Fight for the future

Polite Plea: After almost seven years and 7,000 articles, the number of stories is slowing down. Time and developers move on, but I'll always be posting, as the Vita becomes the new Dreamcast.
However, I do need a new Vita as my launch day model is starting to show its age. Please consider clicking an ad to help my new Vita fund!
Once reached, hopefully in time for Christmas, I will remove all adverts, leaving this island of Vita life an ad-free oasis!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed to tear up the Vita

Finally, a game announced that is actually coming out on the Vita. Well done Sega, as the Vita gets its first taste of Sonic the Hedgehog in his Mario clone guise. The game is being developed by those racing masters on the PSP and Vita, Sumo Digital.



It will offer new tracks, presumably new characters, multiplayer and lots more. Further details and images to follow...




More pics on the Sega blog

Three cool Vita games to watch for: Putty Squad, MadBlocker and ChronoVolt

As the week drags on for Mortal Kombat's release and then we wait the rest of the month for Resistance, and then another month for Gravity Daze, spend some time contemplating these smaller releases that could add to the Vita's attractive budget PSN line-up (MotorStorm RC, Mutant Blobs, Pure Chess and so on).



First up is Putty Squad from System 3, a dash of classic 16-bit gaming with the developer recently having added location-based services, trophy support, touch screen modes and more.


Then there's MadBlocker Adventure from Open Emotion. Mixing tile games with RPGs has given the developers room to create something rather different. In the game, the Fluzzles have been sent out into the world by the mysterious stranger to defend against the evil Mokes, who have taken over the majority of the world. Each region of their world is guarded by a Moke Lord, each with their own distinct powers and abilities.  It's up to the Fluzzles, using new found powers and their new pet creatures to take on the Mokes and bring peace back to the land.



Finally, we have ChronoVolt from Playerthree, given that Sony never bothered to ask Archer MacClean for a sequel to Mercury we'll have to settle for this,  a fiendish 3D puzzle-platform marble game in which players guide their Chrono Sphere through the twists, turns and traps and hazards of Escher-like arenas.


Update: The publisher for Chronovolt expects the game to release in June. So, while others take their time, hopefully these titles will get out soon to help fill in the gaps and provide players with a dash of gaming verve to help the Vita stand apart.

BONUS GAME:


After all the excitement over Xbox's Trials Evolution, its worth dropping a link for Urban Trials on the Vita from Polish developer Tate Interactive. If it generates about a quarter of the excitement that the big-screen game got, it should do very well indeed. However, there seems to have been no news from the company for almost over six months, starting to wonder if this will happen.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Starlight Inception's new video Q&A

A new post on Starlight Inception's Kickstarter page offers a video Q&A on the game's progress and aims. It discusses the types of missions, using the Vita to control the ships and other elements of the game. The team is currently building fighters, bombers, capital ships and other vessels to populate the starry skies.



Not much else to say on this, other than the game still needs your support. It still needs a little over $90,000 in just over a week to get the game made, and your contribution will entitle you to a free copy. Some of the top tier contributions have some cool exclusives, so please help out if you can.

Surge Concerto gets a stylish screen protector too

Not sure if this is official or a final version yet, but like Hatsune Miku and a few other PS Vita titles, Gust's Surge Concerto will get a slick screen protector to defend your touchscreen and add a little style to the gaming experience.


There are also the matching screen backgrounds you can grab from the official site right now. Hope these neat gimmicks make it across to western versions (although guess you can't fold them in the dinky cases).


The latest update on the game's progress in Japan from Famitsu unveils the rather slinky shopkeeper from the grocers. She's a bit of a free spirit and a mischief maker, although I'd do anything to liven my day if I had to stand behind the counter all day in those shoes. Don't developers ever think of the practical side?

U.S. Gamers, get a PS Vita, Unit 13 and 4GB memory for $250

Target is having a gaming sale over the next week with a PS Vita, a copy of Zipper's Unit 13 and a 4GB Sony memory card for $249.99 (or $299.99 for the 3G model). You can also find $10 off a host of Vita games. The site is currently listing online Vita bundles as out of stock, with the base unit retailing for $249.99 on its own, so you're getting the game and the card for free effectively, even if you have to mooch down to a store.

You can find the offer in the web advert, towards the back of the Target weekly catalog, found here. In lieu of an official price cut, I guess this is all potential buyers can hope for the in way of deals until it hits (presumably before the holiday sales).

I don't know if that's an awesome deal (depends on the buyer I guess) but anything that shifts some Vita systems has to be good news.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Oh, what can you do with a PS Vita PlayStation Suite SDK?

Early in the morning?

I'm not sure how much is tweaked from the provided demos that come with the developer beta package, and how much is eager developers hard work.

Well, there's this...



And this...



And this...



Given that it is very early days, the prospect of a store full of great fun, original, diverting, classic and other games is looking rather good.

An Android-powered PSP - the Axis of Evil strikes

With offices in China and Iran, the company behind this device are clearly the sort of people the CIA should be nuking from orbit. Not only has this Axis of Gaming Evil blatantly ripped off the PSP (if the JXD S5510 actually exists) almost completely, down to the shapes on the buttons (and the company has form, with a number of rip-offs).


The device (covered in Wired) is basically an under-powered Xperia Play in a PSP-alike casing, capable of playing Android games and loads of emulators, which is kinda good, and the button layout makes it the perfect classic-gaming platform.

However, whatever dodgy factory this came out of is likely to explode mysteriously any time soon and its appearance in any western market would be followed rapidly by sirens, assault rifles and laywers.

Specs include:
 Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
5-inch, 800×480 capacitive touch screen (lower res but the same size as the Vita
HDMI output (one up on the Vita)
Amlogic M3 processor
512 DDR RAM
microSD slot (another one up on the Vita)
Wi-Fi

First look at Madden 13 from EA Sports

Sure, this is from the big-screen versions, but given the great job EA did with FIFA, you'd have to hope the Vita version gets all this gloss too. Expect that scary rubber-faced Phil Simms commentator, he can be first for the trash can.

With Calvin Johnson adorning the cover, this update looks to have had a lot of effort put into it, and while motion-blur isn't the first feature I'd be shouting about, the others look like solid additions to the series.

UPDATE: I read somewhere, but can't find the source (found it - IGN), that the Vita version will run on last year's engine with some of this year's tweaks. Hopefully that should be good enough, but the more EA can cram in the better. Also, the Vita and PS3 versions won't share saves, which kind of misses the point of the whole Vita connectivity issues. EA really needs to get on the ball here, as screwing up the first version could irreparably damage its future chances.

Skeletal hero Dokuro arriving on PS Vita in Summer

This game looked quirky and peculiar when first teased, but now looks rather pedestrian in the form of a platform puzzler, admittedly with neat art style. It will be a mid-price digital download, and shouldn't be too hard to tweak for a western release.


The skeletal hero must help the princess escape by clearing the way for her. He can turn into a heroic prince when needed, with special moves for both of his guises. Hopefully there's lots more to the game to help it stand out, pretty sure it won't be able to touch Escape Plan.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spike bringing CONCEPTION: Please Have My Babies to western PSPs

Okay, that's obviously the Japanese name for this dungeon crawler (which is released in Japan today), and it will be getting a new one for the western audience. Despite the gynaecological references, the game is all about a high school student who was taken to a parallel universe called Granvania.

UPDATE: You can download the PSP demo (in Japanese, obviously) for Conception from our friends over at PSPDemoCenter.



Granvania was facing a crisis, invaded by Kegare (demonic creatures) who arose from the disorder of the stars. The player will be treated as Marebito or messiah in Granvania. The adventure to save the world and to get back to the usual world begins. There's a whole lot of sub text and plots here with Kegare and Marebito star children (hence the Conception title), various gods and many labyrinthine levels to fight through.


A western release date is TBC, but you'd imagine Spike would want it out pretty quickly while there's still a PSP market left over here.

Amazon selling 32GB Vita memory cards from Friday

Amazon has started taking pre-orders for the PS Vita's larger-sized memory cards, at £59.99 it isn't cheap but a lot better than early price predictions. The card (but they're not cards - how about calling them memory trinkets, or tabs - that seems appropriate) goes on sale tomorrow.


After my initial fears, I've crammed quite a few Vita and PSP games onto my 8GB tab, but with the likes of Mortal Kombat, Gravity Daze and others coming, it might be time for an upgrade.

D3 brings some more Storm Lovin' to PSP

I'm guessing this is a high-fashion, love-sim, lifestyle game, judging by the design 101 motifs at the start and the judicious licking of a cherry. Storm Lover (official site) is from D3 and first came out in 2010.This is an updated version with new scenarios and further shenanigans at St. Louis High School.



Not sure exactly what the new content is yet, but what it does have is a great art style and driving, listenable even, music judging by the trailer. Chance of western release - nil! There's an English review of the original here.

The PS Vita's PSOne emulator opens a bleary eye, goes back to sleep

While not up and running yet, it looks like Sony is quietly testing the often-demanded service. US users can now actually download one PS One title to their Vitas, getting past that annoying "Cannot download using a PS Vita system" message.

However, the game, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, doesn't run yet on normal Vitas - guessing it does on Sony's internal development firmware, when that goes live all those classic games will come flooding back to life with twin sticks and upscaling. the game doesn't appear on the PAL store, so no luck us, yet! A tiny bit more on VG24/7.

Is it too much of a leap to think that today's PSN downtime (starting to wonder if it is ever really up?) is a pre-cursor to activating the feature?

Japan roundup: more free stuff for Vita gamers

Andriasang provides news of some welcome freebies for Vita owners today. A Sony tie-up with telco Docomo will bring a free car for Ridge Racers and some unspecified content for Hot Shots Golf plus something for mad Japanese cat herding game (possibly) Minna to Issho.


Separately, the Vita's Hatsune Miku game will come with one of those natty, arty, screen protectors with the dancing star emblazoned upon it.


This follows Sony similar efforts with Metal Gear and other titles. Do hope these make it west in some form, or a risky journey on eBay it is.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First Starlight Inception concept art ships out

The Kickstarter fund for the first crowd-funded Vita game sits at $51,000 out of $150,000 for Starlight Inception with just under two weeks to go. If you want ships like these zipping about in space combat, then you need to sign up and support it.


Just $15 (£10ish) invested gets you a copy of the game when finished, so what's not to love. The team has a former LucasArts hand in charge, with the soundtrack coming from a World of Warcraft composer, so these guys aren't mucking around.

Nyko's PS Vita Dock, essential for stylish desktops everywhere

I was wondering earlier why there wasn't an official PS Vita speaker unit or stand out yet in the west. And all of a sudden, there's no need as Nyko unleashes this stylish little puppy. The stand is a charging dock featuring stereo speakers that keep your Vita ready for action while offering dynamic sound for music and movies. 





Speaker Stand for PS Vita has an MSRP of $29.99 and is out at GameStop locations across the United States. Checking with the makers to see if it'll get a European release, several Nyko products appear on Amazon UK, so we're hopeful. If your Vita is still naked and unprotected, you may find our guide to the Vita's line up of cases useful. 

Why aren't Vita developers learning from smartphone freemium games?

The Vita is getting off to a rather shaky start with this whole freemium or extra content idea. A few weeks ago it was the lack of information and short play time that led to a lot of reviewers and gamers feeling rather conned by Treasures of Montezuma: Blitz and now StarDrone Extreme has had a run in with a pay to escape the level offer.

The tens of thousands of smartphone games out there mean developers have had a couple of years to experiment with pretty much all methods of monetization. Their experiences should lead to some clear rules for Vita developers.



1. Put the rules up front: Don't say a game is free when there is paid content required to keep playing. Call it freemium or "free to download, payment may be required" but don't call it "free." Explain what the costs options are before users end up in the PSN store.

2. Allow a fair minimum play time per day: It is easy to end up getting just two or three games out of Montezuma Blitz a day, that's three minutes of gaming for those who rightfully don't want to pay for a game they were told was free. Any game like this should have a practice, trial or similar mode allow at least 30 minutes to an hours play.

3. Reward player success: If there is something that gamers can pay for cheaply, they should also be able to get it as an in-game reward for success. If StarDrone rewarded great play with level-skip tokens, gamers probably wouldn't be so up in arms.

4. Update, update, update: Angry Birds and others have demonstrated that continued updates keep people coming back. The limited Vita games so far seem to have dumped the players the minute they get the game. I've seen a massive drop off in friend activity on Montezuma as people just aren't interested any more.

5. Payments should offer more than just extra play: Many smartphone game payments actually extend the game with new features, options or extensions, adding these to games makes it a genuine investment for the player, rather than just more play time.

I know its early days for the Vita yet, and a lot of console gamers might not be used to the world of freemium, but there are ways to mitigate user confusion and anger, and Sony could mandate at least some of these methods in its approvals process to ensure that the handheld doesn't get a bad reputation. Anything else you can think of that would help?

PSN Store Update, get Skyping Vita owners

This week's PSN update for Vita owners consists largely of a reminder that Disgaea 3 became available for download last Friday, while a Vita version of Ben 10 Galactic Racing (just under 1GB in size and a rather shocking £29.99) joins the store. A variety of free or cheap DLC for Ridge Racer, Hustle Kings and MotorStorm RC is also added. But the big news is the availability of Skype, allowing for some inter-game taunting and chat with your friends using either of the Vita's camera and the microphone.



Note that God of War: Ghost of Sparta is now down to £10.99 if you want to try out the PSP game on the Vita. Guess its a bad thing that the most exciting Vita release is a VoIP app, but things are looking better next week with Mortal Kombat on the way.


Madden 13 cover vote down to final two, game details out today

With the game confirmed for the Vita, its time to guess who'll be on the cover (and praying to avoid the, mostly fictional, curse). Anyway, the vote for the cover star is now between Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson, with the winner announced today at 5PM Eastern.



You can vote here for your choice, and the game will be out on the 28th August. More details about the game will be announced later today, hopefully the Vita will retain more of the functions of the bigger versions, with their playbooks, social modes and so on. Crossplay would be awesome.

More news on this as EA releases it. There's a live video chat/demo today.

DJ Max Technika Tune headed to US Vitas

The Vita is doing pretty well with music games, we've got Sound Shapes on the way (with the Deadmau5 collaboration), Japan is getting a Hatsune Miku game and even Lumies is packed with phat beats. Joining the party is Korean game DJ Max from Pentavision which had a pretty good run on the PSP as a series.



The new version is a port of the arcade game  DJ Max Technika Tune and brings the Vita's touch screen to the fore. Hopefully it will make it to Europe too

Japan getting new PSP Monster Hunter puzzle game

I'm not sure if Capcom are just taking this piss out of Vita owners now, one of its many recent teases over in Japan has been revealed to be a new Monster Hunter-themed puzzle game featuring the fluffy Feylnes as actors in some kind of falling blocks game.

The game will be a budget-priced affair and comes on the heels of the successful PSP Monster Hunter Diary spin-offs with their cute-overload. On the negative side, it has now been 18 months since Monster Hunter 3 arrived on the PSP and a sequel is now looking overdue for that or the Vita.

With all these sidekick characters getting their own games, I wonder who would win in a battle, Feylnes or Moogles or Prinny? I expect a crossover combat game any week now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Get confused with 10 minutes of Surge Concerto action

I still have little idea what this game is really about, and this new rather long video isn't helping. I found a few bits out a while back, the doe-eyed girl is Ion who you have to raise and guide through a strange world... and that's about it.



Guessing this one won't hit western shores, a shame as the cel shading is really impressive. and it would make a change from the endless charge of JRPGs.

Skype coming to PS Vita on Wednesday

So, the Vita isn't a phone, is it? Well from Wednesday that pretty much changes if you're a Skype user as the handy handheld gets a proper app with support for both cameras. It also has address books, chat and all the other features Skype users have become used to on PCs or smartphones.



Even though the product is owned by Microsoft these days, they're busy getting it running on most formats out there. More from official announcement on the Sony blog.

PES 2013 nutmegs the Vita (for now), makes a sliderule pass to the PSP

This says a lot about Japanese developer confidence in the Vita right now, the new Pro Evo soccer game will appear on the dependable defensive midfielder that is the PSP but not the nippy new, yet temperamental, winger that is the PS Vita.



I imagine a Vita version can't be that far down the road, but it does look like a big obvious omission. At least for Vita football fans, FIFA is still doing a sterling job, still top of the charts and looking very much the business.  The game itself is going back to its roots with player freedom of touch and control.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Resistance: Burning Skies Survival mode shown off

A new PS Blog update goes into a little detail on the game's multiplayer survival mode. It is basically a tug of war, with each victim turning to the other side, be it human or Chimera. So, the balance of power constantly shifts as one side hunts the other down.



Tactics come more into play in this mode, as the blog explains:
"The first thing, and actually contrary to traditional MP gameplay, is that staying still actually works to your advantage. You might want to try and get behind players so as they start searching an area, you can actually hop back against their search pattern. Dark areas are your friend! We’ve also found that you don’t want to hide next to areas like steam vents because, although obscuring, the motion tends to attract attention."
With this, Mortal Kombat, Gravity Daze and more on the way, it looks like the Vita's drought is soon to be over.

Disgaea 3 in at No. 3 on the UK Vita chart

A disturbance in The Force this week as the new Disgaea 3 Absence of Detention  rumbles into the Vita's top 10 UK sales, with a solid performance. The top two duo of FIFA and Uncharted swap places again in their long-running tango, with some minor shuffling to make way for the new release.

1 FIFA FOOTBALL EA SPORTS
2 UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY COMPUTER
3 new DISGAEA 3: ABSENCE OF DETENTION KOEI
4 UNIT 13 SONY COMPUTER ENT
5 RAYMAN ORIGINS UBISOFT
6    EVERYBODY'S GOLF SONY COMPUTER ENT
7 WIPEOUT 2048 SONY COMPUTER ENT
8 MODNATION RACERS: ROAD TRIP SONY COMPUTER ENT
9 ASPHALT INJECTION UBISOFT
10 LITTLE DEVIANTS

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd UKIE, see the rest of the charts including All Formats Top 20 here, which Disgaea failed to make a dent in.

As mentioned last week, F1 2011 has rocketed up Sony's PSN popularity stakes due to its Chinese GP weekend-only price cut, leading the full-price games among the Vita's stellar line up of cheaper digital releases. (Note to Sony, please sort out the Latest page of the Vita store by release date now, that's a long list to wade through alphabetically for new games.)

UK PSN Top Sellers (as of Monday)

1. MotorStorm RC
2. Escape Plan
3. Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
4. F1 2011
5. Plants vs. Zombies
6. Super Stardust Delta
7. Unit 13
8. Hustle Kings
9. Rayman Origins
10. Ridge Racer

Will the new Call of Duty reveal have a Vita logo on it?

On 1st May, the NBA playoffs tip off, and Activision has promised to reveal the first trailer for the next Call of Duty game during one of the first round matches, being broadcast on TNT in the States. While most viewers will be sweating on Jeremy Lin's fitness, gamers will be after a first peek at the next big CoD experience.

Since the Call of Duty logo was seen at the Vita's launch, you have to ask will Activision be providing portable gamers with the real thing, or some dodgy spin-off. UPDATE: My hopes just got a bit higher, with MCV claiming there's a big surprise... that could be Vita support. Of course that could also be a Wii U edition, but I live in hope.

Is it a truck, is it a cockpit, or a big red button?

UPDATE: The pic above is apparently a Quadrotor, I can see a match in the sensor end.



This game should be Black Ops 2, based on hints and rumour, sequel to one of the best regard CoD titles. Would it be odd for the Vita to drop into this series mid-way though? Or will they offer the first game too in a box-set or as two releases?

Hopefully the trailer will appear on the website too, for the rest of the world to enjoy. As the reveal gets closer some grainy images are being dropped onto the site if you want to check it out . If the Vita is getting the real thing, and we got a hint of an Autumn launch earlier in the year,which ties in with this.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Now its Mileena vs. Kitana in Mortal Kombat action

I really hope this series of trailers wins an award, as the two ladies who've been teasing us over the past couple of weeks finally get it on, in the beating seven shades out of each other. Enjoy...

 

Check out their back catalogue material here and here.

Get more than the time with the PS Vita's social clock app

I always loved the look of the PSP Go's clock face when in closed mode. And it looks like Vita is getting something similar among those free apps announced earlier. Judging by this video, not only do we get a range of clock faces to turn the Vita into a rather expensive alarm clock, but you can also interact with friend's and their Vitas.



Called Wake up Club, you can set alarms, send messages between friends and there are a few mini games thrown in there too.

UPDATE: Seen people posting trophies for this, so there could be some neat stuff lurking within those games.

Check out some Resistance Burning Skies multiplayer action

Gamespot and a few other sites have been playing Resistance online over the past few days in a tour around the States. Check out how the game holds up in the hands of real players.



It all looks pretty slick and fast, and does seem to match up with the developer's aim for that old-school Quake and Doom aesthetic.

PES 2013 trailer trails another trailer

Do I Not Like That, as someone in football once said. Anyway, the game did decent service over the years on the PSP, so there's got to be hope for a Vita version to challenge the might of FIFA which has sat at No. 1 or 2 since launch. Of course, there's an upcoming Foosball game, or the existing augmented reality one but I don't think they count.



This trailer shows off Ronaldo looking moody, and is just an advert for another trailer. Which is pretty pointless, unlike the Kitana and Mileena Mortal Kombat, which is proper advertising in my book.

Starlight Inception ups the ante for donations

Still haven't invested in the Vita's first crowd-funded game? The project is approach one-third of its funding and has over two weeks to go. Here are some more options that might tempt you...

PLEDGE $45 OR MORE  -  Special Edition of Starlight Inception - includes both PC and Playstation Vita versions, includes digital game soundtrack, all future DLC, and all previous reward tiers. Please note that adding $15 to any reward tier also will get you a copy of both versions - you just have to send us a note saying that you would like both.  Also note that this tier does not count as a previous reward, but just adding $15 to any other tier, as stated above, will get you the other version.



Just a reminder too that adding $15 to any reward tier will get you a second version of the game - you just have to send us a note saying you'd like a second version. On TB's advice, we've also tweaked the $500 pledge to include your name on the side of a fighter in the game, IN ADDITION to the previously offered hoodie and previous rewards.

Gung Ho throwing more monsters into Ragnarok Odyssey

A new update hitting Japan next week adds more monsters, quests and other goodies to the Vita's only real monster hunting experience at the moment. Ragnarok Odyssey failed to sell the Vita, and you have to wonder if Soul Sacrifice is Sony's answer to the lack of a MH title.

Still, Gung Ho is churning out the updates for loyal fans who are chugging away. The second update, Sograt Desert is open for players at level 7 or over and throws in 10 new quests, featuring this dude, a Grendel-Santander.


If you're wondering what the game is all about, check out GadgetGirlKylie's YouTube channel, she has a guide to most of the characters

Atlus takes over Dragon's Crown, delay and price hike

The PlayStation blog has a rather honest appraisal of Atlus' takeover of the Dragon's Crown project with news of a 2013 release date, and a likely price hike, up from the rather bargain-esque $29.99, which is no biggie.


On the positive side, member's of Atlus' Persona teams will be taking an interest as producers, giving the game some direction and focus as the super-size side-scroller heads out the door.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mileena takes over Mortal Kombat sexvertising duties

Purple boots, minimal dress, maximim cleavage - welcome Mileena to the MK advertising fold as she takes over from Kitana's more urban adventures. The game is out in just a couple of weeks and looks to add some much needed teen lusting and over-the-top violence to the Vita's roster



Following last week's trailers, expect a full one to appear in the next couple of days. In fact the next news is here already with classic Mortal Kombat costumes being added to the line-up. Check out this tip to nostalgic gamers everywhere.

Fate/EXTRA Collectors Edition now open for pre-orders on PSP

You've got to love Ghostlight and their Collector's Editions of classic JRPGs. Here we go again with a feature-packed edition of Type-Moon and Imageepoch's Fate/EXTRA, it contains:



  • Official Soundtrack CD in a presentation digibook
  • A stunning 16 page Artbook
  • All contained in a special Collector's Box.
  • Plus when you order from the Ghostlight store:
  • A massive limited edition A1 poster (posted in a cardboard tube, so no fold marks!)
  • The Fate/The Facts book, featuring an interview with Rin Tosaka, as well as all the latest news from the Fate Universe.




The game is out in PAL regions on the 4th of May and costs £39.99, pre-order here.

Soul Sacrifice site goes live, picture frenzy

Sony's reveal in yesterday's Famitsu of a big, bad, brand new Vita game is backed up today with a teaser site and some new images. It starts with a man in a dungeon, then a series of fiery, fiendish looking demons and then same art from the previous story, which seems to hint at an evolution of the Monster Hunting genre.


There's English text to help keep us in the loop and a reminder of the official unveiling event, lets just hope they don't cock it up like Amazon did for the God of War unveiling.

Bag 'em and tag 'em, buy a Vita and MGS HD in Japan - get a free bag!

Yep, that should get the customers running. Sony Japan's rather neat free screen protector offer for some Japanese PS Vita games, MGS HD and Persona, will also come with a free bag, if they buy a PS Vita at the same time... I'll repeat that, a free bag! See all the designs at Andriasang.



Now, I like free stuff as much as the next person, but is this going to convince me to buy a PS Vita? Well, I guess every sale will help, but really Sony - a little more imagination and more useful free stuff (memory cards, games) is probably needed here.

PlayStation Suite SDK beta open to all, Vita developers get your skates on

So, you want to write a hit PS Vita or Android game? Well, here's your chance with the open beta of the PlayStation Suite SDK. Just remember you have to sign a profit share deal with Sony (similar to the Apple and Android app store ones) before you publish anything of suitable quality, once the Suite goes fully live.



Will this drive the PS Vita to new heights of indie success? Well we need something to do in the absence of a new God of War and Sony's laggy efforts to support the Vita. An app will allow you to test your creations on the Vita and its probably worth joining the forums and following @PSSuiteDev on Twitter to keep up with the latest.

God of War doesn't fancy it on the Vita

So, you've got a slick new handheld console and you want to market it to as many people as possible. Do you:

A) Bring your hottest properties to the console?

B) Give them a free paint app?

Well, this week Sony went with B, as the new God of War game, outed by Amazon, will be a PS3 exclusive. So, when Sony executives were sat on stage talking about this near-PS3 experience you were getting on the Vita, they clearly forgot to tell their own Santa Monica Studios.



I'm not saying Sony has given up all hope, we're getting a Resistance game after all, and some sort of Call of Duty and a Bioshock title from third parties, but God of War is huge and putting it on the Vita would signal Sony's intent and highlight the power of the Vita.

Perhaps we'll get a God of War game eventually, but given their success on the PSP, this was a no-brainer that Sony has flubbed horribly.

Where'd Puddle on the PS Vita go?

Came across this video in my YouTube likes list, but can't remember much else about it. It is developed by Neko Entertainment and published by Konami, the PS Vita version is listed as "coming soon".



Again, this looks like one of those fun titles that could do what Mercury did for the PSP. I'm chasing the French developer for an update.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sony details Resistance Burning Skies multiplayer features

A new Sony blog post has a video guide taking a tour through the features of Resistance's multiplayer modes and features. Having seen the neat, if sluggish-looking trailer last week, its good to get some feel for how it all works and a heads up on some of the tools of your trade. The tone appears to be in the vein of the early Quake and Doom games with fun and gibs the order of the day.



Burning Skies’ eight-player multiplayer mode is confirmed to support free-for-all deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, with a third survivor-type mode remaining in the shadows for now.

Japanese games/hardware sales (Media Create) PSP for the win

Good news for Japanese PSP owners with the only two new entries at 11 and 20, in the form of Atelier Elkrone and Armen Noir. The PSP also holds on to the No. 1 spot in what is probably a quieter week for Japanese gamers.



On the hardware front, the Vita continues its slide, down to a rather neat 8,250 units. Chances of a price cut at Sony's May 10th event getting more likely I'd guess. It's following a general hardware trend down, with the PSP selling just over 13,000 units. Will the new Soul Sacrifice game do anything to arrest the slide?



01./01. [PSP] 2nd Super Robot Wars Z: Saisei-hen <SLG> (Bandai Namco Games)   - 34.403 / 299.842 (-87%)
02./02. [3DS] Kingdom Hearts 3D -Dream Drop Distance- # <RPG> (Square Enix)  - 20.977 / 276.788 (-50%)
03./06. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land # <ACT> (Nintendo) {2011.11.03} - 18.119 / 1.504.812 (-18%)
04./03. [PSP] Pro Baseball Spirits 2012 <SPT> (Konami) {2012.03.29} (¥5.980) - 17.037 / 104.086 (-37%)
05./05. [3DS] Kid Icarus: Uprising <ACT> (Nintendo) {2012.03.22} (¥5.800) - 15.228 / 220.643 (-41%)
06./08. [3DS] Monster Hunter 3G # <ACT> (Capcom) {2011.12.10} (¥5.800) - 15.047 / 1.390.226 (-10%)
07./04. [PS3] Pro Baseball Spirits 2012 <SPT> (Konami) {2012.03.29} (¥7.980) - 14.485 / 131.804 (-46%)
08./09. [3DS] Mario Kart 7 <RCE> (Nintendo) {2011.12.01} (¥4.800) - 12.212 / 1.649.867 (-24%)
09./07. [NDS] Pokemon Conquest <SLG> (Pokemon Co.) {2012.03.17} (¥5.800) - 10.377 / 295.974 (-42%)
10./10. [3DS] Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games <SPT> (Nintendo)  - 8.254 / 131.222 (-20%)
11./00. [PSP] Atelier Elkrone: Dear for Otomate # <ADV> (Idea Factory) {2012.04.12} (¥6.090) - 8.012 / NEW 
12./11. [PSP] Black Panther 2: Yakuza Ashura Chapter <ADV> (Sega)   - 5.882 / 147.829 (-43%)
13./14. [3DS] Harvest Moon: The Land of Origin <SLG> (Marvelous AQL)  - 4.574 / 165.182 (-22%)
14./16. [WII] Wii Sports Resort with Wii Remote Plus # <SPT> (Nintendo)  - 4.243 / 914.691 (-12%)
15./19. [PSP] Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (PSP the Best) <ACT> (Capcom) - 3.658 / 236.467 (-17%)
16./13. [PS3] Devil May Cry HD Collection <ACT> (Capcom) {2012.03.22} (¥4.990) - 3.641 / 65.245 (-38%)
17./18. [WII] Mario Kart Wii <RCE> (Nintendo) {2008.04.10} (¥5.800) - 3.505 / 3.546.938 (-24%)
18./22. [WII] Wii Party # <ETC> (Nintendo) {2010.07.08} (¥4.800) - 3.446 / 2.328.169 
19./17. [3DS] Hatsune Miku and Future Stars: Project Mirai # <ACT> (Sega) - 3.392 / 132.689 (-28%)
20./00. [PSP] Armen Noir Portable # <ADV> (Idea Factory) {2012.04.12} (¥5.040) - 3.254 / NEW 


Last week's figures here.



EU PSN Update (18 April) Anyone for Chess?

This week the Vita gets the gorgeous Pure Chess (£5.19), plus Paint Park, the free photo and drawing app. PSP and Vita owners can enjoy the very classic Dragon's Lair (£6.49).

Remember there's also a huge number of PSP games now available pretty cheap and a bunch of new minis out for the PSP and Vita, both the top two games below have had awesome reviews around the sites (Floating God got an 8 from Edge) and Fortix is a classic iPad game:

Defenders Of The Mystic Garden (Twisted Dragon)


Floating Cloud God Saves The Pilgrims (Dakko Dakko)


Knight Fortix 2 (Nemesys Games)


Ikari III: The Rescue (SNK)


And not forgetting some more DLC for MotorStorm RC, Dynasty Warriors Next and Katamari.



PS Vita to get some Sunflowers

When the sun is out, nothing likes prettier than a field full of Sunflowers. Even when its pissing it down, you'll be able to recreate the experience with a new game from the makers of PSP mini Flying Hamsters. In it, your aim is to grow the flowers by controlling the sun and dropping the right elements through the clouds.

Just had a quick chat with the developers and they've offered some more detail:


  • The game uses the PS Vita vertically only
  • Touchscreen and/or rear touchpad can be used for moving the Sun
  • Tapping Touchscreen/rear touchpad and/or L/R buttons can be used for shooting
  • Shaking the device (using the accelerometer) is used to get rid of dead leaves on Autumn levels
  • The camera is used to catch the ambient light during specific dusk tropical stages





Specifically a PS Vita release, it uses all the system's interfaces such as shaking and the touchscreen, and it plays with the screen held in portrait, which is a first, I think. With its bright visuals, tinkly tunes, if it was any jollier, it would explode in rainbows. Expect a release and a demo soon, with its classic, immediate style of hook, this looks like a winner.

Soul Sacrifice to rise up on the Vita

From out of nowhere comes a six page advert in the new Famitsu magazine in Japan for an all-new PS Vita game. Andriasang has the translated details, the highlights of which are:
The first page shows four characters fighting a giant three headed beast. This page has those key words that we mentioned earlier -- story of magicians, evolved combat, and real fantasy shown in high spec.
The second page shows a number of illustrations of demons and monsters, presumably your enemies. Text on this page reads, "Are you ready?"

UPDATE: Found the pics here, here's the first one, will add the rest as they get posted.





Full details will be announced at a press conference in Japan on May 10. What with a new PS3 game being unveiled on May 3, Sony is getting into gear for E3.

At the moment, can't find any scans. You'd think with all their technology, one keen early reader could put up some photos or scans. Given it has Soul in the title, folks are jumping to conclusions about a Demon Souls or Dark Souls spin-off, but its more likely to be a Sony effort at a monster hunter game, based on the description.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Improved Starlight Inception trailer, still needs your cash

Escape Hatch has put up an improved teaser trailer for its Vita (and PC) space combat title, Starlight Inception. It might look a bit Babylon 5, but crank it up to the full 1080p resolution and enjoy the improved visuals.



The Kickstarter campaign is approaching 1,000 contributors, but stilled needs $120,000 to get full funding, just $15 will get you a copy of the game on completion, with plenty of other goodies for higher rollers. The developers have also announced they've got David Arkenstone (of World of Warcraft Cataclysm fame and a triple nominated Grammy award recipient) to do the music for the game.

The PS Vita's most wanted games, Gravity Rush tops the list

A quick peek on Amazon shows what gamers are looking forward to most out of the Vita's rather anaemic upcoming lineup. I'd happily pick the top four up, but it is going to take a boatload of solid titles announced at E3 to get the Vita moving in 2012, particularly when something called Gem Smashers makes it in to No. 7 on that list.

1. Gravity Rush
2. Resistance: Burning Skies
3. Disgaea 3 Absence of Detention
4. Mortal Kombat
5. Supremacy MMA
6. LEGO Batman

Of course, these are just the games on Amazon's database and there are other titles out there, but is this really the best Sony and partners can do?

Free apps coming to the PS Vita


Paint Park (already out on the PS3) is coming to the Vita this week, as the first of a series of free apps from Sony. You can take photos and touch them up with the paint program, or create mini works of art on the touchscreen and interact with friends on them. After that will come Treasure Park a make-your-own-puzzle app that you can use to share the results with your friends and let them try out your challenges.  




Lastly comes an app called Wake-up Club that sounds rather strange. Part-alarm-clock, part-social-app by allowing you to set alarms on your friend's Vitas. Can't see much use for that one, unless you give your kids a Vita each - but I'm sure the Japanese can set Monster Hunter (or Ragnarok) MP dates. Pics and more detail on the Sony blog. 

More PSP price drops on the PSN: Gran Turismo, God of War Syphon Filter and more

Sony has dropped the prices of a bunch of PSP games including Gran Turismo, the Syphon Filter and God of War titles to drum up some business from PSP and Vita owners. Prices seem to all be £6.99, €7.99 and not all games may be Vita compatible, check on the store to be sure.

The list includes: SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3, Jungle Party, White Knight Chronicles Origins, Patapon 3, Echoshift, Gangs of London, God of War, Gran Turismo, Jak & Daxter, Killzone: Liberation, Little Big Planet, Resistance Retribution, Syphon Filter and Key of Heaven.

So if you stupidly brought them on UMD and now want to try them on your Vita, they probably won't get any cheaper. Hope the sale stays in place until pay day, and you all have enough memory card space... or is this an effort by Sony to sell more of those too?

Deadmau5 and Sound Shapes party together on Vita

Sound Shapes was one of the Vita's quirky launch titles to be, but dropped off the radar into development "polishing" I guess. Some of that polishing is to tie in some DJ/celeb levels with none other than Deadmau5 dropping some beats for the developers to use.



While Lumines has some great remixes from big names, this game is all about the distinct samples and beats, as a Sony blog post explains. Deadmau5 has to be a bit of a tech whore, he helped Nokia launch the new Lumia phones last year at a great event, imagine if the Vita's AR could do this...


Monday, April 16, 2012

Sony's E3 Show on June 4

If there was ever a moment for Sony to stop acting like a dinosaur enterprise, pull its thumb out its butt and get down with its core audience, this is it. Now the company is being slimmed down, focusing on games and media, Sony can stop pissing around with boring PowerPoint slides and hit users hard, in the face, with great new games, not washed-up sequels.

Oh, hang on, this is Sony we're talking about. Expect a shitfest of media crap touting some half-baked discussion on the merits of PSOne games played on a Sony tablet. The show takes place at 6PM at the Memorial Sports Arena, LA. That does make it 2AM UK, but hey - its still going to be fun covering it.

My plan would be:

Call it "Back to the Core"
Only allow games with death, fast cars, aliens and slavering monsters to be shown
Only show games to be released in 2012 (alright, by Summer 2013)
Flog the Vita until it bleeds

Seriously Sony, the last few events I've seen have bored me to tears. Sure Microsoft went the wrong way with its E3 circus theme a few years back, but its time to start letting things hang out again and not just have an endless line of suits touting irrelevant features.

Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention out this week

Can't complain about no new Vita games this week as a new Disgaea title launches in the US and Europe (on the 20th). The JRPG update from NIS America. The re-tooled game based on the PS3's Absence of Justice will offer all of the DLC and extra content for that game, new touch controls, four new scenarios and new levels of spell.


The Vita has plenty of PSP RPGs to play, but this is the first dedicated one with some decent heritage. A list of trophies for the game can be found here.

UK PS Vita chart, Ridge Racer on the rise

What's the power of a little positive press? Ridge Racer is the only real mover on the charts this week, up six places. The recent DLC (that's free if you have the Gold Pass) making it more of a full game and the hope of some decent content to come, sees it pop up the charts.

Sure, that might only be a few hundred extra sales, given the Vita's moribund state, and lack of new releases, but any progress is good news. If only this chart counted digital sales then next week you'd expect F1 2011 to get a kick thanks to the weekend sale (now over folks), but it won't, come on Chart Track, get a move on!

POS. TITLE
1 - UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY COMPUTER ENT. 1 8
2 - FIFA FOOTBALL EA SPORTS                                                 2 8
3 - UNIT 13 SONY COMPUTER ENT.                                         3 7
4 - RAYMAN ORIGINS UBISOFT                                         4 8
5 - WIPEOUT 2048 SONY COMPUTER ENT.                         5 8
6 - EVERYBODY'S GOLF SONY COMPUTER ENT.                 6 8
7 RIDGE RACER NAMCO BANDAI GAMES                       13 8
8 LITTLE DEVIANTS SONY COMPUTER ENT.                7 8
9 MODNATION RACERS: ROAD TRIP SONY.                       10 8
10 ASPHALT INJECTION UBISOFT                                       11 8
11 F1 2011 CODEMASTERS                                                         9 8
12 - VIRTUA TENNIS 4: WORLD TOUR EDITION SEGA       12 8
13 DUNGEON HUNTER: ALLIANCE UBISOFT                 8 8
14 - REALITY FIGHTERS SONY COMPUTER ENT.               14 8
15 ARMY CORPS OF HELL SQUARE ENIX                       19 8
16 ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 CAPCOM       15 8
17 - LUMINES ELECTRONIC SYMPHONY UBISOFT       17 8
18 LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 5-7 WARNER BROS.         16 6
19 NINJA GAIDEN: SIGMA PLUS KOEI                               20 8
20 DYNASTY WARRIORS NEXT KOEI                               18 7

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd UKIE

God Eater dolls up as we wait for the sequel

God Eater (Burst) sold a decent 360,000 in its time on top of the Japanese charts back in November 2010, and probably a fair few more since then. While news has gone quiet on the sequel (video below), the series must still be attracting attention as a new set of figurines has just launched in Japan.



Andriasang has some pics and details of the Alisa Amiella creation, hopefully the game will play on the Vita, or is the silence due to some rapid upscaling to a full Vita game? Probably not as the PSP is still doing frenetic business in Japan, but you never know.

Weekend News: Facebook Update, Miku's Million, Starlight Inception's Cash Drive

Was out most of the weekend, so catching up:

Hit the update button on Facebook's start page to leap to v1.01. You can then upload your PS Vita's photos and screenshots to the service. Please don't annoy your friends with every single achievement and high score, or cool trick. Another small step in the Vita become a viable general "device".

Talking of apps, it looks like Skype will  be with us by the end of April, according to a comment on the Sony forums somewhere. If so, it adds communications to the Vita and is a far bigger step in making it a "device", at which point you wonder if it really is just a games machine any more? UK users are still waiting for Netflix, but what other apps do you want on your Vita?

Sales and Potential


Over in Japan, the Diva Hatsune Miku series, largely powered through PSP sales has reached the million mark, and with a new PS3/Vita game to come, should rack up a few more for Sega.



Starlight Inception, (latest art above) a space combat game being developed a LucasArts old-hand, which appears to be the Vita's first crowd funded title, is now over the $30,000 mark, one-fifth of the way to its target with 22 days to go. Please help support the project if you can - you get the game for free if you give $15 or more.

Friday, April 13, 2012

F1 2011 gets a price cut on Vita, this weekend only

To celebrate the Chinese Grand Prix, or to get some sales shifting (you decide), Codemasters is chopping the price of F1 2011 on the Vita to just £19.99 this weekend, the offer is available now. Through many posts, I've maintained the game looks like mud in screenshots, but seems to play well enough based on the videos.



If you've held off buying it, then this could be your chance to give it a shot. Just make sure you've got the needed 1.42GB required on a memory card to store the file. I think the original price was £34.99, so its a decent saving.

Gravity Rush demo coming 30 May

Strap your self in for the Vita's biggest ride as the Gravity Daze demo will drop a couple of weeks before the full thing arrives. GAME is currently chatting to Sony and has let us know via Twitter that it will offer over 15 hours of gameplay, twin sticks, motion gyro, and touch! Can flick through cut scene like a comic!

Tweets also cover Doctor Who and the Eternity Clock and Resistance Falling Skies. Not any dramatic news, but its good to see the store is getting back on its feet.

If you're keen on the game you can listen to the OST that some kind soul has uploaded to YouTube.

Finally, some PS One games for PlayStation-Certified Phones

Got an Xperia Play or the new Sony Xperia S? Want some PS One games for it, well you've been out of luck for ages, unless Sony has just stopped sending out press releases. However, looks like the wheels on that wagon are starting to move again with a bunch of old (new) titles hitting the PlayStation Certified Store.

Among the Disney crud are some goodies with Tekken, Ridge Racer T4 and Grandia, plus an Oddworld to enjoy. The prices are a bit off in places, but hey, there's always that emulator if you own the original. 
  •     International Track & Field - £3.99
  •     Tekken - £3.99
  •     Ridge Racer Type 4 - £3.99
  •     Grandia - £6.29
  •     Toy Story Racer - £4.79
  •     Toy Story 2 - £4.49
  •     Mickey's Wild Adventure - £4.79
  •     Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire - £5.19
  •     A Bug's Life - £3.99
  •     Rascal Racers - £2.39
  •     Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey - £3.99
They also work on those new Sony tablets, but I don't know anyone who has brought one of those!

MotorStorm RC leaves other stats in the dust

As those little cars race along on Vitas and PS3s around the world, they're generating some cool statistics for those who like them.


  • A new MotorStorm: RC event begins somewhere in the world every single second
  • 19 downloads of MotorStorm: RC every minute
  • At least two new PSN friendships are ignited and two new challenges are sent every minute
  • Every 60 seconds, eight PlayStation Trophies are awarded to MotorStorm RC players on their way to earning the prestigious "Lunatics Unite" Platinum Trophy 

These impressive stats show just how well-received MotorStorm: RC, developed by the team at Evolution Studios. Would be good to know a Vita/PS3 user split, but that's not really important, as long the game is a success.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sol Trigger packs in drama and action on the PSP

Sol Trigger on the PSP looks like a fitting end to high-brow RPGs on the format, if Imageepoch does decide to move on after this title. Some screens and videos have crept out this week, showing the heroes in the video and the villains (Istvan) in the pics.



With Fate/Extra coming to western shores care of Ghostlight, gotta hope that this one makes it over to the west, as it looks pretty damn good. It has an all-star cast throughout the design process with the evil Istvan voiced by the original Solid Snake, Akio Otsuka; the story is written by Final Fantasy VII's Kazushige Nojima and character design come from Persona 4's Shuji Sogabe.





Play Magazine trolling or inspired about GTA V on the Vita?

Play Magazine, written by respected game journo-types isn't the sort of place you'd expect to find troll-worthy material, but the big headline on its latest issue states "GTA V on Vita." It then rapidly qualifies that statement with "Industry insiders leak the full story."


Haven't read the magazine yet (haven't brought it since about 2008), but having seen so many anonymous quotes fail to come to fruition over the years, and knowing that GTA V on the Vita would only come out a year or so after the PS3 version, I'm pretty sure there isn't a straightforward yes or no answer to this one. In fact, GTA V Liberty City Stories in 2014 is probably the closest bet to a real answer.

Why would a "proper" mag take this feature on? Given it has barely ever mentioned the Vita on its recent covers, I suspect, like most magazines, it is getting desperate for readers, with sales down to 21,000 a month in early 2011 and no figure released this year (down from highs pushing 100,000). A shame but part of the inevitable slide in paper-mags. Does it have a website, I don't even know.

UPDATE: NowGamer - the publisher's home games site - mentions /shudder/ Michael Pachter /shudder/ as one source for the article. I think we need say no more, and ignore this until the very day a boxed copy appears in a shop (as if).

Is the Vita's OLED really a Super AMOLED?

While I love the Vita's screen, regardless of the actual tech behind it, the enquiring minds of Digital Versus have taken a peek with their digital sensors and microscopes. They think that the screen is actually identical to the type used in the Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone. Which is a Super AMOLED according to the spec sheets.

This is what the Bionic Man sees when playing Uncharted

Interesting to see what's going on here, these guys seem to know their stuff. More practically, they also find that the screen isn't all that bright (my own garden gaming experiences bear this out) and it doesn't reproduce colour brilliantly, but hey - this is a games machine and as long as the blood runs red (or green) who really cares.

Like I said, I'm not phased what technology is just seems odd Sony would have a better technology screen and even if it isn't an SA screen, at least badge it SA-class as Apple has done with its Retina branding. 

Sony shows off Resistance Burning Skies multiplayer

May is going to be the Vita's best month I can confidently predict. We've got Mortal Kombat coming out on the 4th to kick some heads and then at the end of the month, Nihilistic's Resistance launches replete with a great looking single player story and a fast-and-furious 8-way multiplayer mode.



That should give the handheld some serious gaming kudos as Vita owners reap the crap out of each other in a game that isn't Call of Duty. Hopefully, it'll be plain multiplayer with no silly Elite modes, lots of free or cheap DLC maps. It will use the Near mode to give experience multipliers, more on that and some other details in a new PS blog post.

Ghostlight dates Fate/Extra for PSP


Ghostlight has announced that its latest PSP JRPG conversion, Fate/EXTRA, will be released in the UK on 4th May, with the Collector’s Edition priced at £39.99, with a digital PSN release to follow in the near future and posted some new pics.





Some exclusive goodies including a massive A1 poster and The Fate/The Facts book will only be available through the Ghostlight Store where pre-orders will be going live soon.