Friday, May 26, 2017

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA opening movie and launch dates

September is looking like the next good month for the Vita, after a spectacular May, with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA now confirmed for a western release on the 12th in American and the 15th in Europe. Another cracking RPG for the Vita, I'll take that!

The intro movie shows a mystery island full of strange characters and beasts. This is another series I've never really got into, apart from Memories of Celceta back in 2014. So, looking forward to see what this can offer.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chaos;Child confirmed for western release

We all knew this was coming, but now its official. CHAOS;CHILD is coming to western Vita owners this Autumn. Part of the Science Adventure Series, the visual novel series that also spawned the critically acclaimed Steins Gate, it takes place in Shibuya, Tokyo, several years after an earthquake has nearly destroyed the district, it follows Takuru Miyashiro, a high school student who lost his parents in the earthquake, and his group of friends.

When a series of bizarre murder cases take place in Shibuya, Takuru notices that the dates of the murders match up with a series of murders that happened six years before. Using this knowledge, Takuru and his friends begin to investigate and find themselves embroiled in a dangerous murder mystery…

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Japanese Media Create sales data plus Famitsu reviews

This week's Media Create data shows Vita's poor run continuing, but - again - we're talking about six-year-old technology that's faced with a shiny new rival. What did Sony think was going to happen? More to the point, will they bother doing anything about it?

This week it sold 4,088, just a few shy of its worst over week of 4,021 back in 2012. The drama to see how low it will go would make a great TV show! Still, if it continues to sell at 4K a week, that will take it over 300,000 for the year. and closed to six million life time, which isn't a bad knock for an abandoned product that SCEJ has spent over a year pretending it doesn't exist.


On the software side, no Vita games in the top 20, and the schedule is pretty light with only Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII with Power-Up Kit due anytime soon.

Over in Famitsu land, Tekken 7 gets the plaudits, no surprise there, but both of this week's Vita games get decent reviews:

Death Mark (PS Vita) – 8/8/8/7 [31/40]
Tsukitomo. Tsukiuita. 12 Memories (PS Vita) – 7/7/7/8 [29/40]

Plantera gets a Vita trailer

While we wait to see if Wild Season or Farmville or something else tips up on the Vita, here comes Plantera. In the Ratalaika game, you buy plants, animals and items from a shop and place them in a 2D parallax scrolling garden. With the goods you get from your garden, you can earn more coins and grow a huge farm. Or you can just create your own dream garden.

The PS Vita version comes with new features plus full touch screen controls. If you want something more meaty then check out Farming Simulator 2018.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A good week for UK Vita physical sales?

Well, I didn't see anyone rushing to the distributors going "get more Vita, stat!" However, there are three new entries at the top of the UK retail chart, which is cause for celebration. PQube's Akiba's Beat perhaps undeservedly takes the No. 1 spot, given that it is a pretty poor game. The PS4 version only managed No. 26.

1 new AKIBA'S BEAT PQUBE - 1
2 new HAKUOKI: KYOTO WINDS IDEA FACTORY - 1
3 new OPERATION BABEL: NEW TOKYO LEGACY NIS AMERICA - 1

There's loads of DLC on PSN for the top two, so hopefully, the publishers will make even more money over and above these launch sales.


The Lost Child, a new Japanese RPG announced

Despite the drop in sales, news games continue to be announced in Japan. Kadokawa will publish Takeyasu Sawaki's The Lost Child. The teaser doesn't give much away, and there's some info coming in the new Famitsu magazine, but apparently, demons and guns are involved. The game is based on the critically loved El-Shaddai.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review Oceanhorn Monster of Uncharted Seas

I first played this game on iPad a few years ago, and was charmed by its bright visuals, soaring music, and jolly-go-adventuring tone. With none of the endless exposition of JRPGs, none of the politicking nastiness of more mature games, it was a breath of fresh sea air. And, now it has landed on the Vita thanks to the desire of the community, plus the efforts of publisher FDG and developer Cornfox. So, here we go again.

Waking up on a perky, verdant looking island, surrounded by crystal seas, you start out as a young lad, who's father has vanished in a battle with some dark sea monster. Talking to the locals, you soon find yourself on destiny's path, with a stick for a weapon, and a small creaky boat with a range of islands to visit. The game is largely isometric with an island-hopping travel section to break up the exploring of forest, deserts and the many cave systems that lie under each island.
 Looking up, there's an island in the sky that's intriguing but inaccessible early on. And, you'll need to talk to townsfolk or discover isolated island dwellers, to find clues to discover the location of new islands. This bite-size approach involves some to-and-fro but never feels overwhelming. Combat starts off with tapping some hapless crabs with your stick - soon upgraded to a sword and shield. Along your travels, you soon pick up bombs, spells, a bow-and-arrow and other tools to help break into new areas and expand the map.

Oceanhorn isn't too fond of handholding, which might be good or bad for you. Making a note of any obvious clues, inaccessible areas, and where you found them, is a good way to stop from getting frustrated. Solutions to puzzles are never too far away, and keys in chests make a regular appearance along with checkpoints to save the game to prevent you having to retread too much ground.

Even then, sometimes you might just not realise you need to drop a bomb here, or move something there, which is where things get annoying. Handily, there are a million and one guides to get you out of any sticky situation.

It is rare that you are outmatched or over-crowded, by nasties, unless a boss appears. Even then, it is only a matter of using the right weapon with the right timing to bring them down. Alongside sailing, you can also do a spot of fishing to jolly things along.

Health, ammo and other bonuses lurk in the undergrowth, and you make slow progress up a linear experience tree along the way. Keeping an eye out for hidden treasure chests, walls you can blow up and other goodies are all part of the fun. The graphics don't vary much over the course of the game, somehow an ice-level gets into the mix, and Oceanhorn could definitely do with a few more enemies, but it is a fun, if sometimes frustrating, adventure to explore with eyes wide open at the loveliness of it all.

I guess it's a shame the game never had female character option, my daughter would love it even more then. And it would be cool if you could jump earlier on, I mean, really - how hard is jumping and climbing? But playing it on the Vita, with a few touchscreen features is a decided improvement on the tablet version.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £11.99 (PSN)
Size: 200MB
Dev: Cornfox/FDG
Progress: Sailing across the sea, to rescue a chest of spam!

Bodycheck slams the Vita this week

Ludometrics' Bodycheck got a couple of mentions back in 2014, but has been on the back-burner since then. However, from out of nowhere, the medieval sports fighting game bursts out of its corner ready to rumble on the Vita this week. Fans of Speedball should love the approach and as long as there's enough power-ups, point weapons, magic and other bits of fun to add to the mayhem, it could be another hit.

New screens for Digimon: Hacker's Story

A fine start to the week, with a new batch of pics for Digimon Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Story, coming west in 2018.  The conflict between hackers has erupted in the digital world! The battle for the ultimate power has begun. Yuugo - a talented and charismatic hacker leading the biggest hacker group called Zaxon will fight for their rights against Jude (the legendary hacker team) lead by the former hacker Aarata Sanada and other crews. Join the Hudie faction lead by Ryuji Mishima and fight for victory.




Domination Battle is a battle between groups of hackers for the control over the server domain in the digital world. Proceed in a group battle and experience a strategy game warfare, unlike any other battles in the game.

In Domination Battle there are two different teams: Ally team & Enemy team that will battle in the network area. Both teams will start on neutral state, and the color of the area will change according to the team (Blue/Red) when a character steps into it. The aim is to fight for these areas and collect area points to win the fight.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Japanese trailer time

So many announcements for the Switch these days, you can almost feel the energy sapping from the Vita camp in the west. But, fear nor, over in Japan the releases keep coming as this new bunch of teasers and trailers show.

First up is Konosuba, Attack the Destroyer, another fun pixel RPG from 5pb. Definitely something I'd pick up if anyone fancies bringing this our way.


Also on the way is Iwaihime: Matsuri, a visual novel from NIS America, after a teaser last month. Definitely one to put the willies up you, with the whole good girl gone mad/zombie thing.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth coming September with a pillow case

Want to get really physical with the release of Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth? well the slightly limited edition comes with a nice pillow case to cuddle up to. The sequel to Mask of Deception, this finale takes place right after the dramatic events of the previous game.

Chaos has taken hold of the land in Mask of Truth as a conniving general has unlawfully seized the throne of the mighty Yamato Empire. The only ones that stand in his way are a couple of familiar faces who must rally different kingdoms together and fight against the powerful Imperial army.


Check out the Death Mark demo in action

Japan's PSN has a demo up for the impressive-looking Death Mark from Experience. I can't find any English-based play throughs, but this chap explores the first chapter and the abandoned school in around 15 minutes. I love the more realistic graphical style and eerie audio, without any squeaky characters. Hopefully, the rest of the game will be similarly brooding.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Second worst week of Vita sales ever in Japan

The end of Vita hardware sales looms large as the handheld managed to sell a mere 4,114 in Japan last week. Yes, Sony has plans to keep going, with an updated Minecraft bundle in July, but beyond that, it would be hard to see the company justifying a production line beyond the end of this year.

The worst week of unit sales was just over 4,000, and for the first time in ages, there are no Vita titles in the top 20. Then again, Microsoft continues to sell the Xbox One there with just a few hundred sales. While niche titles will keep the smaller publishers going, the larger players are all moving to Switch, and quickly. Hopefully, loyal Vita owners will cling onto their machines for another year or two, but things are not looking cheery!

After last week's brief revival on the Media Create chart, it is hard to see anything helping boost sales, ever. So, enjoy the autumn of the Vita's life and the Japanese games that continue to come our way. But unless Sony pulls PS4 Portable out the bag at one of this year's shows, portable gaming Sony style is done.


Review 10 Second Ninja X

Picked this up courtesy of PlayStation Plus a while back, and having given it a spin, I have to say wow! For such an unassuming little game, it packs in the challenge with 10-second bursts of crazed ninja-ing action.

All you have to do is defeat the on-screen enemies within the time limit, by jumping, swinging your sword of flinging a couple of throwing stars. Figuring out the best set of movements and combat is key to bringing down your time to get three stars, which will help open up the next set of levels, and whole new bunch of challenges.

How much you get from 10SNX depends on how often you restart and refine your run through a level, before your hands cramp up or you get the urge to throw the Vita at a wall. That's no fault of the game, just my aging human reaction times, and the odd errant twitch that can blow a run. But since you can be back at it in seconds, you never feel like you're losing much.

With lots of different level designs, some bad guy variation and learning the tricks of the game, like the exact distance the sword will attack from and which pixel you can stand on next to a drop or electric field are all keys to being great at time, something I'll never manage.


With sharp graphics, a great sense of humour from the space pirate cast and lots of secrets and cheeky goings-on around the hub, 10SNX is fantastic fun and a great five-minute break game. If you get stuck, yes you can get a hint or watch a YouTube video by a pro, but if your reactions can't match theirs, its pointless, but you may well die trying.

Score: 8/10
More reviews
Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Size: 300MB
Dev: Curve Digital
Progress: It broke my wrists!

Sony Japan updating its Minecraft bundle

With the Vita version of Minecraft almost out of Japan's charts and the game arriving on Switch causing a new pop in interest, Sony has thought we'll have some of that. It has updated last year's bundle with a new version coming out in July for the summer holidays.
The limited edition looks the same as the existing Vita model, which came out last year, it comes with a pouch, backgound theme and - the new bit -13 bits of DLC, mostly skins and texture packs along with the core game, likely updated to the latest version. Check the Japanese PS blog for more detail and images.
When Sony Japan said it was pushing the Vita more to kids, guess this is what they meant.

Review Akiba's Beat

Acquire had a modest hit with Akiba's Trip a few years back, thanks to the whole stripping-vampires-in-battle thing. The idea was silly enough not to be offensive and it had a good run in Japan, with a western release of the sequel, aka Undead and Undressed.

Still, for the encore, Acquire went in a slightly different direction, and by that I mean they ripped off Persona 4 and Digimon Story wholesale. Yes, you still run around Akiba. Yes, you still fight things. But this time they are random blobby creatures behind doors that only a few unfortunate souls can see. Throw in a bit of Groundhog Day for the plot, yet another squeaky-voiced floating "guide" and there you go.

These "Delusions" and the "delusors" that create them, are a piss poor way of creating a plot, it feels like the developers had ten minutes to come up with something that wasn't nudie-vampires and this was the best they could come up with. The creatures, whatever their design are just totally random or generic but have no reason to exist, other than to be a pain in the ass.

Each delusion is a multi-level themed set of platforms to "explore" with a few cookie cutter real-time battles, some simple switch puzzles and the odd dash of treasure. At the end is a boss who usually requires a fair bit of grinding to overcome. All of which makes this a game I have played five or six times before in the last few years.

To make things worse, there's a rival team trying to sort out these timey-wimey problems haunting the town. They just add a few extra hours of pressing X to skip annoying chit-chat and even more combat that you don't want to be doing. What kind of design decision was that?

Talking of battles, you can pause the game to use items, set different skills up for your team, and choose their tactics, but the actual battles just look like a dumb mess. You have a range of skills and the usual set of elemental strengths or resistances (why, in a game set in someone's imagination is a pre-biblical set of forces still needed?) No one I've talked to has got beyond much of  a strategy other than rapid stabbing, and rushing off to heal from time to time.

Another bit of idea borrowing comes with the Imagine-beats combat system (which is why everyone wears headphones). It uses music tracks as a kind of beat keeper, building up to some special moves, but isn't actually rhythm based, so despite being part of the game's name is equally useless. Overall, combat itself is hectic, non-fun, non-tactical, poorly animated and horrendously repetitive.

Yes, there are lots of flashing lights, explosions and weapon effects, which don't look that much better on the PS4, although the big-screen version does get better textures and shadows. Outside the main game there are a few sidequests, and getting around the map is easy with quick-jump points, but even for the grindiest of trophy hunters, this will be a serious chore to wade through.

Anything good, such as weapon or character progression, mini games in the Pachinko parlours of Akihabara or a fun spot of dating has been ripped out or overlooked in an effort to get the game streamlined.

The sugar coating of vibrant graphics, otome and manga culture, even a little nod to transgender issues, is a very tempting wrapping. But, inside, Akiba's Beat is a hollow shell of a game. Vita owners are used to a bit of grinding, but with no love, subplot or filler content this is a soulless as filling in a medical insurance form.

I was wondering why the game did badly in Japan, and now I know. Given that Akiba's Trip is currently just £6.49 on PSN, I'd strongly recommend you go grab that one instead. It is far from perfect, but has loads more soul and feel to it.

Score: 4/10
More reviews
Price: £34.99 (Amazon)
Size: 3.1GB
Dev: Acquire/PQube
Progress: Bored shitless!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception special edition unboxing

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is not only getting a physical release, but a neat limited edition version with a compendium art book. A 50-page softcover book, it contains art/information about some of the unlikely heroes, fantastical creatures, exotic locales plus concept art and developer notes that show a glimpse of the creative process behind building a mystical world.

It also includes information about the mighty Yamato Empire and its surrounding nations that'll serve as a guide to those unfamiliar with the Utawarerumono series. Check out the unboxing video...


Monday, May 15, 2017

Son of Scoregasm gameplay

Quite a few of the indie projects still headed to the Vita come from the smallest unit of developers, one man bands. Charlie of Charlie's Games has been hard at work and put up half an of gameplay from his updated shooter.

Check out his blog post with the latest news, the game is undergoing final checks. Note if you can help with some of the store page for non-English sites, he would appreciate some help.

What we have is another fine-looking shooter with a variety of clever features, shiny effects and the odd bullet hell moment, can't wait!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monokuma has spawned in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Everything in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is bigger and better and that includes the tribe of murderous psycho bears, the Monokubs.

Monosuke
Monosuke is very opinionated and has no patience for Monokid's foul language. That being said, he is also the most rational member of the Monokubs, and often falls into the straightman role within the group's antics. Monosuke believes that the Monokubs should be hostile toward each other, and approves of infighting among the group.

Monokid
Short-tempered and foul-mouthed, Monokid is the most violent of the Monokubs. He doesn't really pay attention when others are talking, and will chime in seemingly at random to spout incoherent nonsense. He is often the reason that the group's conversations suddenly derail.
Monokid loves to bully Monodam, and has subjected his sibling to so much abuse that his heart has grown cold and distant. He loves to pepper his sentences with the catchphrase, "Hell yeah!"


Monotaro
The childish, scatterbrained leader of the Monokubs. Monotaro often struggles to keep his rambunctious siblings focused on the task at hand.

Monophanie
The only female member of the Monokubs. She is the kindest member of the group, and has a weak stomach for gore and violence. When the Monokubs squabble among themselves, Monophanie will try to smooth things over, only to end up joining the quarrel anyway. She can be cute and endearing at times, though. Sometimes she'll suddenly nod off, while other times she'll suggest changing the killing game to something less violent.

Monodam
Monodam's heart has hardened due to the years of bullying he has endured. For this reason, he barely speaks to his siblings. In stark contrast to the plushie appearance of the other Monokubs, Monodam is the only member with a distinctly robotic body.

Vita sales up 1,000 in Japan

Golden Week doesn't do as much for game hardware sales as it used to, but with no new games out as most of Japan was on holiday last week, the Vita managed to add 1,150 sales, pushing it over 7,000 as it creeps back toward respectable sales numbers.

Anything above 7,500 seems reasonable for a handheld at the Vita's stage of life, and with (fake-looking) rumors of a successor this year, Japanese buyers had better stock up while they can, for whenever Sony does decide to end production.

The new releases all came out the previous week, due to the holiday, but those numbers only came out yesterday. This week, Minecraft is back in the top 20 at No. 18 with 4,000 holiday sales, approaching the 1,150,000 mark, while Dungeon Traveler 2-2 creeps toward 40,000 sales, hanging on at No. 20.


Rabi Ribi heads west in Autumn

PQube continues its quest to bring strange and quirky fun to western Vita gamers with the adorable side scrolling action, bullet-hell, title Rabi Ribi headed our way later in the year.

By way of a plot...
Don the bunny ears of Erina, a bunny-turned-bunny girl, who mysteriously wakes up in an unfamiliar place in a strange body. In hopes of returning to her peaceful bunny life, she sets out to find her way back home, but strange things are taking place on Rabi-Ribi island. With the help of her trusty Piko Hammer and Ribbon, her fairy friend, it's up to Erina to get to the bottom of this mystery…

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Media Create sales welcome Gun Gun Pixies

Japan was on holiday last week, so here's the delayed Media Create sales info up to the end of April. Gun Gun Pixies debuted at No. 9, selling a modest 8.675. Just behind it at No. 10 was a good second week for Dungeon Travelers 2-2, selling another 6,600 copies, taking it over 34K.

Way down the arse end of the chart with no numbers came this lot, showing that there are lots of Vita games still hitting Japan. They presumably sell enough (2-3K each) to make these efforts worth while.

25 (new) Hanasaki Work Spring! Entergram
26 (24) Minecraft Sony
27 (new) Tsuihou Senkyo NIS
28 (new) Desire: Remaster Version El Dia
30 (new) Tokeijikake no Ley Line Dramatic Create
38 (new) Fate/Hollow Ataraxia Kadokawa (rerelease)
42 (new) Saki: Zenkoku-hen Plus Entergram

In related news, Romancing Saga 2 has just passed 200,000 downloads on the Vita in Japan, in just over a year. This shows just how important digital is to the Vita. While collectors might hate, those digital sales are probably  keeping more publishers going than Sony would care to admit to. Can't wait for the title to come west! The news came from a talk during Unity's Unite event in Japan, showing just how random getting sales info on Vita games can be.

Vita hardware sales up

On the hardware side, Vita sales nudged up, for the first time in a while, by 800 to just below 6,000 units. Hopefully even some modest Golden Week activity will see it head up further, when last week's sales are announced.

ps vita sales, japan, media create

Check back tomorrow for the regularly scheduled Japanese chart update.

Retro shooter Seraphim first look

Studio Ravenheart flaps the Vita's way, with its unique looking twin-stick shooter, Seraphim. Set in an abstract celestial realm, part space, part alternate universe, you assume the role of a great being - so, an angel then? Its job is to defend planets that orbit within this mighty structure from some invading sentient matter, blasting comets from your mighty wings as threatening cosmic beings surround you from all directions.

An iOS/Android original release from a few years back, it looks pretty distinct and if the mechanics work well on the Vita, then should be another fine addition to our roster of shooters.

Seraphim Features​:

  • A Captivating, Abstract 3D Art Style
  • Rapid Twin Stick Arcade/Shooter Action
  • A Full Story Mode Featuring 24 Stages, Boss Battles & Cinematics 
  • A Score Attack Mode With Leaderboard


Monday, May 8, 2017

Spike Chunsoft's otome brawler Kenka Bancho rocks

Originally teased over a year ago, Kenka Bancho is heading to Japanese Vita systems in July, and apart from a cracking bit of soundtrack mixes fighting games and visual novels. Not sure if this is an update on the PSP version or an all-new game, but it has to be worth checking out if it heads west. A gallery is building up on the game's site.

Okay, the game is new(ish) a sort of love adventure update that takes place after the final PSP chapter.

Tally ho, Rogue Aces in action

The WWII air aces shooter from Infinite State is nearing completion and here's a peek at a recent gameplay session to highlight the bomb runs, dog fights and general aerial mayhem that Rogue Aces has to offer. With plenty of tricks to perform and power-ups littering the skies, this should make perfect portable cannon fodder when it finally arrives on the Vita at some point this year.

Friday, May 5, 2017

What the heck is Factotum 90?

While announcing that the might Va11-Hall-A is with Sony for Q&A, after some three years in the works, port studio Poppy Works also announced it is porting puzzler Factotum 90 to the Vita. Check out the console announce trailer and get ready for some top robot-based puzzling! Excellent news for the Vita and good to see more port teams looking for business.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What, if anything, will Sony announce for Vita at E3?

The date is set, 12th June at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern, 2AM UK, boo!) Sony will take to the stage to talk all things PS4 and a bit of PS Virtual Reality at the PlayStation E3 Media Showcase. If we're lucky, a 5 second mention of the Vita could bring us another WindJammers, some random indies or other tit-bit.

If we're very lucky a cheapo Vita 3000 model with microSD card support could be dropped to leech off the back of interest in the Nintendo Switch. Or, if my Sony exec mind-control campaign has worked, the PlayStation Vita 2 in full HD with all PS4 controls will launch in a blaze of fireworks and dancing elephants!

Or, as is usual, Sony will continue to pretend the handheld doesn't exist having removed it from store shelves and turned even buying a Vita into an episode of Mission Impossible. Let us know what you think might happen, or what random retro or indie game could get a brief taste of the high life.

I would give a great big cheer if the likes of Kerbal Space Program or Stardew Valley came from the current crop of indies, while any retro shooters like Raiden (the PS One version is on the Hong Kong store!), Ikaruga or similar would also be welcome

Final bunch of victim/heroes for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Get your detective monocle on, ready for September's murder fest in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Here's the last batch of ultimate dorks ready to be splattered to the four winds. 

Ultimate Anthropologist: Korekiyo Shinguji
Korekiyo has traveled around the world, studying many different cultures as part of his anthropological research. His travels have instilled in him an appreciation for the "beauty of humanity." For this reason, he observes his classmates with great curiosity, eager to see what sort of beauty they will produce given their unique situation.

Calm, collected and intelligent, Korekiyo's mannerisms and appearance can nevertheless be quite unnerving to some. Even his ethics and morality may be a departure from what one might consider normal.

Ultimate Aikido Master: Tenko Chabashira
Tenko is a practitioner of Neo-Aikido, a martial art that she created alongside her master by reimagining the style of traditional aikido.

To say she merely dislikes men is an understatement. As an androphobe, Tenko refers to all men as "male degenerates." Though compliments from a woman will make her heart aflutter, the same compliment from a man could result in him getting thrown across the room.

Tenko does not hide her emotions well, and she has a tendency to overreact to situations in an exaggerated manner. She also has a habit of yelling at the top of her lungs. Though she claims it helps bolster her fighting spirit, her frequent shouting often strikes others as incredibly obnoxious.

Ultimate Maid: Kirumi Tojo
A calm, dignified young woman of sound mind and peak physical fitness. Kirumi made a name for herself while working as a part-time maid, earning a reputation for fulfilling to perfection any request made of her. However, she refuses all requests made by corrupt individuals.

As a maid, Kirumi embodies the philosophy of selfless devotion. Even while trapped in the Ultimate Academy, she continues to serve her classmates almost on instinct, such as by preparing meals and doing chores.

Ultimate Child Caregiver: Maki Harukawa
Raised in an orphanage, Maki did not seek out the role of child caregiver but instead had the role thrust upon her.

For this, she was recognized as the Ultimate Child Caregiver. But despite her title, Maki's not particularly caring or friendly. And though children are fond of her, she personally can't stand them.

Despite her cute appearance, Maki is a hostile misanthrope of few words, and rarely cooperates with her classmates. Nevertheless, she is willing to take action when it suits her.

Ultimate Tennis Pro: Ryoma Hoshi
From middle school onward, Ryoma was a talented tennis player with a bright future ahead of him, and had won championships around the world. But after he used his tennis skills and a custom-made steel tennis ball to kill members of an organized crime syndicate, he was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to death.

Awaiting his punishment on death row before arriving at the Ultimate Academy, Ryoma claims he is no longer the same person who was bestowed the title of Ultimate Tennis Pro.

Displaying a maturity that is rare among teenagers, Ryoma seems older than his appearance would suggest. Even in the presence of pain and death, Ryoma remains unflappable.

Ultimate Astronaut: Kaito Momota
Astronaut cadets must have a college degree and pass a rigorous exam before they can even be considered for the astronaut training program. Kaito, however, used forged documents to take the exam before he graduated high school, and became the first teenager to pass it.

Ultimately, Kaito's forgery was discovered. But his unorthodox approach to the exam piqued such interest that he was accepted as a cadet anyway. Though Kaito still has yet to visit outer space, his romanticized view of the cosmos remains stronger than ever.

Valuing dreams and passion above all else, Kaito often dispenses such wisdom as "Limits don't exist unless you set them yourself!" and "You gotta be a little reckless to make your dreams reality!"

Ultimate Magician: Himiko Yumeno
A skilled magician who claims her tricks are the result of real magic. Himiko is the youngest recipient of the Magician of the Year award from the Magic Castle, an organization made up of stage magic enthusiasts from around the world. However, she claims this award was just a clever ruse to hide her actual magic powers from the rest of the world.

She complains about the constant requests she receives from people who don't believe her magic is real, but still want to see her performances.

Regardless of whether it's parlor tricks or real magic, Himiko has an uncanny knack for card and coin magic tricks, as well as making doves appear out of thin air. But despite the high demand for her magical aptitude, Himiko is also extremely lazy.

Ultimate Artist: Angie Yonaga
A zealously devout girl who claims that her island god, Atua, is always by her side. Though Angie draws and sculpts, she considers herself an instrument of Atua, and credits her artistic works to him and him alone.

She has an upbeat, somewhat ditzy attitude, and often says unique remarks such as "Bye-onara." Chief among her personality quirks is her claim to speak on her god's behalf, as well as her tendency to ask others for (non-fatal) blood sacrifices to Atua.

Any favourites from this batch? Pretty sure the ultimate astronaut was John Glenn, but in this crazy world, who am I to argue. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception world trailer

Another video from Atlus. This one makes a break from the recent set of character highlights to show us some of the game world. A big part Utawarerumono takes place in the lands ruled by the Yamato Empire, with its own culture and customs.

For example, he learns that "woptors" are ostrich-like animals that are used as military mounts and beasts of burden, and that "amamunii" is a delicious overstuffed wrap that can be dipped in a number of sauces.

He's also introduced to "eldcraft" devices such as a massive ship that moves without rowers and a water mill that's engineered with seemingly advanced technology.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Caligula Effect launch trailer, game now out in the US

Americans can play another not-quite Persona game as Atlus' The Caligula Effect hits stores, with an EU release next week. Also set in a school, Caligula see the students of Kishimai High School discover their education is all a Matrix-style lie!

UPDATE: EU Release delayed, no hard date, done when its done, translation troubles?

That Persona heritage comes from story writer and Persona series veteran Tadashi Satomi, who looks to have crafted a fine and dark tale. Can the Vita live up to the promise though?

The game features a dark story written by Persona series veteran Tadashi Satomi (the writer of Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment), 500+ NPCs to build relationships with, an addicting strategic battle system called "Imaginary Chain," original songs by celebrated Japanese music producers, and more! If you've been looking for a full JRPG experience on the PS Vita, The Caligula Effect is your jam. Just check out the eerie launch trailer below!

Toukiden 2 goes free to play with Free Alliances version

Toukiden 2 didn't sell that well on PS4, and Vita sales were always going to be on the low side. So, to tempt new players and keep the game's MP action alive, a Free Alliances free-to-play edition is coming from Tecmo Koei. It will allow new Toukiden 2 (review) slayers to experience the diverse mission with in-app purchases Gems to help them raise their stamina for repeated battles.


The new version arrives on 31 May as a PS4 and Vita digital release, with Group Missions offered at the Command Centre, and through the first campaign chapter. From the release...
Stamina is a key part of Toukiden 2: Free Alliances Version, as it allows players to explore and carry out missions in the surrounding areas of Maharoba Village. Each player starts with a Stamina Level of 3, and each unit of Stamina requires eight real-time hours to replenish. To dive straight back into the action without the wait, players can spend Gems purchasable at the Slayer’s Headquarters (via the PlayStation®Store). Not only can Gems recover Stamina to its maximum value, but they can also be used to increase the Stamina Level to a maximum of 8. Further upgrades are also possible to the Equipment and Material Chests which allow for an abundance of items to be stored, as well as the ability to draw Mitama Tickets. These tickets are used to obtain the souls of fallen heroes which provide new combat possibilities when applied to armour and weaponry.
There's an official online guide and manual here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday is Japanese Vita trailer day (again)

I do love our little Friday get togethers to peer at what's coming out of Japan soon.

Horror game Iwaihime: Matsuri is the lead trailer out of Japan today, a remake of a PC visual novel, it has the requisite number of  weird things to scare the pants off people including Japanese dolls, antler-clad school girls and blobby monsters. Coming from NIS, the game is out in July, has to be a decent hope of a western release.


Also out today is a new clip of God Wars in action, Kadokawa's tactics game looks like bags of fun!

Not really a trailer, but Omega Labyrinth Z is getting a bunch of soundtrack CDs and you can listen to a few clips on this six-minute song-fest.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Yomawari Midnight Shadows will darken western skies

Only a few days after the Japanese announce, we already have confirmation of the new Yomawari game coming our way. Subtitled Midnight Shadows, the game is set for an autumn release thanks to NIS America.

UPDATE: The Japanese website is live with a  mini-game to play on the screen and a collection of pics to peer at, probably won't be long until a western equivalent is live.

Details are light, but from the Japanese news, it is set in a more mountainous world and another pair of girls put in peril by the things that go bump in the night. The original was atmospheric and fun, expect pretty much the same in this release.




UPDATE: NIS America has now dropped a set of screens showing off the game in action, looks broadly similar to the original, but with new monsters, larger indoor areas and other treats. Tap the top pic to open the image browser.











Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Meet Nekone in Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception

The cast of Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception continues to build with Atlus releasing a trailer showing Nekone in action. Ukon's sister is usually busy being an overachiever in the Imperial Capital.

She's incredibly intelligent and has passed numerous exams in the pursuit of becoming a full-fledged Scholar of Philosophy. While Haku's lazy personality may irritate her, she worships Ukon and develops a close bond with Kuon. Although Nekone's just a child, she acts as a great healer in battle and proves to be a gifted strategist.


Dungeon Travelers 2-2 sells well in Japan

The latest Media Create chart data continues to show flatlining Vita sales, but games do still sell well, and its that fact that will keep the Vita rolling into 2018, and probably beyond. In this week's chart, Dungeon Travelers 2-2 from AquaPlus lands at No. 4 as the only Vita game in the top 20, selling 27,381 copies. Famitsu had it as selling 30K copies (60-80% of its shipment).

Out this week in Japan are Akiba's Beat, Exile Election and Gun Gun Pixies and a bunch of visual novels which might dent the chart next week, but No. 1 will very definitely by Mario Kart!


On the hardware side, Vita sales are down to 5,164, continuing a gentle slide down to wherever this ride ends up.  There's still no sign of Sony's for the kids campaign kicking off, but when it comes to the Vita, the company has hardly been in a hurry!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Float along with new Spike RPG Zanki Zero

Look to the horizon, possibly into 2018 when this new Spike RPG could hit Japan. Zanki Zero is a story set on a flooded Earth, developed by the Danganronpa 2 team. Among the ruins, young and old must survive and expand their world, with a large party of eight characters playing important individual roles across the chapters.

UPDATE: A new piece of art for the game that adorns the cover of the new Dengeki PlayStation magazine.




Gameplay takes place on a seamless world map, with battles taking place in the same area. On the plus side, for once this game can get away with putting characters in swimwear, without batting an eyelid. They could also put in a fishing mini-game and it would make actual sense! Although I hope there's some aquatic armour for dealing with the creatures that now thrive in the floods.

Famitsu has some artwork, in its brief reveal, but with the game only 10% complete, don't go expecting soggy gameplay clips any time soon.

Drive Girls racing to Europe, official!

Weird that this almost random release leaked like a dodgy old Morris Minor, but its now official that Rising Star Games are bringing Tamsoft's Drive Girls to the west. Not only that, its getting a physical release. The mech-battling-driving ladies might appeal but with the likes of Panzer Girls still lurking in Japan, surely there are more likely heroines publishers could bring our way.

No sign of a US release, yet.

Monday, April 24, 2017

SAO: Hollow Realization getting Abyss of the Shrine Maiden DLC

Sword Art Online fans will have a lot more adventuring on their plates soon, as Bandai start to roll out the DLC for Hollow Realization.  This first batch of DLC on 16th May, with two more chapters to follow.

The first DLC will put you in the shoes of Kirito and his friends exploring a new stage in Aincrad Castle - where flaming earth, magma and heat waves dominate the atmosphere. While trying to clear this incredible new stage players will also be faced with the challenge of trying to defeat Bane - the crimson demon. Keep your eyes peeled as a mysterious masked person makes his appearance. Will it be an ally or a new enemy?

Along with the main scenario comes the following:
  • Heroine Quest – where you will have the chance to add Asuna, Lisbeth, Silica and Premiere as heroines in the first chapter.
  • Enigma Order Quest – where you can acquire the precious Fuse Paragon, Mystic and Ultana GP.
  • Items and skills-  for becoming powerful as never before.
  • Customization -  change the appearance of the main characters.

More screens and detail on Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory

Following on from the recent Japanese update, here's a look at some new western screens of Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Story in action. These focus on the Internet Cafe where the hacker and his friends get together, including Hacker genius Erika Mishima. The game arrives in early 2018 here, but progress seems to be going well.


 To prove his innocence, Keisuke Amazawa has to become a new member of Hudíe -  a hacking group of the digital world. The team is used to meet in an internet café in Ikebukuro to solve and settle all kinds of troubles in the digital world. From there, Keisuke Amazawa will be able to access underground websites, accept a variety of requests (and unlock many new quests by interacting with various NPC) to become the perfect hacker and solve the digital mysteries.


 By using Digimon abilities, the new generation of hackers can use several hacking skills to unlock security or support the Hudíe members such as Erika Mishima, a genius girl who acquired mysterious powers following an accident. Conflict between hackers becomes intense especially when Fey, the leader of the biggest hacker group called Zaxon, uses Hudíe to get rid of the hackers who interfere with her business.