Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Tower of Beatrice adds some puzzling to the Vita

I was really enjoying The Witness thanks to PS+ on the PS4 via Remote Play recently, and even on the big screen, it looks like a game you could play on the Vita - maybe with a few more loading screens. Still, if you fancy some puzzle action,  The Tower of Beatrice, a year-old Steam game from Fairy Forsest, is headed to the Vita, judging by a trophy listing, providing point-and-tap puzzling.

It doesn't look too disimilar to Access Denied, but with a distinct gothic feel to it. The official blurb reads:

The life of a thief isn’t easy: always hiding in shadows, clients cheat, traps bite…

Working on a contract for a mysterious client, you'll need to infiltrate the tower of the powerful sorcerer Beatrice, steal her Book of Recipes, and get out alive.

Along the way you will enter a demon's dreams to discover his most intimate desires, accept a gift from a Granny-spider, start the Clock Tower, feed a snail, make a tea for a demon, piece together a skeleton, and finally fix your own fatal failing.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mochi Mochi Boy puzzles the Vita

PixelTeriyaki's Mochi Mochi Boy is a recent puzzle game heading to the Vita soon thanks to Ratalaika. If nothing else, it looks cute and lively, with players needing to fill all the tiles in a stage to progress. PixelTeriyaki's previous work includes Super Weekend Mode and hopefully he has other distinctive projects underway that would look good on the Vita,

Thursday, July 11, 2019

In Celebration of Violence mugging the Vita

A tweet by the very busy Dolores Entertainment suggests another fun pixel rogue-splatter fest is headed our way. A year-old Steam game originally from Julian Edison, it has plenty of very positive reviews and looks like a bloodbath of fun, described as a fantasy action roguelike of exploration and murder where you live, kill, die, improve, live again.

New Blue Wings trailer from Experience

Call it Students of Round, Chevalier of Blue Wings or whatever, here's the remake that represents Experience Inc's final offering for the Vita. Cue soaring strings, arty scenes of battles and maps succumbing to angry colours. There's some character bios near the end and some dinky screens, The game is out in a couple of weeks in Japan only.

Shakedown Hawaii mega-patch goes live

Vblank continues to deliver the goods, keeping the content and extra goodies to the top-down mayhem. A new patch brings the game up to version 1.04 and is a mere 43MB. Called The Full Tank update, it adds:
  • New vehicles including tanks
  • More enforcement types including agents
  • A zoomed-out camera option
  • New shakedown mission scenarios
  • Heat system to shakedowns
  • Off-island travel from the airport
  • Vehicle purchasing
  • Transferring funds to other characters
  • Game console in living room is now playable
  • Improves property selection on map screen
  • Plus bug fixes and more, many detailed in this new trailer. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Nintendo confirms Sony was right with the Switch Lite

In a totally unsurprising move, Nintendo has revealed the Switch Lite (aka the Vita 2), releasing in September at $199 and looking remarkably like Sony's humble handheld. Like the Vita there will be no TV-out and unlike the original Switch, it won't connect to a base unit for big-screen play, so this is basically the Vita with some modern processors and a not much better 720p 5.5" screen, unless they've sneaked an OLED in.

The biggest plus is the 32GB of built-in storage, plus expandability, so none of that Sony memory card stupidity! Here's the typically horrendous lifestyle video, no fat people in pants, no 3AM binge gaming, at least bookended by the more usual Nintendo intro and features guides.

Unlike the Vita, the Switch lite will have 2,000 games at launch, and come in pretty colours in the west - tempted by turquoise! Millions of Switch users looking for a better on-the-go unit, hopefully with better controls and feel, are probably pre-ordering right now.

Some early comments are hating on the no-TV angle, but Nintendo knows its market and this gives it a couple of years more bumper sales in Japan certainly, and probably pretty good in the west, until the Switch 2/Pro hits in 2020/21 (guessing)! Other comments are "oh, its a Vita!" which is amazing since apparently no one knew what a Vita was!

Hopefully Nintendo makes it easy to move accounts and games over! Is it a shame there's no secret 3DS game port and emulator in the hardware? Probably, that would have been cool and see Ninty follow MS and Sony in making retro or better-retro easier, just like the Vita did. For non-handheld games (see that video), you can play with your current Joy-Cons or go buy a set. So, like the original Switch, the Lite has that slight air of kludge to it.

Also more noticeably missing now its a full portable device are the range of media apps, Netflix, Spotify, iPlayer, Hulu and so on. Hopefully Nintendo is on the case getting those and other apps for the Lite.

And to think Sony just gave away this market, forgetting the Japanese traditional long-term business outlook for some short-term western thinking! A 2016 Vita 2 with HD, dual-sticks, better WiFi/4G stack for improved PS4 Remote Play and a proper marketing campaign would have at least kept Sony in the game.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Eastasiasoft and Dolores bring disco and battling to the Vita

Eastasiasoft continues to deliver the goods for Vita owners with two new games, UnderCoder's Conga Master Go and MadGear's A Hole New World, both ported by Dolores, this month. That's alongside physical releases of Arcade Distillery's War Theater and Mecho Wars.

Both games come with manuals, soundtrack CDs and the physical Vita card, showing that physical releases are still a thing! Conga Master, a 2016 PC title, is a pixel dance/puzzle arcade game as you have to keep the disco line moving while it grows. A Hole New World is an arcade platformer with plenty of jumping and shooting fun.

Line up if you like them as the collectibility only seems to be getting more intense for Vita games. Release dates are spread over the month to keep your wallet from crying too much.

• 11th July: Conga Master Go!
• 18th July: War Theatre / Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes
• 25th July: A Hole New World

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Attack of the Toy Tanks live on PSN

With Toy Story 4 out, there's always that more combative side in our nature that wants to see the military toys go to war, a la Small Soldiers. Attack of the Toy Tanks borrows that idea, and the Wii mini-game from Wii Play to bring some fun 3D battling to the Vita, thanks to Petite Games and Ratalaika.

Out now on PSN for £3.99, with lasers, traps and tricky level design, its a fun challenge (review up soon).

Monday, June 24, 2019

Kid Tripp tips up on Vita this week

Kid Tripp pops up on the PS4 and Vita this week, with the little lad having crash landed on a mysterious island, where there's lots of running and jumping required to avoid the pesky wildlife. A harsh platformer, it came out on Switch and mobile over a year ago, features include:

• Super challenging, fast paced platforming action.
• Silky smooth 60 frames per second.
• 20 levels, spread over 4 worlds.
• Super cute pixel art by Mike Burns.
• Old school soundtrack from Chris Kukla.
• Optional challenges to test players' skills to the max.

Review: My Big Sister

You can take all the polygons and effects you like and throw them at the next Resident Evil, other zombie game or if anyone had a go the Ring series. But the core human emotion of watching someone they love turn into that "other" be it a mutant, witch or zombie cannot be expressed with visual splatter.

That's why My Big Sister works so well, as a little girl and her big sister, Luzia and Sombria, stumble through nightmarish adventures in tiny pixels, where your imagination fills in the gaps between those pixels and whatever full-screen HD blockbusters you've seen.

From home to hospital, to an endless journey via the sewers and a witchy bathhouse, there's plenty of sweet little detail in the game, but its the weird approach to horror that makes My Big Sister a pleasant surprise with lots of little twists. Play it in the dark with headphones on, and its easy to get emotionally involved in this strange tale.

Gameplay is straight forward, with a little exploring to find a thing, use it find the next thing, or give it to one of the pleasantly freakish cast. Alerts show when you're near something useful, and while some things look like an exit but aren't there isn't anything like a false/padded feel to the story.

There are a few decisions to make, but with enough save points to make going back and forth no trouble, but the game really hinges on who's telling the truth and who's lying, plus that visual novel staple of a few good and bad endings to find, through choices, or simply standing in the right/wrong place.

The adventure runs a couple of hours long with tight, focused environments usually a few rooms each. Finding and using items is probably less than half the story. That's as you meet all sorts of oddball otherworldly characters and figure out what the real plot is behind the story that seems doomed to repeat itself.

In development terms, I think this is the first Adventure Game Studio title to hit the Vita after Ratalaika built a porting tool. Hopefully that means plenty more adventure games heading our way to supplement the string of arcade and VN titles. With sharp visuals, a fun soundtrack that backs up each segment perfectly and just enough game to make it worthwhile, I hope this is the start of a beautiful friendship with AGS.

Score: 8/10
More Reviews
Price: £4.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Stranga/Ratalaika
File size 198MB
Progress:  A good ending, some bad ones

Friday, June 21, 2019

Sci-fi VN Gnosia out in Japan

My baby is an acid-tinged, neon-tinted headfuck, to paraphrase The Wildhearts! That appears to be the case in Gnosia a new Vita-exclusive out-in-Japan visual novel from Mebius. Trophy listing here, if you care, and the trailer doesn't give much away about the fake humans in space plot!

The term Gnosia means being able to recognize the form and the nature of people and things; the faculty of perceiving and recognizing. And there appear to be werewolf-type characters hiding in human skin, I think.

UPDATE: The game scored a 10/10 from IGN's Japanese site and is worth a translated read. Wonder if Famitsu will be suitably impressed? If they are, perhaps a wider release for the game is possible, and maybe even a bit of a boost in Vita interest in Japan.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Students of Round remake trailer from Experience

The PSP Students of Round DRPG is apparently so popular in Japan that Experience Inc. thought they would remake it as their last Vita title. That's cool of them, but then they thought, we know, let's change the name to "Blue-Winged Chevalier" - which doesn't make much sense. On the plus side, they are also throwing in Stranger of Sword City Revisited as part of the deal.

The naming silliness aside, buyers will get a remastered RPG with new character art, a character builder option and more optional quests to undertake. The game lands in July and is Japanese only. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

New Konosuba Labyrinth of Hope trailer

Entergram has up a quick advert and a few minutes of gameplay of its DRPG with a host of cute enemies to defeat, out later this month in Japan. Labyrinth of Hope and Gathering Adventurers was announced last year, and you can now check out the website for more information and images.

Not sure if the quick animated clips for every battle move will make this insanely annoying, guess there's a quick battle mode to get rid of them, but it shouldn't take that much effort to beat up one one green frog!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Cybarian heads to the Vita soon

Kickstarted last year for Steam, Ritual Games and Ratalaika are bringing the arcade-classic-era style game to the PS Vita soon. Bringing back memories of Rygar with a sci-fi twist, Cybarian: The time travelling warrior looks really tight with plenty of side-scrolling violence that should look great on the small screen.

Ritual's next game is the even better looking Gun Crazy, so I hope enough people pick Cybarian up to encourage all concerned to bring that over to the Vita.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sekai Project promises Fault Milestone One and World End Economica for Vita

Vita news continues to sputter out of E3, which is both funny and ridiculous if you think about how long ago Sony ditched it.

The latest news comes from Sekai Project who have a very ropey delivery reputation, but given they could just say "not on Vita now" and the world wouldn't give a hoot, committing to a release or two is a pretty good effort.

Fault Milestone One developed by Alice in Dissonance I only took off the release list a few months ago, but back on it goes as Sekai promises a release later this year on Vita and PS4, after the summer Switch launch. That's even if they can't be bothered to put a PS Vita logo on the artwork. Trailer at the bottom!

Next up is a full collection of Hasekura Isuna’s adventure novel World End Economica from Spicy Tails. All of which should keep the Vita's repuation as a visual novel machine going for a little longer.

And here's the trailer for Fault Milestone One...