Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vita still top in Japan on falling sales

Vita hardware sales remain above the 3DS in Japan this week according to Media Create. But with the country having very much an off-week and little in the way of new releases (is there an annual "turn off that console day" in Japan?, there isn't much good news to shout about with Vita sales dipping below 20,000 for the first time in a couple of months.

The Vita is just below 18,000 while the 3DS slips below 15,000. Sword Art Online and the new BlazBlue are out tomorrow in Japan, so should provide a boost to the Vita's numbers next week. Expect the 3DS to do very well though, as Nintendo is running a free game offer with console sales.

The following week after that is Golden Week which sees a big sales boost for portable gadgets as lots of Japanese go travelling. After that summer hell commences and sales will struggle without a big name game to provide a lift.

Another World 20th Anniversary will party on the Vita

Delphine's 16-bit hit, designed by Eric Chahi, is back for its 20th (um 23rd actually) birthday. The lovingly rotoscoped platform adventure was a massive award-winning title at the time and made it to most formats, with a recent PC HD edition arriving a couple of years back, which also made it to iOS.

That is likely the version, with further improvements, to hit consoles including the Vita soon. Should look really smooth on the small screen.

Muramasa and Golf teeing off on PS+ in May

Funky and stunningly drawn arcade game Muramasa Rebirth from Marvelous (localised by Aksys) leads the way on the Vita's EU PS+ collection in May, ably abetted by the consigned-to-the-bargain bin Everybody's Golf, although there's plenty of neat DLC for it.

What that does make me wonder is what is developer Clap Hanz doing now? It dabbled with Tennis on the PSP and those fun Stress Buster mini games, then uprated Golf for the PS3. But what are they working on next?  Their last product appears to have been a smartphone Smart Golf game, but surely they have something bigger in the pipe?

Danganronpa 2 dated for September

Have you survived the perils of Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc (review) yet? Have you made it through the trials and tribulations of the students and the psycho bear? Then regroup and rest up over the summer because he's back for more in September. NIS America has put an early September date on the sequel for the US, with an EU date probably not far behind.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair packs the students off to a tropical island called Jabberwock and runs through the same type of mad student escapades, murders and trials. Can't wait to see what lunacy is thrown at us this time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Need help navigating Demon Gaze? Try these maps

I don't usually do hints and tips, preferring to slog my way through games the old-fashioned way. However, as my review of Demon Gaze points out, its pretty easy to miss a turn or hidden passage that can leave you scratching your head and pretty much stumped or bumbling around looking for the one next step.

Check out these maps of the early levels which should help you find the missing bits in the likes of Red City, Slave Grave, Star Curtain, the White Garden and Neptune's Lair.

Sorry for the Japanese, but click on a pic to enlarge and you should be able to figure out where's where on each map and how to get to the bits you can't get to. I'll post the later maps sometime in future, so no one can accuse me of going spoiler mad.

Star Wars: Masters of the Force table homes in on Zen Pinball

We've already seen videos of Chewbacca in action and those loveable Droids for the new set of Zen Pinball 2 tables. Seems the team aren't done, throwing in a fourth table alongside the New Hope episode.

Adding some Jedi masters to the mix, Masters of the Force focuses on the lightsabre wielding ones and their mysterious ways. If only you could guide your pinball around the table with some force-like powers!

One Piece Unlimited Red coming in Limited edition

For all the sense that title makes, here you go. One Piece: Unlimited World Red is coming to the PlayStation Vita (and other formats) in July! Namco has announced a Day One Edition that includes DLC costumes for Luffy, Nami, Sanji, Chopper, Zoro, Usopp, Franky, Robin, and Brook. This edition (format not specified) will also include an additional quest for players to enjoy! The Day One Edition will be available at launch while supplies last. Here's some new screens to enjoy.

Sword Art Online heading west this summer

The manga-based Vita game, subtitled Hollow Fragment, is just about to explode onto shelves in Japan, but Bandai Namco (to use its new silly revised name) has promised a western translation this summer. The game (plenty of news here) was a massive hit on the PSP first time around, and Namco must hope the Vita version will do just as well.

It is only getting a digital release in the west, but we can't argue at getting an online party RPG. Sword Art Online on the PSP sold nearly 140,000 copies in its opening week. Would be good to see the Vita version do as well when it launches in Japan on Thursday. Following on from the Tales of Hearts R news, looks like the Vita will have a happy JRPG summer.

The Walking Dead Season 2 gets a Vita trailer

You know, they're probably lobbing stock console footage over that Vita screen. Anyway, if you've managed to ignore the big-screen versions, here's what The Walking Dead Season Two should look like on a Vita with Clementine growing up into a well-rounded human being, under the circumstances. Episodes 1 and 2 are out this week.

Sly Trilogy creeps in at No. 5 on UK Vita chart

A day late after the Easter Holidays, the UK Vita chart is pretty much unchanged, with only Sly Trilogy making a new entry. Football Manager sticks to the top job better than Chris Moyes ever could and FIFA 14 makes it a sporty one-two.

2 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 3 30

The curious incident of the PSN maintenance and the new PSOne/PSP games

After Monday's PSN maintenance, some US Vita users saw a bunch of classic PSP and PSOne games appearing on the store, with the likes of Konami attributing it directly to the roadworks. Not all of them work, but some now work on the Vita that previously were PSP-only. Some over-excited posts are claiming "nearly all" games are there, but before you get too excited, there's certainly still no Crisis Core, Kingdom Hearts or the original Ridge Racer.

Scrolling or searching around the EU store on my Vita, I can't see much difference. However, if you check the website version, there seems to be more going on there, but not hugely. What all this means, we can only guess, but either Sony is trying to equalise its offerings around the world, or is preparing a decent push for the Vita as a classics machine. Perhaps the rise in digital sales through the indies has seen Sony note rising demand for the older games?

It could be a reaction to the recent US Flash Sale, which generated a lot of comments. Please comment if you've noticed or see anything new, or if anything grabs as a must buy.

Revenge of the Titans pops up on PEGI

Curve Studios continues to push out the Vita hits, with Revenge of the Titans due for a summer release and now rated by PEGI as a 12, containing mild bad language - oh, the horror! The game and Titan Attacks (rated only a 7, oddly enough) were revealed as a dual-pack back in February, but Curve has since split them up to focus on each title.

Things have been a bit quiet since the first news, with this PEGI update offering little info. Developed by Puppy Games and billed as the best Space Invaders tribute ever, there's plenty of info on the PC version, as we wait to see what the PS3, PS4 and Vita versions offer.

Avoid Droid gets some timed Vita exclusivity

InfiniteStates' Avoid Droid (revealed at the start of the year) is hitting the Vita in June, a month ahead of its iOS release. While that's not something that will shock the iPhone world, its a nice touch from the English developers. The game itself packs in fiendish arcade mechanics, a host of fun and (explosive) fruity visuals, a blippy soundtrack and what could be nods to classic gaming and demands a strong survival instinct.

The basic aim is to eat the fruit to creation chain reactions, which help keep you alive a little longer, as you rack up the points in a hostile arena with distinct challenges on different levels. With multiple play modes, this is a great mobile game coming to Vita first instead of the other way around, taking advantage of proper controls (although there's tilt if you like that sort of thing).

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Soul Saga shows off its first footage

One of the successful Kickstarted games with a Vita stretch goal, has put up about 12 minutes of alpha footage, showing off progress on the game so far. The eventual Vita version might not look quite as spiffing as this PC footage, but you get the drift and be sure to check out the forums where discussion and voting for game features is on-going.

Heart Forth Alicia crashes past Kickstarter funding goal, Vita version under discussion

Self-described Metroidvania RPG (but isn't everything these days :)...) Heart Forth, Alicia from Alonso Martin has crashed through its $60K funding goal in a matter of days and stands at $105K at the time of writing.

Why should you care? Because in the latest update the developers are discussing the possibility of a PS Vita version, which they are keen to do. Given the support of now-official industry legend Shahid Kamal Ahmad, I'm sure that could be made to happen. Check out the KS page for some cracking visuals and plenty of juicy info that should make anyone contribute if a Vita version is confirmed.

Check out other Vita kickstarter titles here.