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, February 29, 2016

Xenoraid to bug the Vita

Indie studio 10 Tons is keeping itself busy with another new Vita game. Xenoraid is an evolved shooter, with a few new tricks to go with the classic-style gameplay. The developers explain their pans on the PS Blog, but with different ships to switch between in the middle of battle, overheating guns and a need for accuracy over frenetic blasting, it promises something a little different.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Digimon Next Order live event Monday with Eir Aoi

Depending on where you live, you might be able to catch a new live webcast from Bandai, with singer Eir Aoi taking the controls along with some of Bandai's team. This sort of show is unlikely to reveal much new but still worth a peek.

By my guess this will air at 12:30 UK Time, I'll correct if my crappy maths is wrong. Just start the video to see the countdown timer.

Vita TV killed off in Japan

Not 100% sure on this, but apparently the Vita TV has been killed off in Japan by Sony. With poor sales that were in the few hundred a week since its spectacular launch in November 2013 (largely driven by the God Eater limited edition helping it sell 42,000 on debut, it has been downhill all the way.

The odd thing is, having written down the value of the Vita TV (PlayStation TV in the west), there was no pressure on Sony to kill the product, which might have been a neat little Remote Play box for the growing number of PS4 owners out there. Sure, there's growing competition from micro consoles like the new Apple TV and Nvidia Shield, which have a steady stream of games arriving, plus other devices, but no reason to fold.
It looks like the price on Amazon has already shot back up. Not sure how long the dinky Vita boxes will last on western shelves so plan to pick up one, purely in case I decide to do any YouTubing off it in future.

I could write chapters about how Sony missold, mismarketed and missedthedamnpoint with the Vita TV over here, but not much need really. Even in Japan it was sold in limited editions with no game (like Yakuza) and other crazed concepts.

RIP little fella, we never really knew you at all!

 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

God Eater gets a western prologue

Since God Eater is pretty much coming to the west in an all-new guise - ignoring the remakes of the PSP version, Bandai has seen fit to start off with some tale telling. This God Eater prologue is 12 minutes of stern looks, subbed from the Japanese original and explains abit about those eaters of gods!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir western trailer has skills

With Odin Sphere stomping its way toward us, now we get to find out what a lot of the Japanese preview fuss was about. In this new trailer, Vanillaware highlights how the combat has been uprated from the PS2 original based on what the team learned while making Dragon's Crown.

Each character can be played by including a ridiculously deep system of skill trees unique to each of the game's five main characters. Vanillaware added almost 200 skills and abilities in Odin Sphere Leifthrasir!


You'll have the freedom to unlock powerful active skills, passive skills, and abilities to unleash the true potential of the main characters. The leveling system also has been streamlined so characters and Psyphers now level together. But of course, nothing is free in Erion: defeating enemies and exploring different areas is the only way to obtain Phozons and Phozon Prisms that are spent on unlocking/upgrading skills.

The source of your power only comes from the death of enemies. You would do well to remember that. Besides the addition of the skill trees, Vanillaware also tweaked many different gameplay elements in order to give Odin Sphere Leifthrasir a modern touch. Improvements include the ability to assign skills to button commands, full 1080p/60 fps support (say goodbye to frame rate drops!), a more fluid combo system, and more. Basically, gameplay is now smoother than the Rabbit Cafe's Yogurt Cheesecake!

Flame Over is our PS+ Game for March

Laughing Jackal's Flame Over (review) is a heck of a challenging game, with a pretty clever gameplay mechanic and an endearing lead. While it may not be to everyone's taste, it is still a lot better than Reality Fighters. That launch-day sack of crap that tries to use some of the Vita's gimmicks and fails is your other Sony offering for PS+ fun in March - woop!
Since both PS4 titles, BroForce and Galak-Z failed to land on the Vita, we won't be getting them in what looks like the weakest PS+ line up in a long time.

Battleships and Titans win for Vita in Japan's Media Create chart

Once again, the Vita manages to get the drop on its bigger PS4 cousin, by outselling the shinier version of Tecmo's Attack on Titan. The Vita managed 62,111 compared to the PS4's 61,156. But there's a big shocker at the top with the delayed and reportedly heavily bugged Kan Colle Kai (scoring 27% in reader reviews according to 4Gamer).

It took the No. 1 spot with over 140,000 sales. Does make me wonder if more mobile/IAP games will head to Vita based on that plus what are likely to be big digital download figures.

Flipping things around, Square's RPG Setsuna Sacrifice and Snow is more successful on the big screen console, selling 33.6K on the PS4 to the Vita's 28K. Dragon Quest Builders sticks in the top 10 with another 13K sales taking it to 262K on Vita.

In the mix of new entries is Street Fighter V on PS4 at No. 4. It only sold 42K copies and has a 20% user rating, ouch! Hope Capcom weren't counting on that for any profit. Time to reconsider Monster Hunter on Vita chaps?

On the hardware front, the new games haven't had as much of an impact on Vita sales as DQ Builders, with the Vita selling 22,191 this week, behind the PS4, but ahead of the 3DS. There was a Can Kolle Kai limited edition version, but that hardly sounds like a must-have item.

Sales for the PS4 have now passed 2.5 million in Japan, With the vita over 4.76 million.


Next week sees Atelier Shallie and Gundam Breaker 3 hit the stores, which may struggle to get high up the chart.  Last week's figures here.

Storm Lover CDs hitting Japan

If you have some serious interest in the Storm Lover visual novels on Vita, then Japan is getting the full audio CD treatment thanks to D3 Publisher. Check out a few of the tracks and get your VN groove on!

Dragon Quest Heroes II trailer and gameplay

Following on from the monstrous success of Dragon Quest Builders, will the Heroes off-shoot continue to do the business, as the series comes to the Vita? Overnight Square dropped the official trailer and there's some gameplay footage from the PS4 version. Some Vita footage is floating around the net, but its pretty crappy quality - check it out here if you want.

The game is due out on Japan on 27 May, with high hopes for a western release, considering its predecessor came over on PS4. It features Cross Play and Cross Save across Vita and PS4 with Vita TV support.




Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival gets first pitch-perfect pics

Actually they're only pre-alpha, so don't get too excited, there's still lots more work to go. The classic 16-bit football game introduced deft touches, swerves and other control features that added so much freedom compared to previous soccer titles. The game is due out later this year on PS4 and the Vita.

 

Given how dinky those sprites will look on the Vita, the one feature I'd really love is a zoom in mode for one-on-ones and sliding tackles, but I bow to Mr. Dini's instinct. Follow the fun on the game's Facebook page.



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Digimon mission DLC packs hit PSN

Damn, I'm nearing the end of the main Digimon adventure (review), but here's a bunch of DLC to divert me further. There four download packs now live on EU and US PSN, all for free.

They only take a few seconds each to download, so can't be that huge and offer three new missions each. Some of the missions appear on the notice board and come with extra goodies as rewards, the others are picked up as you go.



Missions include:
  • Urgent Mission from Mirei
  • A Villainous Cinematic Case
  • Nakano Digimon Festival
  • Terririermon's Exclusive Scoop
  • Paralle World: Girl and Destiny (8 different missions)

Risk of Rain to pour down on the Vita

Some three years after its original release, Risk of Rain is headed to PlayStation platforms, with cross-platform play. The only question is, what the heck is Risk of Rain? The standout words seem to be procedural and roguelike, which can never be a bad thing.

The PlayStation Blog post explains it all in boring dev-o-vision, but this British video provides a more than adequate take on the game with an additional monologue on the nature of rain.

Starlight Titanium warps to the Vita

Starlight Inception from Escape Hatch may have had a rough ride, but the patches helped a lot and it definitely worth a go at £14. However, if you want to hold off a bit, the company - which is also bringing Starlight Tactics to the Vita at some point - has a new space shooter in the works.


Starlight Titanium has a Facebook page with only a couple of pics, but looks like a pretty much refined and progressive update with a change of focus. Instead of limited missions, this game is a free roaming space combat game across a conflict ravaged star system.

Vita is listed as one of the release formats, thanks to the team for continuing its support, even after the rough launch. Hopefully the small team at Escape Hatch can do this with a bit more polish and ready-to-launch-at-launch finesse. Expect more info on the page soon.

UPDATE: here's the first screen with news that the team has moved to Unity for smoother development, and will endeavour to bring the game to Vita after the PC Steam version is done!



While we can't really expect Elite or Homeworld on the Vita (although why not one of the earlier versions?) This will be a welcome addition to the Vita's empty roster of 3D space titles.

Foul Play gets a launch trailer

Media Tonic and Devolver's tale of brawling skullduggery is out on Vita and PS4 this week, with a new launch trailer to celebrate. The stage-managed game of violence and mustaches certainly has a distinctive look and should be quite a blast.

Dashforth and Scampwick are our heroes, pummeling all manner of villains and demonic nastiness into a cocked hat. With a host of super-blast-spewing fiends along the way.

Quite a fine week of releases for the Vita , although Ninja Senki DX has been delayed due to circumstances beyond the developers control.

One Piece Burning Blood trailer (burning blood sold separately)

Bandai has popped up a lively new trailer for Spike's upcoming take on the One Piece series. Not only that, there's a replay of a recent live stream showing off some actual gameplay. The continuing and increasingly violent adventures of Luffy and co, will hit the west in April.


Grand Kingdom grants us a western trailer

Grand Kingdom is headed our way, in limited and regular editions. The game was shown off in action at NIS America's press event last night. Here's the first western trailer, but expect more detailed news in the coming days as the strategy and tactics required to survive are revealed.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Psycho Pass coming west thanks to NISA

NIS America's big press event is later today in the US. But one game has already leaked out of the bag. Now that it would take much guessing.

Anyone else think of Stuart Pearce when looking at that title? I was looking at the game's Japanese site in January and noticed the English version. That, and the growing western appetite for visual novels made it seem like rather a shoe-in.

Hopefully there will be more Vita fun out of NISA's event, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: Lost little girl adventure Yomawari: Night Alone was also confirmed for a western Vita release.

Axiom Verge Vita version "really quite close"

UPDATE: A new tweet (1oth March) suggests we can expect news in the next couple of days.

Good news on the fourth birthday of the EU Vita, Tom Happ and co developing it have a blog post with the latest news. The upshot is, most of the bugs have been squashed and it is running on the Vita.
So here’s the good news: the game is ported. It runs and is playable! Anyone who has worked on a porting project can tell you that that represents the biggest hurdle. Going from ported game to polished and shippable ported game is much easier than going from non-ported game to ported game. In fact, one of the reasons I couldn’t give a status update on the port before was that there was nothing to show. It was all plumbing and wiring. It’s only when you get everything hooked up and hit the switch that it goes from 0-100 pretty much overnight.
No release date, but I'm looking very forward to this immensely! Note that Limited Run is keen on getting us a physical version, if there's the time, budget and interest from the developer!

Space Overlords ready to rock

Space Overlords from 12 Hit Combo is another game sneaking out the gates this week, arriving on Friday. It features 7 galaxies and 50 planets where the Overlords are set are set to battle it out in 3D shooting action.

There are three single player modes to choose from; Main Gameplay, Co-operative and Gameplay Loop. Each galaxy will have eight planets and each section features atmospheric cut scenes. The multi-player portion of the game has four game modes and focuses on pitting the players against each other:

  • Have fun creating planets using the built-in level editor Share new planets and then attack other players’ planets for action packed gameplay
  • Pick-up-and-play free rampage - destroy every building and inhabitant of a planet before time runs out
  • Enjoy playing as a different race with a choice of up to six Overlords
  • PVP Multiplayer mode (up to four players)
  • Upgrading your character with items and power ups adds to pace of the game
  • Local and Steam Multiplayer modes
  • A whole host of different levels including variable game levels with switchable core mechanic
  • Four playable characters
Enjoy some gameplay from the PC version

Latest Vita UK chart update

Lego Marvel Avengers sticks to the No. 1 spot in the UK retail chart with Killzone and FIFA storming back into the top five, showing there's still love for these games. On PSN Digimon dominates as you'd expect with a digital only release. Over on Amazon both Persona 4 versions continue to do well, showing there's much love for limited editions too.

UK Retail Chart

1. Lego Marvel Avengers (Warner)
2. Minecraft (Mojang)
3. Killzone Mercenaries (Guerilla)
4. Lego Jurassic World (Warner)
5. FIFA 15 (EA)

UK PSN Top Sellers

1. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (Bandai)
2. Lego Marvel Avengers (Warner)
3. Oddworld New n Tasty (Oddworld)
4. Need for Speed Most Wanted (Criterion)
5. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Falcom)

Amazon UK Chart

1. Lego Marvel Avengers (Warner)
2. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Falcom)
3. FIFA 15 (EA)
4. Persona 4 Dancing all Night (NISA)
5. Persona 4 Dancing all Night Disco Fever Edition (NISA)



Coming soon are seven games on Amazon Pre-orders  with Star Wars (not actually on the list), plus Assassin's Creed, JRPGs and the intersting Aegis of Earth tower defence title.

For a chart with actual numbers, check out Japan's latest sales figures.

Out this week on PS Vita...

Already covered Hitman Go, which is surely the star of the week for the Vita - even if you don't like Hitman much, the gameplay is great and worth buying just to push Square into launching the Tomb Raider Go title.

Also coming is eight-bit retro fun in the form of Ninja Senki DX, a dash of puzzle fun in SwapQuest and some scares in Knock Knock.




Happy fourth Birthday to my UK Vita

Four years ago, the PlayStation Vita came to the UK, and I rushed out to pick one up. As is well known, it has sold "some", since Sony quit on it in the west last year. Who knows how many are out there across Europe in active use? (From the archives, the Vita sold 61,000 units in the UK at launch)

All I know is that the few friends who did buy one, and stuck with it, still enjoy the Vita immensely. Sure, there were those who only got one for the much-promised-barely-turned-up-then-buggered-off-big-name-franchises, and left disappointed.

This blog has been a celebration of those many ups and downs, but given all the post-launch doom and gloom, I'm both impressed and surprised to believe it (both Vita and the blog) have a couple more years in them yet.

If we're allowed a couple of Vita birthday wishes to Sony and other relevant parties...
  • The Netflix app for Europe please.
  • A firmware update for automated Twitter screenshot sharing.
  • Release the source code for the Uncharted and Killzone engines! 
What would your birthday Vita wish be?
ps vita, uk, launch

As for that Vita, all pixels still functioning, battery still doing well, sticks still intact, many journeys survived - truly a top piece of engineering.

DariusBurst gets clever with the DLC

Now here's a clever idea to expand your typical shooter. Add in ships and levels from classic arcade games. Up for grabs are six DLC packs (3 Taito and 3 classic Sega games) launching in March for DariusBurst.

The Taito game packs will be RayForce, Night Striker, and Metal Black. The Sega game packs will be Space Harrier, Galaxy Force II, and Fantasy Zone. Each pack will include one new ship from the game of the same name, unique levels, and remixed music from its original counterpart.

Each pack will cost $4.99 USD individually or $11.99 USD for all three packs.

Steins Gate 0 trailer, the squeaky calm before the emotional storm

Not quite sure I'm ready to go through the emotional wringer of another Steins Gate, but 5pb are getting ready for the Japanese release, making the game look all happy and shouty. I guess by the time PQube get the western release lined up I might just be mentally fortified enough.

In the spirit of sharing, what was your most emotional moment from the original visual novel?

More Vita Attack on Titan gameplay

The Japanese are playing Tecmo's new biggie Attack on Titan in full force now, with a bunch of play throughs hitting the web. Sure, the Vita version looks pretty drab compared to its big brother, but the frame rate looks reasonable, considering its been squirted in and out of YouTube. But, boy do the titan graphics look ropier than naval knot convention.

Girls of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 go hula

Its rare I get jealous of a virtual character, but from the grim rainy UK, this new clip of the DoA party series (many more videos) sure looks like paradise! Even if I'm not that bothered about the cleavage fest, it also looks like a fun import, since Tecmo seem determined to keep all the fun for themselves.

Ice cream, bike rides by the beach, all without the need for jumpers and waterproofs! Let's go. With Vita news pretty thin on the ground looks like I'll have to keep publishing Tecmo's plentiful supply of these clips - oh, the trauma!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Latest video confirms Dead or Alive ladies still looking fine!

All these videos and still not a pixel out of place for the ladies of Dead or Alive 3. This one popped up a few days ago, but is worth catching up for the variety of costumes, and some other things. Still no news on a western version, but you have to think Tecmo will let the Venus Vita version slip out as a digital release.

Gust goes mad on Atelier Shallie videos

Gust has dropped at least 10 videos in the last day for its upcoming RPG Atelier Shallie, here's a link to the page rather than listing them all here.There's gameplay, cutscenes, adverts and all sorts to check out.

Remember westerners can get the current Atelier trilogy for £44.99 (Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland, Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland, Atelier Meruru Plus: The Apprentice of Arland) plus the price of a new memory card to download 9GB of data to.

Monster Hunter Frontier G gets new swords and armour

Monster Hunter lumbers on in Japan with the cheapo version flogging endless upgrades, they're up to version G10 now with a shiny new range of multi-blade swords to wow those still playing. Pretty, yes, essential - I doubt it. More arty pictures and screenshots on Famitsu of the latest armour, characters and weapons.


Attack on Titan in action on the Vita

Quite a few clips popping up in Japan now of Tecmo's game in action. Really curious to see if the Vita version will outsell the clearly higher fidelity PS4 edition. Or will, like Dragon Quest Builders, the Vita version annoy Sony (who are only showing off the PS4 version, pretending the Vita one doesn't exist) immensely by selling better.

This YouTuber has a couple of clips up. Its clear to see lots of faded textures, popping in and out and generally looking like mud. There also seems to be none, or a lot less destruction of buildings - surely one of the key selling points.

The whole problem I have with this game is I don't really fancy amputating endless dumb-looking giants, causing unnecessary suffering and trauma. Especially ones that look like placeholder graphics. Give me giant mechanoids, space aliens any day - this just seems pretty sad.



In-game action starts around 10 minutes in on this one, at least the cut scenes look cool.

Trillion box art and Fegor screens

Happy Friday folks, always a good day to meet new people. This Fegor is the Overlord of Sloth and Zeabolos' older sister in Idea Factory's new game, sounds like our kind of girl.

Beneath her lazy exterior, she's actually a powerful fighter who was instrumental in making her brother the king of the Underworld. She uses her trusty weapons Righty and Lefty - the toothed sleeves at the end of her sweaters - to claw her enemies into submission. Now she must get out of bed to take down Trillion!



And here's the UK box art, yes, an actual physical release!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cladun teaser site opens up with trailer and pics

Last week's battle scene teaser from NIS for Cladun Sengoku piqued a great deal of interest. Now the game's site has opened up officially with more details and a trailer. It offers up plenty of epic pixelly battles, an 8-bit OST, a May release date and loads of screens.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dragon Quest Builders still rocking the Japan chart

The Media Create figures out this week show Vita hardware sales back on seasonal trend, selling over 17,000 units for the week. That comes just ahead of the launch of Attack of Titan which should generate some more interest, and the new Starter Packs out in early march may do well, offering a modest bargain.

Dragon Quest Builders sold another 24,500, staying firmly rooted at No. 2. That takes the Square Enix title to almost 250,000, putting it 60,000 ahead of the PS4 version. All versions together have passed 500,000.

Square's Setsuna RPG title is also out tomorrow, which may fly or crash, in the wake of Attack on Titan.


Attack on Titan live stream event just finished

As Japan gets ready for some Attack on Titan mayhem across the PlayStation formats, Koei has just concluded a two-hour live stream event. I didn't catch much of it, but have a scan through to see plenty of trailers, gameplay and Japanese chat about the title.

Minecraft over a million in Japan, have another starter kit?

Sony Japan, out of games and ideas, has thrown up another starter kit for the few Japanese gamers who feel the need to get started with a five year old system.

Available in aqua blue or glacier white, its a Vita in a box, with a 16GB card, for just under 20,000 yen. No download games, no PSN subscription, no nothing. On the positive side, it also announced that Minecraft sales in Japan are over a million, with over 650,000 boxed units.
Sony tries to drum up interest by mentioning that Dragon Quest Builders and Attack on Titan will be big sellers, wow, really? While promising to support the Vita further, despite stopping all development on any new games.
"SCEJA will continue to promote the expansion and the further spread of the PS Vita platform."
 Cheeky, Sony, very cheeky! Check out the JP page here. The new units are apparently limited editions, and slightly cheaper than when getting a Vita and 16GB card separately, out at the start of March.

Looking at various comments, even the Japanese are fed up with the overpriced memory cards, and are demanding a new HD Vita.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sir Clive Sinclair proves there's still a portable market

Fully funded within a day on Indiegogo, Sir Clive Sinclair - godfather of the UK home computer market - has proven there's still appetite and room for portables. His new Vega Plus packs in a 1,000 Spectrum games with more available for free to create a deeply nostalgic portable gaming system.


Quite why they don't just release the software for the Vita and 3DS, rather than charge £100 for the bespoke unit makes it sound like a vanity project. But, hey - the guy has earned it. Along with all the Android handhelds, it suggests there's still a booming portable market for the right kind of device. 

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires has custom castles and characters

Adding to the strategic nature of Koei's Samurai Warriors 4 Empires, players can build their forts and modify the rooms with a range of decor. Its not the most exciting feature, but I guess it will help all the screens on #PSVitaShare look a little different!

The game is out in March, digital only for the Vita, and livens up its empire building nature with this and character customization.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hitman Go has the Vita in his sights

The much-lauded mobile game of Hitman will hit the Vita next week, and should make quite the sudden impact. Hitman Go takes a puzzle-based approach to assassinations and might be as fun as Metal Gear Acid was on the PSP, compared to its bigger brothers.

Hopefully it will sell well enough on PSN to bring the Tomb Raider Go title over too. Expcct a PSN post with pricing later today.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Snow White does otome via Idea Factory

Idea Factory has put up a preview trailer for Mirror World of Snow White, a modern and typically otome take on the fairy tale. There's a website with some the kooky characters, and their Twitter icons, that make up the cast, but on the whole it all looks very by the numbers.

Probably not one for the western market, although give Amnesia Memories a go if you want to try otome inaction.

Eve Burst Error R's anime trailer

Announced last year, Eve Burst Error R dates back to the Sega Saturn. The murder mystery from El Dia users various characters to give you a wider perspective on the crimes committed and to add layers of detail to work through to solve the case.

Despite its age, it looks pretty tight, and will arrive on Japanese shelves in April. With many visual novels coming west, perhaps this could be another one of the more interesting efforts.

Digimon World Next Order pics pop up

Hot on the heels of my Cyber Sleuth review, and the many screens I've been posting on #PSVitaShare, here are some fresh pics for the next game in the series, Next Order which I hope Bandai will also bring west.

As long as the quest/mission system is fixed, the next Digimon should be just as fun and with more epic adventuring to enjoy. If you're enjoying this Digimon resurgence, do let the Bandai people know, so they will be more likely to bring future titles our way.





Review Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

So, here I am, with a couple of grey hairs in my temple, finally playing a damn monster collecting game. I've avoided the little rascals on TV, games, magazines and lunch boxes for decades, but, finally, they have me pinned down.

Digimon lands on the Vita, ironically in digital-only form with the PS4 getting a retail release. Great rival, Pokemon, as far as I can tell, has never tried to stretch its boundaries too far. Yet, Digimon has a great feel of the new and exciting to it in this mixed-unreality-based adventure.

The plot, in short, sees people who spend time in the game's EDEN virtual reality ending up in a real life coma. You're Takumi, one such unfortunately gimped individual. Handily, your cyber consciousness can float between reality and the digital realm to do some detective work to uncover the truth, spread along some 20 quickfire chapters.

Better Off Digimon

Along the way you meet a bunch of hackers, their Digimon pals that do their battling for them and many slightly dubious characters. Befriending a detective, Kyoko, and a cyber guru, Mirei, they direct your movements between the two worlds. Pick up a mystery case, do some digging, searching or questioning, and you expand the map, your contacts and grow in experience.

As the plot thickens the two worlds start to merge, threatening everyone, so no pressure. Your detecting work soon sees you adopt a small herd of Digimon to fight on your behalf. You can train them on their little islands to help find out information, or to make them stronger.

The islands themselves can grow, provide resources and make a useful sub-game, bringing you additional supplies, information or currency.

While I let my kids happily play Pokemon until the Raichu comes home, Digimon has some darker moments. Story points straight out of Japanese horror movies like Ring and harder sci-fi stuff mean I'd rather not let the under-10s lose on this world just yet. It's not scary per-se, just a little unsettling. To its credit, any game that mentions Tesla, Schrodinger and others is okay!

Battler Up

Those Digimon used in battles, and there are many scraps along the way, will level up fast and can soon evolve into new forms. Perhaps I'm missing something but most of the evolution is pretty random and doesn't really aid the game or help form a bond with your beasties. You can also evolve and devolve them to create new or more powerful beasties.

In Normal mode you can squash through most enemies in a single round, things are only slightly tougher and more rewarding in hard mode, but combat does drag on, and if you want to advance the story, random battles and endless retracing of steps can really get in your way. Fortunately, you can autofight most of the early battles, and speed through the animations via a setting tweak.

Combat is turn-based and you need to match attacks to an enemy's weakness, or make sure you've armed with the right equipment to keep your team in top shape. Using health and cures along the way will help, but there's very little actual threat in the five half-dozen chapters. Again, in normal mode you can crash through battles without worrying about strategy.

Your detective character can also mature in stature as you solve cases, using done by talking about key phrases. Running around the small maps soon becomes rather a chore, sometimes you leap from place to place, but mostly you leg it around, wondering why your cyber-genius character can leap a small gap to shorten the journey!

On the plus side, accessories like Export and Escape doodads can move you around fast, or get you out of a tight spot, boost your Digimon powers and so on. Not go good is the lack of a flexible camera, the right stick zoom only helps a bit. So, you often have to wander into areas just to check there's nothing there, dragging out missions further.

Fortunately, the plot and missions are so fun, it is hard to feel down about all the legwork. Especially, when the world of Cyber Story is so vivid and sharp, just a shame so much of it could have been replaced by an auto-accept mission option.

Tickle A Digimon

While the visuals are high on the clarity scale, some of the quests and instructions are pretty messy. It is easy to miss someone you need to talk to in the warrens of the shopping mall, and once my party of bulky warriors obscured a tiny Digimon right by a portal, so I spent an hour wading around levels looking for him.

Other quests involve a lot of pointless back-and-forth, while you can go into some shops, but not all of them, and some regular figures say the same thing endlessly, breaking the whole "real" world, and making it feel a bit rushed or unfinished.

Along the way you can divert from the main game by checking in on your Digimon on their training island, feeding them super foods. The endless collecting trophies will add to the challenge for completionists. I suspect for most though, its a shame there's so much repetition and going back and forth, especially when you just want to get to the end of the story that it becomes rather intrusive.

Overall though, Digimon on the Vita is damn triumph, mixing the monster collecting genre with a fun little mixed-reality romp. I can't imagine it being as much fun on the PS4, especially with the tiny portable focused levels, so yay for the Vita.

Score 8/10
More reviews
Price: £34.99 on PSN
Dev: Bandai Namco
Progress: Finished

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Digimon localisation team says thanks!

Bandai's localisers in the States have taken time out to thank fans for their interest in the game, and the passion that got it over here in the first place.

The PS4 versions landed at No. 11 in the UK overall chart. It is No. 1 on the Vita PSN store's Top Sellers list, whatever that's worth - with 367 very positive ratings after six days on sale, plus 555 ratings for the PS4 version.

Hopefully that, combined with US sales is enough to get the Digimon World: Next Order title over here too. As gamers, I'm sure we'd all like to thank them for their efforts!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dragon Quest Builders sells another 46,000 in Japan

Despite being knocked off the top by Naruto 4, the Vita version of Dragon Quest Builders managed to sell 46,391 copies for a strong second place in the Media Create chart. That takes it close to 225,000 sales in two weeks, and is now 50,000 ahead of the PS4 version.

Minecraft remains in the top 10, now over 650,000 physical sales while a Three Kingdoms-era love tale from Prototype on PSP and Vita creeps into the top 20.


Vita hardware sales remained strong at over 23,000 units, well above the February averages, partly due to the 53 week year, and pacing 3DS sales for the week. Nothing much out this week, but Attack on Titan lumbers into view the following week.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dragon Quest Heroes II trailer sneak peek

No doubt thrilled by the success of Dragon Quest Builders, Square Enix is preparing its next assault on the DQ license with Dragon Quest Heroes II. Will the Vita version trounce the big consoles once again? We'll find out on the Japanese release in May.

These shots are teases of the trailer that will be out in a couple of weeks.


The game, subtitled, The Twin Kings and Prophecy's End comes with his and hers matching heroes, to tackle the usual hordes of monsters and explore the massive realms of Zebion. Hopefully they are a bit more distinct than those in the first game that never made it out to Vita.


 Not sure if not playing the first game, which did get a western release, will ruin the experience of this episode, but it is sure to be a huge seller in Japan.


Blast Em Bunnies release dates and launch trailer

Kind of forgotten about this from what seems like years back. Check, yep two and a half years ago this was announced). But, Blast Em Bunnies is back on the radar with a March release date, specifically, the 8th in the US, 9th in Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The game features 4 different weapons to purchase and upgrade and 16 different bullet types to combine with your chosen weapon for maximum tactical effect. By shooting coins the player can save up to purchase each weapon, upgrade, ammo or health upgrade to allow them to survive longer against the ferocious evil bunnies!

Should you save up for the Runner Bean Laser or go straight for new Heat Seeking Parsnip ammo? Tough decisions abound! With over 50 medals to be unlocked and missions which refresh either on completion or daily the player will always be faced with a challenge. Those looking for harder difficulties and modes can take on Survival mode in Easy, Normal, Hard and Very Hard (where you need to survive for as long as you can) or try out Slaughter mode in Normal, Super or Ultra difficulties (where you must survive for 2 minutes with weaker weapons and health depending on difficulty).

 Each battle takes place in an arena with bunnies spawning to bring you down. Runners, Walkers, Burrowers, Grenadiers, Blockers and Bosses all conspire to defeat you. The Throatslitter macabrely tries to dispatch your young and the Golden Bunny evades your bullets lest you unleash Frenzy Mode!! Players can also customise their experience with purchasable add-on content from each platform’s online store.

There are 5 new arena and matching skin packs which cover Ninjas, Zombies, Urban Army, Clowns and Luchadors. Add-on content can be purchased individually or in bundles with bundles giving a deeper discount on pricing. Players on PlayStation platforms can purchase the game and add-on content as part of Cross-Buy and receive both the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 versions for one combined price.

Mages' Wonderful Party gets out the Rabbit

Is the Order A Rabbit? Boy does that have the wrong connotations. Still, Mages' buxom little gang of crazy ladies is coming on strong for an April release. The game is actually about a girl who works in the Rabbit Cafe, beyond that I know very little

PSN Japan video waves a few Vita indies about

After last week's PS4 only promo video, Japan remembers to remember the Vita this week with its new Indies trailer, showcasing the likes of Spectrum-esque Downwell, Super Time Force Ultra, Mighty No. 9 (again), Crypt of the NecroDancer and a bunch of PS4 titles.

Monday, February 8, 2016

NIS goes pixel-heavy in Cladun Sengoku teaser

This isn't really much of a teaser, watching a battlefield rot over time, but the new Cladun Sengoku title sounds an intriguing prospect with multiple character types and weapons. More information should appear on the teaser site, but for now just expect plenty of pixels, customisation and multiplayer when the game finally arrives later this year.

There were a couple of Cladun PSP games, at last one of which made it west, so who knows what will turn up based on this little tease.

Video fest out of Japan, DoAX3, Attack on Titan, Hatsune Miku, Uppers and Atelier

While we were sleeping, Japan's publishing YouTube gnomes were hard at work with another batch of trailers and gameplay clips. Enjoy the latest snippets of action from  Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Hatsune Miku Diva X, Uppers and Atelier Shallie Plus.





Finally, copied off Nico Nico, so not indicative of overall quality, here's the first look at the Vita version of Attack on Titan in action.

Avengers still dominates UK Vita retail chart

Avengers keep going at the top of the Vita UK retail sales chart for a second week, while Minecraft manages to dislodge Legend of Heroes one spot. However, both games staying in the top five suggest decent (for Vita) sales.

I picked up a cheap copy of Lego Jurassic World on Amazon, so I'm purely responsible for that nipping back into the top 5. Digimon was digital only, so won't appear in any chart - good move Bandai!

1 = LEGO MARVEL AVENGERS WARNER
2 + MINECRAFT SONY
3 - LEGEND OF HEROES: TRAILS OF COLD STEEL NIS AMERICA
4 + PERSONA 4 GOLDEN NIS AMERICA
5 + LEGO JURASSIC WORLD WARNER

Over on Amazon's List Lego's Star Wars The Force Awakens zips straight into No. 3 thanks to pre-orders. Otherwise its a one-two for the new games.


Vita goes to Level 22 this week

Yep, spend your spare time working for a living! That's part of the theme behind Level 22, Gary's Misadventure that comes to PS Vita a year after its Steam release.

Gary is an office worker who overslept after a drunken night out in town. Here's where it gets tricky, because this isn't the first time Gary's been late for work, and he could be fired if he's spotted arriving at his desk after everyone else yet again. So he’ll have to prove his smartness and slyness to make his way up the 22 floors standing between him and his office without being caught.

Promote the Vita and your games with #PSVitaShare

PS4 owners have it so easy, they press the share button on their DualShock and a screenshot of their latest gaming exploit turns up on Twitter, or a video on Twitch or YouTube. That clip automatically uses the #PS4Share has tag.

Why Sony couldn't integrate screenshot sharing on the Vita is a mystery. Most games can play with the LiveTweet app in the background. However, it is pretty easy to do it manually.

Not only can it show followers what you're playing, but glossy Vita screens can flow around Twitter to help boost the portable's profile (Yes, its a shame they are not PNGs, something else Sony could sort in the firmware but can't be bothered).
Of course, this assumes Sony doesn't remove support for the LiveTweet app in the next firmware update! Until then, here's how to do Vita tweetshooting with minimal fuss.
  • Play your game
  • Take screenshot (Start and PS Button)
  • Minimise game, Go to LiveTweet
  • One time only you need to type in #PSVitaShare (in future, just attach Hashtags and it will appear at the top). 
  • Then add your latest screen via the attach icon and perhaps a little caption. 
  • Send tweet, then go back to your game and repeat. 

Within in a few goes, you can be back in your game in around 15 seconds. Note, that some newer games don't allow app switching, but you can always batch grab some screens and send them out later over time, no spamming now!
So, whatever your next new game is, why not show the world a little of it and spread some Vita love in the process. You could also hashtag #VitaIsland and the name of the game or the Twitter address of the publisher to let them know you enjoy their game! 

If you follow #PSVitaShare, some folks are doing this already, I'm not claiming ownership, just making a social suggestion! That said, feel free to share and retweet this to get some action going! If you don't want to take part, but want to see what's going on, just bookmark that search and dip in and out to see what people are playing.

Who knows, tweetshooting could have you snapping up a PS TV, a HD capture unit and becoming the next GadgetGirlKylie on YouTube! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth hits the UK PSN

It has been a long wait for a Digimon game, but now the UK can finally join in the fun with the game available in stores and on PSN. Hopefully it sell well enough that Bandai also brings the Next Order game our way.

A whole new adventure sees Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth bringing classic turn-based JRPG gameplay and monster battling across a brand-new Digimon adventure. Mysterious events have caused the digital world to merge with the real word, opening portals for dangerous Digimon to enter our reality intent on destroying it.

Players will become cyber detectives as they cross-over between the two realities in a race to solve this diabolical digi-mystery. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth enables players to interact with over 200 Digimon: including fans favorites such as Agumon, Patamon, Gaomon.

PQube brings Aegis of Earth to Europe

Its about time we got another tower defence game on the Vita, aside from FieldRunners 2 and Final Horizon, things have been a bit thin.

PQube is bringing Acquire's Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault to the Vita and PS4, later this Spring. The tower defence game with a story delivered in a visual novel-style. No western video yet, but check out the Japanese version in action!


Among the features that make it a bit above your typical tower defence game are:

  • Rotating defences around your central tower, to better concentrate or spread out your armaments.
  • Unlock and assign new team members to your control room – each bringing new abilities to help you in battle!
  • Story-driven episodes move the player around the world to experience different urban environments.
  • Use appropriate weaponry to tackle the different enemy types.
  • Collect resources to strengthen your city and grow your population to earn more currency to help in the war!
  • Over 50 different types of units to take on the enemy!
Overall, you must defend the last bastion of humanity against an onslaught of monster attacks. From a central citadel - the player assumes the role of military leader charged with creating, developing, and updating a city with weapons and defences, balancing and aligning the city’s resources to better survive against prolonged monster attacks.

 To help in battle against the enemy onslaught, you can recruit and level up supporting characters – tactical operations staff who each bring unique skills to your control room!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Senran Kagura Estival Versus comes with a festival of goodies

Senran Kagura will hit the EU Vita soon, and Marvelous has a stack of goodies for the Limited Edition including reversible covers, posters, art book, picture cards, audio CDs with 88 tracks and more. Vita owners get the choice of the full fat Bahonkas version with saucy bedding at £74.99 or the Millennium Festival Edition at £44.99.



 


Adventures of Mana not coming to English Vitas

Out today in Japan, for Vita, iOS and Android, this remake of a classic Gameboy RPG, has picked up a gorgeous 3D makeover and rearranged music. Known as Seiken Densetsu (English homepage) over there, alas, we won't get to play it on Sony's handheld.

The Vita version is for Japan only, click the Japanese version of the site to see it blinking hopefully at us. Given the western love of most things Final Fantasy, raw economics can be the only reason Square Enix is coding an English version for smartphone.

UPDATE: Hold that thought Square Enix's EU Twitter account is asking for feedback on the English version. I'm not saying my angst made any difference, but go comment on their blog to have your voice heard.
Perhaps if there's enough interest they will see the error of their ways and let us play too!

Their message reads, "Thank you for all of your comments on a PS Vita edition of Adventures of Mana. We’ve been listening to your feedback and because of your passion for the game, we’re going to look into making a PS Vita version of Adventures of Mana for the west. We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to make this happen but we will see what we can do."

Fight the grey in Rose and the Old Castle

Nippon Ichi's latest stylish platform adventure, Rose and the Old Castle final reveals some of the old ruin's secrets with a first trailer, showing off a little gameplay. Ramping up the spooks, the near monochromatic castle is in need of some colour.

Presumably Rose is the girl for the job, awaking in a dank dungeon, she must overcome the many perils within and, with her rocky sidekick, use her skills to bend the environment to her benefit. It definitely looks a touch different, hopefully the gameplay matches the art style and atmosphere.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grand Kingdom limited edition looks great, does Europe get one?

NIS America is providing fans with another treat when it comes to the summer release (17 June) of Grand Kingdoms. Look at all that lot, and then sigh when you consider that Sony's idea of a limited edition was a random bunch of voucher codes for duff games.

Then you'll notice that its for the PS4 version only, even though there's a physical Vita release. The US NISA store seems to be offering a Vita version of the Grand Edition, so what's going on? The EU press release mentions on a PS4 Limited or Launch edition - I'll try and get an answer!

UPDATE: NISA got back to me and let me know that Grand Kingdom on PS Vita will come in the various editions, with the limited ones only available from their store:
  • Standard Edition: Available at select retailers and the NISA Europe Online Store 
  • Limited Edition: Available exclusively at the NISA Europe Online Store 
  • Grand Edition: Available exclusively at the NISA Europe Online Store


Famitsu spills some Toukiden 2 beans

Now the magazine is on the shelves, Famitsu has shared some of the images and information from those glossy spreads on its site. The PS4 version certainly looks the business, but I suspect the Vita will be well down the pecking order when it comes to these grand open world scenes.


How close do you reckon the Vita version will come? Or are Tecmo just going to reskin Toukiden Kiwami and call it by the new name? The Japanese comments seem pretty damning about the whole idea.