Thursday, December 29, 2016

Vita ends 2016 with 57,000 sales in Japan

Ending the year on a high note, the Vita sold 57,170 units in Japan, according to the latest Media Create data. That brings it close to 825K sales for 2016. Not bad for a five year-old system who's last cosmetic reboot was a couple of years ago. Aside from a few new colours and ditching the OLED, the Vita is a museum piece in terms of technology, compared to the smartphone army.


All that said, Minecraft is the only Vita game in the top 10, hammering away with another 50,000 sales, taking it over the million boxed copy mark, I guess a lot of Japanese kids are learning the blocky game on the go.

Over the course of the year, the big problem is that only a couple of Vita games have really boosted hardware sales. The regular spikes from previous years are nowhere to be seen, with a horrendous flat line between the start and end of the year.

The rest, even the good ones, crack about 100-150K boxed sales before vanishing fast. Sure digital sales will help boost those numbers and add a long-tail, but the old suits in the big offices would still prefer their millions of yen up front.

Friday, December 23, 2016

European PSN January sale now on, all big games cheap

Check out the EU PSN website for the big name sale that kind of makes up for no Vita games being in the 12 days deals. Persona 4 is a mere £3.99 and Freedom Wars is £7, if you don't already own them, or are getting a Vita for Christmas.

Most big games have at least £10 off and up to 2/3rds off in some cases. Zero Time Dilemma is £18, Dancing all Night £12, Steins Gate 0 is £20 etc etc. SuperBeat Xonic is a bargain at £11 while at the budget end, Titan Souls, Last Blade 2 and Bastion are under £4 each.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Go go Gun Gun Pixies opening trailer

Compile Heart is going to great lengths to dull the pain of the pending election of Donald Trump. Imagine a world where everyone could play this game, where tiny pixies sneak around in the bedrooms of young women and influence their lives in peculiar, heavy-weapon kind of ways, to get them dating. No one would even notice the buffoon was in power, let alone trying to speed the world to nuclear Armageddon.

As it is, Japan gets the game in March, no sign of a western release, but frankly America needs more of this lunacy if it is going to have to put up with a gimp like Trump!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Vita still got fans, sells 36K in Japan

On the back of the decent launch of SaGa Scarlet Grace plus seasonal sales, the Vita shifted over 36,000 units in Japan over the week. A good final week could see it pass through 800,000 on the year - according to Media Create sales data. That would be 20% down on last year's million, but still makes the Vita far from a dead format in its homeland.

A rough currency check is about $120m in revenue, for what must be a pretty low-cost production line. That's a good business for most companies, assuming Sony still produces the ARM-based Cortex-A9 and SGX543MP4+ GPU chip, and can keep partners turning out the other now-pretty-old components for the system.

On the software front, Square's SS Grace sold 65,000 on launch, landing at No.4, even with its supposedly high difficulty factor. Minecraft grabbed a seasonal boost and shifted 20,000 on the week to stay in the top 10. That brings it ever-closer to a million boxed copy sales.

Akiba's Beat on PS4 failed to make the top 20, which is bad news. Hopefully any issues will be fixed come next year's Vita launch (I'd hope so, as its one of my "Five games to love in 2017"), if Acquire can be bothered. I guess they have to focus on Vita now to recoup development costs, but be prepared to chalk up another cancelled game, just in case.

Last week's chart data saw a modest boost with the new colour models, place your bets on what next week's number will be. 30K, 40K, 50K or 60K+?


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey lands in March

The Vita fun continues to stretch into 2017, despite more games being pulled or ignored. Next up for an official date is the vibrant Atelier Firis, coming our way on 10 March 2017. That follows on from January's Atelier Shallie. Despite the lack of imagery, beyond this tweet, the press release sets the scene pretty nicely...


UPDATE: inevitably a new trailer followed that:

A vast world awaits in Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey, with views ranging from busy harbors to murmuring rivers, to imposing mountains, and more. Along Firis’s heartwarming adventure, she will visit a wide variety of picturesque towns and villages such as Reisenberg, the prosperous city where travelers gather, Mechen, a tranquil village with fields as far as the eye can see, and Flocke, the village of dancing snow.

Between settlements there are a plethora of different environments to discover, each with their own particular weather conditions that affect travel. Selecting the appropriate attire for each situation will grant Firis benefits and allow her to easily traverse these terrains. The Snow Bright costume reduces the consumption of Life Points in icy cold conditions, while the Zealous Explorer gear aids travel through blistering heat. Outfits can have countless other effects such as accelerating movement speed, enhancing synthesis abilities or increasing the likelihood of finding high quality materials!

While exploring their surroundings, players will encounter events which they must overcome to access new locations. These challenges will have multiple solutions that can permanently alter the environment. Take a broken bridge, for example – fixing the bridge will allow for easy access to the other side, but taking an alternate route could lead to the discovery of useful synthesis materials. Some of these Landmarks will be quite useful for Firis’s travels and she will need to return to them often! Once visited, Landmarks can be used as Fast Travel locations, allowing Firis to easily travel back and forth across the world.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Minecraft celebrates Christmas at UK retail No. 1 with great new content

Minecraft has been out for 110 weeks in the UK, and spent much of that time at the No. 1 spot for retail sales. Only sizeable Vita releases including Steins Gate 0 and World of Final Fantasy have managed to depose it for short periods of time.

Given its permanent spot in the Japanese top 20, and on the PSN charts around the world, Minecraft has to be - by a huge distance - the single biggest seller on the Vita. Congratulations to Mojang and 4JStudios for keeping it going and up to date with the latest content. Check out the latest updates here.


December's release includes great new content including - After killing the Ender Dragon in the new End, an End Gateway will spawn nearby. Throwing an Ender Pearl into this will teleport you to a new area in The End with an End City and End Ship. Within the End City and End Ship you can find Shulkers, Elytra, and a Dragon Head.

UPDATE: Looks like the new version is causing a lot of crashes, according to posts on Twitter, you may want to hold off until there's a fix!


Bandai really doesn't get marketing does it? Digimon World farce continues

Someone in Bandai's office in Japan had a great idea. Let's show people how much improved the PS4 version of Digimon World: Next Order. So the comparison video below shows what looks like an average PS3 game and the Vita version.

Sure the Vita version is muddy and misty, but if I had a PS4 and was currently playing FFXV, I'd hardly be likely to bump this up my must-by list. And as a Vita owner, all it shows is that Bandai could, if they tried bring the Vita version west with no trouble whatsoever. Muppets!

Start your week with more Danganronpa V3 characters

Meet more of the folks of the new Danganronpa V3 trip into murder, mayhem and cackling bears. The game, confirmed for western release in 2017 on PS4 and Vita should neatly round out the trials and tribulations of the Hope's Peak Academy mob. Anyone betting on a Switch release too, as Nintendo tries to prove its new machine is all edgy?

Update: Another quick clip from Spike Chunsoft:

This week's contenders are Ryoma Hoshi, Kaito Momata, Himiko Yumeno and the super-bubbly Angie Yonaga, line up their stupid death ideas now.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers gets western gameplay trailer

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers lands on PSN for Vita on 1st February 2017. It uses a tactical gameplay system where players strategically move their units across a battlefield to defeat opposing forces. Actions take place on a grid, with units moving a select set of spaces before carrying out offensive or defensive manoeuvres.

Cunningly attacking from the sides and rear of an enemy will deal significant amounts of damage, allowing units to be eliminated more efficiently. Defeating enemies successfully will enable Synchro Mode, which allows the user to unleash powerful attacks that can decimate an opposing force.

A useful companion in battle, Lixia has strong powers once sealed away into orbs. Lixia’s Orbs are unique objects that can lend an upper hand against tougher opponents. Whether the player chooses to envelop the battlefield in flames or flood enemy strongholds, these elemental changes will break through defences and reduce infantry numbers! Players will unlock and obtain a variety of Orbs through the story, each offering its own unique abilities.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

SaGa Scarlet Grace is getting played in Japan

Check out a load of Square Enix's SaGa Scarlet Grace gameplay from YouTuber momogamesan, they have just over an hour's worth of action in five clips. They show off battling, the maps and those incredibly dull chat screens (really, its almost 2017 developers - more motion required).

Toukiden 2 confirmed for western spring release

Been so happy playing Freedom Wars and God Eater(s) recently that I forgot all about Toukiden 2, which Tecmo has confirmed will hit western shores early next year. There's a website and everything, the strange thing is, neither it or the press release mention formats, which is usually top of the list or bottom of the home page (although Vita is mentioned in the page source). Tecmo has put up a translated edition of the anime produced for the game.

Formally, all Tecmo is saying is "We haven’t currently confirmed platforms for Toukiden 2  – please stay tuned for further announcements on this front." Given Toukiden 2 only exists on PS3, PS4 and Vita, its hardly a challenge for them to figure out what they are doing.

Set shortly after the events detailed in Toukiden: Kiwami, Toukiden 2 introduces an all-new, captivating narrative featuring a compelling cast of companions and more devious demons to defeat. Players will step into the shoes of a Slayer tasked with saving humankind by carrying out special quests to reduce the monstrous hordes and liberate Oni-infested areas. Toukiden 2 boasts a vast and extensive open world full of danger and wonder, and takes the player deep into enemy territory. Slayers and Oni will battle it out in the Otherworld, a tormented battleground divided into six distinct Ages. Revisit the redesigned Ages of Yore, Grace, Honor, War, Peace and Chaos, each distinctively representing an era of Japanese history, and discover more about the Oni threat and your character’s unique role in its resolution!

Danganronpa V3 Limited Edition Vita models

The Danganronpa series might be pretty niche in gaming terms, but its still a big thing for the Vita. So, it is only fair that the next version comes with a couple of Vita LE models. Available in black or white for Japan, they come with a collection of cute pixel characters on the rear touch panel and more stylish art on the grips.

There's also a neat set of themes and artworked packaging, all for 20,980 yen. They hit Japanese Sony stores (and its online store) only, from 12th January. A PS4 version sports a big Monokuma with a 500GB drive. Given there's no such thing as a new Vita in the west these days, would it be too much trouble to ask to punt a few hundred units for keen western buyers?


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Touhou Genso Wanderer gets a survival guide video

Coming February from NIS America, Touhou Genso Wanderer is a roguelike RPG, letting the player explore as Reimu, the Hakurei Shrine Maiden, to investigate an incident in the world of Gensokyo.

Along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of characters from the Touhou Project universe, discover mountains of loot—each piece of which is valuable thanks to the game’s item fusion system—and test your mettle with your favorite Touhou girl in tow as your adventuring partner in this approachable take on the roguelike genre.

Valkyria Revolution comes west next spring

Coo, well that's a surprise. In Japan, Valkyria Azure Revolution (many trailers) was handled by Sega, so I figured we wouldn't get much of a sniff, but the Atlus arm of the company is still functioning with the slightly renamed game coming west next year, Deep Silver will publish in Europe.

The Valkyria, the embodiment of death is returning to the battlefield in Valkyria Revolution and players will have to do - and sacrifice - whatever is necessary to seek out their vengeance. That means we get it as digital-only on the Vita. PS4 owners will get a physical release.

Valkyria Revolution is also in a sense a revolution from the traditional Valkyria Chronicles universe, as it's set in an alternate timeline based on the European industrialization era and eschews the traditional turn-based strategy gameplay for a new hybrid of real-time combat and tactical strategy across battlefields. Valkyria Revolution will be available in Q2 of 2017.

Valkyria Revolution Features:

  • A Brush with Death - Turning the tide of battle in Valkyria Revolution is Brunhilde, one of the last of the ancient and powerful Valkyrur, magical beings with near limitless power. She's bound by oath to the enemy forces and players will have to figure out how to defeat her.
  • Prepare for LeGION - Valkyria Revolution has a brand new battle system that mixes real-time combat and tactical strategy. Players can take control of the battlefield using brazen combos or cunning tactics and finding a balance between them is the key to excelling in skirmishes.
  • The Ingenuity of War - Through adversity comes great engineering, and with a besieged homeland, players will have upgrade their existing weapons through branching customization paths.
  • A New Painterly Look - Valkyria Revolution has a refined look thanks to the new Gouache rendering engine, giving the graphics a unique canvas texture. Classic Composer - Valkyria Revolution has a vibrant soundtrack brought to life by the incredibly talented composer Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, Stella Glow)

Vita sales get a little colour in Japan

The metallic red and silver new Vita colors, plus the Minecraft LE (unboxing here), helped the Vita to its best sales figures for a while in Japan. It sold 22,314 on the week, but nowhere near enough to suggest that Vita is anything but in a holding pattern among Japanese gamers, barring an end of year spike.

That's according to the latest Media Create chart data. As if to ram home the point, Minecraft is the only Vita game in the top 10, with SD Gundam down at no. 20. However, Square's SaGa Scarlet Grace is out this week, which should have an impact, and plenty of smaller releases to come.


This week's Famitsu Vita game scores:

Adventure Story of the Goold Old Days  [27/40]
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 6: Gentou Rondo [35]
Hatsuru Kotonaki Mirai Yori [29]
Ken ga Kimi: Momoyo Tsuzuri [32]
Re:Birthday Song: Koi o Utau Shinigami – Another Record [29]

Last week's chart details

Air Race Speed revs up to the Vita next week

An iOS game from Poland, Air Race Speed looks pretty impressive and is landing on the Vita next week. Developed by Qubic Games, its a 3D racer with a touch more navigation freedom than WipEout, and a distinct touch of Descent about some of the levels. Should be excellent with proper controls.

The company also has plans to bring some more of its games to the Vita in 2017, including; Mr Pumpkin Adventure (currently on Wii U), Koi (fish life sim on PS4) and Fairuneso (a 3DS retro RPG), so watch this space. Hopefully that will include the PS4-bound Robonauts, but all their games have a decent style and quality level, so I'll take whatever they can get over.

Active Soccer 2 DX hits the Vita today

European footie fans finally get a new Vita game, almost three years after the last FIFA outing. US soccer fans will have to wait until early next year, but it looks worth the wait with tight Sensi-style action the order of the day. The Vita version of Active Soccer 2 DX from The Fox is a single player experience, other than that, has all the features of the PS4 edition.


  • Career mode, supporting over 1000 teams (club and national) from all over the world and 23,000 players with individual skills
  • Classic teams and hundreds of legendary players included
  • Design your favourite competition
  • Complete team editor
  • Varied weather conditions
  • Different camera views: you can play vertically, horizontally or with a diagonal view
  • Soundtrack created by Chris Huelsbeck, a legend of game music

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

99 Vidas (99 Lives) gets new screens

Unity-powered retro brawler from Brazil, 99 Vidas is nearing completion, and here's a new batch of screens to celebrate. The QUByte developed title has moves and special attacks by the fistful to help you beat down wave after wave of opponents.

There's a couple of brief video clips of the game in action on their Facebook page.




Vostok Inc puts the comedy back in trailers

Think games are taking themselves too seriously, check out the trailer for Vostok inc, the galactic shooter from Badland Games. In the game, you pilot a ship, looking to explore and exploit more than 40 planets across six different solar systems in the quest for riches!

Start by landing on any planet to begin colonisation, build factories, and rake in the big bucks. Once the moolah starts flowing, you’ll be able to upgrade your ship weapons and augmentations.

Square shows off SaGa Scarlet Grace game systems

Given Square's current stance on western Vita releases, there is no way we are getting this RPG battler, so enjoy the Japanese trailers while you can. SaGa Scarlet Grace looks to have massive worlds to explore and fun battle systems, all neatly shown off over this five-minute clip. The game is out this week in Japan, if you fancy an import.

P.S. for comedy value, and a little understanding of the game, you have to read the NeoGAF thread dedicated to the game.

Xenoraid swarming the Vita in early January

Finnish developers 10tons continue to bring the games with  Xenoraid hitting the Vita, hot on the heels of the awesome Neon Chrome. The latest shooter from the team arrives on January 10th for America and 11th for Europe for $9.99 (likely £7.99) but will be free as Cross Buy if you already own the PS4 version

Xenoraid’s gameplay is accessible to all with procedural missions, real time fighter switching to keep things fresh and an additional Hard Mode and three survival levels with online leaderboards for replayability. It looks like the Vita version is single player only, but still should be bags of fun.

UPDATE: The game should be pretty identical to other versions, the developers state "Technically speaking there are less dust layers in the background on the Vita version, and I believe we switched the inactive area blur effect when navigating menus to a much lighter fade effect."

 Features:
  • Experience dynamic shoot'em up action with no level memorization 
  • Switch between four fighters in the heat of combat 
  • Manage your squadron with weapon and tech upgrades 
  • Master advanced shooting mechanics like fighter tilting and weapon heat 
  • Fight through a Campaign mode with more than 40 missions and four boss fights 
  • Compete in three endless Survival stages with online leaderboards

Fate Extella The Umbral Star western trailer

I've done the many Japanese trailers and costume DLC clips to death, so forgive me for not being too excited about their western equivalents. But, here we go with one of the first big Vita games of 2017 getting the announce treatment. Coming our way thanks to Marvelous and XSEED, the game is due out on 20th January.

Vita games star at Japan's PlayStation awards

Sony's big shindig for the games of 2016 has just wrapped in Japan, with a host of PS4 and VR titles given the gold prizes for reaching over 500,000 sales. But, among them, Vita titles (multi-format TBH) managed to crash the party with Pro Jikkyu Baseball 2016, Dragon Quest Heroes II, Dragon Quest Builders and SAO: Lost Song getting a mention.

Phantasy Star Online 2 picked up a network play award, while Dragon Quest Builders was the only Vita recipient of a User's Choice Award

Yoppin's Downwell and the upcoming to Vita Salt and Sanctuary also got nods with indie special awards.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Danganronpa 3 and Black Wolves Saga clips

The Japanese trailers keep on rolling, with a couple more to join last Friday's splurge. Check out the latest action from Danganronpa V3 and visual novel Black Wolves Saga. Will update this piece if any more pop out today.

And along comes Wonderland Fantasy Township TOD - RELOADED at the bottom with a smart looking limited edition.




Some Shantae Half-Genie Hero Vita screens

WayForward's Shantae Half-Genie Hero finally graces the Vita next week after what seems like years of development. Here's a batch of screens to celebrate the portable version, looking mighty close to the full HD versions. There's more detail about the game in last week's piece with the launch trailer.




Saturday, December 10, 2016

Minecraft Limited Edition Vita unboxing (Japanese)

As mentioned over the week, I saw lots of tweets from Japanese gamers with their new metallic red and silver PS Vita models, that came out this week. But, there was no sign of the new Minecraft Limited Edition, which I think was only on sale from Sony's online store.

Presumably a few gamers have got their mitts on them now, as this double unboxing shows off both versions with the themed rear panel art. It comes with a physical Minecraft copy and a Glacier White console with a Minecraft theme. Jealous isn't the word, although I'd still prefer a red one. Anyone importing these? Let us know what you think.


If you thought that was fun, have a look at how they are celebrating all-things Minecraft on the streets of Japan with a very Christmassy display.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Shantae finally gets to strut her stuff on the Vita

Looking for a new platform hero? Well, Shantae dates back to 2002 on the GameBoy Colour, but isn't dragged out at every launch and rehash opportunity like Sonic and Mario are. This is only her fourth outing, and she hits the Vita looking fresh and vibrant, with hair flick moves, elephants, underwater sections and more.

The Vita version is out on the 20th, and is set in a magical world of Sequin Land where Shantae defends Scuttle Town from evil in its many forms! So far she’s kept her home safe from steam-powered pirates, undead evildoers, and militaristic madmen, proving time and again that there’s nothing this genie-girl can’t handle.

However, as certain as the rising tides, Scuttle Town is about to fall victim to another nefarious scheme by the pirate captain and self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Seas, Risky Boots! No citizen of Sequin land is safe!

Video roundup Wand of Fortune and Chaos Child Chu Chu clips

Its Friday, time for an assault on the senses that is Japanese teaser clips. First up is a new look at Sega's Valkyria Azure Revolution. Then we have the promo for SaGa Scarlet Grace, with Square easing us in with a little of the SaGa series' history.

Next up is Wand of Fortune (not Harry Potter at all) and finally the full force of a Chaos Child chu chu sneak peek for that game out next March.



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review Slain, Back From Hell

Slain should be my perfect game. It blows my ears with a doom-laden, epic and at times subtle, metal soundtrack. Its visuals are pixel-retro brilliance, yet laden with effects and drenched in blood, and the gameplay is decidedly 16-bit.

After an abortive launch, the uprated edition, Back From Hell, is now on the Vita, and patched to fix an annoying bug. It is a most visually and sonically impressive beast. As Bathoryn, a warrior raised from the dead to fight evil (yet, again - poor chap, no wonder he's a touch gloomy) you wade into battle, knee deep in blood, hacking away at skeletons, flying ghosts, thorny bushes and larger demons.

Aside from the sound, the first thing that hits you in Slain is the weather, it has the best climate since Skyrim. There's gales, fog, mist, rain and thunder all slapping you in the face or obscuring the view with some cool pixel blurring and whispy lighting. Although this is an undead, and depressed world, there is hints of movement and life everywhere.
With some light platforming, the key is really on the fighting. While you can wipe out the footsoldier minions with little consideration, any bigger battle takes finicky timing and a lot of luck to be successful. Are you supposed to dodge, parry, use magic, retreat or go all in with sword whirring? Learning how to take down bosses takes time and effort, andlots of annoying backtracking.

Once you clear the first level, you can at least pick a couple of routes through the game, through witch-infested highlands or the murky Wolfwoods, but its the same battling wherever you go. And, as for all the no-damage trophies? Really, I have no idea how some of those are achieveable without an insane level of commitment?

Magic spells and brutal attacks can help you win battles, and help win back some much needed mana, while continue points litter the landscape. But, even these seem misplaced or positioned more to annoy you. And, just one missed jump and back you go a few painful steps! I keep looking for secrets everywhere, only to find the odd less-than-secret bone; waiting for a special move or power-up, only to be left with more simple sword swinging.

The engine created by Wolf Brew is fantastic, and could be used for some great retro games, if the dev keeps going, but the core mechanics of blocking and then laying waste to your enemies feels clumsy and gets very samey after a few levels, with the difficulty meaning you can spend ages just rying to figure out the right pattern to defeat one beast. Just a little variety or flexibility would have helped immensely.

Score: 7/10
More reviews
Price: £11.99 (PSN)
Developer: Wolf brew
Progress: Deep in the gloom

Review #Killallzombies

Like these zombie TV series and movies, there's a stream of fun, quick, enjoyable to play games lurching on to the Vita from publisher SPL. KillallZombies is a speedy, violent, upgrade-packed arena shooter that sees your anonymous character surrounded by the undead, with the simple challenge of surviving as long as possible.

This can be done in either Arena mode or Vault Defence where you get to protect the last survivors, but mostly its just about staying alive. Pick a weapon and run around, searching for upgrades to save your bacon. There's a melee attack, but basically if you get surrounded, then you're zombie Pâté. Still, even in death, some power-ups give you the chance to do massive damage or score big points, so its all fun.

The Vita version of the BeatShapers PC original has lost a chunk of the graphical detail, arriving a couple of years after the PS4 version. Even so, the core fun factor of the game is still there. The view is a lot closer in, and moved to overhead, and there are a lot less zombies out there, but once you have a big gun in your hands, with some big end-of-wave beasts to try and take down, that doesn't really matter. It is harder to take down the bosses, and lots of little things seem off compared to the big screen version.

Shipping crates fall from the sky to squash zombies and provide power ups, while the grid can deform and provide obstacles. Useful defences, or other random extras that add a little spice to the game. Perks can range from flare guns to air strikes, clones and all sorts of randomness that may raise a smile or a grimmace, if you're in a tight spot.

With online scoreboards to compare against friends, this is about as casual-hardcore as gaming gets with intense bouts of survival, but it is barely worthy of the original's name. The waves aren't really waves, and the trophies are hardly worth the effort, but if you want some mindless shooting, this is good cheap fun with a great soundtrack.

If you want a slightly more tactical zombie game, then OMGZombies from a few years back is still on PSN.

Score: 6/10
More reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
Developer: BeatShapers
Progress: Shot stuff, died lots, top 5 score

DariusBurst DLC celebrates game's first birthday

One year on from its launch, Cave's DariusBurst Chronicle Saviours continues to deliver the goods, with three new lots of DLC from the worlds of DeathSmiles, DoDonPachi Resurrection and Ketsui.

Arriving on 14 December, they will cost $5 each or as a bundle for $12. with new ships, missions and gorgeous soundtracks. This isn't a game I've got round to playing, but am sorely tempted by these glowing visuals.

This follows on from an earlier collection of DLC that included RayForce, Night Striker, and Metal Black, plus Space Harrier, Galaxy Force II, and Fantasy Zone from Sega. The main game is a rather pricey £32 on PSN, but well worth watching for if it goes on sale.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Media Create chart dominated by Final Fantasy XV

Twitter today is full of pics from new buyers, showing off their red or silver models, no sign of the Minecraft LE though, although they could be in the post. Those sales will count for next week's chart, but in the Media Create chart up to 4th December, the Vita did okay as seasonal sales kick in, selling over 20,000 for the first time since the spring.


Final Fantasy XV romps away with the no. 1 spot this week, selling almost 700,000 copies and helping the PS4 sell over 118,000 units. No new entries for the Vita, but SD Gundam GG and Minecraft stick around the top 10. A couple of Vita games made it into the latest Famitsu reviews, with the so-so looking Square title getting a decent score.
  • SaGa: Scarlet Grace – 8/8/8/8 [32]
  • Adventure Time: Nameless Oukoku no Sannin no Princess – 7/7/7/6 [27]

Bard's Gold hits the Vita (in Asia)

Pixel Lantern's PS4 and Steam rogue like Bard's Gold is getting ported for the Vita in Asia, thanks to Eastasiasoft. The VGA-style graphics look pretty fun, but unless you have an Asian PSN account, i guess we don't get to play. Checking with the publisher to see if it will hit western PSN stores (it came out in the US ages ago, no sign of it in Europe).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

All the (old) Final Fantasys on one Vita card?

Oddest story of the day is the news that Square is releasing Final Fantasy I to IX in one bundle to celebrate the series' anniversary. Given most JRPG fans will have played through them a few times over by now, is this really a good idea?

Crisis Core, will you ever come back to us? 
I played FF I and II on UMD on my PSP, VII on the original PlayStation (many years ago) and then Crisis Core (missing again from this Anniversary Edition) on PSP. Can I really be bothered with the others? Will the fact later versions are the more recent updates going to make this more interesting? Will they fit on one card, or is Square going to con people into some downloads?

There will be a limited edition, but only the PS4 is getting the super-duper version with statues, plushes and more. More info over on VGLeaks.


Demetrios lands on the Vita for a big adventure

Hope to have a review of Demetrios up soon, but for now, enjoy the launch trailer of the CowCat adventure. The game, after a brief delay, is up now on the EU PSN for £7.99 (€9.99, $9.99 in other parts of the world). Other  developers should note that the game features an increased font size to make it easier to read.

Vita features include:

  • Gamepad controls make use of sticks, D-Pad and buttons for quick selection and shortcuts, with sensitivity options
  • Touch controls are available, including a "magnifying glass" for spotting small hotspots, like cookies!
  • Interface and fonts scaled up to be easy to read
  • Compatible with PlayStation TV
  • 38 trophies to unlock, including a Platinum!
  • Memory card space : 250 MB
  • Fully translated in 6 languages : English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review Lara Croft Go

A surprise addition, although not unexpected, to the Vita roster, Lara Croft Go was the first in Square's efforts to bring its big-name game line up to mobile devices. Belatedly arriving on the Vita, and in the wake of Hitman Go's Definitive Edition earlier in the year, Lara gets a bonus episode to up the value, but is otherwise the same tour de force in finely-tuned mobile gaming.
Mixing your puzzle solving and observational skills, the first few levels see Lara elegantly leaping and tumbling around the levels, using her trademark moves, finding ways pasts serpents and spiders. All the while you have to be on the look out for jewels or artefacts. They may only appear from behind a distant pillar or tree when viewed from one specific tile on the step-by-step board. Vigilance is always required even if the game is pushing you to run like heck.
Otherwise, most of your time is taken up navigating trial-and-deadly-error puzzle solving, with switches, levers, collapsing squares, rockfalls and increasingly complex animal movement patterns that will drive you feral, trying to figure out the solution,

The new episode ups the complexity, with Lara and here mirror twin having to navigate dual-puzzles at the same time, which adds a deft element of trickery to proceedings.

In focusing on the puzzles, or getting the urge to run, you'll probably miss a gem or two, but can go back through each "storybook" from the menu to find where you missed them. As a distraction and reward for collecting the gems, you get to dress Lara in various costumes from her adventures, plus a few borrowed ones from other Square titles.

All of this fun is soundtracked by a neat collection of semi-ambient tunes, with crisp effects throughout (literally, some of beast movement sounds like someone rustling a bag of crisps). The graphics, slightly downgraded though they are, still look pixel-sharp on the Vita, with the game's giant beasts providing suitable menace. Sure the loading could be a little faster, but there's nothing to stop Lara Croft Go from being a brilliant burst of fun that will lighten up any gamer's evening.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Developer: Square Enix Montreal
Progress: Platinum

While #PSX2016 delivered, it failed to answer the big question

Is the Vita dead or alive? Does Sony still sell it, or not? 

In the real world, people do actually want to buy a PlayStation Vita, but they can't as stores don't have them. They look online only to find second-hand units, which many won't buy as a Christmas present, or for fear of screen damage, dead pixels or sticks and so on. 

These people may not be Sony die-hards, just casual consumers, or late-to-the-party guests. Not everyone wants a PS4, or PSVR, but for them, a Vita would do nicely. For those of us on #VitaIsland, the 'is Vita dead or alive?' joke wore thin long ago.

Sony need to make some type of statement, any statement. It can say "yes, no more Vita units for America" (Europe and Japan seem to be going on fine). Or offer some - any type - of support. 
Which is why it seems rather disingenuous of Sony to wave a Vita around at PSX2016, when announcing a handful of new third-party games. What's the point if people can't buy one? Is part of some mad challenge for buyers, to go digging on eBay or Amazon's third-party sellers? That's bad press waiting to happen. 

The show might have been for Sony fans, but the news spreads, and now Ys fans or WindJammer champions from decades ago might feel the need for a Vita! Is it really too much for Sony to make that statement, to say look: "cool, handheld with a library of over a 1,000 low-cost games, across four generations of PlayStation with Remote Play. In Stores Now" How cheap can one multinational be? 

How hard would it have been on the 22nd anniversary of PlayStation to drop just the one original gray limited edition? Or, a bundle with the recent LEGO or Square titles. That would have got both fans and newcomers excited. If Sony really can't be seen to "kill" the Vita as third-party support would dry up then, at least show some retail support. 

So, yeah, sort things out Sony! Give the Vita a decent formal ending in 2017 and let nature take its course, thriving for years as an indie machine, but don't leave the retailers and customers hanging! 

Danganronpa V3 Limited Edition

NIS America is going all out with the Limited Edition for Danganronpa V3, there's a pair of headphones, luggage, a cap, plus audio CD and artbook along with the physical game in Vita or PS4 form. It will be available on their Europe store from Noon Tuesday (UK time).

Remember that the A Rose in the Twilight LE is also worth checking out, if not quite as fun-packed. 2017 may be the last well-supported year for the Vita, but it is kicking off in style!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

All the Vita videos from PlayStation Experience

Right, now the gloss has worn off the PlayStation Experience keynote a bit, Vita owners have a couple of newish games to look forward to. Here's the latest video clips from the show.

Announced at last year's show, SNK's Garou Mark of the Wolves finally releases today, but is replaced in the retro NeoGeo list by WindJammers, a Data East frisbee game.



A little more contempoary is a update of the PC edition of Ys Origin from Falcom, an action RPG, and in the not-at-all-news category, confirmation that Danganronpa V3 is headed west, where it will pick up the subtitle Killing Harmony.




Also in the out-today category is Lara Croft Go, so it looks like Hitman Go did enough business for Square Enix to keep the Montreal team working on a Vita version. And then there's Fallen Legion which will have a different story to the PS4 version.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

#PSX2016 Vita news, let's roll!

When it happens, any news will appear here.

PSILoveYou's pre-show is live now. They know lots of things that are probably PS4 or PSVR-focused, but who knows!

Here's the live stream...

It started with Uncharted: The Legacy (PS4), and Shawn Layden,  SIE Worldwide Studios, at least he was wearing a WipEout tee-shirt.

Will someone stop that woman (I think its female) from yelping like that in the audience...

As expected, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite (PS4) first peek trailer with gameplay to follow.

WipEout Omega Collection (PS4 in 4K) is a remix of the PSP and Vita games, so why the fuck did Sony bin Studio Liverpool???? We could have had something new and wonderful.

Ace Combat 7 (PS4) - no F-35???

Oh, look Patapon and LocoRoco are getting PS4 remasters, but no acknowledgement of their portable roots.

Gio Corsi is here holding a VITA!!


First Vita game getting a look in - Danganronpa 3, confirmed for the west as Killing Harmony

An actual new Vita game - Ys Origin coming 2017 (well, an updated PC RPG, but we'll take it) from DotEmu.



Next up, WindJammers (um, yeah!) a 20 year old Data East arcade game. Also from DotEmu.



Finally, Lara Croft GO is out today, with a new expansion.
That seems to be our lot for now, but again enough to show that someone, somewhere cares!

Catch a replay of the one hour show here...
And games already confirmed at the show including:

Shakedown Hawaii
Fallen Legion and Cosmic Star Heroine
Full Throttle Remastered
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment



Friday, December 2, 2016

First Full Throttle Remastered trailer

Yes, its been a long time coming, and no it isn't The Dig, and yes the trailer says PS4 only - but Double Fine say it will come to the other formats eventually. Other than that, get ready to enjoy Full Throttle, one of the classic PC adventures, with a hard as nails biker Ben on the run. One of the first CD-ROM only games, the new look brings it thoroughly up to date, while maintaining the chrome plated charm of the original.

Check out the Rose in the Twilight limited edition

NIS America continues to deliver the goods with A Rose in the Twilight Limited Edition coming in early 2017. The package includes:

  • A Rose in the Twilight for PS Vita (physical)
  • Collector's Box
  • Soft Cover Art Book (36 pgs.)
  • Soundtrack (15 tracks)
  • Double-sided Rose Rubber Strap
  • Giant Stress Ball (5")


New Mosou Stars HD trailer

Here's the HD version of that Musou Stars trailer that was copied off the low-res Nico feed yesterday. Check out all the heroes lining up for some bashy bashy action. There's also a peek at the Treasure Box version at the end for collectors.

Valkyria: Azure Revolution story trailer

Hot on the heels of the DLC trailer comes a new clip for the main game's story (sort it out, Sega) . With the game out in mid-January in Japan, it does look pretty epic (on PS4 admittedly). Hopefully the Vita version won't lose too much of that gloss.

Reviews Battalion Commander and Keeper of the 4 Elements

SPL has ported a couple of its mobile games to the Vita, and if you're after a quick endless runner shooter in the style of Commando, Ikari Warriors meets Cannon Fodder, or a fun little tower defence game, these are here to entertain you at just £3.29 each.

Battalion commander is only a 55MB download, and looks like it with pretty weedy graphics. In play, your commander starts marching up the screen, auto-firing away, looking for allies to recruit and enemies to mow down in a hail of gunfire. As you progress, special weapons become available that you can unleash when you get in a tight spot.

Every time he frees a comrade, your fire power goes up and there are plenty of mini-missions to complete. Then, you just keep on marching to complete laps of the game. In between deaths, you spend the collected cash to boost your forces' perks and add new skills. And that's pretty much it.

It is fun when you have a full magnificent seven (or more) marching up the screen laying waste to the bunkers, helicopters, jeeps and tanks that stand in your path. there's the campaign to play with an endless mode and online high scores. However, with wildly inaccurate shooting and poor visuals, with often too much on-screen to see where a real threat is, Battalion Commander is a hard game to really love, especially as it crashes rather regularly.

Score 4/10
Price: £3.29 (PSN)
Developer: IBIY Soft/SPL

The Keeper of the 4 Elements is a more meaty 88MB download and offers a traditional tower defence game with a couple of neat twists. Using the elements as the basis for your towers, you need to fend off an invading horde trying to take over your island.

With a vaguely Asian flavour to it, its entertaining seeing the towers improve and the many new types of enemies being unleashed at you, and having to adjust your tactics accordingly. While its art style is also pretty simple, the game is more endearing and the characters have a certain charm,

Otherwise its stock tower defence fun! Find the best place for each type of building, ramp them up in power to keep the horde at bay, sell ones you no longer need and pray that last tank (or, warrior on a bear) doesn't make it to the end. The elemental powers also provide special attacks, in the form of tornadoes, earthquakes and meteors to boost your attack, while rain can slow down speedy enemies.

Each level can be played on easy, medium and hard, collecting stars along the way, which you can use to power-up your towers abilities. At the end of the road is your Monk, who provides a last line of defence. While its not a patch on my all-time favourite, the FieldRunners series, this is a delightful title that you can drop in and out of with ease.

Score 7/10
Price: £3.29 (PSN)
Developer: Char/SPL

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment trailer

As the current game ships out to fans in physical form via Limited Run, and as the games industry was chucking awards at each other last night, the new Shovel Knight expansion trailer, a prequel in fact, slipped out at The Game Awards show. All of a sudden the world has to look up about a dozen different spellings of "Spectre", but us writing types will cope.

The clip reveals the deeply impressive looking Specter of Torment, a pixel tour de force that looks hellishly challenging to play. I guess its coming to the Vita too, with lots of comments around the web suggesting it might be a Switch launch game, which would be cool.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Endless Eclipse mode for Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

Trying to create some interest in the fairly niche anime-based Berserk game that hits PS4 and Vita next year, Tecmo has announced the Endless Eclipse mode. Here's the Japanese Vita version in action just so you know what we're getting into.

Quoting the press release:
An unending swarm of enemies awaits those brave enough to take on the game’s Endless Eclipse Mode, where players can prove their worth as they go toe to toe with countless foes in the formidable Eclipse dimension. Offering a unique and challenging respite from the main story, the new mode has players fighting for their life as they rush to complete various missions to overcome the deadly Eclipse. Slashing their way through this realm will gradually present them with stronger opponents and harder missions and pit them to a grueling struggle for survival. Success comes with rewards however, and those who manage to withstand the challenge will find themselves better equipped to tackle the main game mode.

Shakedown Hawaii struts its stuff for #PSX16

Among the games Vita owners are most looking forward to in 2017 is Shakedown Hawaii. In a new preview clip for PlayStation Experience, the game moves out of the city, into the forests, rivers and beaches, taking more of an 8-bit Commando or Ikari Warriors shooter tone for some missions.

The game is certainly bigger in scope than the 2015 teaser, but is still full of pixelly goodness that every growing Vita collection needs.