Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hero Must Die trailer hints at the game within

More art, chat and text than gameplay, Nippon Ichi's early look at Hero Must Die is pretty intriguing. Aside from the old Bonanza flame page reveals, we get a few small looks at 3D battles, scenery and exploring levels. Have to say, I'm impressed, but need to see much more.

Not entirely sure the ludicrous cleavage is required in a game that seems pretty straight laced otherwise, but, hey, Japan!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

PS Plus in January fails to inspire

Yep, it definitely looks like PlayStation Plus has run its course for the Vita with the more obscure reaches of the catalogue now being used to pad things out. Hopefully we'll get Grim Fandango on Cross Buy, but other wise, its pretty slim pickings.

The list is the same across both the EU and US stores.

Hardware: Rivals (PS4)
Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4)
Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
Medal of Honor: Warfighter (PS3)
Nihilumbra (PS Vita)
Legends of War: Patton (PS Vita/PSP)

Quite like the idea of Patton, but probably not on the Vita. Plenty of lively chat going on in the PSN blog comments section.

Signal to Noise may tune into the Vita

Solanimus is bringing its PC arcade title to the Vita. Looking rather like the bonus levels of Tempest 2000, its a rhythm music-driven rail shooter, developed in Unity.

On the PC version, players choose their own music, and the game generates gameplay based around those rhythms. Not sure how that will translate to the Vita, but it can't hurt to stick your favourite tracks on a Vita card just in case.

No idea of a release date, but the PC version launched in November, with mention of a Vita and Wii U version, "hopefully later".

Famitsu Celebrate's its top stories of 2015

While I await the Media Create figures to see if the Vita could crack a million over the year, Famitsu has done and dusted for the 52 weeks of 2015. With Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs-Force the top new entry, selling very nearly 70,000 copies.

UPDATE: Gundam sold 87,000 copies according to Media Create, making it a very decent effort, and it hopefully helped ship more hardware with the new bundles. Still waiting on the Media Create hardware figures.

Famitsu also showed off its top 100 stories over the course of the year. Browse through and see what was big in Japan. Considering the domination of the 3DS, there seems to be plenty of PlayStation news in among them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Digimon World Next Order gets pre-order goodies in Japan

Blink and you'll miss them, but along with a confirmed release date in March, Digimon World Next Order will come with some fun looking pre-order extras. Around the 13 second mark, we have a host of plastic figures to jolly things along. Hopefully this game and some of those neat figurines will also head our way.

US PSN sale update

The winter sale is nearly over on the US PSN, with a raft of new titles drafted in on offer with up to 50% savings. That's across some PSP and PS One classics and the latest Vita hits like Resident Evil 2 Revelations and Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.

Stock up now before the vanish to be replaced by whatever Sony can cobble together for the New Year sale. The latest EU PSN deals can be found here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vita UK chart, steady as she goes

The UK Vita retail chart is so bland this week, I can't even be bothered to type it out, so here's a screenshot. It shows a good jump for J-Stars Victory VS+ back into the top 10, otherwise it continues to be a Minecraft dominated world.

Over on the Amazon UK Vita chart, things look pretty similar with Terraria the only real difference in the top 10. Legend of Heroes should be the next major new entry, arriving in Europe at the end of January.

In the land of digital Bastion is top of the UK PSN Top Sellers list, ahead of the usual sales bedlam, so well done to the port team that had all kinds of issues squeezing the game over from Xbox to Vita.

Hatsune Miku parties with pals in latest video

The latest Hatsune Miku Diva X trailer shows her partying with Rin and Len, the game hits in March so get those songs memorised and those fingers ready for action for the Vita's latest rhythm action title.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Odin Sphere dated for Japan, mega playthrough

Vanillaware's Odin Sphere update will launch in Japan in just a couple of weeks on 14 January. A western release seems likely for early summer. Here's a hefty exploration of the game with the developers burbling away, while checking out all the characters and their skills.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Attack on Titan gameplay clips

While western developers snooze, Japan is revving up for 2016 with a bunch of new clips for Tecmo's Attack on Titan showing off in-game battling, chat and other features. There's also a peek at the Treasure Box limited edition which will hopefully come west along with the digital edition later in the year.

New PS Vita for Christmas, 5 buried features to enjoy

Welcome to the world of PlayStation Vita, a strange little club of a few million dedicated gamers, enjoying Japanese and indie games, plus the odd western treat. We have plenty to look forward to in 2016, but here's a few tricks you can enjoy now.

Although its base technology is four years old, the Vita is still a powerful machine with lots to offer, not all of it clear from the user interface or from Sony's marketing. Among the Vita's many features, some are pretty much ignored or forgotten, but can still delight in their own quirky way.

1. Augmented Reality Games

The first model Vita came with augmented reality (AR) cards to play games using the camera, long before all this Pokemon Go nonsense. You now have to print these out. Once you've done that, there's a bunch of free and low-cost AR games to play including Cliff Diving and Fireworks, Fussball, puzzler PulzAR and Table Top Tanks. You can find them all in the Vita Store, under All, Apps, AR Play.

2. Themes

If you open the PlayStation Store app on your Vita, tap the All menu and flick down the page is the All Themes menu. You can get a host of free or paid-for themes to decorate your Vita's pages with. The PlayStation Vita Birthday Theme is a favourite.

3. PS3, PSP and PlayStation One Games

The Vita is a retro powerhouse, supporting hundreds of cheap PlayStation Portable titles and PlayStation original games going back some 20 years. The PSP got lots of racing, fighting and first and third person action games that the Vita missed out on, but are still highly playable.

You can also play some PlayStation 3 games using PlayStation Now via a monthly subscription or all PS4 games using Remote Play for free.

4. Apps

Note only does the Vita have an email and calendar tools, there are also paint and alarm apps to make it more useful. You can Facebook, Tweet and check your email on the Vita via a range of apps. There was a YouTube app, but the Vita's browser now handles that function. US users can enjoy Netflix, but Europe still waits for that app, but anime services Crunchyroll and Funimation are recent additions.

5. Screenshots

Somehow Sony never tied the idea of sharing Vita screenshots via the social media apps. However, you can still take in-game screens using Start and the PlayStation button and then share them manually to show friends some of your best moves and the Vita's games in action.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Vita sales seasonal streak continues in Japan

The Vita sold over 53,000 units in Japan last week, putting Week 51 among the top 10 weeks ever in sales. The boost also puts a million sales in Japan for the year within reach. However, its software sales remain a shadow of what the 3DS can pull off, as Japan throws money at Nintendo's games.

Even resurgent Minecraft sales can't see Microsoft's cash cow dent the top 10. But it should hit the 500,000 retail copies mark soon. Otherwise its modest sales for Miracle Girls, Exist Archive and Angelique Retour in the latest Media Create chart:

01./00. [3DS] Monster Strike (Mixi) 437.903 / NEW
02./01. [3DS] Monster Hunter X # (Capcom) 188.225 / 2.201.273 (-2%)
03./00. [PS4] Fallout 4 # (Bethesda Softworks) 123.018 / NEW

11./14. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony) 32.129 / 474.139 (+82%)
12./00. [PSV] Miracle Girls Festival (Sega) {2015.12.17} (¥7.549) - 27.484 / NEW
15./00. [PSV] Exist Archive (Spike Chunsoft) 19.984 / NEW 

23./00. [PSV] Angelique Retour # (Koei Tecmo)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SAO Hollow Realization splits for a western release

Bandai Namco so owns the Vita, in fact I'm going to replace the Sony logo with Bandai's on the blog logo (when I get a second). The latest translation is Sword Art Online Hollow Realization, announced today and bringing the latest SAO team monster battling and RPG to the west.

All of which means Bandai has pretty half of the biggest Vita western releases next year, with SAO, God Eater(s), Gundam(s) and more. Tecmo's Attack on Titan, Square's World of Final Fantasy and Falcom's Tokyo Xanadu will make it a great year if you love your Japanese games.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization takes place in one of the stages set within the original Sword Art Online. Taking on the role of Kirito, players enter a new VRMMORPG world called “Sword Art Origin”, which was created on the game’s original sever, giving players flashbacks of memories from past events. Players will enter the early period within the “Sword Art Origin” world and must find a way to win the game one more time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Japan on the case with new Gundam gear

With the news that the latest Gundam Extreme Vs-Force is coming west, I wonder if any keen importer will be picking up this new range of Gundam custom cases, bags and other Vita accessories.
They look pretty slick, more on view over at Famitsu, with each themed around a particular mech in black, red, blue and white. Vita 2000 model only by the look of it, but if you're going to cover your Vita is something, it may as well be Gundam armour!

Twitter hints for Zero Escape 3

Aksys has created a new Twitter account to feed fans of the Zero Escape and 999 visual novel puzzle series more information on the upcoming Vita release, Zero Time Dilemma. There's only a piece of character art so far, and a little text about the upcoming apocalypse, but expect plenty more in the run up to release.

Drop in on @_crash_keys_ for the latest information as the game prepares for a western release some time next year.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel burst out

Hitting the US PSN now, Legend of Heroes, Trails of Cold Steel publisher XSeed has a bunch of new screens to show off the up-rated game in action. Also check out last week's trailer, it comes with cross save across the PS3 and Vita version.

NIS America brings the game to Europe early next year.

Digimon Cyber Sleuth in western action

I've been saying for a while that Bandai should buy the rights to the Vita and make it their own. With Digimon, God Eater, Gundam and probably more coming west in 2016 - they own the handheld. Here's the latest gameplay from the western version of Cyber Sleuth, a seriously good looking game regardless of the Digimon legacy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jump Festa saw World of Final Fantasy in action

Jump Festa was up and running in Japan over the weekend, with a huge number of familiar faces and games turning up. Leading the way is a stage demo of World of Final Fantasy, but if you jump over to the Festa twitter feed, they have loads of content links to the likes of Tokyo Ghoul, One Piece and many more.

More One Piece Burning Blood in action

Bandai are getting busy in the run up to the holidays, with yet more clips of their big 2016 titles in action. However, since its most people hitting people, robots hitting robots, and people hitting monsters, or robots its getting increasingly hard to get excited about them! Com on Bandai, lets try something different shall we?

Sure there's a few new costumes or a few slightly different robots, but if it helps fund games coming west - bring it on! Here's the slick box art if you missed it.

UPDATE: Sony has confirmed a western PS4 release, but  no sign of the Vita version, yet!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bandai Europe counting down to a new game, God Eater?

A western Bandai page is counting down to next Monday, with odd messages appearing if you watch the timer for long enough. One was French and mentioned shampoo, another in Spanish! Sometimes some random, distorted, textures appear, which could be from any game, but do have a God Eatery feel to them.

UPDATE: Okay, looks like the countdown has either reset is isn't working, but since Bandai Europe has trademarked God Eater Ressurection, I think we all know where this is heading!

UPDATE 2: Confirmed on the PSN blog, with an announce trailer for the western release of God Eater Resurrection, and God Eater 2, plus Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs-Force - all the mech and monster pummeling action a Vita owner could want, happy Christmas.

I'm assuming the geometric shapes represent the PlayStation buttons. Another message just popped up, "nous sommes la proie" which translates as "we are the prey!" Yet another is...

...which is "teamwork will help us on the journey" - so definitely sounds like a multiplayer focused title. Feel free to keep watching and comment if you recognise anything - its a bit like the Midnight Channel isn't it!

Someone following the hashtag #mysteriousgames reckon they saw a God Eater MP3 file listed in the source, but it has since been replaced, so who knows! Guess we find out next Monday.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vita reaches its fourth birthday in Japan

Japan sees the Vita hit the modest 4th birthday mark. The handheld sold 325,000 units in its first week but then tailed off badly for its first year, before picking up to sell around a million units in the each of the last three.

With lifetime Japanese sales approaching 4.5 million, Japan remains the handheld's heartland with new games regularly topping the charts. That's helped by a regular supply of new colours, limited edition models and even Vitas for the likes of Yakuza, for which there is no corresponding game.
Sony will probably get another two years out of the Vita in Japan, with otome and updated or new quirky JPRGs in ready supply. After that, dare Sony release another handheld - is the likely 6-7 million existing home customers by then enough?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dragon Quest Builders goes retro in its opening scenes

Dragon Quest is 30 years old in 2016, so its only fair that the latest game celebrates its past. In that tone, we get a neat retro start to the Dragon Quest Builders trailer before kicking things into the modern age.

Even then, there's a distinct retro soundtrack playing, and while these clips look awesome we still really wait to see just how good this PS4 title looks on the Vita. We'll find out on the other side of the new year if it can boost Vita sales.

Wing Kings has the Vita in its sights

Somewhere between Luftrausers and Defender comes Infinite State's Wing Kings, offering some pixel based classic shooter action. Take out the planes, take out the buildings, take out pretty much everything.

Given Luftrausers is king, hopefully there's a bit more to the game than in this early sneak peek, but it should still make a welcome addition to the Vita's line up of great shooters.

Mega Vita sales as Steins Gate 0 delivers in Japan

Nothing can stop the Nintendo party at the top of the Japanese Media Create hardware and software charts. But the Vita is best of the rest with Valkyrie Drive and Steins Gate 0 neck and neck at Nos. 5 and 6, with 39.000 sales each - Steins was just ahead of the PS4 edition. Oh, and Gravity Rush Remastered only sold 25K, so that was worth it.

Throw in the PS3 version and Steins Gate 0 sold over 85,000. Lower down the chart, Idol Master Red/Blue manged 23,000 sales at No. 12. Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky SC Evolution creeps in at 15 with 15,000 sales ahead of the news of a third official title in the series.

Vita hardware zooms up to 35,900 thanks to seasonal sales, the third best week for the Vita and PS TV this year. Expect a couple more good weeks before the end of the year. If sales go bananas then Vita could creep over a million in Japan for 2015 to match the previous two years of a million plus. Then it will be straight back down into the doldrums until Dragon Quest Builders arrives.

Royal Defense Invisible Threat lurks on the Vita

Fans of Fieldrunners (both games available for the Vita, £3.99 for the PSP mini original and £7.99 for FR2) can grab another iOS port today on the EU PSN. Royal Defense Invisible Threat has a fantasy twist, even if it still depends on Radar as one of your utilities.

On each level, you must build towers, save money, learn spells, and keep the enemy away! Your Dwarven kingdom's eternal struggle against the troll hordes, takes the usual form with upgrades, units and new skills. Not too sure where the invisible bit comes from, that'd be really tough!

It doesn't look quite as polished as Fieldrunners, but for only £5, it might help get you through the festive season. Also out this week is Red Game without a Name, which is cheaper and looks better.

Ys VIII arriving on Vita summer 2016, Tokyo Xanadu should come west

Falcom's Japanese event concluded early this morning and the very useful @EndlessHistory (well worth a follow) has kept the world on top of events. The key news is a new Ys RPG, number eight, landing next year in Japan, subtitled Lacrimosa of Dana. It will ship on PS4, Vita and PS TV. This was teased a long time ago, and the last game to come west, Ys Celceta, did pretty well.

The early art on the site shows a very pretty city, some typical RPG terrain and some oversize monsters to deal some hefty damage to. Set on Mediterranean style islands, it will also feature developing your own villages plus some new defences (presumably not cowering in fear like the chap above).

Also of interest during the event was news that Tokyo Xanadu had sold over 150,000, well above expectations and that they are looking at a western release. Also, the game will probably pick up a sequel or continuation.

Finally, Sen no Kiseki III (Legend of Heroes) is in development, but no formats announced yet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wear red for the Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel western trailer

Get ready to love the latest saga from Falcom's Legend of Heroes. An English trailer highlights the intricate political landscape that you'll have to navigate in the land of Erebonia. The standalone story takes players back to school, Thors Military Academy where they must bond with fellow students, and look fabulous in red blazers, to earn new abilities in battle.

School interactions ear new battle moves and techniques, with combat turn-based but speedy, using the the ARCUS system. Can you keep up as this kingdom unravels in a fast moving plot. Definitely looks like a must buy!

The game lands in Europe at the end of January thanks to NIS America.

Civilization Revolution 2 Plus rates well in Japan

While not exactly a benchmark of quality these days, Famitsu still manages decent ratings for the latest Gundam and the eagerly awaited Civilization Revolution 2 Plus. With its western release delayed, there's yet another reason to feel a little envious of our Asian Vita owners.

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force  8/8/7/8
Civilization Revolution 2 Plus – 8/7/7/8
Walpurgis no Uta  8/7/7/7 (Otome)

Giant lady putting the boot in to Attack on Titan

Well, I was rather worried about Attack on Titan being populated by nothing but those Gomer-esque chap Titans. However, to restore balance here comes a female to even things out. More news in the upcoming Famitsu magazine, with the game launching in Japan in February, and confirmed for a western release sometime.

Gundam Breaker 3 and G Generation Genesis can break off already

Jeez, Gundam EXtreme Vs-Force hasn't even cleared the landing pad yet, and here comes another string of badly made robots to beat each other senseless. Hitting the Vita and PS4 next year, Gundam Breaker 3 and G generation Genesis will offer exactly the same battling as the 326 other spin-offs, prequels and notional updates.

At least the free to play Battle Fortress offered something a little different. What's the betting that there's a string of limited edition consoles to come with this one too. Still, one more for the 2016 release list!

D3 Reloads Bullet Girls 2 for the Vita

The Bullet Girls are back. The heavily armed school girls, not quite as well armed as the Panzer Girls mind, get a sequel. At first glance its hard to spot any difference between this and the original, but we can expect a couple of new characters, different moves and some more weaponry, and yet more girly tickling.

The original sold 30,000 on launch, so expect more of the same, as D3 try and milk this fairly narrow stream of entertainment a little further.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Vita price cut, will it ever come?

Apparently, Sony makes a modest profit on the few Vita consoles it sells in America, and the few more it sells across Europe and quirky markets like Brazil. While it still making decent sales in Japan, everyone is now resigned to perhaps 20-25 million lifetime units, compared to the PSP's 80 million.

Yet, at a tactical level, it will make sense for Sony to cut the price at some point. If you've been following on Twitter, you'll have seen how Vita prices actually rose around Black Friday, Cyber Monday and haven't come down since.

That suggests to me that Sony are milking every cent, penny and yen they can from the handheld, while slashing the PS TV price to get rid of it as quickly as possible. That leaves two options in 2016.

No change at all, which is possible as Sony focuses on PS4 and VR. If Sony is happy taking a little cash, why bother rocking the boat? Or, maybe, a price cut in the spring. That would come after having shaken out the Christmas present market for another year, and is about the only thing Sony could do spark to spark some interest.

Such a cut could perhaps come with a further budget model popping up (cheaper screen, more plasticky, simpler casing and revised electronics etc).

If linked to some marketing effort around digital bundles of indie games and Japanese titles, plus the few studio releases (Phineas and Ferb, Lego titles, Telltale Games and Vita classics), there could be a little more interest to drag western Vita sales into 2017, surely its last year on the retail market outside Japan.

After that, well, I'd keep a spare Vita tucked away for the years to come, when it becomes the next Dreamcast, which is no bad fate for a gaming device.

Long play of Tri-Ace's Exist Archive in action

Sony's Japan PSN blog has a piece up about Exist Archive, The Other Side of the Sky, with a few seconds of action in one clip and a longer 15-minute play in another. This does look pretty awesome and as it hits Japanese stores this week, could have a decent shot at No. 1 for Tri-Ace and Spike.

However, as a new IP, it may take a while to get going, can't say I've noticed a huge amount of press over on the Japanese sites. Wonder which version out of PS4 or Vita will sell the most?

Minecraft still dominates the UK Vita chart

Apart from the odd week where a big new entry arrives (Persona 4 DAN, Danganronpa Ultimate Despair Girls, Lego Jurassic World [three weeks] and Stein's Gate) Minecraft has been the Vita No. 1 for the vast majority of the year.

That and its huge sales in Japan (probably well over 500,000 by now) should make it the biggest selling Vita game ever, although no one seems keen to trumpet the fact. Anyway, in UK land it continues to sit proud at the top of the retail chart. Last week's chart here.

1. Minecraft
2. LittleBigPlanet
3. Fifa 15
4. Lego Jurassic World
5. Lego Ninjago

Over on the EU PSN, its the usual mix of sales and new entry Bastion managing to depose Helldivers for once:

1. Metal Slug 3
2. Bastion
3. CoD Declassified
4. Ratchet & Clank Trilogy
5. Helldivers

On Amazon UK, we have the same old situation:

1. Minecraft
2. Fifa 15
3. Lego Jurassic World
4. CoD Declassified
5. Lego Ninjago

Don't expect much to change until Lego Marvel Avengers arrives in January, which should manage decent sales as the Vita version goes open world for the first time.

Towerfall Ascension rises to the Vita this week

Just a whole year after its PS4 release (trailered), and longer since the PC original, here comes Towerfall Ascension to the Vita. A battling retro arcade game, that sees brave knights, wizards and thieves try to rescue a kingdom from evil.

UPDATE: Finally, the game now has a confirmed June 16 release date - better late than never!

It looks fun, with intense battles over a single screen and a strong focus on accurate archery. However, given I'm having to squint a bit playing Bastion on the Vita's small screen, I can only hope there is a decent smart zoom function to keep things in perspective. Also hope it maintains the local player fun feel that the original aimed to capture.

One Piece Burning Blood box art

Bandai's box art for One Piece Burning Blood is a step up from the usual. Almost has a 16-bit feel to it. A shame the series is being dragged out so much, definitely time for a new proper adventure from the anime crew and not endless brawling, or just a whole new approach.

Atelier Shallie Plus team in new pics

Gust's latest Vita exclusive update Atelier Shallie Plus hits Japan in March, with the game's website updating its screens section with new pics of the adventurers. Considering the series' is a regular on our shores, it shouldn't be too long before we get to play this.

Haven't really tried much of the series, but hoping this one gives me something to get excited about.

Hatsune Miku Diva X boxart and new tracks

Hatsune Miku will soon be gracing the Vita's screen again, with her latest squeaky exploits hitting Japan in March. With new costumes, tracks, skills and other treats, here's the box art and a video with snippets of four new songs.

Will the Vita port match this Mighty No. 9 Trailer?

Catching up on some bits I missed last week, here's a recent Mighty No. 9 trailer from Comcept. Dutch teams, Abstraction Games and Engine Software are down for the Vita port, so we'll have to see how close to this shiny video they can come, due later in 2016.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sony plays Odin Sphere in HD

Take a peek at a decent 10 minute blast of gameplay as Sony's Japanese PSN blog has a go at Odin Sphere. These HD clips show the game off really well, with that Vanillaware visual style that should really show up on the OLED Vita.

The remaster hits Japan early next year and the west not long after.

Best Buds busting 16-bit chops in 2016

Super Icon graced the Vita with the charming Life of Pixel, a jolly romp through the eras of computer and video gaming. Their new project is Best Buds vs Bad Guys which has a more 16-bit feel to it. Only early visuals so far, but the game will hit PC first, then Vita and other formats in 2016.

It features:
  • A varied and imaginative arcade platformer, with loads of blasting and a whole lot of hunting for secrets and hidden areas!
  • Equip insanely powerful, silly and just plain crazy weapons to defeat the evil army and gain access to new areas. Shrink rays, bubble guns, ice cream blasters, bouncing ball guns, explosive donuts and more
  • Dozens of varied enemies to fight, fresh from the imagination of a ten year old boy, with epic boss battles to test your skills and determination
  • 20 different worlds, rendered in 16-bit arcade pixel art style – travel to a secret enemy base, a Cliffside fortress, a terrifying cemetery, an ancient castle, a colourful toy world, the super sweet candy land, a floating rock city, mushroom town, a glittering ice palace, a spooky haunted house, an abandoned space station, a neon futuristic city and skate park, and finally to Doctor Jushaan’s lab in Hell!

More pics on the Super Icon Twitter feed under screenshot Saturday.

Friday, December 11, 2015

WipEout Album remixes 20 years of racing tunes

Ch'illout'' : CoLD SToRAGE has launched preorders for its new WipEout Remix Album. A limited run, you have until December 28 to order the £19 album. CoLD StoRAGE is Tim Wright composer of much of the music from Psygnosis' (later Studio Liverpool's) anti-gravity racing titles.

This chill out version will slow down the tracks for a more relaxed effort across two CDs, or a USB album. Check in here to order. Delivery is expected around March. Hopefully that'll be enough to get people digging the game out the cupboard and giving WipEout 2048 another blast.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Smach Z handheld PC gaming system hits Kickstarter

With a regular supply of Android handheld gaming devices from JXD, the likes of Nvidia's Shield and clunky controller bolt-ons for phones, there's still plenty of interest and opportunity around portable gaming. Unless you're Sony!

Add to the list the Smach Z, it supports around 1,000 Steam games out of the box, but not the Windows-only big hitters, and there's less chance of sneaking in emulators, unlike the Android boxes that often ship with dozens of them.

The Steam-OS powered Smach Z has raised nearly €100K in its first couple of days, with a €900K target. You need to put down €199 to get one of these at early bird prices and it features, if it hits its stretch goals:
  • AMD embedded G-Series SoC with "Jaguar"-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics with 2 GB of dedicated GPU RAM.
  • 4 GB RAM memory (8 GB on PRO model)
  • 64 GB* internal memory (128 GB on PRO model)
  • MicroSD Card Slot.
  • 5-inch Touch screen with 1080p** resolution.
  • USB 3.0 type C
  • Configurable tactile gamepads.
  • HDMI video output connection.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity 5.0 Ghz and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • 4G mobile network connectivity (PRO model only).
Neat tricks include interchangeable control pads and streaming of games installed on your PC. 

There's an idea for Sony, a crowdfunded PS Vita2, full HD, full PS4 controls, uprated processors AND MICRO SD! Not much to ask for, is it! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lego Marvel Avengers kicks its trailer into high gear

Not sure if the Vita version will feature any of the open worldness that voice over man brags about in this trailer, but hopefully the action remains pretty much the same. This clip follows on from the cool box art, and shows off plenty of evil squashing and baddie mashing fun.

Locations in the game include, New York City, Asgard, Barton Farm, Malibu, S.H.I.E.L.D. Base Exterior, Sokovia, South Africa and Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: Warner says the Vita version is indeed open world, not sure if it will be quite the same as the full consoles, but we'll take it.

Holiday rush in Japan sees Vita sales jump 10K

Some good news for blog post 5,500. While Monster Hunting still dominates Japan's Media Create chart, Vita hardware sales jump by around 10,000 as holiday sales kick in. There's no major new releases to support that jump, but the recent Famitsu reviews show lots of good stuff to come.

Minecraft is still digging it out in the top 10, with sales back over 11,100 while Umaru: Dried Fish Sister (surely a translation error) sneaks in at 15, selling just 6,000.

If it spikes up like previous years to the end of the year, with plenty of big Japanese games to come, the Vita's Japanese future, and us western hang-ons, seems pretty bright.

Stranger of the Sword City EU Pre-order is awesome

NIA Europe has just announced preorders for the Strangers of Sword City Limited Edition will go live on 17th December 2015 at noon BST. The Limited Edition that contains: Stranger of Sword City game, 108-page Deluxe softcover Art book (8” x 11”), Poster (18.5” x 26”), 2-Disc Soundtrack (Disc 1 – 19 tracks, Disc 2 – 18 tracks) and a collector’s box to keep it all in!

The game sees the player become immersed in a journey of magical dimensions, finding your way home, and making many sacrifices. It will take all your might and wit to overcome the dangerous battles you will face and outsmart the complicated Labyrinths that await you.

Vita review fest in latest Famitsu

Its an invasion of Vita games in Japan over the next couple of weeks with some medium and light weight titles rumbling onto their shelves. They all get pretty reasonable scores, no clangers among them, but will their combined weight do anything for Vita sales?

Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky (PS4/PSV) – 8/8/8/9 (Tri-Ace)
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition (PS4/PS3/PSV) – 8/8/8/8 (Sega)
Grand Kingdom (PS4/PSV) – 8/7/8/8 (Spike)
Owari No Seraph Unmei no Hajimari (PSV) – 6/7/6/6 (Seraph of the End, Bandai)
Angelique Retour (PSV/PSP) – 10/8/10/9 (From Koei, remake of PS2 romance title)
Miracle Girls Festival (PSV) – 8/8/8/7
Superbeat: Xonic (PSV) – 8/8/7/8
MeiQ no Chika ni Shisu (PSV) – 8/7/7/7 (Compile Heart RPG)
Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku (PSV) – 7/7/7/7 (Romance port)
Believer (PSV) – 7/7/7/7
Melty Moment (PSV) – 7/7/6/7

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lego Marvel Avengers gets heroic box art

Hitting stores at the end of January, Lego Marvel Avengers is the all-formats mega-blockbuster. At least the Vita version still gets a physical release but there's no minifig with the portable version.

However. the Silver Centurion is available with online orders, so perhaps we could get it that way? Umlikely, but you never know.

Certainly prefer the box art to the horrible placeholder still on Amazon...

Assassin's Creed Chronicles sneaks up on the Vita

Next April sees the trilogy version of Assassin's Creed Chronicles hitting the Vita. That's the original China missions, plus new Russia and India missions that will hit consoles first, early next year. That should make for one meaty memory card.

Just one question, why wasn't this announced at Sony's PSX event to help boost the Vita a little more there? Instead the Vita news is buried at the bottom on a Ubisoft release that few will notice. Here's the original China trailer.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Senran Kagura Estival Versus ready for battle in new videos

In SENRAN KAGURA ESTIVAL VERSUS, a mystical phenomenon transports the buxom beauties of the main series to a parallel dimension to face off against their rivals. In this strange world – which resembles a sunny, sandy island paradise – the girls are thrown for another loop as they encounter departed loved ones and ultimately have to decide if they can bear to part from them a second time.

That's what the press release says, with a limited edition with game cards and audio CD. With a Q1 2016 release date, it looks like Senran Kagura can do with the girls of Dead or Alive can't!

UK Vita chart update

Christmas child-friendly sales are in full swing now with CoD and Uncharted offering some grown up fun for Vita owners on Amazon and across the retail chart. Over on PSN, HellDivers remains untouchable at the top,

Guesstimate at the number of PS Vita consoles sold last week - I say 35, my cat says 250.

UK retail chart (boxed sales only)

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

Amazon UK chart Check the latest sales here and you can find the Pre-order list here, which currently has Legend of Heroes and Earth Defense Force 2 in high demand.

1. Minecraft
2. Lego Jurassic World
3. Call of Duty: Declassified
4. Uncharted
5. Terraria
6. Need for Speed MW
7. FIFA 15
8. Lego Ninjago
9. LittleBigPlanet
10. Lego Harry Potter

Sony PSN Best Sellers

1. HellDivers
2. Persona 4 Golden
3. Assassin's Creed 3
4. Grim Fandango
5. Steins Gate
6. Atelier Totori Plus
7 Danganronpa AE
8. Sword Art Online Lost Song
9. Final Fantasy X/X2
10. Hatsune Miku 2nd F

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Five Vita games you'll love in 2016

The Vita has a surprisingly busy 2016 ahead of it, with at least 120 games to look forward to. I'm sure more are yet to be announced, are there will be a few surprises along the way. Yes, some will drop off the radar, but considering the doom and gloom of the mainstream games press, I'm looking forward to 2016 in a big way.

To keep loyal Vitaistas keen and whet the community's appetite, here's what I'm looking forward to most. Yes, this list could easily change, but for now, these all have a reserved spot on my memory card.

1. Slain

Due April/May, Wolf Brew's retro slasher brings some of the finest pixel action to the Vita. I've been watching Slain evolve spectacularly over the year, with cutting edge gameplay and layers of polish being added. Packing a thumping soundtrack, Slain looks like a game not be messed with!

Alternatively: Axiom Verge

slain, ps vita

2. Ray Gigant

Acttil will bring this Experience JRPG west next spring, and I do like a bit of old school role playing. The monster-sized demons might not have made the game a hit in Japan, but it should do well here as long as the developers didn't over-complicate the character progression. Definitely one for the screenshot brigade!

Alternatively: Zodiac Orcanon

3. Lumo

The pinnacle of retro (for me) is when the inspiration comes from an Ultimate game, and Lumo from Triple Eh? borrows heavily from those classic isometric titles. Fun little puzzles and a great deal of exploring and secrets should make this the perfect portable game.

Alternatively: Monster Boy

4. World of Final Fantasy

Okay, it might be a cute take on the series, but Final Fantasy is still one of the biggest names in gaming, and as the recent episodes take themselves far too seriously, hopefully this episode will kick back and relax a bit.

Alternatively: Rainbow Skies

5. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Never played a Digimon game in my life, but since my son is getting in Pokemon, it'd be cool to have something on the Vita to compare. Of course, should Digimon Next Order come our way, this might have to make way for it.

Alternatively: The Banner Saga

Naturally, let us know on Twitter, Reddit or in the comments about what games you're most looking forward to in 2016.

New Steins Gate 0 trailer

After teasing gamers over the last week, Mage's Steins Gate 0 is ready to roll, hitting Japan next week. Here's the full launch trailer with plenty of ominous signs to warn our heroes about messing with the timey-wimey stuff! Like that will stop them, expect more heartbreak and brutal decisions, all delivered by text message in this gripping visual novel.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

New games announced for Vita at PSX

Good news, people! There's some more games headed to the Vita! Not exactly "new" new, but more titles nonetheless. Not only did Sony drop Bastion (£6, £3.60 for PS+), Bit.Trip Collection (£7.99) and Nuclear Throne (£9.49) on PSN today.

Double Fine adventure Full Throttle Remastered is also coming to the handheld, following up Day of the Tentacle, now dated for March. With tarted up artwork, the classic biker adventure was pretty cool in the day, although I'd still prefer to play The Dig again!

We're also getting mobile title Hitman Go (one of the best rated mobile games of the year). The Vita version will have gameplay updated and optimized, with NO in-app purchases but trophies added. And, if that proves a success, what chance Lara Croft Go?

Also coming our way is SNK classic fighter Last Blade 2, not sure if this is the Wii version or an all new update. So, that's a pretty reasonable return if you were expecting nothing at all.

This was all announced at Sony's PSX keynote, which was naturally PS4 and VR heavy. The show continues, and there should be a replay soon enough.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Square's quick clips of Dragon Quest Builders in action

No idea why this is in four tiny videos, click here to find the rest of them. They show off the construction, mining, harvesting and crafting facilities of Dragon Quest Builders.

Yes, it is a Minecraft rip-off, not sure why Microsoft isn't taking action to at least pressure Square to get it ported to Xbox One. However, it does look gorgeous and slick on the PS4, and the early signs of the Vita version suggest it won't be far behind.

Best of all is the limited edition. One day, it shall be mine, oh yes! Which I live in hope that Square or Sony will bring west.

Sony Japan Shows off the latest in Monster Hunter Frontier G9

Pah, the 3DS can suck on its 1.5 million Monster Hunter X sales, Sony Japan and Capcom can offer Vita and PS3 owners this instead. This new clip shows off some of the features of the G9 update, which I think isn't even getting a boxed version this time around, although the Wii U edition is.

Imagine how unimpressed PS4 owners will be when this series turns up on that platform next year in Frontier Online 2 form.

Wizardry appears in Japan, just like magic

Acquire has launched Wizardry Labyrinth of Lost Souls in Japan, a direct port of a 2009 PS3 game, without much fuss it should be said. We have a trailer with no gameplay, and not much in the way of coverage from the usual press. Hopefully get some hands on from Japanese gamers soon.

4Gamer has just put up some screenshots, hope you weren't looking for anything current gen about the title.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Get ready for Slain

Sure the Vita version of Wolfbrew's epic looking combat puzzler might be a while off, but check out the new front end with suitably doom-laden theme music. Confirmed for a 2016 Vita release, it is certainly one of the more cutting edge retro titles coming to the handheld! Play on loop!

Monster Hunter X destroys Japanese Charts, Criminal Girls 2 can't compete

While Monster Hunter X sells 1.5 million on launch, Japanese Vita gamers will have to make do with Neptunia War vs Sega Hard girls, selling some 100 times less at 15K at No. 6. Criminal Girls 2 also sells 15,000 in at No. 8 on the Media Create chart, while Atelier Sophie and Omega Labyrinth are already vanishing out the chart with just over 30,000 each.

On the hardware side, Vita and Vita TV do get a rise up to 15,400, but the "New 3DS LL" sells over 100K, just like that. Can't see next week's Stein's Gate 0 release doing a huge amount to help. All hope lies on Dragon Quest Builder in January it seems.

Check out 15 minutes of Xtreme VSForce Gundam gameplay

Come on Bandai, you could at least play these videos in full screen mode, but for what its worth, check out the Gundam fighting over cities, on moons, in bases and generally kicking the aluminium out of each. I hope you can turn the shouty bloke down, not that this game will probably head west.

The game is out in three weeks in Japan with the slick limited edition Vita TV and Vita models.

Sony keeps Freedom Wars alive in music form

No, I don't get it either - other than Sony has been pumping out lots of music or based on Freedom Wars. Are they just trying to keep the name alive until the inevitable PS4-only sequel arrives?

Anyway, here's another new track with its distinctive little video. They could at least have the duo doing a little freedom winning action.

Guess we'll find out Freedom Wars' fate in 2016. Until then check out the game now free on PS+, and I'm getting back into it too!

Getting back in to Freedom Wars

Okay, Freedom Wars is now free to PS+ subscribers, but I picked it up in the Christmas sale last year - got to level 6 and kind of gave up on it. Since there's likely to be a revival in interest, I gave it another shot and as with my recent WipEout 2048 splurge, I'm now thoroughly addicted again.

Perhaps if I'd just waited for that upgrade to my quad-rocket launcher, things would have been so a bit easier back then. But now I'm happily romping through the solo missions and playing my part in multiplayer battles and monster splats. Some thanks must go to GadgetGirlKylie and her many Freedom Wars videos!

If you're starting from scratch with the PS+ edition, the it does a little while to warm up. Or, if you're getting back into it, then there are now plenty of guides to help craft the best weapons to do some serious damage, no matter how nasty the Abductor.

There's loads of people in multiplayer, so give it a shot and try one of the Vita's more lively hunting titles.

Be afraid of the new Salt and Sanctuary trailer

Salt and  Sanctuary is one of the more intriguing indie titles coming to the Vita, by name and art style along.

With a huge range of massive weapons, you customize and build your lost sailor as you see fit. Exploring an interconnected world full of monsters, giant bosses, traps, secrets and lore. The world of Salt and Sanctuary is as richly detailed as it is treacherous.

Danganronpa 3 lives to kill

After the rather misfiring Another Episode, here comes the real deal, Danganronpa 3, A New Term of Killing as revealed by Spike at its December press event in Japan. Not only do we have a reveal trailer, but a peek at the accompanying anime, The End of Hope's Peak, which follows on from the events of the second game. D3 the game is an all-new affair,

These clips don't actually give much away, bot both will land next year and the game should certainly see a western release, given the series has sold pretty well over here. The official site is up and running, which will provide all the juicy character gossip over time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Space Overlords taking over next April

Space Overlords was announced back in June, but all has been quiet since then. Now, it is all systems go with a new trailer, highlighting the 3D world-striding combat action from Excalibur. A release date for next April sounds good, as your giant mechs aim to dominate the galaxy and bring to an end an ancient tyranny.

Big Fest opens its gates this week

Sony ain't afraid of no marketing! With not even a PS blog post, From out of Nowhere, here comes Big Fest for the Vita, dropped on users like an unsuspecting piece of Cherry Pie. Presumably the last first party title for the flying V, it has OntheMetal down as developers, who have next to no history.

UPDATE: Okay, Sony finally put up a blog post! Note, the game is not PS TV compatible, also it seems to be having early server issues, so check before you download.

Somewhere between Theme Park and Download Festival, Big Fest helps you build you own events, promote bands, add all the entertainment extras to keep the Youth Gone Wild happy.

Now a Vita exclusive, get ready to be Thunderstruck, hopefully! If this is Sony's idea of Christmas for handheld gamers, then umm, Thanks for the Memories? I think!

For £7.99 (not free to play as previously mentioned by Sony) it is probably worth it. Given the long development time, something good must have driven it to completion. Hopefully it won't leave a taste of Bad Medicine in gamer's mouths.

The use of unsigned bands to promote might have been a cool idea, but given the Vita's nicheness, it'll probably have all the impact of a festival hot dog.

Valkyrie Drive trailer puts it about a bit

Small squeaky girls develop weapons and powers... is pretty much all I know about Valkyrie Drive, hitting Japan next week. The Marvelous action title features plenty of jiggling boobs and panties, as you'd expect - so not getting high hopes for a translation.

Devolver teasing Downwell for the Vita

Life as a Vita fan is pretty tough (#firstworldproblems) but some days the odd bit of potentially good news drops out of nowhere. Like this Devolver tweet considering a hint of a possibility of a maybe about very popular PC/mobile title Downwell coming to the Vita and PS4.

The ever descending, 8-bit style, shooter with power boots and the odd shop to visit for improvements is all over the indie scene right now, and while a Vita version will probably cost a bit more than the cheapo (on sale) editions available now, could be worth the wait - especially if it uses the Vita's portrait mode - a sadly underused aspect of the console.

Sony's 12 Deals of Christmas Live

Over the past few years, Sony has had its more recent games up front on sale over the course of December. I remember getting Freedom Wars and The Last of Us (PS3) in recent years. However, this year there are no Vita games to make headlines with.

Fortunately, there's still a bunch of decent sale reductions further down the page, check out the PSN list for full details. Amnesia Memories, Lego Movie (only a year old) and Sly Cooper are among the more recent efforts with discounts, otherwise its the usual suspects that most of us should already own. 

Of course, if you're new to Vita and I guess some were picked up over the Black Friday weekend, then fill your boots with great cheap games!