Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Halloween Forever is late to the scare party in Europe

While it may be way past the original scary-season U.S. launch, European gamers will get a peek-behind-the-curtains at Halloween Forever on the Vita and PS4 soon. Poppy Works worked on the port of Peter Lazarski's Halloween Forever, a SNES-style platform adventure with a pip-spewing pumpkin-head trying to survive in what looks the unfriendly world of the undead.

If you want to get in the mood, the game's soundtrack is on Spotify.

Ignore the US date on the trailer, and as summer heats up, perhaps we should limit playing this to midnight under the duvet? Poppy Works also has Bones n Bullets lined up for the Vita soon/

PlayStation 5 will be more about the streaming

Sony's corporate investor day, where it explains its plans to shareholders and other investors, was light on juice, but interesting on the ground work going on for PlayStation 5. Of most interest from PlayStation's Jim Ryan's presentation is the focus on streaming to multiple devices, even though the company ignored the Vita on its pretty picture of compatible devices.

While streaming to every billion-selling device is good for the numbers, surely Sony needs a dedicated device to save people lugging controller, connector, battery pack, and other gadgets around. That's not optimal compared to what a HD/5G Vita 2 could offer.

Sony also bigs up PlayStation now, even though it only has 700,000 users, something else that used to work fine on the Vita until Sony pulled support for it. If that's part of the backward-compatible future, even a cheaper PlayStation Now portable box would do the trick.

And with backward compatibility finally being recognised as more than just a "nice-to-have", the Vita 2 could also come with that library of \PSP and Vita games, which would look better on a small screen than on a whopping 4K TV.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Back in 1995 out this week

Announced last autumn, retro horror mystery Degica's Back in 1995 is out this week on PSN, bringing that early-poly game feel to the Vita and PS4. With the physical release already sold out, there's only PSN left if you want to try out this chilling PSone-style tale from Japanese developer "Throw the warped code out!"

It should bring back memories of Alone in the Dark, Clock Tower, a little Silent Hill but not quite Resident Evil, depending on your age. Wonder if the dev has plans for a slightly more evolved sequel from 2000-era. They are still going, but no sign of any new games, and Back in 1995 launched back in 2016 on the PC.

Rather skinny trophy list here.

Monday, May 13, 2019

EastAsiaSoft lines up more Vita physicals

This week is another expensive one for Vita collectors with the sequel to the rather fun Devious Dungeon heading our way. There was lots of scope for adding to the original's chirpy experience, so I hope this is a slightly deeper game.

The company will announce the last Vita physicals at E3, but that won't be the end of the story, as Asian publishers are still producing physicals, some of which may head west as developers look for new avenues.

Rearing its polygonal head is the decidedly retro blockfest Back in 1995, up for limited release in the spirit of early PlayStation horror adventures. While I like the idea, the gameplay has to be really strong for this to work, and I'm not sure I'd splash out on a physical based on the middling reviews of the PC original.

Both games are ported by Ratalaika. There's only a 1,000 copies of each, with a CD thrown in, which seems rather light. Also, EastAsiaSoft is pumping up the price by $5 and buyers around the world will likely get stung for more import taxes. On the other hand, digital copies should be about €7.99 if you want to grab them on PSN without the wait for a courier.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Bones n Bullets unloads on the Vita

Poppy Works Grab and Cosmic Crystal Games are showing off a new Vita game at BitSummit in Japan tihs week. Bones n Bullets sees our presumably undead hero burst out of his coffin, pick up a gun, and lay waste to the pixelly world around him. With magic, plenty of weapons, chunky bossses, the soldier must save the universe from the evil Lord Naglfaar! The game is due out later this year.

From the release: Bones 'N' Bullets is a retro-inspired, action-packed adventure stacked with big guns, deadly spells and treacherous traps. Join the soldier on this quest through a world filled with deadly enemies, nail-biting challenges and blazing boss battles in order to save not only his world, but his very soul!

- Quick and challenging action-platformer gameplay with tight controls!
- Use your arsenal of big guns and powerful spells to survive!
- Eight unique stage locations to explore throughout the game world!
- An abundance of bone-blasting boss battles!
- Precious retro pixel art inspired by the classics!
- An original soundtrack of skull-slamming songs composed by Protodome!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Shakedown Hawaii out now

Just a quickie, but worth celebrating the release of one of the last major games to hit the Vita. Vblank's top-down gun-toting business simulator Shakedown Hawaii is now up on the US PSN store, with the EU lagging behind as usual.

UPDATE: EU release next week apparently because Sony Europe are damn useless!

Take a peek at the many stories and videos that have rolled along over the three and a half years of the game's development since its first showing at the end of 2015. That's the sort of effort that makes a game worth the $20, before people start complaining.

Gnosia tells tales of fake humans in space

Gnosia, published by Mebius and developed by Petit Depotto (Unholy Heights), is an interesting-sounding indie release from Japan. Cycling through around 15 minutes of conversational gameplay, the player must debate and establish what's going on, on a spacecraft populated by a cast of day-glo people, not all of whom are totally human.

Auto-translate the official Gnosia site to get a feel for the game, and the bright and cheery characters, who you need to get to trust you through debates, and by directing the conversations to bring about a successful conclusion to the mission. Since its largely only the text that needs translating, here's hoping some brave team picks it up for a western release.

The Japanese version is due out in the early summer, and if the concept sounds a little familiar, it is based on the Mafia/Werewolf party game genre.

Stick a quarter in for Highscore Master on Kickstarter

The crowdfunded games list gets dusted down  with a new addition thanks to Dolores Entertainment (GhoulBoy and BitDungeon Plus). Highscore Master borrows from the arcade classics and slams some old favourite ideas together in new ways, from shooters to racers to maze games, etc. All with the aim to top the high score chart in each world to escape the master.

Or, as the devs put it...
What would happen if we put in a cocktail shaker Out Run, Space Harrier and Back to the Future? Or Pacman with  Saturday's Night Fever? Stop imagining it because this is Highscore Master!
Highscore Master is built by about 8 different arcades from the 80's. From our own reinterpretation, as we believe they could have been improved and carrying them to a current gameplay.

The game needs €20K (£17K) in funding with two months to go, and the Vita version is double that (€40K). A €150 tier will get you physical Vita versions of Dolores previous works, while there's . I recall an old trailer from around a year ago, so guess Highscore Master is pretty far along the road to completion, so hopefully will hit the end of 2019 release date.

Get involved here

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Ultracore OST has that synthwave love

Okay, so the Vita isn't getting a physical version of Ultracore (was Hardcore) due to a mix of Sony shutting down game card production and the developers running late. That's a shame, but I'll still happily play the PSN release on my Vita and crank up the synthwave soundtrack through my Sennheiser headphones.

Here's a 12-minute teaser, and you can still get the physical on Switch or PS4 if you fancy.

Crime Time with Shakedown Hawaii trailer

Vblanks' Shakedown Hawaii is up for physical pre-order this week and the game hits digital stores next week, so what better than another crime, weapon and vehicle filled trailer to set the villainous tone?

Looking through what's left of the release list, I can't see much to challenge this as the last big seller on the Vita, perhaps Ultracore if that gets fair coverage, so enjoy this while it lasts!