Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hatsune Miku Diva X discos west in autumn

Wow, Sega still actually publishes games in the west! That shocker aside, the company is bringing the latest squeaky-voiced effort from the virtual vocalist and her friends later this year. Unlike the last offering, there will be a physical release from Sega (in the US at least), with the new concert editor feature and a bunch of new tracks.

In a desperate bid to prove the company is still relevant it has also announced that it will publish games formerly coming out under the Atlus brand, including Persona 5. To that end Sega put out a "look at our history" video to pretend it still matters, bless!

Best Buds vs Bad Guys busts out a new trailer

Bask in the SID chip tune music and the blaze of pixel bullets as Best Buds vs Bad Guys nears release on the Vita. Given that Super Icon's PSM hit Life of Pixel paid homage to the early generations of computer, this one seems to borrow from some classic arcade games, with definite hints of Ghosts and Goblins, Wonderboy, Turrican and quite a few others.

What can you spot?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lumo to light up the Vita in April

The PSN blog has just updated with a nice piece on the gorgeous looking Lumo, one of my most anticipated games of the year. While there's no Vita screens or video yet, the artwork alone should send older gamers into raptures of nostalgia, and the game itself will be full of nods to gaming history.

With 450 rooms plus loads of secrets, it should be quite the adventure, and as a labour of love for developer Gareth Noyce, here's hoping it finds a receptive audience on Vita and PS4.

Lumo will arrive on 22 April, more info on the blog. No word on price or if the Vita version will need to lose some of the effects to get it running well. The lovely and more than capable folks at Just Add Water are handling the Vita port!

Hatsune Miku not top billing on the Media Create chart

Japan's chart is alive with the sound of new entries, but Hatsune Miku is squashed into third by the latest Dark Souls release and a spin-off Dragon Quest game. Despite that and the arrival of DoA Venus, which was outsold 2-1 by the PS4 version, Vita hardware sales were only up 1,000 on last week to a smidge over 20,000.

01./00. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 (Square Enix) - 368.665 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] Dark Souls III (From Software)  - 210.141 / NEW
03./00. [PSV] Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X (Sega)  - 69.438 / NEW
04./00. [PS4] Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Fortune  (Koei Tecmo) - 44.723 / NEW
05./01. [WIU] Pokken Tournament # (Pokemon) - 28.331 / 98.007 (-59%)
06./00. [PSV] Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Venus  (Koei Tecmo) - 21.959 / NEW
09./00. [PSV] Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence  (Koei Tecmo) - 13.482 / NEW
12./06. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony) - 10.639 / 712.822 (+16%)
14./02. [PSV] Digimon World: Next Order (Bandai)  - 10.272 / 74.490 (-84%)
18./00. [PSV] Dance with Devils # (Rejet)  - 5.129 / NEW
20./08. [PSV] Gundam Breaker 3 (Bandai ) - 4.908 / 105.708 (-44%)

I'm sure Sony will still be pretty happy with 20,000 Vita sales a week, plus the odd big kicker when the next God Eater arrives, but for the next couple of weeks, the release list looks pretty bare in Japan. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Perona kicks ass in One Piece Burning Blood

Does every Japanese game have to have a swimsuit mode now? I blame DOAX3 Venus for this, but here comes Perona flaunting herself and some scary undead shark eyes in a new trailer for One Piece Burning Blood from Bandai. Looks like the game is going for the full on crazy!

Review: Tachyon Project

Filed under the 'from out of nowhere' Vita releases came Tachyon Project, a port of a PS4, Xbox One and PC twin-stick shooter from Eclipse Games. Compare it to the Xbox version trailer and clearly the visuals have had a bit of reality check to make for a smooth experience on the Vita, but even then this game wasn't quite as polished as Geometry Wars or Resogun.

With a thin cyber plot behind it, your ADA hacking tool breaks into systems and shoots the crap out of the local defensive tools. Of which there are many, with a range of movement patterns and functions. Suitably low-tech cut scenes bookend the game's chapters, rushing the plot along.

Across some 60 levels you need speed of thought and action to fight them off, using a range of power-ups and weaponry. The more you shoot, the more time you get, some levels you need to survive long enough, others require you to shoot "x" types of enemy, but if you run out of time, it is game over.

While the Vita version has lost its bigger brother's multiplayer modes, there's still a few Challenge modes to overcome and you can compare your highest level scores against the rest of the Vita owning community. In play, the good old wall flower technique is still pretty useful in most cases, but when that fails you need to be in the zone to survive. Do note that constant firing pushes ADA back slightly, so there's a slight benefit to not going berserk all the time.

While some of the gloss has gone, losing a lot of lighting and the hexagonal backgrounds, Tachyon Project maintains much of the fluidity a game like this needs, with only the odd bit of slowdown and quite a few jaggies.

There's some, hopefully deliberate, slowdown at the end of each level, and there's a couple of the "best of Euro dance" soundtracks that seem to deliberately change tempo to screw with you, if that's not the case - then there's quite a bit of work still needs doing.

The graphics do have a slightly rudimentary feel to them, but Tachyon Project still has pace and challenge to make it another of the Vita's cool little arcade games. The only real concern is that it now doesn't look or feel like a £7.99 game (Cross Buy price with the PS4 version), still on Steam (£6.99) and Xbox (£7.99), we aren't being gazumped for once. Look forward to trying the big screen version, someday.

So, yes this is a fun shooter, with a few hardy end-of-level bosses, but having lost the gloss, it doesn't feel quite as much of an experience. Perhaps if Eclipse had gone even more retro with the feel (more like the pixel-and-curves front-end) it could have come up with more original presentation, but that takes it beyond a port and the team is working on new, cool, games that should also hit the Vita.

The more pressing concern is the Vita already has a great line up of shooters and this doesn't quite make it into my top 10, so it may have trouble finding an audience. But in between those massive RPGs we all enjoy it does have a place as a tricky moment of shooter bliss.  

Score 6/10
More reviews
Developer: Eclipse Games
Progress: Crazy eights

Star Wars The Force Awakens devs talk Lego love

The US PSN has just put up a chat with the Traveler's Tales team working on the PlayStation versions. There's a few new snippets of the game in among the chat, discussing the new features, PlayStation exclusive content and the up-rated space combat.

There's also a look at the polish needed for such an illustrious game with over 200 characters hiding inside. Check out the original gameplay trailer here.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tachyon Project blasts the Vita

Already a popular PC, PS4 and Xbox game, Tachyon Project is hitting the Vita this week on PSN and should be right up the alley of anyone who likes Geometry Wars and Super Stardust. Even better news, the company's next game (scroll down) is also headed to the Vita.

The game is a story-driven, dual-stick, shooter that features:
  • 6 different weapons, 
  • 9 secondary weapons
  • 7 perks provide hundreds of possibilities for your ship
  • Over 30 different enemy types, including 4 bosses
  • Story mode comprising 10 levels, with hand-drawn cutscenes
  • Intense soundtrack developed to match the style of the game
UPDATE: Having chatted to the developer, the Vita version has lost the multiplayer modes and has seen a trim in the lighting effects, bloom post-processing and reduced backgrounds, replaced with a new low-poly shader, to get it running on the handheld. Eduardo at Eclipse has posted some Vita screens to take a peek at.

The game comes from Spanish developer Eclipse Games and they are working on a fun looking platformer, provisionally called Spheroids, that they plan to bring to the Vita, excellent news - so go support Tachyon Project and make it worth their while.

Five minutes is all Nippon Ichi needs

... to charm us with a dinky bunch of pixels. The company's new game, World's Longest 5 Minutes, has a little teaser website. Wait five minutes and it reveals the new Vita game coming in July, perhaps an extension or new take on Marvelous' 30-Second Hero exploits on the PSP? 

Having recently put 60 hours in Digimon, 30 and counting on Legend of Heroes, it will be good to have some short-burst games to play again. 

Toukiden 2 character intros and gameplay

Does Japan really want more not-quite Monster Hunter on the Vita? Well, Koei is going to provide it anyway, with Toukiden 2 now roaring in to life. This latest video after last week's information splurge, shows off the characters and a few clips of PS4 gameplay.

Still want to see how the Vita edition will compare, so not getting any hopes up too high just yet. I'm guessing it will look better than Attack on Titan, but the developers had better keep that frame rate up.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Toukiden 2 limited edition Vita on the way

While announcing a June 30 release date for the bigger, better, Toukiden 2, Tecmo showed off a new limited edition Vita, the first new model we've seen for quite a while. There's another option for those in Japan who don't need yet another Vita, with a large cuddly Tenko as part of the package.

Will try and get some better pictures than those provided by Famitsu from the event. There's some crappy NicoNico video of in-game action available, but I'll wait until something better quality turns up.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Atlus gets cooking with an alchemy trailer for Odin Sphere

A big part of the Odin Sphere Leifthrasir game is the provisions that players need as they go out on quests. Take a peek at some of the recipes available in this alchemy and cooking trailer, with the effects that different spells and potions have on the enemies and benefits they can have on the characters.

Grand Kingdom shows off its battle moves

Its just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, as the map and battle modes in Grand Kingdom get an airing ahead of the western launch. This clip shows off how the different units work and how using the terrain and objects can give players an advantage.

Hatsune Miku Diva X launch trailer

Sing the bloody theme tune then! Very likely to be No. 1 next week in Japan, here's more squeaky vocalising thanks to Sega.

Digimon World Next Order new gameplay clip

Celebrating hitting No.2 in the Japanese chart, with very promising sales, Bandai has put some some more gameplay of Digimon World Next Order up. Take an other trip through the open lands this game offers, which makes a distinct change of scenery from the neon worlds of Cyber Sleuth.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Trillion trailer takes the title

Trillion is out in just a week, so get prepped for the mammoth battle against the mega-hit-pointed deity with the very catchy opening movie. Actually, that's one of the best Japanese theme tunes I've heard since the Ridge Racer 4 days.

Yomawari wanders west thanks to NISA

Cute little Yomawari makes a great change of pace for Vita games after the many frantic brawlers, intense hunting games and endless RPGs. We see a young girl walking her dog, Poro, around town at dusk when she loses the pup.

The girl's sister commands her to stay home while she goes out into the night to search for the dog. Time passes. Growing impatient, the girl decides to search for her missing sister and dog herself. But when she steps foot outside, she realizes that this is not the same town.

The darkness has made the town unfamiliar, and she appears to be utterly for the spirits that stalk her. The girl must hide from, outsmart, or outrun the hunting spirits while she searches for clues to find her loved ones.

Stranger of Sword City trailer crashes in

Stranger of Sword City hits the US PSN on April 26th and now we get a proper story trailer for the NIS America RPG. It starts in a very modern way with a plane crash, but soon goes all retro with dungeons and dragons, blood crystals and Chosen Ones.

Will you survive the place called Escario, the city of swords! Looks pretty much like a direct borrowing of the Demon Gaze engine, which is no bad thing, as long as the story and deeper mechanics don't get overly fussy.

Slain arrives on PC, Vita version lurks in the dark

Following hot on the pixelated heels of Hyper Light Drifter, another cracking indie game is ready for launch on PC. The Vita version is slated for a June arrival, which should make for a bloodbath summer, it can be later if the Wolf Brew guys need more time to get it perfect!

Media Create chart welcomes Digimon

The new Media Create chart is out in Japan, and the new Digimon does well for the Vita, not far behind the mighty Pokken Tournament. Elsewhere Gundam drops fast but still moves over the 100K barrier on the Vita.

1. Pokken Tournament (Nintendo) 69,575
2. Digimon World: Next Order (Bandai) - 64.218 / NEW
6. Minecraft (Sony) 9,136
8. Gundam Breaker 3 (Bandai) 8,741
10 Summon Night 6 (Bandai) 7,144

The Vita sold a stable 19,028 units on the week, not bad as Japan motors through another quiet couple of weeks in gaming.

Also of interest, in this week's Famitsu are a bunch of almost random sounding Vita games getting decent scores along with the ubiquitous Winning Post 8.

Winning Post 8 2016 (PS4/PSV) – 8/8/8/8 (bare bones update)
Kono Oozora Ni Tsubasa Wo Hirogete Cruise Sign (PSV) – 8/8/8/8 (port of a PS3 otome)
Silverio Vendetta: Verse of Orpeus (PSV) – 8/7/7/8 (Windows adventure port)
Ore ni Hatarakette Iwaretemo Tori (PSV) – 7/7/7/7 (RPG)

Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens new gameplay features and trailer

Star Wars the Force Awakens has some new features to freshen up the Lego staples of exploring and collecting.

  • Blaster Battles – Players can now engage in intense Blaster Battles, seeking cover behind nearby objects, which is a first for a LEGO game. Characters can then pop out from the safety of cover to fight enemies with blaster fire. 
  •  Multi-Builds – The enhanced Multi-Builds system allows players to choose from multiple building options to solve a puzzle and advance the game in different ways. For the first time, the same pile of LEGO bricks can be used in multiple ways, with the player building and re-building different objects for different purposes. 
  •  Flight Gameplay – Experience the thrill of high-speed, action-packed flight gameplay like never before, piloting iconic vehicles (including the legendary Millennium Falcon) through arena-based battles and dogfights in space.

More Burning Blood in a One Piece

Bandai pops up another exciting drama-filled and passion-fuelled (well, maybe not) extended trailer for One Piece Burning Blood. The Spike developed beat 'em up, has plenty of characters and modes, but ultimately, if you like the Straw Hat gang, I guess you'll be buying it, whatever subtle nuances are buried in the fighting technique.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hyper Light Drifter gets closer

Heart Machine has just put out a new trailer for its action RPG, Hyper Light Drifter. The release date of end of March is for PC only, but it does tease with consoles coming soon. The game blew past its Kickstarter Vita stretch goal and should make a magnificent impact on that OLED screen.

XCOM invades the EU PSN

Surprise, XCOM has landed on the PS Vita, bringing one of Microprose's legendary tactical combat series to Sony's handheld. But the way it just sort of appeared kind of has me worried. If a game like Laser Disco Defender can get a PSN blog post, then why not something as big as XCOM? Perhaps a trailer, a press release, anything?

This stealth arrival instantly has people worried that its a really crappy port, shoveled over by 2K. Then again, this is the company that's taking ages to get Civilization over, so there is hope. Just not much for a company that still lists the PSP on its site, but not the Vita. 

To be fair, judging by the few early clips of it in action, it does look okay, as a port of the iPad game (I think). The voice quality sounds reasonable, given some Vita games get cursed with horribly compressed sound. The game is 2.2GB and doesn't run on PS TV due to the heavy touchscreen requirements. More soon!

Updated with longer video... Also, Sony confirmed that other part of Take 2's Double Whammy, Civilization II Revolution will be out next week! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Laser Disco Defender gets its rave on

Living in the vibe of Space Channel 5, Laser Disco Defender takes music into space and makes a shooter out of it. Keeping the disco theme, lasers shoot out across the dance floor and reflect off the edges. With procedurally designed levels, they are never the same twice and add to the challenge with a host of disco characters to play as.

More info on the PS Blog.

Senran Kagura can't beat up Minecraft in the UK Chart

Marvelous' lovely lady brawler Senran Kagura Estival Versus is the big new entry in the UK chart, managing to hit No. 2 but failing to dislodge Minecraft which probably means dinky sales. Guess it did a lot better on PSN, but they haven't updated yet - will tweak whenever they do.

UK Retail Chart

1. Minecraft
2. Senran Kagura Estival Versus
3. Lego Avengers
4. Lego Jurassic World
5. Persona 4 Golden

PSN Chart

1. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth
2. Oddworld New n Tasty
3. Bastion
4. Samurai Warriors  4 Empires
5. Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation

Amazon UK Chart (check out the upcoming Pre-order PS Vita list for Trillion and Assassin's Creed Chronicles coming early April and more!)

1. FIFA 15
2. Minecraft
3. Persona 4 Golden
4. Lego Marvel Avengers
5. COD Black Ops

Last week's chart

Monday morning Japan video round up

Happy Monday on this fine spring morning. Okay, I knew I said I wouldn't post any more girls of Dead or Alive trailers, but this is more an overall advert for the game, so that gets a pass.

We also have a second producer video with the Digimon Story team, happily translated by Bandai Europe. Come on guys, just tell us that we're getting the next game too!

Finally, D3 are still flogging those Bullet Girls 2 with more action from the trigger happy chicks.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

One Million page views, murahahaha

Okay, in the scheme of the Internet, one million views is nothing. Kim Kardasian's arse can manage that in 20 minutes.

But, for a little blog about a platform few outside Japan care about, I don't think that's too bad.

All the effort of little old me and, OF COURSE, the developers and publishers, the Vita family and fans who keep the handheld rolling by buying the games, discussing it, badgering people for ports and generally not letting it die, as Sony would clearly like it to!

I've been writing a few posts a day since the PSP era, and on some good days 10 or more stories as games come in, new support arrives and some developers bow out, or Sony tries to hamstring the Vita in another way.

Now I look to the future. Beyond 2017, the major releases will likely dry up, but with indies, translation specialists, home brewers and others keeping it going, I suspect the Vita to be around until at least 2020 and maybe beyond. Pretty sure my trusty launch day until will have popped its clogs by then, so add at least one more unit to the hardware sales column.

As the news dies down, this blog might not get to 10,000 posts, or ever reach 2 million views. However, I look forward to clinging on to my little Vita, the provider of so much gaming joy, and hope you'll all stick around for the ride.

Many thanks! PSVR

Friday, March 18, 2016

Trillion trailer racks up the points

A new Trillion trailer shows off one of the most important features of the game, Affection Points. By taking breaks between training to talk to your Overlord and giving them gifts they'll like, you'll be able to increase the Affection between you two.

Not only does this strengthen your relationship, but it acts as a buffer for your Overlord in battle - before Trillion can get to wearing down your Overlord's HP, it'll have to fight through your love first! On top of that, your Overlord relationships can determine the type of ending you will get.

Volume gets physical on the Vita

Do you fancy some Volume in your hand? Mike Bithell's latest game is coming to physical card format thanks to Limited Run Games. Impressive box art and one of the Vita's more interesting titles that I've yet to sample, mean I might give this a go.

Futuridium and Oddworld are also on the way, and who knows what will come next. 

Atelier Sophie confirmed for the west

Having making a modest entrance in Japan last year, the delectable Atelier Sophie is headed our way. Tecmo Koei teased the news yesterday and have now confirmed the release of The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, which is pretty lame as subtitles go.

Given the recent Alelier Arland bundle, Tecmo seems to be pushing Gust's series pretty hard. The game arrives on western PSNs frm 7th to 10th June, looks like only the PS4 gets a physical limited edition! Some pics on Gust's Facebook page.

Review: Senran Kagura Estival Versus

Imagine if you went on a beach holiday, and every time you tried to relax a bunch of clones turned up to fight you. You'd be cross wouldn't you? Cross enough to constantly rip your clothes off put on some slightly better ones? Perhaps not.

In the world of Senran Kagura Estival Versus this is pretty normal behaviour. It turns out the beach resort is in a parallel world (we've all had dreams like that right?) and the girls from Hebijo school and are just trying to kick back and relax.

With a horde of characters that sometimes fight each other, you battle through wave after wave of clones and the odd boss baddie over eight days of what passes for a story. At every turn the game is cleavage central, with clothes getting torn and flying off in combat. If you get bored of the battling, there's costumes to try on, with lots of free DLC costumes, plus poses to pull and feels to be had.

The most attractive moment in the whole Estival game
Otherwise, you follow the batshit story, with extra Heart missions for each girl to drag things out and add another bunch of trophies to collect. If you love the girls from their previous misadventures, then there's more story and development to get to know them better. Some missions have a bit of exploring today, but levels come and go so randomly there doesn't seem to be much sense behind them. Others have rather strict time limits, so you need to keep an eye on what's going on.

Back to the battling and the girls have a range of weaponry and special Shinobi moves to try out. Attacks while wall running and aerial raves make things more interesting, along with tag team moves with some touchscreen control. The early scraps act as tutorials, and there are a range of extra bombs to pick up and lob at the massed clones littering some levels, they can ride big dolls to splat and smite the horde if you're lucky. Health and other power-ups litter the battlefield and if you beat up some mini-temples you get more goodies available in the store.

Basically, if you take the whole boob-obsession as a bit of fun, then you have a mostly indecent mass brawler that at least isn't as po-faced as Samurai Warriors or as earnest as One Piece. Still, quite what you say to an opponent during multiplayer as you disrobe them violently or play Capture the Bra, I'm too polite to find out.

Score 6/10
More reviews
Price: £34.99 on PSN
Dev: Marvelous
Progress: In a field surrounded by lady badgers???

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Zero Time Dilemma teaser trailer

Zero Escape is on the way with a new bunch of heroes and miscreants that must work their way out of a mystery prison and figure out the truth behind their captor. All Over Again! I enjoyed 999, but never got round to finishing it, may have to give it another go before this one turns up via Spike Chunsoft.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fate/Extella high quality pics

After appearing in the magazine during the week, Famitu's website now has a better look at the screens for Fate/Extella. Definitely from the PS4 version, expect the PS Vita edition to not look quite so sharp or sparkly.

Still not much information, other than the hero is Nero Claudius of the Saber Clan and the game is due for a 2016 release. Wonder if the Vita version will borrow the latest Senran Kagura engine, just without all the boobs.

The news was the most popular story on Famitsu's site over the week, so there's high hopes for the game making a good impression. The original Fate Extra went on-sale to celebrate.

Media Create chart Summons the Night

Summon Night 6 for the Vita creeps into the top three this week, with more than double the sales of the PS4 version. However, overall it makes a pretty poor entry for the series, Summon Night 5 sold over 130,000 on PSP back in 2013.

Visual novel La Corda d'Oro 4 also makes a fairly bold entrance. Otherwise its the usual stagers all posting modest numbers.

01./00. [PS4] Tom Clancy's The Division (Ubisoft) 80.703 / NEW
02./00. [WIU] The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Nintendo) 52.282 / NEW
03./00. [PSV] Summon Night 6: Lost Borders (Bandai) 40.076 / NEW
05./01. [PSV] Gundam Breaker 3 (Bandai) 17.420 / 92.059 (-77%)
06./00. [PS4] Summon Night 6: Lost Borders (Bandai) 16.750 / NEW
07./00. [PSV] La Corda d'Oro 4 (Koei Tecmo) 15.167 / NEW
11./11. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony)  8.460 / 693.047 (+2%)
12./07. [PSV] Attack on Titan (Koei Tecmo) 7.928 / 104.663 (-36%)

15./10. [PSV] Kan Colle Kai (Kadokawa) 5.646 / 177.546 (-41%)

18./19. [PSV] Dragon Quest Builders (Square Enix) 4.732 / 281.265 (-25%)

On the hardware front, PS Vita sold another 20,000 units, keeping it on track with last year's numbers.

One Piece Burning Blood Ad trashes Tokyo

The heroes of Burning Blood are popping out of the game and into reality for this TV spot to help build hype for the next One Piece adventure. The game is out in a month, by then Tokyo should be laid to waste and Luffy's hat will have a few more scorch marks on it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Murasaki Mist gets a teary trailer

Us humans and our cocky self-assurance. that won't help when the demons turn up will it? Enter hack and slash action RPG Murasaki Mist, which riffs off Diablo, without the polish.

Set on the shores of Hell, it sees Akara, who has vowed to eradicate all demons from that have invaded her world, going on the usual epic quest with chests everywhere to help her out.

Fate Extella announced for the Vita

Last week's teaser page has cleared and Fate/Extella has been revealed, another action RPG game from Marvelous. Currently, the site only links to a Famitsu preview article. Hopefully some full-size mag scans will be available later this week.

It looks pretty effects heavy, that'll be the PS4 version then. Previous games, Fate Stay Night and Fate Hollow Ataraxia hit the PSP and/or Vita over the years to western audiences. So, here's hoping.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Aqua Kitty DX goes to Japan

The Vita isn't all about imports, imports, imports. And with a shooter involving cats, TikiPod should get pawfuls of sales with its gorgeous retro shooter, Aqua Kitty DX. The game will hit the Japanese PSN soon on PS4 and PS Vita with some extra focus on the feline milk-mining heroes to help sell the game.

If you've got tips or a playthrough, now would be a good time add the Japanese names as search terms.

A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher does the splits

Billed as a split-screen, single-player risk-em-up, A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher comes to us from El Paso, Texas. Developer, Ask An Enemy puts a speudo 3D shooter in each hand, a vertical shooter in the left and an exploring role in the right. Having to work between the two, players risk losing everything if they get it wrong.

Certainly distinct, and with a stark but appealing look, the game game hits PS4 and Vita later this year.

How successful are new PSN releases?

Okay, since Sony doesn't do sales figures, and forbids developers from revealing them, and neither does the UK's ChartTrack or any other chart company, except in Japan, here's a quick hack at some PSN data.

Just for fun, take the number of reviews (the five star rating game buyers tick on PSN) and divide by the number of days on sale for the latest new releases. That gives us a glimpse of what's popular. Please note, I am not a statistician! And, remember folks, please rate your PSN purchases!

I'll dig around to find a typical digital vs physical sales ratio, along with a "people who rate games" percentage, and then we should get some rough sales figures. If anyone knows or has a link to these figures, do let me know!

Apart from the staggering success for Digimon, respect goes to Croixleur Sigma for its performance. Otherwise it seems big brands do only modestly better than some of the better indies.

Of course, I'm not listing the star rating here, while Blast 'Em Bunnies looks pretty good, it only gets a 2.5 star average, so buyer beware!

For reference, Digimon has 825 ratings (which I'm praying don't include the PS4 version) and the brand new Samurai Warriors has just the 2.

Doing the same for the Vita PSN's current top seller list, Minecraft goes way off the chart, so nothing else shows up. If I trim it back (add another 100 for its actual popularity), we get Fez and Digimon in hot pursuit with games going back to the Vita's early days showing various legs:

To be continued:

From this base, I can figure out:
  • Updated ratings per week to show continued popularity vs died-on-launch.
  • Rough sales figures based on a little maths.
  • Trends and omens.
  • How cross I should be that I didn't start counting ratings when Sony added them to PSN!
  • Do these numbers represent EU sales only or go across western PSN stores? 

UK Chart sees Steins Gate travel back in time

While everyone else obsesses over the Division, there's a disturbance in the Vita chart. There must have been a sale somewhere as epic visual novel Steins Gate has popped back into the UK retail chart top 5. What do we reckon, maybe selling about 20 copies to achieve its new lofty position?

1. Minecraft
2. Lego Marvel Avengers
3. Steins Gate
4. Lego Jurassic World
5. Persona 4 Golden

Over on Amazon UK, FIFA 15 is tops, despite rapidly falling out of date, presumably as the football season comes stampeding to a climax. Perhaps WRC4 is getting a boost from the Mexico Rally too!

1. FIFA 15
2. Persona 4 Golden
3. Lego Marvel Avengers
4. Minecraft
5. WRC 4 Rally Championship

With the majority of catalogue Vita games now under £20, there's plenty of bargains to be had.

On PSN, its a mix of new and old with Digimon rightfully still tops and Hitman Go sneakily rounding out the top five.

1. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (825 ratings)
2. Oddworld New n Tasty (30,782 ratings, CrossBuy)
3. Bastion (812 ratings)
4. Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation (8,717 ratings)
5. Hitman Go Definitive Edition (148 ratings)

Damn, just realised If I'd built a spreadsheet with the number of ratings games got on PSN from launch, we'd have a useful sales metric (okay, I know not everyone rates). I'll do it from this week to see what's moving and gently vibrating.

Rose and the Red Castle gameplay

Get out your rouge filter for another trailer showing off some of the art and gameplay in Nippon Ichi's Rose and the Red Castle. Right at the end, have a peek at the Limited Edition goodies. Something to get you importing from Amazon Japan perhaps? The game is out at the end of April.

Zero Time Dilemma site goes live

Having been teasing the characters on Twitter over the past few weeks, Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma now has a proper website. Here you go. The story is broadly similar to the last episodes with a bunch of strangers waking up in a weird facility, tagged and primed to do whatever it takes to escape.

Old beaky Zero lurks at the bottom of the page and he'll be springing the first trailer later this week.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sword Art Online Hollow Realization second video

After being announced last year, and confirmed for a western release, things went a bit quiet for the latest Sword Art Online adventure. However, there's a new trailer out, as Namco starts to build up the hype for the latest in the high-selling series.

Take a quick trip through the epic lands and some of the bigger monsters, and get ready for more virtual RPGing.

UPDATE, and here's a translated version so we know what the hell is going on. The one benefit of Bandai working on its western version at the same time!

Devine Prison Tower slams the Vita

Compile Heart keeps dropping the new Vita game news. Hot on the heels of the sexy Seven Pirates comes Devine Prison Tower: Mary Skelter. The game is a set in a Japan that's being consumed by a living prison.

A combined effort by the Dengeki Bunko and Compile Heart teams, the dungeon RPG borrows the old blood power theme and a few others, but it sounds like an interesting premise. Hopefully it won't borrow from the Criminal Girls titles!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Four indie games that may roll to Vita

Having an up-early-on-the-weekend trawl of the Indie DB database has revealed a few games, new to me, that are listed as having Vita versions, although who knows?  I'll chase the developers to see what the chances are. If you nudge them on social media, politely tell them we'd love to see a Vita version!

In order of likelihood, we have Stupid Stones, a colourful shooter from Sweden, due out in the autumn. Coming to Steam first but the Halvarsson Games team want to bring it to the Vita.

Currently on Steam, but with a Vita mention is Endica series, which looks eminently achievable on the handheld. However, developer Dream Within does list every format on the planet as a target, so I wouldn't hold my breath.

UPDATE: The Endica team are waiting for approval from Sony, but are very keen to get the game on the Vita.

Possibly the most advanced game of this batch is Hive Wars, a 3D insect combat game, so kudos for the original angle. Developed by Third World Pixel, I'd be impressed if this ran on the Vita in a decent state.

Lastly, Blacksea Odyssey looks like the most ambitious of the bunch, their original Kickstarter mentioned a Vita version if the game was successful, so lets hope it does really well on Steam.

If you see any new indies out there, or if you're a developer and want a mention, let us know!

Friday, March 11, 2016

New Digimon World Next Order gameplay

While we get to do it all again in Cyber Sleuth with the new update, Japan is getting ready for a whole new story. Check out the latest gameplay clip showing the frisky Digimon in battle action against the usual suspects, but with new battle systems and tactics.

Updated: And another 10 minutes plus of game play to enjoy (not sure why they boxed in the action window, but the game out this week in Japan.

Trails of Cold Steel II confirmed

After a fair few rumours this week, XSeed has a bit of a news bomb for late on Friday, announcing that the translated Trails series has now sold over 350,000 copies.

In celebration of the upcoming five-year anniversary of the North American debut of developer Nihon Falcom’s award-winning RPG adventure, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, XSeed has announced The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is coming our way.
As a bonus, you can dive into PSN to pick up the original Trails in the Sky at 50% off its regular list price, for a full week starting today. Its sequel, Trails in the Sky SC, is also being offered at 30% off.

Slated for release in autumn on Vita and PS3, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II picks up one month after the decisive collision which changed the fate of the entire nation of Erebonia in Trails of Cold Steel, with a renewed sense of hope as Rean tirelessly works to right the wrongs that have led the country to disarray. Guess I'll have to finish the first Cold Steel then (currently on Chapter 6).

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies lands in April

Rejoice for retail and digital versions of from Idea Factory, arriving at the end of April.

In this hack 'n' slash Neptunia spin-off co-developed by Tamsoft and Compile Heart, you fight through zombie hordes at the prestigious Gamicademi.

There's the usual customisation of character and accessories, plus online Multiplay mode to take on more of the undead! Bask in the first western screens and then realise there's not long to wait for this to hit the shelves.


Samurai Warriors 4 Empires is yours for the taking

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires lands today on PSN for £34.99, blends the best of the tactical action gameplay with an easy-to- learn, in-depth strategy system to create the most exciting installment in the Empires franchise yet! Regulate foreign affairs, and form political and military strategies in the new Castle feature, and personalize your character and castle with new customization options.

Since Tecmo hasn't bothered with any Vita screens, here's the main artwork to enjoy. Check out some earlier videos. Early buyers get some Special Costume bonuses, if that's your kind of thing.

Rise through the ranks to eventually rule the entire land! Samurai Warriors 4 Empires marks the return of the Empires brand in the Samurai Warriors universe after a nine year gap.

Will Siralim 2 cast its spell on you?

Siralim from Thylacine has only just arrived on the Vita, but the sequel to the monster collecting RPG has already been announced and confirmed for the Sony handheld. Set across randomly generated terrain, you can collect and battle with over 500 monsters

Here's a screen from the first game for comparison. I've yet to play it, and at £13.99 might wait until it is on sale. Let us know if you've given it a spin.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Developers still fancy coding for the Vita

Over this week, I've been asking developers, in a highly unscientific and totally non-binding poll, if they'd still develop for the Vita. Thanks to all who voted! While 38 votes isn't huge, the 65% who said "yes" is a lot higher than I was expecting, assuming no ringers crept in.

Add almost another 20% who might and that's not bad for the little platform that could. So, while Sony doesn't even like to talk about the Vita these days, and every story with the slightest negative connotation is thrown around by the media like another death rattle, this tiny poll casts a slight glimmer of light.

With the Vita's fan base still doing it proud whenever a new worthy game comes out, lets hope that developers keep it in mind for another year or two to come.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gundam Breaker 3 dominates in Japan

Its all go in this week's Japanese Media Create chart with a frenzy of new entries. Gundam Breaker 3 is top for the Vita with a fraction under 75,000 sales. That beats the PS4 version by about 8,000 sales, pretty impressive considering the big-screen version seems substantially shinier.

Atelier Shallie creeps in at No. 4 with a lightweight 20K sales with Wonderfuly Party at No. 6 on 13.5K. As a footnote, Kan Colle Kai is now over the 200,000 mark including digital sales according to the publisher's Twitter. Sounds like the game still needs a lot of work though.

On the hardware side, the new Vita starter kits had a modest impact on sales, up to just under 30,000 for the week.

Elsewhere in the latest Famitsu reviews, Digimon World: Next Order top scored scored 8/8/9/8, which suggests hot sales for the reinvigorated series. 

Gundam Extreme Vs Force update trailer

Bandai never sits still and its Japanese update to Gundam Extreme Vs Force is on the way with new bots to battle and modes to play. More pics over on Dengeki, including the Mack the Knife mech. There's lots in the update, hopefully, it'll all be day one when the game comes west.

You can now import games from Amazon Japan!

Play Asia and the other importers probably are crying into their coffee this morning as Amazon Japan will now ship its titles around the world. If you want to ignore or work around the translation problems, and worry about import duties later, that means you can pick up a new Vita for £120 and games like Dragon Quest Builders or Attack on Titan from £35.

Note, there is no UK duty on anything under £135, with a 2.5% rate above that for most items. Unfortunately, you still need to create a new account, but the site now has better English support.

Also, only goods from Amazon Japan are eligible for shipping out of the country, most third party sellers do not offer the service.

Okay, the games aren't exactly cheap, but the hardware could save you some money. Unlike the last generation when I used to import PSP games and mags for the demo discs, and download direct from the Japanese PSN, there isn't quite the thrill from importing today. Still, it could be a useful avenue for some who don't want to wait for the translation and great for special editions that we never get.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir has combat skills

NIS America has a trailer up showing off the skills and combat moves of some of the crew. The Atlus/Vanillaware game is looking very dramatic and full of big scary dragons to conquer with a blistering array of spells and weapons.

Five minutes of Cladun madness

Nippon Ichi's latest Cladun game has had an exciting and pixelly site up for some time, adding screen shots here and there. But, here's a first look at the game in action with very classic dungeon crawling, with many characters, all capable of massive destruction. Sounds great to me!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Seven Pirates raiding the Vita

UPDATE: We have a teaser trailer to go with the artwork, introducing the curvaceous piratesses who lead the game, and yep - more boob jiggling. Oh, well - next!

Dengeki has a new issue out later this week and one of the big reveals will be Seven Pirates. From the brief information available, its a new Compile Heart RPG about a team of buxom lasses cavorting about on the high seas.

Not much other detail available,  bar some character art, but the reveal is in Thursday's print magazine with a webcast introducing the voice cast on Sunday. Expect plenty more on this soon.

Incoming update adds more Digimons to Cyber Story

Damn, I'd finished the game, got all the sane trophies and was thinking of moving on. But, no! Here comes an update from Bandai adding a collection of new Digimon to the herd. That might tempt me back in.

Bandai says the update is as a reward for strong global sales, which sounds like good news to me. The 1.04 update is landing around the world on 10 March. Among the newcomers are Shine Greymon, Mirage Gao Gammon and a Burst Rosemon (shoot me if the autotranslate is wrong.

More on Famitsu.

Question for the devs out there

First up, the Vita isn't going anywhere. We have an endless supply of Japanese games heading in, a hefty roster of games from indies large and small. I'm not worried about that, The handheld should easily make it through 2017, and beyond as a funky box of joy.

However, the number of actually new western games being announced, either with a Vita version mentioned, or a stretch goal seems to be tailing off fast. Is this a seasonal thing? Is the number of cancellations of Vita versions a growing trend.

Let's ask those in the know!
I don't want anyone to blow their next bit of big news (although it'd be nice)! Let's get a feel for the future!

Your Monday collection of Japanese Vita trailers

Fresh from YouTube, yet more girls of Dead or Alive and Hatsune Miku. Without these ladies, YouTube would be pretty dead for Vita games. What happens when they're out on the shelves? It'll be a wasteland I tell you. There's also a launch trailer for 5pb's Punch Line!

UK Chart Roundup

Okay, all seems pretty quiet on the western front with little in the way of physical releases.

I like that CoD is top of the Amazon Chart for £15 and in the PSN chart at £45, who is paying those prices? Flawed or not, I'll give it a go now and with Killzone only £14, that's a lot of shooting fun for under £30.

Good to see Digimon still selling well digitally, it was top of the US and EU PSN for February! It has over 750 ratings, which suggests at least a few thousands sales. Wonder if that'll nudge Bandai into a physical release for the Next Order title.

UK Retail Chart

1. Minecraft
2. Lego Avengers
3. Lego Jurassic World
4. Persona 4 Golden
5. Killzone Mercenary

Amazon UK Top Sellers

1. Call of Duty (£15)
2. Minecraft
3. WRC 4
4. FIFA 15
5. Persona 4 Golden

Full List Here

PSN Vita Top Sellers

1. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth
2. Oddworld New n Tasty
3. Call of Duty (£45)
4. Minecraft
5. Lego Marvel Avengers

Friday, March 4, 2016

New Asterisk War battle video

Asterisk War died on its arse in the Japanese chart, vanishing after just a week with 12,000 sales. However, Bandai is keeping on with the marketing with a new clip of some limp-wristed battling. Seriously, I doubt this will help it sell a single extra copy, but its there if you want a peek.

Lumo will light up the Vita thanks to Just Add Water

Vita developer, and increasingly porting expert, Just Add Water has today confirmed it is bringing the awesome looking Lumo from Gareth Noyce to the the Vita and PS4 at the end of April. The PlayStation versions will be Cross Buy and Cross Save.

A modern take on the classic isometric games, Lumo is one of my games of the year to look forward to. Hopefully JAW can keep up the smoothness and glow of the game.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Deluxe Edition for Japan

With all that DLC creaking about, there was bound to be another boxed copy for PSO2 Episode 4, and here it comes landing in April for Japanese gamers who haven't yet splurged. Naturally, the tight on memory Vita version recommends a 16GB memory card to go along with the game, suggesting that not all the content is on the game cartridge.

The new version is out on 20 April, and despite Sega putting up a recent poll where loads of Vita owners asked for this to come west (I'd hope), nil chance of it coming west - mainly due to the server and infrastructure cost.

Review: Hitman Go: Definitive Edition

Oh, you cunning bastards! Just when I think Hitman Go has run out of ideas, there's always something else it throws at me. A new diversion, a new minion or puzzle forcing a tactical rethink.

For £5 (with PS+ discount), this game has made me think a whole lot more than the full length of epics like Digimon and Legend of Heroes before that - consider that when you moan about paying for a mobile port.

For those thinking "Hitman on the Vita!!!" hold your trigger finger. This is a diorama step by step puzzle game pitting you against thugs and a set of goals you need to achieve to advance, unlock later missions and gain the top trophies.

As the Definitive Edition, everything is here, no DLC. If it sells well enough then we also have to help for the similar Tomb Raider puzzler, which won a bunch of game of the year awards. So, get shopping.

Some of the missions are inspired by levels from the core games, others are just a bit of warn-up fun. Each set has a distinct feel, from bourjouis party to dusty Arab settlement. Use the right stick to free look around and then plan your moves, finding keys to open doors, cases to complete a level, weapons to even the odds and those red targets for the big-prize kill.

Fluff it up and restart is only a tap away, and then you think about using the trap doors, plantpot cover and other distractions to better solve the level. Once done, you can either retry to finish off the missing tasks, or head on to the next job.

There are plenty of trophies on offer, but you need to complete every tasks across a series of missions to rake them in, so consider that. Looking perfectly resplendent on the OLED, the game brings a subtelty and cleanliness to the art of the kill, from the board game box presentation to the mix of "no-kill" and "kill all enemies" cards for some levels that require totally different tactics.

Even with the extra content, it is a short dose of fun, but so cunningly refined that you'll soon wonder where the time went.

In short, buy it, enjoy it, kill it!

Score 7/10
More reviews
Price: £5.19 on PSN
Dev: Square Enix
Progress: Platinumed

Caligula trailer is a shock to the senses

Written by one of the Persona guys, Furyu's Caligula (no, not that one!) is another game that obsesses about kids trapped in school, this time in a virtual reality version. Trying to get out, some of the kids must fight the VR system that keeps them there and the other people who want to remain locked in this scholarly Matrix.

Hopefully there's more than just endless school halls and classrooms to battle in, and the visuals are smoother than this jolting early effort. The game is out in June, no news of a western release.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Music3 taps it up in Japan

Packing in the usual mix of tunes, characters and a vague attempt at plot and the endless quest for big combos, here's Music3, another tappity-along game in Japan. Find out all the many songs and other information, on the Japanese site, not sure it will compete with all the big names coming out but, hey, smile and tap - what's not to like.

More crazed Vita advertising from Japan

Following on from the Christmas gift theme, it seems Japanese junior detectives all want a Vita to solve any cliff-side dramas. So, there you go. I guess this coincides with the new Starter Pack Vita bundles, despite not showing it, and not doing much for Dragon Quest Builders either.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

More bloody ninjas storm the Vita

Curve and Four Circle are throwing a new ninja game at the Vita. Hot on the heels of Ninja Senki DX and the classic Kung Fu Rabbit, it has a lot of company. Already testing PC gamers, 10 Second Ninja X sees you having to complete each level in under that magical time limit.

With enemies, pirates, barriers, electrified areas, getting all the elements of each level right, fast enough, will take some skill. Are you ready to risk the health of your Vita in such a challenge? Hey, we've played stuttering Borderlands and cranky CoD games - of course we are!

 Full details here, release date is down as summer.

God Eater 2 Rage Burst and Resurrection developer diary notes

Bandai has popped up a translated chatty video to show how the headed-west God Eater games got off the ground. While they might just be remakes or upgrades, GE Resurrection will still be welcome in the west as Bandai continues to pour on the coals when it comes to bringing us top line Japanese releases.

Ubisoft has an EU PSN sale

While its output might be limited, most Ubisoft games are classics of their genre. So, if you haven't picked them up yet, the following are now half price on the EU PSN store.

Child of Light £4.79
Lumines ES £4.79
Rayman Origins £5.99
Rayman Legends £7.49

There's also a Resident Evil sale but the new Vita Revelations game doesn't make the cut, but you can pick up the PSone RE 1,2 and 3 bundle for just £4.99. A few more Vita titles on the Digital Discount list.

Kamen Rider fights off weak competition in Japan's new chart

For once, the Vita doesn't dominate proceedings as it has in recent weeks. Instead, gamers decided to buy more of Kamen Rider Batrride War Genesis on the PS4. The big-screen version sold 33K at No. 1 over the Vita's 22K at No. 3. In a quiet week, Beyond the Sky, a girly adventure crept in at 11 with 10K sales and Brave Mortal dropped in at No. 17, selling just 7,000 copies.

Vita sales notched up another 17,300 units, which is okay for the time for year. That's still ahead of the latest 3DS model, Vita should do better next week with the new slightly cheaper Starter Kit out. There's also three decent games out tomorrow in Japan including Is the Order A Rabbit? (5pb.) Gundam Breaker (Bandai) and March Atelier Shailie Plus (Gust).

The badly bugged Kan Colle Kai dropped like a stone from No. 1 to No. 7, while Attack on Titan sold another 22K to move up to 84,000 over two weeks.

Is PlayStation Plus done on the Vita? Can Sony stop pretending it cares now

With the PlayStation Plus games list dwindling down to indies and the odd curio and hints suggesting that Sony may be dropping PS3 and Vita from the In-Game Collection. Is the end nigh for cheap games on the Vita?

It doesn't really make much difference, for the Vita to continue as a going concern, games from major publishers need to be full-priced to generate revenue. Indies developers need higher level prices to make it worth publishing on the Vita, none of which is conducive to the "here, have some free games" motif of PS+.

So, its no great loss, but like the closure of the PSP store in the US, the end of Vita TV and the loss of apps, it will be seen as another bit of bad news for the usual sites to draft yet more scare stories for the handheld.

Realistically, Sony should just put its hands up and (outside of Japan) go "yep, we're done here!" That would save everyone a lot of trouble and open the Vita up as the 2011-era box of fun it was. The current limbo state, plagued by over-priced memory cards (still) and few western games goes away.

Fans and owners can stick around the fun Vita family like many retro-gamers still cling to their Dreamcasts, all the way down to 8-bit computers and NES games. I think it would remove any last pretence that Sony still cares and free the system up from any last hope of expectation.

The one saving grace, no PS+ means no stupid huge list of non-compatible games appearing at the top of the Download History on the Vita's PSN store app - something over all the years Sony couldn't be bothered to fix, showing just how much they care.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Meet Mammon and Ashmedia from Trillion

A big hello to two of the ladies who are presumably trying to bring about the end of Trillion, God of Destruction.

Ashmedia is the Overlord of Lust, and certainly lives up to it. She flirts and teases, but it's hard to tell if she's serious or not. She even takes this lust into battle - there's nothing more satisfying than hearing the death cry of an enemy caused by her floating spear-like weapons, appropriately named Incu and Succu.

Mammon is the boisterous Overlord of Greed. Though she's tasked to keep watch at the Gates of Hell with Perpell, she's more often than not abandoned that post in order to seek out treasures in the Underworld - which may have been a saving grace when Trillion invaded. Now she turns her twin daggers to Trillion so she can become the Great Overlord and acquire all of the Underworld's treasures.