Monday, September 17, 2018

Reverse Crawl swims over the Vita

I saw the trophies for this game pop up on Exophase and had no idea what it's about based on the name. A quick search and there's no swimming involved, instead its a pixelly turn-based battler from 2015 that's well rated on Steam from Nerdook and Digerati.

Here's the PC trailer from three years ago... Nerdook was behind the excellent Vertical Drop Heroes, so this could well be worth investigating, assuming the listing isn't in error, which happens from time to time. Hopefully the newer Monster Slayer card/dungeon game (already out on PS4) is also on the way!

UPDATE: No comment from publisher or developer, so perhaps yet another trophy error, or they're waiting for some agreed formal announce date!

From the blurb: "A dungeon crawl where YOU are the monsters! Lead your minions in tactical turn-based combat against the pesky heroes, and unlock a variety of evil Powers. With a dynamic campaign system and a branching storyline, "Reverse Crawl" lets you experience an RPG from a whole new angle!"


- Tactical turn-based combat system, where you control the dungeon's minions!
- A dynamic campaign that will be different each time, complete with a branching storyline
- Artwork, coding and animation by one person (!) in that unique Nerdook style
- Unlock new minions, traits and powers as you play, depending on your choices during the campaign!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A fresh peek at Catherine's Full Body

Trailer time again from Japan as the Catherine Full Body site gets an update with more content and a fresh trailer to tempt us. The big question remains will we get to experience her puzzles and deadly delights on the Vita in the west, still no word from Atlus as time ticks on.

The main trailer kicks in around the 50 second mark. Interestingly, there's talk from the developers a of collaboration surprise for the updated edition. Given all the characters have variations on the Catherine name,  that has me thinking immediately of Kat from Gravity Rush, wouldn't that be cool? Any other ideas? Of course it could be something completely different.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

NG gameplay as Japan tucks into this horror title

See what's going on in the visual novel horror title NG as Japanese gamers start to explore the darkness. There's quite a few streams and gameplay videos, but this seems to be the most popular. Looks mostly like scene setting and a few minor choices in the early going but I'm sure there's plenty more to come in the later chapters.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Timespinner finally spins up on the Vita

Kickstarted some four years ago, classic platformer Timespinner from Chucklefish and Lunar Ray Games is ready to hit the Vita and PS4 (and PC). Yet another exciting looking Metroid-style game, it follows hot on the heels of Chasm (just realised I still need to do my review of that), but with a lot more characterisation, judging by the trailer.

In Timespinner, we join timekeeper Lunais on her quest for revenge against the empire that killed her family. She can use her time-bending powers to explore a vast, connected world. It hits PSN on the 25th September.

Check out the game website for more detail. Good to see some developers keeping the Vita version day and date with the other editions, rather than treating it as an afterthought.

Latest Media Create chart data and Famitsu review scores

Vita sales dropped another 100 down to 2,348 last week in Japan according to the latest Media Create data. That's in trend with previous years' late summer performance. There are no Vita titles in the games chart, topped by an impressive performance by SpiderMan selling 125K on PS4.

Things perk up over the next couple of weeks with NG Spirit Horror out this week and
Steins Gate Elite out the following week. How they'll cope among the AAA releases and general move to Switch likely means reduced sales all round.

In Famitsu land, that very same Steins Gate Elite scored three 8s and a 9 for a total of 33, but with Tomb Raider, SpiderMan and others scoring higher, I wonder if Japanese gamers will focus on the western releases over this latest dive into the SG universe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New studio Too Kyo Games announce first projects

Japan has a new indie studio, founded by the seven mostly ex-Danganronpa and Zero Escape staffers. From the Too Kyo company reveal livestream interview we get some pretty art for a lineup of games covering themes of people going to their "extreme limits x despair" (sounds familiar) and a cyberpunk-themed tale being published by their old bosses at Spike Chunsoft.

No formats, release dates or any detail really, but while Switch is probably a given and they may be too far into 2019/2020 for the Vita, I guess since that's where they found their main success, there's a ray of hope.

Update, there's a Famitsu English language piece here.

Minecraft v1.76 Aquatic update live

Go swim with the fishes in the last major update for the Vita version of Minecraft. Version 1.76 is here as a 1GB download (that's going on top of my fresh physical version install, other updates may be smaller).

The changelog is here from Mojang with the key features being six new trophies a host of life and features to explore under the water's surface. There's also a new tutorial to show off the fresh features.

Minecraft landed on the Vita in October 2014, so has been well supported for almost four years, and thanks to Mojang for that. It sold a million boxed copies in Japan, and got a Limited Edition Vita model. That helped keep the Vita relevant over there, and is still played massively online.

It also inspired Dragon Quest Builders and plenty of other knock-offs, so Vita owners have a lot to be grateful for. Will add some screens once the update has downloaded.

Super Mutant Alien Assault lands on Vita

Sticking out among the first rush of AAA PS4 games for the autumn, Chris Suffern's Super Mutant Alien Assault is up on PSN for the Vita, bringing us gorgeous glowing pixel destruction. Packed with weapons, skills and perks, your droids must protect fleets carrying humanity to the stars from aliens who don't want our scummy carcasses landing in their neigbourhoods.

Inspired by the likes of Super Crate Box, it is full of single-screen levels where you need to defeat the attackers as fast as possible using the hugely varied arsenal and unlockables. Players must figure out hte quickest route to success, if the aliens survive too long, the ship’s radiation will mutate them into bigger, nastier versions.

No Vita trailer or screens that I can find, so enjoy the PS4 clip from a couple of years back.

UPDATE: Looks like the game had some early PSN issues, but hopefully fixed now.

UPDATE 2: Confirmed the PSN issues are fixed, get playing everybody!

Quantum Suicide on show at TGS

Sure I'd mentioned Quantum Suicide from CottonCandy Cyanide before, but can't find any reference. The visual novel was Kickstarted in 2016, and the website still lists a late 2017 release date, but the game was delayed due to the developer's divorce of all things, and this trailer is two years old.

More recent news is the sci-fi thriller will be on display at Tokyo Game Show, in the Australia booth, and according to a Japanese tweet will be out later this year, and is still coming to the Vita. Overall, the developer could definitely do with better communications.

Quantum Suicide is a Japanese-style Visual Novel. You play as a researcher aboard a spaceship on an epic mission to find humanity a new home. The mission is jeopardized by a corrupted A.I system that forces you to play "The Deletion Game", a weekly game where you must battle your crew mates for survival.  Prepare to make both friends and enemies of your crew members as you play through a series of puzzles and strategy mini-games. Can you see the Everett's mission through to the end...alive?

More TGS snippets here. Ah, I had mentioned the game in the Kickstarter list (makes sense), but it seems like a title that should have made more waves.

Monday, September 10, 2018

In my twitching Severed hand, new Limited Edition pictures

Despite writing lots about all the Vita limited physical editions doing the rounds, this is the first one I had the money at the right time to snap up. I reviewed the PSN version back in 2016, but have to say it so much better holding something in your hand, having the CD soundtrack to play at will and that lovely smell of fresh plastic to enjoy (perhaps that's just me!).

Drinkbox Studios and EastAsiaSoft deserve credit for bringing these our way. Here's some unboxing snaps to enjoy if you're still tempted they still have a few on!

ps vita, severed, drinkbox, physical

ps vita, severed, drinkbox, physical

ps vita, severed, drinkbox, physical

ps vita, severed, drinkbox, physical

ps vita, severed, drinkbox, physical

Review: FullBlast

I'm still annoyed no one ported Ikaruga over to the Vita, but we've had plenty of great releases over the years to satisfy those shoot 'em up urges. Joining the hopefuls is FullBlast, a smart-looking Ouya and PC 3D shooter from UFO Crash, ported by Ratalaika.

Relatively slow-paced, it sees your chubby little craft setting out over a 3D world to defend it from alient attack. There's an American flag over your base, but no land marks to get your patriotic blood running, surely some mistake!

Your aim is to deal death to waves of alien invaders. Some sit on top of the buildings, others have crashed into them denting the scenery, but most waves potter in from the edge or top of the screen in three or four ship groups. Their fire patterns are predictable, and butterflies are the only ones that drop power-ups, so focus on them.

The combined firepower is constant but hardly anything you would call bullet hell. Even the bosses are at best sturdy, rather than awesome nightmares, and with plenty of extra lives, power ups, boosts and mega bomb pick ups, you can generally out-muscle the enemy forces.

A chunky metal soundtrack rattles away in the background and the effects hide under that, music is on or off only, with no volume control, so you need to turn the music off to really get the effects. Even then, explosions are chunky, but gun effects are rather bland with only a few other bleeps and bloops, making it all rather bland.

With a platinum trophy easily earned by the time you complete level three, there's still more than three-quarters of the game to go, across jungle and icy terrain, which seems rather unfair. On the plus side, the landscape gets more alien as you progress adding an eerie sense of foreboding.

As you charge up your weapon to max, you can fire missiles too, which partnered with some megabombs and a shield allows a well-tooled-up ship to crash through most levels easily enough. To spice things up from time to time, the game kicks in a 3D rotation mode which makes things a little more exciting.

There is an online scoreboard to compare your efforts, in easy, medium and hard more, and some internal rewards, but it feels tacked on like an extra, rather than a core part of the game. Some side missions or an accuracy score, or anything really would help out here.

What's really missing is interaction with the 3D landscape, where's a bomb button to flatten the ground targets? Where's the enemies being shot down and plowing into the car-filled streets? Anything to make this game a more interesting shooter. One boss comes out of holes in the ground but it would be so much better if, for example, you could jump into the tanks that are defending the nation on some levels and change the perspective a little.

This is a decent shooter, with a modest challenge. But with a little imagination, the developers could have made FullBlast so much more exciting. Hopefully they can push a little further next time with a more ambitious project.

Score: 6/10
More Reviews
Price: £4.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher UFO Crash/Ratalaika/
File size 240MB
Progress: Platinum/Completed

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review Sigi A Fart for Melusina

A flatulent noble after a date with a mermaid, not your typical Knight's Tale. Sigi is a short and silly platformer that takes the spirit of Ghosts and Goblins, dials down the difficulty and ramps up the daft factor. A bit of jumping, some well aimed shots and keeping an eye out for the odd mystery item and you've completed an early level in a matter of seconds.

Sigi must travel across 20-odd short levels, finding the secret rooms and objects along the way, defeating the peculiar bosses every few levels. The GnG spirit comes with the range of weapons you can use, but the first dozen levels are pretty much a cakewalk, except for wondering if each drop in the ground will reveal a secret or instant death.

With cannons to fire you across levels, clouds and tyres for tricky jumps, there's a little variety in exploring, but really its all about the rush to collect lives and defeat the four major enemies.

The bosses, you need to hit from one side, or in the right place to wear them down. They provide the only real obstacle in the game, and you should stack up plenty of lives (collecting the letters of SIGI's name, collecting 100 coins and so on) over the levels to stand a better chance to batter them. But if you do die, then restarting on the boss level annoyingly leaves you very short of lives to take the beasts down.

With charming graphics, and a jolly chiptune theme, Sigi looks the part, but the mechanics don't feel tight enough and that can slow you down through uncertainty. Battling through zombies, skeletons and the annoying crows is fun for a while but they can really annoyingly get in the way during boss battles.

Clearly, Pixel-lu is destined for bigger and greater things with Plutonium Pirates and Bobby Bombastic on the way, so I guess as an intro to those Sigi is a worthwhile experience, and if you were ever a GnG fan that found Capcom's games too hard, this might make a welcome alternative.

But, its not quite clever or tight enough to be a compelling game, and if it was any more than a few quid, I'd be rather down on it, but as a cheap-and-cheerful experimental release, Sigi is well worth a quick blast.

Score: 6/10
More Reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher You/
File size 91MB
Progress: Knight, knight

Friday, September 7, 2018

Kemco tosses a Revenant Dogma bone our way

Reasonably hot on the heels of Fernz Gate, Kemco is porting another mobile RPG, the battle-focused Revenant Dogma. With 2D exploring and 3D battles, characters transform and forge new weapons to spice up the cookie-cutter combat. If you're a slave to your JRPG instincts it is probably another fun dose of adventuring, but don't expect anything in the least bit groundbreaking.

Update: Trophy listing live

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

NG top scores in Famitsu, plus latest Media Create data

While the Vita crawls toward 6 million sales in Japan over 7 years, Nintendo announced the Switch hit 5 million sales in a little under two years in its home country, rapidly closing in on the PS4's 7 million.

I was away last week, and just as well as the Vita did a summer flop down to 2,540 (down along with most hardware, except the PS4 Pro) according to the Media Create sales figures. Even so, still not bad for a what's fast becoming a gaming anachronism. On the game chart, VN Killer and Strawberry popped into the chart selling a decent 4,532 at No. 17.

This week's figures aren't much better, down a little more at 2,452 falling in line with most other hardware, except Switch rooted at 45K units. Otomate title Pio Fiore sold a hefty 5,153 copies to land at No. 19.

On the plus side Vita exclusive horror game NG aka "No Good" scored eights across the board as the joint top scoring game in this week's Famitsu reviews. It should make a decent impact on the chart when it releases next week.

Last Post for Vita at Tokyo Games Show 2018

The big news in Japan is all about Tokyo Games Show, kicking off on 20 September. As you'd expect it is likely to be a low-key farewell to Vita as all publisher focus is on PS4 and Switch. A few Japanese tweeters are still wondering about Vita 2, but that boat has long since sailed.

Still, there's lots of releases to come in 2019, so there should be a decent smattering of news from the show.


Sony's official show title roster is now up, it has no Vita list or show space on Sony's booth. But it does confirm that Kadokawa's Root Letter Last Answer is coming to PS4 and Vita. Also getting a mention are Catherine Fully Body and Atelier of the new Earth.

Tri-Ace has a new PlayStation reveal on the 20th (likely PS4).

Spike Chunsoft has announced Kenka Bancho 2nd Rumble (teaser page) coming to the Vita in 2019 with new characters

You can check out Sony's pre-show concert and weird PS4 trailer/gameplay fest here.

Sega has announced its show list with Catherine: Full Body, Phantasy Star Online 2 and Steins Gate Elite getting new trailers or news. Catherine has been confirmed for a February release in Japan.

Original piece:

Based on the official show lists, Namco and Capcom have nothing at all, having moved on some time ago. Some Japanese studios are likely to pushing a few more western indies in the Indie Game Area which is sponsored by Sony, but it still seems strange that Japanese indies never really took off on the Vita.

 In a more positive tone, Konami will show off a single new unannounced title from Kogado Studio, likely along the same lines as Nurse Love Addiction.

Koei will be focusing on the major console versions of Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists, only launching on Vita in Japan. The revamped Kin’iro no Corda 3: Full Voice Special will also spawn a trailer.

Square hopes to be showing off Romancing Saga 3, some 18 months after the first announcement.

D3 has two unannounced games on its TGS site, unlikely for Vita but who knows.

Smaller publishers are yet to announce their titles, but Side Kicks developer extend still has to reveal its new game and a host of otome, visual novels and fan service games will keep the Vita running for a while yet.

Will update if anything surprising pops out of the woods.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Fordesoft's Emerald Shores trailer

Get your racing boots on for Fordesoft's platform peculiarity coming to the Vita soon. Emerald Shores (first mentioned last summer) features a whole host of different game mechanics around the core platform adventure along with a generally quirky tone. Yet another game coming from a solo dev, hopefully it hits enough high notes to get some coverage and an audience.

New Shakedown Hawaii trailer lights up the screen

I love sharing the little animated GIFs as part of #screenshotsaturday from VBlank as work on Shakedown Hawaii nears an end. There haven't been any the last few weeks, but if you miss them here's a fresh burst of life in the form of a PAX trailer. The game is still coming to Vita with a physical release on the cards, along with all the pixelly carnage anyone could ever need.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Warped Metaverse teases a strange beach life

Warped Metaverse from PrimeShots is a game that's undergone a long gestation and transition from the early looks a couple of years back, when it was known as Project Classic.

It is also a project that answers my recent call for more polygonal Vita games, reminding the world that it can do more than (very) pretty pixels. Check out lead dev's Nicholas Marcelin's Twitter for more.

Not much idea about the game from these clips, bar a few explosions. Great to see a team being ambitious, the only bad news is that winter 2019 release date. Might as well make it January 1st 2020 and be the first Vita game of a new decade!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Latest Vita Media Create data and Famitsu scores

Things went full-on summer holiday mode in Japan last week with no new entries and sales figures heading for the hills. The Vita managed to sell 3,083 units according to Media Create, so even in the quiet times, people are still picking up Sony's ageing hardware in decent numbers. But nothing like the Switch which managed over 54.5K on a no-news week.

Over in Famitsu land, good scores for a couple more Vita games, with slightly higher hopes for the Toybox-developed mystery adventure, World End Syndrome published by Arc System Works where the dead come back to life every 100 years.

World End Syndrome 8/8/8/8
Piofiore no Banshou 8/8/7/8

Death Mark gets a western limited edition

This week has been another one-bit-of-bad-news-outweighing-all-the-good, but the good news does keep trickling out with a physical U.S. release of Death Mark from Aksys for the actual Vita. Featuring an art book, audio CD, stickers and the game, its an impressive haul, the same deal that PS4 and Switch owners are getting, showing commendable effort by Aksys.

Likely getting an autumn release, hopefully we'll see this in Europe as the Experience-developed horror title has all the hallmarks of a dark epic.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Pato Box release dates and punchy trailer

The joy of indie is the ability to do something that no traditional publisher would. Enter Pato Box, possibly the peak indie game to arrive on the Vita (along with Hatoful Boyfriend). With its strong age rating, ludicrous matches and the fact you're a duck all give this game something crazy-magical. That and the fierce mono art style should make this something special, arriving on Vita in September.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Perils of Baking cooking on the Vita

Lillymo Games, and his dog, are hard at work bringing chef-themed platformer Perils of Baking to the Vita. Done when its cooked, the game hit PS4 earlier in the summer and is a full of precision jumping challenges, clever use of vertical space and pancakes!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Canned Mega Drive shooter HardCore brings the noise to Vita

Two points here. There are many legendary cancelled games across developer history. Imagine's Bandersnatch, NovaLogic's Necrocide and many more fell by the way side for a host of reasons. Check out Unseen64 for a massive list across history's gaming formats.

Second, physical publishers focused on limited runs of indie titles can only farm the current and recent crop so far down the food chain before people stop buying, because they aren't good enough or are too niche. Therefore a logical archaeological exercise is to start digging up some of those abandoned games and bring them back to life, assuming the code, music and art assets still exists.

Step forward Strictly Limited who have dug into coding history and pulled a corker out of the bag. Hardcore looks fucking epic. To be crude, it's Bitmap Bros. meets Turrican, but so much more

One of the surely-would-have-been-a-hit efforts from legendary publisher Psygnosis and Swedish developed Digital Illusions (who first shot fame with the Pinball Illusions games, and are now EA-DICE). But the good news is the lost-to-history title, originally planned for the Mega Drive, is coming to PS4 and Vita next year.

The official site has more details and screens, and will be the place to sign up for the limited editions. Given that the new-but-old Mega Drive game Xeno Crisis is only coming to the Switch and PS4, this is great news. But I now start wondering, what gems will the publishers dig up next? From a massive seven years ago, here's a very early dream list of mine (of published games), will have to browse through the dumped project list to see what would be great.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bullet Girls snipe the Japanese chart

Vita sales ticked up according to Japan's Media Create data last week, up to just over 3,500. That's as Bullet Girls Phantasia nudged into the chart at No. 19. It sold 6,441 copies, rather far down on the PS4 version's 14,400 hitting the top 10, showing the ever growing gap in cross format sales.

Remember you can import the Asian version of BGP with English subtitles if you want to get down with the trigger happy ladies. Bullet Girls 2 sold 17K on Vita, so a big drop since 2016, the original sold almost 30K on launch in 2014. So, while combined sales are okay, and suggest another episode, perhaps the Vita won't be a format of choice next time.

Looking ahead, Arc System's World End Syndrome is the most interesting release ahead of a raft of visual novels including Killer and Strawberry, for August. But things don't really pick up until September when Steins Gate Elite should make some waves.

Last week's figures confirm Plutonium Pirates for Vita

What a difference a day makes, started the week seeing Vita channels flooded with piracy/homebrew news and the ever-expanding world of Switch goodness. Yet, all it takes is a little good news to change my mood, and here we go with more of it from

After yesterday's Bobby Bombastic announce, today comes confirmation that Plutonium Pirates can run on the Vita, so a port is on the way. That's a truck-load of retro-gaming fun to enjoy and I can't wait to see it in action.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Bobby Bombastic flies in more retro-modern heaven for Vita owners I think are my new favourite people, just when we think the Vita is running out of steam, along comes some new heroes. Having already announced Sigi A Fart for Melusina for September,  they now promise us the tribute-heavy world of Bobby Bombastic, paying homage to a host of 8- and 16-bit titles.

This quick and early WIP clip looks excellent and recreates some of the classics from the dawn of gaming with Atari's HERO! Can't wait to see more.

Root Letter: Last Answer teaser trailer

Not sure if this is a new episode, a revamp or compilation from Kadokawa and Shimane, or for what format (given the series recently went into VR). Whatever, interest is high in Japan, and around the world, for a new Root Letter effort, perhaps even a movie if you dig into the comments.

UPDATE: Confirmed as showing at Tokyo Games Show for PS4 and will release on the Vita

A Root Letter 2 game is definitely on the way, but again with no detail. This could be the same thing, or not. We'll probably get some detail later in the year, with most publishers holding off from actual news in the summer. Still waiting to find out what the Side Kicks developers have up next!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Otomate's Variable Barricade intro video

One thing the Vita will never run out of is a constant supply of otome fun for Japanese gamers. The latest effort, in the form of Idea Factory's Variable Barricade is another romantic tale with sinister undertones.

In this VN tale, a dodgy grandfather sends four charming but scheming suitors to dote on his granddaughter, Hibari Toujou. What is their mission and who will she choose in the usual VN fun and games? More detail on VNDB.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sony's 500 million celebration reveals the number of Vitas sold

Sony is shipping a new PS4 model to celebrate 500 million PlayStation consoles sold since the arrival of the original slim gray box of joy. Over the years, the systems have actually sold 525.3 million various PlayStation consoles according to EuroGamer. But how many did the Vita sell? One or two people at the back of the room mutter, darkly?

Of course, Sony knows the individual numbers and could just tell us, but that would mean admitting a failure, and companies don't like doing that! Still, with a little maths, we can figure out how many the Vita sold out of that enormous figure. Take 525.3 as the starting point and subtract these numbers (grabbed off Wikipedia, but they're mostly Sony's figures, although the company has been increasingly spotty in its reporting, so there's some room for error).

82.3 million PS4 sales to date.
83.8 million PS3 sales lifetime
155 million PS2 sales lifetime
102 million PSone sales lifetime
82 million PSP sales lifetime

Leaving around 20.2 million Vita consoles in the world, which even with a 5% margin of error isn't bad for an abandoned device. That's at the higher end of estimates when people stopped giving a crap around 2015.

For context, Sony was bleeding red ink in those years, and perhaps didn't have the spare capital for multiple major tech investments. But to abandon 80-million PSP users and, around then 15 million Vita users? That's not a smart move and has left the field wide open for Nintendo to steal the whole market.

Anyone can spin this number anyway they like, but I'd say it shows both how badly handled the post-launch period really was, and how damaging Sony unnecessarily ditching western support for it in 2015 affected sales.

Since then, JRPG fans, indie lovers and retro gamers have kept the boat floating thanks to a tight group of developers and publishers, big thanks to them. Since most sales now are import or second-hand, the number could be higher if Sony had kept some faith in the format.

Looking into the history books, while 20 million isn't much by Sony's standards, that's double sales of Dreamcast, in the same ballpark as Game Cube and around where the Switch is now, showing how dumb Sony looks, missing the opportunity to launch a HD remote player or hybrid when it had the chance.

Persona Dancing launch trailers with December date

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the Vita logo on these trailers, just in case Atlus had decided to do something really dumb. More importantly, we have a 4 December release date for both Persona 5 Dancing in Startlight and Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight.

The pre-order button on the new website doesn't work yet, but looks like there's no change to the digital-only Vita release! Check out the 2015 Persona 4: Dancing All Night review if these disco versions are all new to you!

Check out Bullet Girls Phantasia English version in action

Decent size Japanese games not coming west is no longer the problem it used to be, in some cases. Check out the Asian/English version of Bullet Girls Phantasia on action thanks to keen YouTuber Padoca. Hopefully more publishers will take this route to make it easier to import titles without the full cost of a western release.

In the shrinking world of Vita games it may not be the best solution but it does make sense.

Kemco opens Fernz Gate on the Vita

Kemco brings us another Japanese mobile RPG, in the form of Fernz Gate from Kotobuki Solution. The original on iOS rates a decent 4.8/5 on the App Store.

UPDATE: There's now a trophy listing up on Exophase for anyone keen on this turn-based battle fest.

The story goes... After awaking in some unfamiliar woods, Alex, an ordinary high school kid living an ordinary life, learns he has somehow ended up in Fernland, a world where peace and order have been replaced by conflict and destruction.

Fighting to defend himself from monsters, the ever-ominous threat of the Overlord, and one chaotic event after another as he tries to find his own place in this new world, Alex comes across a young woman by the name of Lita from a peaceful world like his own.Hitting it off, they soon become friends and set out together, but what hidden truth awaits them as their adventure begins to unfold...?

- Join forces with buddies and fight! You may even encounter some familiar faces!
- Take advantage of the Secret House and dispatch buddies to collect items or place them on stands to gain special-effects!
- Plant seeds to grow parameter-increasing fruit.
- Easy-to-use tap controls on classic turn-based battles!
- Upgrade and customize weapons!
- A variety of sub quests, monster guide to complete and much, much more!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Punch Line release dated

Europe will get its hands on PQube's Punch Line on August 31st, with America a few weeks later on  September 25th! A supernatural visual novel adventure story by the writer of Zero Escape, the physical Cheermancy release looks like quite the package.

Obviously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with an underwear-obsessed Japanese kid/ghost creature! As long as you enjoy young ladies and their bottoms!

Vita sales tick along nicely in Japan

Vita sales are down just a smidge this week in Japan, down less than 100 on last week's Media Create figures at 3,339. No Vita games in the top 20, as a host of Switch, PS4 and even 3DS releases make the chart, including their Saga Scarlet Grace versions.

The Vita edition sold over 90K in 2016, but these versions at launch sold just 15K on PS4 and 9.5K on Switch. Just a gentle reminder to Square how powerful the Vita user base is. 

FullBlast lines up Vita in its sights

UFO Crash Games' shooter from 2016, FullBlast looks like it is on the way to the Vita via a fresh trophy listing. Flying over a modern city scape, mech insectoid/fish-like alien invaders roll in in waves and need taking out, cue a natty attack craft and a wide range of weapons.

First thought is its a shame the aliens don't do damage to the city around them, and the faster you shoot them the better "protection" bonus, or similar, you get. Second one is, I wonder how the Vita will cope with the rotating sections when the boss enemies turn up. Also, hope there's a portrait mode to get rid of the borders, or just do away with them all together.

Still, another shooter is always welcome on the Vita, and Ratalaika and their porting friends are proving total demons when it comes to providing the Vita with entertainment.

UPDATE: Ratalaika has confirmed an early September release for FullBlast

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Long Reach finally touches in mid-August.

Mark your calendars for that relatively rare thing, a Vita adventure. The Long Reach has been quite a while in making its way over, but will land on our lucky little portable on the 14th in the US and 15th in the EU.

The Merge Games/Painted Black title looks and sounds dark and threatening. Hopefully get some vita pics or video, but here's the original trailer for now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Jack N' Jill DX gets Vita trophies

Original a mobile game from 2014 by Rohan Narang, Jack N' Jill DX sounds like a Vita update. Describe as a cute retro platformer, the Game Boy monochrome release has a strong 8-bit vibe. The trophy listing offers 11 gold and a platinum. The author was also behind Squareboy vs Bullies.

Trying to find out what the DX version adds to the 140 levels over 4 worlds of the original. Of more interest would be Jack N' Jill 3D, a colourised, sharper-looking successor that came out on iOS last year. Hopefully that too will get a Vita release.

Here's a look at the original, while I try and find some more details. Based on the throw-away trophies and Squareboy history, guess this will be another Ratalaika release.

UPDATE: All confirmed and coming in September

Bullet Girls Phantasia Asian version coming August with English Subs

More of a confirmation, as I think this is old news. According to a note in D3's latest Bullet Girls trailer, The Asian version of Bullet Girls Phantasia (Text in English, Korean, and Traditional Chinese) is being localized and will be published by H2 INTERACTIVE on 9 August. Love Lab is handling the translation side.

Anyone wanting a physical release, looks like this is the only way to go, it is available from Play Asia.

Japanese stats from Media Create and Famitsu

The latest Media Create charts has Collar x Malice |Unlimited making a quick dip into the chart at No. 10, selling 7,695 physical copies, including the various limited editions. That's as hardware data shows Vita sales dropping 850 over last week, down to 3,414.

Over in Famitsu-land, the latest scores are out. Good to see Darkest Dungeon getting a decent 31, the same as Bullet Girls Phantasia, both topped by Idea Factory's latest visual novel Charade Maniacs, a game all about suspicion and trust, scoring 33.

Charade Maniacs  8/8/9/8
Darkest Dungeon  8/8/8/7
Bullet Girls Phantasia 7/8/8/8

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chasm Launch trailer ahead of your unique adventure

BitKid's Chasm is live on PSN now and here's a new launch trailer with just some of the arcade goodness buried within this epic title as a new knight sets out to prove his worth. It should be tough to write a guide for as, while overall story is the same for all players, your hero's journey will be unique.

Each room has been hand-designed, and behind the scenes Chasm stitches them together into a one-of-a-kind world map that will be your own. And that's without the many battles to fight, bosses to overcome and much more. Note, the game itself is only 64MB (with a 31MB patch), so no stress on your memory card.

Check out BitKid's Kickstarter post summarising the five-plus years of development. "So I guess this is it. Chasm is done, and it’s now being played by people worldwide. To say that it’s a surreal feeling would be an understatement. I’ve done pretty much nothing but Chasm for the last 5-6 years and now it’s out of my hands."

Review Fill-a-Pix: Phil's Epic Adventure

A pronto follow up to Lightwood's Pic-a-Pix Color, Phil's Epic Adventure foregoes the colour for some block grey-scale pixel filling in with new rules.

Numbers highlight the amount of squares per block of 9, or 6 if working around the edges. So, if there's a 9 in the middle of that set, every one will be coloured in black. If there's a 0, they will all be gray.

If there's a number in between, you need to figure out which are black and which are gray. After a quick tutorial, off you go into Phil's photo archive from his world tour, trying to touch up the images and find out what he snapped in Italy, Japan and so on, giving it a globe-trottting theme.

Making it more different to Pic-A-Pix, the images in this game are huge, scrolling over a wide area. You might get one section done, but then need to head somewhere else to link them up. To help out, there are hints, a Smart Cursor painter tool that will auto-fill squares for you, and then your own brutal logic to figure out why one number has turned red when it goes wrong.  

You can easily play the game with the Smart Cursor just to find out what the pictures are. Even then, it can take half-an-hour an image, which makes it a bit less pick-up-and-play. Also, without the colour, it doesn't feel quite as intriguing or as focused as the earlier game, quite often the images aren't worth the wait.

Still, its another useful diversion for the Vita's roster and if you like a puzzle challenge, then there is certainly hours of play to focus your mind. 

Score: 6/10
More Reviews
Price: £6.49 (PSN)
Developer/publisher Lightwood
File size 93MB
Progress: Toured Le France!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Super Life of Pixel coming August

One of the finest PSM games finally gets its much-deserved fresh lease of life, with a Super Life of Pixel edition launching on PSN, 22 August. The Super Icon nostalgia trip, with fresh input from White Moon Dreams, now looks even more fantastic. It borrows from the history of platformer classics with a bunch of new features, trophies and extra moves, all trying to get our curious pixel to the end of the level.

Word Search by Powgi hitting the Vita

Lightwood has recently brought us the puzzle fun of Pic-A-Pix Colour and Phil's Epic Fill-A-Pix Adventure (review in progress). Another one of their jolly roster looks to be headed to the Vita with a trophy listing (including Platinum) up for their Word Search by Powgi.

Originally a Wii U game, about three years ago, sure these aren't indie epics. But, as with the Pix games, sometimes you just want to relax and focus on something without a billion exploding pixels. Lightwood have a few more games in their roster that will find a welcome home on many consoles, so maybe a few more to hit the Vita?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Check out The Dreamlands: Aisling's Quest on Vita

Coming to US PSN on 7 August, and EU at some point in the future if the developer can get enough money for a PEGI rating, The Dreamlands: Aisling's Quest from The Domaginarium is a 3D adventure packed with puzzles and mystery.

dreamlands, aisling's quest, ps vita, adventure

One day, Aisling experienced an event that transports her into a world shaped by her dreams and nightmares. There, she learns about The Mourner, a dark entity that is covering and corrupting the land. Aisling must go on a quest to recover three treasures that will help her face The Mourner, bringing peace to the Dreamlands and ultimately to herself.

Severed physical release pre-orders today

UPDATE: Pre-orders live, 50% sold out in the first couple of hours. free (if slow) shipping problem solved.

You have just a few hours to get in the queue before PlayAsia put up the 3,000 copies of Drinkbox's classic slash-em-up Severed (review) up for pre-order. The game comes in a collectors edition box, with numbered certificate (issue 1-3,000) the game, and an original soundtrack CD, all for $34.99.

In Severed you play as a distraught warrior, who is lost in a fantastical world. She is tasked with the challenge of knitting together pieces of her story from both the past and the future. Our heroine will embark on a journey through a surreal non-linear world using a gesture-based combat mechanic to defeat enemies in this first-person adventure. Unlock new abilities, discover secrets of the land, and grow in power as you master both offensive and defensive techniques. Let Severed be your mystery to unravel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Vita sales still on the up in Japan

No games in the Media Create chart, but that doesn't stop Vita sales ticking up by another 150-odd, moving it over 4,250 for the week. Out this week is Collar X Malice Unlimited, in a range of limited editions. Then there's Grisaia Phantom Trigger 03 & 04 the following week and Bullet Girls Phantasia after that, for a decent run of releases, but nothing likely to threaten the top of the chart.

Super Mutant Alien Assault gets Vita trophy listing

Earlier in the year, Chris Suffern's Super Mutant Alien Assault got a PEGI (video) and other ratings for a Vita version. But, there was no word from the dev or a publisher. Now there's a set of trophies listed, with one gold, one silver and a dozen bronze up for grabs, for the superbly-detailed pixel shooter.

Can't wait to give it a blast! I guess the port/publisher (Limited Run have a secret game on the way???) will reveal themselves in short order, but it is getting rather silly when we know all the Vita releases by their trophy trails.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

PatoBox dev shows off Vita version

If you're not on Twitter, you're missing out on a big chunk of Vita community and news. For example, here's a first look at the duck-boxing crossover title in action on Sony's handheld, I think the first time we've seen it moving. Looks pretty cool, and what's not to like about a pugilistic canard? 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Waking Violet Walkthrough and Guide Part 3

This final section. if you're stuck earlier in the game, go take a peek at Part 1 and Part 2 of the guide.

The new map has four puzzles to solve behind gates, so some block juggling required. I'm going left to right on the triggers.

Colder than ice: Collect the potions and create a clone on your side of the water. Freeze the clone (you cruel bastard) and shove it into the water in front of the fourth from left block. Push that block up, then move the fifth block down across your popsicle bridge onto a trigger. Push the second block into the water and move blocks one and three onto triggers. Now push the high block onto its trigger to open the gate. Collect the clock and get out of there.

colder than ice, waking violet

Always something else to do: Collect the potions and turn two clones into popsicles again. Push them onto the triggers and move up. To arrange the five blocks onto the triggers...

Push the highest block all the way left. Push the block below you down one.
Push the lower left hand block down onto the lowest trigger.
Push the higher left-hand block down onto the second trigger.
Push the remaining middle block up one and left one.
Push the right block right, down and onto the far trigger.
Push the lower remaining block right, up, right and down onto the remaining lower trigger.
Finally, push the last block along onto the higher trigger. (phew, if that doesn't make sense, hope the pics do!)

always something else to do, waking violet

This will drop gates in front of the lightning orbs so you can push the clone popsicles up to the triggers above their current location to gain access to the portal. Go down to the lower section, use the fireball to shoot both blocks at once, then trigger then green orb to open the gate, get the clock and leave.

Falling apart: Get the potion to your right, hit the trigger and go up then left to avoid the green ball, then right and down to avoid the second shot. Get the next potion, move the two blocks to create some space and get the clock. Shoot the ghost to get out.

Ice of the beholder: The key here is to freeze the four ghosts and put their blocks on the triggers, easier said than done, judicious use of the back button is likely. Get the two potions and then the clock to trigger the ghosts. Shoot the nearest one near the top but with enough room to walk above it.

Push him right a block and a half  to block the next two, then sneak past the last one. Time your raid on the other potions as the door is rising to get through both ways unharmed. The tricky bit is shooting the remaining three with enough wiggle room to get them on the triggers.

ice of the beholder, waking violet

Back in the portal room, grab the key and go through the left portal to open the gate. You need to run all the way back to the other portal to get to that side of the room (go on, I'll wait!). The route is back, across, across the ice (not the nearby down portal), then pick the lower portal in the green level and the lower portal again.

You now face six more levels.

Time and time again: Some back and forth is required for the first four blocks to get them on their triggers. Push the top one, one square left, go around it and push it right. Push the middle square down and onto the lower trigger, move the left block up so you can get the remaining one down, and then replace the higher two...

For the second part, get the potions and read the note. Press circle, then push the higher and lower blocks right and the middle one down to reach the X. Trigger the clock and push the block through the portal to escape.

Time flies: Collect the potion, then put half your butt in front of the right-hand green bolt to stop it shutting the gate. Tap circle at that point. Sneak through quickly and shoot the block above so you can position the three remaining ones on the triggers. When you get the clock, move to the gate, and reverse time, duck through and out the portal.

Been there, done that: Collect the big potion, press circle. Push the top block up, collect the potion, then create a clone in the corner. Go to the lower block, push it and get the potion. Press circle again. Push the two blocks and use the clone to cover the triggers, collect the clock and exit.

Let's do that again: Down, left, fireball, push right, collect potions. Go up and around the block, press circle. Push it off its trigger and down where you came from, go around it again and push it up to block the lightning to the left, so you can get above it. Press circle again to return it to its start position and open the gate. Get the clock, and pull the other block down and out to block the downward lighting. Move the other block over to open the portal gate and move the other block to protect against the right lightning bolts, then sneak out.

Flowing like a river: Collect the potions and juggle the four blocks above with a couple of pulls on the third-from-left block to get them on the triggers. Then stand by the lower block and press circle before showing it across the ice to complete the path. On the other side, press circle again to open the last gate, get the clock and push the block back to recomplete the path. Shoot the block you moved at the end of the slide to allow access to the portal.

Forward to the past: Have a cup of tea or coffee, we'll be here a while. Figure out how to put the four blocks on the triggers. But, before you do that, shove them all the way over to block the ghost in his square. Do this carefully, so there's room to maneuver the blocks back and forth. When in position, press circle. Then move them all back again to the triggers to open the gate, and get the clock. Once you're outside the gate, press circle again to return the blocks, trapping the ghost.

waking violet, forward to the past,

To escape through the portal, push the nearby block half onto the trigger, then pull it off again to open the sequence gates.

That gives us the key, to move some blocks to open the gate to another portal. And onto the final few levels, which I'll write up tomorrow!

So close...: You can't undo on these levels, so caution! Also, there's not clocks to collect. Instead, grab the potions. Move the three blocks onto the triggers, hit circle, then push the middle one up to its destruction. When you're standing above where it was, press circle again. In the second section, moving the blocks is easy enough, but you're one short so make sure that one block covers the two adjoining triggers.

For the final bit, head to the portal. Push the top-left hand block right, then push the lower block down. Now, who's this mysterious person? When they've vanished move up and right to get out the way, press circle to restore the blocks, replace them and enter the portal.

...yet so far: Easy this one. Collect the potion, stand next to the gate and shoot freeze to the right. Hopefully the ghost stops before the trigger, redo if you get stuck. Pull the frozen ghost and the block into the river to let the next ghost move up. Go down the doors. Meet your nemesis, briefly, then pull the next block to open the exit door.

Grab the key, go to the last portal. Time for the last level.

Fountain of youth: This is pretty easy. Avoid the fireballs from your new friend. Grab the two potions in the inner section, and trigger the water power so you can get to the outer level. Use the mini-game keys (you did get them didn't you?) to open the doors and get the potions. Place clones on the two triggers on the right hand side to get more potions, there's another one on the far left-hand side.

Now place three of the four clones on the triggers in front of the lightning orbs. Once in place, keep your main clone or Violet safe, and put the last one in place when our friend is in the firing line.

Plan B: get some potions and go back into the inner section to freeze the villain, before escaping through the portal for a different ending!

Plan C: Quickly urn a clone into a popsicle, push him into the bottom left water hole and the villain should move down into the single cell traps, completing the game the third way. Trophies all round. Not you need to play the game once without hints for one trophy!

Experience's Team Muramasa reveal Project NG

Fear of the Dark, or My Baby is a Headfuck? Experience's new Vita project NG gets a first showing with blood, barbed wire, anger, goofy friends, hounds, teeth and big knives among the hellish scenes. Can't wait! The game hits Japan in September, chances of a western release are slim I'd guess, but who knows what miracles can happen, since Death Mark is coming our way.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Waking Violet Walkthrough and Guide Part 2

Continuing on from the first installment, let's get on with the puzzle solving. The third portal room contains five puzzles and two exits.

Getting around: Collect the potions, stand on the trigger and send a clone past the open gate. Use the clone to half-step on the second trigger to keep the gate open, and move your original clone into the gate, shuffling them down. Use them to push the block above the lightning orb to get past, read the note and start pulling blocks around. Pull the original block to block the left side of the lightning bolt, so you can move further down the level. Move one clone to the bottom and pull that block over the water, sacrifice the clone to get the clock and escape.

Pull back: To open the gate, push the lower block right, push the block above you up, then move up that first block into the next chamber onto a trigger. move the second block along and then pull the remaining two into place using the minimum amount of pulls (four). In the orb room, use pull to move the block half a step left and send a clone over, it can safely get the clock and the original Violet can escape the room.

Isolation: Shoot the lower-left block to make some room and put the other three on the available corners. Pull one block out from the side to fill the last trigger and get out of the room to collect the other potions. Go back to the block room and move them using your pull power into a line in the water to collect the clock. Then pull the final block out to get to the portal. (easy isn't it, spent hours trying different tactics on this one!)

waking violet, isolation
Beware the trap: Move the nearest three blocks around so you can push the right-hand one onto the trigger to zap a block. Now move the upper left block further left, the block below down, and move the middle block to the right so you can expose the portal. Collect the clock, and immediately move the block to your left to stop the ghost from coming down.

waking violet, beware the trap

Pull over: Similar to Isolation, move the four blocks onto the triggers, but without using any pull powers. Just move the two left ones into the right room, and vice versa, with a bit of juggling. That leaves you with all the potion power to send two clones across the top row in the orb room, allowing one clone to collect the clock and you to escape.

waking violet, pull over

Back in the portal room, collect the key, position the two nearest blocks on the lower triggers and then move the upper one to open the two gates. Take the upper portal first for a welcome change of colour.

Tempo: Walk left to right across the four triggers, stepping back after hitting the last one to avoid the blast. Go through the door, pick up the potion, and go across to pull the block into the water. Push the second block into the ghost room and position it so they can't follow you. Collect the clock and return to the portal.

Emergency button: Collect the potion, push the block in the main area up a few spaces, then a half-step right and down again onto the right-hand button. Go up to the higher room, move the left block (no. 1) up, so you can get above it. Then push it down and right, blocking the entrance to get the three blocks onto the triggers. Move the right hand block ( no. 2) down one, push the highest block (no. 3) left two spaces. Go down and around and push the no. 2 block back up and left. Push no. 2 onto the upper right trigger, go up and around to push no. 1 on the lower trigger, and up and around one more time to push no. 3 on to the remaining trigger.

Go back into the main room, move the original block down, push it up, pull it left and place it between the ghost and the trigger above it, then hit the clock. This will send him down the screen to trigger the door so Violet can get into the portal.

Curling: Collect the potions on the outer corners. Push the outer two blocks straight up. Then move the next two to the outer holes and send them up too. The clever bit here is stand half a step onto the ice and pull them back. Stand still, so they both block the lighting across the lower edge.

The second clever bit is to go up the middle path, face left and fire another pull at the block, then skate toward it so you stop under the clock, a few goes might be needed to get the timing right. Go down to get the clock, right to stop under the portal and up to enter it.

Third time is a charm: Move past the first block and take half steps to collect the two potions below it. Then push the block up to escape the lightning. In the second room, half push the block to the left, then push again and go right quickly to avoid the fireball. Push the block up and into the ghost room for later.

In the second lighting room, half push the upper left block down to block the lighting. Then fetch the spare block from the ghost room, pull it down the right-hand entry and half-cover the right hand lightning. move the middle block down and leave enough room to go around it without getting zapped and pull the last block down. Now cover the horizontal bottom lighting route with those two. Enter the green portal to go play Pac-Man.

Bonus: Hungry like a ghost: Zoom out the map so you can see the ghosts and collect all the dots. Break the map into quarters, and lure the ghosts into one, to clear the opposite area. Two power ups will chase them away, and when you get the last one the level finishes instantly, so don't worry about a chase for the last few.

To complete Third time is a charm, do the same up to the third room. This time pull any three blocks into the ghost room, however you like, and place them as shown to block the ghosts in, so when you collect the clock, you can escape.

Having cleared the four main levels, you can now collect the key and go through the portal to the left. Here, the only thing to do is push a panel onto a trigger and return.

Go back through the portal, and then the portal you came in by. You can try the lower portal here, but will find there's nowhere to go. So, go back, and go left into the portal on the far left of the screen. Take the middle portal here and there's a new set of levels to solve, all accessible with a bit of curling.

Annoooooying: Go down, right, down and left to get the clock. Then go right, up, left, down, right, up to land on the trigger. You'll need to time this so the ghost either gets killed in the gate or trapped in the bottom half. Then go down, left up, right and down to enter the portal.

Sleep sliding away: Move across the purple squares, up, right, down, left, up to push the block onto the trigger that opens the gate. Now go down, down, right, up, left, up, right to pass the portal and onto non-slippery land. Get the clock and push the block down, carefully positioning it to trap the two ghosts out of harm's way so you can get to the portal.

Stacked: Collect the two potions and send a clone up the level. Move the original Violet down and right, then up to bring her into play. Move her left, up, right, down to put her on the same line as the clone.

Now play block tennis between the two to get one of them in the right place to grab the clock. When she grabs it, go left, down and right. With that done you can leave the level.

waking violet, stacked

To enter the red portal and play the next mini-game to win the key, go as far as sending original Violet up the screen. Then use her to push the block down (or the clone) as the clone pushes it across screen. Now Violet can enter the red portal.

On the verge of exploding: This Bomberman clone isn't as scary as it looks. The basic rule is, plant a bomb, run away, plant the next bomb and you get two more. Keep blowing up the ghosts (some are slow and oblivious, a couple are faster and vaguely smart) and carefully make your way across the level to get rid of them all, to collect the key once they are dead. Just don't trap yourself and you should be fine, and use the zoom to make sure a ghost isn't sneaking around you.

Entropy: Collect the potions and put a clone on one trigger, while you stand on the other. Send clones up both sides and nudge the blocks until you can line the clones up at the top row. Have them meet so one can collect the clock. To get into the portal, have the clones do a cross over by the portal, so that one stops and can enter the portal.

waking violet, entropy

Learning to ice: Collect the potion. Walk on the trigger and move down to block the green blast from hitting the target to keep the door open. Get the clock and read the note to uncover the Freeze skill. Freeze the ghost and push him into the water to make a bridge, to enter the portal.

Crossed: Left, down, right, up, right, down. Look up, create and activate clone, down, right, up, left, down.

Get the key and enter the room with two portals. Take the lower one first, push the block left then down to access the other section later, go back the way you came and enter the upper portal.

And here's Part Three.