Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Futuridium

If you're really, really old, you may remember Sega's Zaxxon in the arcades (1982). If you're slightly less old, you'll recall Hewson's Uridium on the C64 (1986). Jam those two together, perhaps with a nod to Argonaut's classics, warp forward a generation or four, and you get Futuridium (previous coverage).

The aim is simple, scour the enemy dreadnaught ships for blue energy cubes and destroy them, then find the exposed core and detonate that to destroy the vessel. Getting in your way are the very urgent need to flip 180 degrees through increasingly complex levels, dodging enemy fire, rotating scenery, all while trying to fire at the right altitude to hit the targets.

Its not easy, but it is fun! And, with a handy supply of continues, Mixed Bag make sure that you don't get too disheartened by a level. On the other hand, they are pretty vicious when it comes to awarding medals with some mental times and chain requirements to achieve the best result on a level or to get on the leaderboard.

You get trophies for finishing the five zones, each of which has 10 increasingly complex levels, and more for picking up increasing numbers of medals, with a Silver Trophy for doing it in one credit and a Gold for getting all the medals.

Win the fight!

A simple demo level sets you up on the controls, the first thing you may want to do is invert the Y-axis in settings so forward is down and back is up. Then all that stands between you and victory are the acidic beats, the a slightly freaky 3D effect and your own stupidity as you mix firing, height, turning and boost to escape a level as quickly as possible.

In the early going, there's a fair amount of crashing into the scenery and over compensating to line-up for a row of cubes. Modern gamers might plead for a targeting reticule and the ability to angle shots down as you descend, and they would be useful but probably take away some of the challenge and rawness of the game.

As you get into it, there's some clever, if not fiendish, level design with all kinds of shapes being thrown to keep you from your objectives. To jolly things up, there's bonus levels and new modes opening up as you progress.

While it feels simple and primitive, don't underestimate Futuridium's challenge. This is a game that can stand proudly alongside the likes of TxK, Velocity 2X and Gravity Crash Ultra as fine examples of the near-lost art of shooting.

Score: 8/10
More reviews
Price: €9.99 (€7.99 for PS+)
Dev: Mixed Bag
Progress: Fought outside the box

Japan getting excited about Marginal 4 Idol game

Arriving in Japan in November, Marginal 4, Idol of Supernova from Idea Factory is a game about the highly popular (as in 68 million Google search results) Marginal 4 Idol group. The animated band created by Rejet, should help provide the Vita with a decent bump come the release of this game, but don't expect much in the way of dramatic gameplay.

Subtitled Announce trailer, from earlier in the year.

That doesn't give much away, so here's some of their music, which isn't as bad as you might fear. The characters have their own Twitter accounts with 15K+ followers each, and there's a lively tweetstream (from presumably Japanese girls) counting down to this release.

WaterMelon will bring 16-bit MegaDrive RPG Pier Solar to Vita

The curious journey of an RPG built and released for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive is a great read. The fact someone can still make MegaDrive carts is pretty amazing Marginally better news is that the sizeable adventure, full title Pier Solar and the Great Architects, arrives on PS3 and PS4 this week (on the US PSN at least).

Even better news is that the developers should soon be announcing a Vita version, where it should look and play the best, with those 16-bit graphics really popping on an OLED. The big console versions are Cross Buy, so hopefully you can play it now and enjoy it later on the Vita, or just wait for more formal news.

UPDATE: 16/3/16 - The port has been cancelled, apparently due to lack of support from Sony.

Pier Solar tells the story of Hoston, a young botanist who must save his father from a mystery illness. Along with his two best friends Alina and Edessot, the three friends embark on a quest seeking a rare herb.

Monday, September 29, 2014

MechRunner gets a gameplay trailer

I like MechRunner, not just because of the neat skin the team sent me as a Kickstarter funder, but as it helps the Vita's burgeoning line-up of awesome shooters along.

Here's a video clip of the game in action (on PC, its also coming to PS4), but rest assured the game will land on the Vita with a meaty-metal impact sometime soon. Why not sign up to the game's newsletter and be in with a chance of winning a spiffy Alienware PC, if you live in the US, or have a Granny in the States.

okay, just realised the trailer isn't brand now, posted it last week, but hey - news is light so watch it again!

FIFA 15 storms to Vita No. 1 in UK Chart

The UK update unsurprisingly sees FIFA roar to the top of all charts - except on the 3DS where it gets beaten by Fantasy Life. So, despite all the warnings, Vita owners have rushed out to pick up the borked, restricted and cut-down Legacy Edition.

Someone has listed the sales breakdown as PS4: 32%, 360: 30%, XB1: 22%, PS3: 15%  and the Legacy version on PS Vita ,PC,Wii and 3DS at just 1%. Still the Vita version made it to No. 18 in tha all format chart. Given its very long life near the top of the charts, I guess the sales will mount up over the year to make it worthwhile for EA's fat wallet.

Hopefully, a few got the hardware bundle to increase the handheld's ownership, otherwise not much is happening in the chart, which doesn't include downloads. Frankly I'd be impressed if some of these games were selling 100 copies physically.

1 new FIFA 15 EA SPORTS - 1

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

Friday, September 26, 2014

Preview: Tales of Hearts R

Bandai Namco has provided a video of the first throes of Tales of Hearts R on Vita in lieu of preview code, to form opinions before the game's November release. A DS original, an upgraded 3D version landed on the Vita last March in Japan - arriving in Europe on 11 November.

Likely the Vita's second biggest release of the year behind Freedom Wars, it is certainly worth looking forward to. Beyond the fairy tale intro as two youngsters, chased by a witch, fall to their apparent doom, it soon gets going into the game proper in the not-quite-a-slum, not-quite-picturesque Seaville Woods.

Master Sydan is teaching young Kor Meteor (that's him, below, suffers from weak nipples - he's probably decapitating a pineapple on legs in this shot) about Spiria and magical blades. Guess what, young Kor is a bit of a talent! He roams around the slightly, but not too, pastel-tinged, landscape with a bit of a swagger.

After a spot of the inevitable combat training (those jellies will be easy to outwit in a combat situation) we're soon down the rabbit hole into the story proper as Kohaku Hearts (are these porn names?) washes up on the beach and starts bossing people around.

Very soon, we're racing around metaphysical crystal mazes, picking up skills and experience. There's loads to learn with Artes, Somas and Skills plus a range of Battle options plus your usual fancy load-out of equipment to fight the increasingly chunky line-up of fantasy buglets with.

The game's real-time combat is probably the standout visual feature from the video, you can drop in and out of the menus to pick attacks, then roam around dispatching little Jonny-bug-boy with your party's arsenal of weapons. Even so, it hardly seems to be pushing the Vita.

If I had to find something to dislike, the rapid cutting between and mix of anime and polygon-based characters is rather jolting. Otherwise, I look forward to building Mr. Meteor's skills up and exploring this ludicrously camp, but apparently massive, world. That's probably the highlight of any Tales game, and based on this quick look, there should be plenty to work with.

Tales of Hearts R has a Japanese voice track with English subtitles, so you have to pay a bit more attention than usual, I'll definitely turn the audio down as its mostly endless shouting! You can take or leave the witchy/magical plot, but running through the game should be good fun. Hopefully its success will see Tales of Innocence R get a showing over here.

Showing a fair effort at promoting the game, Bandai Namco have some neat extras. Don't forget to check out the pre-order goodies! Having recently loved the dungeons of Demon Gaze, I was more set on Operation Abyss, but this could well pitch me into the entire Tales of ... series with Bandai needing to feed me more!

FIFA 15 on Vita, another EA disaster

Well, I did not see that coming (sarcasm). Not only has EA managed to foist another non-update on the Vita owning community, it has even managed to strip out some features this time, according to folks on Twitter.

With the big launch being trumpeted by Sony with a price-cut PS4 bundle, the Vita does get a more half-hearted bundle. But the game itself appears to be missing more features, and EA might be mis-advertising according to one report.

Pretty much what you'd expect from the EA borg collective, although Sony isn't helping by failing to even mention the Vita bundle in its own press releases. EA probably will escape as buried in its releases is the usual... "A version of FIFA 15 will also release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita handheld entertainment system this Fall. Not all game features are available on all gaming platforms." However, if it doesn't clearly explain that to buyers, then see you in court!

Are any of the features missing from the Amazon description? I won't buy it so I can't find out, still enjoying the original FIFA Football that I picked up for £8 that has exactly the same engine, FIFA 13 is now the cheap option. Note, if you do want FIFA 15, it costs a mental £35 on PSN, so get the cheaper boxed version!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shooter Futuridium hitting PSN next week

To go along with the vectors of TxK, the pixels of Velocity 2X, enjoy some old-school polygons with next week's shooter Futuridium from Mixed Bag. Anyone who remembers Zaxxon, STUN Runner or a host of other blocky shooters should feel right at home.

The game is out on PSN next week at $12.49/€9.99 or $9.99/€7.99 for PlayStation Plus subs for a dose of pure arcade twitchiness and blasting fun.

Tales of Hearts R gets pre-order goodies

Bandai Namco's Tales of Hearts R is one of the Vita's biggest releases this year and the publisher is making some effort to generate some interest with a collection of DLC costumes from previous games and the Vesperia series.

They include:

  • The Legacy Costume of Caius from Tales of The Tempest for Kor 
  • The Legacy Costume of Marta from Tales of Symphonia  for Kohaku  
  • The Legacy Costume of Malik from Tales of Graces F for Gall O

Get the Day One Soma Link edition for a set of three Tales of Vesperia outfits for Ines, Kunzite, and Beryl! There's also a chance to win some exclusive Japanese goodies. The game is out mid-November.

I'll have a preview up tomorrow, so check back to see how the game looks. 

OlliOlli2 trick-sliding to the Vita

OlliOlli2: Welcome To Olliwood has just been announced by Roll7 at EGX in London. Guess the first one did pretty well as this will expand on the original in all ways with new worlds, levels and tricks, the names of which defy explanation, like the Anti-Casper Flip and Darkslides.

The alpha version is playable at EGX and if you missed the original it is now half-price on the EU PSN.

 There will be 5 NEW worlds, 50 NEW Amateur and Pro Levels and 250 NEW Challenges to tear through, along with the return of the much loved Daily Grind, Spots Mode and RAD Mode. On top of this smorgasbord of delights, OlliOlli2 is set to have a NEW Mode: Combo Rush.

This mode is a split-screen Local Multiplayer (up to 4 players) that pits players in a race to ramp up biggest scores on a spot in a set time limit. Once again, the crate diggers at Roll7 are scouring the airwaves for a shimmering 18 track curated extended Soundtrack to the game that you can't just stop playing.

Get ready for the Mother of all Batteries

Bit of an odd one this, but we've all got multiple devices that probably need charging at odd times. So, the Mother of all Batteries will store enough power to charge four things at once. The unit itself is the size of a tablet, 9.9" at most, weighing 1.5lbs, so easy enough to carry around on long road trips.

I'm not too sure why they've picked a PSP, a very old iPad, iPhone and iPod as marketing, but there you go - I did have to check it was a new video  - just imagine a Vita or a bent iPhone 6 Plus in its place.

If you're interested, more here! At $199, its a lot more than those diddy power packs you can get off Amazon, but should help the serious gadget head out in times of need.

Get your thieving hands on a Sly Cooper statue

If you worship Sly Cooper, prefer Kat myself, then you can pick up a statue of the light-fingered fella next year, in Q2 2015. Supplies from Gaming Heads are likely to be tight with this regular version of Sly costing  $199.99 and limited to 750 pieces worldwide and can be pre-ordered here.

A bronze slightly more exclusive version of the raccoon costs $209.99, which is limited to only 350 pieces worldwide.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 gets a first trailer

Teasing us like crazy, Bandai and Tecmo are teaming up for the next game in the series, due 2015, on Vita, PS3 and PS4. The trailer shows the Luffy and the younger gang, generally crying as their lives are formed by loss and pain. On the brighter side, yay! More pirate warriors!

Sony showing off Vita and PlayStation TV at EGX

While the big shows are over for the year, Sony and developers are still turning up to try and make an impact, with London's EGX kicking off today, later in Manchester, Paris Games Week next month, one in spain and a series of more indie events. 

At EGX, Sony will be showing off a bunch of indies for the Vita (no Freedom Wars though) and there will be a new announcement from OlliOlli maker Roll 7. You should get to play Minecraft on Vita and see PlayStation TV in action. 

Other games on the list include Bigfest, recently announced Shu, Super Exploding Zoo, Oddworld and others. If anyone's at any of these events, let us know the vibe and any interest in Vita?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Akiba's Trip gets an EU trailer

Heading our way on October 10, here's a brief glimpse into the back story of Akiba's Trip, Undead and Undressed via NIS America. Its been covered pretty much in depth from the Japanese release, so you should know what to expect, but after a steady diet of JRPGs and visual novels it'll be good to get into something a little more action-based.

Vita sales continue to slide in Japan

What was a bit of a blip in Vita sales is now a trend, with the handheld and TV version close to dropping below 10K on the Media Create numbers for the first time in a while. That's despite quite a few new releases recently, none of which have really added to hardware sales.

With no God Eater or Final Fantasy big hitter for the winter sales? What will get the Vita going? Danganronpa Another Episode is out tomorrow, and might give things a lift, but is unlikely to drive long term growth.

Toukiden Extreme continues to keep the Vita in the top 10, approaching 130,000 sales, but that's about it as Japan gets excited about Bayonetta 2 on Wii U - in at No. 3.

Since the chart is so dull, here's the latest Famitsu review scores for forthcoming games that might help sales along...

Ciel nosurge Offline (PSV) – 7/8/9/7 [31/40]
Nekketsu Inou Bukatsu: Trigger Kiss (PSV) – 8/8/7/8 [31/40]
Bakumatsu Rock: Ultra Soul (PSV) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]
Danganronpa: Another Episode (PSV) – 10/8/9/8 – [35/40]
The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II (PSV) – 8/8/8/7 [31/40]
Monobeno: Pure Smile (PSV) – 6/8/7/6 [27/40]

Freedom Wars 1.20 offers 8-player mode

Hitting Japan in October, Freedom Wars' next big update to version 1.20 will add eight-way player-vs-player battles for some bigger, badder, PvP action. That's on top of the previous August update which added basic multiplayer features to the game. No fixed date yet but hopefully this update will appear not long after the western release.

UPDATE: The patch goes live in Japan on October 16, and will hopefully launched with the western version.

Remember the cool goodies Japanese gamers can get, no word on them coming west either. But hopefully someone will get hold of a supply. Since this is the Vita's only big new IP this year, someone ought to do something with it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spike's new samurai title revealed, Ronin of the Fleeting Life

Spike Chunsoft skipped on TGS, but has a new Vita game to show, revealed in the latest copy of Famitsu as part of a big splash on the company. The game, Ukiyo no Roushi (Ronin of the Fleeting Life) seems to be a straight forward hack and slash 3D adventure, judging by the tiny pics in the scan.

Hopefully we'll get a better look when the mag hits the streets and some of the regular crowd do full--size scans. There's no official website yet, so best not get too excited. On the plus side, Spike does bring the Danganronpa games west, thanks to NIS America, so here's hoping.

Tecmo confirms Toukiden Kiwami for western release in 2015

Not much info so far, but even that vague date alone is good news. There's the promise of more Slayers, Oni, storylines and chapters. Hopefully it will get a physical release!

Toukiden Kiwami will be a robust expansion of the largely successful Toukiden: The Age of Demons which was released February 2014 for the Playstation Vita.

Danganronpa muscles in on Chain Chronicle's action

Is there anything Japanese developers won't mash together these days? Next up is Sega and Spike hammering onto one screen the former mobile FTP battle game with the very-much-anti-heroes from Hope's Peak Academy, fresh from more adventures in the Danganronpa series.

Zero chance of a western release I guess, although the mobile version of Chain Chronicle was supposed to head this way on iOS/Android - did that ever happen?

Shu heads to Vita soon

Developer Coatsink will be at London's EGX event this week, showing off its PC indie Shu, which is now headed to PS3/PS4 and Vita. A 2.5D platformer, set in an gorgeous-looking off-beat olde world where jumping, climbing and flying are the keys to advancement. These pics are from the latest build, with the quirky characters using wind power as a means of propulsion.

Here's a look at an earlier PC build from GDC, but expect lots more detail and info from the event.

Tennis in the Face served up on PEGI

10Tons gave the Vita Crimsonland and the Sparkle games. Next up, according to a PEGI entry, is Tennis in the Face. Promising cartoon violence, it is a direct port on the iOS/Android that spawned the more recent Clowns in the Face (you can play the free browser-based beta on the same site).

It has that Angry Birds feel to it, but cleverly evolved and featuring rag doll chains and other effects, all triggered by high-powered services from our tennis ace, looks like it could be a good chuckle on the Vita. It should be out sometime in October according to the team.

UPDATE: Obviously they were a little optimistic, as it is now hitting PSN in March.

There's no info on the company site yet,

Monday, September 22, 2014

PlayStation TV compatible games listed

Ahh, Sony's marketing monkeys strike again! Not only are they kicking off the PlayStation TV campaign off with a month old video, The list of compatible games highlights is so small, you could write it on the back of a beermat (if I had a beer mat, I'd prove it!). Even then, without including them in any trailer, who would know? Really, would you advertise a new system with Worms?

Note, the US release date is October 14, with the EU release a month later on Nov 14. There's also the threat from Amazon's Fire TV, which will beat it Amazon's shelves in Europe by three weeks. Expect that to get loads more press, and with Nintendo launching a load of new 2DS and 3DS hardware, Sony will have to go some to sell more than a token amount.

The list includes a mix of PS One, PSP and Vita games, almost 700 in total. Really though, the failure to highlight some big games isn't going to encourage much in the way of adoption. Perhaps that's why Sony is sticking with the PS4 Remote Play concept. I'll get one of loyalty, but really can only see Killzone getting some big screen time.

Remember, in Europe, there's still no Netflix for the Vita, or Amazon Video, Crunchyroll or similar. So, its utility as a video player is borked. Unless Sony adds some apps soon, it is in big trouble over here.

Sony's own highlights list:
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Driver
  • God of War Collection
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
  • Hotline Miami
  • Killzone Mercenary
  • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Persona 4 Golden
  • Pixeljunk Monsters: Ultimate HD
  • Rayman Origins
  • Spyro The Dragon
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max
  • Tekken
  • Tomb Raider
  • Vagrant Story
While the US gets a decent bundle with LEGO Movie as the pack-in game, Europe gets a rather random collection of Olli Olli, Velocity Ultra (not 2X) and a Worms game.The full list of compatible games is here (about 60 major Vita releases), but really, that's a lot of digging for not much reward.

Wouldn't it have been easier to list major incompatible games, guess I'll have to do that myself. (Uncharted, Soul Sacrifice, etc, etc). 

Tokyo Game Show post mortem

Okay, so that was a painful week, barely moving from the expectation baseline, mostly self-inflicted by the Vita's own userbase. On the positive side, Japan has several threequals to look forward to including more One Piece Pirate Warriors and Sword Art Online, while us in the west should get new titles like Zodiac. Probably easiest to see Sony's own list of games.

Sony's sponsorship of the indie stage didn't produce as much in the way of new goods as I was expecting. But there's still a trickle of new games coming, although I suspect the PS4 is now the primary focus for that effort too.

Worse the rush to "out" non-existent new Vita games, which happened at least twice over the show. On the plus side, it shows gamers and sites care about the Vita, if only we took the time to check things out more often. However, every fluff or misread only cements the message that Sony and partners really are struggling to get anything new off the deck.

If Capcom can't spare the effort to punt an update of a 3DS game to the Vita, there's little hope. Where do we go from here? I suppose I could add PS4 games to the site, citing Remote Play as a valid excuse for some big name games, but otherwise we're all spiraling down to a puddle of indies and niche games, wholly dependent on Japanese translations for anything major.

While Sony PR tries to marshal hype for the next big indie, that's a world of diminishing returns. Expect even less next year at the big shows, when the Vita will become an even smaller backwater the PS4's river of fun. I'm assuming Japanese developers will slide more from 3DS to Vita in the next year or two (as happened with DS-to-PSP) but lack of western sales will further limit any translations, no matter how much noise we make.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

See MechRunner in heavy metal action

Spark Plug's MechRunner continues to look like one of the best all-action Vita Kickstarter titles. This latest work-in-progress shows plenty of speed and blurry scenery as your robo-tank marauds around the battlefield causing a good chunk of havoc and destruction. The game is still down as done-when-its-done, but is progressing well towards a slab of fiery downloadable fun.

Sony's news from its Saturday TGS event

Don't cross the streams on Niconico... its holding up for now, but your mileage may vary (alternatively, try here, thanks @Jonforeverto) to be honest I haven't a clue what's happening. If I see any news, I'll post it, but these mad - al fresco - Japanese events could go on for days...

Latest news at the top!


Is Sony trolling gamers, are we grabbing onto straws in the hope of something new and exciting? Is there another Sony liferaft event later on to cling on to? On the plus side Hell Divers looks damn cool!

UPDATE: All a Gematsu cockup (and everyone else, including me who didn't check properly).

@yosp is now having a bit of a chat, sounds strategic.

My pizza was feta and roasted peppers, thanks for asking! Begging for Shenmue continues...

Now some Helldivers on PS4, but it is coming to Vita. Just looking at that, realise how much I've missed playing a good old RTS. Total Annihilation, Red Alert and Homeworld all come flooding back to mind.

Why is that girl giggling? This is serious gaming!

So far, the big news from TGS has been Pirate Warriors 3 and Sword Art Online 3. Surely Sony has something to top threequels!

I have no idea when comments are enabled on these feeds, its a sordid display of begging and abuse.

While they puzzle on, if you're inclined, or perpendicular, Famitsu has a gallery of the best cosplay ladies from TGS.

Back from Pizza run, now on LittleBigPlanet 3, Sony does know everyone is still talking about Snakes new dog in MGS right? Video quality perfect for this truly gorgeous looking game.

Games in the dark show up really well on low-res feeds!

Pretty sure I could nip out for fresh pizza and be back before these guys are done with this segment.

Now some creepiness on PS4. Until Dawn looks suitably spooky but I get the feeling I've played it all before.  

Now we have some sort of multi-player endless runner game.... Wonder if they're getting the LittleBigPlanet freebie game too? Definitely think I'd prefer MechRunner myself!

So far it looks like they're playing with PS4 camera tricks... its a crazy world of @yosp going on.

Persona 4 Dancing All Night trailered

With an honest-to-goodness Persona 5 out there in the wild somewhere, its a little hard to get excited about a rhythm game, but that's what we've got, now coming in 2015. Atlus has certainly done a job with the hi-res visuals, it looks really clean. As for the gameplay, I'm sure it'll sparkle. Still, bring on Persona 5 Portable and I'll be a very happy Vita owner.

Sony's TGS event today, 11AM UK, new game incoming

The sneaky buggers. Sony has announced a press event for today at Tokyo Game Show. There's the promise of a new Vita announce and perhaps more. It might be watchable on Nico Nico, but its a grim viewing experience.

UPDATE: False alarm, due to a translation error, although the live show did produce a good pizza!

A new Hyperdimension Neptunia rebirth 3 (must get round to playing R1, but PP put me right off) game has already been unveiled.

Quite why Sony is leaving things this late in the show is a bit of a mystery, but once again the Vita user-bases' collective hope is raised. Could it be the briefly floated Resident Evil R2? Or has the company realised fans expect more and dragged a coder out of bed to knock up a quick demo of something all-new? We'll find out in a few hours. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters gets a western trailer

NIS America continues to bring the Vita goodness our way with spooky visual novel Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters. The first western trailer is out showing off some of the game's visual flair. It comes from the developers of Deadly Premonition and featuring music from Nobuo Uematsu, soundtracking an immersive tale of life, death, and the space in between.

Features include: - Modern, Immersive Ghost Story – This visual novel features a truly deep, immersive story with a modern take on Japanese ghost stories. With multiple paths, you’re in charge of how this ghost story will end.

- Unique Emotion System – Interactions with other characters will go beyond simple branching conversations with a unique emotion system that allows you to react by using a special wheel that combines a certain emotion with one of the five senses.

- Gorgeous Animated Graphics – Conversations are far from static, showing off fluid, painterly portraits of characters during every interaction.

- Strategy-RPG-Inspired Battle System – A distinctive battle system allows you to fight unseen ghosts by setting traps and trackers on the map before battle. While in battle, you’ll move from battle map to a first-person view of the enemy in a maximization of both strategy and ghastly elements of the story.

Curve bringing Nova 111 to the Vita

There's a PSN blog post confirming that Curve Studios is bringing this cheerful looking sci-fi indie to the Vita and PS4 next year. Here's the trailer from Funktronic (great name for a developer) made a few months back. It mixes turn-based and immediate action with a series of cunning, very attractive looking levels. Can't wait for this Cross-Buy title.

Also announced on the Sony blog was a ghostly Poltergeist, a South American developed game by Glitchy Pixel (wasn't she in Wreck It Ralph?)

Senran Kagura getting ripped off on EU PSN in October

Boasting 500,000 Japanese sales across the series, 2D/3D brawler Senran Kagura Shivovi Versus is hitting the west next month with sprawling mid-air combos, over-the-top humour, a giant blue octopus and other revealing Secret Ninja Art techniques as the girls literally fight their way out of their clothes.

The brawler (this isn't the cooking game in case you were wondering) features 20 unique shinobi-ette fighters for players to master, each with her own unique weapon, techniques and special moves. Secret Ninja Arts can be exploited to change costumes and power up in mid-battle. On top of the single-player game, up to four players can battle online or via ad-hoc mode.

Developed by Tamsoft and Marvelous Japan, Marvelous Europe will publish the title in Europe on PlayStation Store with an estimated price of €29.99. This title has been rated 16+ by PEGI in Europe. XSEED will publish the title in North America, where it has received a Mature rating by the ESRB.

Sony's official Vita #TGS2014 games site is full of content

Check this list out from Sony's TGS site, do you see Final Fantasy Type-0 on it? Or, a Resident Evil game? Nope, so what was all the pre-show leaks fuss about then? Someone on NeoGAF cocked up I guess. I kept that to a minimum on the basis that Sony's expertise in letting people down is now approaching platinum trophy status.

On the plus side, alongside the games already covered this week, plus some Japanese oddities, there's some new names (to me) on the list. Check out that page for loads of videos, screens and links.

Of interest to me is Robo vs. Dragon, a cartoony fighting game with big-strapping winged mechs fighting demons.

Then there's Dead Man's Cross, a Zombie Shooter card game. Interestingly, the game, published by Square Enix, has an English language site, so perhaps a quick western release could be on the cards for this one.

Anything else grab your attention from the list?

Meet the ladies of Bokosuka Girl

Hey, wasn't she in Battle of the Planets? Was my first thought! But then it turns out this is a another weird action game, with stripping, so I'm guessing not. Still it has a good soundtrack - I assumed it was rhythm action at first.

Apparently the actual game uses a mix of melee and gun battles plus mini games to explore the ladies' powers and, um, get to know them better. The game is out next Spring, western release, highly unlikely.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3, Sword Art Online 3 head to PS4/Vita

Nothing much but a holding page and logo for now. Update, here's some sneaky cam footage of the first trailer. The latest adventures of Luffy and co. will hit the Vita's screen in 2015. With the lead version now on the PS4, expect a bit more of a difference between the two as Bandai's developers stretch their legs.

While we still wait for the second game to come west, which might still happen depending on how Unlimited World Red sold, I wouldn't get your hopes up about this one heading our way. From the minimal information.

Another Bandai property, Sword Art Online is also getting a third game, but that won't be announced until a Namco event in October, likely also a PS4/Vita combo. Hopefully the recent western release has done enough business for that title for a wider release in 2015.

Zodiac gets a reveal trailer, big name creativity

Having scooped the likes of IGN yesterday with the existence of Zodiac, the game has taken on a little more significance over night with the news that some former Final Fantasy developers are helping out Kobojo with the project.

Kazushige Nojima (Final Fantasy VII, VIII and more) is working on the story, while Hitoshi Sakimoto is scoring the game's rising anthemic tunes (check out his discography, stretching back into the history of gaming). The game is being developed at the company's Scottish Dundee studio.

We also now have the official trailer which gives a better look at the game with exploring and battling in a rather Dragon's Crown vein, but in a persistent online world. The game is for Vita and iOS, due in early 2015.

And here's some proper screens for the game.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Check out Gust's Ciel Nosurge concert movie

Actually, its just a long trailer and cut-together clips of the Vita game, to advertise the new CD landing in Japan at the beginning of October. But, if you like your restful RPG-themed tunes, then this could be one to download or import.

The actual game is more of a life simulator, but you get the gist. With game music CDs still being a big part of the Japanese scene, is anyone into this stuff in a big way? Would like to see some collections.

Vita news roundup from #TGS2014

Okay time to try and dig out some new Vita gems from the chaos of Tokyo Game Show 2014. I've already put the new God Eater trailer up, with a bit of anime to go with the earlier stuff shown at Sony's pre-event event. A lot of the trailers are identical to the pre-event show (how many times will Sega flog that PS Nova trailer?), so I'll ignore them, but will update this page as new things appear.

A new game, to me, for Vita and iOS is Zodiac from French team Kobojo, with the help of some former Final Fantasy folk.  A fantasy combat MMO, Famitsu has a bunch of pics, but I can't find a video. With gorgeous 2D hand-drawn visuals, it seems pretty smart. Trying to track down more information.

Back with the majors, Sega is showing off an impressive new trailer for the free-to-play World's End Eclipse, it looks impressive, but if there's a world of freemium RPGs coming to the Vita, then sales/IAPs will be low across all of them unless there's a clear winner.

Konami has popped up a new trailer for PS3/Vita Powerful Pro Baseball, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Hope the developer team has refreshed over time because I'd be pretty down if 20 years of my live was drawing those rotund little smiley faces.

Square has confirmed Final Fantasy Agito for the Vita, with a Plus at the end to signify a step up from the mobile version, but no sign of Type-0 again! Agito launches in Japan on 15 January 2015, with some extras in the retail version.

Agito consists of the six chapters of the mobile version (which started life as a PSP project alongside Type-0). Rather like Waking Dead, decisions made along the road affect later chapters.

Square is also bringing Rise of Mana to the Vita, an update to the iOS free-to-play game. It looks a bit more of a traditional role-player, but brings the lumbering spectre of in-app purchases to the series. In mana, good and evil characters share the same body and must switch roles to advance their situation.

Deemo, I caught the name at Sony's last show, but know nothing about the game from Rayark. Love the tone of the trailer, even if the clip doesn't give too much away aside from some rhythm action going on.

God Eater 2 Rage Burst gets a TGS intro trailer

Update: Famitsu has put a gameplay clip of Rage Burst in action. Looks pretty slick, if ever-so slightly like the last versions, how much longer can Bandai stretch this puppy out? Intro clip now at the bottom.

Ah, the humble tumbler of water, always a key to a good disaster scene. When that begins to shake, everyone knows something big and bad is on the way. Definitely a lot of rage in the trailer as the beasties slaver and roar their way around the place. Bandai Namco has tagged it for a winter release on Vita and PS4, and what's that new weapon trying to break free in the last few seconds?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vita sales waiting for the next big thing in Japan

Destiny makes a decent dent in the Japanese Media Create chart, behind the new near-million selling Smash Bros. That leaves little room for Vita games with the free-to-play Chain Chronicles still sneaking in 4,000 sales for the retail edition. Toukiden is still kicking around the top 10 and selling decent numbers, compared to many previous Vita here-today-gone-tomorrow games.

01./00. [3DS] Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo) - 944.644 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] Destiny # (Sony Computer Entertainment) - 91.277 / NEW
03./00. [PS3] Destiny (Sony Computer Entertainment) - 49.503 / NEW
04./01. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch 2: Ganso / Honke (Level 5) - 47.065 / 2.469.211 (-26%)
05./00. [PS3] Naruto Shippuden: Narutimate Storm Revolution (Bandai Namco) - 40.180 / NEW
06./02. [3DS] Dragon Quest X Online (Square Enix) - 22.977 / 75.351 (-56%)
07./03. [PSV] Toukiden: The Age of Demons Extreme # (Koei Tecmo) - 15.338 / 121.320 (-42%)
13./00. [PSV] Chain Chronicle V (Sega) {2014.09.11} (¥4.298) - 4.178 / NEW 

Vita sales remain well above last year (over double the same week last year), at just over 13,000 but the format really needs some new hardware (beyond a pink model) or big games to land soon to generate strong end of year sales.

Vita sales up 25% since PS4 launch

Sony's Tokyo Games Show conference has wrapped in Japan, with the company claiming a boost in sales of some 25% for the Vita since the PlayStation 4 launched. Quite what that means in real numbers we'll only find in Sony's financial results, now it has stopped selling the PSP it can't hide the Vita's numbers.

I'll start digging out any TGS game news in-between real-world commitments. In other news, Sony as a company is still struggling. Now dragged down by its mobile unit, which seemed to be doing okay!

PlayStation Vita sales in Japan seem to be ticking along fine, substantially up on previous years, so it is the west that Sony is worried about, and all but given up on. One way it is trying to get developers on board is through Unity which has just gone free for PlayStation licensed developers. That should help get more indie and mobile games over, but Sony can't get big developers interested with Ubisoft reportedly dumping any (imminent) plans for a future Assassin's Creed game.

Airship Q gets some new screens ahead of TGS

Airship Q's publisher Cygames has put out some new screens for the build-em-up sandbox game from Miracle Positive. Pretty much the vanguard of Japanese indies, there's some sense that Sony wants to get a lot more of these to come out, alongside its sizeable major publisher roster in Japan.

With a Sony cock-up adding Final Fantasy Type-0, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and one unnamed launch to the TGS line-up (all of which failed to materialize). It will be more fun to see what else Sony can hype to the world through its sponsorship of the show's indie corner.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Steamworld Heist going all-platforms in 2015

Not much to glean from the teaser to Image & Form's new title, other than it could be a corker, and the aim is grand theft stardock! Not much more in the brief FAQ either, except that this is more of a spiritual successor to Steamworld Dig, offering turn-based, roguelike, combat and it will come to all formats (hopefully including Vita) in spring 2015.

Looks plenty good to me, with some great robot character pics... anyone remember Ice Pirates?