Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tales of Hearts R shows off some costume options

Hot on the heels of One Piece comes another Namco game, with just a teeny tiny video showing off the games somewhat quirky costume options. Doesn't the last girl look suspiciously like Bernadette from Big Bang Theory?

Bloober bringing Deathmatch Village to Vita and PS3

Bloober brought the fun but simple joys of A-Men for the Vita's launched, which was probably overlooked in the rush for the big games. Their new game, Deathmatch Village, offers free-to-play, 3-on-3, combat. But what form this takes isn't quite certain as there's just a logo on the site.

More to come I guess.

One Piece Pirate Mosou 2 gets a new trailer

Namco is showing off a bit one One Piece in this four minute trailer of the PS3/Vita game, with plenty of action and a couple of cute cut scenes. Given the popularity of the source material, pretty sure this will be a massive hit.

XSEED bringing Valhalla Knights 3 and Ys Celeta to the west

XSeed has just announced its 2013 line-up with a couple of top-notch role playing game imports starring for the Vita. Click the links for plenty of video and info from the Japanese versions.

Valhalla Knights 3 (video, pics)

PS Vita, Fall 2013 – The fourth title published by XSEED Games in the popular Valhalla Knights action RPG series, Valhalla Knights 3 features a robust character creation system and brings intense seven-on-seven party-based combat to the PS Vita. Players can select from one of seven races and one of twenty job classes such as Fighter, Mage, Thief, Priest, Akatoki or Archer, while also equipping two sub-jobs. Players can adventure with a party of their own making or brave the wilds alone and seamlessly engage in real-time combat to earn skill points for upgrading and unlocking abilities unique to each job class.

Ys: Memories of Celceta

PS Vita, Fall 2013 – An extensive reimagining of (and pseudo-sequel to) Ys IV, one of the only Ys games never before released in the west, this title puts more enemies on screen than ever before and features the largest, most non-linear overworld in Ys history, boasting superlative graphics and a triumphant evolution of the fast-paced gameplay that has made this series a timeless action RPG mainstay. As the game opens, long-time protagonist Adol Christin finds himself alone, dazed and confused in a strange land, and must piece together his memories of how he got here and why, all the while struggling to determine whom he can trust.

How to play When Vikings Attack...

The Japanese have the right idea. I haven't got round to playing this one yet, but if this lot are enjoying it so much, I think its probably worth a go. Where do we get one of those hats though? Hope they do something similar with PSASBR.

Carnage Heart EXA offers bot-on-bot action, save the best bits to YouTube

A couple of quick videos from Natsume USA showing off its battling bots on the PSP in Carnage Hearts EXA. While the battlegrounds are a bit sparse, I love the combat and there's a bit of strategy behind it as your develop your Overkill Engines.

Also, the game has one really neat trick. You can record battles and they'll be uploaded to YouTube so you can share them with friends, definitely something more portable games should offer. The game is coming to the US PSN soon, hoping for an EU release.

PSABR out in Japan today, led by Raiden of course

Yep, there's a distinct home feel to Japan's coverage of Sony/Superbot's action brawler. Website 4Gamer's coverage makes it look like its all about Raiden and Gravity Rush's Kat with some God of War thrown in as an afterthought.  Famitsu pushed it as Dante vs Radien too last week with the same set of art assets, while it doesn't seem to have got a mention in the latest Game Freak or V Jump magazines.

Interestingly, the official Japanese page is using the western live-action trailers and artwork which barely has a homegrown character in sight, I thought they'd make more of a local-hero effort on that front. I have no idea how well it will sell over there, but based on a quick scan across the sites, it hasn't had the push Sony might have hoped for.

Phantasy Star Online 2 gets a blistering new trailer

Sega are ramping up the Hype for the Vita version which is now in a final beta. Here's a chunky new trailer to push the game and show off some intense combat. Comments from Japan suggest the Vita version is easier to play than the PC version as all the significant features can be accessed via the touchscreen rather than running across the keyboard in a panic.

New Tearaway trailer, follow the paper trail

Sony is really going at it today, we also have a new Tearaway trailer to go with all the Killzone goodness in the previous post. Love the song, really sets the atmosphere for a video that offers a little bit of a darker edge to all the paper cuteness. Keep going to the end to see use of the Vita camera and rear touch panel.

And to keep their exclusive theme rolling, VG247 has an exclusive bit of footage, god this man has what can only be described as a voice for mime:

Killzone Mercenary pics and videos start to roll out

Looks like different sites are getting their own bits of content, will try and drop them all in this one article, the release date is confirmed for 18th September. Lost of coverage going on, the Guardian newspaper even gets a hands on:
This unpredictable behaviour adds variety and excitement where the pallid locations and formulaic structure seem to let it down. Still, this is only two missions, and we're yet to scratch the surface of Danners story; certainly The Package hints at some pretty astonishing cyberpunk city environments, with towering buildings and labyrinthine neon-drenched road ways. Plus, there could be some huge surprises to come as we get to see the Helghan side of the conflict.
More opinion from PSU:
Guerrilla claims that Killzone Mercenary was designed from the outset to mirror the visual fidelity and unyielding immersion of its console ilk. After playing through an early section of the game, I can confirm that both claims hold true. Running on a slightly-downscaled version of the Killzone 3 engine, Mercenary impresses with dynamic lighting, stunning aesthetic, and a myriad of post-processing effects.
From VG24/7:

From the PSN blog:

Pics from PSN:

Some more words and a nice bit of art from IGN:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Killzone Mercenary due out in September, awesome details trickle out

It looks like some sites are busting tomorrow's Killzone news early with a translation off an Italian site (since been pulled by the look of it) pointing to about 9-10 hours of missions with multiple objectives and different challenges on replay. Credit earned from single player and multiplayer games will go into the one pot, allowing you to buy extra gear for either mode.

Multiplayer will come with six maps to start with and you can bet your last penny on lots of DLC. It looks like it will support up to eight players in 4v4 mode. And it'll all be here in around eight months or so, in time to start the Vita's second Christmas push. A dead console? I don't think so! Yet, people are already whining about it being a short game with limited MP - incredible!

Team 17 show off a new Alien Breed video

Having arrived on the PlayStation Mobile store first, Alien Breed will soon re-emerge on the full PSN with trophies and other extras like cross-platform play. The developers Team 71 have put up a new video, and frankly you'd be mad to miss out on this 16-bit classic.

Having watch the video it doesn't actually show any of the new PSN features, but hey, if it keeps the game in people's minds I guess.

UPDATE: Hitting PSN the 6th February for Europe and the 12th February for the U.S. The game will cost £6.49/€7.99/$9.99, with a 20% launch discount available for PlayStation Plus members.

EU PSN Update, Let's Fish and Dokuro for Vita

The PS Vita gets two games today, the pretty-looking Dokuro for £11.99/€14.99 and the pretty fun Let’s Fish! Hooked On Price: for £14.99/€19.99 There's also a demo for Sound Shapes, if you missed that last year.

Don't forget the Square Enix sale is still on and PS+ owners can pick up Pinball Arcade among others for free. Also, Still Life, an audio gadget, and Super Skull Smash, a retro puzzle platformer, have been added to the PSM roster.

Laughing Jackal's Cubixx is PSM's free game of the week

Yay, one of the few PlayStation Mobile titles I don't yet own, and never played the PS mini original either. A tiny 22MB download, this is literally instant fun for your Vita or Android device. A peek at it playing on PS3 below, it plays just like the classic Qix games of old, but in 3D.

Two PS Vita games raid the Japanese Top Six

After apologies for selling out of stock earlier in the week, both Demon Gaze and Monster Monpiece made it into the new Japanese Top 10. Sure, its a quiet week but you take good news when you can with the Vita. Hardware sales were up a little, but still below 10,000.

01./02. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf # (Nintendo)  - 82.370 / 2.366.126 (-15%)
02./01. [PS3] DmC: Devil May Cry (Capcom)- 31.627 / 142.056 (-71%)
03./00. [PSP] Gintama no Sugoroku (Bandai Namco Games)  - 27.011 / NEW
04./00. [PSV] Demon Gaze (Kadokawa Games)) - 25.316 / NEW
05./00. [3DS] Fantasy Life (Level 5)  - 25.042 / 187.772
06./00. [PSV] Genkai Totsuki Monster Monpiece # (Compile Heart) - 24.978 / NEW

Without the sell outs a No. 2 and No. 3 would probably have been in order, which isn't too bad. Will stock replenish for next week to keep them in the chart? Probably not given the usual dive in sales for most games. 

Meikyuu Infinity adds more dungeon crawling to the Vita

Kadokawa, Cyber Front and EXP are conspiring to bring RPG Meikyuu Cross Blood Infinity to the Vita, with a release in April for Japan. Yet another dungeon crawler, with a sizeable party under your control and endless monsters to slay. Its an update on the Xbox version (below) with tweaked difficulty settings and other improvements likely including touch.


Ratchet and Clank Vita version in trouble?

This doesn't sound good. A post on the Insomniac forums, in response to Vita owners worried about the delays in the release of our version of Full Frontal Assault won't put anyone's mind to rest.
Hi Everyone,
We know you’ve been asking about and waiting for Full Frontal Assault for Vita. Insomniac cannot make any comment about the game. We have repeatedly asked Sony and Tin Giant for an update to share with our fans. They have not provided any update we are allowed to share. We are sorry for any disappointment, but there is nothing we’ve authorized to release publicly. Trust us in that we share your frustration, and have been passing your comments on to Sony, we also advise you contact Sony directly to share your disappointment and frustration. As soon as they give us an update we can share with you, we will.
The game has been out on PS3 for months and is supposed to be a cross-buy title. Are Tin Giant just not up to it? FFA has a 63% average on metacritic but still looks fun enough to try, hopefully we'll get a proper answer soon. Tin Giant aren't on Twitter or have a website (that I can find), so we can't ask them. Over to Sony.

Muramasa, the prettiest-looking Vita game heads west

Now we've finally got the artistic delights of Sumioni and Dokuro to enjoy on PSN, its good news that the next game in the high-art genre, hand-drawn slasher platformer Muramasa is also headed our way thanks to Aksys. It features:

  • Two Stories – Follow Momohime, a princess possessed by an evil spirit, and journey west battling demons and much more! Or follow Kisuke, a ninja who has lost his memory, and travel east in search of the demon blades. 
  • Hi-Res Graphics – Using hand-drawn graphics and Japanese artistic styling, Muramasa Rebirth creates a colorfully painted world on your PS Vita screen! 
  • 108 Blades – Search and forge new deadly weapons and build an inventory of up to 108 blades. Each blade has a unique special ability. Equip yourself with these deadly blades and become more powerful as your foes close in on you! 
  • Purchase Additional DLC Characters – Play in four additional scenarios as different characters!
Check out the official site, with the price on down as $40 with a June release, hopefully a European release will follow soon after. 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms still loved in Japan

The Vita version of this long running series and a touch-updated edition of the existing PS3 game gets a decent score in the new Famitsu, bagging two eights and two sevens for a 30/40. The strategy game from Tecmo, aka Sangokushi 12 has cross play allowing a battle to be carried on from home or on the go.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Soul Sacrifice storming the west in just a couple of months

The U.S. gets Sony's big hope for the Monster Hunter crowd, Soul Sacrifice on April 30, with Europe getting it the next day on May 1. Keiji Inafune's dark, brooding game of tortured souls will arrive just a few weeks after the Japanese launch, which proves you can turn around a game between continents in short order.

Loads of Soul Sacrifice news in previous stories. No word on us getting the demo yet.

Pre-order Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus and get free girlie gear

Those who pre-order Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus will receive some exclusive DLC including unique, limited edition costumes for the female warriors Ayane, Rachel, and Momiji. Ranging from Ayane’s light armor to Rachel’s seductively spiky dress revealing her demon blood, the costumes are designed for both action and style, according to the press release.

Monday, January 28, 2013

American PS+ users getting Ninja Gaiden Sigma Free

Having seen lots of Americans moan about how good Europe's PS+ offering is, they get the one game I'd really like to try but haven't got round to picking up. Hopefully Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus will come our way next month, to help boost the launch of the sequel, which looks pretty sharp.

They also get Madden a little on the cheap side, which would be appreciated here too. But on the whole you have to say the European PS+ deals look the better offering for any long-suffering Vita owner, or for anyone who picks one up and finds five or six free games available off the bat.

If only Sony were marketing the bountiful supply of free games to the world, maybe some more people would buy the Vita. Hopefully that'll be part of Sony's relaunch plans. The US is also getting buy a year's PS+ get three months free.

Demon Gaze and Monster Monpiece sell out in Japan

The Demon Gaze website has a typically polite, but browser untranslatable, notice apologising for the game selling out of copies in Japan. Which begs the question, did they not produce enough or have sales gone bananas to produce a game that could threaten the other Vita big sellers, all three of them.

A similar notice for Compile Heart's Monster Monpiece (which does translate) says they shipped 27,000 copies and have also sold out. You'd hope that Demon Gaze would have launched with many more copies, but if this is the general state of Vita launches then it won't be threatening any best seller lists anytime soon.

PS Vita Plus subscribers getting Lumines and WipEout in February

Vita owners get more free game goodness thanks to our PS+ subscriptions in February, with two games that all good gamers should own. But if you haven't go and grab Lumines with its hypnotic beats (20th) and WipEout 2048 (13th) with its insanely tight racing when they arrive on the store.

Note that Gravity Rush and Uncharted will probably vanish soon if you haven't already bagged them. UPDATE - scrap that bit, GR and Uncharted are staying free until the summer, in Europe at least to encourage new subscribers.
Hopefully there will be a PSN title to fill out the first week and some other sales or other goodies to keep folks dipping in and out of PSN. Anybody not actually own any of these gems?

Does Sony have a cunning Vita relaunch plan?

I'm shooting the breeze on this one, but it seems to me that even though January is often a dead zone for games, Sony has been pretty mute when it really should be trumpeting the Vita loud and proud beyond the January sales. Doing so, with marketing based around the free PS+ games, would help clear old stock bundles and gain some momentum. What's not helping is all the prices (certainly on Amazon) drifting back up.

Okay, Killzone Mercenary news is drifting out soon, but the new yet-to-be-announced Vita games in 2013 are shrouded in silence. Not a peep, nor a chirp. That could be because there aren't any, which is a grim suspicion, especially for third parties. However, a little more likely and hopefully, is Sony is coordinating a major relaunch, presumably after next month's Destination PlayStation event.

That's when Sony will tell retail partners what its plans are, and after that things should ramp up for the early Easter sales at the end of March. Sure, Sony won't have a magic sack of new titles for that period, but if it can lay out an attractive list of games coming over the year, and the tease of a nice price cut, then, perhaps, the Vita wagon will get rolling again.

Aside from the unannounced games, expect some more Japanese games to head our way, and perhaps the Gaikai service. But, beyond those, what is missing from Sony's roster aside from the obvious like Gran Turismo and Capcom's Monster Hunter, any thoughts?

As for the the hardware, my hunch is a redesigned 4G model featuring a full-phone mode (at least in Japan) bundled with a special edition of PSO2 and perhaps even a full Android OS mode, perhaps when PSM proves not to be the goldmine Sony was hoping for.

UPDATE: Guessing with the news on a new Sonic game,  Killzone Mercenary, Tearaway and repeated tweets from Sony insiders hinting at home big things to come in February:

However, the hot news of the PS4 being revealed could well see the Vita squashed under a snowball of media interested in the next, next big thing.

New Invizimals coming to the Vita, PSP iPhone and Android this Christmas

This was inevitable with Sony having signed up the developer to work exclusively on the Vita, and hopefully they've ironed out the kinks that made the PSP fun but flawed experiences. Even so, the game is headed to iOS and Android too to maximise exposure.

Invizimals: Hidden Challenges (translation from the Spanish) will hit the Vita and PSP with a board to put the action on the table. Hopefully it will keep the "find the monsters" theme that kids loved and There's an interview over on 3D Juegos, Apparently the game is already out in Spain, kids can buy the cards and scan them in to play on their device, think Skylanders but a lot cheaper.

PSP going old-school with Gunhound EX

Out this week in Japan, GunhoundEX from Dracue is an action-packed old-school mech-based mostly-platform shooter with massive enemies, screens full of bullets and deep, deep voice acting and multiplayer. Might be worth an import if you like your action fast and furious.

"Maybe" Minecraft will dig the Vita, one day

Not much to go on, but a tweet from one of the Minecraft team at least gives a little hope for Vita owners in need of an excavation and building game. The Xbox version launched on May 9th, so assuming a year's exclusivity, we could see it by the summer, if Notch and co are keen.

While I wouldn't recommend spamming the guys with requests, perhaps the odd nudge from time to time wouldn't go amiss.

Killzone Mercenary featured in magazines next month

Looks like a storm of Killzone information is coming our way as a Polish magazine out this week has a cover and several pages of information on the game. The takeaway from the rough translations is that the game is basically a version 1.1 of Killzone 3 with all the good and bad things that entails for fans.

Hopefully some English language magazines (how quaint) or sites will have more information soon. UPDATE: The press packs and other info will be out on 31 January, watch the skies!

- The engine is nearly a 1:1 match for the PS3 version
- New tricks added to the engine to play to the Vita's strengths
- Game is gorgeous, with clear and crisp textures, large draw distances
- Character models and animation are awesome
- Stable FPS even when the screen is busy
- Looking better than Uncharted

Japanese Vita and PSP game sales in 2012

Its a pretty sorry tale, but here's Famitsu's numbers for the Vita games among the 100 best sellers last year. One the plus side, the PSP is doing a sterling job with 15 games in the list. However, its not all bad news, most 3DS games in the list sell only 200-300,000 so there's no specific advantage over developing a 3DS version only, perhaps we'll see more cross-platform releases this year.

Also, quite a few of those PSP games have Vita cousins, if the next version moves up to Vita only, there's a reasonable fan base behind most of those games. So, there's some reason to be optimistic in 2013, not a huge amount, but some! Finally, Media Create is considered the official chart, and their numbers are (supposed) to be a bit more accurate and are generally higher, so you could add a few thousand more to each game if it'll make you feel better.

PS Vita

42 Persona 4 Golden 229,000
53 Hatsune Miku 200,000
     Gravity Rush 80,000 (outside top 100)


28 Super Robot Wars Z 2nd 320,000
35 SG Gundam G Generation Overworld 254,000
47 One Piece Romance Dawn 217,000 (and only released in December)
60 Monster Hunter Freedom 3 175,000
61 Yakuza Black Panther 2 175,000
67 AKB1/147 166,000
70 Shining Blade 161,000
72 Pro Spirits Baseball 2012 155,000
73 Little Battlers W 155,000
74 Digimon World 153,000
86 Idolmaster 124,000
87 Tales of Heroe: Twin Braves 118,000
90 Naruta no Kiseki 112,000
91 Super Robot Wars OG 110,000
94 Gourmet Survival 108,000

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lili leads the way in Capcom's SFxTK 2013 update

The big 2013 season update for Capcom's fighting crossover is almost here and there's a load of new videos on the Unity forum showing off what's new for a bunch of characters, who better to start you off than the lovely Lili.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Megpoid goes vocaloid crazy on the PSP

Having seen the success of Hatsune Miku, paraPhray is having a go on the PSP with Megpoid the Music, a similar style of game where you can dress up the songstress and tap along in time to her squeaky wailings. One video here, loads more on Siliconera.

The game is out at the end of March, lots more information on the Vocaloid wiki page.

New God Eater 2 videos ramp up the action

God Eater could be a big deal for the Vita, bringing over a million potential fans over from the PSP version (although since it is coming out on the older handheld too, perhaps they won't bother). Still, with cross play between the games, it makes a good crossing route to the Vita and between this and Soul Sacrifice, Japanese gamers can get their fill of demon slaying.

As launch nears, Namco has out a couple of awesome new videos (below), showing off the recently unveiled weapons and some pretty chunky monsters getting mashed. Crank the videos up to 720p for the best view. Everyone start praying for a western release.

LBP's Double Eleven developing for the Vita and PSN

Double Eleven did the grunt work of converting the PS3 LittleBigPlanet game to the Vita, while Tarsier came up with the level design. The company now plans to go its own way, developing for PSN on both Vita and PS3, and publishing titles from other indies.

The company's site says: "Double Eleven have launched a new venture into video games publishing. We will be expanding into marketing and distributing of our own games, and of other indie studios’ games. Initially, we will be using the PlayStation Network (PSN) as our main digital distribution platform, supporting both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita formats."

Double Eleven is looking for project managers and UI designers as it expands, and while there's no games listed yet, other than a "coming soon" for the next project, they should be a team to watch. Hopefully they, and the likes of FuturLab, Ripstone and others keep the Vita's flag (and UK development) flying.

Friday, January 25, 2013

You can find upcoming Vita games on Amazon, just not that easily

I've been staring at the Vita's coming soon page on Amazon UK* for weeks now, wondering why it was so bare? Persona has been there for a while and it looks like Sly Cooper has just been added. Even so, it appears that some Vita games are hiding in the Amazon database, but you have to search for them, which would:
  1. Really put off any potential gamer from buying a Vita since it looks like no titles are coming out,
  2. Is a major failure on the part of Amazon or the publishers to correctly list their content.
  3. Shows how much the Vita's roster needs bulking up.
So, while there are pages for Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2+, Dead or Alive 5+ and probably others, no one can find them easily without a direct search, and they aren't exactly the most attractive bits of advertising. Considering every screenshot and bit of art adorns the GTA V page, you'd think someone would make a tiny bit of effort here. (Sony, Tecmo and others have marketing people, Amazon has buyers and product management types, they should all be mailing each other morning, noon and night). 

Sure a search isn't that hard to do, but folks are just so lazy (I read people give up after just six seconds if they can't see what they want on a site) or don't know what to search for, that this could actually impact the Vita. The U.S. site isn't hugely better, but at least has Soul Sacrifice on show.

If you know of any more Vita games hiding in the system do add a comment here about them.
*Other stores are available, your mileage may vary etc

Alien Spidy dedicates its latest trailer to the NPCs

If you ignore the horrible use of that apostrophe (0:10), here's a fun video showing off some of the friends and enemies that the heroic arachnid will met on its travels through the game. There's also some of the charming characterisation and visual details that will hopefully make this game a winner.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chimpact: eat bananas, pay peanuts for this cracking PSM arcade game

A new PSM title looks like it will be worth a lot more than many full-priced mobile games cost. Chimpact seems to take its queue from the ever-upwards titles like Sonic Rings and a little bit of Hungry Giraffe and the ever-runners like Jetpack Joyride but with levels and a multitude of objectives.

New Japanese Vita owners getting a memory card loaded with demos

Why waste the space on a blank memory card in a Vita bundle? Sony aren't (now) as they're loading the Soul Sacrifice demo and a host of others including Gravity Rush, Hot Shots Golf and Uncharted: Golden Abyss to encourage gamers to up their attach rates.

While Gravity Rush is likely a must purchase, and Hot Shots has a massive fan base, the idea could help Golden Abyss ship a few more copies out there. But, if every Vita owner doesn't buy Soul Sacrifice anyway then the console is pretty much toast for the rest of 2013, since Sony doesn't seem to have much else in the bag (apart from another game from the Uncharted team).

Girls, tigers, furniture, all you want from a Japanese Vita game

Not coming to a continent near you, "Sakura Sou and her pet" as the title translates roughly too is one of the those odd content-based games, set around the tales of a manga story and anime series, featuring troublesome students in their dorm, pets and their struggles in life. Nope, not a clue!

Fate/Extra CCC gets a cinematic trailer

The PSP's next game in the enduring series from Marvelous AWL is out in a couple of months in Japan. The new opening video for the combat RPG looks a bit like an animated Bond movie intro. There's some gameplay video in an earlier story.

The game's site is well worth a look too, with a cool limited edition headed to Japanese stores.

A new Sonic game headed to the Vita?

No idea what the game is but Sonic Team is supposed to announce a new title next month. However, a list of formats already doing the rounds includes the Vita, and after Sumo Digital's top job on Sonic All-Stars Transformed, why not?

More at Sonic Stadium, who categorize it as a level-based, multi-character game with the Vita version being the same as the big consoles and the 3DS getting a cut-down version, chortle! Players can use different characters to access new parts of each level, so far so Sonic! Hope to hear much more next month.

PS Vita firmware 2.05 out now

As talked about earlier in the week, a new firmware update is out in the Vita, possibly to improve security as there's no list of changes beyond "stability has been improved". Anyway, grab it now and play spot the difference on your system.

My campaign for a decent start up sound, tune or tones for the Vita continues!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

EU PSN Update live, play Pinball Arcade for free

This week's PSN title for Vita owners is Pinball Arcade, which is doing battle with Marvel Pinball for Vita owners affections. Aside from that there's the peculiar looking Doodle God and a demo for Sonic Racing Transformed, which I heartily recommend.

Beats Slider goes free on PSM, while PS All-Stars Battle Royale is down to £19.99 in the PSN sale, plus an extra 10% off for PS+ subs. That's still pretty feeble fare compared to the PS3's The Cave and demos for Dead Space 3 and Metal Gear Rising.

Also, why no Wake Up Club app yet? How hard can it be to get that running in Europe!

Digimon Adventure still appeals in Japan

In a quiet start to the year, Devil May Cry storms the top of the Japanese charts, but still doing the business in third place is the PSP with the new Digimon Adventure. Pretty sure the 48,000 sales are pretty low for the series, but not bad for the old platform.

No new Vita games out this year and the handheld's sales are down to just below 10,000 this week. However, most of the dumb "we want to see consoles fail" mantra-toting gamers have moved on to hating at the Wii U which managed 16,000 sales.

01./00. [PS3] DmC: Devil May Cry (Capcom) - 110.429
02./01. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf # (Nintendo) 97.448 / 2.283.756 (+17%) 
03./00. [PSP] Digimon Adventure (Bandai Namco Games) - 47.807 / NEW

Doodle God chemically reacts with your Vita

Another 'from outta nowhere' game hits the EU PSN today, Doodle God is a, well I'm not sure, from the video you mix elements together to create quirky sayings and new elements and make your own little world. You can try it for free as a Flash game and its also out on iOS.

At nearly £5 for the Vita version, I'm not sure this will get many takers, but might be worth a try if poor puns and chemistry is your thing. Some more info on the PSN blog.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Machinarium for Vita finished, awaits Sony approval

Hit indie adventure game Machinarium from Amanita is now complete according to the developer and with Sony for approval for PSN. Adding touch controls to the point and click adventure, it should be out in February, all being well and fill an empty gap in the Vita's roster for decent adventure games.

PS Vita firmware update 2.05 in the wings, still no startup tones

A few posts have mentioned a small firmware update for the Vita coming soon, likely today or tomorrow, with hints suggesting v2.05 being just a bug fix, with no new features. Keep an eye out for it, but it doesn't look too exciting.

 Hopefully a pretty soonish update will link social media links to the appropriate app rather than the browser and speed up file copying. BUT IT STILL DOESN'T DO ANYTHING AT STARTUP. That really annoys me and is just one of the many examples where Sony has lost the plot.

Remember those PlayStation One tones, that was damn iconic. The Vita lacks any such feature (I wouldn't mind if it only plays on cold  boots) and that's just one reason why its lacks any cool status (IMO).

New game alert! DiveKick headed to the Vita

A new one on me, DiveKick from Iron Galaxy Studios and One True Game Studios is claimed to be a unique fighting game available in the Spring for Vita, PS3 and PC. Initially developed as a parody, Divekick gained notoriety in the community for its surprising depth and lack of a control stick. Divekick’s two-button controls and precise timing soon made it a staple in competitions.

Originally a Kickstarter project, that was cancelled, and the new collaboration has resulted in the game being equipped with online play, a single-player campaign, and many other features. Looks pretty basic, but if the price is right and it makes use of the touchscreen, I reckon it might do okay.

Europe revs up for Persona 4 Golden with new trailers

Atlus is starting the ball rolling for Persona 4's release in Europe with a bunch of new trailers. They might be different from the U.S. or Japanese ones, its kind of hard to tell, so long ago were we watching them. Still, these are in HD and should get those not yet slavering around the chops suitably excited.

PSM shooter Gun Commando gets a gameplay trailer

Between the launch of Wolfenstein 3D and the genre defining Doom series there were loads of other fun pseudo-3D games that hit the PC, offering butch Blake Stone and later wizardly antics (Heretic), gore (Blood) and others. We'll get to relive that fun with Gun Commando coming to PSM tomorrow.

Bolstered by some great comic art and a sense of humour, all that's missing is the level creator so Vita gamers can start making their own games and worlds, LBP style.

Urban Trials Freestyle gets a gameplay video

The Vita version is close to release and is suddenly generating a fair bit of press. But there's nothing quite like seeing a game in action, so here's some five minutes of footage straight off a Vita for us to squint at. The game looks really fluid with deep levels (okay there's mist in the mid-distance) but that's not really important.

Hopefully it'll offer a MotorStorm-like set of challenges and social interaction to keep you trying to beat the levels in new ways.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Vita top of Japan's most-wanted list

In a shock, but wierdly logical move (if you think about it), now that everyone in Japan owns a 3DS, the Vita is coming to the fore as the top gadget that gamers want, according to a Famitsu poll, and almost double those who want a shiny new Wii U:

PS Vita - 64.0%
3DS - 48.2%
Wii U - 33.8%
PS3 - 25.2%
PC - 14.4%
Xbox 360 - 10.6%
Smartphone - 10.0%
PSP - 9.6%
Wii - 9.0%

Take the numbers at face value, but they offer a glimpse of hope to Sony and may explain the company's reluctance for a price drop. Of course, those gamers voicing their opinion may just be waiting for that drop to happen, we'll see.

Legends of War storming the Vita in March

Slitherine's History: Legends of War hits the Vita and other formats on March 8th, bringing the battlefields of WWII, and offering a rare game of tactics and strategy, to the handheld. The only shame is the pretty weedy marketing effort from publisher PQube.

While, for example, Wired has hyped every nibble of its more loveable Let's Fish, there's just a single old video and a press release to announce this, and they could have been dropped months ago, its hard to tell. According to its own press vault, the box files and screens were downloaded precisely zero times (although there are other sources). The game's official Twitter account has 18 followers and the marketing makes minimal use of its figurehead General Patton.

While it is multiformat, so doesn't need as much hyping, this is a great-looking game that deserves to sell and could have had a decent impact, as there's nothing like it on the Vita. But, unless there's a right cavalry charge of marketing near launch, I don't think anyone will hear about it, which will be a big shame.

Garfield arrives on Little Big Planet Vita, hold the lasagne

I still haven't got LBP Vita yet, must rectify that pretty soon. And one thing that could probably tip me over the edge is if someone in the community made some great Garfield-themed levels to go with these costumes that are arriving in this week's update. We could have Lasagne launching, Odie trapping, or just redo the old 8-bit games.

The Garfield and Odie Minipack adds two brand new costumes for LittleBigPlanet 2 and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, plus stickers just perfect new Garfield comic book stories. More LBP stuff over on the PS blog.

Let's Fish priced for the PS Vita

Let’s Fish! Hooked On from Wired will be available to download in North America on January 29th and in Europe on January 30th, via the PlayStation Network. Gamers will soon be able to enjoy the PS Vita’s first full-scale fishing game priced £14.99 / €19.99 / US $19.99 / AUD $24.95.

Developed by the team behind SEGA Bass Fishing and Ape Escape (PSP), Let’s Fish! Hooked On invites you to tackle four challenging game modes as you take advantage of the unique capabilities of the PlayStation Vita. Cast, hook and reel numerous classes of fish, earn new lures and play through 11 themed outdoor stages on your way to becoming World Champion.

Final Fantasy PSN sale rolls on to the PS Vita

Square has come to the rescue of Sony's flaccid PSP/Vita January sale by knocking off up to 50% on most of the Final Fantasy games that will run happily on the Vita. All the details here, but the highlights are Final Fantasy Tactics at only £3.99 and the Dissidia games for around £7.

Might pick up VIII this time around, but since I've snagged most of the others in previous sales, these are looking less and less interesting for most I'd guess. The discounts kick in with Wednesday's update, EU store only, not in all countries.

Skype to Unify Xbox and PlayStation Gamers?

Here's a fun notion to start the week. Microsoft is ditching its long-serving Messenger communications tool and asking PC users to switch to Skype. Skype is already big on the Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox, and therefore will likely be the messaging system used on the Xbox 720, Xbox Next, Durango or whatever it is called.

So, how much of a leap is it to make that PS Vita owners who already have Skype (don't think it ever came out on PS3) will be happily able to chat to Xbox owning friends in-between (or during gaming sessions)? While it won't be the same as cross-gaming between MS and Sony devices, it could be one way to help link gamers together across this rather feeble wall of not-playing-together.

And if an app does come out on PS3 or, more likely, PS4, then it can't be too hard for someone to create a third-party social gaming app that can blend gaming accounts, achievements and so on. But even as plain Skype, ramped up for gamers, it would provide Microsoft with a clever way to create its own cross-border Game Center-like service with ease.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Urban Trials Freestyle PS Vita screens

The recent shots and video of Tate's Urban Trials MotoX game looked rather PS3 to me, so here's a bone fide set of PS Vita screens showing the still impressive looking game in action. Hopefully the gameplay and apparent violence added to make it a bit less Trials HD-like isn't just bolted-on fluff.

The Vita Monster Hunter Rumour heard around the world

This translated piece of Japanese could put some major joy in the hearts of Vita gamers everywhere, or it could be the usual mix of plain wrong, mistake, misunderstanding or other cock-up.
"When Monster Hunter 4 3DS was postponed, it was because Capcom apparently began to explore the simultaneous release of the PSVita version, not because of the need to improve quality" - Source

UPDATE: As expected this glimmer of hope has been pretty much squashed by a Capcom bod. The only upside is, I figured okay, time to order a 3DS Monster Hunter bundle.... no such thing, which kind of makes you wonder what all the excitement is over?

The merits of it are being blown across the web, but as I've mentioned several times, Capcom said in 2008 that going forward, all its major titles will be multiformat. Timed exclusivity deals aside, MH is a big deal so there is a little hope, but I'm still betting on the side of this being some sort of wild ass guess.

The biggest hole here is that Capcom would surely have announced a Vita version by now, unless Sony has coughed up a hell of a lot of money to both Capcom and Nintendo to alter whatever deal they have. Read more on Kotaku, NeoGAF, hell - pretty much everywhere.

And, even if it does arrive in Japan, it won't have much an effect on western sales. Are we sticking around for a Grand Theft Auto game or Killzone Mercenary (now the top searched for title on this blog) to get the Vita rolling here?

More Phantasy Star 2 Online video on the Vita

Here's an in-depth look at character creation in the latest version of the PSO2 beta that's just opened up in Japan. The body models look pretty good, with plenty of options for smaller details like eyes and colour, armour and so on.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 trailer goes big on monsters and action

After the laid back beach action of the previous Tecmo video, this one is a little more action-oriented, showing off some proper ninja skills with dicing, slicing and a few of games extra modes like Ninja Race and Tag Missions.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus takes to the beach

There's a fighting game in there somewhere, but why let that get in the way a good beach photoshoot? That's all there is to promote the game in this new trailer for Team Ninja's game which offers Cross Play and Cross Buy across the PS3 and Vita versions.

You could discuss the 60 frames per second, or the novel first person mode, but yeah, its some girls on a beach.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gravity Rush's Kat brings her moves to PS All-Stars Battle Royale

SuperBot's PSASBR game kind of passed me by, among all the other games last year and didn't really set the charts alight, but it looks worth a try and with the growing roster of DLC, its getting all the more tempting. And the lithe delights of Gravity Rush's Kat could pretty well tip the balance as she brings her fighting skills to the game alongside Emmett from Starhawk.

The DLC hits on 13th February and will be free for the first couple of weeks. I  should be able to find the game cheap somewhere (sub-£20) by then.

Vita cursed by a 100 app limit, revisited

File under only Sony could do something so dumb! There's a thread raging over on NeoGAF about the already known limit on the Vita's screens for just 100 applications. With 10 per page, that means there can only be 10 screens of icons, which while it sounds a lot, could soon run out, when the price of 32GB cards comes down.

I've got an 8GB card and five full pages on my Vita, so I can easily see how a 32GB card, or even a 16GB card could run over this limit. Hopefully it is something Sony can fix easily enough in an update, to add folders or another structure, otherwise the company will continue to look hopelessly out of touch with digital reality and its users.

Urban Trials Freestyle gets a new trailer

After vanishing off the radar last year, Urban Trials is back with a PS3 version, a Freestyle tag, presumably to try and further differentiate it from a certain Xbox game, and a new video showing off some gritty looking action. Developed in Poland by Tate Media, it looks pretty darn cool with ghost mode and bags of tricks shown off in the clip.

UPDATE: There's a bit more of a story on the US PSN. In this vein we're still looking for news on Real Boxing from Vivid and a few other Vita games that seem to have stalled.

Hakuoki slicing up your western PSP

Due out in mid-February, and delayed by over a year according to previous entries, Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi will finally hit the shelves according to Aksys. The Idea Factory game will come with a pre-order bandanna for those ordering on Amazon and it should make its way onto PSN for Vita owners, although there's no mention in the press release. The game features:

Two Major Storylines – Play through Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom with each of six playable characters in “Shinsengumi Memorial,” or change history in “Shinsengumi Chronicle”!

Shinsengumi Chronicle – Change history as any one of the six main characters in. Play in an alternate universe where you control the fate of the Shinsengumi! Shinsengumi Memorial – Step into the shoes of your favorite samurai and play through battles from Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. Join in on the action as you battle your way through Kyoto!

Skirmish Mode – Replay past battles to add some more kills or level up your character to be more deadly. Unlock two addition characters in this mode and duke it out on your favorite stages.

Fury Mode – When a character’s life is spent, he will enter Fury Mode, unleashing a ferocious killing machine, able to tear down anyone that gets in his way. However, becoming a fury too many times can unlock a particularly bad ending.

A Special Character Guide with Artwork – Each retail copy of Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi comes with an exclusive character guide featuring all eight playable characters from the game. Learn about each of these legendary warriors, and see them in their traditional Shinsengumi outfits and Western attire in this 16-page, full color digest! More details and images on the game's site.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

EU PSN Update, Jet Set Radio free on PS+, loads of games on PSN

PS Plus users get the minor legend that is Jet Set Radio for free this week, while there's a pretty well-rounded collection of games for Vita and PSP up on the store, with a belated welcome to a host of games from Sumioni to Retro City Rampage.

Remember the AR games up in the January Sale and the free PS Mobile titles too. The update is live now, so go, go, go.

On the Vita PSN, I can see an option to download Retro City Rampage for free. Is this a mislabelled demo, a mistake or a mislaid PS+ offer? UPDATE: It is just the trial version, so just poor labelling!

PS Vita games

Earth Defense Force 2017
Price: £34.99/€39.99

Price: £11.99/€14.99

Retro City Rampage
Price: £8.99/€11.25

Sumioni: Demon Arts
Price: £7.99/€9.99

PSP Mini 
Farm Frenzy Bundle
Price: £2.79/€3.49

Well Rounded Player
Price: £2.79/€3.49

Augmented reality games join the PSN January sale roster

Hopefully you've tried some of these games out, if not they're a little cheaper (not that they were ever expensive) to test out the magic AR cards that come with your Vita, PulzAR is probably the pick of the bunch with some decent gameplay. These go alongside the free PSM games Sony is giving away.

Table Ice Hockey (PS Vita)
Was €1.99/£1.59/AU$3.45; now €0.99/£0.79/AU$1.75
Additional 10% discount for Plus members
PulzAR (PS Vita)
Was €1.99/£1.59/AU$3.45; now €0.99/£0.79/AU$1.75
Additional 10% discount for Plus members
Table Top Tanks (PS Vita)
Was €1.99/£1.59/AU$3.45; now €0.99/£0.79/AU$1.75
Additional 10% discount for Plus members
Cliff Diving – Splashdown Pack
Was €0.99/£0.79/AU$1.75; now €0.49/£0.40/AU$0.90
Additional 10% discount for Plus members
Table Football – Match Day Pack
Was €0.99/£0.79/AU$1.75; now €0.49/£0.40/AU$0.90
Additional 10% discount for Plus members
Toy Tanks Pack
Was €0.99/£0.79/AU$1.75; now €0.49/£0.40/AU$0.90
Additional 10% discount for Plus members

European PSN giving away free PlayStation Mobile titles

A new update on the PSN blog has them giving away a series of PSM games over the next six weeks. This week's game is Samurai Beatdown which, happily, is one of the few PSM games I haven't picked up.

More titles will be announced over the coming weeks, but I can testify from my decent collection that most of them are well worth spending a little time with. The offer has already kicked into the PSM store, so get downloading.

Wakey, wakey! Its Wake Up Club on the Vita

This is out now on the US PSN, hopefully we get it this week or next, but the app has been tingling my spider senses since it was announced in Japan. With trophies to win, what could be more socialising than beating your friends to the punch, when it comes to getting up. From the US PSN blog:
As soon as your alarm goes off, your avatar will begin bouncing around the PS Vita touchscreen. Tapping your avatar lets other players know you’re now awake. Once in the virtual club room, you can see other players’ avatars, as well as who’s awake and who’s still sleeping. Tapping the sleeping players’ avatars will “cheer” them on. If you happen to keep snoozing though, you’ll notice that the rest of the Wake-up Club players will begin appearing on your screen.
I don't normally do trophy lists, but here's what you can get for turning your Vita into an alarm clock, I guess those averse to wake-up calls won't be winning many of these.

Get This Party Started (Gold)
 The first time all members in the Wake-up Club have successfully woken up (1)
Morning Master (Silver)
 The Wake-up Club has successfully woken up 30 times in a row
The Ring Leader (Silver)
 Successfully wake up a total of 200 times
Awesome (Silver)
 Members Wake-up Club succeeded 365 times (3)
Master Yodel (Bronze)
 Cheered on other members over 2000 times
Team Player
 Joined the Wake-up Club more than 365 times
Best of the Best
 Took first place in the Wake-up Club 30 times
Let the Games Begin
 Wake up using Wake-up Club
Alarm Union Square
 Your Wake-up Club has succeeded
Quick Draw
 Fastest wake up time is better than 3 seconds
In Circles
 Made a friend request via the Wake-up Club (2)
Counting Sheep
 Checked out 11 other members' profiles

Demon Gaze and Monster Monpiece get decent reviews in Japan

Two solid scores for Vita games in Japan from the latest Famitsu, with similar scores coming from Dengeki, Kadokawa's Demon Gaze is a sexy dungeon crawler while Monster Monpiece from Compile Heart is a card-based game with more cutie-pie characters that probably turn into horrific monsters.

Demon Gaze (PSV) – 9/9/8/8
Monster Monpiece (PSV) – 8/9/8/8

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First Persona PSP game dirt cheap on PSN

You can now pick up Shin Megami Tensei, the first PSP persona title for just £3.99 along with a few lesser Atlus titles in their contribution to the January sale.

Hopefully a few Vita titles will arrive in Sony's part of the sale update tomorrow, but at least there's enough new stuff for that not to be a problem, this week.

Earth Defense Force 2017 comes with a price shock

Yep, the Vita is short of big-name games, so us beggars can't really be choosers. But most of the comments I'm seeing are rather surprised about the £32 being asked for the new D3's EDF game out tomorrow. That's compared to Orgarhythm which should about £10-12 and Sumioni which is going for £8.

FYI, the U.S. version went on-sale last week for $39.99 which is around £25, anyone thinking this isn't a bit of a rip off is probably not alone.

Blame Namco for the pricing, but since there's no sign of a store release, looks like you'll have to either wait until the price comes down or bite the bullet on this one. Also, bet we don't even get the handy Japanese combo bundle to encourage multiplayer gaming.

EU PSN going down for maintenance on Thursday

Don't delay on your PSN purchases this week, as the service will having a bit of rest come Thursday. EU PSN maintenance is scheduled to take place from 4PM UK time on Thursday January 17 until 4AM on Friday January 18.

This maintenance, which is the first in a while IIRC, will affect the following services, which will be offline during the 12-hour period, so don't go rushing to Twitter when nothing in your digital life is working later on.

  • PlayStation Store, 
  • Account management, 
  • Account registration, 
  • Transactions via consoles, 

Orgarhythm and Sumioni hitting EU PSN tomorrow

Xseed has just announced that both Japanese PS Vita titles will hit our little corner of the PSN tomorrow. Orgarhythm will be €15 (£9.99?), but Sumioni will be a very reasonable £7.99. The musical/rhythm strategy game Orgarhtym is a little like a 3D Patapon but greater depth and action.

Players take control of their followers in Orgathythm through a series of rhythmic inputs where different attacks can be unleashed by matching or manipulating the beat, making the game’s catchy soundtrack dynamic to user input. Each unit type is based on one of the three elements of Earth, Water and Fire, and each elemental troop has a “rock, paper, scissors” relationship with the opposing enemy elements.

Making a very different use of the touchscreen, Sumioni lets you use the touchscreen to create paths for your hero as he battles hand-painted enemies across Japanese mythology

Compile Heart's dungeon crawler Madou Monogatari headed to the Vita

Madou Monogatari has a history going back to the MSX computer in the late eighties, and makes use of character expressions to indicate stats rather than numbers. The last console version was a Sega Saturn game, but given the nostalgia craze sweeping RPG-land, why not dust it off again?

Suitably glammed up for the modern age, it looks pretty enough, with some more pics over on Dengeki. There's no in-dungeon screenshots or video yet, but hopefully it be a thoroughly modern remake rather than sticking doggedly to the past.

More Final Famtasy remakes on the way

We've already been promised a Final Fantasy X HD remake for the Vita, and you can play most of the other titles in the series via PSN in various guises. But Square is now teasing another series of remakes with the promise of news in the next issue of Famitsu and this page with some pixelated silhouttes.

Most modern-age gamers would probably be happier with Crisis Core appearing on PSN or a whole new adventure, but for the classics loving gamer, these titles will offer another blast of revamped nostalgia. We'll find out in a couple of days time what the formats are, but there's little reason why the Vita shouldn't be on the list, although the site's code hints at an iOS release.

That would be pretty small change, so maybe the Famitsu news is for something bigger and better than a mere mobile release.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sly Cooper gets bundled with the Vita

Keeping up 2012's bundle-all-the-good-games-with-a-Vita theme, Sony is propelling its next star game into a box to help shift the Vita hardware. The Wi-Fi edition bundle, with no memory card, is set to retail for €259 and is due out in March. Loads of content on Sly Cooper Thieves in Time in previous stories.

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows hitting US PSN this week

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is a pre/sequel to the hit cult horror title, out for PSP and plays on the Vita too hitting the USN PSN this week. Book of Shadows tells a series of short stories that help develop many of the characters introduced in the first game and expand their numbers with some “fresh meat” as well. The original made it to Europe from Xseed, so this should too.

Once again, “wrong ends” lurk around nearly every corner, amplified by binaural 3D audio effects and the chilling original Japanese voice track. Gameplay in Corpse Party: Book of Shadows takes on an all-new point-and-click mechanic, showcasing the spine-tingling events of Heavenly Host Elementary from a first-person perspective.

As the terror level rises for individual characters, the game’s “darkening” system will slowly distort the game’s visuals and alter the students’ decision-making abilities. “Wrong ends,” in which characters are subjected to unfortunate and horrifying deaths, are once again on order, and this time players can save anywhere and fast-forward through events they’ve already seen in order to expedite the process of achieving each scenario’s true ending.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss the only Vita exclusive game in the UK's Top 100 of 2012

I've ignored all the best-of and look-back articles for 2012, and spent Christmas playing the games rather than writing about them. However, with the Top 100 UK games (retail sales) just posted, it is interesting to note that the Vita has only one exclusive representative, and that way by far and away the best-selling launch game, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, creeping in at No. 91.

Sure, Need for Speed, the LEGO games and FIFA are in there as multi-format entries, but Assassin's Creed III Liberation, Call of Duty Declassified and other Vita efforts missed out. Only the top two managed a million sales showing the dire UK market reduced to a gaming backwater.

Even if the Vita continues in Japan will Sony Europe continue to support it beyond this year if the western developers dry up in 2013? Or are digital sales doing really well, and all this isn't as bad as it seems?

Milestone bringing MotoGP 2013 to PS Vita

Having already revved us up with FIM Motocross and WRC 3 on the Vita, Italian developer Milestone will bring us the thrills of a Casey Stoner-less MotoGP 13 series, with Cal Crutchlow leading the way for Brit gamers and hordes of Italians and Spaniards for continentals to dream as.

Hopefully it will have a bit more polish than the Vita's F1 title, but as with all these mature racing simulators, there's only so much that can be added. Just getting the sound of a Yamaha or Ducati right or the paint job of the Repsol Honda is higher on the agenda than arcade thrills and spills.

Shining Ark out-ranks Soul Sacrifice in Famitsu's most wanted list

Ouch! Sega's PSP title Shining Ark is higher up Famitsu's most wanted list (at No. 10) than Sony's class-leading Vita game Soul Sacrifice (in No. 12). That's not a huge gap, but shows just how little the Vita is pinging the radar of Japanese gamers, and how risky it is putting so much focus into an all-new title.

While the Shining... series is rather diffuse and sprawling, starting way back on the Megadrive, Ark is generating lots of interest with its female bikini-clad pirates and role-playing battles. Dominating the list of Monster Hunter and other 3DS titles, which points to another bumper year for Nintendo's baby.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Velocity Ultra for Vita unveiled by FuturLab

After the rather innocuous reveal before Christmas, here's the real deal with an all Vita-version of the awesome retro-evolved shooter in action. Adding trophies and improved visuals, what's not to like? The fan powered flight site has updated with some new art and a link to the PSN blog, which spills the early beans.

The game will be out soon, but there's no firm date, with the game in pre-alpha right now and all the visuals being given an overhaul. When released, it'll give everyone a whole new reason to race through the missions all over again, with touch controls hopefully helping out on those teleport and extra controls.

More before and after images on both the EU PSN blog and the US one, so I guess a matched release is likely. For the longer term, a questionnaire is up asking what we'd like to see in a proper sequel.

Sumioni hits EU PSN for Vita next week

The reasonably well-received paint-as-you-platform slasher Sumioni from Acquire will arrive on the EU PSN next week. The game undoubtedly looks gorgeous, but I recall the early reviews weren't exactly gushing, although subsequent patches should have improved things a bit.

At £7.99 it is probably worth a go, ask an American if you're not sure as they've had the game since March.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alien Breed gets a do-over on PS Vita, adds online and trophies

You can already download and play Alien Breed on the Vita via PSM, but a more featured version is arriving next month for PS3 and Vita owners.  The classic top-down shooter will be available to download via the PlayStation Network in early February with cross play, multiplayer and trophies.

The new version offers the opportunity for both old and new fans to experience the original survival-horror game, featuring a choice of either old-school Amiga graphics or new enhanced graphics. Alien Breed Features: Story Mode – choose from 30 levels including three new level packs: Convergence, Valiance and Synergy Enhanced visuals or play using the original 16-bit graphics.

Team up on either PS3 or PlayStation Vita via cross-platform play Cross-Platform Continuation Play, carry on your PS3 save game progress on your PlayStation Vita, or vice versa! Ad-Hoc and online co-op multiplayer for PlayStation Vita Local and online co-op multiplayer for PlayStation 3 Leaderboards and trophies

Let's Fish Hooked On character trailer, for reel

Another fun Vita game arriving this year, Hooked On is full of lively characters (and some fish) for you to catch. Check out this new video showing off the manga-style fisher folk that are a million miles removed from the glum buggers by our river.

You can find desktop art for all four of them on the game's site

Review: Jetpack Joyride (PSN)

Jetpack Joyride is a highly successful phone game from Halfbrick and Big Ant Studios that has made its way to the Vita via PSN. Free to PlayStation Plus users, its well worth a dig with a great number of fun and easy trophies to win and some fiendish gameplay that relies on tapping the back (or front) screen to propel your jetpack clad hero further along the endless levels.

Our hero, Barry, can pick up special vehicles, including a robot, teleport, flying dragon and others that make progress easier, or more fun, with challenges of their own. The aim is to get the furthest distance you can, while completing all the little tasks the game throws at you as you progress through the ranks. You can measure your progress against global online leaderboards, friends and post the results to Facebook.

Slickly produced, there's the inevitable option to buy more coins if you want to increase your arsenal and extras, you can spend between £1 and £11 (for a million coins) for the ultimate kit, but there's little point as the game is great in short bursts and you can build your coins fairly easily, its a little softer than Montezuma Blitz on that front.

Even when the game is over, it ain't over, with lucky dips to help propel your corpse further or give you some free goodies. You'll enjoy this forever on your Vita and it is a true challenge to see what's down the next kilometre or a sneaky delight to see what the next task will be.

Deeper into the game, gadgets can be used in combos for weird of beneficial results, and there's a huge array of other tricks and features to be uncovered making sure you'll keep coming back to find them all.

Price: £3.49 (PSN/PSP mini) (Free on PS Plus for Vita/PS3)
Score: 8/10
Progress: Middle-distance runner

Japanese Vita title Open Me doing scary things to school girls?

Okay, must be crazy game day in Japan, after the relatively sane "Uncle throw things", the other new social-looking PSN game shown today, "Open Me" could be anything, possibly opening all sorts of random objects, which seems pretty harmless.

But, to these western eyes, it is given a really sinister sheen by the unhappy young girl and the man doing the "opening" on their Vitas on the game's teaser page. Screenshots show a regular looking AR game with all sorts of mysteries to be opened, but Sony Europe might want to give Sony Japan a nudge about their choice of imagery and titling.

Oh, guess this is the solution to the really strange videos from Last September.

Go figure this Japanese Sony teaser Vita site out

I have no clue... the link ends in poipoi which doesn't ring a bell, and the site is called "Uncle throw things" which sounds typically Japanese. On the page we have a muscle man lifting various oversize foods, cars and so on with rockets pinging about in the background.

UPDATE: Folks around the web seem to think its for the Japanese release of When Vikings Attack as it shares the same music, but without that who would have guessed?

 I do know the primary school tinkly tune can only be erased by brain surgery.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Imaginstruments beats up your Vita for free

Sanuk Games did a fun little drum title for the PSP as a mini some years ago, and now they're back with a free synth creator for the Vita. Its a pretty simple, but effective, affair, move some sliders up and down the main screen to create drum and keyboard patterns, pick a key and tempo, and add your own effects and melodies.

If anyone can recreate the theme to Street Hawk or Automan on it, then I'll be truly impressed, and you should put it on YouTube!

With six virtual instrument tracks to choose from, you can bring each sound into the mix and start creating some unique grooves. Once you’ve got your track locked down, switch to the bass channel and combine four bass sounds to give your tune some funk, then twist your basslines up with a selection of effects and filters.

  • Bring six instrument tracks into the mix: a kick drum, a snare drum, a hi-hat, a cymbal and two keyboard melodies. 
  • Add bass sounds and twist them up with a range of effects. 
  • Adjust the key and tempo to suit your musical style.
  • Just a 60MB download

Gun Commando storming to PlayStation Mobile

Hot on the heels of eight-bit nostalgia fest, Life of Pixel comes Gun Commando. This upcoming PSM title from Ripstone and Green Hill has players re-living the classic early PC FPS titles that came out in herds after the success of Wolfenstein and Doom.

With the world invaded by aliens, you’re the only person that stands in their way. Shoot, run and dodge bullets in a frantic and fictional game world that’s packed full of devastating weapons.

Your goal is simple: kill every last one of them! Phil Gaskell, Creative Director and Co-Founder at Ripstone, notes "Fans of old school shooters are going to love Gun Commando. The team at Green Hill have really captured the nostalgia of early first-person shooters and cleverly combined it with slick controls on smartphones, and amazing production values thanks to comic-book artist Romano Molenaar."