Friday, January 31, 2014

PS Vita 2000s on Amazon, but not from Amazon, or the UK

I'd assumed Amazon would have its UK Vita 2000 offer in place by now to snag some pre-orders, guess it won't be long though.

UPDATED (original piece below): And now its there, in all its £179.99 glory. with no memory card - just the tiddly 1GB internal storage, no bundle and new buyers wondering exactly what all the fuss is about. There's also a link to Amazon's own PSN store, which hasn't been updated with any Vita content since launch, time for them to get a move on too.


Instead some sellers are furiously trying to flog their Japanese import stock with PS Vita 2000 sellers trying to get your cash, with prices ranging from £175 to (madly) £25,000 with some selling the coloured models, if you're desperate for one (presumably with the topsy turvy button actions).

Sony insist the difference between the OLED and LCD is "relatively imperceptible." The trouble is that's an oxymoron, if something is imperceptible you can't perceive it, there's no relative about it. Every single report I've seen says you can see the difference, so IT IS perceptible. Sure that won't matter to any newcomers to the scene, but without a new game in sight to help shift them, I can't see much action when Amazon's offer does rock up.

Of course, Sony will say Vita sales rocketed 300% shortly after, but that's meaningless crap. If you want to order the official UK model, no rush now, ShopTo.Net have it at close to the £180 RRP or get the colour models cheap from Play Asia (which I'm now tempted to do, Lime Green in fact). Have a lovely weekend now!

A Black Heart, but such cute eyes, coming from Compile Heart

Oh Japan, not only do you get coloured PS Vitas to play with but endless cute games with big-eyed girls in mini chibi form, riding dragons and lobbing bananas - basically I have no idea what the game is really about. This is a trailer for Compile Heart's latest Noire Gekishin Black Heart on the PS Vita, due out in May. Still, we've got Jeff Minter and TxK on the way, so its not all bad.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scoregasm sequel headed to Vita

Charlie's Games Steam arcade title Scoregasm is getting a sequel of sorts landing on the Vita sometime soon. The early prototype below shows off a little of the game's mad skills, but check out his blog for lots more action from the first game. Judging by a few tweets, he reckons the Vita version should look identical to the PC style, just with more new stuff.

Surge goes Deluxe with PSN launch next week

Surge was one of the PlayStation Mobile launch titles, cramming in instant and addictive gameplay into a bright, neon package. Now its bigger brother, retuned by developer FuturLab, is about to hit PSN, releasing next week with improved gameplay, deeper scoring, online leaderboards and other refinements.

Atlus publishing Conception II on PSN in Europe

Not much else to add really, Atlus has announced that Spike Chunsoft's Conception II will be available in the second quarter for Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita as a digital-only title in Europe.

It's not easy being God's Gift. The main character of Conception II, the roleplaying game from ATLUS and developed by Spike Chunsoft has his work cut out for him. Between having to manage personal relationships with seven heroines, saving the world by fighting monsters, and figuring out his role with the overseeing AngelMarker Industries, managing the hero's time is a daunting task. Previous news on the game here.

Vita indie memory card bundle announced

Having beggared belief with the Vita 2000 launch farce, here comes Sony's big roster of new games. In the guise of a 4GB memory card with a stack of indies, that I'm guessing will just about fit in that space. There's some great stuff in the form of Thomas Was Alone, Velocity Ultra and Hotline Miami, which accounts for the 16-rating. There's also a hardware bundle with (I think) the old OLED model.


The PS Vita Slim, £180, Sony facepalm

What world do Sony's executives and marketing twonks live in? Your product isn't selling and you have no big games. Instead of being brave and bold, Sony actually announces THREE BITS OF BAD NEWS at an event of its own creation - incredible!

What has Sony done? Offer the new "cheaper to manufacture" PS Vita with its less-impressive LED screen for an SRP of £180, and only in black, as just announced at its UK press event. If there's any more bad news I'll update but for now I'm off to bang my head against a wall. Here's what they could have won!

Getting back onto an even keel for a second, Sony has priced its cheaper Vita above the price of the better model, around £160. To be fair, the new Vita will likely slot in at that price with everyone going "BIG SAVINGS!" Actually, scratch that, the first pre-sales are up at the £180 RRP. If you do want a coloured one, PlayAsia -- with shipping -- is still £10 cheaper.

If Sony has a proper plan, to do that it must have some idea of a few amazing titles to help dig it out of the sales hole. Trouble is, without announcing them, no one will buy it. Over to you Sony!

A third way of looking at this is Sony has given up on the market and will squeeze what it can out of the Vita, and hope something pops up that drives sales eventually. Anyway, if you need a Vita, buy the cheaper, better model now, because once they're gone, its the new model only.

UPDATE: Now I'm calmer, reading around the web, Sony says they expect the price to drift lower, which makes sense but I'm betting we'll only see a proper price cut come Autumn when Sonys one or two big games are released.

Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc gets ready to roll west with new trailer

Just a couple of weeks to go until NIS America's Trigger Happy Havoc drives Vita gamers into a devious frenzy. The game looks pretty sick, in both senses, all driven by the mental bi-polar bear and headmaster Monokuma, as murder, mystery and mayhem set in around school.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vita sales keep on running through the dead zone

This time last year, Vita sales were attrocious and wouldn't recover for months. In 2014, it really seems to have legs, shedding only 3,500 sales as the releases start to arrive. Yes, its a downward trend, but so is everything else at this time of year (only the PS3 held firm strangely given the imminent PS4 launch). Vita TV sales are now dire, but the upcoming Asia launch and any western announcement should help Sony shift some units.

The first new big game of the year is DBZ:BoZ which did pretty poorly, split between Vita and PS3, not helping hardware sales any. FFXHD continues to pack in the sales and we have more new releases to look forward too.

01./00. [PS3] Sengoku Basara 4 # (Capcom) {2014.01.23} (¥6.990) - 176.313 / NEW
05./00. [PS3] Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.01.23} (¥7.480) - 30.192 / NEW
06./00. [PSV] Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.01.23} (¥6.480) - 22.901 / NEW
11./07. [PS3] Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (Square Enix) {2013.12.26} (¥7.140) - 10.412 / 266.171 (-26%)
12./00. [PSP] La Corda d'Oro 3: Another Sky feat. Jinnan # (Koei Tecmo) {2014.01.23} (¥6.090) - 10.295 / NEW
13./00. [PSV] Uta Kumi 575 # (Sega) {2014.01.23} (¥7.350) - 9.701 / NEW
18./09. [PSV] Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster: Twin Pack # (Square Enix) {2013.12.26} (¥7.140) - 7.033 / 214.245 (-45%)

Europe awaits the Toukiden demo, details out

The PSN blog has just put up a post with all the info on today's demo. Is it really time to pack away that PSP Monster Hunter Freedom Unite install? Ragnarok didn't quite manage to pull that trick off, here's hoping Tecmo's Toukiden can do better. Here's what to expect and enjoy:

Here's the link for the demo, get it now
  • First chapter fully playable, and up to the middle of second chapter can be played
  • Save data: 1 slot only (full game allows for three slots). Demo save data (equipment, obtained weapons/armor/mitama, materials, story progress, Haku (capped)) will carry over to the full game, but Settings will not.
  • Max no. of materials: Materials chest will carry a max of 30 slots, and up to five of each material can be held
  • Trophies cannot be obtained in the demo version
  • Character settings (customisation): same as full game version
  • Multiplayer: Seven missions can be played
  • Equipment, weapons can be upgraded (same as full game)
  • The file size of the demo is 996 MB.
Start tapping that refresh button soon! 

PlayStation Mobile gets Gunhouse, Battle of Puppets and more

Sony's PSM page has been a bit of a tear recently with four more new titles today. Leading off is Gunhouse which I wrote about a couple of weeks back (£2.59, 78MB), evolving from a MolyJam event project. Also out is Buba (£1.79, 64MB), an simple-looking insect-themed puzzle game.

Looking a bit more lively is Battle of Puppets (£2.19, 71MB), an iOS/Android port that has a hand drawn aesthetic and what looks like a Patapon-style gameplay. Finally there's FarmFury an agricultural RTS (79p, 32MB) with heavy use of rodents as your main form of attack. Take your pick

Puyopuyo Tetris gets well rated in the new Famitsu

Crawling into the new year light come the first trickle of new releases for 2014 and the Vita has a couple of well rated titles in the mix. Puyopuyo Tetris couldn't really fail to be a hit, mixing east and west's finest puzzlers in one massive slamming together of cultures. Super-cutesy Super Heroine Chronicle didn't do too badly either!

Puyopuyo Tetris (PSV) – 9/9/9/8 [35/40]
Super Heroine Chronicle (PSV) – 8/7/7/7 [29/40]

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just Add Water showing off Gravity Crash Ultra on

The PSP original was a fun little diversion, but as we've seen indie games moving over to Vita get bigger, better and, um, beautifuller. Gravity Crash Ultra, from Just Add Water, with a little help from FutureLab, seem to be making a great step up with this one. If the stream has ended, trust me, it was hypnotic, stylish and beautfully lit.

BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma confirmed for Vita

I was so sure of this appearing on Vita, its was on my release list for ages. Now, Arc System Works has finally confirmed its arcade brawler BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma will get a Vita port. Earlier BlazBlue titles graced the PSP and made a Vita launch game in the west, so it was pretty certain.

The Vita edition will contain some new content and share its DLC with the PS3 version, not sure about Cross Play or Cross Buy, but that would be pretty sweet. Hopefully there's the same mix of crazy characters and mad attacks.

Fate/Hollow Ataraxia porting to Vita

Fate/Stay Night was pretty popular on the PSP, and got a port for the Vita too. Its sequel Fate/Hollow Ataraxia is also heading to the Vita, offering more visual novel fun. The original was a PC game and will hopefully get the same tidy-and-polish for the Vita release.

Europe got Fate Extra on PSP thanks to Ghostlight, so hopefully some more Fate action will head our way. More on SGCafe with a little bit of art.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Falcom rolling out Legend of Heroes, Trails of the Flash II

There was some shuffling of papers over the weekend in Japan as Falcom prepared some news, that being the official announcement for The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II, announced today, will be arriving in Japan sometime during 2014 on PS Vita and PS3. More news when Falcom is ready to share.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bring the games! What will Sony add to its slim launch event?

Sony could announce a diamond encrusted Vita, skinnier than a baby ant at its upcoming launch event next week. It still won't sell, that is without some exciting titles to juice gamers' interest and to make a very big splash.

UPDATE: Sony says don't expect any game announcements during this event. Do these marketing idiots ever stick their heads out into the real world? Here's a shiny new gadget... with nothing new to do on it -- holy shit!

So what can Sony offer us? We know there's a fair few games on the way, but beyond Borderlands 2 and the army of indies, people need something new to get excited about. We've already seen an anglicised version of Freedom Wars, which might be good for the cognoscenti, but unless there's a blockbuster movie coming along with it (perhaps an all-star sequel of sorts to In Time) it looks pretty niche.

So, what's off the radar, neatly avoiding the perennial suspects of GTA, CoD and so on? It seems likely that some more JRPGs are headed our way, but between NISA, Atlus and Idea Factory, we're doing pretty well on that front.

So, maybe Sony's buddy Sega will have some good news in the guise of a new Shenmue, Grandia or Skies of Arcadia title (or, more likely, a remake). Looking back west, Sony's own studios have got the first rush of PS4 titles out of the way, are any of them pining for Vita development, or is the big boss keeping them focused on driving the PS4's momentum?

Whatever Sony does show off will define the year for the handheld, one or two big-name games may give it a future in the eyes of other developers. If there's nothing but cast-offs, ports and retro chic, then the Vita is dead, as far as the dream of the traditional console experience goes. Is that a bad thing? Kind of, given the Vita's launch ambition, but I'm quite happy paying a few quid a month for some gaming nuggets over the periodic GotY titles. It would just be nice to have a choice!

What do you fancy playing on your slim Vita (or your OLED original) later in the year?

Monster Hunter 4G confirmed for 3DS only

With the Vita now selling consistently well in Japan, and a wide range of hunting games on show, it doesn't really need Monster Hunter to help "save" it. But, would it help? Hell, yeah! So, its predictable, but still a shame, that Capcom has announced Monster Hunter 4G for the 3DS only, following on from the WiiU MH4 Ultimate title.

Even in all its pixelated grubbiness, the trailer for the 3DS will still help shift a few million copies and loads of hardware in Japan.

Yes, the Vita is still getting some Monster Hunter love, in the form of the upgraded Frontier G version, but even in the loose sense that 4G is a "new" game, this is really stretching the definition, being based on a seven-year old release, with a two-year old update. Also, its hard to find numbers but there's supposed to be about 250,000 subscribers for the PC version, which isn't great. The success of MHFG depends on that user base wanting to go portable, given the limited feature set of the full PC/PS3 experience.

All of which is pretty immaterial for us, since importers will likely find the Frontier Vita game blocked from the servers. So for now, just boot up good old Monster Hunter Freedom Unite and keep on enjoying the game as it was meant to be played.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Freedom Wars grows English subtitles

With Sony pushing hard into the rest of Asia, what's the quickest way of getting its Japanese-heavy games out there? Apparently adding English subtitles seems to be the way to go, which is great news. Taken a recent Taipei exhibition at which Sony has been pushing its games and hardware, this clip shows Freedom Wars with words as nature intended.

Sure, the audio is still Japanese, but hey, that wasn't a problem with the Akira soundtrack CD 25-odd years ago, and it won't stop importers rushing to buy a game they can now enjoy semi-properly. If Asia sales do kick off, and with China opening its doors ajar, there's some hope, Sony looks to be well placed to win, and us westerners will benefit if they automatically bolt English into their future releases.

We even get the original teaser trailer in English...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Alpha screens of Mighty No. 9 pop up

Keiji Inafune, when he's not hacking out Soul Sacrifice Delta update content is playing with his new baby, the love letter to Megaman, Mighty No. 9. A couple of images are doing the rounds from the alpha version. Despite the early stage, it looks pretty sweet so far and you know those glows and bright colours are really going to pop on the Vita's OLED (or not so much on the LCD, if you get the upcoming 2000 model - I hope I'm kidding, but get used to lots of these arguments).

Vita gets a smart headset thanks to Mad Catz

The Vita does pretty badly out of extras, with some poor-to-decent cases, screen protectors and a few grip gadgets. To liven things up a little, Mad Catz is now selling a TRITTON Kama Stereo Headset for both the PS4 and Vita. It features components derived from TRITTON’s premium headsets, and is designed to offer impressive audio performance and exceptional value for money.

Mad Catz claim it delivers a comfortable audio experience while simplifying online chat, directly connecting to the PlayStation 4 controller, Vita – or nearly any device with a 3.5mm jack. I'm still happy with my Turtle Beach M5, but should I need to change, I think I could go for a pair of these. They're on Amazon for around £25.

Sony event on January 30 likely to reveal PS Vita slim launch?

An invite is going out around the proper press for a Sony event next week, proclaiming, "Following the biggest launch in PlayStation history, join us for an introduction to the slimmest." That's likely to mean the new brightly-coloured Vita 2000 models are getting a western launch, perhaps along with Vita TV.

If Sony wants to make any impact with the Vita then a £99-£119 price point is essential. It will also need to announce a truck load of western big-name games at this event (beyond fake announcements like Bioshock). Failure to do so, and the Vita will trundle along as normal that even Sony is too embarrassed to share with the world. An proper release date for Borderlands would be good but everyone knows the Vita needs a GTA or (proper) CoD title to get moving over here.

A release date is likely to be at the end of Feb to match the original launch date (22nd Feb 2012). Perhaps Vita TV might follow on later, but Sony seriously needs to get the likes of Netflix, Lovefilm, Now TV and other apps on-board if it wants to sell any of them.

Are you happy with your OLED Vita or would a new LCD model be a neat addition? More importantly, how much would you pay? Please comment!

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z hits PSN with PS+ discount

Rush out to the stores, or sit at home and download the Namco's first Dragon Ball title for the Vita. The game is £29.99 on PSN, or £26.99 for PS+ subs, with a massive roster of fighters and

For the first time ever, fans can play as God Goku, Beerus and Whis, the three newest characters in the DBZ universe! These new characters join a huge roster of more than 70 characters (including transformations & DLCs) with their unique playstyle based on the four different fighting types: Ki-Blast, Support, Melee and Interfere!

On top of the amazing character line-up, there are features such as the Genki gauge, Giant Boss Battles, Premium Points and Dragon Points (to customize your favourite character), as well as different modes where cooperation with allies is mandatory … and much more to discover!

Samurai Warriors 4 gets a new family-unfriendly trailer

Meet the family, meet their weapons, watch them chop stuff up. Yes, its another bout of complex relations and brutal ways to solve them in Tecmo's latest complex dive into the noble families of ancient Japan and their need to hack through hordes of minions. Impressive stuff, Famitsu provides some background and art for the lead characters in this edition.

Demon Gaze western release date, box art and pics

NIS America continues to punch out the Vita games with news that dungeon-crawler RPG, Demon Gaze, will hit the Vita on April 22 in North America and April 25 in Europe in both retail and digital form.

Of the nice fistful of recently announced Japanese titles, Kadokawa's title looks like the best fit for JRPGers, with the likes of Conception II and Danganronpa all having that slightly overly-quirky look to them, still we'll find out soon enough with a nice roll out across the rest of winter and spring.

As the main character Oz, you will explore beautiful 3D dungeons as you fight against a myriad of highly detailed and illustrated monsters in order to bolster your party with ever stronger equipment. Fans of high-definition anime artwork and dungeon exploration will enjoy gazing upon this title in April!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting ready for some Wolf Among Us?

Vita owners are yet to experience the vulpine tones of The Wolf Among Us, which is now alternating with Walking Dead Season 2 in episodic launches as Telltale Games ramps up production. But here's a pic of WAU episode 2 to tide you over until we get the first episodes on our portable (I'm quite happy to wait).

The first TWD, if you missed out, is a must-play as an emotional experience, hopefully the comic-book basis for WAU is just as gripping. Check out the WAU announce trailer.

Check out 25 minutes of Vlambeer's Nuclear Throne in action

Vlambeer are bringing this to the Vita at some point, but for now check out a run through of the PC version in early action. Looks like a lot of fun, with fast-paced, short levels looking ideal for portable gaming. Lots of weapons to enjoy too and listen in for some of the essential tools needed for success.

Hatsune Miku 2nd F does an extended video remix

Not quite rocking out with her extended remix out, here's 10 minutes of some of Hatsune Miku's greatest hits from the upcoming release in Japan. Love the Tron-style video at around 1:30... checks release list to see when Sega promised the western version of the first game, ah early 2014.

UPDATE: And just like that Sega drop a release date, March for the Hatsune Miku I version, on PSN only with some extra songs found in the F version available as DLC. Well, I guess Sega has to make some money out of it somehow.

Idea Factory explains edited material in Monster Monpiece

The fact we're getting the card battler game at all is good news, and I'm not particularly bothered about losing some of the more graphic cards from the Japanese original. If you're that bothered then why not import the original? Or move to Japan and queue up with your fellow sickos over there.

Put it down to levels of cultural acceptance or whatever, there's a reasoned and big debate to have about sexualisation in Japanese games. Trouble is most gamers debate like four-year olds, and there are plenty of other forums to argue in, so whatever. If you're opposed to censorship, then poor little you. Idea Factory has explained the changes to its fans.
We would like to inform everyone about the censored images in greater detail. Monster Monpiece is a card battle game, in which players summon various “Monster Girls” onto the game’s battlefields and then fight their opponents. These cards—meaning the “Monster Girls”—are able to be powered up by exposing themselves (taking off their clothes) via the level-up features called First Crush Rub and Extreme Love. 
We kept the same number of cards in the game as the original Japanese version, but replaced some of the higher level Monster Girl images with the “less exposed” lower level versions of the corresponding Monster Girls due to some intense sexual imagery. The number of censored cards is about 40 out of the approximately 350 card images available in the game. This means that over 300 cards are left untouched from the original images. That said, each card that has had its image removed will still have the same number of levels for the player to increase, but the higher level card images will be the same as the lower level, even though they have leveled up and have become more powerful. We would like to emphasize that the game’s playtime, the game’s system, and the game’s features are all the same as the original Japanese release, and players can level up their Monster Girls to the highest levels as well, again, matching the Japanese release. 
This was a very difficult decision since we work very hard to satisfy our fans and want to bring the same content being offered in Japan. However, Western society is not as lenient as that of Japan when sexual images are involved—especially images of humanoids that appear to be younger than a socially acceptable age. 
The borderline of what is “acceptable” will always be extremely gray and vary from person to person, but as a responsible company working in the U.S., we had to make the difficult decision that we did. We sincerely apologize for those who do not agree with any level of censorship, but we greatly appreciate your understanding with the decision we have made. 
About the rating differences between North America (ESRB, Mature) and Europe (PEGI, 12): The reason for the difference in these ratings is simply the difference in the rating system between ESRB and PEGI. We received a Mature rating for Monster Monpiece from the ESRB with the censored material we submitted. However, for PEGI, and with the same material assets for their review, they rated it 12+ because of the minimal amount of violence shown in the game. We appreciate your understanding with these rating differences.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

PlayStation Mobile update, football and a grand sun

Four new little diversions on the PSM store update for Europe this week. you can probably take or leave the notepad or comic viewer (.cbr, .cbz and cb7 files) apps. On the games front, slightly better looking is Grand Sun RYEZ, an 8-bit affecting RPG with a quirky looking bunch of characters, shame about the text/leet speak.

Kick It appears to be a lightly updated take on those first-ever blocky sports system arcade games, or air hockey, depending on how old you are.

Conception II conceives another trailer

With a US launch  now pegged for 15 April, Atlus has popped out another trailer for the western Spike's Conception II RPG, subtitled Children of the Seven Stars. The pre-order comes with an audio soundtrack CD which looks like a pretty good deal, check out the new trailer and get ready to breed your way to victory.

Monster Toukiden demo arriving next week

Tecmo Koei Europe has some decent news with  the release of an extensive demo for upcoming title Toukiden: The Age of Demons arriving on PSN on the 29th of January to introduce players to the game's vast and beautiful world, with around 10 hours of play, that you can carry on when the full game arrives in mid-February.

To aid Slayers in the beginning of their journey Tecmo Koei Europe announced a series of in game pre-order bonuses. Specifically, those who pre-order Toukiden through the Playstation Network® will receive the Mitama of Momotaro, a warrior’s soul that will strengthen the player’s skill, along with a piece of armour (cat ears). Furthermore, there will be two additional pre-order DLC packs, one including the Mitama of Niijima Yae and a piece of armour (fox mask) and one including two extra mission collections.

EU PSN gets a Final Fantasy sale

Final Fantasy RPGs and related titles get one of their regular hefty sales on the EU PSN store this week, with lots of fun for PSP and Vita owners. There's the classics, recent episodes and spin-offs like War of Lions and Dissidia, check them out with extra discounts for PS+ users.

Vita stays strong in Japan

Sony's handheld and TV box shifted 26,963 units in Japan last week, down 6,000 but still a hefty number and way up on 2011 and 2012's 15,000 numbers.

While there are no new games hitting the Media Create chart, sales of FFX HD actually went up 5%, moving the game from 10 to no.9 in the chart, passing 200,000 sales. Down the chart, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam crossed the 100,000 total sales mark.

PS Vita TV sales continue to slide, PSP clings on well as pretty much nothing interesting happened in Japan over the week.

Monster Monpiece goes official in the west

We knew this game, with the frantic screen-stroking action, was coming thanks to various leakage, but and official press release makes it all bona fide! Idea Factory International is excited to announce its very first PlayStation Vita title, Monster Monpiece, a tactical card battle game with light RPG elements, for the North American and European markets.

Featuring a tactical card battle system, distinctive characters, and light-hearted story make Monster Monpiece, its definitely different and, despite losing a few of the more risqué cards, there's:

  • Likeable characters and a story rife with adventure!With a wide range of unique and quirky personalities, the entire cast of Monster Monpieceeach add a little spice to the adventurous story from beginning to end!
  • Use Skills, Potentials, and a strategic mind!While the battle system seems simple, you still need a strategic mind to best utilize your Monster Girls’ Skills and Potentials in battle! 
  • Fusion and Aura Bonus kick battles up anotch! The keys to a successful battle lie in mastering the Fusion system and activating the Aura Bonus to increase your cards’ stats during battle! 
  • Card battles featuring 3D chibi characters! There are more than 100 Monster Girls that will support you in battle against your opponents. Use Rub mode, where you send your magic power into the cards by rubbing the touch screen!

Trip your way through some new western Danganronpa screens

Due for release next month, Danganronpa, Trigger Happy Havoc (an update of the PSP original) looks increasingly mental with a new batch of screens teasing the game's peculiar take on school life...

You’ll take on the role of Makoto Naegi, a desperately average teenager who somehow finds himself accepted into Hope's Peak Academy, a prestigious high school normally reserved for the nation's most "ultimate" students. But when he arrives, he and the other students soon find themselves trapped in a battle for survival against a twisted mastermind who has taken them all prisoner. You'll have to unmask the villain and uncover the secret of the school...or die trying!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Olliolli

Gliding in, like a fresh wind through January's dozy release list, Olliolli lands as another example of Sony's commitment to exclusive indies on the Vita, and focusing on great gameplay over flashy pixel-jizz. We first saw Roll 7's game as a simple demonstrator last May, but since them, it has bulked up, fleshed-out and tricked-up to become a fast-paced, platform-leaping, pixel-perfect challenge.

Each level may only last a minute or so, but in that time you have cram in as many spins and tricks as possible, landing them as close to perfect as you can, while keeping up your speed to rack up the big score. Each level has a series of challenges to meet, which you can pick off one-by-one. They range from a high-value trick, collecting all the objects, grinding so far and many others - there's plenty of variety, and one or two are always tough enough to make you plan the best way to achieve them, inching toward the goal.

If you do get stuck hitting one trick in the Career mode, further levels unlock regularly and then there's always Spot mode or Daily Grind to offer a more focused change. Here, there's one challenge against a global scoreboard, where you can practice as much as you like, but only get one shot to give it your best by hitting as many consecutive combos in one run and post a high score. If you do keep screwing up, don't be afraid to go back to the tutorial as its easy to forget one of the basic rules among the chaos.

If that's doesn't work and you're still all fingers-and-thumbs, then Olliolli probably isn't for you. The game's mix of precision timing and frantic stick rotating to perform the coolest stunts, and hitting X to land them are very demanding, this isn't a game you can really button mash your way through. The tutorials and first few levels guide you in, but after that, its constant references to the Tricktionary and practice, practice, practice.

The various backgrounds of the junkyard, port, army base and neon city provide some variation in parallax scenery, adding new obstacles and opportunities. But as you fixate at the pixels on the wheels, landing and launch spots for your tricks, there isn't much time to stop and stare. Music is suitably urban ranging from synthy and ambient to slightly discordant, all feeding the pace.

A perfect portable game, Olliolli is so tightly focused it could snap your Vita in two, or you might do the same as you splat across a level for the 50th time.

Score: 8/10
More Reviews
Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Roll 7 Games
File size 225MB
Progress: More grazes than a tough mudder

La Mulana 2 Kickstarter offers a Vita version for a price

Buried in the stretch goals for Nigoro/Playism's La Mulana 2 platform/puzzler is the offer of a Vita version should it hit the $1.15 million mark. With a base funding of only $200,000 needed, I'm not sure it'll get anywhere close. Ands even they don't sound that confident, "We will make a Vita or possibly a 3DS version of La-Mulana 2, so more gamers will get to play it. (platforms included are subject to negotiation)"

Borderlands 2 dated by Take2 for March on Vita

A tweet by Take 2 shows the date for the Vita version of the brilliant Borderlands 2 (kind of a shame I'm playing it for free on PS+) as March the 18th. That tweet has since been pulled but NeoGAF has a pic of it. Hopefully the port coders at Iron Galaxy have done a better job than some, and we get the full game at native resolution at a decent speed, with all the content or free (or very cheap, if they can't fit it on the card) downloads.

UPDATE: The post was pulled because the information was wrong, apparently. Stay tuned I guess

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tempest TxK dated for 11 February

The US PSN store has a crazy discount going on for PS+ subs against the upcoming list of PS Vita games including this week's Olliolli, clean-em-up Dustforce and Dragon Ball Z. But more importantly it reveals the date of Jeff Minter's Tempest TxK, which was granted a PEGI rating a while back, but had no firm release date (that I ever saw).

Mark your cards for February 11, presumably the 12th in Europe, for one of the finest arcade games ever to reappear in Vita form. Really don't mind if Europe skips on the savings as I'd happily pay full price for TxK, given how much the Atari Jaguar original cost.

Check out the full-res 60fps trailer on the Llama site, full volume on speakers a must!

Corpse Party Blood Drive gets an official site

The eyes! Don't look into the eyes! Actually since that's about all this site has at the moment, you might just have to. 5bp's Corpse Bride Blood Drive's site (best URL ever, is a little bare at the moment but should add movies and more info as it nears a squishy release.

The game was announced last Spring so I can't see it taking too much longer, as it follows on from a PSP title (from which this video comes)  and copious amounts of manga and anime. The original got a western release, so here's hoping.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Deception IV lets you play nasty

The Deception series started out on the first PlayStation, some 18 years ago. Now we're up to Deception IV: Blood Ties which will hit EU shelves at the end of March for PS3 and Vita. In this follow up to the classic Tecmo title "Devil’s Deception" - Deception IV follows Laegrinna, an animated fragment of an imprisoned Devil’s soul, as she battles enemies by luring them into strategically placed traps.

Laegrinna's victims are dealt with in all sorts of gruesome ways, from rolling boulders and spiked walls to spring boards, players can choose from a multitude of dramatic, sadistic and comical traps. Mixing strategy and action, and banana peels, the game comes with an 18 rating, it promises pain suffering and shame, lovely! The Vita version is promising a few extras beyond using the touchscreen to trigger traps.

God Eater 2 version 1.20 tickling Japanese gamers soon

Next week, Japanese Vita owners will get a fresh update for God Eater 2, adding yet more content to the expansive game, there are tweaks to existing missions and adversaries like Hannibal below, plus new content and costumes. V1.20 of God Eater 2 is out on the 21st, for PSP and Vita owners. Details on the official GE2 (Japanese) blog.

New Hatsune Miku pics in super-mega-colour-vision

There are many, many pictures for Sega's second Vita Hatsune Miku title over on Dengeki, showing off the songs, levels and features of the game. It all looks super-slick and impressive, in a glorious colour palette. Packed with characters and mini games, plus songs new and remixed, this should be another huge seller for the Vita, out at the beginning of March.

Out now on PlayStation Mobile: Gunhouse to shake the Vita's foundations

Necrosoft conceived this game at Molyjam last year, but its take a lot more effort to get it to release, mixing a puzzle game, some shopping and lots of big guns, creating on-screen carnage. It is now available on the US PSM, landed on the EU PSN on the 29th.

Panzer Girls go to art school

Dengeki has a bunch of new shots from the Panzer Girls, showing off their vehicles, creative skills and some of the levels and scenery. Pretty sure these lot wouldn't be welcome at the Tank Museum. There's discussion of elements of the anime in the game, so its keeping things real and also the Battle Royale mode which should add some spice to things.

Hopefully we'll see some in-game action videos soon to prove the gameplay matches up with what look like some cool ideas from Namco. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

IA/VT Colorful equals more musical Vita action

I'm guessing the title is a play on the Vita name, but Marvelous' new title for the handheld looks pretty straightforward. Tappy buttons, vocaloid singing, cute girls and lots of flashy effects, with some new twists. Due out in July it can't go too wrong given the success of Hatsune Miku and even indie efforts like Cytus Lambda.

Vita takes a Bodycheck

Who else thinks Speedball the first time you look at this video? Its hard not to, despite the primitive setting. This early look hints at a big shot of adrenaline, with the promise of magic and corruption alongside brutal contact to liven things up. Scottish team Ludometrics are developing, and this looks like their most ambitious project so far, with some puzzle and quiz games in their history. They're aiming for a third quarter release.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Horror title Kodoku goes for a freaky trailer

Decidely quirky-looking horror game Kodoku has put out a fairly freaky teaser trailer to highlight some of the nightmarish creatures you'll be coming up against. The game was announced back in December with an aim to lose the guns from survival horror. Looking at this lot, I'd rather be packing a shotgun when they turn up on our screens.

Unity deployment officially lands on the Vita

Almost a year ago, Unity announced its developers could bring games to the Vita by an updated SDK with access to the handheld's many functions, PSN integration and other features. After lots of testing and a few games announcing for the Vita including Vektor Wars, Forgotten Memories, and a few Kickstarter projects, the tools are live.

To developer for PlayStation Mobile, coders can use a regular PS Vita, to developer PSN games, they need a Sony dev Vita and all the usual contract gubbins.

That should spark a host of new games coming to both PlayStation Mobile and PlayStation Network, to support the weak western dev scene. The Vita option on the Unity game list is currently a little light, with Pavillion, Assault Android Cactus (pictured) and Stick it to the Man on display. But have a browse of the other formats for some of the games we could get, especially as the mobile games market continues to get swamped with free-to-play, micro-transaction-laden crud.

Vita diving sales in Japan still better than 2013's highs

After all the fun here comes the slow season. Few new releases and dying hardware sales. Last year, Sony's sales dived into a trough of sub-20,000 sales that it took most of the year to get out of. This time it dives back down from recent highs of 80,000 a week to just 30,000. That 'low' is about as good as most of the Vita's 'highs' from last year (big releases aside). I'd guessing the first two weeks of 2014, the Vita sold what it took until the end of February to hit last year. That's good - for Japan!

On the games side, Final Fantasy sales dived to 12,000, likely due to lack of stock, to cling onto the top 10. Vita TV and PSP also halved in sales with the new TV dongle starting to suffer very badly. If this is the PSP's final year, it has done Sony proud.

Monster Hotel and Quiet, Please join PSM giveaway

Sony is still calling this the festive giveaway despite it being the middle of January, but who are we to argue? Grab two more PlayStation Mobile titles this week with Monster Hotel where you have to move the beasties to their ideal room and Quiet, Please a fun adventure where the aim is to achieve a little restful time.

This week's new game is Crystal Ice from The Liverpool Office, a fun looking block and tile title with a few twists and turns, plus a neat handdrawn look to it. Lots of pics on the game's Pinterest page (which is a first, I think), it costs £3.99 and is a 50MB download. 

Japan rules for big western Vita releases this spring

Looking ahead to the next couple of months' releases, I hope you like Japanese games, as they're the mainstay of big releases coming to US and European gamers. Top of most people's lists will be FFX HD after its stellar Japanese success, but I'm  more tempted to lean to Toukiden (new screens on the game's Facebook page) for some proper monster bashing while Danganronpa (western trailer) might tickle those who appreciate the humour found in Persona and others.

Which one (or two, or three) will you pick up? Or are you going to remain stoically western and wait for Football Manager 2014 to arrive?

A quick blast of Sword Art Online as marketing trumps sense

There seems to be a story a day rolling out on the ever-friendly Japanese gaming sites for Sword Art Online, and the game isn't out for another three months. What's scary is this is just a short version of a previous clip -  with a tiny segment of action, why would anyone do that? More info and other clips on the game's site. What will they be doing by launch? Super-slo-mos of this same scene?

Kojima shows off Metal Gear V remote playing on Vita

Oooh, that looks mighty fine. Hideo Kojima has tweeted four pics of his new Metal Gear Ground Zeroes baby playing on the Vita through Remote Play via PS4. In the meantime, feel free to dig out your Metal Gear HD games and give them a burst for your nostalgia fix.

Monster Monpiece heading west, be mildly afraid

With recent pics showing English dialogue, there was some hope that Compile Heart's card battler would get a western release. That idea seems a bit more solid now the game has a PEGI rating. Throw it in there along with the growing list of Japanese imports on the release list. With a release date for this month, perhaps this is a quick PSN port, rather than a big release, but all is welcome.

Here's a quick example of the 'enthusiastic' gameplay.

$1.8 million gets Yasumi Matsuno's Unsung Story on the Vita

Guess Kickstarter is rolling back into action over the Christmas break and a monster 2013. The foundation for a bunch of Vita games to come including Starlight Inception, Mighty No. 9 and more, PlayTek is now offering a Vita version of an impressive looking RPG from the legendary Yasumi Matsuno (Vagrant Story and the Tactics games) as a big stretch goal up from the basic $600,000.

Unsung Story, Tale of the Guardians is a turn-based, tactical war game and RPG. With some serious talent on the team, the game has already hit $100K in the first few hours, so I think the Vita version is pretty much in the bag.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wonder Flick gets ready to role on Vita

Announced for the Vita last summer by Level-5, it looks like mobile hit Wonder Flick is just about ready to go on the Sony platform. The free-to-play micro-transaction heavy role-player cum puzzler looks fun but you can bet all those characters and extra kit will cost players a packet.

Dynasty Warriors Next goes free for EU PS+ in Feb

A tweet from Tecmo brings yet more gaming goodies for Vita owners next month. If I remember correctly Ninja Gaiden was a freebie late last year, so PS+ users who've been unaware of Tecmo's historical romps can now get fully up to speed. This also likely means the sequel can't be that far off, Dynasty Warriors Next was a launch game, so we're likely due for at least one of the many Japanese updates.

Shin Gundam Musou gets all orchestral on some robot asses

A short clip from Namco's robo-slaying title, really only notable for the awesome music, I hope that's in-game generated, as its the sort of tune that all warriors should go to battle listening to, that and AC/DC of course. Not sure I'd be into a game of slaying endless cookie cutter robots, but this Gundam title certainly has some style. Wonder if there's any OST somewhere?

Final Fantasy X HD dominates Japanese PSN downloads

Sony's PSN download chart from last week for Japan comes as no surprise. Since the boxed copies are basically sold out around Japan. Final Fantasy X tops the chart, with a mix of oldies and new titles filling in the gaps. Good to see Need for Speed doing well, Killzone Mercenary is the only other western title down at No. 19.

1 FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster TWIN PACK Square Enix
2 FINAL FANTASY X HD Remaster Square Enix
3 Shin Gundam Musou Namco Games
4 Damascus gear Tokyo Hajime-sen Arc System Works
5 GOLF 6 PlayStation Vita the Best of Everyone Sony Computer Entertainment
6 Need for Speed ​​Most Wanted Electronic Arts
7 Persona 4 The Golden Atlas
8 GOD EATER 2 Namco Games
9 Hatsune Miku-Project DIVA-f bargain version SEGA
10 torne (Tornado) PlayStation Vita Sony Computer Entertainment

Commence Operation Hatsune Miku crazy marketing

No matter how much of a macho gamer you are, you all really want to get your hands on this reversible Hatsune Miku bag that is part of the marketing effort for the Project Diva 2nd F game, don't you? This and other oddities, including a freakish doll and what I hope is a mouse mat, are all part of Sega's cunning plan to help flog more copies and merchandising.

Not that the game needs much help as it was one of the Vita's best selling titles last year and will likely do just as well, if not better given the Vita's rocketing sales, on launch in February. Anyone else think the west is missing out when it comes to merchandising? I don't mean £9.99 for a mug, £50 for some headphones with a logo or the £80 limited edition with a plastic figure, but the weird and crazy stuff most games in their weird and crazy universes could offer alongside the game at launch.

Monday, January 13, 2014

This week's US PSN releases, zombies and devils

This week's releases for Vita gamers in the States include the upgraded PSP title Age of Zombies, mobile port Doodle Devil and the PS1 revamp of the NeoGeo Double Dragon title, a one-on-one fighter, not the beat-up-the-neighbourhood brawler.

PlayStation Plus subs in the States also have access to Smart As... (which I hope we get as I'd like to try it out) and the PSP Worms Battle Islands to suck on this month for free. Not a bad little line up, wonder what we'll be getting this week?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gunslugs hitting the Vita next month, Heroes of Loot coming too!

It was a sunny June last year when I first heard Gunslugs was coming to the Vita. Now the Dutch developer Orange Pixel has confirmed via a tweeted nudge-and-a-wink...

... that the game is arriving next month. The shooter offers random levels, a hefty retro vibe and knife-edge reactions to keep your coiffed hardy heroes intact. Not sure if the Vita version gets an extra bells and whistles, will check. Even better news, digging among their tweets is a snippet that Heroes of Loot is also being ported over to the Vita!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Legend of Heroes Evolution evolving nicely

All RPGs have animation and characters, so I'm not too sure why Falcom feels the need to wave them at us in the latest trailer for Sen no Kiseki Evolution, the uprated PSP game and next chapter in the Legend of Heroes series. Still here they are, and damn fine they look but most Japanese gamers would buy it if it was stoically identical to the original or redone with twigs and spit.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Energy Hook to grab hold of your Vita

Up on the US PSN blog is a post about Energy Hook, an indie title that looks like a cross between Gravity Rush and a free-running game. Developed by Happion, the lead was at working at Activision on Spiderman 2, which might explain some of the game's leanings.

Looks like it could be great, if the balance between scenery and action can be worked out. There's a little more information on the Happion game dev blog, its a Unity developed title plus some more screens.

Tearaway totally taken to the cleaners by PSN chart

I've been wondering where Tearaway is on the PS Vita's top seller page on PSN, guess it wasn't just me. The game doesn't show up on Sony's own December EU download charts which saw Minecraft dominate on the PS3.

I'm guessing Tearaway really should be at number one, if I was Media Molecule, I'd be pretty pissed. But it is good to see the reentries, suggesting new owners are stocking up on the better games.

PS Vita games

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (2)
Terraria (New)
Killzone Mercenary (5)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (RE)
Persona 4 Golden (RE)
Muramasa Rebirth (4)
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation (RE)
Rayman Legends (RE)
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut (RE)

In the US, they had no such problems, with Tearaway and Terraria fighting it out over top spot.

Guacamelee! PS Vita
Spelunky PS Vita
Rainbow Moon
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Ys: Memories of Celceta
Hotline Miami PS Vita
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season

OlliOlli faceplants on the Vita in two weeks

Boy, this game has come a long way since those early clips. It will land (hopefully, wheels down) on Vita screens on 22 January in Europe (a day earlier in the States). OlliOlli is a 2D skateboarding game that mixes addictive one-life gameplay with over 120 tricks and 250 challenges across four gameplay modes.

Price is TBA, but with 100 levels in total split between 50 in Career (and 5 challenges for each one) and 50 in Spots (to make the best combos), you just know it is going to be worth it.

Sony puts up a PlayStation Now info page

While most of us are already comfortable with the concept of streaming gaming, Sony has put up an information and news page (for US users) where the befuddled can sign up to be kept informed of developments. The company has already listed a 5MB/s broadband requirement, which most of us hopefully exceed, but its all down to routers and your environment as to how smooth play will be in each household.

The service is focused on PS3 and PS4 games, and there's no word on when the app for the Vita will roll out. But once this wagon gets rolling, if the subscription (or per-game) price is right, it should be a huge hit and unleash a tide of nostalgia. Will it help Vita sales? the widespread of compatible devices suggests not much, but every little will help.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

King Oddball sits on the Vita's throne

Hopefully we'll get plenty of out-of-nowhere games like this, but for now 2014 starts off with a decidedly quirky indie game out of Finland. The game is just a few quid and there's some more background on the PSN blog.

Vita off to the races in 2014 Japanese sales

Early indications are the Vita sold over 88,000 units in Japan in the first week of 2014, on the back of the Japanese New Year holiday, according to Famitsu sales. On the games front, Final Fantasy X continues to sell well with another 35,000, and is likely sold out around Japan.. But its all downhill from here with only Dragon Ball Battle of Z lighting up January, until March when Hatsune Miku warms up her vocaloid tonsils.

UPDATE: Media Create pegged Vita and Vita TV sales at just over 80,000, so the green bar below slides down a little. Also added the Sony Portable figures at the bottom.

As you can see according to Media Create numbers, the Vita ended the year on a massive near-record high and the green line (upper left) shows momentum carried into 014. Below Vita TV sales remain static at between 5,000 and 6,000 but the PSP got a nice lift to five digits over New Year.