Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New pair of Persona Dancing... trailers

The Persona disco craze continues with new trailers for Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight as we meet new characters and their moves. The games land on 4th December, so now should be the perfect time to explore Persona 4: Dancing All Night again, or for the first time, to set your fingers tapping!

Halloween Forever scares up a trailer

Ahh, its the fake fear time of year. And Poppy Works has a new trailer for Halloween Forever showing off the SNES-style platform adventure from Peter Lazarski with a pip-spewing pumpkinhead trying to survive in what looks the unfriendly world of the undead.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Death Mark western trailer begs you to pick up the phone

While the horror is palpable in any language, the game makes a bit more sense with English subtitles. So, thank Aksys Games Localization for this anglicized trailer of Death Mark, with all the fun hinted at by the ESRB rating!

Remember the limited edition when considering buying the horror fest, when the game releases at the end of the month. Oh, and don't pick up the phone!

Vita sales tick up in Japan

After the news that the Vita will be discontinued next year, sales in Japan have perked up to 2,600 over the last couple of weeks, according to Media Create. But no big jump, most likely as gamers are picking up second hand units as spares. On the plus side, it is outselling the PS4 Pro and the 3DS LL.

No Vita games in the chart, where Super Mario Party fluffs its lines, selling just over 100K. Not much on the schedule bar visual novels and low-end JRPGs until December to give things a boost.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Snogging alert in latest Catherine Fully Body clip

Lap it up westerners since we don't appear to getting Catherine over here. Enjoy another break-in-the-action clip of sweet nothings as Japan prepares to get its hands on the ultimate version of this action puzzler. Still four months to go for the JP release, and maybe if we keep politely hammering away at Atlus USA, they might do the right thing and the help the Vita go out with a bang.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

EastAsiaSoft fires a Fast Striker our way

Bullet Hell definitely looks like the appropriate description for Fast Striker, a  classic shmup from Germany's NG Dev Team. Originally released as a modern Neo Geo and Dreamcast title, it packs in massive ships, a driving soundtrack and tight, tactical space battles.

The game is out in mid-October and will get a physical release, limited to just 2,200 copies on Vita. Some Vita physicals are digging near the bottom of the barrel, but this looks like a great title to own.

Features include:
  • 6 Stages, including huge boss battles
  • 4 Game modes: Novice, Original, Maniac & Omake
  • Elaborate scoring system
  • Adjustable screen & control settings
  • Constant 60 fps

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I Am the Hero hits the Vita soon

We might rip into Ratalaika for dropping games with easy platinums, but the Vita's most active port specialists do the hard yards when required. Take I Am the Hero, a beat 'em up from CrazyAnt that has stretched the Vita's ageing hardware and required some serious optimisation to get it running.

With reflective surfaces, a mix of polys and pixels and lots of animation and effects going on, hopefully it will remain fluid and fun. The original is only a year old from Steam too, so far from a quick mobile port. Release is promised before Christmas, so bring it on!

Games for new Vita owners

At the end of its time, the Vita isn't going quietly into the night. New buyers are popping up all over the place and the first question on their minds is, what games should I get? I'd written a few lists over the course of this blog, from the heady days of 2012 and 2015.

However, based on a recent tweet fest, here's a list the community has come up with that covers pretty much all tastes and bases, broken down into hopefully useful categories to help new players out. If you want more detail on a game, they might be on the review list.

Feel free to comment with any you think are missing! And, remember, there's still a decent roster of new games to come, see the release list.

Vita Exclusives (originally) 
Persona 4 Golden
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Killzone Mercenary
Gravity Rush
Assassin's Creed Liberation

Monster Hunting
Freedom Wars 
Soul Sacrifice
God Eater Resurrection/God Eater 2 Rage Burst
Toukiden I/II

Digimon World: Cyber Sleuth
Demon Gaze
Rainbow Skies
World of Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy X/X2
Dungeon Travelers 2
Darkest Dungeon
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus
Atelier Sophie
Ys: Memories of Celceta
Mary Skelter: Nightmares
Trails of Cold Steel
Conception II: CotSS
Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed (not Akiba's Beat, which is terrible)
Punch Line
Yomawari Night Alone
Yomawari Midnight Shadow

Visual Novels
Steins Gate
Steins Gate 0
Hakuoki Edo Blossoms
Amnesia Memories
Muv Luv
Root Letter
Death Mark (coming soon)
Zero Time Dilemma

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Virtua Tennis World Tour (physical only)
Olli Olli (1 and 2)

Ridge Racer
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
WipEout 2048

Borderlands 2
Riddled Corpses DX
Rogue Aces
Velocity 2X
Xenon Valkyrie
Son of Scoregasm
Neon Chrome
Risk of Rain
Soldner 2X
Aqua Kitty DX
Geometry Wars 3

Arcana Heart 3
Street Fighter x Tekken
Mortal Kombat
Marvel vs Capcom 3


Dragon's Crown, Shantae
Sir Eatsalot, Reverie
Stealth Inc., Undertale
Lumo, Slain
Axiom Verge, Sound Shapes
Odin Sphere, Rayman Legends
Iconoclasts, Shovel Knight
Chasm, Spelunky
Steamworld Dig, Steamworld Dig 2
Salt and Sanctuary, Lara Croft Go
Hitman Go
PSP Games Worth Playing On Vita: (PSN region choice may vary)

Persona 3, Gran Turismo, Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories,
Loco Roco, Patapon 1,2,3, Resistance Retribution
God of War: Chains of Olympus, Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Tekken 6
Ace Combat, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Patchwork Heroes
Half Second Heroes, Ridge Racer, The Third Birthday
Black Rock Shooter

PlayStation One titles: (PSN region choice may vary)

Crash Tag Team Racing, Metal Gear Solid, Rayman, Resident Evil 1,2,3,
Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, Vagrant Story, Ridge Racer Type 4, Spyro Series,
Crash Bandicoot 3,  Chrono Trigger, Wild Arms

Review Jack N' Jill DX

Jack N' Jill DX is a fun mobile jump-along game where you tap X to leap Jack across perilous levels so he can be reunited with his beloved Jill. A simple retro-style Game Boy title, there are 140 levels to cross. At least Jill gets a go in the later levels.

Bumping into the scenery will send Jack in the other direction. Avoid falling into pits and bumping into spikes, and you can generally get to the end okay. As the levels progress jump boosters are added and other things to avoid.

Each level is short enough that if you make a mistake you don't lose too much time or the will to live. Further into the world, nasties start to appear that can be avoided or bounced on. Power-ups can help you out, in the form of speed-ups, invulnerability and so on.

Later levels stack up the tricks and complexity of the platforms to create some tough challenges, but being Ratalaika, you can still get the platinum within an hour, and without getting into the meat of the game.

Unlock enough levels or collect enough coins and you get to play a set of mini-games, and can buy some treats for your little friends. Are they ghosts or decapitated thumbs? They look rather like Pac Man's ghosts, be a shame if they are already dead. And with no real story being revealed along the way, it doesn't really matter.

With jolly tunes and pleasingly simple level backgrounds, this is simple fare, where the toughest parts of a level just require a slightly earlier or later leap, or perhaps a different bounce pattern. Low-cost fun, there's some challenge, but this would be so much better if it took the Super Life of Pixel approach and tweaked the art style for each world to add some variety.

Score: 5/10
More Reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher Rohan Narang/Ratalaika
File size 94MB
Progress: Platinum

Monday, October 1, 2018

Battle Rockets trailer lights up the Vita

I can only see the tweet version for now, but will update to a higher quality version later if one pops up. That aside, welcome Battle Rockets from Gumbo Machine coming to the Vita in 2019.

A quick-draw shooter where one or two players or more must battle it out for victory, it might look simple, but I'm betting there's bags of challenge among the eight single player campaigns and that fast-paced multiplayer.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Fate Extella Link details

Fate/Extella Link is headed our way early next year thanks to Marvelous and XSEED. Picking up right where the 2017's Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star left off, Link will arrive in early 2019. It adds 10 Servants to the original roster of 16, including including Astolfo, Scáthach, and Francis Drake.

Note, PS4 screenshot!

The high-speed action gameplay has been refined, and players will battle their way through massive invading armies to protect the virtual world of SE.RA.PH from an invading force. New features allow players to hunker down in base camp, to move freely around their army’s base camp, a medieval cathedral raised into the sky, and interact with their Servants to build meaningful bonds.

The Vita is a digital only release for $39.99.

Puzzler Collapsus falls on the Vita

Wraith Games is showing off its award-winning puzzler Collapsus around the expo scene at the moment, and I've just noticed the "coming to Vita too" mention. That was originally announced back in April, but guess I missed it.

Collapsus features a unique risk-reward, resource management mechanic in among the usual block-busting moves. That and a device rotation mechanic plus a bunch of different modes from the chilled Zen and challenge modes over 300 mind-bending single screen puzzles.

Also good to see a full colorblindness accessibility mode. Hope it does well, and they consider bringing Rarkanoid out way too!

Root Letter Last Answer first trailer

Adding a little live action to the classic Root Letter visual novel storytelling, this remaster of the 2016 original is heading to Japan in December. Check out the official site for more information on the actors taking up the roles of their pixelly predecessors. There will be a premium physical release, more info on that to follow, chances of a Vita western release? Unlikely, I suspect.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: Stay

Here we go adventuring on the Vita, except you're not the one having the adventure. instead interaction is limited to online chatting to someone trapped in a room, in the dark, on his own - very much against his will. That's not the only thing strange in Stay, the game keeps track of how long you play, or how long you leave this chap, Quinn, in the lurch.

The actual adventure elements are pretty basic, you have a few key phrase choices to make, either encouraging Quinn on, or urging caution as he bumbles around in the dark finding all sorts of mysteries. As you talk, you affect Quinn's mood and little measures for sanquine and other long adjectives fill up on the left hand side, hopefully for the good, but it doesn't make much sense.

Puzzles make up the rest of the game, and here we take control of the action, trying to put back vases together, solve block-type brain teasers and much more. The wall puzzle and chess games are just bizarre, and not helped by the strutting peacock or other diversions!

Other times you watch on during interludes as Quinn explores, perhaps quietly screaming at him to do something logical (if its dark and you're on the roof, wait until daylight, moron!).

Along the way Quinn picks up a menagerie of animals, because why not? And some items, which might come in use later on. With no guide to the puzzles, unless you cheat, that's where you will spend much of your time struggling, and once you've found a route through the game, I don't think there's much more joy in trying other ways out, or trying to empathise more (or less). And if you don't like Quinn, his back story won't be of any interest as the game progresses.

I'd like to love the idea behind Stay, but the execution is pretty ropey in places, and there's only so much fun chatting to someone on a keyboard. This from someone who hates using WhatsApp! A shame as the music is gorgeous and the early going can suck you in. As one of those games best played in the dark on headphones, its a shame it doesn't demand your attention until the end.

Ironically, as Night Trap comes out on the Switch, I was wondering if that would make a better text-type adventure? With more, slightly bat-shit girls to engage with, it could work. But stuck with Quinn, I'm not feeling the love, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't.

Score: 6/10
More Reviews
Price: £9.49 (PSN)
Developer/publisher Appnormals/Ratalaika
File size 225MB
Progress: 12th circle of hell

Latest Media Create and Famitsu data from Japan

Two weeks ago, Vita had its worst ever sales at 1,973 in Japan. Then at TGS, Sony announced an end to Vita production sometime in 2019. Fair to say the two events are probably related. Last week's figures from Media Create show sales pinging back up to 2,718, but aside from people stocking up spare consoles, this is a one way ride.

What was once a stellar seller for the Vita, Steins Gate Elite only just creeps into to the top 20, selling 3,700, while the PS4 and Switch versions are in the top 5, selling 13K each. That's as clear a sign as anyone needs that the Vita's time in the sun is almost over. Famitsu's review pages are crammed with Switch titles, and anything that once brought delight to Vita owners now on PS4/Switch/PC pretty much exclusively. 

Tick, tock, all we can do is wonder if PS5 will have a portable/hybrid element, as I don't have the time or energy to fight my way in front of the big TV.