Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sony's last throw of the dice for big games in April's PS+ offering

In the US, and Europe, April will bring Vita owners Killzone Mercenary (i.e., the game that every single Vita owner should already have) and the quirky newcomer MonsterBag. That pretty much signals the end of the line for Sony's major first party titles on the Vita as far as PlayStation Plus is concerned, so its pretty much downhill from here.

That's probably not an issue if you also have a PS4 with a string of new games to come, or PS3 owners with a massive archive for Sony to raid, but if you only have a Vita then pretty soon, you could be asking what's the point. Perhaps the deal might convince those picking up the new low-cost PS TV to get PS+, but even with bigger sales, that can't be a huge number!

Starlight Tactics will rock the Vita

As discussed last year, Starlight Inception developer Escape Hatch said they would bring its new Starlight Tactics game to the Vita if Unity 5 allowed. Well, that seems to have work out okay, as the team is showing off some pics on Facebook of the tactical space combat game running on the Vita, with the comment, "Took a break from Steam to spin up the game on Vita (in case you guys were doubting whether we would support Vita)..."

starlight tactics, ps vita, escape hatch

Look forward to picking this up and supporting a developer that continues to work hard on both Inception and new projects! Check out the PC version on Steam,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Check out some Project Root screens

Project Root from OPQAM is coming to town in April to provide more ammo to the Vita's shoot 'em up roster. While its a little bit grainier looking than the PS4 edition, as you'd expect, hopefully it plays with a level of intensity that we won't really notice.

The free roaming shooter has hints of Xevious in there, and a few others, but I'll be happy to play anything that riffs off Raiden, my all time favourite video game.

project root, ps vita

project root, ps vita

project root, ps vita

Zen Pinball gets a Star Wars Rebels table

Star Wars Pinball: Star Wars Rebels is yet another update to the massive roster of Star Wars tables (guess they're pretty popular) for Zen Pinball. If you haven't seen the cartoon, then there's a crew of Rebels and a wannabe Jedi zipping about the galaxy on their Ghost ship.

The crew includes Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger, Zeb Orrelios, Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla and Chopper the Droid.

star wars, rebels, ps vita, pinball

star wars, rebels, ps vita, pinball

star wars, rebels, ps vita, pinball

star wars, rebels, ps vita, pinball

star wars, rebels, ps vita, pinball

 The table will feature fully-animated starships including the Ghost and TIE fighters, a flaming engine thruster spindisk, Chopper’s own mini playfield, and seven exciting missions inspired by the show.

Holy cow, Toukiden and Ninjago in UK Vita chart action shuffle

While not quite managing to dethrone Minecraft (or FIFA, which is a little worrying in sales terms), Toukiden Kiwami and Lego Ninjago at least trot gamely into the top five. Toukiden only makes it no 24 in the PS4 chart and not at all in the all formats, which isn't a great indication of success. Lego Ninjago makes it no 8 in the Amazon UK chart, the PSN chart doesn't update until Wednesday.

2 = FIFA 15 EA Sports - 2 27
3 new TOUKIDEN: KIWAMI Koei - 1

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2015 UKIE Ltd

Stein's Gate sequel Chaos Child heads to Vita

With visual novel Stein's Gate already lined up for western release thanks to PQube, the Japanese will be getting its sequel Chaos Child (a sequel to Chaos Head), originally an Xbox One exclusive (so that went well!) soon, published by 5bp. With interest rising there's also a spin off, Stein's Gate 0 and movies and other content in the works, can't wait to try this series out on my Vita!

UPDATE: Here's a new sneak peak of the opening song, only 15 seconds, but you take what you can get I guess....

Original Xbox trailer:

Spike's Mystery Wonderland Chronicle goes back in time

Wow, the Japanese are adopting retro with gusto at the moment, check out this practically 8-bit RPG effort from Spike Chunsoft, featuring endless scrolling to always keep you on the move. The company is also bringing a lightly updated Shiren the Wanderer V to the Vita and with the likes of PSM release Emil's Task, Japan is going to be seeing nothing but pixelly dungeons for months.

Stealth Inc 2 gets a launch trailer

Spent many hours on the original, so looking forward to this one, landing on 7 April for the PlayStation formats. Naturally, I reckon it looks best on the Vita's small screen, and here's a new trailer to celebrate the launch.

Also hope that indie developers are starting to realise that console exclusives (this hit Wii U first) are largely only limiting their profits and, where practical, multiformat should be the way to go.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sony UK chops PlayStation TV price cut

Sony struggles with the Vita haven't really been helped by the PSTV clouding the waters. Trying to shift at least one gizmo, the PlayStation TV (originally Vita TV in Japan, who get the sexy models like the one here) is getting a hefty discount down to £44.99 in the UK. Guessing that's for the solo box, without a DualShock controller. Ironically a 32GB memory card probably costs more than the console!

UPDATE: The price cut certainly helped shift some PS TV units, with Amazon now listing Sony's pup at No. 11 in its console best sellers, behind only the latest new releases and Xbox one and DualShock 4 controllers. Since Sony wrote down the value of its PS TV stock in its last quarterly results, it doesn't exactly help the balance sheet, but sales is sales!

Aimed firmly at the PS4 owner, with Remote Play, PlayStation Now and Vue (eventually) plus some PS Vita and PSP game support, it is being sold as a cheap addition for the second or third TV in the house of a PS4 user. Of course, this being Sony, the site lists £44.99 and £84.99 as prices, so not sure what the bundle's price is (with the controller and memory card).

With Apple likely to be upgrading Apple TV soon, Sony had better get them shifted now while the Android micro consoles and PC micro systems also tout for business. When Amazon put the PS TV onsale briefly, it sold in minutes, so there's clearly some interest, but enough to help nudge the Vita upward? I doubt it, and if this can get a price cut, where's one for the Vita itself?

Trails in the Sky gets a Japanese TV spot

Falcom's The Legend of Heroes Sora no Kiseki FC Evolution is getting read for launch in Japan with a new TV spot. I got Trails in the Sky for the PSP, but never really had the time to get into it, and certainly didn't fall in love with it, as it took an age to get going. Hopefully if this updated version comes west it will make more of an impression.

Spike Chunsoft shares some Shiren the Wanderer gameplay

Wow, everything has a retro feel this week, retro shooters, RPGs and adventures, and now this nod to a 16-bit classic with Shiren the Wanderer 5 Plus bringing back some fond memories for niche die hard role playing fans. Updated from the DS original, it lands in Japan in June and I'd be rather hopeful for a western port

UPDATE: The game just scored an impressive four nines in the latest Famitsu reviews, which suggests this is perfect portable RPG fodder. Hopefully impressive sales will follow.

Shoot 'em up Project Root dated for the Vita

Hot on the heels of the sexy Soldner X-2 comes Project Root from OPQAM in Argentina, which I've been banging on about for over a year. It will hit PSN at the end of April bringing with it some highly sexy free roaming shooting. The only video footage is about a year old, so I wait to see just how smooth it looks on the Vita. UPDATE: Finally a new trailer...

More on the PSN blog with what I'm guessing are PS4 screens, the game is Cross Buy, but I'm guessing not Cross Play. While we're on the subject, you might want to nudge Sky Force developer Infinite Dreams to get its monstrously good iOS shooter on the Vita. The original was great fun on the PSP, but the anniversary edition is something that Raiden heads would love.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Krinkle Krusher video is just magical

I've definitely written about this before, because its hard to forget a game called Krinkle Krusher, but I couldn't place it. Out of Brazil, here's a new trailer anyway. The game is a fantasy castle-defence game driven by a "humorous storyline", using magic as your weapon of choice. The Krinkle King has created his army and has ordered it to storm the Kingdom’s castle to capture the Great Tree’s magical fruit.

The game is cross play on PS4, PS Vita and PS3 and is arriving soon on PSN. With various arenas, spells and gems to spice up the action. Developed in Brazil by Ilusis, its certainly distinctive.

Revamp of classic Sayonara Umihara Kawase+ bouncing to the Vita

The west will soon get its hands on Agatsuma's ‘Rubbering Action’ Physics Puzzle Platform game based on whatever the hell Sayonara UmiharaKawase was. Tagged with a spring release, and costing $19.99, €14,99 or £10.99, it is billed as one of those easy to play, difficult to master, titles. The press release is pretty much gibberish, and their home page doesn't exist, so here's a trailer of the 3DS version...

Apparently there was a PSP version some time ago, which I don't recall. Quite why such a cute looking game has a massively boobed girl on the Vita's box art (which I won't share) I have no idea.

Destiny of Spirits' destiny is the scrapheap

Despite claiming over a million downloads, Sony is still canning its free to play card/monster battler Destiny of Spirits. I had a couple of goes at it in the early running and despite the usual crossover updates from dinosaurs to Gods, never found that exciting or compelling. The game's servers will be closed on 30 June in Asia and I'm pretty sure any western ones won't be far behind.

There will be another update before the end, presumably for a final splurge. Did anyone get into this and will it? Did anyone spend much money on the in-app purchases?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Broken Age for the Vita

Sums up the Vita's predicament rather nicely, very much broken, but I guess adventure fans will lap this up on the coat tails of Manny from Grim Fandango. Broken Age from Double Fine was a successful Kickstarter back in 2012 and arrived (well, Chapter 1 did) on iPad last year. I guess this will be the full package with part two landing on Vita and PS4 next month. Here's the episode 1 trailer to get you in the mood.

MonsterBag teeing up on the Vita

Okay, file under definitely different, MonsterBag from IguanaBee is a South-American developed game with a distinctly quirky flavour to it. We've got rows of blue people, shooting from vehicles and all sorts of weirdness. Add in a a release date of April 7th and its hard to gauge much else, check out the PSN blog post and see what you make of it.

Minecraft and PSO 2 v3 splash into the Japanese chart

This week's Media Create chart sees a flurry of activity, but that's just the calm before next week's storm. Minecraft, already having sold over 200,000 on digital, makes its way into the retail market with another 36K sales, while the latest update to Phantasy Star Online also shifts a hefty 26K, with Digimon moving another 20K, after last week's low stock launch.

01./00. [PS4] Final Fantasy Type-0 HD # (Square Enix)  - 92.094 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (Capcom)  - 73.373 / NEW
03./00. [PS4] Battlefield: Hardline (Electronic Arts)  - 68.823 / NEW
04./00. [PS4] Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (Capcom)  - 42.358 / NEW
05./00. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony)  - 36.151 / NEW
06./01. [PS3] Yakuza 0 (Sega)  - 29.568 / 175.390 (-80%)
07./00. [PS3] Battlefield: Hardline (Electronic Arts)  - 28.976 / NEW
08./00. [PSV] Phantasy Star Online 2 Episode 3: Deluxe (Sega) - 26.289 / NEW
11./03. [PSV] Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (Bandai Namco Games) {2015.03.12} (¥7.171) - 20.166 / 96.926 (-74%)

On the hardware front, once again the Vita outsold the new LL 3DS, shifting 21.5K units while the PS4 is now picking up steam ahead of both of them on 46K. Even so, I have to wonder what Type-0 would have sold if it had arrived on the Vita? It would also have helped if Sony could tie the Vita launch of Resident Evil R2 to that of the main consoles! 

EU PSN top sellers updated

Since the Vita's PSN chart is the only real Vita ranking that matters now, I'll focus more on this than the rarely changing retail chart. This week sees HellDivers nip back into the top spot, as the game picks up more fans, otherwise Soldner X-2 replaces Flame Over, which I'd hoped would do better, but it does have a PS4 release to look forward to.

Hotline Miami 2
Hotline Miami
Grim Fandango
Sword Art Online
Final Fantasy X/X2
Soldner-X 2

Some Easter sale EU Vita bargains appear

Not quite up there with the US PSN's lightning sales, but we get a few deals in today's update that might tempt you with Tales of Hearts R, LBP and FIFA 15. Probably more games to be added when the site updates, there's movies, PS3 and PS4 games too.

DragonBall Z: Battle of Z - £11.99
Oddworld: Strangers Wrath – £3.29
Fifa 15 – £11.99
Freedom Wars - £10.79
Little Big Planet Marvel Super Hero Edition – £6.49 (£5.84 with PS+)
Tale of Hearts R (bundle – £19.99

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Arc's Damascus Gear hits PSN

Arc's Damascus Gear has hit the US PSN, and here's a new trailer to show off the game in action, with mechs, destruction and plenty of battling going on. The PSN title costs $14.99 and packs in plenty of missions, upgrades and megabots to take down.

UPDATE: An updated version of the game Damascus Gear: Osaka is due to hit western PSN in 2018.

Lego Ninjago hits the Vita this week

The latest Lego adventure, Shadow of Ronin hits the Vita (and 3DS) this week and here's a new comedy trailer and some screens to celebrate the non-movie tie-in of the year from the Lego people and Traveler's Tales, published by Warner. Not such anything in the way of marketing as usual, comment if you see something (most likely on the kid's channels, I guess).

There's the usual lego-y challenges plus some ninja skills to learn and show off against the highly varied enemies, as the developers get a freer rein than they would on a licensed property.

Last Borderlands 2 patch improves performance

Most games that get a "performance" update generally result in a shrug and a frown. But for Borderlands 2 on the Vita, every extra fraction of performance, improvement in texture loading or other boost is very welcome.

The patch is live on US PSN, but we're still waiting for it in Europe, as of Monday morning (UPDATE: The patch finally arrived Friday morning). Early reports vary suggesting that there is some improvement, with faster texture loading, while others are still unhappy that some major bugs remain unfixed, and probably never will be.

Me, I'm just happy to play the game on the go, regardless of some shaky performance, sharing time with it on the PS3. It is good to see Iron Galaxy (now working on Killer Instinct for console) still working on the title, although they mention on Twitter that this will be the final update, so enjoy it while you can.

Emil's Task, a fond farewell to PSM

Taking the usual retro RPG look, Emil's Task shakes things up with real-time combat with our blue-haired hero/heroine(?) zapping the monsters with spells using dual stick controls. While Sony might be killing off PlayStation Mobile, it looks the better games both in the west and Japan are getting some limelight, and will hopefully get Sony involved in upgrading them to full PSN titles.

This certainly looks the business and I'd love to see it get a western release (with or without translation), it also works on PlayStation TV. Interesting list of resources at the end of the clip, showing how indies don't have to do all the work themselves.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Tokyo Legacy trailer packs in the characters

There are way too many games with Tokyo in the title doing the rounds right now. 5bp's effort, New Tokyo Legacy (Operation Abyss, heading west thanks to NIS America) offers old-school RPG action and a massive array of characters, looks like a nice limited edition too for the Japanese market.

Cosmic Star Heroine gets new pics and art

Successful Kickstarter project Cosmic Star Heroine from Zeboyd is making gentle progress toward a launch, with a bunch of new pics and art to celebrate the retro RPG coming together. It really looks good, with a sense of humour already visible.

Click on the Kickstarter link above to find more Vita games that have made it, or are coming through the crowd funding efforts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Yosuke gets a spin in this week's Dancing All Night trailer

Still three months to go until the game hits Japan, surely Atlus will have run out of characters for these trailers by then? Anyway, this week's diva is Yosuke who gets a range of costumes, including a fancy dress cat. This will certainly help anyone struggling to get into that Friday feeling!

iPhone's Infected Wars heads to the Vita

Action Mobile Games (or someone, since AM's social content hasn't been updated since 2013) is bringing its zombie-infested shooter to the Vita next week, with character classes including marine, sniper, sapper and medic to create some teamplay in this multiplayer focused title. Perhaps they should update the title to 2015 Infected Wars though, just a thought.

Developed on the Unreal 3 engine, the Vita should be able to do its thing and with proper controls, all looks good. With HellDivers also offering some great MP action, looks like the Vita is getting a bit of a co-op renaissance. It might not be the prettiest game ever, but we need all the shooting we can get, and if it sells a few, maybe a few more iOS devs will come calling. Bets on in-app purchases?

Gravity Rush Remastered listed for PS4 in Korea

File in the "no real surprise" folder! As Sony desperately looks for cash under the company sofas, why not prep the world for Gravity Rush 2 with a quick remastering of the original? With a tweak of the tilt controls to the PS4's DualShock and upping the graphics a notch to proper HD, it should look pretty good, as the game approaches its second birthday. That's according to Korea's ratings board anyway.

That will follow on Tearaway's heels as anything that did a bit of business on the Vita heads upwards. If they'd sold millions on the Vita then perhaps we'd be getting our own sequels, but that's the nature of this cruel world. Gravity Rush pretty much aced the Vita with great controls, a compelling world and story, and beautiful music.

Just realised I never reviewed the game, even though I finished it, time for a quick update there! What's Kat been up to while waiting for her second opus? She appeared in Everybody's Golf and Ragnarok Odyssey as a bonus character, but hopefully won't be too long until she takes centre stage again.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Is PlayStation Down? Well now you can find out

Updated yesterday, Sony now has a proper service page, you know - like most cloud services have been running for years. It currently has little green lights for PlayStation Store, PlayStation Now, PS Vue and other bits and bobs.

Of course, the value will only be apparent when something goes down. Will Sony keep it updated with active information, estimated fix time, causes and feedback? Or will it play dumb and hope that a little red light will satisfy the millions of angry users. Place your bets now!

Our first test will come next Monday with PSN scheduled for maintenance, lets see how Sony handles things!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Now would be a good time to buy TxK on Vita

Oh dear, what's left of Atari (some troll lawyers, the Tycoon brand and some very old online games) is trying to squash UK indie hero Jeff Minter. You can read his take here, but whether you side with the hippie coder or the grubby lawyers, now is probably a good time to grab TxK before some legal squabble gets it hoicked off PSN.

"Atari" (now owned by BlueBay Asset Management) is a much reduced shell of its former self, living off Rollercoaster Tycoon on iOS and Test Drive Unlimited, with plans for a fitness app and something new for Alone in the Dark and Asteroids on PC.

Is Minter in the right for continuing to evolve the idea of a long-dead very simple game? Certainly most of their accusations are baseless, but the legal minefield is stacked against Minter. You certainly can't blame him for carrying on given that Atari has been dormant for many years, but how many other coders should be looking over their shoulders?

Wonder if that €16 million bond issue the company is after is to reinvigorate Atari or to pay for more lawyers? The company is slowing improving its fortunes, with revenues up to $7.6m for the nine months of the last FY. But targeting the industry that it relies on? Not a good move.

Liking the Steins Gate limited edition

Steins;Gate is arriving in May according to Rice Digital who has an apparent exclusive limited edition, the "El Psy Kongroo Edition" on the way, with badges, an art-book, robo-gonk metal Oopa and other goodies for £50. The 5bp and Nitroplus game is  being localised and published by PQube and they seem to have got the marketing bang on... time to rummage around the back of the sofa for change.

If you're really into the series, or want to learn more about this awesome story, there's plenty of goodies on Amazon,with the translated manga coming in the summer:

Digimon sells 76K on launch

The latest Media Create chart is out in Japan and in a busy week, Bandai's Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth slots in at No. 3 selling 76,760 copies (over 90% of shipped copies), making it the most popular Digimon launch yet. It arrives behind Yakuza 0 on PS3 and PS4, and hopefully this success will help push it to a western release.

In at No. 4 is a PSP otome game (of all things) Song of Prince Sana "Utapri" from Brocolli. Down the list God Eater 2 Rage Burst is just a smidge off (and now probably past) 300,000 sales!

Vita sales nudged up a few hundred to just below 21,000 on the week (still ahead of the new 3DS LL) with Winning Post (selling just 6,000) and a couple of other games out. This week sees Pirate Warriors 3 and a bunch of others out so expect a bigger rise next week.

Media Create Chart (Week 11)

01./00. [PS3] Yakuza 0 (Sega)  - 145.823 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] Yakuza 0 (Sega) - 90.506 / NEW
03./00. [PSV] Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (Bandai Namco)  - 76.760 / NEW
04./00. [PSP] Uta no Prince-Sama: All Star After Secret # (Broccoli) - 67.237 / NEW
10./00. [PSV] Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 6 # (Koei Tecmo)  - 13.601 / NEW
13./06. [PSV] God Eater 2: Rage Burst (Bandai Namco)  - 10.406 / 299.945 (-41%)
14./00. [PSV] Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Iki (Kaga Create) - 9.879 / NEW
19./00. [PSV] Winning Post 8 2015 (Koei Tecmo) - 5.933 / NEW
20./33. [PSV] Samurai Warriors 4-II # (Koei Tecmo) - 5.729 / 39.423

EU PSN Top Sellers updated

Sony Europe has updated the Vita's PSN store with a few changes to the top sellers list. Flame Over creeps into the top 10, although it deserves to be a lot higher. However, Hotline Miami 2 shoots straight into the top spot, deposing HellDivers. The overall list certainly looks a lot more vibrant than the retail charts and Sony should be doing more to highlight the diversity going on here!

EU PSN Vita Top Sellers

Hotline Miami 2
Hotline Miami
Grim Fandango
Sword Art Online
Dissidia 012
Flame Over

Last week's list and other Vita charts.

New rhythm game Superbeat Xonic aims for a summer beat

Some of the team behind the hugely popular DJ MAX series have gone their own way to form a new team, Nurijoy. They will be hitting the market this summer with a new release Superbeat Xonic, just announced in Asia. Only this pretty image for now, and mention of a real-time ranking system, but expect plenty more news soon.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 sailing west with new video

Bandai Namco Europe has put together a translated trailer with clips from the many hours of Japanese content that the company has been bailing over there out as the game releases, with a decent Famitsu score. We'll have to wait until the summer for it to hit western PS4, PS3 and Vita conesoles, but at least now we get a better idea of the story and characters.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Go play some real live Danganronpa!

NIS America invites some lucky folk to a special murder mystery, partnering with the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) to debut the Danganronpa Murder Mystery at Anime Conji 2015 on April 4 in San Diego.

A one-of-a-kind event, it will mirror the themes of the popular murder mystery game series Danganronpa. Attendees will search the Sheraton Hotel for clues and use their wits to determine which Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair cosplayer is the blackened!

Starting with an introduction video, and concluding at 6 p.m. with a class trial. Participants will locate truth bullets throughout the convention center and record the clues provided on the bullets by writing or taking a photo. After collecting these clues, they will turn them in and receive a special gift, allowing them to participate in the class trial.

Take up the Gauntlet in Hyperdimension Neptunia U

The Gamindustri girls will soon go head-to-head as the Hyperdimension series goes all-action. Check out these new screens from Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. They focus on the Gauntlet, where players can choose from 18 characters (including the CPUs, CPU Candidates, their HDD forms, Dengekiko, and Famitsu) to fight in a tournament to prove who's the baddest of them all, earning special accessories when you win.

PlayStation Now beta coming to the UK

For PS4 owners only at first, but rolling out to others soon, PlayStation Now will finally start making roads into Europe with a UK test. There's a sign-up page here, and Vita owners will hopefully get to join in to be considered for the later stages of the test (assuming Sony hasn't totally forgotten us - note the "may" and many asterisks).

**PS Now private beta trial will be available on PS4 only. In the future we hope to bring PS Now to other devices including PS3, PS Vita and other devices.

I'll leave the rest to Sony's PR garbage machine... PS Now will deliver blockbuster and critically acclaimed PlayStation 3 games streamed via the cloud; giving more people the opportunity to experience the world of PlayStation. During the private beta, the PS Now service will be available to select participants in the UK on PS4 only and will be free of charge during the initial stage of the private beta.

PS Now will put epic adventures, iconic characters and incredible PS3 games at the players' fingertips, allowing them to play immediately without needing to wait for downloads, updates or installs or make a trip to the shops. Once the service launches fully, games will be streamed at a low rental cost, initially to PS4 and later to other PS Now compatible devices. All the player will require is a DUALSHOCK wireless controller and a broadband internet connection (minimum 5mbps recommended).

During the private beta there will be a wide selection of games covering a wide range of genres available from SCE Worldwide Studios and the industry's best software developers and publishers. These will include for example, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, The Last of Us and God of War Ascension, Rayman Legends (Ubisoft), Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (Ubisoft), Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package (Koch Media), Just Cause 2 (Square Enix), The Walking Dead (Telltale) and Dirt 3 (Codemasters).

SCEE will continually evolve the PS Now service by expanding the library of titles, enhancing features, and broadening the range of compatible devices.

Pirate Warriors 3, Lost Song and more rate well in Famitsu

Oh, the joys of a tame press. There are a truck load of Vita games out in Japan next week, but the ones with the biggest marketing budget somehow seems to have got the best score. Pretty sure that could never happen here!

It is certainly going to be a fun time for Vita gamers out there, with plenty of games for all tastes including more Sword Art Online if all those One Piece videos looked rather samey. The latest baseball game should sell plenty too while there's loads of anime-based fun to prop up the charts. What's Justy x Nasty? That's just what I was wondering...

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Bandai (PS4/PS3/PSV) – 9/9/9/9
Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2015 Konami (PS3/PSV) – 9/9/9/9
Disgaea 5 NIS (PS4) – 9/8/8/8
Kagero: Mou Hitori no Princess (Deception IV) Koei (PS4/PS3/PSV) – 8/8/9/8
Kengakimi for V Rejet (PSV) – 9/9/7/7
Friend to Lover (PSV) – 8/8/8/8
Sword Art Online: Lost Song Bandai (PS3/PSV) – 8/8/8/8
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus Marvelous (PS4/PSV) – 8/8/8/8
Justy x Nasty: Maou Hajime Mashita (PSV) – 8/7/7/6
Yoiyomori no Hime (PSP) – 6/6/6/7

Lost Dimension reveals an opening trailer

We've seen some screens, and now there's an opening musical trailer for tactical RPG Lost Dimension from Atlus, coming our way via NIS America. Not much to see beyond scowling faces and lots of stylised text play, but underneath this we have to hope that there's a game worth investing in.

Well, at least the Vita gets a Disgaea 5 theme

As Japanese developers transfer their focus to the booming PS4 market, Vita opportunities for major gaming series will slowly diminish, as we see with Disgaea 5 being a PS4-only title. Still, NIS still loves us (a little) as it drops a PS Vita theme for the game alongside one for the PS4's front end.

I can't fault developers wanting to work with the awesome power of the PS4 and not the backwater of the Vita. But, how hard can it be for major teams to have some resources working on a best-case Vita version, especially in Japan where millions of gamers are eager for new games?

While that's not quite as galling as Sega's Yakuza-0 PS Vita and PS TV model, hopefully NIS America will drop this on the western PSN to liven up unhappy zip screens.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Digimon unboxing vid suggests how popular it would be in the west

The ever-brilliant GadgetGirlKylie has got her hands on an import of Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth and the unboxing video and her first play through are getting plenty of hits, suggesting Bandai really should get this game over here ASAP! Check out Elliot Sensei's blog for some cool screens too!

Early opinion reckons the game is one of the Vita's finest and we'll find out how well its done in the Media Create charts on Wednesday, with estimates suggesting a very high sell-through. A change.org poll has so far got 60,000 users asking for a localisation! Chip in and get it up to 75K, hopefully Bandai will pay attention to all this activity.

Latest UK Vita charts

UK Official Retail Chart

A little bit of moving and shaking this week as the first of a bunch of new Japanese games arrive on the retail shelves, with Tokyo Twilight nudging into number 3, selling at least 37 copies according to my totally made up data!


PSN (UK) Top Sellers

Helldivers is sitting pretty here, I've yet to try this one, but since its managed to climb higher than other big name new releases like Oreshika and Hyperdevotion, guess it shows the power of some good old-fashioned tactical combat and proper multiplayer. I've seen some complaints and patches flying about for Helldivers, so perhaps another week or two for me.

I guess the high positioning for the currently Free Hotline Miami suggests the sequel will soon be storming to the top of this list.

Hotline Miami
Grim Fandango
Hyperdevotion Noire
Dissidia 012
La-Mulana EX
Sword Art Online

Amazon UK has a more staid list, of PS Vita top sellers with FIFA 15 still inexplicably on top.

Call of Duty
Persona 4 Golden

UPDATE: PSN's best Vita sellers in February.

From the US PSN,

1 Sword Art Online -Hollow Fragment-
2 Minecraft: PS Vita Edition
3 Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
4 Hyperdimension Neptunia ReBirth1
5 Monster Monpiece
6 Tales of Hearts R
7 Jak and Daxter Collection
8 Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
9 Rayman Legends
10 Child of Light

From the EU PSN (coming soon I guess)

Sweet Never Land updates Peter Pan for Japan

QuinRose, purveyor of endless romance novels has a new one out in Japan this week, set around the Peter Pan myth, with added sweets and cake. Billed as a fantasy romance adventure, the official site gives little away, suggesting minimal interactivity with a whole lot of dialogue to wade through as you choose who to love and who to snub in this Tinkerbell tale.

Pirate Warriors 3, meet the crew

Having focused on individual characters over the last few videos, here's more of an ensemble clip from the Bandai game. It also shows a bit more of the gameplay beyond the core clone-whacking sprees. Starting to wonder how reduced the PS Vita version will be compared to all this PS4 loveliness, but hey - its a big name game that the Vita very much needs, out in Japan next week.

Lego Jurassic World trailer rolls with the fun

Giving us a slightly better look at the scope and scale of Lego Jurassic World than the first trailer, here's a new fun-packed teaser trailer poking a Spinosaurus at the original trilogy. While setting up for the new movie.

I do wonder if Warner will ever bother moving the Vita version up to the open world model of the recent full-console games? As mature gamers get more bored of the standard format, won't the mobile and handheld versions become more popular?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review Soldner X2 Final Prototype

There aren't enough classic-style shooters on any format, but the Vita has been particularly maligned with only FuturLab and Housemarque really doing it justice with Resogun and Velocity, while moving the genre on in small nudges.

Sure there are other shmups, but its hard to think of big successes, especially when Treasure's Ikaruga on the Dreamcast is your personal benchmark. I've never played the original Soldner titles in any form, but Eastasiasoft and SideQuest seem to have done a phenomenal job bringing it over to the Vita, with native-res gorgeous graphics, smooth as silk, 60-fps mostly horizontal scrolling and Ikaragu-esque scenic bliss going on in the background.

In play, the only quirk is the tutorials popping up as you go along. I don't want to learn stuff, I want to shoot things! Why they couldn't have had a tutorial level or a proper manual (the home screen manual is nothing but the usual ratings and health guff), who knows. But, you'd better pay a little attention as there are some neat tricks that your Soldner ships can provide in battle, with multiple weapons, chaining and lots to collect on-screen.

Some weapons like the beams are useful for tackling enemies behind you, while the best weapons don't work on the end-of-level bosses, who follow the usual multi-layered death-by-pieces format, leaving you to duck and dive around their many arms, allies and weapons systems to pummel them with your own laser or shotgun-style blaster.

Soldner features dynamic difficulty. The better you play the harder it gets, but the greater your score multiplier and the higher up the online rankings you'll go. It also features beautifully crafted and animated enemies, but you won't have much time to enjoy them as the pace picks up. A museum or gallery showing them all off would be a welcome addition.

As a pure shooter, with plenty of levels (The Last Chapter is day one DLC, offering three more levels), this is a great slice of arcade blasting, fast and pure. The soundtrack varies between haunting and driving ambient techno, I think the in-game audio effects could have a little more meat to them, even on headphones things are a bit tinny.

Also, the power-ups could be a different shape to enemy fire, especially when you're focused on your ship weaving through hails of bullets, but these are minor irks. The quest to get a better rating and find the secret keys or complete the challenges will keep you racing through the levels a few times, and while it doesn't have the mad addictiveness of Flame Over, its still worth keeping on your Vita card to scratch that shooter itch.

Score: 8/10
More Reviews
Price: €9.99 (PSN)
Developer: SideQuest
File size 904MB
Progress: 7th heaven