Monday, November 30, 2015

Santa still loves Vita gamers in Japan

As Sony continues to try and eradicate all evidence of the Vita in the west, Japanese buyers still get the odd treat. Festive season gifts from the Sony site will come with a Vita-box-sized sock to deliver those presents.

The overall campaign promotes the new colours, throws in a hefty dose of Minecraft and the building hype for January's Dragon Quest builders.

Even more Gundam Extreme Vs-Force action

If there anything left to show in this game? Pretty sure Bandai has shown every moment and vehicle? Although given Gundam's vast library, perhaps not. Tune in for a quick clip of bot bashing multiplayer action.

The game hits Japanese stores on 23rd December, with limited edition hardware. I'm sure die-hards will be able to spot the difference between this and the previous versions, but me - just robots hitting each other.

New trailer for Croixleur Sigma

PlayStation Japan has just popped up a video for Sigma Croixleur (Cross?), a girly monster bashing arcade game. Ignoring the fact it will never come west, and you can pick up the PC version on Steam for less than £2.50, it looks pretty high-octane.

Update, the game is coming west in March!

The Steam description adds, "The fate of the nation is at stake as two girls set aside their childhood friendship and undergo a trial in which there can be only one victor. Croixleur Sigma is a 60FPS high speed hack-and-slash arcade action game from Japanese indie developer Souvenir Circ. and featuring gameplay reminiscent of the Devil May Cry series' Bloody Palace mode."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Steins Gate 0 site counting down

A countdown timer on the Steins Gate 0 site will expire on Wednesday. The game is due out on 10 December, so not too sure what they can reveal in such short order. But check back and see, it could be a new trailer, more plot information, or a new mystery character.

The sequel has already shown off its new phone, the major source of interaction in the game. As the original was one of the better selling Vita titles in the UK earlier this year, we expect a rapid translation for a western launch.

Update: While we wait (til 5PM UK, I think) 5pb has put up a couple of new gameplay clips...

Update: While we wait, the game scored a very decent 35/40 from Famitsu, picking one perfect 10 score along the way, (10/8/9/8).

Sony's EU PSN Black Friday Deals live

Its cheap Vita games all round today as Sony lops off prices off pretty much most of the big name Vita games, and hosts of Japanese titles that usually don't get big discounts. There are some absolute steals including Unit 13 and Worms for a couple of quid, Sonic All Stars for less than a fiver and much more - go shopping if you have any money left!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Seasonal treat Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus gets 60% off on PSN

Marvelous is putting up a bunch of offers across all formats over the holidays. First up for PS4 and PS Vita, it sees the buxom shinobi of Senran Kagura return in an over the top and out of their clothes 3D brawler.

The Shinovi Versus game tells the story of a grand clash among four rival ninja schools from each of their vantage points.

New Attack on Titan trailer and Japan release date

There's been quite a few teasing snippets of Tecmo's Attack on Titan in the last week, that was all building up to this new trailer and a release window - next February. Seriously hope there's more to the game than bashing naked giants.

But Omega Force has plenty of time to show off different beasties. There's the usual pre-order in-game goodies and no doubt a limited edition console or two closer to the time. A western launch is confirmed, but likely much later in the year.

With Dragon Quest Builders in January on the release list, looks like quite a bright start to the new year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Freedom Wars and Rocketbirds are your PS+ treats for December

According to the US PSN blog anyway, with no Cross Buy titles to make things feel a little more juicy. Don't we all own Freedom Wars? On the plus side, it might boost the multiplayer side for a while. Rocketbirds had plenty of style but hardly ruffled feathers.

I wonder how long Sony can keep PS+ for Vita running? I think I might drop my PS+ subscription and divert the cash into PlayStation Now, which at least has a wider range of games and seems to be more stable than when I first tried it.

The full list for PS4, PS3 and Vita is here.

Vita sales flat on Atelier Sophie and Omega Labyrinth release

Vita sales managed to sneak up a few hundred in the latest Media Create chart, but it looks like we've hit the ceiling for 2015, and perhaps for the future, bar the odd big-name release.

Even sales of 25,800 for Atelier Sophie, 25,100 for Omega Labyrinth can't help pop the Vita out of its current flattish trend. Now PS4 sales are outstripping games that usually do better on the Vita, its hard to see an upside.

As we approach end of year, Japanese Vita sales for the past three years are 1,232,967 - 1,173,823 - 804,192 with five weeks to go. Sales are unlikely to pass a million, unless Steins Gate 0 goes gangbusters.

1.Star Wars Battlefront PS4 124,000
2. Atelier Sophie PS4 30,750
3. Atelier Sophie Vita (Koei) 25,800
4. Omega Labyrinth (D3) 25,100
12. Girlfriend Beta (Bandai) Vita

Super Star Wars now up on EU PSN

This week's PS Vita releases are up on the EU PSN, with a free version of Dynasty Warriors 8 (3.2GB) leading the way. But having Super Star Wars (75MB) up there, no matter how good it actually, is reason to be cheerfuly - if more classics are headed our way.

Check Tecmo's twitter for the details on the Empires game, with free versions and a paid-for mega edition hitting the store. Pixel Hunter has a few trophies, but I know very little about it, time to start digging. 

Strange goings on in Vita pricing land

I don't know who sets the rules, but prices of Vita consoles on Amazon UK have suddenly shot up to around the £220 mark. Compare that to Amazon US where a Vita is $169 for Prime customers (£112 plus any import taxes, shipping or just get a US relative or friend to post it as a present!). It is cheaper to pick one of the import models from Japan.

That ignores the price slashes to PlayStation TV, which Sony seem to be trying to give away!

UPDATE: Yep, all of a sudden prices are back down to the £175-£189 mark, but expect more discounts to come.

 So, what's going on here? Is Sony ramping up the EU RRP price (if it can?) to wring out the last of the profits from the Vita?

Is Amazon punting the prices up, so it can claim massive savings when it slashes them down in the Christmas sales?

Is a new price cut on the horizon, but first shake out the Christmas present buying parents and grannies?

Be interesting to see what happens next...

Dissidia looks mighty in its new arcade home

What did the PSP ever do for us? Well, it gave the world Final Fantasy Dissidia. The series lives on at Square Enix with a new arcade game that looks so glossy a distant Vita port is never, ever going to happen.

Still, as I mentioned Dissidia yesterday, I thought'd it was worth a peek at how the legacy lives on thanks to Tecmo and Square. I'd be surprised if the arcade machine headed west, so just enjoy the clip (and the many others on the Square YouTube site) for what they are.

American PSN gets a co-op friendly Vita Black Friday sale

The US PSN has a big co-op gaming sale on, with loads of sharing caring games getting a price cut. Okay the Vita is slightly limited in that respect, but its the first trim we've seen for Resident Evil Revelations 2.

Prices are regular and PS+ subscriber, expect more deals over the rest of the Thanksgiving week.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Z $8.00 $6.00
Dragon’s Crown  $20.99 $17.99
Rayman Legends $13.50 $10.80
Resident Evil Revelations 2 $20.99 $17.99
Unit 13 $10.49 $7.49

The regular PSN store update sees the following hit the digital shelves, with a 10% off all purchases coupon - nice if you're a big spender.
PSN, sale, ps vita
Keep checking back to see if there are more EU sales to take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Broke as Hell Tuesday etc.

A first look at Shakedown Hawaii

VBlank is loading live rounds into its next explosive action title Shakedown Hawaii for the Vita and PS4. Due next year, it will be on shown at PSX, and is a much, much later sequel to Retro City Rampage, with our hero very much gone to seed, but still packing plenty of weaponry.

With serious visual improvement, you can now go wrecking in cars, could be a great Grand Theft Auto homage, but with that early console vibe maintained. A bit more info on the PSN blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back to the Future for Vita games!

Okay, I've had my fill of JRPGs, for a while! I've had so much rhythm action that my hips are crocked, for a while! I've had enough retro shooter and indie action, for a while! I'll get back into them soon enough, but there is a hole in every western gamer's heart when it comes to the Vita.

That hole is the void left by major western developers. No big name games, just a few shoddy ports.

But I'm over the denial, rage and other signs of grief, I'm happily accepting that and digging out all my old carts and PSP downloads for a blast of fun with some totemic titles to get me through the winter.

If you want proof of that user need, look at launch game Uncharted, currently at No. 3 on the UK retail chart - surely it has made its money and more back by now! FIFA and COD are still in the top 10. Check out Need for Speed at No. 2 on the PSN Vita Top Sellers list, even at its full £44.99 price.

"Gamers gonna game", as someone famous and more attractive than me might have sung once.

How many of those games did I finish? What secrets still lie within. Assuming you haven't sold your older games (guilty, I'm afraid), or they're all lurking off card in the PSN, PS+ Matrix somewhere, now is the time to dig them out and have another shot.

No. 1 on my list is WipEout 2048, that I gave up on in exasperation on the Sol track with its endless plummeting to my doom! Well, no longer, it took a few hours of solid practice, but I finally Elite ranked the combat race and passed the time trial.

ps vita, wipeout 2048
Literally "drop in" gaming at its best! No safety nets on Sol. 
More important to me than a little personal success, is how amazed I still am by the game. WipEout's speed and beauty, its lighting, the classy design, the music and intensity of action. Studio Liverpool knew their stuff and made it shine on the little Vita.

So, as we wind down for the season, this is a simple call to dig out the games that really show what the Vita is made of. I'm not a Platinum freak, after perfection, just suggesting that there's gold in those early games that many newer owners might have overlooked. If you never owned them, they're mostly dirt cheap now, so why not give them a spin?

Whatever your choice, Uncharted, WipEout 2048, Lumines, Ace Combat (PSP), Ridge Racer (PSP), Dissidia (PSP) there's huge amounts of great, and mostly cheap games to still enjoy. Go get 'em!

Friday, November 20, 2015

January launch for Atelier Escha and Logy Plus

Koei Tecmo will bring Atelier Escha and Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky to the Vita next year via a digital release.

Arriving on PSN on 20 January, Atelier Escha and Logy Plus is the second stand-alone installment of Gust’s latest Atelier trilogy: the trilogy of Dusk. Preceded by the bittersweet Atelier Ayesha: the Alchemist of Dusk, Atelier Escha and Logy was released for the PS3 featuring a pair of heroes, Escha Malier, and Logix Ficsario.

Helped by a cast of interesting supporting characters, Escha and Logy combine their strengths and use the power of alchemy to unlock the secrets of the nearby ‘Unexplored Ruins.’ The Vita version comes with new content including brand new event scenes inspired by the Escha and Logy anime plus the DLC from the PS3 version.

That includes a new playable character, new costumes, and new, augmented difficulty missions and harder ‘boss’ enemies!

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space lands in December

Xseed is bringing Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space to US Vita owners on 8 December. Here's a new gameplay clip to celebrate the game going gold.

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space launches with major improvements, including English voice overs, new content, and a choice of four-player co-op and versus modes served up either online or via local ad-hoc connection.

In Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space, players take on the role of the Infantryman, a military soldier armed with conventional weaponry, the Pale Wing, a special ops soldier equipped with a jetpack and armed with energy weapons, and new to this version, the Air Raider, who fights indirectly through the strategic placement and dispatch of trip mines, sentry guns, airstrikes, and more.

Whether alone or with up to three friends, players must fend off the spacefaring invaders through frenetic real-time combat in a variety of mission areas, many of them inspired by real-life locations.

Digimon Cyber Story dated with exclusive gear

It looks like Digimon is coming back with a bang, as Bandai tries to push the series back into western minds.

Landing on 5th February in Europe, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth will come with some extra goodies thanks to Bandai Namco. Players buying the game at launch on PS4 or Vita will get exclusive items, including the Agumon “Hero” Costumes and BlackGabumon, along with Beelzebumon and Cherubion.

Ray Gigant strides west next spring

Experience's big foot RPG was published in Japan via Bandai, but Acttil is bringing Ray Gigant west early next year. Coming digitally to America and the EU, the Experience RPG introduces idealistic yet contrary heroes to save the day.

Ray Gigant will reveal each of their stories through their own arcs which will all seamlessly converge by the end of the game. The RPG is typical Experience fodder but with bigger, badder looking visuals and a new combat system.

More pics on the game site's gallery.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Odin Sphere gets the full story book

Odin Sphere will come west with one of the more impressive looking bundles thanks to Atlus, unfortunately, only for the PS4 version, but since by next spring, I might just have enough for a PS4, yay!

The retail Vita version will come with a soft cover artbook, so there's something to look forward to.

More of Dead or Alive 3 girls in action

As the long winter nights draw in, why not stay warm with the girls of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 having fun in their little virtual paradise. Although it looks like you'll have to import it if you want Tecmo's bouncing beach ball games on your Vita.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Don't get the bird with Red Game

If Limbo took to the skies perhaps that would hint at Red Game (without a great name) from Poland's ifun4all. This port of an iOS puzzler arcade game sees your electro-mechanical budgie trying to deliver messages from its strange creator. The developer's previous effort was the rather less subtle DieDieDie.

The world it flies in seems perilous and mysterious, lets just hope there's some charming redemption at the end to help soothe the many deaths your character will doubtless have to suffer. The game has some 60 levels, a range of power ups and what looks like plenty of tricky timing challenges. Red Game is out next month on PSN.

The company's next game, Blind n Bluff is all about fear of the dark, no formats attached yet, but looks like another cool twist.

Vita sales dip in quiet Japanese week but who will star next week?

The PS4 is starting to dominate in Japan, with a host of new entries in the new Media Create chart, continuing to lead sales with dodgy foreign imports Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and Need for Speed all crashing into the top 10.

No new Vita games this week, but the handheld and Vita TV still sold over 12,500 units, and there are lots of new games out tomorrow, including Airship Q, Atelier Sophie, Omega Labyrinth and Grand Kingdom, should make for good sales next week.

God Eater Resurrection passes 150,000 sales, while Minecraft will be over 400,000 next week.

New EU PSN DLC discounts pop up: grab some One Piece

There's a host of DLC just gone on sale on the EU PSN. The only title I can see for the Vita is One Piece Unlimited World Red among a host of PS4 and PS3 extras:

  • One Piece Unlimited World Red – Season Pass (PS3 and PS Vita) 70% off original price Was €29.99/£24.99/AU$44.95
Anyone into their One Piece? Never given this a try, but £15 for the game and £7.50 odd for the pass, it might be worth a go. A shame that out of a whole list of stuff, Sony can only find one title, no Freedom Wars, no Matsune Miku, no Dynasty Warriors - but those are the crumbs we live by. 

Busy day for QuByte, HTR+ launches and Recruits is coming to Vita

Brazilian publisher/developer QuByte is making waves for the Vita right now. Out this week is HTR+ Racing bring slot cars to the handheld, new launch trailer below.

Coming soon, we already know about beat 'em up 99 Lives, but new to the outfit's roster is Recruits, a more aggressive take on Cannon Fodder with tanks.

Recruits was being developed by an Australian team for Steam, but has been picked up  by QuByte and is hitting PC and Xbox with a Vita version pencilled in for later in 2016. This is a pretty old trailer, so expect things to change, drastically.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lost Song hits No. 2 in UK Vita chart

The UK retail chart is out for last week, with Sword Art Online singing its way into No. 2, Persona DAN is already diving out of sight down to No. 8. Otherwise the usual suspects dominate the top places.

The PS4 version of Lost Song doesn't seem to have charted anywhere. That could be bad news for future versions, as Bandai hints at a buy-it-or-we-drop-it approach to the series coming west. Then again, release a niche RPG at the same time as all the big hitters probably isn't the smartest move.

1. Minecraft 4J Studios
2. Sword Art Online: Lost Song Bandai
3. Lego Jurassic World Warner
4. Uncharted: Golden Abyss Bend Studios
5. Call of Duty Declassified Activision

Over on Amazon UK's, Live chart SAO makes less of an impact. but Lego games are storming the chart, presumably as parents start stocking up for Christmas.

1. Minecraft
2. Lego Marvel Super Heroes
3. Lego Jurassic World
4. FIFA 15
5. Terraria
6. Lego Ninjago
7. Call of Duty Declassified
8. Sword Art Online: Lost Song
9. Lego Ninjago Nindroids
10. Persona 4 DAN

On the EU PSN, the Top Sellers list continues to be dominated by HellDivers and an impressive showing by Nidhogg.

1. HellDivers
2. Resident Evil Revelations 2
3. Minecraft
4. Nidhogg
5. WRC 5
6. SAO Hollow Fragment
7. Corpse Party Blood Drive
8 Dungeon Travelers 2
9. Walking Dead S1
10. HellDivers

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Darius Burst heads west, single player only on Vita

Taito's Darius Burst series was relaunched in Japan recently and the new Chronicle Saviours title has been confirmed as heading west. There's a new story that borrows hundreds of stages covering the series' history, with nine playable ships to choose from including classic Silver Hawk variants, a new CS-exclusive ship, and game play-changing Burst modes.

To keep things interesting for those stuck on one of the super-widescreen levels, there's branching stages where you choose your own path and challenge level. At the end of the key levels are 40-odd enormous, robotic sea-monster battleships with new CS-exclusive bosses.

Add in a Zuntata soundtrack, plus Cross Save with the PS4 version and it should be a welcome addition to the Vita's decent shooter roster. There's no Cross Play as the Vita version is single player only, check out the western site for more info.

Super Star Wars confirmed for Vita release

Okay, it might not be the new Battlefront, but Vita owners get some Star Wars fun this week with the SNES side scroller, with a few Mode 7 shooter sections, coming to Sony's handheld and PS4 with trophy support and Cross Buy.

So, when Sony says it is still working on some Vita content I guess this is it, and projects of its type, which is no bad thing - as long as this represents the start of a steady stream of classics releases, and not just the odd token.

UPDATE: The guys who converted this title, CodeMystics, says its up to Sony and Disney if the others get a port, but I'd imagine sales would be strong enough.

Sony mentioned a while back about adding trophies to old games, and if they want to add more retro classics to the Vita, great! Super Star Wars picked up a game of the year nod back in 1992, with LucasArts and Sculptured Software on dev duty. Set across Tatooine and the Death Star, it takes a few liberties with the original movie. Hopefully the subsequent games in the series will follow.

The news was confirmed on the US PSN blog Drop roundup, with SAO Lost Song leading the way along with High Tech Racing Plus for the US, with SAO already out in EU land. Here's a look at the original, can't wait to see what the new version looks like on the Vita's screen.

No word on pricing, and if you do want to play Battlefront, there's always Remote Play - something that major games sites seem to be taking a lot more seriously all of a sudden. This release is part of a range of classics to support the Battlefront release, hopefully a few more games will hit the Vita - would love to see Episode 1: Pod Racer hit the handheld.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Someone's got a new phone in Steins Gate 0

After the texting shenanigans in the first Steins Gate, things are looking up in the semi-sequel with a new phone to help you navigate all the timey-wimey events that plaque the typical amateur scientific genius and his friends.

Check out what Rine has to say, if you can read Japanese, and get ready for the western version next year. Never did hear from PQube how it sold, but should certainly have done enough to merit the next version.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sword Art Online hits the EU PSN and retail

Lost Song is now singing out on the shelves, the latest in the Sword Art Online series. In the game, your heroes, face-off against a mysterious guild and explore the beautiful land of Svart ALfheim - a brand new area of ALfheim Online (as seen in the anime). It costs 29.99 on PSN and is PlayStation TV compatible.

Fly across the world and fight enemies in unique aerial combat, traverse from one floating island to the next, explore dungeons and complete dangerous quests. A revised fighting system also allows players to engage enemies in dynamic and thrilling combat.

Bandai states its plan is to bring Sword Art Online games to the level where our other anime and manga based games are. We are investing in this brand by bringing more games to the online and physical shelves, by localizing them, by working hand in hand with the original author, by creating exclusive content and offers for our fans and above all: by listening to them.

That translates (to me) as "start buying these games, otherwise we won't be making any more".

Thursday, November 12, 2015

PlayStation Experience will see first public play of Cosmic Star Heroine and more

Sony has put an updated list of games playable at next month's US PlayStation Experience. What it hasn't done is broken the list down by format. Here's what should be on Vita, if Sony actually bother to bring any demo Vita units:

Android Assault Cactus, BigFest, Crypt of the NecroDancer, Drifter, Lego Marvel Avengers, Nuclear Throne, Salt and Sanctuary and the recently announced Space Dave.

What you'll definitely see is a few Vita exclusives and titles that developers have confirmed will be there; Superbeat Xonic, Phineas and Ferb, Severed and Cosmic Star Heroine from Zeboyd in action.

Is anything else on the list for Vita? Let me know!

Civ 2 Revolution gets a Japanese gameplay trailer

Isn't it weird that a western publisher's Japanese arm is doing a better job of promoting a western classic than its home territory. 2K Japan seems to be right on top of things with a new gameplay trailer showing off just how much fun the uprated version of Sid Meier's classic should be.

Over to you 2K in the west... where there's nothing on the 2K site, nothing in the official forums, its a wasteland out there.

Slick new Japanese Vita Dragon Quest Builders bundle

Likely to be the best Vita seller in 2016, Dragon Quest Builders could get the handheld off to a rocket start for the year, hitting Japanese stores in January.

That'll be helped by this executive-grade new bundle offering a sublime Metal Slime grey Vita, on which the black standouts actually look pretty excellent. There's a neat metal slime decal, a slime headphone plug-in, all wrapped up in a superb box with a physical copy of the likely to be massive Dragon Quest Builders game.

It will be a limited edition, so move quick if you want an import, 25,980 yen is around £140, wow! The rest of us can just sigh at its magnificence, and pray someone at Sony or Square thinks - hey, this could sell in the west! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

R8 Games gets funding for Formula Fusion, Vita version back on?

Having botched its Kickstarter campaign, and got together barely enough funding, then underestimated its costs, R8 Games has got publisher or investor backing to see the prodigal son of WipEout come to fruition in the second half of 2016.

In the brief update, announcing the good news, the team state "so we can deliver the full game onto PC and Consoles, including the stretch goals we outlined on Kickstarter." A Vita version was among those goals, admittedly at 400K, when the game only raised £80K. So, I'm checking with the team to see if that still stands, but a decent successor to WipEout could be on.

Senran Kagura brings its wobblies to the west

Marvelous is getting ready to stir up a modicum of controversy with its latest Vita outing, Senran Kagura Estival Versus. It puts most of the fan services RPGs to shame with full on cel-shaded close ups of all sorts of fun and games.

Don't click play if there's anyone else watching! And if you want to go all out the special editions blurb at the end shows off the soundtrack CD, art book, art cards and huggable pillows that come with them.

UK PSN Update finally gets Trails in the Sky and loads of Persona 4 DAN DLC

There's plenty of action on the UK/EU PSN update this week with Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC finally appearing - it appears to have been listed as a bundle which is why no one could find it in the games section! There's also more rhythm action in the form of Superbeat Xonic, and, um, thingy and watsit do stuff - or whatever!

Incredibly this kids game didn't get a physical release, making you wonder exactly why Sony bothere? At least it would have attracted some younger buyers on the shelves of stores.

Persona 4 Dancing All Night fans have masses of free or paid for DLC to grab hold of including that swimsuit set, if you're really keen.

Vita sells 13,800 this week in Japan's Media Create figures

Again, the Vita struggles to find a decent boost in sales, even the sexy-time shenanigans of Furyu's To Love 3... romp, which is the highest Vita entry in the Media Create charts at No. 6 selling only 15,000.

God Eater Resurrection hangs tough at No. 4 selling another 20,000, while Minecraft keeps on selling, shifting an other 7,500. Bet Sony is wishing they'd brought Mojang ahead of Microsoft now!

While the recent trend is down, Vita sales still keep above last year's although they will need a boost in the next few weeks to match those green peaks. Pretty sure we can count out it ever reaching the dark high lines ever again.

Spike's Grand Kingdom shows off its tactical combat

The official website for Spike's Grand Kingdom has updated with a new trailer for the tactical RPG. The game is out next week in Japan, and this clips shows off how the battles work. Looks pretty cool, with characters jumping lanes to battle the enemy with ranged and melee turn-based attacks.

Lots of talk in the latest Meiq No Chika: A Maze to Eradicate Them All

Compile Heart's Meiq No Chika: A Maze to Eradicate Them All is another busty RPG hitting Japan soon, the latest trail is all talk and not much animation or action, but gives a good sense of the style. The official website has a decent gallery that gives up more info and ideas about the game,

The game is another Vita exclusive, due out in December.

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC out now on EU PSN

XSEED Games has announced the RPG sequel The Legend of Heroes: Trails in The Sky SC is out now on the PlayStation Store in Europe and Australia, for €26.99, £21.99, AUD $40.95. Can't see it on the UK store yet, but since Sony hasn't mentioned it on PSN, perhaps there is some delay, although it is available in Germany.

Developed by RPG specialists Nihon Falcom, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in The Sky SC picks up mere hours after the conclusion to The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, with Estelle traveling across Liberl in search of Joshua. Her journey involves more than seeking loved ones, however, as the Bracer Guild also tasks her with unraveling the mysteries behind the newly unveiled Society of Ouroboros.

Here's some gameplay c/o BlueMaxima:

Falcom’s Sound Team jdk provides a new soundtrack that perfectly complements the tumultuous resolution to one of the most moving and expansive JRPGs. The series’ staple strategic turn-based battle system with unmatchable customization has been taken even further with all new arts, crafts, upgraded orbments, and combo attacks.

The meticulously detailed land of Liberl awaits the player’s return with new quests, mini-games, and collectibles to offer, along with a host of both new and familiar locations that are populated with hundreds of unique NPCs, each featuring his or her own story to tell.

Kickstarter games news round-up, Strength of the Sword, Grisaia, Slain and Timespinner

The Kickstarter list continues to look healthy despite the odd setback, as you'd expect with the vagaries of crowd funding and smaller developers taking on large challenges. Rather than a bunch of individual posts, here's a quick round-up of the latest from some projects I'm interested in.

First up is Strength of the Sword Ultimate who have a new character animation to show off as progress continues on the game. Check out the recent KS post for all the new weapons and gear.

Less fun news from Sekai who announce a delay in translating The Grisaia Trilogy, and that they are waiting for the first game to be approved for Vita by Sony, considering it has a mature rating before announcing the sequels.

Slain is up and running on the Vita in all its pixelly gorgeousness, with the developers still aiming for a March 2016 release.

Another pixel-heavy Vita KS is Timespinner, YABM (yet another bloody Metroidvania) with development coming along and looking pretty sweet.

Finally, in this round-up, the flasgship for current big-budget KS games coming to the Vita, Mighty No. 9 now has a proper website, The portable version will land sometime in 2016, after the February PC release.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stranger of Sword City swaggers west in 2016

With Demon Gaze II just bumped into 2016 for Japan, the team at Experience are keeping one eye on western gamers, with its Stranger of Sword City headed our way next March, thanks to NIS America.

Things start out normal enough, but your flight hits a peculiar portal and crashes on the other side. The only survivor, you awaken in an unfamiliar land lit by stars you’ve never seen.

This land is Escario, the city of swords. Quickly marked as the Chosen One, the Stranger of Sword City, you must defend this place, and choose your allegiances carefully as you scour the land for a way home.

Let's just hope they didn't over complicate the game as happened with Operation Abyss.

Atelier Sophie rates well in this week's Famitsu

This week's Famitsu reviews are out with a host of Vita games getting fair to decent reviews. It is hard to tell what will sell best, Sophie has the Atelier brand behind here, while Girl Friend Beta was huge on smartphones and Airship Q could tap into those huge Minecraft sales, despite the lower score.

Atelier Sophie  (Gust) – 8/8/8/9
Girl Friend Beta (Cyber Agent) – 8/7/7/7
Omega Labyrinth (D3) – 7/7/7/8
Bad Apple Wars (Otomate)– 7/7/7/7
Airship Q (Miracle Positive) – 7/8/7/6

Click the links for more details, which do you think will sell best?

Vita games aplenty from Kadokawa's Japan event

Aside from the two new games announced by Kadokawa games overnight with launch trailers, God Wars and Root Letter, there's plenty more good stuff from the publisher.

For a start Experience's Demon Gaze II, the sequel to the panty-obsessed classical RPG romp, a good seller across the west, was announced for a 2016 Japan release. That should definitely come our way based on the original's success. That's moved on from its end-of-2015 release, and slightly more worrying, they are asking fans for ideas in the game, which isn't going to end well.

In a related note, the Bandai-published Experience RPG Ray Gigant, that kind of bombed in Japan, has just picked up a European trademark, suggesting they hope that the game (with great big monsters to bash) will find a more appreciative audience here.

In partnership with Falcom, Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd Evolution was also announced, which should bring a trilogy of massive RPGs to the Vita, although release formats haven't been confirmed.

Not bad for first thing on a cold Tuesday morning! Time to update the release list. Spike Chunsoft has a similar Danganronpa event in early December which should keep the news rolling in.

God Wars making people kill from Kadokawa

Those Gods always seem to spend their time fighting, but even worse, getting people to do all their fighting for them. Its like people just make up the gods to justify going around and giving everyone a good kicking.

Anyway, this is another PS Vita and PS4 game out of Kadokawa's press event. It promises an untold story from the history of Gods.

 A tactical RPG that depicts the conflict and rise of young heroes in ancient Japan. An adventure that merges the world of Kojiki, Japan's oldest history book, and the fairy-tales of Japanese folklore. The amazing saga of mighty heroes who fought bravely against their fate and the wrath of the Gods, has now been revealed.

Kadokawa's Root Letter is a bit of a mystery

A deep bow to Kadokawa for not doing this whole Japanese release may come west thing. Instead, at its Japanese press event it announced Root Letter for global release next spring on Vita and PS4. Don't get too cheery though, this doesn't sound like the kind of game to have people leaping around like March Hares, as the girl who wrote the letter appears to be a murderer.
The truth is endless sorrow. The first title of the series “Kadokawa Game Mystery.” A collection of adventure games that explore human drama, featuring local Japanese culture and history. Root Letter is set in the Shimane prefecture, a land with a rich history and beautiful nature. The player will engage an adventure to solve the mystery of Fumino Aya, a pen pal friend from high school who disappeared after leaving a mysterious letter. A letter delivered 15 years later…

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bad Apple Wars hitting Japan this week

Now I'm kind of getting into Otome games thanks to Amnesia Memories, the arrival of Bad Apple Wars in Japan looks pretty tempting. Enjoy the trailer and the soundtrack on the home page, then consider a game where the romance is between floating souls, unable to get down to the squishy stuff.

Of course, it wouldn't be an Otomate title without those delinquent bad apples to choose from. If the likes of Amnesia Memories sells well I kinda hope this comes west, if there's enough interest - just for the visual style and different take on the usual love adventures. You can find out more about the game in English here.

Miss Monster Hunter on the Vita? Take one of these video pills

The Vita is a piece of art, but rarely does the handheld get a piece of art. Even rarer is any mention of Monster Hunter from Capcom for it. So, instead kick up your Vita's browser, browser YouTube and enjoy these Monster Hunter Portable 3rd and Freedom Unite landscapes set to some gentle, ambient tunes.

Don't skip the advert as YouTuber Gaijin Hunter deserves some reward for this effort. Then sit back and think happy, slightly deluded, thoughts about Monster Hunter Portable 5 maybe arriving for the Vita in 2016.

Of course, you could download the PSP source games and get on with some hunting, but I'm sure we'd app prefer a native res version with new monsters and weapons.

Persona 4 Dancing All Night puts disco at No. 1

The UK retail Vita chart has a new number one, welcome Persona 4: Dancing All Night which also manages to crack the all-formats (full price) top 40, in at No. 35. Congratulations to Atlus for that rare achievement, not bad for Call of Duty week when the top spots and gamers' wallets are dominated by the next-gen Black Ops title.

1. Persona 4 DAN (Atlus)
2. Minecraft (4J)
3. Lego Jurassic World (Warner)
4. CoD Declassified (Activision)
5. Killzone (Guerrilla)

Over on Amazon, Monday morning's chart looks like this, but check the live Vita Chart for the latest changes. The split between limited edition and regular P4DAN means Minecraft stays at No. 1, while Sword Art Online enters ahead of its Friday launch.

1. Minecraft (4J Studios)
2. Persona 4 Dancing All Night (Atlus)
3. Lego Jurassic World (Warner)
4. Persona 4 Golden (Atlus)
5. Persona 4 DAN Disco Fever (Atlus)
6. Sword Art Online Lost Song (Bandai)
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (Activision)
8. FIFA 15 (EA)
9. Lego Marvel Superheroes (Warner)
10. Lego Ninjago (Warner)

On PSN, its the usual batshit crazy selection, but HellDivers continues to prove highly popular:

1. HellDivers Super Earth Ultimate Edition
2. Resident Evil Revelations 2
3. Minecraft
4. Nidhogg
5. WRC 5
6. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
7. Corpse Party Blood Drive
8. Dungreon Travelers 2
9. HellDivers
10. Walking Dead S1

Friday, November 6, 2015

Axiom Verge Vita update

Straight from the developers mouth (blog) comes a Vita update on retro shooter, Axiom Verge.
I often feel like if I don’t mention Vita, people will assume that it’s not always on my mind. It is, and I can report that significant progress has been and is being made! I will be giving some more detailed updates on this in the next month or so, but for now let’s just say that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. 
Thanks again for everyone’s support and patience. It was a lot more complicated than any of us expected it to be, but we’re getting there.

So, thanks to Thomas Happ and co for the perseverance. Note, the Cross Buy game is now on sale with 30% off for the PS4 version, so if you want to splurge now, you'll get the Vita version for less, by the time it arrives.

Review: Amnesia Memories

A few Japanese publishers thrive on these Otome romance visual novels, and its good to see Idea Factory bringing a few west, just so we can see what all the fuss is about. I've probably been pretty harsh on the few that I've written about, but having played one, I can see the attraction.

These are little more than romantic versions of those Fighting Fantasy books - make a few choices, meet the right or wrong guy, and see the story through, with your choices leading to a range of sad, bad, normal or happy endings with the various characters. Is the nice guy a psycho, is the bad guy really all that evil? In some of their costumes, how can you tell?

In Amnesia Memories, you're mind has been hosed by a pesky elf that crashed into your brain and kicked out all the recent memories. As a now very vulnerable young woman, you need to navigate the social minefield, ideally saving lots along the way so you don't have to go back to the start at every choice in the game.

The story flows along at a fair pace, and being a light novel, it never gets too deep - even if someone could be trying to kill her as she struggles to get her memories back. And, surprisingly, some of the days have some genuinely funny moments, like a visit to the lingerie shop.

It also breaks the record for the most sleeping ever done in any game. Some kind of two-second mini game to pass these times would have been helpful. As the story progresses, things do take the odd surprising twist and turn - with all sorts of weirdos creeping out the closet. There's also the odd mini-game to liven things up and you can find new feelings hiding in the gallery once you complete a story!

Still, the lack of real choice might put some off, but if you want to explore why these games are so popular in Japan, Amnesia Memories is a good way to go, even if it creates more questions than it answers. Some stories are very one-on-one while others have herds of friends in on the act, and you'll learn more about your friends across the various worlds, which adds to the replay value.

While not in the same league as the story of Steins Gate, with four worlds worth of plots to explore, a few extras and thankfully no cheaper on iOS or Android - go Vita!

Score 7/10
More reviews
Price: £24.99 on PSN
Dev: Idea Factory
Progress: A mixed bag of endings

Sword Art Online: Origin characters revealed

Now that the latest God Eater is on the shelves, Namco is ramping up for the next Sword Art Online episode, Origin. Definitely favouring the PS4 version, it looks a pretty powerful effort. The official site now has character art and info up, with a mystery guest girl, Asuna and Kirito, getting ready to lead players on endless beast busting missions.

Here's the reveal trailer in case you missed it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Grand Kingdom welcomes visitors with a launch trailer

The side scrolling RPG Grand Kingdom opens up in Japan in a couple of weeks, and here's the launch trailer to tempt games on yet another epic quest.

Spike Chunsoft are on publishing duty, with MonoChro handling development, directed by the guy behind PSP classic Grand Knights History.

Girlfriend Beta is all about the ladies

One of a host of releases on 9 November in Japan for the Vita, why would I not be surprised if Girlfriend Beta from Bandai Namco sells more than all the big games.

With stacks of costumes, DLC extras, trading type cards a Blu-ray and more in the update to a popular iOS game, the dating sim is bound to be huge. Find more on the game's official site, never ever expect a western edition.

Review: Persona 4 Dancing All Night

Persona 4 DAN arrives in the UK on 6 November.

Disco cannot be killed! But, those pesky shadows are having a damn good go, with some sort of techno-industrial dirge in their own weird little world. Enter the Persona 4 heroes, set on a quest to rescue an idol group that has been sucked into this grim realm.

Concept albums are hopefully pretty dead, but Dancing All Night plays like one. With endless exposition, nudges and glances from the crew, and taking a five minute verbal guitar solo to explain one simple part of the story - you may really struggle to find, and then enjoy the actual game. (TIP: Use Quick Skip and then Backlog in the options menu to skim read the many boring bits).

Behind all that fretting and navel gazing, the game itself is dead simple. Your team run Scooby Doo-like into new areas (with tappity footstep sounds) into each zone to play a bunch of songs that move the plot along.

Tap away as the gold stars move through the appropriate button area, hold down the button for long notes, pressing two buttons for linked notes, and swipe a stick for the Fever mode rings. Succeed and your musical Kiss-meets-The-Darkness persona will arrive and slay the shadows with a few choice guitar chords or other instruments. Fail, and there's always next time.

Of course, saying and doing are two different things. For some reason, I started out basically blind to the fever circles and it took lots of practice to concentrate on seeing them. Even if you can see them, moving fingers to the dual sticks at the wrong moment can throw you off your rhythm. I've also heard other people comment that they can't see the gold stars very easily, notably against yellow backgrounds.

Perhaps that's down to the sheer brightness of the game, the characters are devastatingly lurid on screen and the backgrounds vary from glam to complex techno, with regular changes. All of which can make it hard to keep focus.

Some practice in the Free Dance mode will help out, but fluffing your presses can mean a fair amount of retrying, to add to all the chat. And then, when you've finished a song, you'll want to have another look via the replay to see your character throwing all their fine dancing shapes, as you had no hope in hell of focusing on that during the gameplay.

As a minor diversion, there are costumes and accessories to unlock and buy with your persona dollars, plus some useful items for the battles. These might keep you playing after the story mode moves to its predictable conclusion, and there's the challenge of the increased difficulty.

Eventually, you can get used to the easy and normal levels, but the higher difficulties are the preserve of true gaming masters. So, yes, it takes a long while to get anywhere. Hopefully you'll love the music from Persona, as all the songs are based on the previous games' OSTs, with a few remixes thrown in to extend them.

The story itself isn't a patch on the core Persona titles, with any bit of drama force-fed into your eyeballs. But the vivid colours and outbreaks of disco make progression tolerable. If you're really in to rhythm action, then waiting for Xonic Superbeat is probably a better bet.

Score 7/10
More reviews
Price: £29.99 on Amazon, £34.99 on PSN
Dev: Atlus
Progress: Finished story mode

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC launch trailer

It has been a long time coming, but Europe finally gets the latest Trails in the Sky adventure next week and here's a new trailer to highlight all the improvements in the much lauded Falcom JRPG series.

Picking up directly after the conclusion of the last game, with Estelle traveling across Liberl in search of Joshua. Her journey involves more than seeking loved ones, however, as the Bracer Guild also tasks her with unraveling the mysteries behind the newly unveiled Society of Ouroboros.

 With strategic turn-based battles, new combat modes and features, a killer soundtrack and detailed lands to explore, it should be another must-buy RPG for PSP and Vita owners.

More on the game's site, it will cost £21.99, €26.99 or AU$40.95. If you can't wait, go and pick up the Ghostlight published original and wade into 50 hours of epic story.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sci-fi adventure Alone With You gets a new trailer

Bringing back memories of Marsport, The Dig and a host of other sci-fi adventures, Alone With You has been on the indie list for a long time. Now there's a PSN blog post with a new gameplay trailer and more details about the retro survival horror adventure.

Between this and Uncanny Valley, looks the Vita will be a good home to some retro drama soon. The EGA style graphics will definitely look better on a small screen, rather than the PS4 edition.

Developer Ben Rivers of Home fame, has got his usual contributors hard at work with inspired audio and graphics, all suitable for having a cosy chat with lots of dead people. Alone With You is dated for Spring 2016 - time to update the release list again!

God Eater Resurrection sells 125K on Vita in Japan

The latest Media Create chart is out in Japan, and, as expected, God Eater Resurrection on Vita dominates, selling 125,876 copies, over 100K more than the PS4 version in at No. 2.

However, that does little to help Vita sales, even though scary adventure Yomawari chips in at No. 3 with 22K sales. The only other Vita title in the Media Create top 20 is Minecraft, resolutely selling another 7,000 copies, just behind Halo 5.

01./00. [PSV] God Eater: Resurrection (Bandai) - 125.876 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] God Eater: Resurrection # (Bandai) - 25.700 / NEW
03./00. [PSV] Yomawari (Nippon Ichi) - 22.472 / NEW

Even then, as a remake, GE:R is well down on previous versions that hit the PSP and Vita. 

Vita sales are up over a thousand, but it looks like very solid PS4 sales will trump anything the Vita can come up with. The next big sales week for the Vita is the 19th November with Atelier Sophie, Omega Labyrinth, Airship Q and Grand Kingdom all arriving.

Norn9: Var Commons gets a second launch trailer

Also hitting PSN this week, but kind of buried under the PS+ update with Dragon Fin Soup comes Norn9: Var from Aksys and Idea Factory. Not much of a clue as the Otome gameplay, with the usual boys and their flicky hair looking lost, hopeful, whatever.

A bit more on the plot for this visual novel here.

Uncanny Valley outed for Vita by PEGI

Pixels and survival horror are a growing trend right now, with Home, Lone Survivor and quite a few others packing the scares into low-res 2D games. But looking old school is no bad thing and Uncanny Valley goes light on resources and high on damage realism to add modern touches to those classic games.

UPDATE: The information has been confirmed by the publisher with an official news release coming soon.

The original Steam game was created  Cowardly Creations, with Digerati (who are handling publishing duties for Slain) appearing in the PEGI listing. With Uncanny Valley being the reference to robots that look like people, but in a creepy way, you don't have to guess too hard in which direction the plot will go.

Net High gets a high-energy live action music video from Kamen Joshi

Masked idol group Kamen Joshi provide the soundtrack to Net High and have put together a typically up tempo track for the Marvelous game of social media deception and myth busting. The mask is highly appropriate, as the game is about exposing those who boast and lie to boost their social media profiles.

Could Net High become the next Danganronpa? It could certainly feed into all the insecurities and backlash against the fakery of Facebook, Instagram and other social media forums.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Phineas and Ferb get their Doofenshmirtz on!

Apparently due out this week, here's another of Sony's for-the-kids titles that will sneak out with no marketing or information. Sony did put up a video about a month ago, and while it looks like a fun mix of mini arcade games and a cel-shaded adventure, I feel the budget would have been better spent on a few indies.

Based on the clip, it looks like original voice artists, Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster and Ashley Tisdale are no way to be seen, suggesting that minimal effort has gone into this. Still, if it hits US stores and makes some kids buy a Vita, that has to be good, right.

Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma heads west in Summer 2016

Okay, missed this last week - took a couple of days off - Aksys has confirmed that Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma will hit PSN for the Vita in summer of 2016. I'll update the release list which is looking increasingly healthy for the little old Vita.

Not much specific information, but this chilling bit of PR and art tells us all we really need to know.

It delivers the most compelling and mind shredding gaming experience ever seen on a handheld platform. Choice is your only method of salvation and your only means of escape. How much of your humanity will you sacrifice to earn your freedom? As a new age of ruin looms large on the horizon, you must make impossible decisions and weather unimaginable consequences as you straddle the line between absolution and damnation.
In the mean time, probably now would be good to dig out Virtue's Last Reward and have a crack at finishing that off.

HTR+ High Tech Racing out next week

Brazil continues to be a hot bed of Vita development activity, with High Tech Racing hitting PSN next week. Definitely in the US, not sure about EU land, yet - checking with the team. The trailer is a year old, but hopefully expect some new content and features.

Bringing the fun of slot car racing, Scalextric to us Brits, the Unity developed game comes to us from mobile, but keep an eye on QuByte with their next title 99 Lives, also headed to the Vita.

Monday, November 2, 2015

ShopTo gets its own mini-PSN

Remember when Amazon added its own digital store, I guess UK online retailer ShopTo has grabbed a similar deal with Sony to open up a digital bargain bin of its own. It doesn't have the full PSN range, and I don't know what leeway the retailer has to cut prices or get further content.

Still, if you want a game right now, its another place to look, with titles, DLC, top ups and subscriptions on offer. There are tiny discounts on top up cards, with £2 off a £40 voucher. Like Amazon's there are only a few Vita PSN games in there (Lemmings Touch, Flower, ResoGun), but hopefully ShopTo has more reason to push this store and improve the product.

A new trailer for Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires

With all the work going into the Vita version, good to see this getting plenty of hype from Tecmo Koei, here's a brand new trailer showing off some of that effort and the big battles, strategy and customisation options.

Vita and God Eater set for a good week in Japan

Culture Convenience Club's Tsutaya game rankings for this week suggest the Vita will get another number one on Wednesday, as the remake of God Eater is ahead of its PS4 cousin. With Yomawari peering into the gloom at No. 4

01./00. [PSV] God Eater: Resurrection (Bandai)
02./00. [PS4] God Eater: Resurrection (Bandai)
03./01. [3DS] The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes (Nintendo)
04./00. [PSV] Yomawari (NIS)
05./03. [3DS] 7th Dragon III Code: VFD (Sega)

God Eater 2 on PSP/Vita sold over 630,000 for Namco in 2013. God Eater 2 Rage Burst sold 275,000 on launch across PS4 and Vita earlier this year and ended up at over 400K. I suspect this remake won't go that high, and probably won't do much for hardware sales, but any boost would be good. 

Lots of players are putting up |YouTube videos of the game in action, here's just one example. 

UK Charts Vita Update

The new BlazBlue pops into the UK retail chart this week, in at No. 5. The Persona games do a bit better on Amazon's chart with Space Hulk still in the online retailers top 10.

1. Minecraft (4J Studios)
2. Lego Jurassic World (Warner)
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (Activision)
4. Lego Batman 3 (Warner)
5. BlazBlue Chronaphantasma (Pqube)
6. LBP Marvel Edition (Tarsier)
7. Lego Ninjago (Warner)
8. Disney Infinity 2.0 (Disney)
9. LBP (Tarsier)
10. WRC 5 (Big Ben)

Over on Amazon, Monday morning's looks like this, but check the Amazon Vita Chart for the latest changes.

1. Minecraft (4J Studios)
2. Persona 4 Dancing All Night (Atlus)
3. Persona 4 Golden (Atlus)
4. Lego Jurassic World (Warner)
5. FIFA 15 (EA)
6. Corpse Party Blood Drive (Marvelous)
7. Dungeon Travelers 2 (NISA)
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (Activision)
9. Metal Gear HD (Konami)
10. Space Hulk (Funbox)

Thanks to all the Halloween sales, the PSN chart is all over the place, still it is helping Sony earn money - even if the company denies the handheld exists.