Thursday, March 21, 2019

Kenka Bancho 2nd Rumble hits Japanese chart

A Vita game in the Media Create chart? Miracles still happen, so welcome Kenka Bancho 2nd Rumble (trailer) which squeaks in at No. 18 selling just over 4,000 copies and proving that pyhsical releases are still (just) worth doing if the brand is strong enough. That could be the last Vita game to make the charts, so enjoy!

On the hardware side, Vita stock has now presumably run out in most retailers as sales dived to just 870 units. That must mean there's only a tiny amount of new units to snap up around the world before we become reliant on second hand stock. So, if you haven't got a new Vita, time is seriously running out.

That also makes this the last chart I'll produce, there's no point watching the number fall to zero, as it inevitably will. Nine years for one hardware iteration, not bad indeed.


A final peek at the early years... showing the hardware only sold on big game releases and during the holiday season, unlike the Switch which sells consistently, and goes mental on big game days.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Infinite States promise a Vita Kickstarter for new game

No publisher or developer on the planet has any logical reason to publish a Vita game in 2019. But the cuddly Vita community still has fond memories and bags of appeal for those on the other side the touchscreen.

So, its good to hear Infinite State Games (of Rogue Aces and Don't Die Mr. Robot game fame) tweeted that they'd put up a Kickstarter to fund Vita development of their new pastelly-tinged title, unofficially titled Family Tree. Enough Vita owners responded and they've now confirmed they'll run a campaign.

However, it won't be anytime soon. "Quick message about the Kickstarter for Family Tree on Vita:
We’ve got day jobs and families, and knee deep in the Switch version. We will do this Kickstarter but PLEASE don’t expect it very soon. We’re at very full capacity."


Of course, Vita owners have to get behind the campaign whenever it launches, and the cost of development might be more than you'd think. There's also no chance of a physical version to tempt collectors - although it'd be good for ISG to put up some goodies perhaps even an Vita case and cover loaded with a manual, stickers and other fun stuff.

I'll blow the dust off and update the Kickstarter list, and appeal to any other developers who's next title could squeeze on to Sony's geriatric hardware that this could be a way to go - but all that relies on successful funding of the game, so keep an eye out.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sephirothic Stories tells 3D tales on the Vita

Get in the line for another Kemco RPG adventure. Sephirothic relates to the "tree of life" which gives a rather dull setting for their usual questing fodder. But the game does move Kemco into the 3D era with simple-looking worlds and pitched battles against the usual RPG hordes. Here's the trophy listing, expect a release fairly soon.

Pretty sure most previous Kemco titles have been 2D, which at least gives them a certain charm, this just looks pretty rough around the edges with slowdown, even in the mobile version.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Final Vita units still flying off the shelves in Japan

The Vita racked up another 3,000 unit sales in Japan last week according to Media Create, with those final production models likely being snapped up by importers and collectors. The number of people buying Vita consoles and physical copies of games is a cool thing to watch.

I guess the next question is when will Sony shut down the Vita PSN store? With more games being deleted in all regions, the race is on by gamers to secure safe downloads or physical copies to preserve the Vita's legacy.

As for whatever comes next, we have Microsoft now touting its own crossplay with xCloud on any device. There's Nintendo with a hopefully better-designed portable Switch on the way, leaving Sony looking increasingly out of the loop, having fluffed its lines (and early lead) with cloud and remote gaming play - the fluffed iOS PS4 recent update just the latest example.


Look at how ugly that setup is and think how good sales would be for a single portable dedicated HD gaming unit that could play Xbox and PlayStation games (perhaps even a joint development with PS/XB faceplates), also supporting back catalogue and retro titles? Never happen, will it???


Review: Awesome Pea

Proving there's absolutely nothing wrong with retro, along comes Awesome Pea, designed to look like its playing on an old CRT (you can turn off the CRT and tube effect settings if you don't like that style) while bringing a green-tinged dose of hardcore platforming. Its a good job the game has a freezer full of peas on hand, as you'll die, a lot.

The game has lots of nods to historical platforming (can we call it that yet?) Mario transport tubes, tower levels, train rides and more. To drive you are are some neatly composed chip-tune tracks, and pea is always doing his happy little dance, but otherwise isn't the most engaging of heroes.

At the start of pea's adventure, you just need to leap around the first level with some care, as the tutorial explains the few moves on offer. But soon, there's double jumps, burping frog fire to avoid, spiky blocks, rotating blocks, long falls, Stop The Express-style train levels and other nods to nostalgic gaming, all aiming to kill you. One mistake and its back to the start.

I held off reviewing the game as there was talk of a patch, which is now out. And while it makes some parts of the game better, my early reservations still hold true. There's no rock solid belief that your pea will jump on command - sometimes the sound doesn't trigger, sometimes the leap feels off, and the second jump might or might not happen. I find that lack of faith is disturbing, while multiple jump sequences compound the problem. You might land on the edge of a platform and get another jump, or you might not.

Since that's at the cornerstone of the gameplay, it is rather an issue, but since the levels are pretty short, you might not find it too stressful to go back and start again. Also, the green screen colour design makes it hard to spot incoming fire.

While there's a map screen, showing the series of islands your adventure stretches over, progress is on a strictly linear level-by-level basis, with no branching. So, when you get stuck, and you will get stuck, all you can do is try, try again. Or give up and go play something more forgiving.

That's worse as you only get trophies for collecting all the treasure on a level, increasing your chances of death, pushing it beyond risk-reward into painful territory. Perhaps Awesome Pea is geared toward speed runners, but I'm not one, so don't find the challenge all that enjoyable, and in the end I just gave up on it, especially when more mechanically secure but just as challenging games like Super Life of Pixel are available.


On the plus side, there's lots of potential on view here, and I hope PigeonDev continues to work at their craft and comes up with something a little stronger next time around.

Score: 5/10
More Reviews
Price: £4.99
Developer/Publisher PigeonDev/Sometimes You
Size: 159MB
Progress: Given up by the 10th level!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Project Hardcore is now Ultracore

I gor right behind Project Hardcore in a heartbeat last year, not only because it looks great, but I think there must be plenty of other old unreleased games out there that might reappear if this proves a success. Now the Strictly Limited-published game from the original DICE has a new final title, Ultracore and a new logo and website.

While it might not get a Vita physical release due to end of production, I still look forward to giving it a mighty blast.

Celebrate 15 years of Monster Hunter with Capcom video

Monster Hunter might have been more of a PSP thing, with Capcom's dino-hunter title sending sales of Sony's original portable console into the stratosphere with the Monster Hunter Portable series. But it is also responsible for rival publishers trying to catch the wave, launching a range of games from God Eater to Toukiden among others, with Sony trying its hand with Soul Sacrifice and Freedom Wars that kept Vita owners happy over the years.

Of course, Japan has had Monster Hunter Frontier Z on the Vita, which along with Phantasy Star Online 2 has kept it a relevant and useful online device over there, still going strong with regular updates. As Monster Hunter World dominates in 2019, who knows what's to come future.

Monday, March 11, 2019

NIS America has one last encore for the Vita with Utawarerumono Prelude to the Fallen

NIS has just wrapped its spring Showcase event, and while the eager wait for lots of Vita news might be a thing of the past, the company has a parting friendly shot for us.
Discover the first chapter of a tale years in the making in Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen! Hakuoro, a man with no memories, must find his place in a strange new world and embrace the destiny that awaits him.

UPDATE: Now with trailer.


Finally, we can be rid of Utawarerumono (because of all the horrible things spell checkers do to the word)! but only after this new prequel tale coming early 2020! It'll be digital only, but should still be worth investing in if you've followed the series so far! If not, I'm sure a PS5 or Switch compendium will be along sooner or later.


The joys of a Vita with a US PSN account

Having stuck to the EU PSN since launch, getting a second Vita and tying it to the US PSN store has come as a breath of fresh air.

The US store is updated more efficiently and regularly than the EU version, making Sony Europe look like a bunch of slackers.

Prices are better (but remember you pay tax on US purchases, if you put some states in) so getting a $10 card means you can't afford a $9.99 game. Talking of, I found the simplest way to get US PSN credit is via eBay, plenty of people are selling US store vouchers and will email the code instantly (give or take time zones).  That's easier than monkeying around with Amazon or trying to use your EU PayPal account (and likely failing).

Note, use Wyoming, Alaska, Texas, Washington, Florida, Nevada or South Dakota to avoid paying tax on games.


Then there's the games that aren't on the EU store from classics like the PSOne Chrono Trigger, PSP's Ridge Racer, old Vita titles like New Little King Story and newer indies where the publisher can't afford the costly PEGI rating certificate like Ghoulboy.

And, as more games start to vanish from stores, being able to grab them from elsewhere might prove useful. I'll start to compile a list of differences (below), but do comment if you know of any major omissions or goodies on either store.

Even so, the likes of NFL, MLB The Show and others have already vanished from the US store (despite having placeholders), if you were thinking it would be a useful repository for sports fans.


As with so much Vita stuff, this is probably not news to most of you, but anyone buying second or third units to protect their investment might find spending time on the US store (or Japan or other Asian market) worth while.

Found on US PSN, not on EU!

PSOne 
Chrono Trigger

PSP 

Ridge Racer

PS Vita
The Amazing Spider Man
BigFest
Bloxiq
Desert Ashes
DJMAX Technika Tune
Ghoulboy
Aisling's Quest
New Little King Story

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon rises for physical release

While we'll never get the full Ritual of the Night game, we're at that strange time in the Vita's life when all sorts of oddities get bagged for a physical release. Enter Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, the Inti Creates spin-off game from the Kickstarter project that ditched the Vita, coming to us from Limited Run with pre-orders next week.

If you like the cover art, the Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon Collector's Edition features a poster of original art from Tom duBois, the artist behind the likes of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

Castlevania fans will lap it up, but it won't quite fill that RotN hole in our hearts. On the plus side, we take what we can get and there's plenty of buzz around Bloodstained, so hope to pick one of these copies up. No word of how many copies will be available, but get your buying fingers primed for next Friday.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Latest Shakedown Hawaii trailer is all business

The Vita physical version of Shakedown Hawaii is already being manufactured, so there can't be long to wait until the game hits the shelves and PSN, as probably the last major release for the handheld in terms of sales potential. A new trailer shows the GTA-style business potential of just some of the criminal enterprises in the game, along with the usual over-the-top carnage. Can't wait!

Vita sales almost double in Japan after end-of-production

Ah, the good old dead-cat bounce, when any product is snapped up before the end of its life. So it proves in Japan, where the new Media Create chart might lack any Vita games, but unit sales leap (a relative term admittedly) to 3,287 units.

While the news was only announced a week ago, it sent Japanese buyers (and importers) rushing to pick up new units as fans and resellers act before Vita becomes an increasingly rare collectible. Wonder how long it will go on for? Until all the last new boxes are finally off the shelves for ever.

Of course, Sony won't miss a few thousand sales a week, or the dribble of income from PSN and boxed game sales, and those pesky memory cards. But for fans the chase is on! Gotta catch 'em all (I think).


The next games that might just dent the quiet JP chart, Dead or Alive 6 is at no. 1 with only 26K sales are Full Kiss (Entergram) and KonoSuba RPG: God's Blessing (Entergram) out on the 28th March.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Pato Box getting a physical release

Fists up, ready to fight over 1,500 copies of Pato Box, the adventure boxing game starring a pugilist duck from Bromio and PlayAsia. It comes with a limited edition in a collector’s box with reversible art and game cart, a full color manual, dual CD original soundtrack and a numbered certificate for $34.99.

Upgrade complete, Vita slim in my hands

Due to money/life stuff, I've rocked my day one Vita OLED through thick and thin. But, with life getting better and the risk of prices going mad, now Vita production has ended, I finally grabbed a good-looking piano black LCD Slim model from eBay.

It arrived in the post today and is everything I hoped it was, having been well looked after! I set it up with a US PSN account to grab games that no longer come to Europe and to access Netflix. Plan on picking up a blue/orange one from Japan to round out the family soon, but for now my Vita investment, both in time and money, feels safe.


Comparing the two, old news to most, but all exciting for me, naturally the LCD doesn't have quite the sparkle that the OLED had. The design really evolved well, so slick and a billion miles ahead of how the Switch feels.

The new model is also very shiny and slippery, really want to rush out and buy a protective skin for it. On the plus side, it seems a bit louder, which might just be me and the WiFi seems to be faster/stronger - at first glance without measuring anything.

It's fun was going back and setting up a new PSN account with the icon and background, playing Welcome Park, but what's really impressive is how much better the US Vita store is than Europe's. I know games aren't come our way as PEGI charges make it uneconomic, which is why I've gone US - but the US store is better looked after, more up to date, has smarter sections and feels a little loved! Sony Europe is a damn disgrace for a major entertainment business.


A shame we can't merge or have a universal account, and a shame Sony US has totally stripped out the movie element from the store. I wonder how long even the basic store will last, but for now I can play

Aside from the US exclusive games, the current timing makes this seem like an ideal opportunity to go all the way back to the start, from Welcome Park to launch day games and so on.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Vita Production Done, Welcome to the Afterlife Party

Apparently, this Japanese PlayStation site (translated) confirms that production has finished for the Vita. That means no new units entering the supply chain, so prices will be shooting up any time now as people try to grab the last units for spares or gazumping. Presumably selling 1,500 a week in Japan just isn't good enough for Sony.

I've finally got enough money for a second unit, so will be risking it all for a happy colour edition (hopefully), given that official repairs will be costing an arm and a leg. Still no word on memory card production, which is all the more vital as western Sony continues to slowly not give a crap about PSN releases, and as more titles get pulled from the stores.

For current owners, we still have a raft of releases and more being announced to look forward to from a doughty gang of developers and publishers. And, at the end, I'm more than happy to start all over again with Uncharted, Persona 4 Golden, Tearaway and many other classics, plus PSone and PSP games that you can't play (properly) on another box, or without being welded to a massive TV screen!

Vita forever!

P.S. Naturally, this story is doing the rounds on the tech and gaming sites, and its amazing how few (if any of them) look for the slightest bit of positivity in the Vita scene, as if none of these writers like writing about games!.




Trophies pop up for Peasant Knight

Another week, another Ratalaika game, Peasant Knight is launching on Steam, PS4 and Vita soon, with a trophy listing having just appeared. There's a spot of video on the Steam page, showing a bright and cheery looking medieval two-button platformer on offer.



Set across 80+ levels to solve, there are plenty of traps, enemies and bosses to overcome. Having checked with the developer, the Vita version won't support MP and race mode. Still, they are very busy working on Devious Dungeon 2, ports of AdventureGameStudio titles and much more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sharin no Kuni Vita update from the Kickstarter project

Kickstarter (remember them) project Sharin no Kuni: The Girl Among the Sunflowers is still coming to the Vita, and the developers (via a third party) are still trying to squeeze a physical release out for backers. Here's the latest from an update. The revamp of the 10-year old visual novel is complete and the final push is on.


About the status of the Vita version development

Recently, the number of comments from backers who pledged for the Vita version and are worried about the possibility of the version itself not existing has been increasing, due to the fact that the production deadline for the platform has passed. We want to deeply apologize for the lack of communication and for not answering our backer’s questions properly, which has understandably caused much dissatisfaction and raised your concerns.

First, we want to assure everyone that there are currently no plans of changing or removing any of the rewards we initially offered in the campaign. As we said in the update titled "Project Progress Update #11: Explanation Of Development Status And Revised Schedule", we re-evaluated the development schedule to give utmost priority to the Vita version the moment we knew about the deadline. As a result, right now the development of the Vita version has finished and we will proceed with the subsequent steps.

However, although the development of the Vita port itself has indeed finished, the manufacturing and publishing process has been consigned to an external company, and right now we cannot unilaterally disclose the progress of this process due to contract confidentiality terms.

At the very least, right now we can assure you that you will receive your Vita rewards, despite the production deadline having passed. We're currently still working on the manufacturing.

Right now we're in talks with this company, and after they finish we will let everyone know about the current status in an update as soon as possible.

Review: Access Denied

Hello, a 3D game on the Vita! Although as a puzzle game, Access Denied is hardly stretching the hardware. A series of 36 locked-box puzzles face the player, spinning each mystery device around with the triggers to get a better look at the complex designs of each physical puzzle.

Some have buttons or sliders, others have their own controls, number pads or sigils and hidden clues, often requiring some zooming in or out (triangle and square) to find the key details to solve the puzzle. Each one comes out of a mysterious lift on a desk that has various tools scattered around it, along with a clock showing the actual time.

Judging by the constant dripping, its either raining or there's a leak somewhere, and is that a storm rumbling in the background? While that helps create an atmosphere, there's no explanation or background as to why we're doing all this.

Most of the puzzles are pretty straightforward after some tentative stabs at what each one does. Understanding what you need to do can take a few minutes and sometimes the controls aren't particularly intuitive, adding an extra layer of angst. The further you go, there are puzzles on multiple faces of the object, some of which you need to constantly move between to work out a solution.

Beyond that, there's not a huge amount to say about the game, all we have is a no-nonsense puzzler that's nicely dressed up, but with none of the speed challenge of Squares or the quirkiness of Open Me! There's no different solutions or different ways to play, but I'd say you might just about get your money's worth.

Score: 7/10
More Reviews
Price: £3.99 (PSN)
File size: 156MB
Developer/Publisher Stately Snail/Ratalaika
Progress: Platinum

Monday, February 25, 2019

Kenka Bancho 2nd Rumble trailer

Spike has dropped the intro character video for Kenka Bancho 2nd Rumble, as the girl has to put the boys in their place with another bout of match-making visual novel fun. No idea what the difference between this and the first game is, but fans in Japan only have until mid-March to wait.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Devious Dungeon 2 announced for Vita

Keeping the Vita's 7th birthday celebrations rattling along, Ratalaika Games dropped news that it has just started porting Devious Dungeon 2 to the Vita. Coming soon, the original was a fun dose of knightly platforming. Hopefully the sequel has added a touch more depth and new features. Reviews of the mobile version suggest that's the case so can't wait to explore this in the spring.

Happy 7th Birthday Vita, how to survive the coming apocalypse

So, the Vita made it seven years old in the US and Europe, and still hasn't been officially killed off, yet. Seven years with no true updates to a mobile chipset is proof of the engineering prowess of Sony's wizards, and the company's complete inability to market it.

But, mostly this year, thanks goes to the small band of developers and publishers that keep the release list ticking over! So much love and respect.

So, while we can, let's celebrate many people's first exposure to an OLED screen and a battery that still soldiers on, making other devices look rather feeble. Who needs HD when 960 by 544 pixels is good enough. My launch model is still going strong with vivid colour and hours of play! And for that I'm truly grateful, along with unique imagination-busting experiences like Tearaway.

Bonus point in you know where the "7" comes from! (not a Vita game) 
This is also the last official birthday as Sony Japan has moved the execution closer, but is still only saying "soon" for an end to production. Oddly enough, that piece of news caused way more stories than this birthday.

The big questions Sony needs to answer:

Once the candles on the cake are blown out, the hangover really is the end for the Vita. A sturdy piece of hardware with eight years of punching way above its modest weight. Soon newly made Vita hardware, consoles, memory cards and accessories will get scarce.

Prices will only go up, and people are already wondering how to protect and manage their digital game collection, wondering about those cloud saves, and what will happen to PSN games, trophies and the Vita's useful apps.

I emailed Sony PlayStation PR for some specific information on post-Vita memory card availability, PSN lifespan, system buying options, support and so on - but never heard back. I asked Sony support to sort out the EU store "Latest "updates on the Vita to benefit the hard working developers still bringing games - and never heard back. In other words, don't expect any help from them.

While third-parties can provide batteries, spare analog sticks and other components, since Sony won't talk I guess the answer is to buy what you can now? If you're not sure, here's the current state of affairs.

The hard(ware) questions

Vita production ends in 2019, Sony won't be going back on that one. In some small part of a giant Chinese Sony factory, the last units are rolling off the production line, and there will be no more. All of these are headed to the Asian market, so if you want a new Vita import from Japan or use eBay or another service to snaffle a new unit.

We already know that game card production in the west ceases soon, and will continue in limited numbers for Japan for a while. Hopefully slack production means the odd limited physical release will continue through the likes of EastAsiaSoft, but those limited runs and lack of physical releases mean the future is largely through digital sales via PSN.

When it comes to memory cards, the prices have never really fallen, and limited supply will keep them high. Sony shows no sign of cutting the prices or releasing an official SD card adapter to widen the options.  The sooner you can snap up a backup card or two the better.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Kemco's Bonds of the Skies float down to Vita

Harking back to 2013 on iOS and Android, and more recently on 3DS, Kemco is doling out another dollop of RPG fun for Vita and PS4 owners soon. A trophy listing for Bonds of the Skies suggests it won't be long until we're romping through the usual batch of pixelly forests, dungeons and villages on more happy quests to find missing gods and save the world.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Catherine Full Body half-heartedly hits the Japanese chart

Selling 9,200 copies, Catherine Full Body is probably the last Vita game to make a major dent in the Media Create chart in Japan, landing at No. 13. That's pretty far behind the 51K sold by the PS4 version at No. 2, a sad but predictable end.

However, if niche publishers want to the give the Vita a punt, Golden Corda Octave proves there's still plenty of life in it - selling 4,500 physical copies at No. 17 and probably a lot more on PSN to make visual novels still worthwhile - as it was with the end of the PSP's life.

With the news that production will end "soon" in Japan, unit sales rise a little to 1,767 for last week, and might head up a little more, but these are pretty much the last twitches of positive movement. What's for sure is if you want a Vita or a spare unit, get it now as prices will shoot up.


Monday, February 18, 2019

Daggerhood stabs a Vita trailer in the back

Out this week on PSN, Woblyware's Daggerhood is a pixelly thief at the top of his game, presumably until we take control, as he soon ends up being thrown into the forsaken caverns for his crimes.

Filled with the desire for freedom and revenge, Daggerhood is after some royal treasure, with the clever game mechanic of a magic dagger that he can throw and reclaim by teleporting to its current position to get past traps, obstacles and other dangers.

Spread over 100 levels, this looks a bit more active than previous effort Devious Dungeon and perhaps as challenging as League of Evil.

Trophies are up with a Platinum and a smattering of gold. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Awesome Pea shoots over to the Vita in March

I'm getting kind of nostalgic about and used to the green-screen Game Boy effect, thanks to the likes of Super Life of Pixel and others. Now, here comes Awesome Pea, a Steam platformer from Pigeon Dev, headed to consoles thanks to the efforts of the delightful Sometimes You. Packing in plenty of challenge (and frogs), it looks like another great dose of classic fun.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review Mixups by POWGI

I love word games. On TV I'm a sofa Countdown king, in the back of papers, anything to keep my mind ticking over during downtime or travel. Would I play this on the PS4? Unlikely, but on the Vita Mixups is a fun and friendly distraction.

The mechanics are universal and simple, each theme has six pages of clues and letters, where you need to make three words or phrases related to the theme. With 120 themes there's plenty to be exploring, with trophies scattered around some of the harder selections.

From what I gather the themes are petty much universal, i.e., the baseball theme isn't going to stump non-Yanks with "designated hitter" and English monarchs won't throw any of the totally obscure or short-lived ones for non anglophiles. Astrology shouldn't require divine inspiration while others will test both spelling and memory - other sections take a little liberty with the language, like the pirate talk, to provide an extra chuckle.

Instead, I can breeze past the first couple of pages, and then get stumped when I'm suddenly convinced "Womble" should be a part of the human anatomy, or trying to figure out a pointy object that isn't fork or a bird that's not a puffin, even though the letters are there. There's a non-gameplay element of having fun trying to guess what words will come up, and I was quite often surprised (no porcupine - seriously?)


A little lateral thinking can help, but generally I plodded away despite there being three or four suitable but incorrect answers on a page. It would be cool if you could note down your wrong answers somewhere, so when you come back to a page later, you don't make the same mistake twice, but that might cramp the otherwise clear and simple UI.

With a tinkly happy tune in the background and some basic sound effects, this won't task the Vita's battery much. Just as well, as the hours flew by while trying to make up palindromes or think of desperately tenuous colour names, camel is a shade, right?

When truly stuck a hint option is available, showing the first letter of a word, but that'd be cheating, right? If you like word games, this is great fun, if you want to improve your (or the family's) vocabulary, it also provide a useful tool. POWGI and Lightwood have a great little puzzle niche going here with the likes of Pic-A-Pix Color among a growing roster, and in the twilight of the Vita's release schedule, all are welcome.

Score: 7/10
More Reviews
Price: £6.49 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: POWGI/Lightwood
File size 270MB
Progress: Where's "Penguin" dammit!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Moves and shaking at PlayStation HQ

A couple of news bits usually best left for the financial pages, but they do have some impact on Sony's future for PlayStation, so I'll dig into them here.

Firstly, Sony just announced its first ever share buyback program. This common corporate tool (in all senses) is used when companies are making a "bit too much" money. They buy back their own shares to boost the stock price in the short term, so investors can sell their holdings for a bit of a lift, and perhaps buy more as they sniff out future buybacks in a cyclic feeding frenzy.

This is straight of the lazy MBA playbook. And, while Sony shareholders have had a bit of a battering over the decade, the last three years have been very rewarding, so there's no real need.

That near $1 billion is useful money. It could - and in Sony's case definitely should - be invested in PlayStation 5 features, like a Vita compatible remote player (just saying) and in adding to the hardware power of future products. Also, future game development, not just AAA titles but funding for smaller studios, encouraging indies and so on.

Okay, so the money covers all of Sony, including Xperia phones (still not selling well), cameras (a dying market) and TV screens (no profit), but since PS4 has made Sony most of its revenue in recent years, it would seem only fair to reinvest it in that future.

Even if that's not acceptable, while Sony's debt is way down from the dark days, given the uncertain nature of the console biz, minimizing it might also be a better use of the money! Note, any exec who says having debt is a good thing is a brain-dead idiot! I have proof.

The Jim Ryan Show

 Next up is Jim Ryan appointed as the new Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO from April. The usual corporate bullshit from the demoted John Kodera, likely weeping into his payoff at the humiliation, says:
"Jim has extensive knowledge around the game business and industry, as well as deep understanding of the PlayStation culture and strengths. I am confident that he will lead us to greater success as CEO of SIE. I will continue to support Jim by contributing to further strengthening user engagement, and to the overall growth of the PlayStation business."
I'm trying to think where Jim Ryan expressed an actual opinion rather than just toeing the company line or sounded less than a Sony automaton (one PlayStation Pets family anecdote does not a human make). He does indeed know his stuff, but he's been at Sony for 25 years and damn well should! The problem is where do the new ideas come from if he's firmly singing from company song sheet?

Sony's board and senior leads are all pretty much the old-boys PlayStation club, and you can bet that the institutional level antipathy to cross-platform play, their aversion to retro gaming and backward compatibility, and death to anything portable will continue.

Vita performed poorly as we know, and as corporate souls first and foremost, they never talk about or look to see what went wrong and where can we do better (like Nintendo did going from the calamitous Wii U to Switch!) With that sort of work ethic, it doesn't sound good for any future Sony portable hardware.

I'd love Sony to prove me wrong, but whereas Nintendo and Microsoft are throwing ideas around to see what sticks, Sony feels very stuck-in-its-ways to me.

More Golden Corda Octave girly fun for Japan

Japan's Vita release list is looking not-quite-as-bare as in the west, but things are definitely sluggish. Next up is another Golden Corda Octave outing in the latest romance otome effort from Ruby Party. The games had a great run on the PSP over that handheld's life, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is a HD update, also coming to Switch.

Monday, February 11, 2019

GhoulBoy looms as a EastAsiaSoft physical release

After getting a digital release last year, GhoulBoy is making the leap to a physical copy with a limited release from EastAsiaSoft. With excellent chiptune music and old-style screen effects, it offers classic platform romp packed with puzzles and challenges.

Pre-orders go live on the 14th and the game is limited to 1,000 copies each on Vita and PS4.

Update: Annoyingly, the PSN release is US-only on 5 March, with no plans for a European release. They could have mentioned that before the pre-orders went up for the physical release.


Ghoulboy combines action-RPG with hack 'n' slash fun. It brings back the look and feel of the very best classic retro platformers from the 90's, introducing refreshed and engaging gameplay mechanics.

Review Heroes Trials

Somewhere, there's a happy medium between adventures and RPGs with too much plot and those that let you race through with little consideration for the NPCs in the world. Blizzard's Diablo series is probably the perfect exponent, but going a little too far toward the later is Heroes Trials.

Off  Zoel and Elia go adventuring, more or less within the first 30 seconds, wading into a simple 3D land to prove themselves worthy. After some initial chat, the other characters around the game are pretty much pointless. Instead our two heroes, swap around to use their magical or sword attacks, depending on the enemy. They roam around a sparse landscape, on the lookout for treasure and health among the shrubs.

Fighting is the only way to advance, using their various strengths of sword or magical attack to defeat the blobby-looking demons. There are a steady stream of monsters to whack, although it is good to see you can avoid a lot of unnecessary combat. The two set off to complete a series of trials to see who will become guardian of their kingdom. But, in reality, you cast a few spells, lob a few bombs, and visit a few stores, with some rare useful treasures to pick up along the way.

Clocking Off From Adventuring

The game is played against the clock, so you won't want to waste any time, but the developer's big claim that "An adventure like no other. Two heroes, two ways of playing against the clock." doesn't ring true as they stumble around to master the Tower of Akron.

There's no tactics to the combat, blocking with a shield is rarely needed. There's no sense of achievement (apart from a quick and easy Platinum) and all you really have to do is follow the map to the next "quest."

Heroes Trials feels like Japanese developer Shinyuden's first game development effort - it is certainly their only game listed on Stream. Sure, everyone has to start somewhere, but I know there are more valuable and rewarding games out there that could be ported.

Graphically, the game looks simple enough on the Vita's small screen, I dread to think how bad the Cross Buy PS4 version looks on a larger display. There's a few effects thrown around, but literally nothing to get excited about.

On the plus side, if Shinyuden make enough money to work on their engine, add some complexity, depth and a bit of love to their games, then it is worth supporting if future efforts will have more to them. But this is the generic paracetamol of games with stock woods, icy and dungeon levels, few interesting enemies or attacks to learn and no love to feel for the heroes.

Score: 4/10
More Reviews
Price: £4.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Shinyuden/Ratalaika
File size 350MB
Progress: Bored in the sticks

Code Realize Wintertide Miracles and Mixups by Powgi head to Vita this week

Another three games out this week, showing the Vita bumbling along quite happily in 2019. They are led by Aksys and Idea Factory's late Code: Realize visual romantic novel.



Slightly less exciting is Alvastia Chronicles from Kemco, who continue to churn out the cookie-cutter RPGs. Their press release for the Limited Run physical of Fernz Gate was a whole three lines long, showing how much they care about marketing. Still, if you like 16-bit RPGs, there's plenty more where this came from.


Finally, we have word puzzler, Mixups by Powgi, which shouldn't be underestimated, given the pleasurable and addictive nature of the rest of the puzzle producer's output.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

God of War leads January's most downloaded in the US

I'd forgotten the PlayStation US blog even did these. So, purely for reference, here's what people are still downloading from their PSN store on the Vita. Pretty sure Stardew Valley is the latest release among them, otherwise I suppose it shows that quality always sells and Sony, Atlus and Konami are still picking up a few dollars here and there.

 

As Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation gets the makeover for PS4/X1 next month, I guess more "didn't-sell-very-well" games will be heading to Switch and other platforms to help bump up the publisher's revenue. That has me wondering when a P4G remaster will pop up as part of the Persona teasing going on? With plenty of people thinking about getting a Vita just to play P4G, that seems to be the main reason to pick one up in 2019.

1      God of War: Collection
2 Jak and Daxter Collection
3 Persona 4 Golden
4 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
5 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
6 Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition
7 Bastion
8 Jet Set Radio
9 Stardew Valley
10 Trillion: God of Destruction

Atelier Nelke charts for Vita in Japan

A PS Vita game in the Japanese charts? Yes, its true, but barely.

Nelke... Ateliers of the New World managed to squeak into No. 16 on the latest Media Create chart for Vita. It put up just over half the sales of the Switch version and less than a quarter of the PS4 editions, showing just how far things have fallen both for the Vita and the Atelier series.

6 [PS4] Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World - 18,679 (New)
11 [SW] Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World -  8,046 (New)
16 [Vita] Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World -  4,589 (New)

That's a far cry from the likes of Atelier Sophie that managed this type of solid performance, back in 2015.

2. Atelier Sophie PS4 30,750
3. Atelier Sophie Vita 25,800

Vita hardware sales were down a couple of hundred over recent weeks, I still think Sony is eeking out the last stocks, with production already done. I did ask Sony UK for some detail on what was happening with end of life hardware in Japan, but they never got back to me.


Looking forward and across to the other big publisher, Famitsu's latest scores are out, with decent ratings for the Vita's next couple of outings.

Catherine Full Body (PS4/PSV) – 9/8/8/8
Kiniro no Corda Octave (NSW/PSV) – 7/8/8/8

Friday, February 1, 2019

Eve Rebirth Terror character clips and cute art

A couple of slick-looking character trailers for Eve Rebirth Terror from El Dia, headed to Japanese Vita owners this April. The sequel to the remake of the Sega Saturn game, looks like a lot of effort is going into this one, with plenty of high quality art too hopefully helping to make a big impression on gamers as the endless light romance VNs fill up much of the release schedule.




Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Deer God is Red Art's final Vita physical

The end is creeping up as the last rush of Vita physicals get ordered and roll out the factory gates before Sony's spring cut off point. Red Art has provided collectors with a curious mix including The Bard’s Tale, Ice Cream Surfer, Demetrios, Bit Dungeon + and Riddled Corpses EX.

All have value and hopefully have found homes with real Vita collectors, not the resellers. The French publisher’s teams final contribution to Vita collectibles is The Deer God, with a 2,000 copy print run for €25. A 3D pixel art adventure, it has you solving puzzles and avoiding the hunters while exploring a vast and wonderfully curious world, all soundtracked by Evan Gipson.

Note, the publisher and developer are looking into remaining gameplay issues including slowdown, bugs and crashes that still affect the PSN version.



Vita waves bye to PS+ with a trio of games

I was kind of hoping Sony would say goodbye in style with some clever curio or previously unpublished project, but in the end we get the great fun Rogue Aces (review) Iron Galaxy's Divekick and the quirky Gunhouse (originally a PSM game, then upgraded to full Vita status just a year ago.
PlayStation Plus arrived on the Vita at the end of 2013, with a lively roster of games that soon tailed off as Sony gave up on the portable. But its been a good five year run, and while my subscription has come and gone as funds dictated, I picked up a load of ace games for when I finally got my PS4. It also means I'll never sell my PS3 as there are loads of great games still on that box, and adding Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as the last PS3 title is an example of how Sony should have bowed out on Vita.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review: Dreamwalker

Sorry for the delay in this review, despite paying for it, the download was stuck in Sony's "we don't care" loop of uselessness. If I'd had any sleepless nights over it, Dreamwalker (originally a Nintendo DS release) could have helped calm me down.

A simple yet challenging puzzler from Code Mystics, you need to guide a dreaming chap, Walker, resplendent in his pink striped pajamas and floppy hat into the dawn light without waking him up prematurely through a series of cloud-formed mazes.

The early levels are simple, click on a star and you rotate the clouds adjacent to it, creating pathways through the stars for Walker to sleepwalk along. As with most puzzle games, the aim is to do it in the least moves or amount of time as possible, while dodging the increasing numbers of alarm clocks and nightmares that threaten to wake our somnolent pal.

The further you get, the more complex things become with teleporters and different-coloured stars moving in harmony, either making or breaking a well constructed path. Rainclouds can vanish once walked over creating dead ends and other hazards. An additional challenge also has Walker collecting all the sheep in a level, and there are plenty of other quirks and fun diversions along the way.

Always urging you on is the score timer counting down in the background. The early levels take places on a single screen, but soon you're scrolling around looking for the sunny exit and numerous ways to keep the clocks at bay. Screw a level up and you can restart in a flash.

With cheery animation throughout each level, a jolly tune in the background and bite-sized puzzles that make up each of the 50 levels, plus mini-games, this is pure and simple gaming fun with plenty of short term challenge, and quick-play appeal.

Score: 7/10
More Reviews
Price: £1.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Code Mystics
File size 45MB
Progress: Wake up Boo!

Classic shooters form the Vasara Collection, head to Vita

Strictly Limited and Braziliant devs QuByte continue to deliver the goods on the Vita with a physical and digital release of the Vasara collection, as teased last year. Down for a first or second quarter release, the collection consists of acclaimed Japanese arcade shoot ’em ups – Vasara (an arcade cabinet release from 2000) and sequel Vasara 2.

Across both games, science fiction meets history set in an alternate timeline of feudal Japan where technologically advanced weaponry see heroes use flying motorcycles with amazing firepower and fierce melee weapons to destroy their enemies. More detailed info on shmups.com


Fight against warships, battle tanks, giant robots, evil soldiers and rogue Samurais to prevent 1600’s Japan from being taken over by tyrannical forces.

Features include

  • PlayStation TV and PS Vita TV support (2-player co-op)
  • Tate and vertical mode support
  • Eight playable characters inspired by real Japanese historical figures
  • Fight robots and Samurais using traditional shooting and powerful melee attacks
  • Easy mode for starters
  • Branching paths and multiple endings according to your characters and in-game actions

Updates on Heart Forth Alicia and Monster Crown Kickstarters

There's part of me now that fears opening a Kickstarter email, wondering if they've dropped the Vita version. But no worries today as both Heart Forth Alicia and Monster Crown seem to be progressing well. While I guess none-to-few developers would add a KS Vita stretch goal in 2019, there's still a few to come, check the list.



On HFA, Alfonso Martin writes, "Work these past months has been concentrated on all fronts of development. On the graphical side, Deryk and I have continued hammering away at all the missing pixel art assets for these and other later areas of the game.  This, at times, can be an arduous process considering the sheer volume of work. Yet, the diversity of locations which range from abandoned culverts to beautiful cathedrals, has made these past few months especially engaging to develop."



And for Monster Crown, Studio Aurum is pretty perky, "I find myself standing on a bit of a precipice. The Kickstarter was a huge event in my life and a very exciting time for us (and I know for you too!). Since then we've found a publisher, began work on console ports, and used updates as an opportunity to show off new areas, new features and new monsters. At the same time I look into the future, and see announcements on the way, info, footage, starting in just a few weeks and continuing to hit like a ton of bricks!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Necrosphere, Drowning and NightCry out this week

Necrosphere is at the lighter end of this week's Vita releases, with Drowning and Nightcry (trailer) offering more somber gaming.

Necrosphere comes with a fresh set of trophies listed (10 bronze, 2 silver, 1 gold). The well-rated PC two-button metroidvania from 2017, puts up a stiff challenge for its lurid lycra-clad hero, and for those who want to bag all the trophies, with a distinctly old-school style to it. To get around the hero has to use bounce pads and bubbles to navigate the short and furious levels.



Drowning is a journey through a tale of depression. A short game about a boy who quickly discovers he has depression, it takes you through a variety of beautiful low-poly environments as the story unfolds about how he learns to live with his inner demon.

Atelier series celebrates 20 years in Japan, waves bye to Vita

Ahead of the release of Atelier of the New Earth Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists from Gust, the company is celebrating 20 years of the series, with some impressive art on Tokyo's subway. The series has been a faithful servant on the PlayStation, PSP and Vita, if passed over in the west for the last couple of entries.


On the plus side, we've had Atelier Firis, Shallie Plus, Ayesha Plus, Escha and Logy Plus and my favourite Atelier Sophie (review), along with all 9GB of the The Arland Trilogy. Throw in the host of missions, costumes and music DLC on PSN, and publisher Koei has done pretty well out of the series on the Vita.

Next release, the much delayed Nelke is likely the last Gust Vita release with Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland missing out the Vita completely in Japan and the west, so goodbye and thanks for all the potions.

I do wonder why they don't farm out the perfectly good Sophie-era engine to other developers who might want to craft their own RPG series?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

NightCry shudders on the Vita this month

Playism brings up Project Scissor's Night Cry, the long-ago Kickstarted horror game, at the end of January in Japan, and presumably the west. The point-and-click 3D adventure is a murder mystery, set on a boat where suspicion and dread terror lurk behind each porthole and cabin door. Featuring Monica and Rooney as two students, they must survive the branching storylines to find the one ending where, presumably, they don't end up as mincemeat.

Coming a couple of years after the PC version, it at least reminds the world that 3D does work on the Vita, even though this trailer (perhaps deliberately, but I doubt it, sees the game crawling through glue). Regardless, well done to Playism, Hifumi Kono and Takashi Shimizu for sticking with the sequel to Clock Tower.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Revenge of the Bird King getting a physical or EU release?

Released last year on Switch and in the US on Vita as part of the Gunworld series, Revenge of the Bird King is an 8-bit-style retro platformer with some light Metroid-style choices to make. Developed by Joe Modzeleski (aka @SuperNESJoe), I guess its coming to Europe's PSN or more likely getting a physical release soon (he was talking to Limited Run last year) as a new set of trophies has popped up.


Either way, for only $5 in the US, it seems worth a play and if it pops up in Europe - great!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Japanese otome games still popping out for Vita

Variable Barricade, Golden Corda Octave (out mid-February) , Panic Palette (already out), Nora and Princess and Stray Cat Heart 2 - so many mad names, and still a few games or DLC headed to the Vita. Check out the clips dug up during my latest trawl through the Japanese publisher YouTube channels.

What was good to see is the number of playthroughs for even pretty obscure titles that came west (or didn't with people relying on fan subs of Google translate) to get through the stories.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Heroes Trials goes questing on Vita thanks to Ratalaika

Shinyuden's RPG adventure Heroes Trials has made its way over to the Vita thanks to Ratalaika, landing on January 22/25th on PSN with a Platinum Trophy up for grabs. Two heroes with different attack styles go exploring in a four-hour-or-so compact adventure that dumps the endless cinematics and plot waffle of big-budget RPGS for rapid action and progress.

Check out the trailer and we'll have a little competition with codes and Heroes Trials toys soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Firmware 3.70 arrives for Vita, brace yourselves!

Things Sony could do in a firmware update:

Improve the LiveTweet Twitter app to support 280 characters and multiple image uploads.
Update the Browser to better support YouTube and other vital popular sites
Show free card space on the information bar at the top of the screen
Tweaking the PS4 Link app for stronger WiFi connection, or give us more data, than just the weak connection icon, as Remote Play is an increasingly common use.
Make global sharing with PS3 happen so we can play any game remotely too.

Things Sony's latest 3.70 firmware app does:

Stability.

Seriously Sony, a little love as you kick the barn door shut?

Specifically, the Vita homebrew community has had a look and notes changes to the Calendar and Near Apps, presumably to defeat any future hacking attempts, rather than improving them for users.

Dreamwalker pops up on the EU PSN store

Code Mystic's Dreamwalker hit the US PSN around new year, but takes its bow in Europe today, hot on the heels of a pesky firmware update. The game may only be £1.99 but it has an official site, which is more than most titles get these days.

Note, it is on the UK store, and I've paid for it but the game isn't downloading yet, may be up later in the day.

A puzzle maze game, the hero is walker, a character after my own heart who just wants a good night's sleep. Rearrange the clouds to create a path through to sunrise without getting woken up.

Do support Code Mystics, they managed to get the coming-soon Atari Flashbacks Classics on Vita, and if sales do enough hopefully future titles too!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Fresh Catherine Full Body JP trailer

Okay, so there are some very quiet murmurs that the Vita version might not be coming west. But in a minor "up yours" to Atlus I recommend we all buy the Japanese version (the Dynamite limited edition is excellent) and spam Atlus's Twitter feed with photos of it, every minute of every day after release on 14 February.


UPDATE: Note the new screenshots out of Japan show a smattering of English in the game...


Here's the latest trailer, to get you suitably excited.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Media Create Vita sales firm at the end of 2018 in Japan

The delayed Media Create sales figures for the last week of 2018 have turned up, showing that the Vita sold over 3,500 units, making for almost 13K sales in the month of December, and trundling along nicely, if you ignore that it sold over 14K in one week alone in 2017's holiday sales.

Things perked up a bit more for the first week of 2019, with the Vita shifting over, 4,100 units. Surely exports are now playing a key role in those sales?

This is probably the last chart I'll write up, unless there's some crazy sales move or a Vita release actually hits the game chart, but will continue to tweet the sales figures and chart over 2019, as far as it goes.

Total sales are over 5.95 million, already a million down on the newer Switch, a couple down on Japanese PS4 sales and trillions below 3DS/2DS sales. So, not a sales success, but still an awesome piece of hardware.


Life with a Vita in 2019

As we settle into 2019 like a new pair of shoes, Vita life seems remarkably good for a dead console. New developers like kFunction are delivering great games with Scintillatron, and Sony is still providing dev kits to coders (probably grudgingly by now).

Also, random trophy listings continue to pop up out of nowhere, and there's still plenty of activity from physical publishers even as the cut off for physical cart production in the west looms.

As a day-one Vita owner three things still worry me, what happens when Sony stops making the memory cards - and why hasn't it cut the prices to encourage people to stock up? Also, shouldn't there be a mandatory notification period before any game (cough, LEGO!) vanishes from PSN?  Finally, what happens when all the Vita hardware is gone?

ps vita 2019

Those concerns aside, here we are and there's still a decent list of games on the way, even if a few drop off the radar due to developers not having the bandwidth or struggling to port titles to an ancient bit of silicon. But what a piece of hardware, iPhone has moved on six or seven generations since the Vita launched, yet Sony's portable continues to deliver games that shame or on a par with most mobile fodder.

Even as the games drop off, more people seem to be finding the Vita as their favourite way to play visual novels, the Tomb Raider archive, JRPGs, other PS One classics (especially after the PlayStation Classic Mini farcical launch) and indies-on-the-go.

Remote Players are also getting on-board, perhaps spurred, ironically, by the success of the Switch. And, as Microsoft looks to some sort of hybrid future, there's still a good chance that Sony will respond with a PS5 Remote Play unit - HD, many triggers and a good WiFi stack. Maybe there is a Sony portable future of some kind - which we'll need as Vita prices continue to rise, and old hardware inevitably begins to fail - how do we pass preserve these valuable single-format game collections or pass them on to others?

Game On in 2019

Back to the good stuff, and a few hundred thousand (at a guess) western Vita enthusiasts are still loving handheld life. And why not, with a device that still looks this good, that happily plays many recent pixel games and whose launch titles still look better than most of the Switch's output (while laughing at Nintendo's idea of battery life), what's not to like? Gamers are snapping them up from Japan and second hand stores, getting on board and finding what makes Vita so special.

I can understand attention-deficit types getting fed up of their old hardware and moving on, but anyone who has invested time and money in a decent Vita collection, why sell it? If you have eight years of games to play, with many that aren't on any other system, why give them up.

I've forgotten most of the finer details in Uncharted, Assassin's Creed Liberation, Killzone many of the other major league efforts - and with fewer new games there's more time for a replay, with most collectors having a healthy rotation of old and new to keep us happy. Even with a Switch, PS4 and Xbox One in the house, I could play any game on anything, but the Vita is still my perfectly-formed OLED play-anywhere box.

About the Apps, Sony

Even the apps still prove useful, getting #PSVitaShare images up via the old Twitter that's still limited to 140 characters and loads the browser to show tweet links. Until recently, YouTube worked fine and I've found plenty of lite or text-only sites that provide news and information far faster than the modern mobile sites can manage.

Yes, the store app is poorly updated, with Sony's crack-addled trainee failing to add new games on a regular basis. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight still isn't on the front of UK store (perhaps two similar games confused the poor fool).

All these features need is the tiniest bit of Sony love and Vita could easily be fit for some purpose in 2020 and beyond, but hey - we can't have everything right?

A Fond Farewell

What does irritate me most is that Sony has no idea how to do a good sendoff. There must be a number of near complete games or easy updates lurking in the archive and all it takes is a bit of effort to say thanks for sticking around with a Vita version of LocoRoco or something else.

But will Sony bother? No, because generating any news about Vita goes against its forward-looking philosophy, which is just damn weird. I still kinda hope another company buys the Vita designs and IP, and launches a vanilla non-PS console just to keep the life flowing. Perhaps that a question someone can ask a Sony boss next time they see them.

But, all the biz lunacy aside, let's get gaming into 2019, the rest of the world might not care, but this is my gaming life, and Vita is still great fun!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Pic-A-Pix Pieces on PSN

The Pic-A-Pix series continues to bloom on the Vita offering fun puzzling wherever you go. Now on PSN for £6.49, the latest installment, Pieces, offers a big sack of picture logic games, where whimsical pixel-art pictures are created by solving puzzles.

In Pic-a-Pix Pieces, large pictures have been split into a number of smaller pieces. Each piece is a puzzle grid, and by solving them all you’ll form a mosaic that reveals a spectacular final image. A flexible colourblind mode has previously received high praise for allowing access to players who are often excluded from colour-based puzzles.

The time-trial trophies from previous games have gone, leaving players to finish them without a time pressure, and there's a Platinum if you complete the game, which is Cross Buy with the PS4.