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, March 31, 2014

Panzer Girls party hard with their little tanks

I know these videos are all a bit mixed up, but tell me there's more to the battle sections of \Panzer Girls than just turn and shoot, as depicted in a couple of gameplay clips. Otherwise, all the sweeping scenes and girly chat seem rather redundant. Hopefully the final title will have some depth to it as Namco steers it toward release.

Invizimals, Deception and MXGP hiding in the new UK Vita chart

In this week's UK chart, Invizimals sneaks its way in as the highest new entry at No. 3, probably more impressive is Tecmo's Conception IV in at No. 5, not bad for a relatively obscure Japanese game, while MXGP rather limps in at 16.

Square's FFX collection remains at number one, I wouldn't be surprised if Fez outsold them all on digital downloads, but since the UK charts are so old hat, we'll never know. None of the new entries make the all-formats top 40, so are probably selling negligible copies as usual. Here's hoping Sony's spring marketing onslaught gets going soon.

1 - FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD REMASTER SQUARE ENIX 1 2
2 - FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 2 27
3 new INVIZIMALS: THE ALLIANCE SONY - 1
4 - TEARAWAY SONY 4 19
5 new DECEPTION IV: BLOOD TIES TECMO - 1
6 - KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY 3 30
....
16 new MXGP MILESTONE - 1

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

Friday, March 28, 2014

Flame Over lights up with new pics

How rude, these got put in my spam folder, so I didn't notice them today, guess it took this particular flame war the wrong way. Flame Over from Laughing Jackal is a fire-fighting action Roguelike, featuring randomly generated levels, twin stick controls, fast-paced gameplay, permadeath and dynamic fire that burns, spreads and threatens the player (and other NPCs) in some cool ways.

Your objective in Flame Over is simple, guide your heroic fire fighter, Blaze Carruthers, up through the floors of the Infernal Industries building in London, extinguishing all fires and rescuing all the stranded workers and – naturally – their pet cats as you go.




PlayStation Plus brings more goodies in April

As leaked, widely tweeted and otherwise discussed over this week, Sony has put up its official roster of PlayStation Plus games for April with Vita owners able to pick up Sly Cooper Thieves in Time (Cross Buy), Hotline Miami (Cross Buy) and Milestone's MotoGP 13.

With the Sly Cooper trilogy and MotoGP 14 on the way (plus MXGP just out) that acts as a neat teaser for the new games while everyone should have Hotline Miami already. With a raft of new indies on the way, anyone else suspect that the offering is rapidly going to run out of big-name clout for Vita owners? I guess if you have a PS3 or PS4, its still well worth it, but anyone reconsidering?


Marvelous' Colorful takes on Hatsune Miku in first video

Having seen the gold in the Hatsune Miku sales, here comes Marvelous wtih IA/VT Colorful, a tappy, singy, girly experience that could easily suck in thousands of Japanese gamers, and possibly more with a western version. With its hand-drawn and slightly more gritty aesthetic, it definitely manages to maintain its own style, but how much love do the Japanese have for these games?

The IA/VT Colorful experience will be out in Japan at the end of July and looks a little less expensive than the latest adventures of Ms. Miku.

Table Top Racing screens will light up your day

Updating on yesterday's double auto-game news, here's some pics from Playrise showing off Table Top Racing in all its shiny glory. Still waiting for a promised video which should better demonstrate the game's wacky racing skills and hopefully some slick gameplay ideas to make this an essential title.




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Car pool on your Vita, two racing games go full beam

Two auto games have been announced for the Vita today, Jet Car Stunts from Grip Games and Table Top Racing from Playrise Digital. They offer very different challenges with Get Car taking the GripShift (no relation, done by Sidhe for PSP) approach to level challenges, while TTR goes back to the Micro Machines racing fun of the Megadrive days with a great modern look.




Have been promised a video for Table Top Racing soon.

Take a couple of Minutes to check out this cool abstract indie Vita game

Ooh, hello the lovechild of Flow and Sound Shapes, but the look of it, as Arch Creatives bring its puzzly, musical and touchy title "Minutes" to the Vita and PS4. The team has some cool-looking PC titles behind them are showing this off at Rezzed. Looks like yet another chunk of our lives could vanish as we try to master this one.

PS Vita firmware 3.12 coming to improve stability, stop fragging 32GB cards

Hot on the heels of the big 3.10 update, comes the inevitable quick fix, most likely to solve some problems that 3G/32GB card owners were having with the system going freaky around their cards. It isn't online just yet but Sony seem in a hurry to get it out there.

UPDATE: This is now live for us to download, don't all rush at once!

Still, keep an eye out for it, and if you've avoided updating to 3.10, or missed out on the news, this might be your better option. Now the 100 file limit is fixed, what's the next big bug bear? Most comments I've seen want WPA2 enterprise support for WiFi so they can log in at work, at least that would mean Near gets some travel time!

Anything else you'd like to see?

Football Manager kicking off in April for Vita

Sports Interactive and SEGA has come up with a release date for Football Manager Classic 2014 (FMC 2014, hitting the shelves and PSN on Friday, April 11th. Just as then season comes to an explosive climax, hopefully! The game will let PC players keep on managing, whether they’re at home using their computer or out and about.

In addition, FMC 2014 for PS Vita is also the first ever mobile game to feature FM’s acclaimed 3D Match Engine, adding an extra layer of realism and immersion that’s been unavailable in previous Football Manager Handheld games, alongside a pretty much identical feature set to Football Manager Classic on home computers.

Devleopment duties have been shared between Sports Interactive, its sister development studio Hardlight and Sheffield-based Little Stone, so thanks to them for getting this job done. If that's what it takes to get more big name games done on the Vita, then I hope more big brands are paying attention.

“It’s great to finally be able to release FMC Vita. This game has been the most technically challenging that we’ve ever worked on – we’ve essentially fit a PC game that needs loads of memory, a mouse and a keyboard into Sony’s wonderful handheld with a touch screen – and the help we’ve had from all of our partners has been wonderful,” says Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive. “To be able to take your home computer save onto the road adds a huge amount to the Football Manager experience.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What future releases does Japan want to play?

The latest list of most wanted games from Famitsu readers is out in Japan and makes for stark reading. Only one Vita game in the top 10, and the top two dominated by the PSP's favourite series. Perhaps there's a Persona 5 Portable and a Monster Hunter 5 Freedom in the dim distant future, but the rest of the list is pretty stodgy fare.

01/03. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom, Fall 2014) – 779 votes
02/01. [PS3] Persona 5 (Atlus, Winter 2014) – 731 votes
03/04. [PS4] Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, TBA) – 681 votes
04/02. [Wii U] Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo, 05/29/14) – 663 votes
05/06. [PS4] Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix, TBA) – 460 votes
08/13. [PSV] Freedom Wars (SCEJ, Summer 2014) – 354 votes
19/23. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Jigoku-Hen (Namco Bandai, 04/10/14) – 191 votes
23/25. [PSV] Over My Dead Body 2 (SCEJ, Summer 2014) – 148 votes
28/—. [PSV] The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II (Falcom, 2014) – 117 votes
29/—. [PSV] Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (Namco Bandai, 04/24/14) – 115 votes

PSN EU store update, get your portable Fez on

The update isn't live yet (as of 3:15 UK) but stand by your refresh buttons. Fez leads the way today with the joys of Cross Buy, with the big games sticking by their boxed-copy brothers until Friday. Destiny of Spirits should be worth a go as its free (with in-app purchases), and I'm tempted to try Invizimals, hope its come on greatly since the PSP versions. However, Sony's lack of coverage suggests not.

On the DLC front, check out costumes for LBP and Soul Sacrifice, plus some more paid missions for Tecmo's monster hunting game Toukiden. Full details for all PS formats here.

Deception IV: Blood Ties (out 28th March)
Price: £34.99/€39.99/AUAU$54.95
PEGI: 16

MXGP (out 28th March)
Price: £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95
PEGI: 3

Destiny of Spirits
Price: Free
PEGI: 7

Fez (Cross-Buy PS4/PS3/Vita)
Price: £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.45
PEGI: 3

Invizimals: The Alliance
Price: £19.99/€24.99/AU$32.95
PEGI: 7

Vita sales top 3DS in Japanese sales, pigs seen flying

Famitsu sees the Vita edge the 3DS by a few thousand units in its weekly sales. Media Create still has it just behind, but on the balance of probabilities, Vita is just ahead, but things aren't as rosy as they could be.

With loads of new games out next week too, its a bit of a free-for-all, yet sales overall are only up a bit, despite the new releases, which doesn't seem like a good thing. Perhaps if all the Vita and 3DS buyers are now suitably equipped, its only big new game bundles and hardware revisions or price cuts that will drive sales.



The 3DS is still ahead on the games sales front with Mario leading the way (but only third in Famitsu's numbers), but with five Vita games hitting the chart, its a busy time for any gamer. The Vita wasn't that far off the PS3's J-Stars sales, but way off Samurai Warriors, I wonder why? Things should kick off more next week with new Hatsune Miku and others arriving onsale.

01./00. [3DS] Mario Party: Island Tour (Nintendo) (¥4.800) - 132.668 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] Samurai Warriors 4 # (Koei Tecmo)  (¥7.560) - 120.452 / NEW
03./00. [PS3] Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Konami)  (¥2.980) - 119.615 / NEW
04./00. [PS3] J-Stars Victory Vs # (Bandai Namco)  (¥7.980) - 118.240 / NEW
05./00. [PSV] J-Stars Victory Vs # (Bandai Namco) (¥6.980) - 97.821 / NEW
...
09./00. [PSV] Samurai Warriors 4 # (Koei Tecmo)  (¥7.140) - 39.597 / NEW
...
12./00. [PSV] Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 (Konami)  (¥6.983) - 30.261 / NEW
13./00. [PSP] Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 (Konami)  (¥3.980) - 27.823 / NEW
14./00. [PSV] Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: (Compile Heart)  (¥6.090) - 26.845 / NEW
15./00. [PSV] Phantasy Star Online 2 Episode 2: Deluxe (Sega)  (¥5.229) - 16.152 / NEW



NIVIDIA Shield down to $199, anyone tempted?

With its proper HD screen, better battery, speakers and processor, the NVIDIA Shield could have been a big thing, but I haven't really heard much about it since launch. Now, NVIDIA has cut the price to $199 for a limited period, perhaps to goose the market, or get rid of the damn thing.



To keep up some momentum, Valve's Portal has been announced for the Android handheld, which also gets an update to the latest KitKat version of the OS. Other than that, it seems there's not much specific development activity for it, beyond the stock Android gaming archive. Did anyone buy one? Is it rocking your portable gaming world?

Sly Trilogy dated for 18 April, any raccoon fans eager?

Amazon UK has a place holder up for a mid-April release for Sly Trilogy (Playstation Vita), making the set of furball thieving adventures perfect for Easter to entertain the kids. It is set for a late May release in the States.

Given the lukewarm reaction to the new Sly Cooper Thieves in Time release, hopefully there will be some warmth for the better PS2 and PS3 titles. Any fans in the audience, never really been on my radar before.

Operation Abyss screens reveal more than just dungeons

For a dungeon crawler there's a remarkable lack of dungeons in the latest batch of screenshots for 5bp's latest. Announced last October, it is now set for a July release in Japan. Out of 10 new screens over on Famitsu, only one shows any dungeoneering, the rest are all of ladies, shall we say, relaxing? There's also news of a limited edition with an "art" book. Pre-orders anyone?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd confirmed for the west

Guess things are picking up on the Vita, certainly Sega seems keen, announcing the second Hatsune Miku title will come our way later this year. The PS3 and Vita announcement comes on the back of presumably hot sales of the first game which only just landed in Europe, but went straight to the top of the PSN download list.

The 2nd version will be made available for Vita owners as a physical game, so you can have Miss Miku on your shelf too. Now if we can get some of the figurines and other goodies that the Japanese are loaded with, that'd be cool too.

Conception II demo hits the US PSN

Conception II is almost upon us, and US gamers can try out the demo right now. Atlus has posted a hints and tips video to get you started. We've been meeting the cast in recent days, but the wait is now over and we can start seeing if this is another hit Japanese title or something that us gaijin just won't get. Any impressions if you've got the demo, let us know?

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 heading west

Idea Factory has announced that HNB1 will get a western release, following on the growing rise of Japanese games with all their quirks flaunting their wares for western audiences. The updated version of the PS3 original has a bunch of updates, listed below, in a world where gaming systems and processors are the world!


Key Features and Differences from the PlayStation 3 version:

  • An overhauled battle system!HyperdimensionNeptuniaRe;Birth1 takes the original game and equips it with the battle system of HyperdimensionNeptuniaVictory! This gives the player a more in-depth gaming experience!
  • New scenario, new ending!The main story and event scenes are renewed from the PlayStation3 version. The core storyline will remain mostly the same, but the conversations between characters are all new! A new ending has been added as well! This will allow players returning from the PlayStation3 version to enjoy the game anew!
  • New “Remake System”! A new system has been added, the “Remake System”! It lets players customize and make changes to the game system itself by obtaining “Plans”! 
  • Blank Discs to craft your own Game Discs!You can create unique equippable items by burning Idea Chips (abilities) onto Blank Discs! Depending on the Idea Chips used, a Godly Game may result, which will grant you an additional ability!
  • DLC brings more playable characters and more!Additional characters will be playable through DLC; players can increase the level cap to 999; and additional monsters, quests, and dungeons will be available!

Let the wookie win at new Star Wars Pinball tables

Zen Pinball is adding to its roster of Star Wars themed tables with four new adventures headed our way later in the spring. Tables include Han Solo, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars Pinball: Droids, and Star Wars Pinball: Masters of the Force to grab from across the Star Wars family. More info coming soon, but expect the classic sound effects, quotes and fiendish pinball play to keep those scores rolling.

Flying Hamster II buzzing Kickstarter next week

Game Atelier brought Vita owners the charming Sunflowers and the disarmingly retro Flying Hamster to the PSP (upgraded to HD for the Vita). They're having another go with the heroic rodent, trying to bring us the glow and feel of Wonder Boy games into the HD era, which is no bad thing. Look out for it on Kickstarter next week, I'd guess with the Vita on the list as a stretch goal.

New Vita update bursts the 100 app limit and adds a Calendar

Woohoo! I hear you cry, but not at the Calendar app. Sony has just kicked out a new firmware update, nudging the spinning number up to 3.10, with the following features, plus the usual unspecified usability updates. Perhaps of most use will be the memory manager, although why we can't have a live link to a PC folder and just drag-and-drop content live without that stupid file copying app remains a bit of a mystery.

Still hoping for better integration between the browser and the social media apps, plus the arrival of those juicy video apps that the Americans are enjoying.

UPDATE: Some users with 32GB cards, mostly on 3G units, are reporting they get stuck in a boot loop, my upgrade went fine, and I've seen plenty of other happy users, but you may want to be careful. If you have a smaller card to hand, try the update on that?


  • You can now display up to 500 applications on the home screen. (Wonder how big a memory card Sony plans to release?)
  • A Calendar app has been added for PS Vita, allowing you to set up gaming events with your friends. Sync your Google calendar to have all your events with you on your PS Vita. 
  • A new “Manage Content on Memory Card” option has been added to the Content Manager application. You can now view the data on your memory card, making it easier than ever to manage content on your PS Vita. You can now view memory usage by content type, and delete content and applications.
  • You can now send and receive voice messages using the Messages application on PS Vita. Exchange voice messages with your friends and players on PS4 and PS Vita.
UPDATE: Handily the EU blog specifies those unspecified (by the US blog) improvements, they include:

Music – You will now be able to search for content saved on a connected device such as a PC.
Video – You’ll be able to now sort content by size.
Photo - Rotate Screen Automatically has been added to Photos to control tilt sensor for rotation of images. Also, Freeform has been added to the Panoramic mode selection list.

Settings
Adjust Daylight Saving Automatically has been added.
30 minutes has been added in Enter Standby Mode Automatically.

Other things I've noticed (think they're new) include an External Keyboard option on the Devices list in Settings, that could come in handy for extended Vita chats I guess.

Monday, March 24, 2014

LEGO Ninjago NinDroids to assemble on your Vita

LEGO's own-brand franchises are coming more into the light alongside the Star Wars and Marvel brands, likely on the back of the LEGO Movie success. A new game in the mystical Ninjago series has been announced for the Vita and 3DS, which are aimed at the younger market. This time the Nindroids take centre stage to give the stories an edgier range of villain, the game is out this summer.

Nindroids will feature 30 fast-paced, action-packed levels that follow the key plot scenarios featured in the “LEGO Ninjago Rebooted” animated series. In the game, the player must fight like a true Spinjitsu Master, using special moves and combo attacks or secret weapons like Technoblades to hack into computers to solve puzzles and defend the city.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD hits the all-format chart at No.4

While not able to compete with the all-new fare from the likes of inFamous, Metal Gear and Titanfall, Square's remake launched on Friday manages a healthy landing in the four spot on the UK's all formats charts, and naturally No. 1 in the Vita chart. Will be interesting to see if there's any breakdown on sales.

All formats chart:

1. inFamous: Second Son (PS4)
2. Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes (Multi
3. Titanfall (X1)
4. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS3/Vita)
5. South Park The Stick of Truth (Multi)

UPDATE: The PS3 version charted at No. 4 in the individual format chart while the Vita version made it in at No. 9. A very decent effort for a Vita game.

PS Vita chart:
1 new FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD SQUARE ENIX - 1
2 - FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 1 26
3 = KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY 3 29
4 = TEARAWAY SONY 4 18
5 - THE LEGO MOVIE VIDEOGAME WARNER 2 6

Vita PSN Top Sellers: (last week)

1. Hatsune Miku Project Diva
2. Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z
3. Toukiden Age of Demons
4. Ys: Memories of Celceta
5. LEGO Movie Videogame

Cooking and boobs, what's not love in new Senran Kagura trailer

As if a rhythm cooking game isn't enough, just throw in stripping too, and then cover the girls in the food. That's Tamsoft's motif and who are we to argue, as the latest clip from publisher Marvelous shows. While some of the series is heading west, I think this might be pushing things a bit too far.

Last year's Shinovi Versus cross-over version was one of the best selling Vita games in Japan, so who knows how high this one could fly?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Freedom Wars gets some damn ugly box art

The Vita has done pretty well in the world of box art, I can look through most of my cases and think the artist has done a good job. In the age of digital products, perhaps it doesn't mean quite as much, but even so there's little excuse for this mess.

We've got a whole lot of blurring, a logo in acres of wasted space, an indistinct monster, the hero facing into the image and no clear idea of what the claw is doing and the sword cut off on the edge of the pic. The bottom third is all wasted and why there's some random scaffolding, I have no idea? I suppose the recent videos do a far better job of explaining the game, but even so this is candidate for worst box art.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Meet Narika, another of Conception II's magical battling babes

Sorry, Atlus, I'm getting rather fed up of the drip feed approach to Conception II now, especially with these cookie cutter character videos. Still, its hard to fault little Narika, the oh so sensitive and ultra-shy class Vice President who has brilliant ideas, but lacks the self-esteem to back them up. Fortunately she's a little more confident in the dungeons, with one of the strongest attack stats in the game and deadly earth elemental magic.

Can you dance like Hatsune Miku?

With the second Vita title hitting the shelves in Japan next week, and the first version now on the UK PSN store, what better time to ask the question can you dance while playing the game? Well, one young lady certainly can, but she's a digital creation, so I'm not sure that's fair.


Final Fantasy X HD finally goes live in the UK

Yep, the 6.7GB two-game file is up on the UK PSN for £29.99, or if you don't have the memory card space, you can buy the first game (which comes with a download code for the second) in stores. Here's a final trailer from Square Enix just to put the cherry on this very pretty cake.




Thursday, March 20, 2014

Football Manager screenshots for the Vita

Damn, missed these from yesterday, if you're old enough to remember Kevin Toms' Football Manager on the Spectrum, then this should take you back, but oh, about a million times more detailed, but hopefully with the same speed of play. Sports Interactive has tweeted three screens, the first from the Vita version, still no release date, hopefully April, but looking good.


YoYo's GameMaker Studio exporting to PlayStation formats

While the pros are using Unity or their own tools to create PlayStation Vita games, for the rest of us, it can be a daunting challenge to even dive into a compiler or other game creator. YoYo Games announced at GDC that its novice-to-expert coding tools will soon port to PlayStation, potentially allowing more games to be created for the Vita.

Note the potentially bit, as all but the most basic version, and all the exporters cost modest amounts, that bedroom coders might not be able to afford. Still, its another avenue for Vita development which has to be a good thing. The Vita export feature will go live at the end of May, so you've got time to code your first steps in the freely downloadable version, before deciding if it can help you make your dream game.

Both the soon-to-be-released Hyper Light Drifter and Death Ray Manta were both coded using YoYo's tools, proving the power of the system, so what's stopping you trying it out? Even if you demo only works on a PC it might be enough to convince a publisher of its merits and help you get some early investment?

UPDATE: I'm having a quick play with this and within an hour had made an animated sprite, some terrain blocks, a background and put them in a room with some rudimentary move and jumping actions. Impressive stuff. All without a line of code, just as well as my background is mostly DBase.

More One Piece Unlimited World Red details emerge

After the surprise Vita announcement for this Japanese 3DS title, comes a little more info on the Red Count and his cohorts. Straight from the dudes at Namco Bandai:
The Straw Hat Pirates encounter and befriend a cheerful yet mysterious raccoon named Pato who possesses a shadowy power to create anything drawn onto a leaf. In order to help their new friend, the Straw Hat Pirates agree to assist Pato on an ambiguous mission “to meet someone;” Pato then leads the crew to the Forgotten Island where all the Straw Hat Pirates except Luffy are successively kidnapped by a wicked pirate named The Red Count, who had escaped the lower depths of Impel Down two years ago. With Pato’s help, Luffy must fight to recover his crew from the enemy’s grasp and find out exactly what The Red Count’s evil plots are…

Japanese release frenzy detailed

Here's the games out in Japan today and next week, which marks the start of the selling season and the usual big bump in hardware sales. With a new PSO2 deluxe release and the evergreen Pro Baseball Spirits, that's pretty much a starter for next week's rampage of Hatsune Miku, Atelier and Winning Post, plus many limited edition versions. Puts the west's dearth of games into some perspective it, doesn't it.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Episode 2: Deluxe package (Sega) (¥5.229)
Samurai Warriors 4 (Koei Tecmo) (¥7.140)
Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 (Konami) (¥7.600)
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth2 - Sisters Generation # (Compile Heart) (¥6.090)
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth2 - Sisters Generation [Limited Edition] (Compile Heart) (¥8.190)
Assassin's Creed III: Liberation (Ubi the Best) (Ubisoft) (¥3.129)

NEXT WEEK


Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd (Sega) (¥7.350)
Hakuoki SSL: Sweet School Life # (Idea Factory) (¥6.090)
Hakuoki SSL: Sweet School Life [Limited Edition] (Idea Factory) (¥8.190)
Ro-Kyu-Bu! Naisho no Shutter Chance # (Kadokawa Games) (¥6.480)
Ro-Kyu-Bu! Naisho no Shutter Chance [Limited Edition] (Kadokawa Games) (¥9.980)
Golden Time: Vivid Memories # (Kadokawa Games) (¥6.279)
Golden Time: Vivid Memories [Limited Edition] (Kadokawa Games) (¥10.479)
Lovely Quest: Unlimited # (Piacci) (¥6.279)
Lovely Quest: Unlimited [Limited Edition] (Piacci) (¥8.379)
Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of the Land of Twilight # (Gust) (¥6.090)
Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of the Land of Twilight [Premium Box] (Gust) (¥8.190)
Winning Post 8 # (Koei Tecmo) (¥7.140)
Winning Post 8 [20th Anniversary Premium Box] (Koei Tecmo) (¥10.290)
Kanojo wa ore Kara Hanarenai # (Technical Group Laboratory) (¥5.229)
Kanojo wa ore Kara Hanarenai [Limited Edition] (Technical Group Laboratory) (¥6.279)

Nippon Ichi's mystery game revealed as a thing of beauty

A few weeks back, Nippon Ichi had a strange teaser site running with a word game, whose solution didn't really provide much insight. Now the game has been announced and it looks like we have Japanese developers attempting to stretch into the cute puzzle adventure genre.


Firefly, although its official name is still htoL#niq, is due out in June with a neat boxed version. Dengeki has a load more screens and art which show a stylish hand-crafted approach.

Oddworld indeed looks New and Tasty

Sure, its likely from the PS4 version, but this gameplay video shows of some brilliant touches that make Oddword such an infectious and long-lasting series. With plenty of tricks and traps, crawling and sneaking, it brings the series back to its roots PS1 roots with Abe's Oddysee, ahead of the more sprawling and unfocused Vita 2012 port of Stranger's Wrath.

Borderlands 2 first look for the Vita, temper your expectations

Based on word (from IGN among others) and video coming out of GDC (Games Developer Conference - i.e., the people who should know) Borderlands 2 is looking a bit of a stretch for the Vita's hardware. Now sure, its still in development, and there's time to fix things like slowdown, loading time and mapping issues (suspect that'll be easier with the new model with the smaller back-panel), but from what we've seen, it does the job!

MEMO TO SONY/TAKE 2/IRON GALAXY - Release a proper video to counteract the blurry random-focus mess that everyone's currently squinting at, with a voice track explaining what the developers have yet to polish. What were your PR people thinking?

Update: Sony has (as you'd expect) said the game will be refined before launch, and we should expect a release date within the next few weeks.



Even if there's a delay (it is due for a hardware bundle May release) for some extra optimisation, which I wouldn't mind, when it does arrive, don't expect the title trumpeted as the Vita's big release for 2014 to help the hardware platform massively. With no "new" games announced at GDC, I suspect it won't exactly start a splurge of new projects from big-name developers. Instead, a future as a dumb terminal for Remote Play seems the only way we'll enjoy big-budget, non-Japanese, games.

Still, if Sony keeps its promise there's plenty of classic revamps to come, and a hugely bright indie future. So, while the biggest names might not fall our way, the Vita's story still has a long way to run.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Vita sales hold in Japan ahead of spring release frenzy

Over the next couple of weeks, there will be about 15 new Vita releases hitting Japan, with the likes of J Stars Victory Vs, Hatsune Miku and Neptunia marking the start of the spring frenzy. Ahead of that, the Vita maintained its sales, according to Media Create's chart. That's down a little, while the Vita TV could crack the 100,000 mark next week with a bit of effort.


On the games side, Soul Sacrifice Delta sticks in the top four, with another 17,000 sales. Next week, almost anything could happen, with a minimum of 50,000 Vita sales likely. 

Sony Japan shows off a little more Freedom!

Freedom Wars is looking quite the portable epic, with depth to the game, plot and war between city states, which forms part of the overarching action, as shown in this new video, covering character creation and trashing massive mechs. It comes hot on the heels of the release date and plenty more content news.

Meet the heroes in Makai Shin Trillion

This is a new game, announced by Compile Heart in the Japanese mags, and they waste the whole two minutes of the first video introducing the characters, without giving much a hint as to the game. However, since it comes from one of the minds behind Disgaea 4, I think we can take a wild stab at turn-based combat with over the top characters.

EU PSN sale on Rockstar PSP titles

With some territory restrictions, PSP and Vita owners can rush off into the grimy world of GTA, Manhunt, Midnight Club with a decent PSN sale reducing most of these games to around £5. Should help pass time time, as we await the slightest hint of a proper GTA vita title.

PSP
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Was £10.99/€14.99/AU$17.95, now £5.49/€6.99/AU$10.35
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories [PSP] Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$21.95, now £5.49/€6.99/AU$10.35
GTA: Liberty City Stories [PSP] Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$21.95, now £5.49/€6.99/AU$10.35
Manhunt 2 [PSP] Was £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.75, now £3.19/€3.99/AU$5.85
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition [PSP] Was £9.99/€12.99/AU$18.45, now £4.79/€5.99/AU$8.85
Midnight Club L.A. Remix [PSP] Was £9.99/€12.99/AU$18.45, now £4.79/€5.99/AU$8.85
The Warriors [PSP] Was £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.75, now £3.19/€3.99/AU$5.85

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vita games explode out of the latest Famitsu ratings

Despite the herd of new games hitting the Vita, mostly love sims by the sound of it, and rated in Famitsu this week, they'll probably all get squashed by the arrival of a LovePlus title on 3DS. Still, Japan has the new Hatsune Miku and the latest Winning Post title to enjoy, a new Atelier game  all getting excellent or decent reviews.

New LovePlus+ (3DS) – 10/9/9/9
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd (PSV) – 10/9/9/9
Winning Post 8 (PS3/PSV) – 9/8/9/9
Kiniro no Corda 3: Another Sky feat. Shiseikan (PSP) – 9/9/8/8
Golden Time: Vivid Memories (PSV) – 8/8/8/8
Atelier Ayesha Plus (PSV) – 8/8/8/7
Hakuouki ~Sweet School Life~ (PSV) – 8/8/7/8
Ro-Kyu-Bu! Naisho no Shutter Chance (PSV) – 7/8/6/8
Romeo & Juliet (PSP) – 8/7/7/7
Lovely Quest – Unlimited – (PSV) – 8/7/7/6
Ano Ko wa Ore kara Hanarenai (PSV) – 7/8/7/6

Ellie and Chloe will help improve your Conception

Atlus continues to introduce the ladies of Conception II, following on from Toni, who will help you fight it out in the battle for the Children of the Seven Stars. With teams to build, battles to fight and skills to learn, even if you find them rather annoying (a girl band in the making?), the underlying game looks pretty fun.



US Vita gets more video apps, Europe waving frantically!

Today's U.S. PSN update will see a herd of new apps come online with more available soon. Yankee-types will be able to bask in endless video from the likes of anime-farm Crunchyroll, NHL GameCenter and Qello, a concert broadcaster. Coming soon will be the likes of Hulu Plus, Redbox and Gaiam TV.

 Now, okay, we don't need desperately the NHL (or perhaps you do) but the rest of them (plus the still missing Netflix for Europe app) would make neat additions to our OLED screens. Hopefully we'll get a matching announcement tomorrow, or at least some indication that Sony gives a stuff about the Vita's non-gaming capabilities.

I mean, when was the browser last updated (an issue that plagued the PSP)? And why is the Twitter and Facebook integration still pretty crappy, two years on from launch? If Sony wants to pretend the Vita is more than just a game device, it could at least make a little effort?

Of course, with all these apps, that does make a tiny bit more likely that the Vita TV will ship at some point, although with Amazon, Google and everyone else throwing TV streamers at buyers, that possibility is shrinking fast.

Steamworld Dig and Luftrausers rake in glowing reviews

I hope Vlambeer means "lots of beer" in dutch because the developers of Luftrausers should be rightly drowning in the stuff based on the decent scores coming in for their 2D old-school arcade shooter. Some of these reviews are for the big-screen versions, but I doubt there's much difference.

EGM 9/10
GamesRadar 8/10
PocketGamer Gold
NGN 9/10
EuroGamer 9/10
Girl Gamers 8/10
Edge 8/10


Also doing well is Steamworld Dig which picks up a raft of great scores too.

Punk and Lizard 8/10
PSU 8.5
Push Square 8
PlayStationGB 9.6/10

Will add more scores as they appear. Let me know if I'm missing one. What's all this Titanfall and Metal Gear nonsense someone keeps muttering about?

Freedom Wars dated for Japan, ad-hoc only at launch

Continuing the mild onslaught of monster hunting type games, Freedom Wars will arrive on shelves in Japan on June 26th, bringing a more sci-fi tone to the usual fantasy settings. The launch version will feature ad-hoc play only for four players, with a future updated offering eight-player support and infrastructure mode.

Hopefully, if it comes to Europe and the U.S., Sony will bring the fully patched version over, so we won't have to find four Vita owners in a room, sat next to a unicorn and Elvis. Naturally there will be plenty of digital goodies on offer with costumes and weapons up for pre-order customers.

Some recent videos showed off the first 30 minutes of the game, and a Famitsu magazine article has unveiled some new characters and information beyond the release details.

Monday, March 17, 2014

News coming soon on Football Manager for the Vita

A regular staple of my twitter feed has been people asking when Football Manager is arriving. God knows how many years I spent from the 16-bit version up to the PSP edition, so a few more weeks won't hurt. Anyway, the SI team tweeted over the weekend to let the world know we can expect some information this week, which sounds like a good thing, stay tuned.


Home comes home to roost on the Vita

Home, a couple-of-years old obscure PC game, not Sony's crappy second-life effort, is making its way to the Vita and PS4, riding the ever growing indie tidal wave. I have no idea if its any good or not, but it is apparently packed with bags of atmosphere and could just be quirky enough to sit among the Vita's top tier of indies.


Here's a video of the PC original, likely contains spoilers if you're a total wuss about such things. UPDATE: Some six months on from the news, the game is now confirmed for release on PS4 on October 28th, with the Vita version following soon after.

Natural Doctrine waves its sword around

Hmm, today Warner announces a revamped version of Gauntlet for PC, and I'm left staring that this, a new video of some horribly generic nasties that could come straight from Atari's original. You know which one I'd rather play?

Still, Kadokawa's Natural Doctrine does have some strategic depth to it that I can't imagine the Warner developers will cater to, but how many ways are there to beat up yet another frickin goblin or spidery demon thing?

New indie Aztez adds strategy to your pummeling

With Sony's PS Vita line-up at GDC so far full of indie games (bar Borderlands 2), here comes another one to throw into the mix. Aztez from Team Colorblind is a beat-em up with a few cunning mid-air twists. True, it ticks the good indie boxes, with a distinctive visual style, a tweak on some common gameplay and a clever 'big idea'.

In the game you expand and maintain the Aztec empire through turn-based strategy, while managing violent outbreaks via real-time beat 'em up sequences. Every game is unique; different events will occur, different challenges will emerge, and different spoils will be taken each time you play. Spread, strengthen, subjugate!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Freedom Wars shows off some early gameplay

Someone, somewhere has got hold of Freedom Wars and let the first 30 minutes lose on the web, spread over two YouTube clips. There's lots of discussion in the background (all in Japanese naturally) but it gives a decent glimpse into the combat mechanics of the game.

Interestingly, while everyone is up in arms over the vertical joys of Titanfall, wonder if gamers will be so receptive to the chain leaping abilities of Sony Japan's effort.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Robotics:Notes Elite visual novel trailer racking up the hits

This opening movie released today for the revamped visual novel on the Vita has already raced to 7,000 views in next to no time, suggesting it'll be another popular choice. 5pb and mages are in charge, and the game will arrive in a couple of months. From the smiling innocent faces to awe-striking rocket launches and striding mechas, it looks pretty slick. We can but hope that it follows the growing trend with a western release.

More indie games flock to the Vita

Sony is making quite the indie effort today with many blog posts. The cynic in me says that's because they have no big-name games to show. However, we'll wait until GDC to see exactly what transpires there before I go on one of those rants.

So, check out Race the Sun from Flippfly, a chrome tinged, low-level flyer with some cunning tactics involved. It is due for a summer release and will support Cross Buy and Cross Save across PS4, PS3 and Vita.



Then there's tower defence game Final Horizon from Eiconic which I first heard about last summer, that hopefully means the game is pretty close to launch, check out some pics on the PSN blog post.


Finally, there's a new video for Hyper Light Drifter, the Kickstarted game that is looking pretty slick now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Gorgeous RPG Dragon Fin Soup looks good on Kickstarter

I was assuming the lack of new Vita games/stretch goals on Kickstarter recently was down to Sony's indie drive helping get games done. While we still wait the first real fruit from the crowd-funding scene (Starlight Inception is in final testing, Mighty No. 9 in development and so on), here's a rare addition to the Vita's line up. 

Dragon Fin Soup by Grimm Bros is a pretty epic looking RPG destined for PS4/PS3 and Vita at $100,000 stretch goal. It has some pretty slick unique goodies to tempt people in at the higher end of the donation spectrum and if the artwork matches the final in-game product, should be something very special to own. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tearaway wins three BAFTA awards, top praise indeed

While The Last of Us scooped up five awards for its cinematic efforts, and GTAV picked up three. If you're talking pure gaming charm, then Media Molecule and Tearaway were the clear winners with the Vita's tour de force picking up Artistic Achievement, Best Mobile and Handheld Game, and Best Family Game.

Congratulations to the team, we can only hope it sold enough (although there's little evidence for that) for Sony to keep investing in the developers to come up with yet more magic.

One Piece Unlimited heads to western Vitas

Namco Bandai may have cruelly trashed the Ridge Racer and Soul Calibur series, and dragged its heels on western versions of Vita essentials like God Eater 2, Tales of Innocence, Pirate Warriors and others. But, it will throw EU and Aussie Vita gamers a bone with One Piece Unlimited World Red, a game that was a 3DS-only title back in Japan.

One Piece Unlimited World Red is described as an action-adventure RPG game, developed by Ganbarion. The New World and its fierce challenges await Luffy and his nakama where players get to live the complete Pirate adventure thanks to fun-filled escapades, the odd spot of fishing, action-packed battles and powerful allies in a whole new never-before-seen scenario.


One piece fans will be playing as their favourite Straw Hat crew members and run through the plot battling famous boss battles such as Crocodile, Rob Lucci, Caesar Clown and others! With many skills to master, flashy combos to launch, the Vita version will feature local multiplayer for up to four players and is due this year.

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Hatsune Miku lands on the EU PSN store update

Stepping down from the plane taking her on a world tour of gaming stores, Sega's Hatsune Miku finally arrives on the PS Vita in Europe. And in her baggage is a collection of day one DLC to keep vocaloid fans tapping long into the night.

LBP fans can also pick up the St. Pat's day costume for free while HD Rotating Octopus is on-sale if you fancy a bargain. Otherwise quite a light week, but remember to pick up Smart As... and more for free on PS+.


PlayStation Vita: 
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f

PS Vita DLC:
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f
LittleBigPlanet Vita (Cross-Buy) - St Patrick’s Day Costume
Toukiden

Offers:
The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character – Was £2.39/€2.99/$4.35, Now £1.19/€1.49/$2.15

Soul Sacrifice Delta storms to No. 1 in Japan

Here's something new, a Vita game at the top of the chart in Japan, the new Soul Sacrifice Delta leaps out of the blocks with near enough 49,000 sales. That is about half of the original's first week sales, but there are a lot more monster hunter style games out there now, and while the original was well received, I think it only hit around 200,000 sales.

01./00. [PSV] Soul Sacrifice Δ (Sony Computer Entertainment)  - 48.786 / NEW
02./06. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch (Level 5) - 36.018 / 532.472 (-4%)
03./05. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters 2:  # (Square Enix)  - 31.157 / 718.865 (-42%)
04./01. [3DS] Harvest Moon: Linking The New World (Marvelous AQL) 29.514 / 160.296 (-77%)
05./00. [PS3] Ar Nosurge: Umareizuru Hoshi e Inoru Uta # (Gust)  - 27.037 / NEW
... 16./09. [PSV] Deception IV: Blood Ties # (Koei Tecmo)  - 6.101 / 25.422 (-68%)



That gave the Vita a nice 10,000 boost on the hardware front and with lots of new stuff coming soon, it should be on a decent roll.



Milestone's MXGP now up for pre-order

MXGP, developed by Milestone and published in the UK by PQube is now up pre-order with a bonus for getting in early, before the end-of-month launch. If you get the Motocross title from GAME, it will come with an exclusive limited edition book – detailing the tracks in the game, as well as giving a sneak peek behind the scenes for the game’s development – showing off the lengths that developers Milestone have gone to, to ensure it’s the most authentic representation of motocross in a game.


The company also recently announced MotoGP 14 will be heading to the Vita, providing more two-wheeled racing excellence on the go.

PlayStation Mobile update, cats, helicopters, commandos and consoles

There's another decent roster of PSM titles hitting PSN today, leading off with the corking Console Saga from Thomas Hopper which looks well worth the £3.39. Next up is Touch Commando, a 71MB 3D shooter and NekoRush, what looks like a flying-cat herding cum platform game.

Throw in yet another Mahjong game, an arcade game called Helicopter (looks a bit Flappy Birds) from the creator the PSM Snake title (which sold a 1,000 copies, for which the developer, Carrot Creations, seems quite happy). Read more about his dev exploits here. Finally, theres's a freebie in the form of Shovel Shuffle, so plenty to choose from.

New Conception II PS Vita western video, meet Torri

Atlus is starting to ramp up the interest in quirky-JRPG with a series of character introduction videos. Today we meet Torri and see some of the the smart uniforms, moves and weapons that form the backbone of the game. Children of the Seven Stars hits next month.

)

Pro Spirits Baseball 2014 trailer sends 'em home

Packing a decent set of reviews in the new Famitsu scores, here's a trailer for the never ending series of Japanese baseball games. Good to see the game still servicing the PSP faithful. Frankly, prefer these guys' commentary over the leaden tones from Sony's The Show.

Any explanation as to the significance of the all-girl back-office team and the Sim City bit near the end is welcome.

)

Famitsu scores hit Vita games out the park

The scores are in for another busy week in Famitsu-land, with the usual suspects getting top billing. But the Vita has a hefty roster of games as the spring busy season gets ready to roll. Pro Yakyuu Spirits is the third version of the long-running baseball series on the Vita which scored 9/9/9/8 for last year's version, that sold 23,600 on launch.

Samurai Warriors gets a decent score too, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the series but is likely to be eclipsed in sales by both Hyperdimension (with a confirmed western release) and the potentially massive J-Stars Victory Vs. Most of these games are out next week.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4/PS3/360) – 10/9/9/10
Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2014 (PS3/PSV) – 10/9/9/9
Samurai Warriors 4 (PS3/PSV) – 9/8/8/8
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re; Birth 2 Sisters Generation (PSV) – 9/8/8/7
J-Stars Victory Vs. (PS3/PSV) – 8/8/8/8
Koezaru wa Akaihana: Daiga ha Mirai wo Tsumugu (PSP) – 8/8/8/6
Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2014 (PSP) – 7/8/7/7

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tiny Troopers getting some special treatment on the Vita

A pair of hit mobile games, Tiny Troopers and its Special Ops second edition are getting promoted to the Vita and PlayStation consoles. With 8 million copies downloaded, they looks fun and come to the Vita wearing a Joint-Ops badge to highlight the bundling. Video comes from the second game on mobile.


The originals were developed by Finnish studio Kukouri, while English team Wired are handling the conversion, modifying the game into a twin-stick shooter.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Vita PSN sales chart for February

The PSN charts are out and show great business for indies like Gunslugs and Llamasoft's TxK, while the raft of Japanese games squashes those lingering hopes of western-developed major titles getting a look in (in America at least).

Of course, without sales the numbers are pretty meaningless, but hopefully enough to encourage indies to keep developing and Japanese publishers to keep bringing games our way.

US PSN
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Dustforce
Gunslugs
TxK
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Terraria
Dragon’s Crown
Killzone: Mercenary
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition

EU PSN
Hotline Miami (RE)
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (RE)
TxK (New)
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (RE)
Tearaway (RE)
Terraria (5)
Spelunky (RE)
The Amazing Spider-Man (New)
Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified (RE)
Toukiden: The Age of Demons (New)

In a Galak-Z quite close to home

The Vita is doing rather well out of classic shooters right now, what the TxK illuminating the world with its vector-classiness and now here comes Galak-Z, with a PS blog post highlighting how the game evolves rather than shuffles from level to level and its inspiration by the rougelikes.

This trailer is pretty old, and the new PS4 version looks super sharp in the blog post pics, but I'd be quite happy rolling around these dark reaches of the galaxy on my Vita.

MotoGP 14 lines up on pole for the Vita

Milestone will continue its noble tradition of bringing the latest in two-wheeled sports over to the Vita with MotpGP 14 announced across most formats, including next-generation. The video shows the evolution of the series, but you know what to expect with fairing-banging action, six-person multiplayer on the Vita and all the riders and brands from the big machines and the smaller classes.

Rocketbirds Evolution heading straight for Vita and PS4

Ratloop must be pretty pleased with the success of the first Rocketbirds encounter with the Vita as a sequel is on the way, announced at an indie developer meet-up in Japan. The trailer is pretty brief but shows off the game's beefed-up PS4-friendly visuals. Top soundtrack too, if this snippet is just an example of what's to follow.

Also announced for the Vita was Infinita Strata, which I'm pretty sure has nothing to do with Infinite Stratos, being coded by cutesy puzzle and RPG house office5656. I'd have thought the Japanese would be more into indie Vita games, especially with the growing mobile dominance and ease-of-porting from Unity, but perhaps it takes longer to get things going over there.

Western Final Fantasy X HD scores rolling in

Square's monster opus revamp is out in the America this week, Europe next week and the scores are already breaking cover, with good ratings from most of the key sources, and a few of the usual criticisms (unskippable cut scenes) sticking in the mud. Everyone is reviewing the PS3 version for now, but most have some Vita comments. The game is available in a Limited Edition on PS3 while the Vita offers only the standard one game on card/one to download version.



Game Informer 9/10
The Vita version is nearly identical to its big brother, but there are some additional jaggies and other minor graphical imperfections. None of these issues impede your experience, but the difference is evident.

Destructoid 8/10
Square Enix's overhaul has added so much more visual appeal. I'm pleased to say that this isn't some quick upscale job.

VentureBeat 8/10
The PlayStation 3 version puts both FFX and FFX-2 on the same disc, but the Vita card only holds FF-X. You must download the other game with a code that comes with the package. It’s inconvenient and annoying, and it’s the worst part of the Vita package.

Gaming Age A/A+
The remixed soundtrack that makes up a good chunk of Final Fantasy X’s music is going to be the biggest hang-up for returning fans.

Gaming Bolt 9/10
Final Fantasy X benefits the most from the additional content. By far the biggest change is the option to use the Expert Sphere Grid, which starts all of the characters in the middle of the grid instead of in their own separate sections.

IGN 9.3/10
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is outstanding. With enhanced art and music, tons of extra in-game content, cross-save compatibility, and bundling two huge games for the price of one, it’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Friday, March 7, 2014

More J-Stars Victory Vs brawling on show

Here's another bout in the ever-expanding world of Namco's J Stars cross over which claims to offer a mass appeal fighting game across a gamut of Jump manga titles in 2-on-2 action. The game is out in Japan in a couple of weeks so expect plenty more coverage and high-octane clips as it gets ready to storm the chart.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Smart As...

Okay, so I picked this up free thanks to PS+ but frankly this is one game Sony couldn't give away. However, it perfectly highlights the chasm Sony fell into, early in the Vita's life, when it tried to appeal to mobile gamers, but in the old console way. For a start, its a near 2GB downlod for a bunch of mini games. Yes, brain training games need slick presentation but they also need to be quick and fun, everything this isn't.

The soothing tones of John Cleese lure you in and the clean rendering graphics style is nice and all (if a little bit pyscho ward), but the four short games you get on day one are tedious exercises in touch screen writing or tapping, with barely a neuron needing to fire. And the delay in moving between them, I've seen shorter ice ages.

The first games are maths, spelling, linking lines and a reaction test. The touchscreen elements work fine and show the Vita (one of the game's aims I guess) off nicely. But, on the linking lines game, I couldn't delete a line, so failed the test in the process getting a poor score, just one tiny little fail ruined the whole day's score and my experience.



Sure I won't make that mistake again, but that and the plodding pace rally trashed the game. Come back the next day and you  might improve your score (or not) and more games (up to 15, some using the camera and other Vita features) become available, to liven up the variety. Outside the game, you can check world, regional and local scores, play in local challenges and so on, all logical features but again so slow to access.

With no proven link to brain training or improving your mental faculties, this is a very poor waste of time. Play it long enough and there are errors in translating letters and numbers, which also grate. Sure, its glossy, but look at the wacky speed of Frobisher Says or the directness of Welcome Park and you get a far better idea of where the developers should have headed.

On the plus side, there are some easy trophies to be won, and more with a little persistence. The free play and challenge mode add a little extra once you've finished the daily run, and the difficulty levels make it more of a challenge for the committed. If all the online modes worked in synch with the basic game (dropping out to Near is a real pain) then it would be a little better, adding more challenge and drive to get into the game, but its so anodyne, I find it hard to make the effort.

Developer: Sony XDev
Price: Free on PS+ in March (£6.99 otherwise on PSN)
Score: 3/10
Progress: Day two, uninstalled!
More reviews

New indie Foul Play hits the stage on the Vita

There's been a bunch of recent movies following magic on the stages of old theaters, but I don't think any of them have covered outright violence. That seems to be the thrust (plus stabbing and punching) of this game from MediaTonic where you need to wow the audience with acts of violence and mayhem.

The setting might be original but it has a slight case of the When Vikings Attack about it, which I found rather bland after the novelty had worn off. Hope that isn't the case here.


Borderlands 2 Vita bundle dated for 27 May UK release

Not sure when this popped up, but Amazon U.K. now has the Vita bundle with Borderlands 2 listed for sale at the end of May. Formerly confirmed for the U.S., this appears to be Sony's big shot for the summer, unless all these recently teased announcements lead to anything. Will it lead to a boost in sales? Can but hope.


Deception IV brings twisty sadistic fun in March

Now listed on Amazon, Deception IV offers more twisted gaming fun on the Vita, setting traps to do in your rivals. Deception IV: Blood Ties lands in Europe on 28th March. Three demons, Veruza, Caelea and Lilia. represent a different aspect of cruelty: Sadistic Torment, Elaborate Death and Humiliating Demise, and they reward points and upgrades every time chief of evil Laegrinna chooses to use one of their traps to escape her rivals.



There are more than 120 different types of traps - including themed traps for each stage and enchanted moving trapmobiles - in Deception IV: Blood Ties and players can use a vast number of combinations to defeat those who try to harm them. Based on the result the three Daemons will judge and reward points for the best combo. For a better idea of the variety of combos and traps included in Deception IV: Blood Ties, Tecmo Koei launched today an sinfully indulging, interactive mini quiz that serves to determine each player’s individual style of evil! There, they can choose between spring boards, Iron Maidens, falling vases and more, watch them in action and discover which Daemon favours their choices as well as get information on their lucky trap based on their options.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Have a Gandalf at the LEGO Hobbit boxart

Slow news day today, so even a squint at the official artwork for the LEGO Hobbit game is worth a piece. Guess the game will again be the mobile version, but hey, its got dragons and dwarves in it, so who are we to argue? Although if anyone knows different, let us know.


The stripping vampire killers of Akiba's Trip head west

Continuing the swarm of Japanese games getting an English translation, along comes the Vita version of one of the more curious concoctions from the east. Thanks to XSeed, we too can venture around around a realistic recreation of Akihabara, kicking the crap out of vampires and rending their clothes from their bodies to expose them to sunlight.

That's the basics of Akiba's Trip 2 Undead and Undressed. I've covered plenty of both the Vita and PSP original, and while part of me feels like doing a pervy hand-rub, the rest of me wants to dive into the techno culture around the game. So far its been announced for a North American summer release, but really deserves to go global.


Vita sales rise in Japan, but the big games are yet to come

This time last year Vita sales went ballistic as the price cut and Soul Sacrifice crashed in. This year, things are up a bit (just under 5,000) thanks to a few releases that land in the middle of the Media Create chart, but the big guns are yet to fire. Will SS Delta and the new Hatsune Miku provide a similar boost? Find out in the coming weeks.

09./00. [PSV] Kagero: Darkside Princess # (Koei Tecmo)  (¥6.090) - 19.322 / NEW
11./00. [PSV] Infinite Stratos 2: Ignition Hearts # (5pb.)  (¥7.140) - 15.213 / NEW
15./00. [PSV] Valhalla Knights 3: Gold (Marvelous AQL)  (¥5.229) - 11.186 / NEW



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Project DIVA f launches on Vita in the US today

Here's a new video to finally celebrate the release of one the Vita's biggest selling games in the west. Ignore Sega's reluctance to bring it here in the first place, then putting it out on PS3 first, but just celebrate and get tapping along to the vocaloid squeakings of Miss. Miku.



Some more info on the PSN blog, including the day one extra tracks DLC. Hoping it hits Europe tomorrow (update: we get the 300MB demo this week, the full game next week folks). Check out all the previous news and the ramp up for the launch of the sequel in Japan.

Get ready for some Starlight on your Vita

The Vita's first Kickstarted game is almost ready to fly, with the final code off to Sony for approval. While Starlight Inception might look a little light compared to the mega-funded monsters of Elite and Star Citizen, the beta proved a decent affair and will definitely bring some much needed space combat action as we wait for a higher-funded effort.



Hi everyone!
We wanted to let you all know that fingers crossed, we plan on submitting our final build to SCEA and SCEE for Vita today.
Kindest regards,
Garry, Melissa and the Starlight Inception team

Congrats the the team who have produced a solid looking, fun-to-play, effort on what is a teenth of the budget of its rivals.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fez finally hits the Vita this month

The behatted adventurer and indie legend Fez will arrive on the Vita at the end of the month. With Cross-Buy and Cross-Play, it'll run across PS3, PS4 and Vita, allowing cross-dimensional puzzling pretty much anywhere.


Has its light slipped over the years as the mighty Minecraft has become the game to play? Possibly, but Vita owners who have missed out on the Xbox experience should still try out this excellent adventure, in native resolution to boot.

Pushing the pastel agenda, forma.8 brings robo-indie adventures

Mixing the front layer noire of Limbo with the biological tilt of Mars Awakes, here's another indie adventure with a bags of quirk and a happy palette in the background with an ominous soundtrack. As a space probe on a distant world, you need to solve puzzles and mysteries, and stay alive in an unfriendly cosmos.

Looks good, and has plenty of potential, but these games are starting to look a little samey, or is it just me?

The Chainsaw Incident to rip up your Vita

Here's a fun way to start off the news week, but if your developer is called Crazy Piranha, what can you expect? The Chainsaw Incident is a new brawler that's over the top even by the standards of BlazBlue and classics such as ClayFighters with all sorts of weird freakazoid creatures battling it out.

Looks like its going the Kickstarter route and is definitely distinctive enough to stick out.