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!"

FEATURES

- 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 PlayAsia.com!

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 Pixel.lu/Sometimes 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.

UPDATES:

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.