gather six heroes and their Octopus companions and work together to save a world consumed by the secrets of its past." This sounds more involved than Golden Sun. It also has top-down real-time combat that puts me in mind of Alundra or Zelda, rather than Golden Sun's turn-based spell-o-swording. You can switch characters on the fly, and enlist the skills of various magic octopi - "the heroes of the past" - to lacerate foes with elemental fizzibangs, and solve puzzles. Sounds like there's a touch of monster-catching to the proceedings, then.

The demo offers around an hour of mollusc-abetted Game Boy Advancing and look, you can even play it on a mocked-up in-game "Himitsu" handheld if you like to layer up your nostalgia like peanut butter and jelly. It's almost enough to overpower my habitual reservations about writing up Kickstarter games - this one feels like a safer bet than most. Tako No Himitsu is a "spiritual successor" to developer Deneos's 8-bit platforming homage Save Me Mr Tako (Steam page hyah), which was well-received back in 2021, and which appears to chronicle the aforesaid Human-Octopus War. I'm curious to know whether Deneos's evident vast and unholy love of tentacles came before their evident vast and unholy love of retro consoles. I'm thankful that they've found a way to combine the two.

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