Friday, January 30, 2015

Dragon Masters to ride the Vita

This popped up out of nowhere recently, a very distinctive looking metroidvania-type game called Dragon Masters. Developed by Radiate Games and Bluefish, a South Korean team. in the game, the player can ride dragons but rather than open skies seems to be limited to exploring various dungeons.

Dragons can be caught and evolved to reach new areas through different skills and weapons, certainly looks cool. No sign of a release date, but it will hit PS4 and PS Vita.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

OlliOlli2 Welcome to Olliwood Trailer

Skating back to the Vita and PS4 in 2015, OlliOlli2 welcomes more mad stunts and levels thanks to the team at Roll7. Packing in five new worlds, and 50 levels plus 250 challenges there's also the Daily Grind, Spots Mode and RAD Mode to drive you mad.

The sequel boasts all new ramps and epic hills allowing for monster air and multi-route levels. Also, OlliOlli2’s combo system has been expanded, so if you felt like a right klutz in the first one, get ready for more pain. The joy of Manuals, Reverts, Revert Manuals and Grind Switching giving you more control and expression than ever before.

Kick and Fennick coming for free on PS+ in February

I've rather liked the look of Kick and Fennick since first seeing it last year, and the good news is that its coming to the Vita for free as part of the PlayStation Plus subscription for both EU and US PSNs. The bad news is, that's pretty much it, since most of us should already have Rogue Legacy, the excellent but not particularly new and shiny roguelike.

In the new title, from Dutch developers, Jaywalkers, young lad Kick wakes up in a strange, barren yet colorful world. He soon becomes partners with a flying droid they go on a series of platform and puzzle adventures to find the robot a new battery. Hopefully there will be some content to share beyond the old Gamescom trailer soon.

Lego bringing Jurassic World and Marvel Avengers to the Vita

As some of the most popular games on the Vita, there was little doubt that Warner and its partners would continue to shovel out the ports, but at least we'll have one all-new world to explore in the form of Lego Jurassic World which should be out in June. A new Marvel Avengers game will follow later in the year. No pics yet, not they'll show off the Vita and other mobile versions.

Jurassic World will borrow from the whole series of films, while Marvel Avengers will take up the plot of both movies and run with them in fun and furious ways. Time to update the release list.

PlayStation initiative event in Feb, retooling PSN?

In New York, on February 13, Sony has some new initiative to unveil to the press. That doesn't sound like a product launch to me, but PlayStation could sneak something in under the radar, a cheaper Vita, a proper launch for PS TV now that PS Now is live, or a slim PS4 perhaps.

More than likely, it will relaunch PlayStation Network (aka Sony Entertainment Network, but no one ever calls it that) as something more media friendly, based on its recent Spotify tie-in and other changes to its dismal media offering.

Perhaps the Xperia line will also be branded PlayStation (or get some PS hardware models) as sales are down the toilet for those too? Either way, Sony's crapping all over the Vita means there's little reason to get excited, but who knows if that was part of some bigger plan?

That notion is based on Sony not being able to announce Spotify for a product they haven't unveiled yet... just a thought.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No Spotify for Vita owners, Sony officially hates its own portable

In Sony's continued, deliberate, efforts to piss off the entire Vita user base, the company today announced on the PSN blog (and in a press release) that Spotify is coming to PlayStation, as part of PlayStation Music. Expect for..... the PS Vita. The PS3, Xperia smartphones and tablets (which have sold a lot fewer units than the Vita) get a look in, even as Sony focuses on the PS4, but the Vita, a mobile device designed for entertainment apps, umm, no!

Across both the US and EU blogs, there are many commenters asking about the Vita version. However, Sony can't be bothered to reply to those users, helping to alienate even more people and disrespect Sony fans - that's so incredibly shit of them, it makes me feel rather angry. The only glimpse of hope is this February Sony event, where, just perhaps, it has something new to announce (and can't talk about it yet?)

Presumably this service is replacing Sony's Music Unlimited that was always way too limited for anyone to care about. So, having already canned a bunch of apps, the bad news continues for Sony's premier portable gaming device. What a bunch of turds!

Why is this different to the earlier closures? Sony had the opportunity to show some goodwill, and once again has completely failed to deliver. They clearly see the Vita as dead, beyond a low-end games machine (outside Japan). Cheers, Sony - how about opening up app development, so the community can take over?

Latest Media Create chart action

Still not much in the way of chart action from Japan, as the latest Media Create figures follow the usual seasonal lull. However, another 15,580 units is still a decent number with not much going on and still above the PS4's sales. Overall, the Vita had about 20% of the Japanese market, still dominated by the many 3DS variants.

Tecmo's latest Atelier RPG Escha and Logy sneak into the Media Create chart at No. 6, selling a modest 15,778 while Experience's Stranger of Sword City creeps in at No. 8 selling only 11,559 which probably won't do much for either publisher's Vita ambitions.

Sword Art Online: Lost Song gets yet another trailer

Bandai sure are singing SAO's praises to the rafters with the latest in a series of videos showing off the new features in the update/spin-off/whatever it is. This clip shows off the new continent and sky city that your party can explore along with more of that flying fun.

The game hits Japan at the end of March and should come west based on healthy sales of the Hollow Fragment episode.

Maps, Near and YouTube toasted by Sony

Sony is ditching support for, removing apps and generally crippling a few of what were the Vita's key features at launch. However, since launch I doubt few people have used or care about them, so its no massive loss. Maps I've used once, but never really cared about, and it only made sense for the few GPS/3G Vita models sold, even in Japan.

As for Near, the Maps part of that is being turned off. I turn it on from time to time, got the odd challenge or reward (which I guess will still work). But, since few games use it properly, I won't miss it and its nothing like Nintendo's Street Pass which makes far more sense. Quite why Sony didn't try to innovate with it, or mimic Nintendo over the years, I have no idea.

YouTube, well Sony aren't deleting the app, but it won't be available to download from the January 28th. And you can access the videos via the browser which is probably a neater solution, since the web app is updated more often than the bubble app. This follows Skype being removed from the store, I guess these apps still work if you already have them, but haven't tried it myself.

So, its no big deal really. But its another sign Sony is slowly moving its focus elsewhere, and there's also no carrot to go with these stick beatings. No sign of Sony trying something new, clever or experimental. I guess it also means Europe will never get the Netflix app or anything else vaguely entertaining.

I just hope no one had some brilliant game in development that relies on Maps or Near to do something really cool. Other than that, it won't affect any games, but you can bet the Vita-beater sites will use this as more Vita-is-doomed fodder. These changes kick in with an upcoming Firmware update, hopefully Sony will add at least one interesting feature to make up for the loss.

UPDATE: Oh, look. Polygon, Engadget and others all run cookie-cutter "Vita losing features stories", with no sense of a user anywhere in sight. But, you notice they never write when anything positive happens to the handheld? I know US sites have no concept of balance, but just one positive story, sometime?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dragon Fin Soup gets a gameplay trailer

It has been a long time coming, but Dragon Fin Soup, a retro RPG that was funded back in April last year, is finally getting it together. The five strong team at Grimm Bros raised $120,000, after only asking for $25K and have put out an alpha trailer to show off their progress.

It looks a lot of fun, the trailer appeared on the PlayStation YouTube feed, so expect an update post, perhaps with a release date soon. Check out more Kickstarter games here, including newly launched Children of Morta.

Grim Fandango rakes in the good scores

Are you ready for some proper adventuring? Aside from Broken Sword, there isn't much of it about, but hopefully the success of this (and its raking in a lot of good review scores), will spark more interest in the genre. Personally, I'd still rather play The Dig, which was an awesome Sci-Fi adventure, or some real classics like Discworld, or even the Magnetic Scrolls adventures. Still, this should be off to a great start, and should look just as good on the Vita.

Note, quite a few people are reporting crashes on Twitter, so maybe you'll want to wait for a patch before commencing your Manny adventures!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Get ready to have your Krinkles Krushed!

Oh look, they've moved the perspective of Plants vs Zombies and put some different animals and graphics in it (says the cynical me). There's a plot in Krinkle Krusher, but that involves magic cake awaking an army of nasties, so you'll forgive me if I'm not too excited/stoked/whatever for this one.

The game comes from Spanish mobile game team Ilusis, so why there isn't a little more hot-bloodedness to this, I'm not sure. I imagine it'll be free on PS+ sometime soon, so no rushing out to get it early! Still, they did bring StreetKix to the PSP, so cheers for keeping the Vita in mind guys!

Htol#niq gets a freshly baked batch of screens

Is anyone else calling this game Hotel Nick, when they read the title? Some sort of prison metaphor perhaps? Maybe just me, anyway, NIS America has posted out a new bunch of screens to poster over that hole in the cell wall. If you like them perhaps you'd like the limited edition that NISA has lined up.

The actual game, perhaps better known by its subtitle as The Firefly Diaries is set in the depths of a labyrinthine ruin, where a young girl named Mion rises from a deep sleep. Lost, alone, and with no memory of how she got here or where her parents are, she is greeted by two fireflies—one composed entirely of light, and another who lurks among the shadows.

By shifting between a world of light and a world of shadows, these two fireflies must work together to recover Mion's memories and lead her out of the ruins, where voracious shadow beasts, ancient machines, and treacherous traps lie in wait to bar her path. But what secrets do Mion's lost memories contain? What is the connection between her, the ruins, and the fireflies lighting her escape? The answers may reveal a deeper darkness—one that must be faced from within.

Operation Abyss Limited Edition pre-orders for Europe

For those really keen on their JRPGs, and after some uncertainty last week, Europe can now pick up the Limited Edition version of the Operation Abyss for the Vita from the NISA Europe store. The New Tokyo Legacy LE version is now available to pre-order from their store featuring a 112-page art-book and 16-song soundtrack in a collector's box.

There's a peek at the pages, hot off the press of the art book. It does have the usual bonkers price of £54.99, but that's the breaks of playing a niche game on a niche console in a small pond. Here's some pics from last week, if you're not sure what all the fuss is about.

Rugby 15 gets into the chart scrum

Not much movement at the top of the chart this week, but Bigben, the publisher of the upcoming WRC 15 makes a decent dent in proceedings, landing at No. 5 with its Rugby 15 title. That neatly launches ahead of the Six Nations and this year's Rugby World Cup. The game lands at No. 8 in the all formats, so we're hopefully seeing the rise of a new publisher to support middle-ranking games.

2 = FIFA 15 EA SPORTS 2 18
6 new RUGBY 15 BIG BEN - 1

A quick squint at the EU PSN store Top Sellers shows a nice variety of games, and as things go increasingly digital, I maintain my call for Sony to start showing some numbers for these to keep the Vita relevant:

1 Minecraft
2 Atelier Ayesha
3 Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragfemnt
4 Danganronpa : TTH
5 Unfinished Swan