Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Vita hardware sales down in Japan as Monster Hunter World smashes it for PS4

The Vita sold around 3,750 units in Japan last week, even though all eyes were on the PS4 and Monster Hunter World. Vita's big brother sold 110,000 consoles and MHW sold 1,245,000 showing just how powerful the series is in Japan. And, how cack-handed Sony was in letting Nintendo swipe the Capcom game off PSP all those years ago.

Gintama Rumble lingers on in the Media Create chart selling another 3,790 copies to move it to 27,207 overall, proving that there's life in the old dog yet. Next up of interest is A Certain Magical Virtual On from Sega launching on 15 February.



Monday, January 29, 2018

Super Mutant Alien Assault gets a PEGI rating

Originally a Steam game from one-man-dev Chris Suffern, aka Cybernate, that landed on the PS4 a couple of years ago, Super Mutant Alien Assault has now sprouted a Vita PEGI rating for Europe. The big-screen versions look mighty purdy and if the game is coming our way will be another welcome spritely addition to Vita's roster.

Metal Max Xeno aims at a western release

As Vita games sell less in Japan, the need for an international release grows to help make a profit. So, Kadokawa has announced that Metal Max Xeno will head our way via TBC publishers at a date also to be confirmed (previous stories, video and art).

In a futuristic wasteland, tanks are the favoured means of transport and the game has a range of characters with their dedicated vehicles. Ramping up for the April Japanese release, here's the latest character data on the very feminine Misaki (official site) and his little anti-aircraft gun tank.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Springing into the ring, King of Fighters 97 Global Match

Would you still play a fighting game 21 years after launch? Actually, not that tough a question given the loyalty for the even older Street Fighter 2. But, if you take a look on YouTube, King of Fighters 97 still has a busy and active community today.

UPDATE: Here's a clip of the launch trailer and some chat!


Which is likely why SNK announced a new version of the NeoGeo rebadged as Global Match, landing on Vita and PS4 this spring at the EVO Japan fighting tournament held this weekend.  Only a title screen so far, but hopefully the multiplayer will be super-tight after all the issues dotemu had with WindJammers.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Hints and tips for Xenon Valkyrie +

I've been playing Xenon Valkyrie + through most of December and am still going strong as February nears. The hidden depths within its tiny pixel characters and compact levels keep me coming back, time and time again. As a procedural game every level is different, but follow these tips and you should come back stronger.

Note, I haven't finished up everything yet, check back for updates! (recently added BlackStorm Labs)

Characters

There are three crew members from the ship to choose from. There's also a computer terminal where you can see how many swords and guns you've discovered and what their strengths are. Note the lower damage score is more important for quick kills. 

Eloen is the easiest character to play as, her infinite supply of bombs means you can blast your way to hard to reach places, both above and below. They also help you work around gaggles of stronger enemies rather than wading into battle (and getting killed or suffering serious damage). Her bonus key also means you don't need to back-and-forth through the first level to find a mini-boss to swipe one from.

Eloen
Health 12
WPA 50
Bonus: Infinite bombs and a key
Strength 1
Defence 1
Speed 2

Renna's radar mapper comes in handy if you want to speed run the game, locating the loot boxes (green) and exit portal (purple) although since that is always at the bottom, that's less useful than you might think. She also has the most ammo, which is good for avoiding melee in the busier battles.

Renna
Health 14
WPA 75
Bonus: Radar mapper
Strength 2
Defence 1
Speed 2

Nue is the weakest character with low ammo, but has the greatest jump height thanks to his bonus skill, making little "islands" easy to reach and loot.

Nue
Health 9
WPA 35
Bonus: Tall jump
Strength 1
Defence 2
Speed 2


Ancient Techforest

On level one of the Forest, if you can get to the end without losing your shield, you will get a +2 strength bonus from the blonde character by the skills totem. You might be able to buy a shield at the store and get the same bonus, but there's no guarantee, and that money could best be spent on other things.

On the forest levels, take the time to explore and kill all the enemies, and collect all the items to maximise money and experience. That way, on the tougher levels, you can avoid some unnecessary battles as you'll be near peak strength.

Bosses

You can only fight these guys with your sword, so be prepared with as much health and strength as you can afford, especially in the early levels focus your skill points on these. 

Sinister Sentinel

A lot easier if you have a shield, don't waste and time, run right and jump to the first level and then the higher one. Stand at the right edge to avoid the rotating beams. When they stop, and the Sentinel starts moving toward you, let it fire one round of bullets, then drop back down to the first platform, and start swinging when in range. If you have picked up a better sword, you can usually take him down with around 12 hits. If it starts moving away, and you have enough health and only need a couple of hits, follow him along the ground, dodging the bullets and jump/swinging to finish the job off. if you're low on health or need to get more than give hits go back to the safe spot and wait until he comes back. If he starts rising up the edge of the screen to use the big laser, get ready to leap in and finish him quickly.

Omega Zero

The easier of the first bosses, just dodge the large bombs and odd bullet, then when a shield raises to the left or right, run in and swipe at the powerbanks, or whatever they are. Move away when the shield starts to come back on, you can usually get 10-12 hits in, and swap sides when one is defeated to finish the job.

BlackStorm Lab (secret level)


BlackStorm Labs can be entered at the base in Thule Wulz, using the binary code on the tablet that you need to be standing next to (hinted at by one of the creatures in Gigacocoon's sanctuary). Press up for "1" and down for "0" according to the code that appears. You chat to a boffin and get +4 strength before entering this dark, purple, level.

There are two teleports once you finish the first section, the left one takes you back to Thule Wulz Grotto while the right takes you further into the Lab with a crazy amount of enemies. Given the lack of visibility, use the radar to figure out a path and use bombs to avoid choke points.

The next break there are three teleports, choose the middle one to head to the next level, where things get even tougher. The next portal break, by which time you've probably run out of ammo and are low on life has four portals.


Back to the main game: Thule Wulz Grotto

If you're lucky the baddies on these levels will spend more time killing each other than you. Patience can see whole squads shooting themselves, jumping on spikes or walking under poison gas. Navigate carefully, especially the second level which is often played in the dark. Note you can take out the torches for extra money.

The worst creatures are the leapers that explode in your face. Don't panic and shoot them at a distance if you can, to avoid being caught in the explosion. Or hide under a single character gap, so you can swing your sword if one comes close.

Bosses

Rusty Oxtator

The simpler of these two enemies, stay left or right and avoid the gunfire by jumping to climb up the legs. When you see the creature's eye twinkle get ready to dodge the vertical laser beams that widen when they land. When you have time from dodging that lot, swipe at the legs and guns, focus on one at a time. Once they are destroyed hit the powercells that drop down in the middle.

EMX Prototype

The target here is the generator on the platform. You need to dodge the rolling balls on the ground, and the rain of fire and the laser from above while hitting it repeatedly. Good leaping skills will help you avoid the balls when you need to get down to avoid the fire from above.

Prime Reactor

Tougher enemies like the tanks are your main problem here, with their firepower wrecking the scenery around you and dealing a lot of hit points. Keep your distance to avoid getting trapped in a melee. Also. watch for the turret guns that fire at variable times. Again, let them take each other out where you can, the below pic is a perfect example.

Bosses

Pure Energy

A simple one this, run to the far side of the floor away from the ship. Ignore it and don't try to take it on. The ship's exploding bombs usually drop in the middle, while you need to hit the chambers that rise up from the floor at the edges. The bullet patterns are easy enough to avoid as they spread out, a quick jump should do it and get back to bashing the chambers. 


Gigacocoon

The mayhem really starts here with fast moving and lots of pinging enemies creating death traps for the unwary. Move slow and look out for the spikes that also fire, taking those out first (unless they can take out an enemy for you).

There often seem to be a gaggle around the teleport, so find the most protected side to edge in from and take them out one-by-one.


Note in the Gigacocoon sanctuary, just drop off the bottom to get to the teleporter, rather than fiddling around jumping up the steps

Bosses

The ultimate boss requires plenty of health to tackle due to the amount of firepower and his health. After a few screen filling explosions, focus on the left and right circular "guns." Look for a twinkle in the eye for fast-falling stunners that will lock you in place for a few painful seconds.

The laser beans expand but if you stand by the inner edge of the circle you can keep hammering away. Once the guns are done, the center section opens up. Hack this for a while, sticking just left or right of the middle to avoid the bullet hell. Dodge the lasers from his eyes by going to the very edge of the screen, or take the hit if you will lose health anyway trying to dodge the bullets. Finally, repeat all that again and (one) victory is yours.

If you get to use the Xenon Valkyrie then there's a further boss, Deftos, with a million hitpoints to take on in a bullet hell section with your character on the left hand side, find the dodge up and down pattern, and keep on firing. 

Phoenix Wastes/Ivory Tundra

You visit these by playing as Renna or Nue and getting past Prime Reactor and taking a ride in the tunneling machine. Both have two levesl, Ivory Tundra is broadly similar to Gigacocoon while the Wastes are simpler with fewer pingy enemies to take you on. There's no store in the middle of the levels, so stock up in advance.


As Renna, you can navigate the Pheonix Waste pair of levels. At the end, you can jump on a jetski and face off against the Robot Commander. This requires lots of jumping to avoid the large bombs and the vertical lasers, while your gun fires backward to attack the boss. 


Playing as Nue, you visit the Ivory Tundra, two levels with lots of tanks and bouncing guards. However, once you finish them, there's a gap in the floor of the supply room, drop down here and you will face General Grulguk. Wait until he's in a corner before trapping him and hoping you kill him before you run out of life. There's a quick cutscene, and then you get a better supply room before heading back to the GigaCocoon. 


AI Mothership

Also, if you play as Nue and go through the tunneling machine and complete the levels, there's a gap in the room with the teleports. Look to the upper right and climb the wall to it. Keep on jumping and you'll hit a patch of zero gravity, where you stop falling. Head right and you can take on the AI mothership within the alien vessel. 

General Tips

  • Keep giving money to the beggar at the between-levels scenes and you'll be rewarded eventually with a +1 Defence when you paid him 200 credits in one go. 
  • If there's a single wall block between you and an enemy, you can usually kill them with a sword. 
  • Play cautiously and you don't have to put all your experience points into health, invest in strength so you can do more damage, killing enemies faster and reducing the chance of contact.
  • Always use the right stick to look above and below you when moving around to find bonuses or enemies that might be just off-screen.
  • Try to fight enemies from above so their "hit jump" doesn't send them leaping over or into you.
  • Also, try to hit them as they turn their back for the same reason. 
  • If fighting from below, be very careful about them dropping onto your level. 
  • If you are out of grenades or bombs, don't be afraid to use one of the robots that explodes on death as a substitute. Whack them in the direction you want and kill them at the right spot.
  • When you get access to the Dookball helper bots, they are not as useful as you'd think. The third one provides additional health points, which is on balance most useful. The first one fires the odd shot at enemies while the middle one provides extra ammo when you kill enemies.

Japanese trailer trash Friday, Utawarerumono and more visual novel love

Starting off with Aquaplus, they have a trailer up for a remake of the original PC Utawarerumono title, introducing some of the cast. The tactical visual novel series is pretty popular over here, but not sure if this would ever make it west.


Idea Factory's Fortissimo visual novel pops up with another character trailer. The game is out in March and the official website proclaims "The course of true love never did run smooth!"

Tech supprt - Vita charging issues

My launch data Vita is six years old. Most gadgets of a similar age would have long since been lost in the draws of time or the attic or fate. However, the Vita soldiers on, perfect screen, not a scratch or dead pixel. There are a couple of tiny dings around the edging but otherwise pristine, and the battery (somehow) still offers a good two-to-three hours of life.


However, the charging port or lead are proving a touch wonky with strange lives and rules of their own. And I'm not alone, on forums one of the most common queries seems to be charging issues.


So, here are some tips to breathe life into a Vita that's running out of juice. Vita 2000 users can use any USB lead, but for Vita OLED owners, things are a little trickier. Here's what to do when the red charging light doesn't come on.

  • When using your charger, if the red charging light doesn't come on, unplug the USB lead from the charger block end and plug it back in. That starts mine charging every time. 
  • It also can't hurt to replug in the mains power lead or try a different one if issues persist. 
  • When using a PC to charge the Vita, try different USB ports, one of mine charges the Vita, even if the PC is turned off. The other two show no sign of helping out at all. You will need to tick the "Enable USB Power Supply" box in Settings to do this. 
  • If there's no joy with that, get a wooden toothpick and gently clean around the contacts on the Vita's power connector to remove any collected dust. 
  • Replace your power lead, especially if the cord is fraying. Cheap ones are easy to find online and I found that my replacement had a firmer fit. 
  • If your Vita power brick is dead, you can use an iPhone or Android charging plug, no need to but a replacement. 
  • Naturally, any Lithium Ion battery will eventually start to fail. These can be replaced with a little screwdriver wizardry. There are plenty of videos on YouTube.
  • The worst case scenario is if the Vita port breaks, either a pin or connector fails. That can be replaced with a replacement part, but soldering skills are required. Or you can buy the part and most mobile repair places will do it. 



Previous Vita advice posts

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mercenary Kings finally storms the Vita 6th February

Mercenary Kings from Tribute Games has been hanging around the Vita release list for years, but we finally get a shot at the crown in a couple of weeks with the Reloaded version hitting portable and other platforms. Enjoy the new trailer and get ready for awesome pixel death.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Vita sales firm in Japan, is 2020 on the cards?

According to the latest Media Create figures, Vita sales are down just a handful at 4,256 for last week. Yes, Switch and PS4 sales are around 10 times higher, but if the Vita keeps this flat-to-slow decline up across the year, looks like Sony will still have to manufacture the damn box into 2020! Please Japanese gamers, keep on buying replacement Vita consoles every month if you have to!

Gintama Rumble is a new entry for the Vita at No. 5, shifting 23,400 units, while the PS4 version lands at No. 2 with 38K. Ironically, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT sold worse on PS4 at only 20K, I know its a high-spec arcade port, but Square really should have kept the series portable somehow! 

The next major Vita release is A Certain Magical Virtual On from Sega on the 15th of February


Go 8-bit with the Super Skull Smash Go! 2 Turbo trailer

You want retro? You got it with some decidedly 8-bit platforming fun in the guise of Super Skull Smash Go! 2 Turbo. Thomas Hopper's classic skull 'em up returns, having started life on PlayStation Mobile.

The Kingdom of Bones needs you to defeat The Evil King who is up to his old tricks again. He's concocted a new spell that will unleash hordes of skeletons, zombies, ghosts and vampires. Journey through the eight unique lands in the Kingdom of Bones bashing monsters and solving puzzles as you go. Earn bonus hearts and find hidden secrets galore!

Hopefully, remakes of Shuttle Quest 2000 and some of his other works are also on the way.

Digimon Hacker's Memory launch trailer

The game is already on PSN, but Bandai EU has now decided to drop its two-minute launch trailed packed to the gills with Digimon (oh, and a motorbike) as the digital and real worlds collide once again.

Players travel to EDEN once again to find out what's going on in the murky hacker underworld! The first Cybersleuth story was pretty epic and there's no reason why this shouldn't be even better.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Japanese trailer trash Friday, girls, guitars and trains

Rounding up the week with the latest trailers from Japan. We start off with another clip for Sega's Certain Magical Virtual-On in which we meet the impossibly squeaky RVR-14/VSL Fei-Yen Kn.


Next up is Nippon Ichi's Four Knight Princesses Training Story landing in March, this clip is mostly dull character and map shots, but a few action scenes all led off by a corker of a guitar track.
 From earlier in the week (if you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen this one) we have Prototype's latest visual novel, An' call Belle, with its suspicious train-fetish.



Bandai put up a live stream of Digimon Hacker's Memory

Digimon Cybersleuth Hacker's Memory is out now on Vita and PS4 around the world and Bandai in the US put up a live stream to welcome the game. There's plenty of gameplay and chat over the show with a mix of western and JP footage. (It is not live on EU PSN yet, but keep an eye out).

If you're a bit poor, the very similar playing original Cybersleuth is only £6.49 on the EU PSN store, but that offer ends today, so be quick.

Tecmo Japan shows off Attack on Titan 2 running on Vita

The gap between Attack on Titan (Wings of Freedom in the west) on the Vita and consoles was one of the first big signs that Sony's portable was running out of gas, and Koei isn't bringing the Vita version of Attack on Titan 2 west. Sure, it doesn't look pretty but it still seems playable!

But you could still import the sequel from Japan, as the controls and tactics look largely the same, with some new weapons and presumably the latest tales to explain why we're still whacking the great big lomping giants. The sequel still looks pretty playable, albeit with lots of popup visible and the muddiest of textures going on. But with most of the surviving cast returning, it carries on the story alongside the anime. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Defender's Quest launch trailer

Tower defence games seem a bit thin on the ground since the heady days of FieldRunners, with a few titles popping up to keep fans happy. Most recently was Aegis of Earth, perhaps the world just moved on.

Arriving in May from Level Up Labs, Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX, an update to a 4/5 year old game. First mentioned last summer, is a tower defence and RPG hybrid pixel game that focuses on three things. You must learn the game's tactical depth, become a master of customization, and enjoy the story.

Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms reversible covers and English screens

Idea Factory is bringing Edo period romance visual novel Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms our way in mid March. The physical edition will feature a reversible cover for your own choice of sword- or gun-wielding studly types. They are the object of young Chizuru's affection, determined to find her father, she must romance these famous warriors through a series of engaging stories and dramatic events.



IF also has a first batch of English screens. Featuring Hijikata, a "Demon Vice Commander" of the Shinsengumi who has to cope with Shinsengumi's fracturing after losing the Battle of Toba-Fushimi in Kyoto. In the face of shifting tides, the normally stern disciplinarian begins to let his softer side shine through, but maintains his integrity as a warrior.






Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Persona Dancing boxset jives for Japanese gamers

Hopefully, we'll get something like this when the new Persona dancing Moon and Star games head our way. But if you want the Japanese version you can grab the Persona Dancing Deluxe Twin Plus set from PlayAsia for just over £105.
The set comprises four CDs with over sixty tracks, a set of DLC costumes and the full physical release games.

Ready for another round of Digimon stories? New Hacker's Memory trailer

Bandai Namco America has popped up a fresh launch story trailer for the new Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Memory release, out this week. The first game was brilliant fun and this new story, with a few new Digimon, should give it another lease of life to Eden and the strange digital world that's leeching into modern Tokyo.

Vita sales are "back in the room" in Japan

Down with a bump as Media Create sees Vita sales fall to 4,388 for last week, back down to where it was for most of last year. With a nod to irony, one-time PSP exclusive Final Fantasy Dissidia NT is the only new entry for PS4, selling 100K, and all eyes are on Monster Hunter World for next week's charts. Ah, the memories! Minecraft remains the only Vita game on show.


Last week's dataNote, I've aligned the chart to match weeks, as 2017 had a crossover week with skewed holiday sales.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Studio Ravenheart shows off Seraphim

Twitter followers will have seen plenty of teasing glimpses of Studio Ravenheart's Seraphim, developed in Unity 5, looking all techno and virtual in the form of lots of short GIFs. Here's a longer look the developers have kindly sent over showing the shooter in action on a proper Vita screen.

With its slightly ethereal meets Transformers in The Matrix look, the game is set in an abstract celestial realm. You assume the role of a great otherworldly being, defending planets from invading sentient matter. Blasting comets from your six mighty wings as cosmic constructs surround you looks like a tough challenge among all the visual bling. If all goes well it could easily sit at the top table of cool Vita shooters.

The dev's last tweet was "Working a new level of polish for #Seraphim! Expect a more dopamine-inducing experience! I'll tweet update on every change!" So expect it to look even better on release, and follow @RavenheartRex for all the latest news.

Bandai shows off Gintama Rumble on the Vita

If memory serves, pretty much all the footage up until now has been from the PS4 version, but to settle expectations, Bandai has just popped up a video of the Vita version of the musou game, and, to be fair, it looks pretty smooth, if a little down on the numbers of whack-a-moles and less glossy effects, as we'd expect.

Even so, Gintama Rumble looks pretty impressive. Is the brand big enough to make a major dent in the Japanese chart? Not long to wait to find out, as the game is out next week.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Vita sales perk up in Japan

As the Media Create chart company catches up with business post-holiday, we get another set of sales data this week, from the 1st of January to the 8th, giving us a very neat sales year. Vita sales shot up 4,000 on the previous week to nearly 12,000 units not too down last year.

The only Vita game around is still Minecraft, making a welcome return to the top 20, selling another 9K. Having cruised past the 1.25 million physical sales mark, its job is done!


Note, I've aligned the chart to match weeks, as 2017 had a crossover week with skewed holiday sales. (and the 2018 green line is zeroed just to make it obvious)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review Super Hydorah

Somewhere, there's a universe where R-Type and Raiden came to the Vita in arcade perfect form, and I'm a happy gamer. But stuck in this reality, Super Hydorah makes a welcome appearance for fans of retro shooters. It can easily sit alongside the likes of Sine Mora, Soldner, Sky Force and many others as a challenging, high-quality, blast.

Be warned though, Super Hydorah is hard, very hard. And even with unlimited continues, and a range of lasers, bombs and missiles at your disposal, you'll (if you're as bad as me) be hitting the same brick wall enemies again and again and again, until you get that lucky break or master the boss. But in the levels that I have played, this is superb fun, with deeply-detailed little pixel ships and spot-on sound effects and gorgeous detailing on each level.

Visually, we have pure-pixel fun here with no forced or pseudo-3D, and a scanline mode to make it look even more retro, if you like that kind of thing. Super Hydorah starts off at the Outer Wall of the enemy empire, with that typical Nemesis-style first couple of waves. We then roll into a series of caves, with asteroids to dodge and secret routes to find. There's some height to the level, so you can race up and down to find cover, or blast the most dangerous enemies first.

A few plays of the early levels and you learn where to go and how to fight. The early bosses aren't too bad, but take a little effort to dodge their fire patterns and keep an aim on the vulnerable spots. New weapons are awarded as you progress and power-ups confer shields, stronger lasers and other goodies.

As you progress, multiple routes through the game open up, but, like I said, its tough. Most ground enemies track you relentlessly while the flying ones stick to fixed patterns, making it easy to prioritise, as long as you can dodge their combined fire.

Into Cyclades, a human outpost where you lose points if you hit friendly installations. While there are plenty of power-ups around, there's also bats and even the local greenery and aquatic life taking pot-shots at you, adding subtle new dimensions to the battle. In total, there are 21 levels divided into 35 sublevels, with bosses for each and over 100 enemy types to discover and beat.

All of that is fine, but being sent back to the start of the sub-level, again and again, gets pretty depressing after a while. And using the continues sends you back to the start of the whole level, which is probably too much punishment for what's otherwise a fine game. If you do finish the level you get a rating and can replay them to find hidden extra lives, or secrets.

So, you need to be super-good or super-lucky to get very far into the game, and judging by the trophy distribution, few players are really seeing the best the game has to offer. Some sort of tourist mode in an update might be a good idea.

Footage of the further levels shows wondrous alien worlds, crystal asteroid belts and giant space fleets, all with further imaginative enemies and local wildlife, all to the spacey tunes of Gryzor87's excellent soundtrack. 

There's also a bonus game Robot Chase, for those times when you're really stuck and need to de-stress. Here, you twin-stick control a pair of space robots, linked by a laser rope, if they're close enough. This can cut up the floating enemies, so you need to move each one independently to create waves of destruction, or just dodge long enough to survive, great fun and a welcome bonus.

Score: 8/10
More Reviews
Price: £15.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher Locomalito/Abylight
File size 186MB
Progress: Skutter of death

Kemco brings Dragon Sinker to the Vita

Dragon Sinker: Descendants of Legends is coming, thanks to Kemco and CXC Create. A modern RPG built in the 8-bit style, it offers dinky pixel graphics, chiptune sounds and plainish worlds to explore. Bolted onto that are three teams of adventurers to manage, jobs and classes, multiple endings and a few other bells and whistles.

UPDATE: The game is now live on PSN for £10.79 (PS+ price) or £11.99. However, as a mobile port, from a company that churns them out, I get the feeling its pretty much stock fare with little imagination or depth of plot.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Vita sales back on the slide in Japan, how low will she go?

All hardware sales are down in Japan as the year ends for the Media Create sales, but the Vita's drop back to below 8,000 isn't just a weekly back-to-normal mark. This year it sold just 38,000 over the last four weeks compared to 145,000 last year. That suggests there won't be a Vita on the shelves come next Christmas, or at least one in any meaningful numbers. 


All of which puts the onus on software, and while Vita games sell, only a few charted with any impact in 2017. Still, as long as there's interest and a sizeable user base, presumably the Japanese mainstay developers will keep going, and the odd delight like Catherine will turn up.

On the plus side, PSO2 announced topping 1.5 million Vita downloads this week, according to Sega, with "the number of client downloads of "Phantasy Star Online 2" PlayStation Vita version exceeded 1.5 million on January 7, 2018 (Sunday)."


Also, there seems to be a bit more activity among Japanese indies recently, which could provide some welcome support. Enjoy it while it lasts folks! Then again, if Microsoft will still put Xbox out there, selling 400 a week, who knows how low and long the Vita might cling on for.

Up next is musou-fest Gintama Rumble from Bandai, which managed to score 33/40 in the latest Famitsu magazine. And here's the latest advert for it.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Truth, Little Red Lie drops this week

Released around six months ago on PC, Little Red Lie from Will O'Neill (of Actual Sunlight fame) sneaks out of nowhere on to PSN this week. Billed as "A contemporary adventure about debt, family, and the truth about honesty." Its a short interactive adventure focused on the debt between generations and how our futures could be ruined and manipulated.

In the plush suburb of Scarborough, Toronto, you get to explore the contrasting characters and stories of Sarah Stone and Arthur Fox through a wide variety of deceptions. And nothing else, thanks to constant lies.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 Vita releases bely "dead" status

January is depressing enough without more echoes of the well-worn refrain that the Vita is dead. If that was the case, then release numbers would be slumping, but the Vita had more EU PSN releases last month than it did in December 2017.

Sure the numbers aren't massive, I guess you could always add in physical and limited releases if you wanted to pad! And, with 100 games still in western development/porting or translation, it looks like we're good for another good year - thank you, devs!

What has probably slipped is the retail value of games with fewer £30 or higher releases, but those numbers are all over the place, October was the cheapest month with an average of £8.10 a game while June was horrendous at £22 average price per release.


As with last year, January and February should be pretty quiet, with around 4/5 releases per month. But expect things to pick up in spring as the release list firms up. NIS America also has its press event in February, so that could add a few more delights.

Aksys blesses western gamers with Code Realize: Future Blessings

Aksys will deliver Code Realize: Future Blessings, a romantic visual novel, to US Vita gamers on the 30th of March with a later release in Europe. Available in physical and digital forms, with a limited edition, the glossy bundle comes with a cloth poster, badges, art cards and slip covers.

The game is a sequel to 2015's Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth, PS4 owners can get a double-pack of both games.


Set in a 19th-century steampunk version of London, the game starts out with anti-heroine Cardia, alone in a mansion. She suffers from a vampiric-like mystery affliction that makes her blood toxic and her touch lethal.

Through a number of events both grand and seemingly insignificant, Cardia is pursued by the Royal Guard, kidnapped by the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, and joined by a myriad of other handsome figures out of the best of western literature. With her newfound friends (and suitors) Cardia ventures out in the world to unravel the mysteries that blight her life.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fate Extella Link beating up Japan in June

Marvelous continues to flog the musou Fate/Extella timeline with another dose of saber rattling on the way for Japanese summer on PS4 and Vita. Experts will be able to play spot the difference, but for me it looks exactly the same, as previous whack-a-mole entries, with a few new folk from the various related series dragged in as servants.


Monday, January 1, 2018

Luc Bernard teases another Vita game

2018 has barely got its jacket off, nevermind had a first cup of coffee, but already the new Vita games are breaking cover.

Luc Bernard and Arcade Distillery are busy bees with three games confirmed and now this teaser for a fourth that they'll start work on once those (Skull Pirates, War Theater and Manufactured Beauty) are done.

It looks like crime is afoot, in a rather Mad Max-looking world. But that's pretty much all we can glean from one image. Hopefully, Luc won't be rushing any of these projects, and they'll all hit all the right notes rather than the impressive-looking-but-patchy-to-play Plague Road.