Tuesday, May 31, 2016

World's Longest Five Minutes launch trailer

Pixels and time, the best combination ever when it comes to PS Vita's OLED screen on the go. Nippon Ichi's World's Longest Five Minutes might not have the catchiest title, fighting a demonic king is hampered as he keeps wiping your memory, meaning while you start at the final fight, you spend most of the game in flash backs, relearning your skills and regaining your experience.

One Piece Burning Blood launch trailer

There's been so munch One Piece hype across the Japanese, and now the western, launch for Burning Blood that it feels there can't be much left to discover. Either way, here's the western launch trailer chock full of characters, fleeting battle scenes and tales from the canon.

Hopefully the speedy brawler with tag team actions sells well across all formats to keep the western translations coming, and the Vita version does well enough to merit more physical releases.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Akiba's Beat follows up from the Trip

A new teaser site has appeared, promoting a sequel to the ever-so-fun-but-rather-naughty stripping fight fest that was Akiba's Trip. The sequel from Acquire is on the way to the PS4 and Vita, and goes by the name of Akiba's Beat.

Hopefully the new version will have a bit more meat behind the endless beatings. There's a low-res scan of pages that will be in this week's Famitsu to kick off the coverage.  Judging by the English heavy nature, this version will also come west.

Edutainment game Type:Rider hitting PSN

According to a trophy listing, the Vita is getting the interesting mobile title Type:Rider from BulkyPix. The mobile game is a couple of years old, but harks back decades to the crazy world of edutainment, where kids got to tap pictures to make music play, access fun games and get other multimedia magic tohappen.

Obviously Type:Rider is a little more evolved, with the trophies suggesting there is a fair game in there, but the overall aim is to educate and teach about typefaces, fonts and other aspects of the printed word.

UPDATE: The game is now confirmed for a July 12th PSN release.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sony vs. E3, where the Vita finds love?

Personally, I suspect we can discount the Vita getting much love from Sony at E3. Instead it continues to take a punt on VR, which could end up being just as niche, all the while rolling in the cash from PS4 sales - which is fine!

If we're lucky then perhaps a simmering, yet alone sizzling, reel for the likes of recent hits Severed, Downwell, and upcoming good stuff like Steins Gate Zero, Dragon Quest Builders and Trails of Cold Steel II.

More likely though, Sony will leave that to the third parties, so as not to divert attention from tits wearing VR helmets and doing crappy live demos. Therefore, the press will continue on the Vita is dead vibe, despite much evidence to the contrary.

Sony continues not to help itself, which was understandable when the company was hemorrhaging money. But, now it is back in profit, a few small, low-cost, decisions could go a long way to helping.

1) Look at how the Vita is sold 

Check out Amazon, where the Vita is advertised as the "New slim 2014 model" - who would buy that? Sony needs a new model, with the slightest of changes, perhaps a better WiFi chip, so the advertising can say "new 2016 model."

How hard is that? I'd still like the company to be brave and go with a HD PlayStation 4 Portable Remote Play upgrade and rebrand, but hey, I'll take a Vita that at least sounds current.

In a similar vein, update the sales figures, when Wikipedia is reduced to quoting 2013's 4 million sold number, it doesn't help the Vita at all. It doesn't matter what the figure is, the world accepts Vita as niche, and its just a number!

2) Accept the Niche

Vita is niche, we all know that, but Sony should accept it and thrive within those confines! Do more limited editions, get that Dragon Quest Builders Silver Slime model or the Ys VIII edition, how about some God Eater over here. All Sony has to do is change some cardboard wrapping and the power plug. Niche + cachet & desirability = bigger niche!

3) Games are the Vita

We get that stores don't want to stock Vita games. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't make them. Partner with Limited Run to get more games in boxes and sold online. Get some energy into Gio's #buildingthelist and show us some fresh results. We know there's work going on in the background, but now is the time for some foreplay!
There you go, Sony doesn't have to spend money developing new games, although it would be cool if it did. Sony doesn't have to do much in the way of new marketing, although it would be cool if it did! And if you think Sony doesn't like niche, then why does it still sell record players? The defence rests!

Root Letter fourth trailer of despair

Root Letter is coming our way, and while I prefer the slightly edgier tones of Steins Gate and Virtue's Last Reward, I may just be tempted by something a little less pacy, a lot more breathy with more human drama. Here's the latest Japanese trailer from Kadokawa with those handy subtitles

Romancing Saga 2 is its own saga, coming to Vita after all?

Square Enix really are as mad as box of frogs, on acid! Their minimal support approach to Vita in the west is understandable, if you imagine the company as a bunch of gray suits in a boardroom.

However, Square's creatives are starting to push this "make some noise and we'll see" approach. And, it might just be that by making some racket, things are actually happening.

So now, after the Adventures of Mana and Setsuna farce (boo!), the Dragon Quest Builders digital only news (yay!), we now turn to the madness of Romancing Saga 2. It already exists in English is coming to iOS and Android, but was flatly ignored on Vita, until now, when we get this message:
So, progress, of a sort. Which still leaves this lot and more up in the air:

  • Dragon Quest Heroes II
  • SaGa Scarlet Grace
  • Final Fantasy Adventures
  • The missing Final Fantasy Crisis Core on PSN  
That's where we go back to the men in suits. One joined up bit of policy for the Vita, saying "yes, let's do this properly" and there's no need for the endless noise making and online petitions. So, sort out it Square Enix, accept there's a small but vibrant user base, and a valuable source of revenue here and make your own noise! 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Western Vita owners get sandboxed in with Dragon Quest Builders

Square continues its love/hate relationship with western games. Yes, we get Dragon Quest Builders, but only in digital form! There's also no sign of the limited edition Vita models. I'd figure that would be a brilliant way for Sony and Square to charm the pants off long-anguished Vita owners stuck with our mostly black models. However, looks like it is not to be as Sony firmly refuses to promote Vita hardware.

Anyway, the game itself is pure Minecraft adventuring with a Dragon Quest skin, so should be amazing. It sold very well in Japan and will do pretty well here, even if it is only digital! Landing in October, expect it be one of the bigger sellers of the year.

Fate Extella trailer introduces the classes

Fate Extella is another dive into the Fate world from Marvelous and Type-Moon. Packing in the combat types, this new trailer shows a couple of the classes, with Archer and Saber types coming out to play. Expect many more clips and reveals over the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

FPS Paranautical Activity ghosts onto PSN next week

A good day for spooky games on the Vita, although Paranautical Activity has a fair bit more pact to it than Yonawari! It combines the classic FPS style of Doom-era FPS shooters with the randomness and difficulty of modern roguelikes like Binding of Isaac and Spelunky.

Developed by Code Avarice, it features include procedurally generated levels, fast gameplay, hidden levels, over 100 items, 40+ enemies, ridiculous bosses and a dubstep soundtrack and some raving day-glo ammo. Here's the original's 2014 trailer.

Yonawari comes out of the dark to western gamers

NIS America is bringing the torch lit adventures of Yonawari: Night Alone west this October. A young girl is walking her dog, Poro, around town at dusk when an accident forces her to return home with only the dog's lead.

The girl's older sister goes out into the night to search for the dog. Time passes. Growing impatient, the younger girl decides to search for her missing sister and Poro. But when she steps foot outside, she realizes that this is not the same town.

The darkness has made the town unfamiliar, and she appears to be utterly alone...save for the spirits that stalk her. The girl must hide from, outsmart, or outrun the hunting spirits while she searches for clues to find her loved ones.

New Ys VIII trailer goes to sea

Lacrimosa of Dana is shaping up to be the next major Vita RPG and Falcom seems to be hard at work making it a worthy epic. The latest trailer shows off the coastal and at-sea setting for the game, with epic spires, massive dragons, sea beasts and rickety old boats at the peril of the sea.

Interestingly, the Vita version is due first this year, in July, with the PS4 version not due out until 2017. That should give the portable version a healthy sales boost, especially with the limited edition Vita editions and the natty Premium Box. Check out some soundtrack snippets here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mighty No. 9 shows off its skills in a master class

Sure, us Vita owners will still be spinning our wheels for this one, but hey, we're patient and we have Downwell! Is Mighty No. 9 a game or breakfast cereal? Either way they are advertising it in the cheesiest way possible. With the big launch next month, we'll sit on the sidelines until the autumn or whenever, biding our time until we get our port.

Review: Downwell

You want retro? I'll give you retro, consider a mashup of Jumping Jak (expect on its head, so Falling Jak) and Bombjack and you kind of have the ingredients for Moppin's Downwell. In design terms it looks so simple, but as with the best true indie classics, the execution is fiendish and fantastic at the same time.
The simple but cunning mechanic is in the hero's boots, these fire a range of weaponry depending on what you pick up on the way down, helping arrest your fall and dealing death. This, along with a vicious range of nasties make for on-the-fall tactical decision making, even as you try to dodge, fire and grab the bonus gems. Red is the key color here, enemies with a red top will hurt you if you fall on them, those with a red bottom cost you life if you jump up and those that are all red - RUN!

The game is best played in Tate mode, holding the Vita long ways. Although the Vita's headphone port becomes a bit of a sticking point if you're playing with cans that have a chunky plug. Still, you can configure the controls to something comfortable for you. You can also change the colour scheme and your default style of character to add some variety (or just more lives).

Down With the Skids

Then, its on with the plummeting, as you try to stay alive, across four worlds of mad descent. This is old-school gaming, tricky from level one and much harder the further you get. At the end of each level you get to choose an extra power-up to help you along the way and stores are accessible in each level, if you're in the right place, or able to react to reach the entrance.

Naturally, what starts out as simple bits of platform soon become spiky traps as you move on through the catacomb levels into the deeper, darker places of Downwell. In later levels, the things throw stuff at you, and those early spiky snails now look positively cute!

Clarity of thought is required to get anywhere in the game, you need to remember what's above you when you jump, what could be below as you fall, and be on the look out for threats and opportunities on all sides, all while dropping into a procedurally generated black hole in the earth, managing your meagre firepower and looking for upgrades.

Simple and genius gaming, Downwell is an example of what one person can do, no need for high-mesh polys or a budget of billions. Developer Devolver helped bring the game west and to a wide audience including the Vita. If 1,000 truly indie developers are inspired by Downwell, and make similar experiences with their own unique features, they could help feed the Vita for another year or two.

That's important, as is supporting the game, even if you think Spectrum level pixels are below you, consider Downwell arrives on Vita just six months after its iOS debut - anything that shrinks the, often massive, gap has to be good.

Score: 9/10
More reviews
Price: £3.99
Developer: Moppin
Publisher: Devolver

Vita sales approach five million in Japan

<pirate voice> Ahh, we're in the doldrums now! </pirate voice> Yep, Vita sales are going nowhere fast in the dead zone of late spring. The handheld sold just under 11,000 units in Japan according to Media Create chart information, which is its worst week of 2016.

On the positive side, even if it keeps that feeble number up, it will pass five million lifetime sales in Japan next week. Also, there's finally a major new release to celebrate with Dragon Quest Heroes 2 out on Friday, which should give things a healthy nudge.

Also out of Japan are the latest Famitsu review scores with this week's big release top scoring:

Dragon Quest Heroes II (PS4/PS3/PSV) – 10/10/9/10
Neverending Nightmares (PS4/PSV) – 7/8/8/7
Taisho Alice All in One (PSV visual novel) – 8/8/7/7

This week the Vita managed to sneak a couple of new Otome titles into the chart with Idea Factory's Period Cube: Torikago no Amadeus in at 16, selling 3,850 and Spike's Kenka Bancho Otome doing a bit better, shifting 8,000 units to land in the top five. Otherwise, Powerful Pro Baseball passed the 125,000 sales mark and Minecraft continues selling, and selling and selling.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Steins Gate Zero listings appear in the west

Hmmm, PQube is promising big news for the upcoming ComicCom London event and now Spanish sites are putting up placeholders for Steins Gate Zero. All just as I've finished off Virtue's Last Reward! What good timing.

Another Update: And now it is official...
Update: If PQube won't confirm it, other retailers will, with Rice Digital offering posters and pre-orders in the UK! That comes with a 2016 date and physical release.

It is not hard to wonder what all that could be about? Given the huge success and interest in Steins Gate in 2015, the last Vita game to crack the all formats chart, the likelihood of the sequel arriving is pretty high. So, get polishing your microwave and stock up on bananas! Guess I ought to Platinum this original so I'm fully prepared.

Downwell is live on EU PSN, launch trailer is go

Devolver has launched the Vita and PS4 Cross Buy version of Downwell across all PSNs now, so grab the game and get plummeting! It is only £3.99/$5, for 45MB of fun, which for a game with Spectrum-era graphics and a Platinum trophy isn't too bad.

Reviews are great, as you'd expect for such a simple but fiendish game, developed in Japan by Moppin. So, go powering up your Gunboots and get ready for action, what chance you'll see Spelunky or Steamworld Dig on the way down?

Toukiden 2 Vita demo gameplay and new trailer

As the PS Vita demo hits in Japan, and doesn't look too shabby either, here comes another trailer showing off a few more of the Toukiden 2's massive monsters and characters. Sure, there's a lot of pop up and action slows down when the larger monsters are on-screen, but hey the battles seem fluid enough. I'd play it, and Tecmo's dev gnomes still have a month to work it for that day-one patch feel!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Check out the new Kick Off in action

Revivals are all over the place these days, Elite is back, bigger and more dangerous than ever, but when it came to social gaming, few could touch Kick Off, except Micro Machines. Even so, Dino Dini's exploits will explode onto screens this summer, except for a small delay on the Vita version and here's a first look at the action.

Review: Virtue's Last Reward

Ahead of the arrival of Zero Time Dilemma, I thought I'd duck back in to Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Firstly as I was shocked I hadn't put up a review before and secondly, because I'm diving into all the little bits I'd missed first time that make it so much fun. If "fun" is the word you use for murder, chemical warfare and general bitchiness.

The game starts with two people locked in a cell, you are Sigma, a man gassed and kidnapped from his car and Phi, a feisty young lady. A couple of simple puzzles later and that soon becomes nine people locked in a massive facility, all dragged in to play the Nonary game. These poor unfortunates have to partner up based on the colour of the funky watches bolted to their wrists. These contain lethal drugs that will be injected if they don't follow the rules.
Throughout the entire game, no one questions this woman's attire!
Behind all this villainy is a character called Zero and his sidekick puppet AI Zero Jr, a slightly buzzed rabbit. He appears from time to time to keep the plot rolling like the worst kind of TV host. Given the largely static visuals, simple animations and effects, it is really the characters, the relationships between them and their choices that drive the game.

Each set of rooms offers a series of simple or fiendish puzzles, depending on the setting (easy or hard) and your general approach to puzzles. Getting out of each room sees you being fed the next bit of the story, sometimes you die horribly, or are left to rot. At that point you can jump back in time timeline and try a different branch in the story. Whatever you do, use the same save game to keep all your progress, guess what I did once!
Most twists come from the secondary part of the game, Ambidex votes, where you can decide to Ally or Betray the people you solved the last room with. This results in points being added or deducted to everyone's score, with the aim to get nine points to escape the facility. Generally, if you see someone else approaching nine points, then you need to thwart them, but the pleasure of the game is partially derived from finding out just who you can, and can't trust.

Each puzzle room or area requires the party to open up a safe, and there are several levels of access, One provides the key to exit the room and passes for the next level, plus bits of information while solving harder puzzles gives you secret files that reveal a bit more of the back story. Some puzzles require a little logic, others hunting down some clues, but most things you find have an obvious purpose.
The story rattles along, especially when you skip previous tracts of text, although I could with skipping the annoying map and door transition scenes too! Along the way, you'll find extra bodies, plot twists galore and new puzzles. The only problem is it all gets a touch depressing with the same deaths lived over and over again, And the final ending drags on pretty much forever, which is appropriate given the outcome.

Perhaps future tales will have more nuanced story telling where you can bend the plot more subtly, or access to alternate endings will be more spaced out so you're not running very similar variants of the story one after another. Either way, most endings are sad, tragic or heart breaking, so don't get your hopes up.

Score 9/10
More reviews
Price £24.99
Publisher Aksys (US) Rising Star Games (EU)
Progress: Platinum Trophy

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The hits keep coming for Hatsune Miku Diva X

Is there no stopping her? It looks like there's a bunch of new songs out of Hatsune Miku as DLC in Japan, With the inevitable new costumes, scenes and other fun, but will she ever come west in her latest guise? Given Sega's general state of crapness, I'm guessing that promise of an Autumn date might not happen.

Tune in to the strings of Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana OST

Falcom has popped a new YouTube clip with a few audio highlights from the Lacrimosa of Dana OST. There's a few impressive looking screenshots of the game in action to keep you interested, the game is out in July with the OST as part of the limited editions, maybe with the new Vita models. Also love the banners on the game's site!

Why do UK Vita retail games never make the main chart?

We've always known Vita games haven't sold well in recent years, well here's how few they sell, as a format. That answers the question why its so rare for a Vita game to hit the full chart. All hail our almost-digital-only-future!

Most weeks I chuckle and joke that any new Vita charting game sold maybe 300 copies. Turns out, I was right. This is why... the Vita barely sold 5,000 copies of boxed games in retail stores last month. The stat from font-of-all-sales-knowledge, ZhugeEX on Twitter, helps explain why you don't see games in stores these days. And with sales down nearly 70% on last year, that will never change.

I think Steins Gate in 2015 and Final Fantasy X/X-II in 2014 were the last Vita games to break into the all formats chart. That's a long way to fall considering Vita dominated the top 10 on launch, but all those games had gone within a month, and only bigger names like Mortal Kombat or exclusives like Gravity Rush, AC3: Liberation and CoD Declassified would really bother the main chart.

Largely because I guess most of these come from Amazon and other online retailers, not the few places that still put boxes on shelves. Also, most Vita owners are either digital only, especially with constant sales happening, or buy games from Limited Run or places likes NISA's store for limited editions, which don't register with retail sales. Finally, most of those boxed sales are probably Minecraft or Lego games, perennial top five lurkers in the Vita chart.

And, to think, the UK is one of the Vita's more popular territories, so expect even worse stats from around the west. Generally though, boxed software only has a few months more to live before it becomes either collectables only or history.

Friday, May 20, 2016

More battle action from Caligula, barely

Okay, so far Furyu was doing a good job of impressing me with previous videos, then along comes this dud of a gameplay clip. Bumbling about in an virtual reality aquarium or museum, we get a really static looking battle, then people blather on about their erosion rates.

At no point are the graphics impressive, while none of the battle moves make me think wow! Hopefully this is a just a one off, but Furyu's marketing people really need to think about what they put out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Japan's holiday week sees dozy sales

Nothing much happened in Japan last week, with PS4 Uncharted the only new entry at the top of the Media Create chart. Pro Jikkyou baseball and Minecraft hung around the top 10 for the Vita, but on much reduced sales, with Minecraft celebrating 1 million sales last week.

The Vita itself managed 12,300 sales, that's still over 21% of the market, which seems to be a stable niche. Next up on the release list are Dragon Quest Heroes 2 and Cladun Sengoku, landing on 27 May, expect a couple more quiet weeks until those figures come in.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Grand Kingdom gets DLC characters for free

Are you ready for pain? Are you ready for suffering? Then how about another bunch of characters to over-complicate the already complicated team dynamic of Grand Kingdom. NIS America is throwing them into the main game for free, mainly as no one would buy such a generic bunch of cardboard cut-out characters (I guess).

Set for a summer release, Vita owners don't get any of the special editions, but at least we get a physical copy. Fortunately the fantastic visuals and deep tactical gameplay should make it a worthwhile buy, or will you go for the more action-oriented Odin Sphere? Choices, choices!

Sony marketing fail No. 1734

Holy cow, Sony is trying to market the Vita, but only to existing owners. This email just arrived in my inbox, promoting the delights of Severed, Axiom Verge, Foul Play and Rocketbirds 2.

However, telling me - a Vita owner - about their existence is beyond useless. What Sony actually needs to be sending out to the world are YouTube sizzle reels showing off these games in action on the handheld.

Then, it needs to get the remaining major third parties together and put on some, any, kind of showing at E3 highlighting the successes of the year and the big games to come. Not every gamer needs to be shovel fed the next CoD, Battlefield and whatever other high-poly cannon fodder there is. Breaking this grim cycle of shows fixated on pointless revisions is not helping the industry.

Finally, it needs to stop show some balls and make an effort to halt this whole "Vita is dead" misconception. While it is perfectly understandable that it wants to drive focus on PS4 and PS VR, the company is now raking in plenty of cash and can afford to spread the love.

Sony has to face the fact that the Vita isn't going away, it might not sell in huge numbers, but Europe and Japan prove that it is doing well enough to merit some attention, beyond the occasional email to existing owners.

Yes, this may sound a bit ranty, but the Vita community puts in about 3,000% percent more effort to support the handheld than the company that made it. Which for a product that still on the shelves is pretty embarrassing for Sony!

Perhaps the mail-out will remind a few lapsed Vita users of the gaming goodness that awaits their dusty system, so yeah - there could be a point to it. But it still highlights the fact that Sony could, and should, be doing so much more.

Steamworld Heist sticks up the Vita in May

Continuing the fabulous roll of awesome gaming goodness landing on the Vita, here comes Image and Form's SteamWorld Heist, landing just a week after Downwell on 31 May.

The space pirate game I reckon riffs off good/bad sci-fi movie The Ice Pirates is Cross Buy with the PS4 version and will cost $19.99, €19.99 or £15.99 depending on where you call home, about the same as the 3DS version, so no moaning about price.

As a bonus, there's a 15% discount to knock off and the Outsider DLC will be available from day one for rampant completionists. You'll have to slum it with this PS4 screenshot until the developers turn up some Vita pics.

UPDATE: Game release dropped back a week to 7/8 June, no biggie!

Sony at E3, move on Vita owners, nothing to see

In the past, I used to get a little excited come E3 time, but the last year has seen Sony desperately trying to hammer that last nail in the Vita's coffin. Sony being Sony, they can't even do that properly and we lurch on as a happy indie/retro/JP loving band of gamers.

So, with a month to go until this year's big show, expect a big fat zero from Sony as it focuses on VR gaming.

The criminal shame of it is, the Vita has had a roaring year so far, with Digimon Cyber Sleuth and Trails of Cold Steel being true AAA-class games with a mighty roster of indies (Axiom Verge, Risk of Rain, Severed etc) making portable gaming truly awesome.

Sony hasn't even managed to drop one sizzle reel showing all this potential off, and refused to address concerns that Vita hardware is being withdrawn from some markets. So, it probably won't care a damn about western releases for God Eater 2, Odin Sphere, Zero Escape 3 and other games that would be widely welcomed on any platform.

Hopefully the third parties will shine a light on the Vita, with those and many more titles still to come. Since Sony's press event is at 2AM for me, I'll be tucked up in bed not giving a damn what the company says. Ultimately, the Vita will get on fine with no news or support shown at E3, but it would be still be cool for Sony to give the smallest of cares!

Cancelled Elder Scrolls Oblivion on the PSP revealed

Stuff Indiana Jones, video games archaeology is clearly the business to be in. There are so many missing in action titles out there to uncover content for, and make a killing on YouTube. The latest game to come back to life is Oblivion a much-anticapted portable take on the mighty Elder Scrolls games.

UPDATE: Well, that lasted long, ZeniMax have pulled the clip, clearly confirming that a Vita version is in the works! :) 

New, working (for now) links are here.

There are two different clips from a year apart showing the advancements made, and how a decent looking product may have emerged. Sure the fighting mechanic looks a bit ropey, but this demo proves the power of the PSP and what could have been!

Add this to the Saint's Row PSP game that was uncovered earlier in the year and its easy to see how a little good luck could have raised the PSP's profile among core gamers, and (perhaps) made the Vita more relevant.

Instead, these were dumped, we were lied to about Bioshock and Sony shafted everyone by dropping support. Given the insane love for JRPGs on the Vita, can't someone blast out a classic 3D western tale on one of the many engines? Kickstarter beckons surely.

Lego Marvel Avengers gets Agents of SHIELD DLC

Wow, having been stiffed on some DLC in recent LEGO outings, it looks like the Vita version is nudging closer to console parity. TT Games is bringing the Agents of SHIELD crew over to the game for more superhero mashing fun. In the bundle of characters, you get Koenig, Cal, Deathlok, Fitz, May, Bobbi, Raina, Jemma and Daisy.

While the Vita version doesn't quite have the full open world, the portable experience is now a fair bit closer to the full-fat consoles and if we keep getting the DLC, then many thanks to Traveller's Tales. Next up is Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, can't wait to see what goodies we get with that.

The UK team has been doing Lego games for six years now, hopefully Warner will let them try something original soon.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mystery Chronicle flaunts its pixelated nipples on the Vita

Spike has confirmed it is bringing Mystery Chronicle our way in summer with the endless scrolling RPG of death providing all news ways to become an ex-adventurer. Subtitled One Way Heroics, the trailer promises sexual themes and nudity! That's probably not happening while you march further into the non-stop game, pushed on by a wall or red flame. making risky diversions for loot and better equipment.

They could appear in the static artwork which litters the scenes. More info on the US PSN blog. The game is Cross Buy with the PS4 version, but we all know little pixels are better!

Dragon Quest Heroes II's cinematic looks like a mobile game ad

Ooops, I guess they don't get those grim mobile King of Thrones*, Game of Kings, Toilet of Princess game adverts on TV in Japan. Which is exactly what this Dragon Quest Heroes II opening cinematic looks like to me.

*In-game graphics look nothing like these cheesy renders!

I guess the demographic for Japan is slightly younger too, but it really does feel like a poor and deeply generic effort. The game is out in a couple of weeks and will still sell truckloads across all three PlayStation formats, but I reckon the Vita will lead the way. Now all we need to know is will this and Builders come west!

Megatagmension Blanc + Neptune Vs Zombies hits UK No. 1

The UK Vita retail chart doesn't need many sales for a game to hit No. 1. I have no idea how few such a niche game with a terrible title managed, but all hail Megatagmension Blanc + Neptune Vs Zombies from Idea Factory, Compile Heart and Tamsoft.

What do we reckon, 100 to 300 retail sales? How much long will any publisher continue to put games on shelves, perhaps opting for own-store retail limited editions or pre-order to publish schemes like Limited Run. Or, they'll go all digital and that's out lot for the little blue cases.

Over on PSN, where frankly most of the action is these days, there's plenty of small titles rushing to the top to mix in it with Japan's bigger titles. Hopefully Severed sold well enough in its first weeks to make DrinkBox feel it was worth the effort, although only 179 ratings suggest it didn't go mental.

1. Neverending Nightmares
2. Corridor Z
3. Azkend 2
4. Ray Gigant
5. The Sun and the Moon
6. Severed
7. Aegis of Earth
8. Risk of Rain
9. Axiom Verge
10. Samurai Warriors 4 Empires

God Eater 2 is already atop the Amazon UK Vita top sellers thanks to hefty pre-orders, among a mix of oldies with Megatagmension only making into just into the top 10.

Caligula gets a flowery Vita limited edition

Scampering after the Ys VIII LE comes another new look for Sony's portable, suggesting the company has high hopes for Furyu's Caligula, not quite Persona title. There are four options, but the flower design looks the most pleasing. The only thing is, those black screw heads look really nasty on the white cases, something Sony could surely fix with a bit of paint.

And, if the company has the facilities to churn out all these LEs, why can't it have a western site where we can pay a little extra to order any of the basic black, or if you're lucky, blue colours - without any LE games, just a pretty Vita with western settings.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Root Letter's third trailer gives us a clue

Root Letter is definitely turning into one of the darker visual novels I've had an interest in, mainly thanks to the handy subtitles, even for the JP version. As long as Kadokawa don't give too much away before it gets here, as we're already on a third trailer.

I'm guessing we're looking at Steins Gate levels of depth to keep people interested, which is no bad thing. Out in the summer, it should be worth picking up.

Friday, May 13, 2016

English Attack on Titan Wings of Freedom videos swoop into action

Oh, heck, there's a lot of them. I'll just put the one up as they're the same as the JP clips with English guidance on them! Of course, they are from the PS4 version - heaven forbid anyone should see the lesser Vita version in action.

Until recently I didn't have a clue about the original series, but its on UK Netflix if you want to get acquainted and, apart from the endless shouting, is pretty damn good. And, before you ask, yes the Vita version is only getting a digital release, with the pretty Treasure Box version being PS4 only.

Ys VIII goes into battle in new trailer

Hot on the heels of the Vita limited editions comes a new gameplay trailer for Falcom's Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana. The all-real time battling is pretty fast paced, and the scale and variety of monsters is pretty cool, if it keeps up throughout the game.

Dynasty Warriors Eiketsuden strategy trailer and Treasure Box

Japan gets more Dynasty Warriors fun in August with the Eiketsuden strategy game. This is a new trailer from Tecmo, but I'm getting distinct deja vu, perhaps its just the mention of the Treasure Box editions at the end that has changed.

Tip the Velvet trailer in Odin Sphere

Meet Velvet, the Red Riding Hood character in this remake of the vivid and operatic PS2 title. More pummeling, more dragons, with added ducks! As someone who still has Dragon's Crown on his Vita, can't wait for this one.

Something else for me to learn, Osomatsu-san!

Who the, what the, why the? I'm guessing this is the Japanese Family Guy or something. Never having heard of it before, but apparently its the Vita's next big thing. Very big! Very, very, big. if you believe the gibbering rattling around the forums.

A big hit last year in Japan, my research so far suggests it involves a family identical sextuplets, shouting, cats, screeching and big teeth. All these is the one piece of art for now, even on Amazon Japan, but I'd imagine the game will follow the manga and anime lines.

Idea Factory is releasing an Otome title based on the series, as a Vita exclusive. So, I guess its time for me to binge watch that, having just finished finding out what the hell Attack on Titan was all about.

Depending on where you read, it'll be crap but huge, great but niche, and already western anime fans all calling for a translation. To boost sales in Japan, there are six special editions, one for each main character, which seems a big stretch. Release date is 2017.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Minecraft Vita has sold a million in Japan

With boxed sales at over 750,000 according to Media Create, some basic maths says that 250,000 copies (at least) have been downloaded, as Japan celebrates the portable version of Mojang's block building fun-fest hitting the million mark.

The game got a physical release months after the digital launch, so the red bars will be boxed sales, which have kept the game in the Japanese top 10 pretty much since launch. Congrats to Mojang, although Sony must be furious that someone is showing positive Vita sales figures!

Note, these are Famitsu numbers, which put sales at 1,001,468 by the end of April. The PS3 and PS4 versions have sold around 644,000 between them. Apparently this if the first Vita game to hit a million in Japan, so it probably gets a nice Sony award at the end of year - not bad for a Microsoft game :)

Ys VIII limited edition Vita looks the business

The Sony Store in Japan has another exclusive Vita model on the way. Black and glacier white versions of a Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana console with custom rear and UI backgrounds will arrive on 21 July for around 21,000 yen. Do like the box it comes it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Meet the cast of Atelier Sophie

I think there were about five hundred and nine of these videos for the Japanese version. Hopefully Koei has condensed that into one manageable one for western consumption. Meet the cast of Atelier Sophie...

In the game, alchemy is key to crafting useful items that can aid Sophie and her friends on their travels. Throughout their journey players are encouraged to discover and concoct a variety of new and useful recipes, which are then added to the Mysterious Book, Plachta, whose memories slowly return as her pages are filled.

Vita sales hold in Media Create chart as Japan holidays

Golden Week proved the usual snooze fest for Japan. Vita sales were down a couple of thousand and there were no new entries in the chart. The only moves of note are Pro Jikkyou Baseball on Vita moving above the PS4 version to No. 3, while One Piece Burning Blood approaches 50,000 sales after two weeks. Wonder if it will sell better in Europe, based on Bandai's earlier figures.

According to the Media Create Numbers, the Vita is just a two or three weeks sales away from hitting five million in Japan, wonder if there will be any sort of celebration, news or updates out of Sony for the event?

Next up on the release list are Dragon Quest Heroes 2 and Cladun Sengoku, landing on 27 May.

Bandai games sell loads in Europe

Bandai Namco has released its latest financial report, and while most of the detail is hidden, one massive fact is that the company is raking in the cash from Europe with 13,272,000 games sold on our continent, almost beating Japan and the US combined.

Guess we really love all that Gundam, Dragonball and One Piece, which are its biggest sellers (including toys and merchandise) according to the report. There's no breakdown in sales or formats, digital vs physical, but hopefully we'll get some better info out of the company later.

With 57 distinct titles across the year, it also has to be one of the biggest publishers on the planet, although that number will be down to 46 for next year.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dex will cyberpunk your Vita later this year

Czech developed cyberpunk game Dex was first unveiled last October. Now we're getting some more info from the launch trailer, hitting major consoles this summer with the Vita version to follow soon after.

The Dreadlocks game mixes adventure, fighting and typically dark cyberpunk overtones, in a stylish 2D world. Set in the city of Harbor Prime, you get to roam the neon-lit streets, and augment your character with skills and implants, and pummel the locals who stand in your way of the truth.

Monday, May 9, 2016

MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death will rise on the Vita

Idea Factory is bringing yet another Japanese curio dungeon crawler our way, with an autumn release for MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death. The Compile Heart title sees the rotation of the celestial bodies stopping, and a gang of young ladies, without a warm item of clothing between them, must survive through four tower mazes and set things in motion again!

These heroines, led by Maki above, will be joined in battle by giant mechanical Guardians, whose individual parts can be customized in multiple ways to suit your battle style against a multitude of elemental enemies! To be honest, it all looks a bit Digimon, but that's no bad thing.

Pics from the Japanese version, presumably the subtitling translation elves are hard at work. The game will be available both digitally and at retail, and is PS TV compatible. There's an official website here.


Meet the girls of Uppers

Uppers is kicking and punching its way to release in Japan. Presumably one of the rewards for all that pugilism is a date with some of the fetching ladies that Marvelous is showing off. They'll be featuring on the some of the limited edition game cards when Uppers lands in mid-July.

Limited Edition buyers also get a Knuckle Uppers booklet loaded with art, a dual-CD soundtrack, plus DLC codes some cossies for the girls.

 If that's just some fluff on the edge of the game for you, and what do you expect from some of hte team behind the Senran Kagura games, here's some people throwing bikes and cars at each other in the latest clip!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tiny Barbarian DX coming to consoles, Vita maybe?

Nicalis has signed a deal to publish cool indie Steam title StarQuail's Tiny Barbarian DX on console. The trouble is they aren't saying which ones, only "to be announced". Looking at the three-year old gameplay clip, I don't see anything the Vita couldn't handle, guess its just down to the economics.

Start politely badgering Nicalis if you would like to see Tiny Barbarian DX on Sony's handheld! Given Sony suggests we ask Sony to bring the iOS Uncharted mini-game to the Vita, looks like we have to do everything ourselves these days.

On offer are:
  • An epic journey offers a musclebound medley of engaging 2D platforming and 16-bit inspired pixel art, complemented by a catchy chip-tune soundtrack.
  • Fast and addictive 2D platforming: leap, grab, hang, ride and climb past a plethora of perilous platforms and pitfalls 
  • Varied swordplay: Flay enemies with savage swordplay and finish off foes by skillfully ending three-button combos with a Sword Dash, the Spinning Sword or a Ground Slam 
  • Unique locales: muscle through four distinct episodes, each spanning across various landscapes including a snake worshipping temple, the mysterious Ruins of Xanadu, an altitudinous Sinister Spire and beyond! 
  • Bad bosses: use Barbarian brutality, brains and dexterity against epic bosses. Boss battles will truly test players’ ability to master Tiny’s skills! 
  • Exclusive content: included with the game on top of the main episodes is also an additional bonus episode , The Domain of the Ice Queen! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Vita sales rattle along in Japan

Ahead of this week's Golden holiday, Japan snapped up quite a few Vita consoles last week, topping 20,000 which seems about par for the course in recent years. On the games front in the Media Create chart, this year's cute baseball title sells well across all formats, while Eve Burst Error creeps in near the bottom. Minecraft is over the 750K physical sales barrier!

01./00. [3DS] Kirby: Planet Robobot (Nintendo) - 144.846 / NE
02./00. [PS4] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2016 (Konami) - 101.981 / NE
03./00. [PSV] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2016 (Konami) - 84.973 / NE
04./00. [PS3] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2016 (Konami) - 56.477 / NE

08./02. [PSV] One Piece: Burning Blood # (Bandai Namco) - 10.197 / 42.880 (-69%)

11./15. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony)- 8.991 / 752.549 (+44%)

16./04. [PSV] Bullet Girls 2 (D3 Publisher) - 6.339 / 23.562 (-63%)
17./00. [PSV] Eve: Burst Error R # (Red Flagship) - 5.699 / NEW

Overall, the Vita seems well on course for another million sales in Japan in 2016, and releases show no signs of slowing down. Things are quiet for a couple of weeks now until Dragon Quest Heroes 2 and Cladun Sengoku land on 27 May.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Persona 5 trailer will be remote played

Still time to start saving up for a PS4, as the platform's first essential JRPG is a while off. It looks like a Japanese September release for the PS4 and PS3 game, and while there's still not Vita version on the horizon, I guess remote play means I can cover it.

Yes, Persona 5 looks gorgeous, but there's nothing there that couldn't run on the Vita with a few effects turned down and some of the wider scenes narrowed in a bit. Atlus have had a big show and tell today with the anime and game getting lots of exposure.

There's an E3 site suggesting a western release this year or early next, but don't count your heroes until they've transformed!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Take on new adventures in Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens

There are six new (mis)-adventures featured in the new Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens game, expanding on the plot of the movie. They all come with new lines from the original cast and include:

  • Rathtar Hunting – Follows Han Solo and Chewbacca’s voyage to capture the ravenous Rathtars. 
  • Lor San Tekka’s Return – Uncovers secrets behind Lor San Tekka’s journey to the Jakku Village. 
  • Poe to the Rescue – Details Poe Dameron’s daring rescue mission to save Admiral Ackbar. 
  • Crimson Corsair– Explores how the notorious Outer Rim pirate, the Crimson Corsair, foiled the plans of the First Order. 
  • Trouble Over Taul– Follows the events leading up C-3PO’s acquisition of his new red arm. 
  • Ottegan Assault– Reveals a puzzle piece to how the Resistance and the First Order find Lor San Tekka on Jakku.
Expect more Star Wars goodies and news across May the 4th! There's already been a PS4 bundle announced with a copy of the game and movie. No digital-only Vita bundle for Amazon, Sony. Is it really that expensive to produce a few new Vita box wraps?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Western One Piece Burning Blood gameplay clips

Bandai's One Piece Burning Blood hits western stores in early June (digitally and at retail on the Vita and PS4) and here's a couple of new English language clips of the game in action to show the characters at top banter. There's a digital deluxe version that comes with the DLC up front.

That includes Six alternate versions of playable characters, featuring new special moves and outfits: Ace and Shanks in their classy black suits, Sabo dressed up as Lucy, Zoro wearing his well-know bandana and torn clothes, and Doflamingo and Trafalgar Law from their duel at Dressrosa. Eight new costumes: Nami, Robin, Hancock, Perona and Koala are joining the fight in their sexy swimsuits. There's also a young version of Whitebeard, a new costume for Law and Bon Clay cloned as Nami! Four customisable HUDs in the colors of Doflamingo, Sabo, Ace and Trafalgar Law.

99 Vidas gets a punchy trailer

Brazilian brawler 99 Vidas (99 Lives) from QUByte is getting close to its fighting weight as launch gets nearer. Riffing on classic arcade games like Final Fight, Double Dragon, Battletoads, Streets of Rage, it packs in a co-op mode for old-school multiplayer and a host of characters to play as.

Stranger of Sword City is the UK's No. 1 Vita game

Quite a few new releases haven't managed to dethrone Minecraft's never-ending sales in the UK, but Stranger of Sword City does the trick, but fails to bother any of the multi-format charts. With a revamped version hitting Japan, I wonder if we'll get a big update, or will NIS try and sell us that edition too?

Over on Amazon UK, Lego Avengers is tops thanks to its £14.99 price point with Stranger outside the top 10. Otherwise its the usual mix, but with typical mid-teen prices for most games, the Vita is looking quite the bargain if you can find a console cheap.

On PSN, we have Axiom Verge and Shovel Knight, thanks to its recent sale, representing the indies. New released Severed has 125 ratings and should join the fun when the chart updates.

1. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
2. Senran Kagura Estival Versus
3. Axiom Verge
4. Hitman Go
5. Day of the Tentacle Remastered
6. Shovel Knight

Pixel platformer Tower of Samsara hits Kickstarter

Things have been a bit quiet on the Kickstarter Vita front this year, is the old console just slowly drifting out of developers' plans? Whatever, here's one to back with Tower of Samsara, which my auto-correct is already calling Tower of Satsuma!
It features intense platforming and battling, environment manipulation and puzzles, choices, unique art style and online collaborative components. The game also presents a mix of lores from various philosophies - such as Buddhism, stoicism, Greek and Roman Mythology - which will resignify objects, actions, reality, life and death.
Another dinky pixel platformer, it has a €60K Vita and PS4 stretch goal, and looks like it would fit perfectly alongside Risk of Rain, it even has a soundtrack by the same muso. It could also be the first ever third-party game announced for Nintendo's NX if it gets enough backing! Get funding and check out what other Vita games you can back.

Delivery is listed as December 2018, which would make it the first Vita game listed for release that year, or even 2019 if there's porting delays.

UPDATE: Due to interest from Vita fans, the Vita version is now part of the main €42K main goal, with a €15 tier to get the portable version! 
PSVITA UPDATE: You asked, we listened! Because of all the overwhelming PlayStation fan support, the team at Martelo Nero have decided to merge the PS Vita stretch goal into our main goal! Additionally, you can now add €5 to any tier containing a digital game key to upgrade it to a PS Vita game key! We are so thankful to all of our fans, and will continue to listen to you all for feedback so we can make the best product possible.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Experience gets a new logo, we get a new Stranger of Sword City game

Japanese RPG development aces Experience Inc had a big press event before the Golden Week holiday and managed to sneak out a new logo and a new Vita game. Well, an update to Stranger of Sword City at any rate. I like the little progress line on the new logo, but otherwise its rather conventional.

The new game, out on the 21 July is an update with improvements in combat, items, careers, characters and a bunch of other stuff. It sounds like the original game (hitting the west any time now) met with a weak response and Experience has been hard at work fixing things.

Mighty No. 9 goes gold, Vita version to follow

After three years and one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns of its time, Mega Man worshipper Comcept's Mighty No. 9 has gone gold. The major console versions hitting in June, leaving the Vita and 3DS versions to follow on after the porting teams at Abstraction Games and Engine Software have done their best. Hopefully Keiji Inafune is watching closely and not letting them off with a low-cost port.
A little more info in the MN9 blog post, with the neat little Golden Beck model, but I'm guessing it'll be well into the second half of the year before we see this in portable form.

Mages' pants raiding game offers 32 flavours

No idea what this game is really called, but its hitting the Vita in Japan, and likely nowhere else. The aim appears to be to get to see a series of girls in their pants by some of more peculiar means know to gaming.

Given some Japanese games, it actually looks almost boring, apart from the gun in one scene, and 5pb and Mages have but out some corkingly perverse titles between them. Apparently the game is called "Punch Line" which is I guess what happens to the guy if he gets caught being overly familiar. Anyway.... moving on!

Uppers comes back fighting fit

Marvelous' Uppers, the schooly brawler is back on the attack, after the publisher delayed it to balance the subject for the insane creatures that inhabit Japan's education system. How does a school day go buy without some almighty bust up, an outbreak of cosplaying or being teleported to a grim alternate dimension?

Anyway, add more punching, kicking and bigger score bubbles and we seem to have a game on our hands. There's already a demo out in Japan and the new video shows off a couple of new moves, so hopefully fighting fans will be more accepting of the game, with the team having just a couple of months until launch.

Pixel power drives the Longest Five Minutes

Nippon Ichi's World's Longest Five Minutes might not have the catchiest title, but for fans of pixel RPGs, it should hit the spot. It seems your ultimate battle against a demonic king is hampered as he wipes your memory, meaning while you start at the final fight, you spend most of the game in flash backs, relearning your skills and regaining your experience.

Not sure if that will translate well, but its a neat concept. The game is out at the end of July and continues to prove the Vita doesn't need insane polygon counts to have a good time.