Monday, December 31, 2012

Destination PlayStation 2013 announced

Head over to and you get the basic details on Sony's upcoming early-season PS event taking place at the end of February. Hopefully it will be home to lots of new Vita reveals that are usually shown to us Joe Publics a few weeks after the event.

Whatever is left of the gaming press these days will be lapping up the free stuff, and sworn to secrecy, which is rather crap in this day and age. Guessing there isn't a whole lot else in Scottsdale to distract attendees, but hopefully things will leak out soon enough.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just in case you were worried Soul Sacrifice was all demons

There is some concern that Sony's Soul Sacrifice is too gloomy and morbid to sell well in Japan where Monster Hunter's jolly hockeysticks graphics rule the roost. That ignores all the grim as a team wreck anime they love and the fact the Keiji Inafune knows his stuff.

So, we have some art among a new batch of images released to lighten the tone, sex things up a little and show the more human side of the game. All the recent gameplay from the demo looks pretty hot and visuals like this suggest a well-rounded back story to drag the game along by intestines.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Vita sells another 19K in Japan and a few games

The Vita got a decent percentage sales boost in this week's Japanese sales, up around 7,000, shipping over 21,000 this week, but Nintendo's most other systems were in the 100s of thousands.

However a couple of PSP games stormed the charts, showing there's signs of life out there for Sony's portable formats. Call of Duty looks like it didn't make a dent though.

01./02. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf
02./00. [PSP] One Piece: Romance Dawn 167.103 / NEW
03./00. [PSP] AKB1/149: Love Election 143.774 / NEW
16./00. [PSV] AKB1/149: Love Election 35.372 / NEW

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Guerrilla hints at Killzone Mercenary for 2013

On a PSN POST, Guerrilla seems to think that the Vita's next attempt at an FPS action game will arrive next year.

"But the biggest highlight of the year was being able to welcome SCE Cambridge Studio into our fold. We’ve officially become a multi-studio company! Guerrilla Cambridge – as our new sister studio is known – is working hard to ensure that Killzone: Mercenary will be the ultimate handheld first-person shooter experience when it launches for PlayStation Vita in 2013.
The team is intimately familiar with handheld game development, having previously worked on titles such as LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation Portable, and they’ve done a phenomenal job adapting the Killzone 3 engine to the PS Vita platform.

With Killzone: Mercenary on the way, 2013 is gearing up to be another big year for Guerrilla – quite possibly the biggest since we released the original Killzone way back in 2004. We’ll have more details for you at a future date, but until then we hope you share a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, and we’ll see you in 2013."

Monday, December 24, 2012

CoD Declassified top seller for Vita this Christmas

Don't think this was ever in doubt, but the Vita game is the only one in the UK top 40 at No. 31 for the Christmas Chart.

Not sure if it will have done enough to beat Uncharted over the year (and it doesn't deserve to). Even then, with PSN sales not counting towards the main chart, something like Mutant Blobs or a mini like Velocity could easily be the Vita's biggest seller.

But that would be pretty embarrassing for Sony to admit to, so I guess we'll never know.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Video of Soul Sacrifices skills, attacks and a harpy battle

The pretty expansive demo of Soul Sacrifice has a neat testing area where you can try out skills and attacks. Check out this new video of some of those demonic skills in action, and then used in one of the demo's boss battles.

Demon Gaze gets a new trailer, starts cute... doesn't last

Yep, those doe-eyes and floaty-butterflies in the opening scenes weren't going to last in a game called Demon Gaze. Its soon all dungeons, teeth and steel clashing... the highly customisable game from Kadokawa is out in Japan in January

Dead Dead or alive 5 to rock the Vita in March 2013

Tecmo has posted the English version of yesterday's Japanese stories about the unique features of the Vita edition, DoA5+. It will arrive on March 22, 2013 with cross-platform features that allow players to play matches against opponents on both PlayStation 3 and PS Vita while sharing costumes across both platforms.

Team NINJA also revealed additional feature details for both casual and core players, speaking to the game’s accessibility and depth:

  • Touch Play Mode: Experience battles in DEAD OR ALIVE 5 PLUS through two new styles of touch combat with the PS Vita held vertically in portrait mode to get a first-person, full-screen view of your opponent at maximum size. In Mode 1, tap the opponent to attack them in that spot. In Mode 2, touch, flick, and pinch the screen to attack your opponent with more finesse and options. Both methods offer players an instinctive way to fight while seeing their opponent in the highest graphic detail.
  • Training Plus Mode: Build your fighting skills and knowledge by playing through challenging missions, each of which offers a fun experience while imparting practical knowledge.
  • More detailed Frame Data: Three times the details for each move in real-time. Unbelievably detailed information like delay interval frames, move reach and more. A game-changing feature for serious players!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Dead or Alive 5+ imagery shows first-person mode

The first pic isn't a screenshot, despite some sites' claims, but provides a detailed look at some of the contenders in the weakest of the brawler games to make it to the Vita. However, the second one shows off the game's new first-person vertical mode, where you use the touchscreen to battle your opponent, which might add something a little more valuable.

More extras include Ayane Kasumi Tina in a (lollipop chainsaw?) cheerleader costume. The game is out in March for Japan, with a western release confirmed. 

Earth Defence Force 2017 Portable storming Europe in January

Yay, Namco has given Europeans reason to be cheerful in the bleak midwinter with a release date for Earth Defence Force 2017. Check back from your hibernation on January 16 to start blasting bugs and giant alien invaders.

It will be a digital PSN title, priced £31.99 and is an update on the PS3 game, it features seven new levels and the fan favorite Pale Wing (pictured) that lets players soar high over buildings in her jet pack and cause destruction from above. For the first time, save the world with your friends in online multiplayer for up to four players and players can play in co-op and versus mode.

New spear weapon unveiled for God Eater 2

Coming to the Vita and PSP in 2013, Namco's God Eater 2 is adding a few new weapons to the mix, the latest to be unveiled is a new spear that can poke, cleave, be charged up and generally do a lot of damage to your foes.

Some more pics and renders over on Japanese site 4Gamer.

Watch the Soul Sacrifice demo in action

The demo has hit the Japanese PSN and the world is trying out this demonic monster slaying title in droves. On top is a new near-15 minute video from Japan showing off the awesome soundtrack, twisted graphics and gameplay.

Below is a 50 minute run through of the demo from an American with a Japanese PSN account. You can find how to create and setup a Japanese PSN account and get these and other demos (it helps to have two memory sticks (and probably two Vitas)) here and here.

Note the demo lets you carry characters over to the full game, although that probably won't work here unless you have a full-time Japanese account. Interestingly, Soul Sacrifice is only down at No. 15 on Amazon Japan's pre-order page, I'll monitor that and see if it shoots up on the back of the demo (Phantasy Star is No. 1 if you're bothered).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PSN EU Update now live, FuturLab bundle, Oddworld and more

The PSN Update has just gone live, headlined by the HD remake of Oddworld Wrath and Escape Vector at reasonable sub-£10 prices with PS Plus discounts too. There's also Jetpack Joyride and a little FuturLab bundle packing both the PSP's Velocity and Coconut Dodge (both of which play well on the Vita).

Another bundle is up in the form of Pure Chess with the game and a couple of extra board sets for £6.49 and MotorStorm RC, the complete edition with all the DLC for £7.29. Also on MotorStorm are a couple of free DLC seasonal cars like a Snowman Supermini. It looks like Knytt Underground will turn up on Friday.

Jet Set Radio and Pinball Arcade for Vita PS Plus users in January

As Vita PlayStation Plus subscribers are currently enjoying a barrage of fun indie games (Knytt and Big Sky), we're quite happy to see the fun roll in to January with Sony's new PSN blog update giving us Sega's classic HD do-over on Jet Set Radio (currently £6.49) on the 16th and Pinball Arcade (currently £7.99) on the 23rd.

Yep, you can moan that these are hardly high value releases, compared to the PS3 titles on offer but we know the Vita's weak release list will see it struggle for some time to come in that respect. Hopefully we'll get some more PSP games in to sweeten the deal.

Vita sales up in Japan despite no new games

Hmm, the latest Japanese games and hardware charts are out and despite no new big-name Vita games for a couple of weeks, sales, which were holding steady around 11,000, are now up to 14,500. Is this just a holiday sales thing, or is the Vita finally turning itself around? While that's still far from what it needs to be selling (about 10 times as much), there does seem to be a bit of a shift in momentum.

The PSP managed to sell 33,000 units which is far from shabby, I wonder how much longer Sony will keep up production when it needs to sell the Vita? However, with games developers rightfully focusing on the PSP with the likes of Sega's Shining Ark on the way and Marvelous' Misteria British Detective, Sony can't really cull it yet.

Cosmic Clean-Up now out on PSM for Vita and Android

Ahead of the main PSN update, you can now grab Cosmic Clean-Up from Green Hill on the PlayStation Mobile tab on the Vita's Store. The game sees you doing an orbital Wall-E with your thrusters cleaning up the space debris and costs just 99p.

And is that an Xperia Play I see in the trailer? Nice!

Monster Hunter 4 delayed on 3DS, good and bad news for Vita?

The web is rife with sobbing from Nintendo gamers who won't be playing the shiny new Monster Hunter anytime soon. It has been delayed in Japan until the summer, nixing the head-to-head release with Keiji Inafune's Soul Sacrifice on the Vita. Of course they still have MH3 Ultimate to enjoy.

That means, in the short term, more Japanese gamers could pick up a Vita to try out Soul Sac out in the absence of a new HM. However, if Capcom does have an expiry date on its exclusive deal with Nintendo, then this could delay the arrival of (presumably) Monster Hunter 4 Freedom on the Vita (pushing it well in to 2014).

We'll see in the fullness of time, but hopefully it gives Soul Sacrifice lots of breathing space for its own demonic brand of hunting gameplay.

Check out 15 minutes of Oddworld Stranger's Wrath in action on the PS Vita

YouTuber Marcthegeek has put up a decent look at the Oddworld HD remaster on the PS Vita. Remember to ramp it up to HD res and enjoy the slick visuals and effortlessly fun 3D action. Definitely a buy for me when it hits the EU PSN today.

PS Vita firmware 2.02 out now

Sony tweeted about this yesterday,
PS Vita update v2.02 is coming soon. It's a minor, optional update that improves software stability during use of some features.
And now the new firmware update is live for your PS Vita, but since it doesn't do anything exciting there shouldn't be much of a rush to grab it. On the plus side it is a really quick download, not like the big hump upgrade to 2.00, so won't take much out of your day.

Remember, Sony - you still need to put a cool boot up effect and chime on the Vita, can't believe you've still to add that essential feature. The last dinky 2.01 update was to fix cloud saves, so it looks like Sony has a few more things to smoothe out before we get something meaty in a 2.10 update.

Knytt Underground free on PlayStation Plus today

Today's PSN EU update will be led off by another cool indie game getting the Vita touch. Knytt Underground looks packed with atmosphere and will be free to PS+ subscribers, following on from last week's Big Sky Infinity.

For non-PS+ types, you’ll be able to play Knytt Underground for yourself when it launches on 21st December, priced at £9.99/€12.99

Monday, December 17, 2012

PlayStation Home Arcade comes to the Vita

Not sure when it arrived, but you can now download the PlayStation Home arcade machine to the Vita (via the EU PSN at least) and enjoy some mini-game fun on the go. It comes with WipEout 2D, Ice Breaker and a Scribble Shooter demo for free.

The 108MB download provides yet another source of diversions for Vita owners and perhaps will pave the way for some more Home content making it from the PS3 to Sony's handheld. Never having had a PS3, are there lots of good games for this? And does it do proper arcade conversions?

Surge Concerto getting Reincarnated in Japan

Gust's Ceil Rouge Surge Concerto had a decent Vita launch in Japan earlier this year and will be back in February 2013 with a Reincarnated version offering all the game's existing DLC plus extra content and some new features.

The new version will let players create more than one item at the same time and item creation has been made easier, with item lists can be sorted for those who've collected loads of stuff. There's a "JUKEBOX ion room" to enjoy the game's background music.

More Knytt Underground screenshots ahead of this week's launch

Coming to PSN this week is another awesome looking indie game for the Vita, Knytt Underground offers colourful and atmospheric adventure. In the last few weeks I've had more fun with these (Surge, Big Sky Infinity, Bullion Blitz and more) games than the season's big hitters. Anyway, here's a new bunch of screens, not that you should need the encouragement to get it.

What indie games would like to see on Vita in 2013? Minecraft would be an obvious contender (hey it came out on the Xperia Play) along with Fez, but what else might we have missed?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vita getting Capcom Arcade classics

A Japanese news story says the Vita and other formats are getting a new Capcom arcade cabinet next year.

Are these just rehashes of the many existing compilations (love a bit of Ghosts n Goblins and 1943 on my PSP) or will Capcom find some new classic titles to entice us with?

There are plenty of them but most had licensing issues that prevent them being republished.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Muramasa Demon Blade trailer looking sharp

A shame this video isn't available in HD, but it still looks pretty impressive showing off the Vita's side-scrolling slasher in action. The game is out in Japan next March and you'd have to hope something as simple as this would make it west.

Check out a few screens here.

Shinovi Versus video looks freakishly similar to One Piece (with added cleavage)

Marvelous AQL are pretty busy right now, not only do they have the PSP mystery Sherlock Holmes game coming soon, but having been working on chick-kick game Shinovi Versus. With this new trailer, I can't help thinking how close (if with a few less enemies and rather more cleavage) it looks to the One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 trailer that also came out today.

Will there be a big boy/girl split when it comes to buying these games? Or will boobs and bums trump the popular anime? Love the little figurines in the boxset right at the end though!

FuturLab unveils Velocity for PS Vita

The countdown has ended on FuturLab's secret site and revealed, as expected, a new version of the awesome PSP mini Velocity shmup for the Vita is coming with likely improved visuals, touch controls, trophies and new content.

There's a new countdown for a month's time when more details should drop and a nod to a PS Blog post on January 11.Having just signed a publishing deal with Sony, and producing hit after hit on PlayStation Mobile, these guys are definitely a team to watch.

Note, the slices of image shown throughout the trailer make up one image of what looks very much like a hi-res Velocity.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 trailer goes combat crazy

More characters and a trailer have been revealed of One Piece Pirate Warriors 2. Playable characters include Enel/Eneru, Skypiea (finally!) and Luffy with his Film Z outfit. The rather crazed combat video below (skip to 50 seconds to see it) looks pretty full on.

Cosmic Clean-Up tidying up on PSM next week

Cosmic Clean-Up from Green Hill will launch on PlayStation Mobile next week, putting you in charge of a garbage disposal job like no other. It’s your goal to clean up the galaxy by burning away all objects surrounding the centre planet!

With no option to turn off the engine, if debris is blocking you, fly towards it and steer with your reverse thrusters just in the nick of time! The fire from your thruster will burn the debris away but steer too late however, and you will crash your ship!

Lady pirates in bikinis brighten up Sega's Shining Ark

Yep, this is what you need to jolly up a a wet day. Bikini-clad pirate ladies are just one of the new features unveiled by Sega for its upcoming PSP Shining Ark title. There's also the inevitable special limited edition and lots of pics of pirate ships, giant piscine monsters and more. Which represents just one section of this epic-looking 3D adventure RPG that will be shown off at Jump Festa.

But I'll lead with this young lady, she's described as the Velvet leopard woman of distant seas (CV: Chikazu Saito). The game is due out next February, suggesting anyone thinking the PSP was on its way out in Japan, really needs to think again, with this, Marvelous' Sherlock Holmes and plenty of other games due in 2013.

The first footage Shining Ark looked pretty awesome, if rather clich├ęd  but that was before this nautical information drop. Hopefully it'll be on PSN so Japanese Vita owners can give it a spin. I'd happily try an import, but will politely ask Sega if there's any chance of a western PSN release.

Marvelous AQL unveil a Sherlock Holmes trailer for PSP

Okay, file under plain odd (from our perspective), Marvelous has put up a bunch of art and a trailer for its PSP game, due out next March called "Misuteria British Detective" featuring none other than a Holmes and Watson (junior) partnership. It looks like a visual novel-type adventure affair, and given the current Holmes revival could be a winner.

The Holmes and Watson, typical modern Japanese anime types, are joined by a lady-wannabe detective, stomping around in foggy Victorian London, in which Jack the Ripper and some other villainous types lurk. Here's the official site for some more imagery.

New Legend of Heroes game for the Vita announced

Another Legend of Heroes games has been announced in Japan by Falcom, following on from the recent PSP release and the Trails of Zero Vita game. The new game is Sen no Kiseki and is a full 3D game world set in Erebonia, and due next year.

A few more pics in the press release (PDF)

Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD pricing and dates confirmed for Vita

Oddworld Inhabitants has announced the release of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD for the Vita, out in North America on Tuesday 18 December and Europe on Wednesday 19, priced at $14.99/€11.99/£9.99.

Stranger’s Wrath follows the story of Stranger, a fearsome bounty hunter that captures outlaws to raise “moolah” for a mysterious surgical procedure. After encountering the backwater town of the Grubbs, Stranger discovers that there are a few too many secrets about the past and his future as a bounty hunter.

The Vita version is specifically updated to make use of the hardware. The game features rear touch pad and touchscreen interaction along with all the HD improvements from the PC and PS3 version.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sly Cooper gets a sneaky new trailer

Due next spring, Sly Cooper's next set of adventures are looking pretty hot in this new trailer showing some of his exploits. With pre-order goodies up for grabs, who's in for this raccoon's next batch of exploits?

Flying Hamster HD lands on the Vita next week

The Game Atelier, flush with the success of Sunflowers, has announced the release of Flying Hamster HD for PlayStation Vita, available on December 19th on the EU PlayStation Store. Flying Hamster made an appearance on the PSP as a mini but is now in HD (or as close as the Vita gets) and features 4 control modes using the Vita's motion sensor, front touchscreen or rear touch pad.

It isn't a mini this time either, as there are 15 Trophies, 2 online leaderboards, and plenty of comedy characters in this quirky arcade action shooter. There will be a free trial or you can grab the full version next week for 2,99€. If you're a fan, you can dial into the soundtrack here.

New Dengeki PlayStation mag promises news on the Vita in 2013

Out onsale next week, a new PS mag from Dengeki celebrates everything Yakuza 5, but in the contents is a article that translates as "Now and Future of PS Vita."

It follows "One Year Anniversary Special Release of the PS Vita. Looks to the current situation and future hardware PS Vita, services and software! With Gravity Daze's Mr. Toyama and SCE President Mr. Kono!"

I'm not sure if that's going to be a real tease of new games to come, or some solid announcements (or just a bad translation), but the magazine is onsale now, so it shouldn't be too long before we get some scans to ogle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Be nasty and enjoy some Malicious Rebirth in action on the Vita

Regular Vita video poster on YouTube, Skyghene22, has put up over 15 minutes of the expanded Vita version of a PS3 title in action. Alvion's Malicious Rebirth adds a new chapter and is pretty cheap on the Japanese PSN.

It does seem to borrow heavily from a load of other games, but if it ever makes it west, I'd be happy to spend £10 on it.

War of Sonria raging on PSP minis

Out of nowhere, comes a Swedish student game project that is now a full bore fantasy combat game, available now on the EU PSN for £2.49. There's a little detail on Mikael Hellberg's project site but the video helps show off this impressive effort.

BitTrip Runner 2 racing to the Vita in January

StickSkills has a glowing preview of the next BitTrip Runner game, it has gone hi-res and adopts a 3D world but is still the fun-running game that was hugely popular on PC and Mac. Find out more about the original here, the new version is expected to launch in January.

With new characters, worlds and challenges, it looks like quite the challenge.

Maybe, just maybe, a Metal Gear Vita announcement coming soon

I won't go into all the mad 'Phantom Pain is for the Vita' gossip going around, but next week's Famitsu is promising something big for Metal Gear fans. Given Hideo Kojima's liking for the Vita and transfaring, and Sony's refusal to drop the handheld's price (something it would only likely do if there were a few big games coming), its not too far from logical to suggest that something sneaky could be coming our way.

Sure, we were promised Metal Gear Rising and that never happened, and we were teased with Zone of the Enders HD which has yet to materialise, but that doesn't mean that the folks who took all the care over the Metal Gear HD Collection for Vita aren't hard at work.

It could be Metal Gear 4 for the Vita, or Metal Gear 5 PS3/Vita crossplay, or one of these off-shoot games, even some of the earlier titles, or (of course) nothing to do with the Vita at all. We'll see next week, what MGS would you most like to play on the Vita?

Japanese mag scans show Project Versus J pits Dragon Ball against One Piece

Japanese magazine scans have confirmed that the recently teased Project Versus J is a new cross over game that pits the Dragon Ball against the One Piece anime series. One Piece is doing great business at the moment, on PSP and Vita and this new game will be for both PS3 and PS Vita.

PS Vita sales hold steady in Japan

In the latest Media Create sales, the Vita and PSP can't muster a single game in the top 20 between them as the Wii U launches (with 300,000 sales) and the 3DS continues to romp into the distance. However, Vita sales are now holding steady at 11,000 a week, rather than its usual decline into the 7,000s and the PSP is heading up toward 20,000.

         This week   Last week
PSP | 19.637      | 15.941
PSV | 11.039     | 11.066

Big Sky Infinity is now up on the EU PSN

Ahead of the usual afternoon update, you can already download Boss Baddie's procedural shooter, Big Sky Infinity on the EU PSN store. It costs £7.99, or if you took advantage of last week's cheap PS+ subscription, you can get it for free.

The 315Mb download is racing to my Vita right now, let you know how it plays on Twitter soon. Remember the game supports Cross Buy if you have a PS3 too.

Festive sale for Vita and PSP games coming to EU PSN

Sony has just put up a list of PS3 games and DLC on sales on its PSN blog, which resulted in the usual batch of angry comments about a lack of Vita and PSP games from posters. If Sony had bothered to specify in the title, or put a "Vita and PSP list coming soon" it could have saved a lot of hassle and angst.

About halfway down the comments is an answer from a Sony-drone saying that's what we're getting. No sign of a time or date for the portable sale, but look out for it, for more cheaper portable gaming goodness.

Sound Shapes audio DLC to help throw some new shapes

Sound Shapes is a game that keeps evolving thanks to user created levels and its awesome soundtrack. Adding more fuel to the fire comes a DLC pack due today, with three new audio packs and trophies.

The Queasy Team Acoustic Sound Pack (€0.99/£0.79) Bring some clean analogue tones to your game with five new acoustic instruments. Strum a tune with a guitar, dance across the ivories on a piano, or thumb the unique sounds of the kalimba.

Drum Kits Sound Pack (€0.99/£0.79) This pack is all about rhythm. Snares, hi-hats, toms, and more let you groove to everything from a cool jazz backdrop to a driving rock beat. There’s even an electronic kit for some 80′s hip-hop style jams if that’s more your style.

8-Bit Sound Pack (€0.99/£0.79) Compose in the key of chiptune with bleeps, bloops, and other classic game sounds. It’s more than just chiptunes as you’ll get modern electronic synths, bass lines, and loops too. A variety packed pack for sure! Curved Terrain Pack (free download)

This one’s for the platforming fans out there. Bend, stretch, and shape curves to add smooth surfaces to your smooth beats. Many of you have been waiting for this and it’s free right now. (It’s also key for some future DLC but we’ll keep that a surprise for now.)

escapeVektor arriving next week on PS Vita

Another cracking looking indie game, Nnooo's escapeVektor will be released on PS Vita through PSN in Europe and Australia/New Zealand for €9.99/AUD$15.95/NZD$18.90. It joins Surge, Big Sky Infinity and others in keeping the Vita rolling as we wait for 2013's big guns to be unveiled.

escapeVektor is a retro styled arcade game in which the player controls Vektor, an entity trapped inside the player’s CPU. The player has to help Vektor escape the CPU which has been holding him captive. In making his escape, Vektor must get through obstacles and avoid enemies, each with different hunting patterns and intelligence. As the player completes the various levels in the game, escape becomes more difficult. New abilities unlock to help the player outwit and destroy the CPU’s army. As the player continues through the game, old code and memories are unlocked which reveal more about Vektor’s past.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

FuturLab teaser site for new Vita game

Having just announced that FuturLab has signed up with Sony for dedicated Vita development, the press release had a bit of a teaser in it about its next project. Follow the clue and you end up here. A site offering a countdown in three days time (ends at Friday lunchtime U.K.).

What is fan-powered flight? Is it hovercraft racing? Blowing balloons through a maze with fans? A collective herd of Vita gamers wishing for higher sales? Who knows? See you on Friday.

FuturLab signs to Sony for more Vita games

Having added some Velocity to the PSP minis range and helped launched PSM with some innovative updates to classic ideas, FuturLab, has signed a funding deal with Sony for the development of content for PlayStation Vita in 2013, with the studio keeping control of its IP (a big thing in gaming as we've seen in many a company post-mortem).

James Marsden, FuturLab’s Managing Director said: “We’re incredibly excited to be working closely with PlayStation over the next year, bringing our particular brand of twitchy fun to the PS Vita. Sony has provided a great package that means we retain full control of our IP, which is a perfect deal for us.”

Shahid Ahmad, Senior Business Development Manager at SCEE added: “We’re particularly pleased to be working with FuturLab to bring new and exciting games to PlayStation Vita. FuturLab has a unique and fun approach to entertainment and we see their games as being a fantastic addition to the ever growing catalogue of PS Vita games.”

FuturLab caught the spotlight earlier this year when their self published PS Minis title Velocity earned critical acclaim, and has since been part of the PlayStation Mobile launch line up with a trio of mobile titles including Fuel Tiracas and the new Surge game which should be out this week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

AKB1/149 to sell Vita like hot cakes or chicks in Japan

This game did pretty well on the PSP as AKB48, selling some 300,000. So there's little reason to think its bigger brother won't help sell some Vitas. Especially with all those cute Japanese ladies out for a date. Cue the game's impenetrable advert...

Amazon giving Vita buyers free Virtue's Last Reward

Amazon in the U.S. has unveiled a new offer for those buying a PS Vita. You can now pick a Vita up and it will be bundled with Aksys' Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (worth $40). The offer works with most bundles, so you can get Madden, ACIII, or CoD as well, which might help sweeten the deal for those who held out over Thanksgiving.

The game has picked up a number of accolades including IGN’s Editor’s Pick and Amazon’s Top 20 Video Game List for 2012 and is is currently one of 64 video games in the running for GameSpot People’s Choice Award.

No such offer on the UK site, but this is a seriously good visual novel experience, well worth trying (there's a demo on PSN you can test out.)

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 not coming to Europe on Vita

With all the good gaming news recently, I'd almost forgotten about the publishing tide of negativity, sucking the life out of the Vita. But, its back, as Namco has announced it'll bring the PS3 version of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, but not the Vita version that will grace Japanese handhelds.

Given Namco's reticence to bring Tales of Innocence R over, perhaps this isn't such a surprise. Here's the press release that makes no mention of the Vita version. The original shipped 1.2 million worldwide, and is now down in price on PSN.

Comparing Invizimals on the PSP to the Vita

Sony's PSN update last week added the PSP's Invizimals games to the Vita store, and GadgetGirlKylie has made a neat video showing the visual quality difference when playing the mystical animal battling game across the two formats.

Sony brought the developer, Novarama to develop a dedicated Vita game, and I can't wait to see what they've come up with in 2013, given the promise (if slightly flawed one) shown in these games.

Need for Speed cheap on Amazon UK

UPDATE: If you're reading this, then you missed out as the price seems to have gone back up to £29. Although it could always come down again soon.

I hope you're as fed up as I am with all these cheap Vita game deals from American sites that are flooding Twitter. Handily, it looks like the U.K. is catching up, with Need for Speed the first for a price cut, if you haven't picked up this gem of a Vita racing game, it is now going fairly cheap on Amazon for £23. (UPDATE: Same price on GAME's website, seems to be a coordinated sale).

Interestly, Origin is selling the PC version at 50% off, but that's for today only, so I'm not sure how long this offer will last. I'll post any other Vita bargains I come across, if you see any though, please comment here, or let me know on Twitter.

UPDATE: I also spotted Sega's Super Monkey Ball for £13, try the PSN demo first to see if you like it.

Street Fighter X Tekken 2013 trailer explains it all

Having said a new version of the crossover brawler was on the way, here's a new video from Capcom showing off some of the new features. The 2013 upgrade adds faster fighting, recoverable damage and more to improve the pummelling experience. Again, never seen an official notice about this being for Vita, but since it is more or less the console version, it should make it over.

Check out Dead or Alive 5 Plus in action on a Vita

Not the greatest quality video but it shows off Tecmo's revamped battler, announced last week,  in action on the Vita with the developers promising 60fps, but this nico nico web TV steam is so low-quality, it sometimes looks like PitFighter playing on the Atari Lynx.

Sega All-Stars Transforms the Vita Charts

A quiet week in the Vita chart as the big names consolidate themselves in the top three. Sega's new Sonic racer managed to drop in at No. 6, but without digital sales information, these charts are looking less and less realistic.


Update: The Guardian's chart is out with a few more stats bolted on. Among multiformat games, the Vita version is contributing the following percentages.

FIFA 13 - 6%
Need for Speed - 14%
Sonic Transformed - 10%
Football Manager 2013 (PSP) - 8%

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Bullion Blitz

I'd never heard of this until it dropped on the PSM store as a freebie from Heavy Spectrum. And I wouldn't rate it as much of a puzzle game apart from two small features that make it rather compelling. First is the music, which sounds rather heisty and Oceans 11, the second is the lack of a time limit which means you can think about your moves.

The game is free, with one mode to play, and you can pay to play a couple of others, but I'll stick with the free game for now. Bullion Blitz is pretty simple, you have three colours, silver worth $10 a square, gold worth $20 and purple world $30. Squares are formed randomly at the start of a level, so you can have lots of individual squares, some lines, columns or larger squares, which multiples the value when you tap to eradicate them.

Your job is construct the largest squares of the more valuable colours possible in a kind-of Kerplunk-style manner by tapping the right squares, rows or columns, to create larger volume blocks of colour. This is aided by some bonus drops that can move things left or right, change colours or break the blocks into their individual component squares, allowing you to reform the board.

Each round, the target score moves higher, so you need to think ahead, which is where the lack of a time limit comes in handy. Luck plays a small part, but if you think hard enough, you can usually plot your way to success. The other game modes add new elements and dynamics, but the free game is just a great little diversion as it is.

Price: Free (PSN, pay for extra modes)
Score: 7/10
Progress: Who wants to be a quarter of a millionaire? (Me!)
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Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus looks as sharp as a blade

I wasn't too bothered about the first game, but might give it a go if it looks as good as this, another corker following up from Tecmo's news that an enchanced DoA 5 is heading the Vita's way. 

Shining Ark shines in new video

The PSP RPG from Sega, Shining Ark is coming along nicely ahead of its Japanese release. Set in Arcadia, our hero is a lad called Freed who meets a one-winged (half-winged?) girl with magical powers, adventure ensues.


This comes hot on the heels of the Fate Extra PSP video, proving that the PSP is far from dead in Japan.

Bioshock for Vita in the lurch?

The Bioshock logo at the Vita launch is all we've ever seen of its existence, and Irrational's Ken Levine has said development is up to Sony and Take Two (stop me if you've heard this story before, and remember how badly that ended).

Talking to EuroGamer, he said, “Where the Vita stands right now, it’s in the hands of the business people at Take-Two and the business people at Sony working out. Hey, what happens in these business people discussions? Fortunately I don’t have to take part in it any more because I sold my company a long time ago, It’s something I’m still very interested in. I still have a cool design for it. It’s a question of, do those guys come to find the right mix that makes everybody happy to make that happen?”

Given the shit sales of the Vita and its games so far, Uncharted still leads at around 750,000 units, if you were Take Two, would you greenlight an expensive game that simply won't sell? Given a year to develop, there could be a lot more Vita consoles out there, but it is still a big risk. I'd already suggested as much with Take Two's last financials.

Looking at that screen, guess MGS Rising bummed out and we're still waiting on Final Fantasy X.

Fate Extra CCC still in development for PSP

Fate/Extra games are popping up all over the place right now, with the Vita title in the chart, and this PSP CCC title on the way. This clip I guess introduces Jinako who is yammering away and going about her day.

The Imageepoch game is due out in Japan next spring. Mor info on it at the TypeMoon wiki. Which doesn't answer my question of "does CCC stand for cleavage, cleavage, cleavage?"

Confused by Uncharted: Fight for Fortune? This video should help

I've seen a few people posting confused requests on how to play the new Uncharted card game (haven't got around to this yet), so here's a video some kind soul has put up on YouTube with 40 minutes of learn-with-me gameplay.

Sony France giving a free game away with Vita memory cards

Those over-priced little buggers must be hard to shift Camembert-side as Sony France is offering a free game to help sweeten the deal (a little). French gamers can choose from MotorStorm RC, Super Stardust, Hustle Kings, Everybody's Golf, ModNation Racers or Little Deviants with an 8 or 16GB card.

Perhaps this is a trial offer that may spread to other countries, but realistically only newer owners looking to upgrade their bundled 4GB card would be tempted.

Dead of Alive 5+ for Vita kicks off

Tecmo Koei has put up a pop-up on its site offering a hint of what's to come with some pics. The company has already admitted the screenshots used are from the console version, but with such a huge amount of DLC available for those versions, I'd hope the Vita gets them for free plus the new modes and touch controls that are likely to be included.

Review: Chronovolt

Aggh, this game looks so pretty when still, and yet plays in rather a frustrating way. The lovingly illustrated but thin plot sees our heroine Jessica chasing a moustachioed villain through time and space in a series of Chronosphere time machines (which you can buy as paid DLC).

To keep up with him you need to navigate through the course, collecting Chronovolt power-ups for your sphere and keys to access some parts of the level. The power comes in use when zapping nasties and rewinding time when you screw up and fall off the level, or recovering from a tricky part of the level, a neat gimmick.

There are two objectives for each level, a target time and collecting all the power ups. However, a couple of gremlins in the works, conversations that can't be skipped which break up the flow and some frame-rate and camera issues hobble the game somewhat. If you can put up with them, then there's a fun puzzle platform game to work your way carefully through, avoid the many pitfalls, tricks, traps and enemy spheres. But every time there's a jerky glitch or wobble, it makes me want to throw my Vita across the room.

It would also be good to see rally points in some of the more advanced levels, as the grim realisation I have to go through the slog and grind of some parts really makes me want to aim for the quit button. And once you've done a level only sadomasochists will want to go back and get maximum points, which you might need to open up further levels.

It kind of reminds my of GripShift, the PSP racing puzzle game, but that was so friendly and enticing that you could spend ages trying to beat it. This will do for a diversion and might suit more players of a more focused mind-set than me, but a few basic flaws let it down rather badly.

Price: £4.99 (PSN, currently free to PS+ subscribers)
Score: 6/10
Progress: Frozen out in China
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Sony puts PSN on the Web

Hmm, might be handy, Sony has put its PSN service alongside the Sony Entertainment Network (movies and music) sites online, so you can now check out games and content in Firefox or your preferred browser on your PC or Mac.

It is certainly easier to check out screens and more text in the browser than on the PSP or Vita's screen. It might also be where we'll see Gaikai appearing when that service launches.

New PlayStation All-Stars 1.02 update causing crashes

If you haven't already done so, then hold off from updating your PSABR game to the latest version that came out. Reports are that it is causing crashes and problems. The patch, which was supposed to better balance the game is causing havoc for some.

The patch was supposed to offer:

  • A new item, Medusa’s Gaze, has been added to the game
  • View Invites has been added to the Party Bar Menu
  • Voice chat icon added to loading screens
  • AI logic enhancements
  • Network performance improvements
  • Issue where players were stuck with a different character than the one picked has been addressed
  • Issue with matchmaking in regards to player skill has been addressed
  • Overall improvements to network connectivity

Sackboy changes

  • Level 1 Super - Increase cost from 100 to 150 AP
  • Level 2 Super - Increase cost from 325 to 400 AP
  • Level 3 Super - Increase cost from 600 to 750 AP
  • Jam Session (Neutral Triangle) - Reduced AP generation from 25 down to 10 AP
  • Cakeinator (Neutral Circle) - Reduced AP generation from 25 down to 20 AP

Add a comment if you've got it and its fine, or if its causing problems. The game itself has had decent reviews but failed to set the charts alight, but does look fun! I'm seeing figures on Twitter of it only selling 88,000 copies (8,000 on Vita) which isn't too shocking as you can get the PS3 version and the Vita edition for free.

That seems to have prompted a price cut, although I can't see it on the EU PSN, any ideas?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

November's top PSN Vita downloads, Europe prefers the assassination game

The latest PSN download charts show that, in Europe, we clearly a little behind the States in game releases, but have slightly better taste as we picked the better game for No. 1.

I long for the day when ModNation is out of all charts, replaced by the likes of Persona or Ragnarok.

Assassin's Creed III Liberation
Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified
Need for Speed Most Wanted
MotorStorm RC
When Vikings Attack!
Sine Mora
ModNation Racers: Road Trip
Jet Set Radio
Ridge Racer - Ultimate Edition
LittleBigPlanet Vita

Top 10 U.S. PS Vita Game Downloads

Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
Assassin's Creed III Liberation
Persona4 Golden
Ragnarok Odyssey
Need for Speed Most Wanted
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
When Vikings Attack!
Sine Mora
Plants vs. Zombies

Lemmings on PSM gets a trailer

If you didn't get it because it was free, or because of the nice screenshots, perhaps the video will convince you to download d3t's PSM version of the classic Lemmings game for PS Vita and selected Androids. I'm still wading through the easy levels, but will invest in the new Special Levels pack which costs just £0.79.

Review: Need for Speed Most Wanted

Welcome to Need for Speed, the Vita game that could.
  • That could pack in practically the whole console experience in to a portable. 
  • That could tie into beyond-PSN services with AutoLog. 
  • That could deliver on the promise of next-gen portable gaming. 
I've been playing Most Wanted for a few weeks since it came out on-and-off, which is both a highlight and weakness of the game. It is very easy to pick up and play, but there's little persistent reason to go rushing back to rev it up, especially with lots of other titles demanding my time.

Visually, it excels, with just some bits of furniture removed to keep the speed up. There are some odd choices though in places, tall fences vanish just yards ahead of you, which is quite distracting - they'd have been ideal for removal. Many road signs are too small to read, or vanish off the top off the screen before they are readable, these could have been moved, or removed, but that's small change.

The gameplay itself is remarkably relaxed, there is no pressing need to rush to the next race or event, while in multiplayer (which I found a little bit jerky from time to time) you can spend more time meeting up and getting to a start location than in actual events. As you head from A to B, there are plenty of things to be doing, smashing billboards, breaking speed cameras, finding new cars and exploring the wide and varied map of Fairhaven.

There are police chases to liven things up, but despite their fine scripting and construction, they're really more of an annoyance than anything. Autolog can help guide you to the next event, or find challenges to help you earn points. When you are on the clock, in a race or challenge, its pedal to the metal and you find the small screen and controls are probably a little less friendly than an Xbox on a 44" screen (I haven't played any other version). Staying focused is essential to racking up the wins and points.

Other cars have oversize light blooms, so you can see them coming a bit better, but any loss of concentration, looking at the map or watching another competitor too long can easily see you wreck-out in spectacular style. It only loses a few seconds, but seems to happen more than I remember in other games.

With plenty of challenges, and bigger, better cars to win, I will keep coming back to Need for Speed to find them all, but it feels a lot less of a game than almost anything else I'm playing. The kicker for this review is that I played the demo of Forza Horizon, which does the same thing, but with its veil of a plot really grabbed me.

Need for Speed is technically excellent, with fast transitions between cars, a world designed with love and packed with detail, if only it had a little more soul, I'd love it down to the wheel nuts, but for now I'm just impressed by the achievement it represents.

Price: £34.99 (PSN)
Score: 8/10
Progress: Been around the block a few times
More reviews

A good look at Ratchet and Clank Q-Force

Since the Vita version is delayed until 2013, here's a good look at the first hour of the PS3 version, I'd imagine there will be little difference between the two, so it should give you a good idea of the gameplay when we finally get out paws on it.

New Tales of R videos get into the action

I'm starting to hate these super-short clips, released all at once. However, ignoring that, this new collection from Namco Bandai show off some of Shing's combat moves in Tales of Hearts R from Namco's Tales Studio. The update on the DS games certainly looks the business, the game is due out early next year. Some earlier videos here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sonic All-Stars Racing Vita screenshots

Digging around for news on the Vita version of the well-rated racer, I found these shots over on a forum, (plenty more, so check it out). Sega's racer seems just as good-looking on the Vita and is now out in parts of Europe at a 1.5GB download on PSN.

Lemmings screens burrowed from the Vita

Lemmings is free on PSN right now, so there's no reason not to give it a go. If you like the Psygnosis classic, you can pay to play a range of special extra levels. If you don't know what Lemmings is, think pacifist Worms (apart from the odd bomb) with an escape plan.

Vita gets an RPG-inspired boost in Japan

Two new Vita games nestle neatly in the middle of the Japanese Media Create charts this week, bringing a neat little boost to the hardware sales figures, up to 11,000. The PSP continues its merry way, selling 15,000 with three news games in the chart led by the new Kamen Rider.

09./00. [PSV] Fate/Stay Night -Realta Nua- (Kadokawa Shoten) (¥6.300) - 30.583 / NEW 
10./00. [PSV] Atelier Totori Plus: The Alchemist of Arland 2 (Gust) (¥6.090) - 27.651 / NEW 
11./00. [PSP] Kamen Rider: Ultra Climax Heroes (Bandai Namco) (¥6.280) - 20.739 / NEW

Click the links for videos on these games, chances of a western release, probably slim. I guess that's it for big Vita games this year in Japan, aside from Call of Duty and the AKB1/149 love sim in a couple of weeks. The look ahead to 2013 starts here. Stein's Gate, Demon Gaze and PSO2 (which is also free) are the only ones that really grab. 

PSN EU Update, Football, Fighting and Lemmings

So, the PSN update for Europe is live, and having rushed to take advantage of the PlayStation Plus offer this morning, I find there's nothing new for Vita owners apart from some scrappy PSP sale items and 10% off Rayman.

On the plus side, all-time classic Lemmings is there for free (with paid-for content), Uncharted Fight for Fortune makes a bow, and WRC 3 is finally on the store. There's a placeholder for Sonic All Stars for Friday at £34.99, but I've seen it at £25 online, so that's just silly.

PSP and Vita owners get the new Football Manager Handheld 2013 edition, while the Invizimals games are now on offer, do they work with the Vita's camera? If you do get WRC, remember to download the free DLC tracks, and there's yet more DLC for Street Fighter x Tekken.

Ragnarok Odyssey hitting EU PSN this winter

GungHo has announced it will bring Ragnarok and Dokuro to Europe via PSN "this winter." If you haven't imported Ragnarok yet, there's hopefully not long to wait and with no date beyond the Japanese release of Soul Sacrifice, its the only full-Vita Monster Hunting fun we're going to get for a while.

Lemmings waddle to the Vita's cliff face on PSM for free

D3T are bringing the PSP version of Lemmings to the Vita with added touchscreen controls today on PlayStation Mobile. The iconic 16-bit title has you controlling the suicidal critters with some basic tools to get them to the exit.

UPDATE: Some proper screenshots here.

Published by Sony XDev, the game is available now (does PSM update ahead of the usual store update? EDIT, ahh its there, but you can't download it) for free on PSM. There's also EcoFish out on PSM this week, read about that on the PSN blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Valhalla Knights 3 Vita trailer

Bursting out of Japan comes a new trailer for a game I'd forgotten from my 2013 list. Out in January, I think its an update of the PSP series (which you can now get pretty cheap on PSN) with improved visuals, lots of hacking and slashing, looting and no doubt, some touch controls.

It will bring 7v7 multiplayer and hopefully a few other extras. Never really got into the series on the PSP, despite it being highly rated, but if this comes west then has to be worth a go. Some earlier pics here.

New DJ Max Technika Tune video goes kung fu

This game is hitting the US PSN soon (no word of an EU release) as a 3GB game, so hope you have a big memory card. Here's a recent video of it in action, check out the PSN post for more details and some interesting snippets of info in replies to the comments.

Firmware 2.01 now out, mandatory download

PS Vita firmware 2.00 brought a hefty bunch of changes to the system, and there were always going to be quirks, so here comes 2.01 to fix any late-braking bugs. Remember that the YouTube app is also now up to version 2.0.

I was just clearing out some older games, which was taking so long that I thought the Vita had crashed. I hope that version 2.1 speeds up file deletion, I don't like twiddling my thumbs when trying to clear up some space. Anything else you want to see in future versions?

Another odd thing they can fix, I got a group message from Sony, inviting me to join the PlayStation YouTube channel, and what does it do? Go and launch the web browser, instead of the app. How inane is that? Sony needs to tie up its apps better too.

And the thing the Vita needs most of all, a decent set of startup tones and an animation of some kind, even if only done on cold boot-up.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ghost mode unveiled in Soul Sacrifice

Not only is this game getting a great-looking Japanese bundle (and releasing on the same day as MH4) but its got a ghost mode for multiplayer. What's Ghost Mode? Let the PSN blog explain, along with news on a new monster, the Leviathan.
The co-op multiplayer mode of Soul Sacrifice is not just about playing offense or defense. You will use yourself and allies as a catalyst for magic, and truly battle together. At times, you use a magic to stop time so your allies can attack. Other times, you can choose to help aid your dying friends with your healing power. There are many choices available to you and your victory depends on your decisions. And it doesn’t end if you fall during a co-op battle. With our Ghost Mode, you will become a “ghost” and continue to aid your allies. Players that have become ghosts are able to openly observe the statuses of the enemies and ally members. You can strengthen your team mates or make the enemies vulnerable by touching them on the screen. So even after you die, you can keep aiding your party and continue the co-op battle until the end with your friends.