Thursday, April 30, 2015

Deception IV kicks us in the nuts with a live action trailer

Hitting western gamers in the face on July 17, Koei's Deception IV is a big, bad and dangerous to know game, with brutal tricks, traps and fun ways to kill your enemies.  It features a new and brutal anti-heroine in the form of Velguirie.

Her story is covered with a shroud of mystery and the player will have to solve the one hundred quests in the brand new Quest Mode to find out who she really is. The only certainty is that Velguirie is an incredibly dangerous creature that takes extreme pleasure in setting up intricately complex combinations of traps to lure her victims to their untimely doom.

Go retro blasting with Metal Slug 3

Among the goodies on the PSN update this week was Metal Slug 3, SNK's classic and lovingly crafted shooter. Check out the launch trailer and get downloading for some pure and quirky blasting action, on the ground, on a camel or underwater, and fighting all sorts of insane bosses.

Vita on the up in latest Media Create Japanese figures

After a bit of a delay, the Media Create chart data is out from Japan. Vita sales creep up again, by just over a 100, as Japan waits for the mentalness that is Golden Week. Again, the Vita outsold the new 3DS LL.

Despite a bunch of new entries, sales of Minecraft hold firm, keeping it in the top 10 with sales actually going up. The only new entry of note for the Vita is school-romance visual novel Clock Zero from Idea Factory. Things get more lively next week with 2Heart 2 Dungeon, Operation Babel, Whitecoat Love Addiction and Nihirabura set to storm the chart.

Media Create Chart (week 17)

01./00. [3DS] Bravely Second: End Layer (Square Enix) - 100.047 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] TV Anime Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls Vol.1 (Bandai) - 24.341 / NEW
03./01. [3DS] Style Savvy 3: Kira Kira Code (Nintendo) - 23.724 / 78.903 (-57%)
04./00. [PS4] Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory II # (Compile Heart) - 22.609 / NEW
05./00. [PS3] BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend (Arc System Works) - 15.550 / NEW
06./04. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony) - 12.667 / 109.784 (+4%)
07./00. [PSP] Meiji Toukyou Renka: Twilight Kiss # (Broccoli)- 10.083 / NEW
08./00. [PS4] Tropico 5 (Square Enix) - 8.706 / NEW
09./00. [PS4] BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend (Arc System Works) - 7.589 / NEW
10./02. [PS4] Dying Light (Warner) - 7.030 / 32.560 (-72%)
12./00. [PSV] Clock Zero: Shuuen no Ichibyou - ExTime # (Idea Factory) - 6.306 / NEW
20./06. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco Games) - 4.001 / 147.155 (-39%)

Catblock puzzler gets out its claws

Originally a Japanese social game, NekoBuro Catsblock will head west to frustrate and purr, thanks to French team Neko Entertainment. The game was briefly announced in March, but there's been nothing from the team since.

Suitably mad looking, these cats are actually aliens and their leader has been adopted by a keen girl, resulting in this quirky puzzle antics, lining up rows of rats to get big-score multipliers to free it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PlayStation Plus content for May revealed

Yep, Sony has officially run out of major games to pass out as PS+ freebies, but that's not to say there isn't a great deal of fun to be had for the measly subscription costs. In May, Europeans get Murasaki Baby, stylish indie arcade game Race the Sun, art-fest The Unfinished Swan and Hohokum.

I guess the US roster will be broadly similar and since I own none of this titles is pretty good for me, as the £5 a month is pretty much all I can spare at the moment! Check out the full PS blog post for details of PS4 and PS3 games. You have until May 6 to grab the likes of Killzone Mercenary and Monster Bag before they vanish!

Danganronpa shifts 200K in the west

You know that 'Vita is dead' thing that keeps going round forums. Put that on hold for a minute as NIS America has revealed that the pair of Danganronpa games has shifted 200,000 copies in the west between them. Think about that, a mad tale of a psychotic murdering bear which is barely interactive and with some highly questionable concepts at its heart. If they can sell 100K each, then why can't a modestly ambitious western title?

The good news is that NIS America plans to concentrate on bringing more visual novels our way, probably not all for the Vita, but at least we should get some out of their efforts. We've also got the likes of Steins;Gate and Code: Realize coming west, making the Vita the top machine for visual  novel fans.

EU PSN store update and big sale

Hitting the EU PSN this week are Broken Age (£19.99 or £13.99 for PS+), Damascus Gear (£7.99), classic scroller Metal Slug 3, new shooter Project Root (for PS4 and Vita at £7.99 or £5.59 for PS+ users) and more for a decent range of gaming fun. Sony has a big EU sale with this week's update, mixing sci-fi and Star Wars games.

UPDATE: Add to the list Sayonara UmiharaKawase +, but you can scratch CollectOrb for now, which has been delayed at the last minute.

On offer are:

AeternoBlade is 33% off, Nidhogg and Citizens of Earth at 40% off, Steamworld Dig and Final Horizon at 50% off, Frozen Synapse Prime at 60% off, Tiny Troopers Joint Ops at 50% off and Futuridium EP Deluxe at 40% off, . Also on offer are at 40% off (original price £11.99/€14.99). Some of the games have a further 20% PS Plus discount while Child of Light has a whopping 70% off.

For Star Wars fans, there's mostly PSP fodder onsale, with some of the LEGO games, Battlefront and Force Unleashed titles, the Clone Wars game based on the TV show and the Star Wars Zen Pinball tables.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mighty No. 9 comes to Vita, later

Having signed up for the Kickstarter, it looks like Vita owners will have to wait a little longer than everyone else to get their hands on the not-quite-MegaMan release from Keiji Inafune and his Comcept team. The Sony blog has announced that Mighty No. 9 will hit the west in Mid September on consoles, with a Vita version promised soon after, but with no idea of how soon "soon" is.

Deep Silver are handling western publishing duties, with no physical Vita version to grab from a store shelf. Well done if you backed this Kickstarter project, and check out the recent crowd-funded games on the way. Not sure if backers will get the dreaded future DLC as part of their deal.

Aksys brings visual novel Code: Realize west

Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth to give it its full title will hit the Vita this Autumn thanks to Aksys. Another visual novel, its a steampunk period affair from Idea Factory, with manga-takes on some famous literary and historical European figures, including a Van Helsing and a Frankenstein, to get us away from the usual mad panty waving doe-eyed Japanese game staples.

The game was well-rated in Japan and sold around 8,300 copies on launch thanks to its spooky fairytale romance premise. More info on the US PSN blog.

Cross Ange gets a chatty, feely trailer

And I was hoping this game was just about splatting dragons out of the sky with funky mechs. But no, Bandai Namco has laden Cross Ange with some dense, girly-chat, heavy plot that you'll probably have to wade through between the action scenes. Please let there be a skip button! Otherwise, the action still looks pretty cool, did I see some lady tickling going on in there too? Heaven help Japan!

Friday, April 24, 2015

More moving and grooving with Persona 4 Dancing All Night

I thought Atlus had done with these clips, after last week's ensemble piece, but no. Here's Naoto Shirogane strutting her stuff and dishing the dirt with the rest of the cast. Just release the game already, I'm pretty much teased out on this now, but only two months to go until it hits Japan, then the inevitable wait for a western release.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Atlus makes minor (nipple?) tweaks to Dungeon Travelers 2

AquaPlus' Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal is a typically (im)mature Japanese RPG. The game put up some localization issues for the Atlus folk, but they've limited changes to four adjustments to some particularly graphic graphics.

They say, "to comply with restrictions set forth by rating boards, ATLUS made concessions on just four in-game images. On these images, some minor edits were made (and approved by the developer) to adjust the overt graphics to within acceptable ranges for the game's M-rating."

WipEout unofficial sequel gets a Vita stretch goal

Some of the folks from Studio Liverpool (aka the WipEout team) became R8 Studios, and they've finally got their Kickstarter campaign going for the futuristic racer, Formula Fusion. A Vita version is way down the list of stretch goals at £400,000, but at least its there and if the new game can tap into the many WipEout loyalists, then its in with a shout. Then again, with X1 and PS4 versions at £350K, the Vita isn't that far off.

UPDATE: There's been a right fuss online about the low first funding goal, to which the team has responded and the confusing stretch goals, which they've clarified in the KS comments. Regardless, the game has passed £23K in a few days, hopefully it will approach the console goals by deadline.

FURTHER UPDATE: What a shambles, the game's KS page now has more sub-clauses than a legal contract. The console goal has dropped to £100K, leaving the Vita in the lurch at 400K - not going to happen! Whatever concept R8 had about their Kickstarter, no one should EVER repeat this botched effort - look at Yooka Laylee to see how its done! Although, despite that one raking in the cash there's no sign of a Vita stretch!

While they, naturally enough, claim it is very different to WipEout, we still have anti-grav racing in a set of cool city tracks with a lusty techno soundtrack and visuals from Designer's Republic. There's also plenty of pledge levels and cool trinkets to make it worth investing. Check out the page here. If it does get funded, this could easily be the biggest Vita game of 2016! It would just have been a hell of a lot easier if Sony hadn't broken up a proven successful studio!

The addition of eSports mode might be a bit much for the Vita version, but since I still happily play WipEout multiplayer, as long as there's something for us to enjoy, that'd be cool.

Gaijinworks bringing Summon Night 5 and CoH 3 to PSP/Vita

Having done a little bit of teasing, Gaijinworks and Monkey Paw have announced their next PSP and Vita titles to head west. Both Japanese RPG series have their fans and with translation tasks well underway, it hopefully won't be too long before we're enjoying them.

Banpresto did pretty well out of the Summon Night games in Japan, while Class of Heroes seems a bit more niche. Anyone thrilled for these?

Minecraft still selling in Japan as hardware sales fall

The slump continues in Japan after last week's quiet patch, with not much action ahead of a busier launch period next week. Vita sales dropped to under 16,000, but it was almost level with the top selling PS4 and ahead of the new 3DS LL. The Media Create games chart saw few new entries, but Minecraft on Vita managed to stick to the No. 4 sport with impressive sales, actually up on last week. Things should get busier next week and Golden Week is just around the corner.

01./00. [3DS] Style Savvy 3: Kira Kira Code (Nintendo) - 55.179 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] Dying Light (Warner Entertainment Japan) - 25.530 / NEW
03./00. [3DS] Future Card Buddy Fight: Yuujou no Jounetsu Fight! (FuRyu) - 16.630 / NEW
04./04. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Mojang AB) - 12.175 / 97.117
06./02. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco Games) - 6.542 / 143.154

11./07. [PSV] Sword Art Online: Lost Song (Bandai Namco Games) - 5.532 / 177.145

18./13. [PSV] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (Bandai Namco Games) - 4.543 / 80.779

Why can't the Vita share screenshots automatically?

Sony has had a bit of a hit with the PS4's Share button, which makes me wonder why, if the Vita can take screenshots of games in action, why there isn't an auto-share option to post them to Twitter or other social media.

After all, if the Vita needs promoting, then what better way to do it then sending cool shots of games in action to millions of people, for free. It can't be too hard to add an option in Settings to autoshare screenshots, and the Vita has a Twitter app anyway, so getting the details, or adding them to the account can't be too hard.

You have to wonder, since Sony was clearly working on the PS4 during the Vita's inception, why they didn't think about screenshot sharing as a key feature, rather than the crappy Near and goods trading experiences that few have ever used.

Is it too late in the Vita's life to add this feature? It probably won't make any difference, but I know I see lots of PS4 shots and go "cool", so why not do the same for the Vita? I'm guessing video sharing is a bit beyond the hardware, but I'd be delighted to use a screen sharing feature.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Japan's summer line up in blipvert form

Because they have some new games, Japan gets to wave them at people in this slick new trailer from Sony. Even then, there's very little first party stuff coming from the company, so us westerners can't rely on them for a steady supply of Vita games. I guess the biggest question is will there be anything for autumn?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How fast will the PS Vita die off?

That's not really the loaded question it sounds, the Vita will continue to soldier on as long as people buy games for it. Given new games for the Dreamcast are still appearing, that could be a very long time. But, I was more wondering when the Vita will vanish from the front pages of gaming sites and so on.

This chart shows how the Vita has always struggled in headline terms against the 3DS, but it is starting to tail off badly over the last year. Looking past the peaks and troughs, it is definitely on the way to the bottom. Give it a couple more years and its unlikely to be picking up any headlines, and you could easily see Sony discard it from its roster to focus on the PS4. Note the huge preference for PS4 articles on the PSN blogs this year.

Certainly, the few Vita exclusive games aren't getting reviewed by larger sites these days (Flame Over being the latest example) and any news that does make headlines tends to be negative. Still, I love my Vita and hope the community gets to enjoy it for years to come.

Interestingly, the Vita almost exactly tracks the interest in Apple's "hobby" TV product, but with an Apple TV fourth-generation model to be launched next month, probably offering games support, expect that to take off massively. That only highlights what a poor job Sony has done with PlayStation TV, and the basic failure of the Vita project outside of Japan.

Operation Babel/Abyss launch trailer hits Japan

Operation Babel, as its known in Japan, subtitled New Tokyo Legacy will hit the western market soon, but its up first in its home country, out next week. The game from 5pb just picked up a decent score from Famitsu, giving it a decent 31/40.

Here's the opening theme trailer ahead of the game's release, as the publisher hopes it'll pick up the same kind of following that Demon Gaze managed.

Sayonara UmiharaKawase+ hits US PSN today

Agatsuma Entertainment's rubbery platformer hits the US PSN today, with its unique ‘Rubbering Action’ physics-based puzzle platform blasting out of Japan. You play as a 20-year old backpacking Japanese sushi chef armed with a fishing rod, a rubber fishing line and a fishing hook.

You have to avoid fish-like enemies, conveyer belts, spikes, watery pits, time travel and more, with a range of more challenging puzzles and solutions, and the greater the time pressure becomes as you venture further in. Along the way, look out for shortcuts and secret exits and unlock bonus levels.

 As a special bonus for fans, the first ever title in this gaming franchise ‘UmiharaKawase’ has also been included. UmiharaKawase was originally released way back in 1994 for console. It is the elasticity of Umihara’s rubber fishing line that has always set this franchise apart from all other rope games, giving unprecedented levels of mobility and discovery. Tightening the line or giving lots of slack can be the difference between success and failure.

The game runs at a slick 60 frames per second and is down as $19.99, there's an EU release in the works too, currently listed as "soon".

No YouTube app? It was Google wot dunnit!

While Vita owners have been beating chests and getting all angry over the loss of the YouTube app, which officially dies this week, it turns out a whole lot of other devices are losing it too. That includes older Apple TV units, some smart TVs, iOS devices running an older OS and so on. Quite a few of those people are probably angry too, but it is Google updating the YouTube data API that is the root cause.

If Sony had bothered to mention this at the time, I'm sure much of fuss would have been defused, or at least more diffuse. Since we can still use the Vita's browser to get YouTube video, we're in a better position than Apple TV 2 users who are totally bereft. So, it could be worse!

Overall, I guess this is the peril of living in an evolving digital world, where nothing lasts forever (where max value of forever is generally 2/3 years). It also highlights Sony's inability to communicate clearly with customers - something that's pretty shocking in the digital age.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Famitsu's most wanted leaves the Vita way behind

A quiet week for the Vita in Famitsu with only two games up for review. First is Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy (now called Operation Babel in Japan, a sequel of sorts to the huge selling Demon Gaze, which is also confirmed for a western release) grabbing a score of 8/8/8/7.

The rather non-gripping sounding Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend – Blessing Flowers manages (video) a 8/7/7/7 while the highly dodgy-sounding White Robe Love Addiction manages 8/8/7/6.

Famitsu's latest most wanted list shows the predicament the Vita is in, new model on the way or not. With no big-name games (spin-offs aside) coming, it is now struggling to create much interest among Japanese gamers, even though the Vita has a decent number of games coming out for it.

What the platform needs is one of the Japanese staple big-hitters, and no one seems to be ready to bite for a console that's approaching 4 million sales in the country. Only one of those games, and you know who I mean by that, will kick Vita sales up the arse.

1. [PS4] Final Fantasy XV – 1,029 votes
2. [3DS] Bravely Second – 841 votes
3. [PS3] Persona 5 – 586 votes
9. [PSV] Tokyo Xanadu – 405 votes
10. [PSV] Kan Colle Kai – 399 votes
16. [PSV] Persona 4: Dancing All Night – 245 votes
19. [PSV] SaGa 2015 – 170 votes
28. [PSP] Ushiro – 105 votes
29. [PSV] Bokosuka Girls: Tatsunoko Gakuen Climax – 101 votes
30. [PSV] The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC Evolution – 92 votes

PS Vita 3000 model spotted in Japan

I was looking at the 2000-model launch timing over the weekend, with all the action coming during September/October 2013, but Sony were obviously hard at work many months in advance. So it comes as little surprise that a Japanese trademark watcher has seen mention of a new Vita  model, with a brief sketch. That may only be indicative, so I wouldn't read too much into it, but hey, we're Vita owners, desperate for the slightest bit of good news from Sony, so crack on!.

ps vita 3000, pch-3000

There's no obvious differences in the design, which looks very like a Vita 1000, so it could just be placeholder with the 2000's round buttons and the placings all seem more or less the same. Is it a simple refresh made slightly lighter with new colours to boost sales among rabid Japanese gamers. There does appear to be a new port or cover on the side, so maybe there is a new feature to get excited about.

ps vita 2000
The Vita 2000 range, I always wanted the Lime one!

Hopefully a better quality LED screen will be part of the package, but if Sony is aiming for really cheap, it could add something really nasty (in comparison terms) in there just to keep the cost down, while still selling the 2000 as a 'premium' model.

It still has a front camera, for no good reason, and could they be second triggers that you'd press with the outside of your little fingers at the bottom, or are they just the existing indents and case mounts? I guess my wait for the PlayStation 4 Portable remote play device goes on. Any chance of a new port on the top, perhaps a TV-out connection to make it more the PlayStation (Vita) TV which has died on its arse even in Japan, now selling only 500 a week?

Anyone taking bets that the internals might get an upgrade a la the new 3DS LL model? The Vita is seriously old in tech terms compared to smartphones, and even a modest bump could give Japanese developers some more interest, along with the recent freeing up of some extra memory.

Guess they could make the damn thing out of gold and give it away with Happy Meals, and it would still see no interest in the west. At least there's no sign of them trying the PSP-Go design again, now they presumably have the thermal issues under control. That's if they even try to sell a new model outside Asia!

Old Mortal Kombat gets some Vita sales in UK chart

The UK charts have been updated, with not much action in Vita land. With no sign of a Vita version of Mortal Kombat X (the new all-format No. 1) from NetherRealm, it looks like fans have snapped up a few copies of the fun original Vita version as that makes a reentry in at No. 13. Lego Ninjago sticks around at No. 3 while Toukiden Kiwami is already down to No. 15 and falling fast (so probably less than 100 copies sold).

The game is pretty cheap on Amazon and has loads of modes and extras to keep playing, plus the joy of fatalities. I never wrote a review first time around, so I guess I should crack it open and have another shot. Any other MK fans out there? If not, what's your favourite fighting game on the Vita?

Dancing All Night goes official on the PlayStation site

Sony Japan has put up some new pics for the Persona 4 Dancing All Night on its own site, to go along with the endless stream of character videos we've seen from Atlus. The game expands on the through-the-TV concept with the team being sucked into a mysterious game show with the threat of never being able to escape unless they can master the dance moves set for them.

Until Persona 5 Portable gets announced, will this keep you enjoying the series, or will you run back to Persona 3 or try rolling through Persona 4 Golden again?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gainjinworks and Monkey Paw tease new Vita/PSP RPG

What could it be from the vast Japanese RPG archives? Gaijinworks has a teaser site (if you consider a single question mark a tease) up with a new RPG being promised for the PSP and Vita, They recently dragged Class of Heroes 2 kicking our way, and there's various thoughts bouncing around the net.

UPDATE: The site now has two PSP covers bedecked with question marks, suggesting a new series could be on the way.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Amnesia Memories will daze western Vita owners

I cover all kinds of mad Japanese Otome and niche games, in the vague hope that one day a few of them will grace our shores. I recall Idea Factory's Amnesia games popping up in the Japanese sales charts, and have seen plenty of news that the latest Amnesia Memories will come west, so hope this will do business when it lands in August.

Update: Official site now live.

Here's a rough idea of what to expect from one of the other Amnesia games that has been fan translated:

CollectOrb set to puzzle Vita owners

CollectOrb is an in-progress first title from Daish Games. It looks like a ridiculously unforgiving navigation-based puzzler, reminiscent of many an Amiga demo, and built using the Unity3d engine.
The object of the game is to navigate the glowing orb through the darkness (which doesn't exactly make for great screenshots) in order to collect cubes scattered across each level.

CollectOrb is scheduled for release on the Playstation Vita, with further launch information to be announced soon.

New Rise of Mana trailer for the Vita

Square is bringing its mobile Rise of Mana RPG to the Vita, after a long absence from PlayStation consoles. A new trailer shows what we can expect, it does look pretty simplistic, but with 25 years of history behind the series, who am I to argue. The free-to-play, micro-transaction powered game featured 8-player support on mobile, hopefully the Vita version will loosen up a little and maintain the series' legendary soundtrack.

New Persona 4 Dancing All Night trailer goes line dancing

The previous clips released for the last few weeks by Atlus have shown everyone strutting their stuff individually. Now here's a combined clip bringing the heroes of Persona all together with some of the band and Teddie in his Elvis costume. There's also a quick round up of the limited editions, extra content and other goodies that will come with this massive Vita launch.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Citizens of Earth gets a bumper patch

I tried this totally non-serious, politically-tinged RPG but didn't really get into it all that much. However, developer Eden Industries is still hard at making Citizens of Earth better. Perhaps the patch that adds Cross-Save, Remote Play and PlayStation TV support under the hood, might make me give it another go.

More obvious changes include a retro chiptunes soundtrack menu option to help relive the glory days of the 16-bit era, plus stability improvements to improve performance and cut out some crash issues on various formats. The patch should be live now, but at around 1.7GB it might just have downloaded before the UK election!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quiet week for Japan's Media Create chart, Minecraft still strong

After a few weeks of rough and tumble software releases, none of which seemed to have a massive impact on Vita sales, its back to the quiet times for a couple of weeks, with nothing major out until the end of the month.

The Vita sold just over 18,000 units this week, although everything else is diving too, its first dip below 20K in six weeks. That's still selling around 100,000 units a month, which in the current market is pretty impressive. This week it was just a few behind the PS4 and a few ahead of the new 3DS model.

Minecraft is still selling way in boxed form, back up the chart to No. 4, selling another 11,000 making it one of the more consistent sellers for the Vita. The only new entry in the chart was Demon Souls 2, selling a feeble 20K on PS4.

Media Create sales

01./00. [PS4] Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (From Software) - 20.494 / NEW
02./01. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco) - 15.394 / 136.613 (-87%)
03./02. [PS3] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco) - 14.582 / 123.783 (-87%)
04./09. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony) - 11.842 / 84.942 (-25%)
07./04. [PSV] Sword Art Online: Lost Song # (Bandai Namco) - 9.037 / 171.613 (-61%)
13./10. [PSV] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (Bandai Namco) - 6.984 / 76.236 (-53%)
17./13. [PSV] Pro Baseball Spirits 2015 (Konami) - 5.251 / 62.788 (-53%)
18./21. [PSV] Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (Bandai Namco) - 5.218 / 123.656

Titan Souls now up on the EU PSN store

Find it on the PC browser store, or search for it on your Vita, Titan Souls from Acid Nerve and Devolver is go, and the Vita's latest indie hero. Here's the official launch trailer to get you going.

Its a busy week along with indie adventure Home, Alien Shooter and another collection of Hatsune Miku DLC also going live already, let us know what you think if you grab any of them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Atlus brings Dungeon Travelers 2 west

Both the US and Europe will be enjoying a spot of dungeoning in the autumn, with Atlus continuing to provide JRPG fodder for the Vita. Subtitled, THE ROYAL LIBRARY & THE MONSTER SEAL, its a hefty single-player RPG with PlayStation TV compatibility. Dungeon Travelers 2 presents the game with English text localized by ATLUS and fully voiced Japanese audio.

It sees the The kingdom of Romulea in peril, with monsters leaking out of every nook and cranny in the land. Players take on the role of Fried, an adventurer from the Royal Library sent to stop the uprising. But early in his journey, he discovers a broken shrine along the way. This sets in motion the story of Dungeon Travelers 2, where Fried travels around the kingdom of Romulea, and through rescuing, defeating, or bumping into any of the 16 unique girls that can join his party,

Fried is on a mission to save the world! Set in a first-person perspective with turn-based combat, players will encounter normal monsters as well as more powerful mutant girls, who must be sealed away to prevent the spread of the evil monster scourge.

Pre-order Steins;Gate on Amazon

Thinking this will be the Vita game of the year, and while I know there isn't much competition, I can't express how much I'm looking forward to Steins;Gate, without having seen the anime, manga, the PSP game, or anything. Just the concept sounds so intriguing. Hopefully the US will also get a release of the visual novel.

Steins;Gate is an award-winning time travel science-fiction interactive visual novel developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus. A group of teenage scientists discover the ability to alter the past by sending text messages through a modified microwave. Their experiments inevitably spiral out of control as they become entangled in a conspiracy surrounding SERN, the organisation behind supposed failed time travel events, and John Titor, a mysterious internet forum poster claiming to come from a dystopian future.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wing Kings gives props to roguelikes

Infinite State has been teasing some pics from its upcoming PS Vita and PS4 game Wing Kings, bringing a roguelike feel to a WWII-esque combat title. Even from one pic, it certainly has appeal, even though I have no idea what happens beyond this spot of bombing around.

The team brought 'Don't Die, Mr Robot' to the Vita has a Facebook page for the game where I guess we'll find some more hints as to the deeper strategy behind the a ction. There's also a very fetching piece of character art up there to take a look at.

Lego Ninjago sticking around the UK chart

The sad affair that is the UK Vita chart, shows the power of brand this week, with Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin sticking in the top three, while the much-hyped Toukiden Kiwami is already out of the top 10.

With four LEGO games in the chart, the Vita looks condemned to be a kid's toy as far as the retail market is concerned, with the likes of Looney Tunes on the way and most bundles being family focused.

2 = FIFA 15 EA SPORTS 2 29

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

Vita devs get more memory, but how will they use it?

According to a slide shown off at a Tokyo Unity Developer event, the recent Vita 3.50 firmware update had a positive side effect for the system. While most of us moaned about losing features, it turns out that the change frees up some extra 30% system RAM for games to use, (when coded in Unity at least, possibly generally).

Now, if Sony had bothered to mention that at the time, I'm sure we wouldn't have minded the trade off. Of course, the change only creates more questions, rather than solves any issues straight away:

  • Will any current games get a patch to boost performance? (Unlikely, most dev teams have moved on and retro fitting a tightly-coded game isn't as simple as going, 'hey - more space')
  • How much will new games be "better" thanks to the extra headroom? Guess we could find out with Resident Evil Revelations 2.
  • When did Sony tell its own developers about this and what games will take advantage?
  • What is the extra available RAM actually useful for? I'm guessing not GPU effects, but it could mean smoother gameplay, less loading, a bit deeper AI or a few more characters in a scene. 

What else do you think could benefit from the change. Guess it won't change the developer landscape in the west one bit, but indies could now port more games with less restrictions and optimisation needed. Any developers care to weigh in?

The PSP got a sort of similar mid-life upgrade with Sony unlocking some extra CPU power, I don't recall many games that clearly took advantage of it, so I'm not expecting wonders.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Frima handling port duties for Resident Evil Revelations 2, due summer

First the good news, Sony has put a brief update up on Resident Evil Revelations 2 for the Vita, and it should arrive sometime this summer. Now the bad news.

The post states "While we get closer to locking down the PS Vita-specific gameplay and features" which sounds like they might be having to axe modes (likely multiplayer) and some content to cram it onto the Vita. UPDATE: Looks like multiplayer will be added via a later patch.

The second is that it is being handled by Canadian team Frima, which isn't exactly looking like your top line developer here. They have some (mostly PSP) and Vita experience, lately with Zombie Tycoon 2, but aren't exactly screaming high-grade with their pixelly mobile and social titles.

Hope I'm not wrong, but I'm not exactly expecting the Vita to be screaming at full revs here. Can they optimise the engine, can they maintain a degree of visual and audio quality - or will they just cut back everything they can to get the game running in the few months they have? Guess we'll find out in summer. No pressure!

My final point is aimed at Sony who have clearly abandoned everything to do with the Vita. They can't find an in-house team to do this task? They are clearly paying peanuts (in dev terms) for the port (no offense to Frima) and are likely to hang them out to dry once the code is shipped. Imagine the biggest game of any platform this year - would you let a small team handle all that expectation?

Yukiko Amagi struts her stuff for Dancing All Night

Atlus is here to brighten up our Friday with another sneak peek at the cast of Persona 4 Dancing All Night. Yukiko Amagi has a neat range of hippy chic costumes, and a little Santa suit, to bounce around in. With just a couple of months until launch, we have the limited edition to look forward to, making this likely the biggest Vita release of the year.

The neat little baggie is another part of the extras coming for the game, I'd like one myself if anyone is doing a bulk order.

Getting Looney Tunes with the Vita

Looney Tunes Galactic Sports was announced yesterday for the Vita, developed by Virtual Toys, it looks like Sony is on publishing duty. Here's the box art, and it will come with a bunch of bright, cheery and fun mini games including racing, archery and more. That's fine for the kids, but does Sony have anything left in the bag for grown up gamers?

Chaos Child kicks off with a grown up trailer

As us westerners await the funky limited edition of Steins;Gate (now with Sony QA for testing), Japan is playing the demo of the sequel Chaos;Child and waving around the arty new intro video. The visual novel series should do great business in all markets, given the love for the story, and frankly anything has to be better than the latest western news of a Vita Looney Tunes game!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Japanese sales see 3rd Super Robot Wars dominate

Despite a stonking 121K sales and taking No. 1, 3rd Super Robot Wars from Bandai failed to help shift Vita hardware. The unit sale numbers dropped around 5K on the previous week, back to its recent baseline of around 22K. Sword Art Online Lost Song sold another 23K, while Minecraft continues to do well, sticking in the top 10 for another week, shifting 15,000.

The Vita is now 100,000 total sales down on last year, and no game since FFX-HD seems to be able to trigger high-level hardware numbers. So, what's it to be Sony, new hardware or some major existing IP game announcements?

Media Create chart:

01./00. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco Games) - 121.219 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco Games) - 109.200 / NEW
03./00. [3DS] Xenoblade Chronicles 3D |new 3DS| (Nintendo) ) - 56.932 / NEW
04./02. [PSV] Sword Art Online: Lost Song # (Bandai Namco Games) - 23.279 / 162.577 (-83%)
09./14. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony Computer Entertainment) - 15.880 / 73.100 (-25%)
10./07. [PSV] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (Bandai Namco Games) - 14.945 / 69.252 (-72%)
13./09. [PSV] Pro Baseball Spirits 2015 (Konami) - 11.211 / 57.537 (-76%)
20./10. [PSV] Senran Kagura Estival Versus # (Marvelous) - 8.297 / 52.845 (-81%)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Persona 4 Dancing All Night gets a Kanji trailer

The bad boy of the Persona 4 story shows his sligtly less harsh side with some aggro disco moves in the latest trailer from Atlus for the Dancing All Night discothon. Hot on the heels of the smart limited editions, it keeps the hype rolling for what has to be the most anticipated music game of all time, certainly leaves Hatsune Miku looking like a staid and boring Saturday morning TV wannabe.

Persona Dancing All Night limited edition goes crystal

As you'd expect from one of the biggest Vita games of the year, Atlus is going large on the limited editions. The basic LE sets come with tapestries, posters and a neat vinyl-record style bandana, but the Famitsu Crystal versions come with a laser-etched crystal Yu character striking a pose.

Can only pray we get half as much goodness in the western release, you can can take a peek at all the goodies on Atlus' Japan store. Plus, of course, there's the Persona 5 preview DVD! Worth an import? (Note, the Atlus store doesn't post abroad and not sure if another store will get these.)

Atlus is doing a great job feeding the Persona hype with Dancing All Night character focused trailers, and with just under three months to go until release, who knows what else they have under their hat! Anyone taking bets on some earlier Persona characters, or some cross over content DLC?

persona, dancing all night, ps vita, limited edition

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New art and screens from Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed

Idea Factory is rolling out your more Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed fun in our direction with some slick new cover art for the game. There's also a few pics of the girls of Gamindustri from the post-battle options, with a handy Cheat menu, the City Watch mode and Lily Rank mode, where you get girls fighting together in specific groups to increase their stats.

Operation Abyss gets a first western gameplay trailer

There's a whole load of chat on the PSN blog, but really all you need to know is NIS America is hoping to repeat the huge success of Demon Gaze with this slightly sci-fi tinged JRPG translation. The game's big trick is the Blood Code evolution of characters, allowing them to adopt traits of historical figures as they rank up.

Operation Abyss is out in June and should be another hefty slice of techno-dungeon crawling fun! Scarily it sounds like saving game in the dungeons will be a DLC feature, which is a rather annoying trend if that catches on.

More standard DLC includes:

Dark Hero Portraits Content: 6 additional characters and each with 3 different color variations.
Price: Free until July 9 (July 5 EU), $0.99/€0.99 thereafter
Swim Team Xth Squad Portraits
Content: 6 additional female characters in swim suits and each with 3 different color variations.
Price: $0.99/€0.99 from June 9 (June 5 EU)

Bonus Content
Content: 2 type of items that will help the players to start off the game.
-Power Recorders (x3) - Let's player save anywhere inside the Abyss.
-Hachi's Workout Pack - Raises all enemy levels by 5.
Price: Free until July 9 (July 5 EU), $0.99/€0.99 thereafter

New teaser trailer and screens for Ray Gigant

Oh, I hate myself for this, but its a slow news day! So, I'll let slip one of Bandai's annoying five-seconds of gameplay, 30 seconds of "click me" annoyingness, with a new blipvert showing off a tiny peek at upcoming RPG Ray Gigant. No idea what the school girl is for! The game was revealed back in February and looks like another decent slice of RPG-ness

ray gigant, ps vita

ray gigant, ps vita

ray gigant, ps vita

ray gigant, ps vita

Retro City Rampage gets a retail edition

With the Minecraft boxed version doing well in Japan, here comes a Retro City Rampage physical edition for the west. Region free and $30, its a pretty good deal for fans who want to give a little more back to the developer

It'd be cool to see more indie titles appear on carts, as I do wonder if there will come a time when Sony will shut the whole Vita ecosystem down, which would be a crushing blow to most owners.

New J-Stars Victory Vs+ action clips from Bandai

Bandai are doing the Vita proud this year (nudge, Sony, nudge) and J-Stars Victory Vs+ throws 32 different Shonen Jump franchises at the fighting wall to see what splats. Here's a couple of trailers showing off some of the characters from Bleach and Assassination Classroom. The game is out in Summer 2015, also on PS3 and PS4, with an arcade mode and a staggering array of characters and features.

Strength of the Sword gets out its cannon

While still very much work in progress, here's a sneak peek of the successful Kickstarter combat game from Ivent Games in action with the excellent sounding Cannon Sword weapon. Strength of the Sword looks like it riffs off Chair's Infinity  Blade, but with plenty more to do. The game is head to PCs, PS4 and Vita, when its done!

Dragon Quest Heroes II confirmed for PS Vita

I didn't post this as a solo story yesterday, just in case the Japanese are in on the whole crappy April Fool idea. However, things now look legit, with a home screen and that little PS Vita logo for the upcoming Square Enix sequel.

Dragon Quest Heroes II comes on the back of a PS3 and PS4 release for the original back in February which has a confirmed western release, so hopefully this will follow soon, or if its a quick enough sequel be part of a combo-pack. The original has sold 800,000 across the two formats so a Vita version should shift a sizable number. Check out a video of the original in action, here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

EU PSN top sellers updated

HellDivers sticks to the top again this week on the European Vita Top Sellers list. I'm guessing SAO, Tales of Hearts and Freedom Wars going on-sale helped shift them up  the chart, but Toukiden continues its modest performance, only kicking in at No. 6, with no sign of LEGO Ninjago. Even WRC 4 manged to shift a copies, although I'm guessing we're looking at less than 100.

1 HellDivers
2 SAO: Hollow Fragment
3 Hotline Miami 2
4 FIFA 15
5 Freedom Wars
6 Toukiden Kiwami
7 Tales of Hearts R
8 WRC 4
9 Dragon Ball Z
10 Minecraft

Vita games tear up the Japanese chart

This week's media create chart is full of good news for the Vita, in a mad week with the first 13 games all being new entries. The Vita's best showing is Sword Art Online Lost Song selling 139K, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 only 53K, Pro Yakyuu Spirit Baseball 2015 and Senran Kagura Estival Versus doing around 45K each at retail. Minecraft has a fine second week as a boxed product.

Threatrhythm Dragon Quest is the only 3DS game in a rare twist, but according to this teaser site, the Vita might be getting a Dragon Quest Heroes sequel soon.

1 Bloodborne (Sony) 152,657 PS4
2 Sword Art Online Lost Song (Bandai) 139,298 Vita
3 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (Bandai) 97,362 PS3
4 Threatrhythm Dragon Quest (Square) 76,858 3DS
5 Professional Baseball Spirits 2015 (Konami) 62,197 PS3
6 Sword Art Online Lost Song (Bandai) 55,090 PS3
7 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 54,308 Vita
8 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 46,693 PS4
9 Professional Baseball Spirits 2015 (Konami) 46,326 Vita
10 Senran Kagura Estival Versus (Marvelous) 44,584 Vita
14 Minecraft (Sony) 21,069 Vita
18 Digimon Cyber Story (Bandai) 13,365 Vita

We already knew Senran had sold over 100K, according to the company including digital sales, so the real question was how much hardware could Sony shift in response. That answer is only 27,000 units which while still pretty good in the state of the market, suggest Sony can't rely on these serial games to drive sales in future.

That's also compared to 31K in 2013 and 41K in 2014 for this week, which is all the more worrying. On the plus side, its still trouncing the New 3DS LL, but the PS4 has a firm and regular need now in Japan. Not all is well in PS4 land, Disgaea 5 turned up at the bottom of the chart, so expect a Vita version to help make up the numbers at some point.

Last week's numbers

Steamworld Heist gets some gameplay action

Image and Form are rapidly becoming one of the top indie names, with a great evolution going on from Steamworld Dig, rather than just rehashing or extending theit last hit. Steamworld Heist is confirmed for the Vita and looks just as good in action as the concept sounded from the early art.

We've got lots of clever tactics going on in this puzzle and level heavy game of space larceny, and bags of style and humour too. Could be another massive hit!

Valiant Dolls wrecking mechs on Japanese PSM

Originally an iOS game, Valiant Dolls from Kodago Studio hits the Japanese PlayStation Mobile store this week, bring a touch of mange mech shooting to the soon-to-be-dead platform. It looks suitable polished and good enough to merit an upgrade to a full PSN title, assuming the action works okay.

valiant dolls

valiant dolls

valiant dolls

valiant dolls