Thursday, June 22, 2017

Some fresh Hacker's Memory details - meet Nokia

Bandai has dropped some new details about the Digital World and the characters of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - HACKER’S MEMORY. To help the wounded Digimon after battles, a girl named Nokia (pic below) decided to create the Rebellions team to protect them from hackers with bad intentions. These Digimon may change the turn of battle and affect the journey of our heroes.

New characters will also join the adventure, Chitose, Nokia, Agumon & Gabumon.  Chitose Imai is the vice-leader of the “Hu Die” hacker team. He is the mood maker of the team and an extremely creative hacker with his own tools. Nokia Shiramine truly cares about how Digimon are treated by evil hackers. She gathered the Tamers and established the Rebellions team. With her strong sense of justice she really believes that Digimon will save the world. Agumon & Gabumon were banished from the Digital World and they found a way to get to the EDEN network where they met Nokia and friends. They have a vague recollection of what happened before coming to the real world, but for sure they came with an important purpose in mind!

Clash of hackers will continue in the Territory Battle Quest where some hackers have made a dungeon to expand their territory in Digital World using their team emblem. It’s time to fight, put your mark and expand your territory!

DIGIMON STORY: CYBER SLEUTH - HACKER’S MEMORY will be available both physically and digitally for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and digitally for the PlayStation Vita handheld system in early 2018 in Europe.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Minecraft is the only game selling on Vita in Japan

Minecraft is the only game in town for the Vita this week on the Media Create chart. It still shifts around 3,000 copies a week - slowly approaching 1.2 million physical sales. The Vita itself remains wedged just about the 4,000 sales mark. This week it shifted 4,150 for another slight increase but with no games on the horizon, there's little hope of a big push.

Likely there are a few games in the lower reaches of the chart, and God Wars is out now, along with Tokyo Boys for V, which comes in about five different versions. But everything else is focused on Nintendo's Switch with a slow and steady release schedule of major titles seeing Arms punch north of 100K on launch.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Plague Road, the Vita hit the world needs to know about

Developer Luc Bernard has taken to Twitter to highlight the success of tactical combat game Plague Road, with the Vita version beating expectations and other formats hands down with consistently good sales. "Plague Road sold yesterday more on day 1 on Vita than Steam since release."

His message for other developers is simple, the Vita can make your game a success, and if you focus on the community, you should do well. Our job is to spread that message to the many indies who aren't considering the Vita, especially for pixel, low-poly games, and highlight the possibilities.

There are so many games on Steam it is easy to get swamped, the Vita is a niche but highly active market with a better chance of reward for a decent product.

Success breeds success, so we're getting Luc's next game, Mecho Tales too. This is the sort of deal that people need to know about, so get sharing and (politely) nudging other developers over!

Monday, June 19, 2017

God Wars storms the UK retail chart

Somehow, somewhere (mostly Amazon) us British types are still buying Vita games in their physical form. God Wars takes the No. 1 sport with a new entry, knocking Farming Simulator off the top spot, with Drive Girls sticking around at No. 2.

Most of these have less than 10 in stock, so I guess the production runs are getting smaller to match pre-orders with some spares. How long before commercial physical editions, aside from Limited Run-style releases, get the chop?

1 N  God Wars: Future Past (NISA)
2 =   Drive Girls (Rising Star)
3 - Farming Simulator 18 (Focus)
4 + NFS Most Wanted (EA)
5 Lego Star Wars: TFA (Warner)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

13 Sentinels gets an E3 trailer

There was some off-screen footage of Vanillaware's 13 Sentinels going around earlier, but I'm pleased to have waited for the HQ version. Still without formats listed, which makes me rather nervous, but here's Atlus with a westernised version of the original trailer shown off (a couple of years ago?).

Vita sales in Japan bouncing on the 4K line

Its a fairly dull week in the Japanese charts, with Vita sales back down to just above 4,000 - like its teasing Sony. On the plus side, the only new entry is a Vita game, Shiro to Kuro no Alice from Idea Factory shifting 4.385 units to land in the top 10.

However, all eyes will be focused on Switch with a roster of big games coming out over the summer and into autumn, with the Vita reduced to a few end-of-life sequels and visual novels. Hardly a fair battle, but Sony clearly has no spirit for the fight.

Vita game trailers from E3

Okay, the Vita saw exactly one "new" game announced at E3, but there are plenty of physical releases coming to boost its collectability factor, and the big games still to come all picked up new trailers to keep waving their little torches into the darkness.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Limited Run's E3 lineup rocks the Vita

There's more joy than you can shake a stick at for Vita owners, even if you're not fond of Limited Run's "limited runs" when it comes to Vita games. However, if that's the way its got to be for them to make some money and keep the community going, then fair enough. This lot might not exactly be new, but the opportunity to still own a game, like Mercenary Kings in the flesh has to be worth it.

Other Vita releases lnclude; 2064 Read Only Memories, Bard's Gold, Claire, Croixleur Sigma,
Factotum 90, and VA-11 HALL-A.

Vita marches on at E3, who needs Sony?

Yep, nothing to see, move on to our over-priced PC - says Sony! But no, say gamers and publishers, who lit up the Vita's social media bubble with gaming goodness overnight. For a start, there's the sizzle reel that Sony should have shown.
Then there's a quickfire blast of new and physical releases, demonstrating the value of Vita owners to those who may have forgotten about terms like loyalty and value. Tobyfox is bringing Undertale, the RPG with a pacifist option, our way. There's a basic version with card and manual or a Limited Edition from FanGamer that includes a physical copy, Undertale soundtrack on 2 CDs, sheet music booklet, a gold-plated music-box locket all in a neat collector’s box

Limited Run is bringing this lot our way in physical form:

  • 2064 ROM 
  • Bard's Gold 
  • Claire 
  • Croixleur Sigma 
  • Factotum 90 
  • Mercenary Kings 
  • VA-11 HALL-A
Highlighting how viable the little Vita community is, and that with just a little budget and marketing great things can still be achieved.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Review Shu

Rayman Origins was the third ever Vita game I picked up, and I still enjoy a burst of the mad French platformer. Coatsink's Shu feels very much in the same vein, with a strange cast of friends helping you along, and imbuing the titular character with special skills. Shu's job is to defeat some dark lord and find plenty of goodies, as you explore and race through a charming world afflicted by some evil power.

Every level is packed with secrets, tricks and traps that delight or annoy, depending on how well-secreted they, or if a good pixel turns out to be a bad one. That's especially when you are being chased through the level at 60fps by the dark demon that blights the land, or some of the trickier obstacles that create the main part of Shu's challenge.

Otherwise, Shu is a sometimes beautifully placid, sometimes challenging world to explore. Perfecting those new moves, looking for the telltale hint of a secret area, and wondering what happens if you jump off "just there". Levels can track back on each other, take a vertical turn and include multiple little pathways through. At the start, it is easy to misread a rock or branch and screw up, but there are plenty of totems that act as restart points and refill your five lives.

Later levels see most routes break down into a series of fixed steps and actions that you have to master, using the various skills. If your hand-eye coordination isn't that hot, this can become very annoying, and there's rarely a plan B to get around it. Mixing floating through the air, wall jumping, bashing through blocks, dipping into the water or taking a ride on a gondola, there's plenty to experiment with. But, the gaps between fun exploring and mountainous challenge feel rather uneven.

Even so, the bulk of the game is a pitch perfect joy to behold and root around in, with a timed challenge mode to compare your efforts against PSN friends.

The Vita version benefits from a special hub, The Refuge, where you get to meet your comrades in more pleasant circumstances. You can practices moves, and view art and other treasures from the developers over time as more sections open up.

Shu is super-stylish with its hand-drawn folk against eerie, shiny, gorgeous pastel or shadowy backdrops. There's lots of fun, plus a bit of a trophy fest without the grind, all of which makes it another great indie to add to your Vita's roster.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £9.49 (PSN)
Size: 1.8GB
Dev: Coatsink
Progress: Trophy vulture

Friday, June 9, 2017

2018's Bloodstained gets an E3 trailer

While the Vita will be practically invisible at E3, a few games are still on the roster including Kickstarted Bloodstained Ritual of the Night. Coming in 2018 from publisher 505 and the development team under Koji Igarashi, it should still hit the Vita given the amount of cash it raised.

Yes, the game looks a bit weird with strange umbrella battles and shiny textures, but I'm still looking forward to the release.

Wayforward bringing Mummy Demastered to consoles

Update: formats unspecified, so perhaps not for Vita but the chatter is positive.

In a surprise move, Shantae developer Wayforward will bring its tie-in retro game of the new (and shit) Mummy movie. There will be a physical release in the US, not sure about Europe yet. Even if the movie is pants, the 16-bit shooter/Metroid style game could be a lot of fun with a decent developer behind it willing to show a movie tie-in some live.

Ys VIII character art and bios

With a swathe of Vita games not coming west on the Vita this E3, NIS America provides some solace with a reminder that Ys VIII is still on the way in September. The Lacrimosa of Dana cast of characters include:

Adol Christin - He left his homeland, a nameless village in the Europe region, when he was just 16 years old and dated to adventure in the Ancient Kingdom "Ys," the Land of Mystery "Celceta," and more. Although young, he is respected as an expert "adventurer."

He was traveling across the Gaete Sea as a passenger of the Lombardia when the ship was attacked by an unseen giant sea creature. He went missing along with the other passengers.

Dana - A mystical blue-haired girl who appears in Adol's dreams. Contrary to her elegant looks, she has a wild imagination and acts quite bold, much to the surprise of her peers.

She seems to live in an advanced civilization with no record of ever having existed in the Eresia region. Adol experiences her life through his dreams.
Hummel - An enigmatic "Transporter" who goes rogue on the Isle of Seiren.

He takes pride in his work and his serious personality causes him to fulfill any duty that is requested of him. He is also a stickler for cleanliness. He drifted ashore along with a package that he was in the midst of transporting, but keeps mum about both the package and the details of his transportation request. He possesses a new type of weapon called a "gun" that is described as a small-scale cannon.
 Laxia - Daughter of the noble Roswell family of Garman, who was on the Lombardia.

She attempts to act like a humble noble, but her inflated sense of pride and stubborn inclinations make it a fruitless effort. In Castaway Village, where all manner of social status and job classes mingle, she feels like a fish out of water, but she decides to utilize her knowledge about ancient organisms and wildlife to assist Adol.
Ricotta - A girl who was living on the Isle of Seiren before Adol and the others found themselves there.

Ricotta is innocent to a fault and well-versed in both the island's geography and the Ancient Species. She gleaned all of her other knowledge and vocabulary from documents and books that drifted to the island shore, so her language skills are sometimes lacking.

She's been waiting a long time for her father to return from his exploration of the island...
Sahad - A fisherman from Greek who is a dynamic, generous, and cheerful fellow.

Laxia is often appalled by his frank and sometimes crude outbursts, but he is warm and sincere - even prone to crying when things get too emotional. He is highly knowledgeable about the sea and has his own philosophy about fishing. He has a family to get home to, which is why he decides to help Adol and escape the Isle of Seiren.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Vita sales sneak up in Japan

A couple of new entries help nudge the Vita higher up in the sales stakes, moving 4,454 units this week. The games do make the top 10 of the Media Create chart, but are nothing to write home about. Japanese Vita owners will be clinging on for more interesting fare later in the year. starting with Omega Labyrinth Z out in July to please the boob-obsessed RPG fans out there.

04 Sukitomo. Tsukiuta. 12 Memories (Bandai) - 12.763 / NEW
08 Shiin (Experience) - 7.099 / NEW

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

FuturLab's Velocity 2X physical release nears

Badland Entertainment brings the world a boxed copy of the mighty Velocity 2X: Critical Mass Edition at the end of the month, giving a fresh lease of life to one of the Vita's finest games.

The LE contains:

  • Velocity 2X game.
  • Critical Urgency expansion with 6 extra levels.
  • Dual Core expansion with 10 extra levels.
  • Daily Sprint expansion (a platforming level that is generated randomly each day; players can practice the level as many times as they like – but once they choose to start their final run, that score will be the one that appears on the leaderboard).
  • Exclusive Making-Of Documentary (20+ minutes) produced by BadLand Games and Picture Book Films.
  • Note, the PS Vita edition does not include the OST and Exclusive Studio Booklet

13 Sentinels Aegis Rim gets art and a site, but not platforms

We've already seen that Blue Reflection is coming west but not to the Vita, no thanks to Bandai. Perhaps due to the game's performance issues likely to get it a critical mauling from the four sites that still review Vita games.

Now here's another game slated for translation, but with no formats on the press release or the teaser website, I'm a bit worried about where 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim will end up playing.

The game was lined up for a PS4/Vita release in Japan, but by withholding format details now, that seems reason enough to be worried. Perhaps Atlus wants to drop it on Switch and PC instead? Still, nice art!

Mystereet F: The Detectives’ Curtain Call trailer

The games are pouring out of Japan today, here's a new visual novel with a detective flavour to it coming from Mages/5pb. Mystereet F: The Detectives’ Curtain Call is actually a compilation of previous adventures based around the Mystereet F anime. All we have here are some character bios, but it looks pretty fetching, with a solid look to everyone.

Tokyo Clanpool sees the politicians wade into RPG battle

Compile Heart has been playing dictionary lottery when it comes to its next RPG. Clearly, they just picked the word "politician" at random and decided to make them the heroes of this new action title. Then, they couldn't think of a way to get Carpool into the title, so went with Clanpool!

 But these aren't your usual lying-scum politicians hell bent on screwing the population over and ruining the health services to kill people off as fast as possible.

Instead, when an alien city lands on top of the Japanese parliament, they form a Cyber Tactics Cabinet to battle them. Otherwise, it is all just dressing for the usual bunch of cutesy heroines, going about their business bashing up the denizens of this dark tower.

Monday, June 5, 2017

D3's Omega Labyrinth Z is a bust

Boob-obsessed Omega Labyrinth sold 25K on launch in Japan a couple of years ago, I guess that was enough to keep publisher D3 working on a sequel, which won't do half as well this time out. The new trailer shows the same old jiggly girly rogue action, and the new features like "awakening" and "synthesis" systems won't do much to lift the game above the usual market of drooling perverts.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Shakedown Hawaii shows off its true colours

Vblank's Shakedown Hawaii can be played in a number of colour modes, from "GameBoy" to gaudy a few more subtle tones. Check out the new video and pick a favourite. The pixel shooter is finishing up on development and should be one of the bigger Vita indies of the summer.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This isn't the Vita successor you were looking for

Sony announced Toio in Japan this week. With a radio comms unit, charger and interface box, the star is little motorised cubes and control rings. With software delivered in the vertical cartridge with the hole in it, its a compact fun toy for creative kids.

Toio promises a range of interactions and real-world games. Lego and Bandai are among the partners signed up to produce content and games. Perhaps Media Molecule will be invited to join in the fun, as the videos show it working rather well as a papercraft motion tool.

Home goes physical on Limited Run

The collaboration with Limited Run Games sees Ben River's Home's get a Playstation Vita and PS4 physical edition. The new release of the disturbing adventure, celebrating the fifth anniversary of the original PC launch, will include the most up-to-date version of the game, as well as a full physical booklet.

Yomawari Midnight Shadows gameplay trailer

Looking forward to some more Yomawari? The original from NIS was certainly challenging, but not quite a must-play, hopefully the sequel will have a little more to it. Anyway, check out three minutes of gameplay and scenes to see if this is more likely to grab you. the game hits the west in the Autumn, so not too long to wait.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Vita sales cling to the 4,000 mark in Japan

Not unexpectedly, Vita sales continue to bump along the bottom in Japan, with the six-year-old hardware dropping clinging to just above the 4K mark according to Media Create data. With no new hardware and first party games in almost three years, what does Sony expect?

The only new entry in the Media Create chart is the rather delayed release of Romance of the 3 Kingdoms Sangokushi 13, selling a  very modest 2,800 copies.

vita sales, ps vita, sales figures

But, as the release list shows, there's still plenty of games to come into 2018, and smaller publishers will keep plugging away with VN and RPG fodder. The next big test is Gust's next unveiling which will show if the company plans to keep bringing Atelier RPGs to the Vita, there's a big reveal next week, when we will find out.

God Wars Future Past character trailer, meet Kaguya

NIS America's God Wars Future Past is just a few weeks from launch, and here's a peek at Kaguya and Kintaro to show off a little more of the tactical RPG battle game, steeped in Japanese History but with a shiny modern look to it.

Update: and another character trailer showing off some of the cast and their skills...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ys Origin launch trailer

There's a whole world of Ys coming to the Vita with the recently confirmed September date for Ys VIII. But if you can't wait here comes Ys Origin, out this week from Falcom and DotEmu. Looks like some classic RPGing on the way for Vita owners who still have plenty to look forward to when it comes to Japanese games, and publishers willing to bring them west.

Anonymous Code heads to the Vita, maybe more Steins Gate

Yes, I took the punctuation out of the titles, because it screws with social media. But the main news is that a new visual novel from the world of Steins;Gate is coming our way, with possibly a new entrant in the main series, also from Chiyomaru Studio and publisher 5pb.

We already knew Anonymous;Code, was coming to the Vita. It is set in 2027, with a hacker story. But Steins;Gate Elite will be the next in the series, and while that is TBA on the formats front, given the huge success of the Vita version around the world, it would be a bit harsh of 5pb to drop it yet.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA opening movie and launch dates

September is looking like the next good month for the Vita, after a spectacular May, with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA now confirmed for a western release on the 12th in American and the 15th in Europe. Another cracking RPG for the Vita, I'll take that!

The intro movie shows a mystery island full of strange characters and beasts. This is another series I've never really got into, apart from Memories of Celceta back in 2014. So, looking forward to see what this can offer.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chaos;Child confirmed for western release

We all knew this was coming, but now its official. CHAOS;CHILD is coming to western Vita owners this Autumn. Part of the Science Adventure Series, the visual novel series that also spawned the critically acclaimed Steins Gate, it takes place in Shibuya, Tokyo, several years after an earthquake has nearly destroyed the district, it follows Takuru Miyashiro, a high school student who lost his parents in the earthquake, and his group of friends.

When a series of bizarre murder cases take place in Shibuya, Takuru notices that the dates of the murders match up with a series of murders that happened six years before. Using this knowledge, Takuru and his friends begin to investigate and find themselves embroiled in a dangerous murder mystery…

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Japanese Media Create sales data plus Famitsu reviews

This week's Media Create data shows Vita's poor run continuing, but - again - we're talking about six-year-old technology that's faced with a shiny new rival. What did Sony think was going to happen? More to the point, will they bother doing anything about it?

This week it sold 4,088, just a few shy of its worst over week of 4,021 back in 2012. The drama to see how low it will go would make a great TV show! Still, if it continues to sell at 4K a week, that will take it over 300,000 for the year. and closed to six million life time, which isn't a bad knock for an abandoned product that SCEJ has spent over a year pretending it doesn't exist.

On the software side, no Vita games in the top 20, and the schedule is pretty light with only Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII with Power-Up Kit due anytime soon.

Over in Famitsu land, Tekken 7 gets the plaudits, no surprise there, but both of this week's Vita games get decent reviews:

Death Mark (PS Vita) – 8/8/8/7 [31/40]
Tsukitomo. Tsukiuita. 12 Memories (PS Vita) – 7/7/7/8 [29/40]

Plantera gets a Vita trailer

While we wait to see if Wild Season or Farmville or something else tips up on the Vita, here comes Plantera. In the Ratalaika game, you buy plants, animals and items from a shop and place them in a 2D parallax scrolling garden. With the goods you get from your garden, you can earn more coins and grow a huge farm. Or you can just create your own dream garden.

The PS Vita version comes with new features plus full touch screen controls. If you want something more meaty then check out Farming Simulator 2018.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A good week for UK Vita physical sales?

Well, I didn't see anyone rushing to the distributors going "get more Vita, stat!" However, there are three new entries at the top of the UK retail chart, which is cause for celebration. PQube's Akiba's Beat perhaps undeservedly takes the No. 1 spot, given that it is a pretty poor game. The PS4 version only managed No. 26.


There's loads of DLC on PSN for the top two, so hopefully, the publishers will make even more money over and above these launch sales.

The Lost Child, a new Japanese RPG announced

Despite the drop in sales, news games continue to be announced in Japan. Kadokawa will publish Takeyasu Sawaki's The Lost Child. The teaser doesn't give much away, and there's some info coming in the new Famitsu magazine, but apparently, demons and guns are involved. The game is based on the critically loved El-Shaddai.

UPDATE: And here's a first look at the turn-based RPG adventure's gameplay, with the original teaser below

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review Oceanhorn Monster of Uncharted Seas

I first played this game on iPad a few years ago, and was charmed by its bright visuals, soaring music, and jolly-go-adventuring tone. With none of the endless exposition of JRPGs, none of the politicking nastiness of more mature games, it was a breath of fresh sea air. And, now it has landed on the Vita thanks to the desire of the community, plus the efforts of publisher FDG and developer Cornfox. So, here we go again.

Waking up on a perky, verdant looking island, surrounded by crystal seas, you start out as a young lad, who's father has vanished in a battle with some dark sea monster. Talking to the locals, you soon find yourself on destiny's path, with a stick for a weapon, and a small creaky boat with a range of islands to visit. The game is largely isometric with an island-hopping travel section to break up the exploring of forest, deserts and the many cave systems that lie under each island.
 Looking up, there's an island in the sky that's intriguing but inaccessible early on. And, you'll need to talk to townsfolk or discover isolated island dwellers, to find clues to discover the location of new islands. This bite-size approach involves some to-and-fro but never feels overwhelming. Combat starts off with tapping some hapless crabs with your stick - soon upgraded to a sword and shield. Along your travels, you soon pick up bombs, spells, a bow-and-arrow and other tools to help break into new areas and expand the map.

Oceanhorn isn't too fond of handholding, which might be good or bad for you. Making a note of any obvious clues, inaccessible areas, and where you found them, is a good way to stop from getting frustrated. Solutions to puzzles are never too far away, and keys in chests make a regular appearance along with checkpoints to save the game to prevent you having to retread too much ground.

Even then, sometimes you might just not realise you need to drop a bomb here, or move something there, which is where things get annoying. Handily, there are a million and one guides to get you out of any sticky situation.

It is rare that you are outmatched or over-crowded, by nasties, unless a boss appears. Even then, it is only a matter of using the right weapon with the right timing to bring them down. Alongside sailing, you can also do a spot of fishing to jolly things along.

Health, ammo and other bonuses lurk in the undergrowth, and you make slow progress up a linear experience tree along the way. Keeping an eye out for hidden treasure chests, walls you can blow up and other goodies are all part of the fun. The graphics don't vary much over the course of the game, somehow an ice-level gets into the mix, and Oceanhorn could definitely do with a few more enemies, but it is a fun, if sometimes frustrating, adventure to explore with eyes wide open at the loveliness of it all.

I guess it's a shame the game never had female character option, my daughter would love it even more then. And it would be cool if you could jump earlier on, I mean, really - how hard is jumping and climbing? But playing it on the Vita, with a few touchscreen features is a decided improvement on the tablet version.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £11.99 (PSN)
Size: 200MB
Dev: Cornfox/FDG
Progress: Sailing across the sea, to rescue a chest of spam!

Bodycheck slams the Vita this week

Ludometrics' Bodycheck got a couple of mentions back in 2014, but has been on the back-burner since then. However, from out of nowhere, the medieval sports fighting game bursts out of its corner ready to rumble on the Vita this week. Fans of Speedball should love the approach and as long as there's enough power-ups, point weapons, magic and other bits of fun to add to the mayhem, it could be another hit.

New screens for Digimon: Hacker's Story

A fine start to the week, with a new batch of pics for Digimon Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Story, coming west in 2018.  The conflict between hackers has erupted in the digital world! The battle for the ultimate power has begun. Yuugo - a talented and charismatic hacker leading the biggest hacker group called Zaxon will fight for their rights against Jude (the legendary hacker team) lead by the former hacker Aarata Sanada and other crews. Join the Hudie faction lead by Ryuji Mishima and fight for victory.

Domination Battle is a battle between groups of hackers for the control over the server domain in the digital world. Proceed in a group battle and experience a strategy game warfare, unlike any other battles in the game.

In Domination Battle there are two different teams: Ally team & Enemy team that will battle in the network area. Both teams will start on neutral state, and the color of the area will change according to the team (Blue/Red) when a character steps into it. The aim is to fight for these areas and collect area points to win the fight.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Japanese trailer time

So many announcements for the Switch these days, you can almost feel the energy sapping from the Vita camp in the west. But, fear nor, over in Japan the releases keep coming as this new bunch of teasers and trailers show.

First up is Konosuba, Attack the Destroyer, another fun pixel RPG from 5pb. Definitely something I'd pick up if anyone fancies bringing this our way.

Also on the way is Iwaihime: Matsuri, a visual novel from NIS America, after a teaser last month. Definitely one to put the willies up you, with the whole good girl gone mad/zombie thing.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth coming September with a pillow case

Want to get really physical with the release of Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth? well the slightly limited edition comes with a nice pillow case to cuddle up to. The sequel to Mask of Deception, this finale takes place right after the dramatic events of the previous game.

Chaos has taken hold of the land in Mask of Truth as a conniving general has unlawfully seized the throne of the mighty Yamato Empire. The only ones that stand in his way are a couple of familiar faces who must rally different kingdoms together and fight against the powerful Imperial army.

Check out the Death Mark demo in action

Japan's PSN has a demo up for the impressive-looking Death Mark from Experience. I can't find any English-based play throughs, but this chap explores the first chapter and the abandoned school in around 15 minutes. I love the more realistic graphical style and eerie audio, without any squeaky characters. Hopefully, the rest of the game will be similarly brooding.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Second worst week of Vita sales ever in Japan

The end of Vita hardware sales looms large as the handheld managed to sell a mere 4,114 in Japan last week. Yes, Sony has plans to keep going, with an updated Minecraft bundle in July, but beyond that, it would be hard to see the company justifying a production line beyond the end of this year.

The worst week of unit sales was just over 4,000, and for the first time in ages, there are no Vita titles in the top 20. Then again, Microsoft continues to sell the Xbox One there with just a few hundred sales. While niche titles will keep the smaller publishers going, the larger players are all moving to Switch, and quickly. Hopefully, loyal Vita owners will cling onto their machines for another year or two, but things are not looking cheery!

After last week's brief revival on the Media Create chart, it is hard to see anything helping boost sales, ever. So, enjoy the autumn of the Vita's life and the Japanese games that continue to come our way. But unless Sony pulls PS4 Portable out the bag at one of this year's shows, portable gaming Sony style is done.

Review 10 Second Ninja X

Picked this up courtesy of PlayStation Plus a while back, and having given it a spin, I have to say wow! For such an unassuming little game, it packs in the challenge with 10-second bursts of crazed ninja-ing action.

All you have to do is defeat the on-screen enemies within the time limit, by jumping, swinging your sword of flinging a couple of throwing stars. Figuring out the best set of movements and combat is key to bringing down your time to get three stars, which will help open up the next set of levels, and whole new bunch of challenges.

How much you get from 10SNX depends on how often you restart and refine your run through a level, before your hands cramp up or you get the urge to throw the Vita at a wall. That's no fault of the game, just my aging human reaction times, and the odd errant twitch that can blow a run. But since you can be back at it in seconds, you never feel like you're losing much.

With lots of different level designs, some bad guy variation and learning the tricks of the game, like the exact distance the sword will attack from and which pixel you can stand on next to a drop or electric field are all keys to being great at time, something I'll never manage.

With sharp graphics, a great sense of humour from the space pirate cast and lots of secrets and cheeky goings-on around the hub, 10SNX is fantastic fun and a great five-minute break game. If you get stuck, yes you can get a hint or watch a YouTube video by a pro, but if your reactions can't match theirs, its pointless, but you may well die trying.

Score: 8/10
More reviews
Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Size: 300MB
Dev: Curve Digital
Progress: It broke my wrists!

Sony Japan updating its Minecraft bundle

With the Vita version of Minecraft almost out of Japan's charts and the game arriving on Switch causing a new pop in interest, Sony has thought we'll have some of that. It has updated last year's bundle with a new version coming out in July for the summer holidays.
The limited edition looks the same as the existing Vita model, which came out last year, it comes with a pouch, backgound theme and - the new bit -13 bits of DLC, mostly skins and texture packs along with the core game, likely updated to the latest version. Check the Japanese PS blog for more detail and images.
When Sony Japan said it was pushing the Vita more to kids, guess this is what they meant.

Review Akiba's Beat

Acquire had a modest hit with Akiba's Trip a few years back, thanks to the whole stripping-vampires-in-battle thing. The idea was silly enough not to be offensive and it had a good run in Japan, with a western release of the sequel, aka Undead and Undressed.

Still, for the encore, Acquire went in a slightly different direction, and by that I mean they ripped off Persona 4 and Digimon Story wholesale. Yes, you still run around Akiba. Yes, you still fight things. But this time they are random blobby creatures behind doors that only a few unfortunate souls can see. Throw in a bit of Groundhog Day for the plot, yet another squeaky-voiced floating "guide" and there you go.

These "Delusions" and the "delusors" that create them, are a piss poor way of creating a plot, it feels like the developers had ten minutes to come up with something that wasn't nudie-vampires and this was the best they could come up with. The creatures, whatever their design are just totally random or generic but have no reason to exist, other than to be a pain in the ass.

Each delusion is a multi-level themed set of platforms to "explore" with a few cookie cutter real-time battles, some simple switch puzzles and the odd dash of treasure. At the end is a boss who usually requires a fair bit of grinding to overcome. All of which makes this a game I have played five or six times before in the last few years.

To make things worse, there's a rival team trying to sort out these timey-wimey problems haunting the town. They just add a few extra hours of pressing X to skip annoying chit-chat and even more combat that you don't want to be doing. What kind of design decision was that?

Talking of battles, you can pause the game to use items, set different skills up for your team, and choose their tactics, but the actual battles just look like a dumb mess. You have a range of skills and the usual set of elemental strengths or resistances (why, in a game set in someone's imagination is a pre-biblical set of forces still needed?) No one I've talked to has got beyond much of  a strategy other than rapid stabbing, and rushing off to heal from time to time.

Another bit of idea borrowing comes with the Imagine-beats combat system (which is why everyone wears headphones). It uses music tracks as a kind of beat keeper, building up to some special moves, but isn't actually rhythm based, so despite being part of the game's name is equally useless. Overall, combat itself is hectic, non-fun, non-tactical, poorly animated and horrendously repetitive.

Yes, there are lots of flashing lights, explosions and weapon effects, which don't look that much better on the PS4, although the big-screen version does get better textures and shadows. Outside the main game there are a few sidequests, and getting around the map is easy with quick-jump points, but even for the grindiest of trophy hunters, this will be a serious chore to wade through.

Anything good, such as weapon or character progression, mini games in the Pachinko parlours of Akihabara or a fun spot of dating has been ripped out or overlooked in an effort to get the game streamlined.

The sugar coating of vibrant graphics, otome and manga culture, even a little nod to transgender issues, is a very tempting wrapping. But, inside, Akiba's Beat is a hollow shell of a game. Vita owners are used to a bit of grinding, but with no love, subplot or filler content this is a soulless as filling in a medical insurance form.

I was wondering why the game did badly in Japan, and now I know. Given that Akiba's Trip is currently just £6.49 on PSN, I'd strongly recommend you go grab that one instead. It is far from perfect, but has loads more soul and feel to it.

Score: 4/10
More reviews
Price: £34.99 (Amazon)
Size: 3.1GB
Dev: Acquire/PQube
Progress: Bored shitless!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception special edition unboxing

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is not only getting a physical release, but a neat limited edition version with a compendium art book. A 50-page softcover book, it contains art/information about some of the unlikely heroes, fantastical creatures, exotic locales plus concept art and developer notes that show a glimpse of the creative process behind building a mystical world.

It also includes information about the mighty Yamato Empire and its surrounding nations that'll serve as a guide to those unfamiliar with the Utawarerumono series. Check out the unboxing video...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Son of Scoregasm gameplay

Quite a few of the indie projects still headed to the Vita come from the smallest unit of developers, one man bands. Charlie of Charlie's Games has been hard at work and put up half an of gameplay from his updated shooter.

Check out his blog post with the latest news, the game is undergoing final checks. Note if you can help with some of the store page for non-English sites, he would appreciate some help.

What we have is another fine-looking shooter with a variety of clever features, shiny effects and the odd bullet hell moment, can't wait!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monokuma has spawned in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Everything in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is bigger and better and that includes the tribe of murderous psycho bears, the Monokubs.

Monosuke is very opinionated and has no patience for Monokid's foul language. That being said, he is also the most rational member of the Monokubs, and often falls into the straightman role within the group's antics. Monosuke believes that the Monokubs should be hostile toward each other, and approves of infighting among the group.

Short-tempered and foul-mouthed, Monokid is the most violent of the Monokubs. He doesn't really pay attention when others are talking, and will chime in seemingly at random to spout incoherent nonsense. He is often the reason that the group's conversations suddenly derail.
Monokid loves to bully Monodam, and has subjected his sibling to so much abuse that his heart has grown cold and distant. He loves to pepper his sentences with the catchphrase, "Hell yeah!"

The childish, scatterbrained leader of the Monokubs. Monotaro often struggles to keep his rambunctious siblings focused on the task at hand.

The only female member of the Monokubs. She is the kindest member of the group, and has a weak stomach for gore and violence. When the Monokubs squabble among themselves, Monophanie will try to smooth things over, only to end up joining the quarrel anyway. She can be cute and endearing at times, though. Sometimes she'll suddenly nod off, while other times she'll suggest changing the killing game to something less violent.

Monodam's heart has hardened due to the years of bullying he has endured. For this reason, he barely speaks to his siblings. In stark contrast to the plushie appearance of the other Monokubs, Monodam is the only member with a distinctly robotic body.

Vita sales up 1,000 in Japan

Golden Week doesn't do as much for game hardware sales as it used to, but with no new games out as most of Japan was on holiday last week, the Vita managed to add 1,150 sales, pushing it over 7,000 as it creeps back toward respectable sales numbers.

Anything above 7,500 seems reasonable for a handheld at the Vita's stage of life, and with (fake-looking) rumors of a successor this year, Japanese buyers had better stock up while they can, for whenever Sony does decide to end production.

The new releases all came out the previous week, due to the holiday, but those numbers only came out yesterday. This week, Minecraft is back in the top 20 at No. 18 with 4,000 holiday sales, approaching the 1,150,000 mark, while Dungeon Traveler 2-2 creeps toward 40,000 sales, hanging on at No. 20.

Rabi Ribi heads west in Autumn

PQube continues its quest to bring strange and quirky fun to western Vita gamers with the adorable side scrolling action, bullet-hell, title Rabi Ribi headed our way later in the year.

By way of a plot...
Don the bunny ears of Erina, a bunny-turned-bunny girl, who mysteriously wakes up in an unfamiliar place in a strange body. In hopes of returning to her peaceful bunny life, she sets out to find her way back home, but strange things are taking place on Rabi-Ribi island. With the help of her trusty Piko Hammer and Ribbon, her fairy friend, it's up to Erina to get to the bottom of this mystery…

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Media Create sales welcome Gun Gun Pixies

Japan was on holiday last week, so here's the delayed Media Create sales info up to the end of April. Gun Gun Pixies debuted at No. 9, selling a modest 8.675. Just behind it at No. 10 was a good second week for Dungeon Travelers 2-2, selling another 6,600 copies, taking it over 34K.

Way down the arse end of the chart with no numbers came this lot, showing that there are lots of Vita games still hitting Japan. They presumably sell enough (2-3K each) to make these efforts worth while.

25 (new) Hanasaki Work Spring! Entergram
26 (24) Minecraft Sony
27 (new) Tsuihou Senkyo NIS
28 (new) Desire: Remaster Version El Dia
30 (new) Tokeijikake no Ley Line Dramatic Create
38 (new) Fate/Hollow Ataraxia Kadokawa (rerelease)
42 (new) Saki: Zenkoku-hen Plus Entergram

In related news, Romancing Saga 2 has just passed 200,000 downloads on the Vita in Japan, in just over a year. This shows just how important digital is to the Vita. While collectors might hate, those digital sales are probably  keeping more publishers going than Sony would care to admit to. Can't wait for the title to come west! The news came from a talk during Unity's Unite event in Japan, showing just how random getting sales info on Vita games can be.

Vita hardware sales up

On the hardware side, Vita sales nudged up, for the first time in a while, by 800 to just below 6,000 units. Hopefully even some modest Golden Week activity will see it head up further, when last week's sales are announced.

ps vita sales, japan, media create

Check back tomorrow for the regularly scheduled Japanese chart update.

Retro shooter Seraphim first look

Studio Ravenheart flaps the Vita's way, with its unique looking twin-stick shooter, Seraphim. Set in an abstract celestial realm, part space, part alternate universe, you assume the role of a great being - so, an angel then? Its job is to defend planets that orbit within this mighty structure from some invading sentient matter, blasting comets from your mighty wings as threatening cosmic beings surround you from all directions.

An iOS/Android original release from a few years back, it looks pretty distinct and if the mechanics work well on the Vita, then should be another fine addition to our roster of shooters.

Seraphim Features​:

  • A Captivating, Abstract 3D Art Style
  • Rapid Twin Stick Arcade/Shooter Action
  • A Full Story Mode Featuring 24 Stages, Boss Battles & Cinematics 
  • A Score Attack Mode With Leaderboard

Monday, May 8, 2017

Spike Chunsoft's otome brawler Kenka Bancho rocks

Originally teased over a year ago, Kenka Bancho is heading to Japanese Vita systems in July, and apart from a cracking bit of soundtrack mixes fighting games and visual novels. Not sure if this is an update on the PSP version or an all-new game, but it has to be worth checking out if it heads west. A gallery is building up on the game's site.

Okay, the game is new(ish) a sort of love adventure update that takes place after the final PSP chapter.

Tally ho, Rogue Aces in action

The WWII air aces shooter from Infinite State is nearing completion and here's a peek at a recent gameplay session to highlight the bomb runs, dog fights and general aerial mayhem that Rogue Aces has to offer. With plenty of tricks to perform and power-ups littering the skies, this should make perfect portable cannon fodder when it finally arrives on the Vita at some point this year.

Friday, May 5, 2017

What the heck is Factotum 90?

While announcing that the might Va11-Hall-A is with Sony for Q&A, after some three years in the works, port studio Poppy Works also announced it is porting puzzler Factotum 90 to the Vita. Check out the console announce trailer and get ready for some top robot-based puzzling! Excellent news for the Vita and good to see more port teams looking for business.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What, if anything, will Sony announce for Vita at E3?

The date is set, 12th June at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern, 2AM UK, boo!) Sony will take to the stage to talk all things PS4 and a bit of PS Virtual Reality at the PlayStation E3 Media Showcase. If we're lucky, a 5 second mention of the Vita could bring us another WindJammers, some random indies or other tit-bit.

If we're very lucky a cheapo Vita 3000 model with microSD card support could be dropped to leech off the back of interest in the Nintendo Switch. Or, if my Sony exec mind-control campaign has worked, the PlayStation Vita 2 in full HD with all PS4 controls will launch in a blaze of fireworks and dancing elephants!

Or, as is usual, Sony will continue to pretend the handheld doesn't exist having removed it from store shelves and turned even buying a Vita into an episode of Mission Impossible. Let us know what you think might happen, or what random retro or indie game could get a brief taste of the high life.

I would give a great big cheer if the likes of Kerbal Space Program or Stardew Valley came from the current crop of indies, while any retro shooters like Raiden (the PS One version is on the Hong Kong store!), Ikaruga or similar would also be welcome

Final bunch of victim/heroes for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Get your detective monocle on, ready for September's murder fest in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Here's the last batch of ultimate dorks ready to be splattered to the four winds. 

Ultimate Anthropologist: Korekiyo Shinguji
Korekiyo has traveled around the world, studying many different cultures as part of his anthropological research. His travels have instilled in him an appreciation for the "beauty of humanity." For this reason, he observes his classmates with great curiosity, eager to see what sort of beauty they will produce given their unique situation.

Calm, collected and intelligent, Korekiyo's mannerisms and appearance can nevertheless be quite unnerving to some. Even his ethics and morality may be a departure from what one might consider normal.

Ultimate Aikido Master: Tenko Chabashira
Tenko is a practitioner of Neo-Aikido, a martial art that she created alongside her master by reimagining the style of traditional aikido.

To say she merely dislikes men is an understatement. As an androphobe, Tenko refers to all men as "male degenerates." Though compliments from a woman will make her heart aflutter, the same compliment from a man could result in him getting thrown across the room.

Tenko does not hide her emotions well, and she has a tendency to overreact to situations in an exaggerated manner. She also has a habit of yelling at the top of her lungs. Though she claims it helps bolster her fighting spirit, her frequent shouting often strikes others as incredibly obnoxious.

Ultimate Maid: Kirumi Tojo
A calm, dignified young woman of sound mind and peak physical fitness. Kirumi made a name for herself while working as a part-time maid, earning a reputation for fulfilling to perfection any request made of her. However, she refuses all requests made by corrupt individuals.

As a maid, Kirumi embodies the philosophy of selfless devotion. Even while trapped in the Ultimate Academy, she continues to serve her classmates almost on instinct, such as by preparing meals and doing chores.

Ultimate Child Caregiver: Maki Harukawa
Raised in an orphanage, Maki did not seek out the role of child caregiver but instead had the role thrust upon her.

For this, she was recognized as the Ultimate Child Caregiver. But despite her title, Maki's not particularly caring or friendly. And though children are fond of her, she personally can't stand them.

Despite her cute appearance, Maki is a hostile misanthrope of few words, and rarely cooperates with her classmates. Nevertheless, she is willing to take action when it suits her.

Ultimate Tennis Pro: Ryoma Hoshi
From middle school onward, Ryoma was a talented tennis player with a bright future ahead of him, and had won championships around the world. But after he used his tennis skills and a custom-made steel tennis ball to kill members of an organized crime syndicate, he was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to death.

Awaiting his punishment on death row before arriving at the Ultimate Academy, Ryoma claims he is no longer the same person who was bestowed the title of Ultimate Tennis Pro.

Displaying a maturity that is rare among teenagers, Ryoma seems older than his appearance would suggest. Even in the presence of pain and death, Ryoma remains unflappable.

Ultimate Astronaut: Kaito Momota
Astronaut cadets must have a college degree and pass a rigorous exam before they can even be considered for the astronaut training program. Kaito, however, used forged documents to take the exam before he graduated high school, and became the first teenager to pass it.

Ultimately, Kaito's forgery was discovered. But his unorthodox approach to the exam piqued such interest that he was accepted as a cadet anyway. Though Kaito still has yet to visit outer space, his romanticized view of the cosmos remains stronger than ever.

Valuing dreams and passion above all else, Kaito often dispenses such wisdom as "Limits don't exist unless you set them yourself!" and "You gotta be a little reckless to make your dreams reality!"

Ultimate Magician: Himiko Yumeno
A skilled magician who claims her tricks are the result of real magic. Himiko is the youngest recipient of the Magician of the Year award from the Magic Castle, an organization made up of stage magic enthusiasts from around the world. However, she claims this award was just a clever ruse to hide her actual magic powers from the rest of the world.

She complains about the constant requests she receives from people who don't believe her magic is real, but still want to see her performances.

Regardless of whether it's parlor tricks or real magic, Himiko has an uncanny knack for card and coin magic tricks, as well as making doves appear out of thin air. But despite the high demand for her magical aptitude, Himiko is also extremely lazy.

Ultimate Artist: Angie Yonaga
A zealously devout girl who claims that her island god, Atua, is always by her side. Though Angie draws and sculpts, she considers herself an instrument of Atua, and credits her artistic works to him and him alone.

She has an upbeat, somewhat ditzy attitude, and often says unique remarks such as "Bye-onara." Chief among her personality quirks is her claim to speak on her god's behalf, as well as her tendency to ask others for (non-fatal) blood sacrifices to Atua.

Any favourites from this batch? Pretty sure the ultimate astronaut was John Glenn, but in this crazy world, who am I to argue.