Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday is Japanese Vita trailer day (again)

I do love our little Friday get togethers to peer at what's coming out of Japan soon.

Horror game Iwaihime: Matsuri is the lead trailer out of Japan today, a remake of a PC visual novel, it has the requisite number of  weird things to scare the pants off people including Japanese dolls, antler-clad school girls and blobby monsters. Coming from NIS, the game is out in July, has to be a decent hope of a western release.

Also out today is a new clip of God Wars in action, Kadokawa's tactics game looks like bags of fun!

Not really a trailer, but Omega Labyrinth Z is getting a bunch of soundtrack CDs and you can listen to a few clips on this six-minute song-fest.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Yomawari Midnight Shadows will darken western skies

Only a few days after the Japanese announce, we already have confirmation of the new Yomawari game coming our way. Subtitled Midnight Shadows, the game is set for an autumn release thanks to NIS America.

UPDATE: The Japanese website is live with a  mini-game to play on the screen and a collection of pics to peer at, probably won't be long until a western equivalent is live.

Details are light, but from the Japanese news, it is set in a more mountainous world and another pair of girls put in peril by the things that go bump in the night. The original was atmospheric and fun, expect pretty much the same in this release.

UPDATE: NIS America has now dropped a set of screens showing off the game in action, looks broadly similar to the original, but with new monsters, larger indoor areas and other treats. Tap the top pic to open the image browser.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Meet Nekone in Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception

The cast of Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception continues to build with Atlus releasing a trailer showing Nekone in action. Ukon's sister is usually busy being an overachiever in the Imperial Capital.

She's incredibly intelligent and has passed numerous exams in the pursuit of becoming a full-fledged Scholar of Philosophy. While Haku's lazy personality may irritate her, she worships Ukon and develops a close bond with Kuon. Although Nekone's just a child, she acts as a great healer in battle and proves to be a gifted strategist.

Dungeon Travelers 2-2 sells well in Japan

The latest Media Create chart data continues to show flatlining Vita sales, but games do still sell well, and its that fact that will keep the Vita rolling into 2018, and probably beyond. In this week's chart, Dungeon Travelers 2-2 from AquaPlus lands at No. 4 as the only Vita game in the top 20, selling 27,381 copies. Famitsu had it as selling 30K copies (60-80% of its shipment).

Out this week in Japan are Akiba's Beat, Exile Election and Gun Gun Pixies and a bunch of visual novels which might dent the chart next week, but No. 1 will very definitely by Mario Kart!

On the hardware side, Vita sales are down to 5,164, continuing a gentle slide down to wherever this ride ends up.  There's still no sign of Sony's for the kids campaign kicking off, but when it comes to the Vita, the company has hardly been in a hurry!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Float along with new Spike RPG Zanki Zero

Look to the horizon, possibly into 2018 when this new Spike RPG could hit Japan. Zanki Zero is a story set on a flooded Earth, developed by the Danganronpa 2 team. Among the ruins, young and old must survive and expand their world, with a large party of eight characters playing important individual roles across the chapters.

UPDATE: A new piece of art for the game that adorns the cover of the new Dengeki PlayStation magazine.

Gameplay takes place on a seamless world map, with battles taking place in the same area. On the plus side, for once this game can get away with putting characters in swimwear, without batting an eyelid. They could also put in a fishing mini-game and it would make actual sense! Although I hope there's some aquatic armour for dealing with the creatures that now thrive in the floods.

Famitsu has some artwork, in its brief reveal, but with the game only 10% complete, don't go expecting soggy gameplay clips any time soon.

Drive Girls racing to Europe, official!

Weird that this almost random release leaked like a dodgy old Morris Minor, but its now official that Rising Star Games are bringing Tamsoft's Drive Girls to the west. Not only that, its getting a physical release. The mech-battling-driving ladies might appeal but with the likes of Panzer Girls still lurking in Japan, surely there are more likely heroines publishers could bring our way.

No sign of a US release, yet.

Monday, April 24, 2017

SAO: Hollow Realization getting Abyss of the Shrine Maiden DLC

Sword Art Online fans will have a lot more adventuring on their plates soon, as Bandai start to roll out the DLC for Hollow Realization.  This first batch of DLC on 16th May, with two more chapters to follow.

The first DLC will put you in the shoes of Kirito and his friends exploring a new stage in Aincrad Castle - where flaming earth, magma and heat waves dominate the atmosphere. While trying to clear this incredible new stage players will also be faced with the challenge of trying to defeat Bane - the crimson demon. Keep your eyes peeled as a mysterious masked person makes his appearance. Will it be an ally or a new enemy?

Along with the main scenario comes the following:
  • Heroine Quest – where you will have the chance to add Asuna, Lisbeth, Silica and Premiere as heroines in the first chapter.
  • Enigma Order Quest – where you can acquire the precious Fuse Paragon, Mystic and Ultana GP.
  • Items and skills-  for becoming powerful as never before.
  • Customization -  change the appearance of the main characters.

More screens and detail on Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory

Following on from the recent Japanese update, here's a look at some new western screens of Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Story in action. These focus on the Internet Cafe where the hacker and his friends get together, including Hacker genius Erika Mishima. The game arrives in early 2018 here, but progress seems to be going well.

 To prove his innocence, Keisuke Amazawa has to become a new member of Hudíe -  a hacking group of the digital world. The team is used to meet in an internet café in Ikebukuro to solve and settle all kinds of troubles in the digital world. From there, Keisuke Amazawa will be able to access underground websites, accept a variety of requests (and unlock many new quests by interacting with various NPC) to become the perfect hacker and solve the digital mysteries.

 By using Digimon abilities, the new generation of hackers can use several hacking skills to unlock security or support the Hudíe members such as Erika Mishima, a genius girl who acquired mysterious powers following an accident. Conflict between hackers becomes intense especially when Fey, the leader of the biggest hacker group called Zaxon, uses Hudíe to get rid of the hackers who interfere with her business.

Akiba's Beat Story trailer

This popped up last week, but is well worth checking out, as are the pics comparing the real Akihabara to the in-game version. PQube are bringing Acquire's Akiba's Beat to western gamers, on May 19 (Europe). The action RPG with a musical twist is set in an accurate but stylised recreation of Akihabara.

UPDATE: I'm reviewing the game now, the game struggles with graphical tearing and some poor combat choices early on - plus a lot of exposition chat for even the simplest of progress! Hopefully it comes together soon. PQube are putting up regular character trailers for the crew, starting with Asahi and Saki.

As dark forces descend on the town, the people’s memories, hopes and dreams manifest in reality and warp Akihabara in strange ways, threatening the very fabric of space and time!

Persona 5 triggers sales of Persona 4 titles

While it might not be big numbers, the arrival of Persona 5 has seen sales of the Vita's Persona roster rise. Off the back of Persona 5, it is good to see Persona 4: Dancing All Night as UK retail No. 1, with Persona 4 Golden also returning to the top 10 at No. 9. While some people were down on the tranquil nature of Root Letter, the placid visual novel still clings to the higher end of the chart after 24 weeks of release.

And with news that Persona 5 Dancing might be on the cards, who knows if another bout of story-laden musical tapping could be heading our way.

1. Persona 4: Dancing All Night (NISA)
2. Root Letter (PQube)
3. MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (Idea Factory)
4. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Warner)
5. Danganronpa Ultra Despair Girls (NISA)

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2017 UKIE Ltd

Oddly enough, even with Persona 4 Golden at £3.99 on UK PSN, its not among the current top sellers, perhaps because everybody owns it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday is Japanese game trailer day

Yep, another new collection of clips race across the Internet, as eager western gamers wonder what will come our way. First up is Exile Election, the not-quite-Danganronpa title from NIS. Then there's the boy band idol VN Marginal 4 and finally, Artdink has a new trailer to keep promoting Neo Atlas 1469, with a look at the Portuguese traders of the time.

Will add more as they arrive.

And they keep coming, enjoy yet another Blue Reflection trailer, added to the bottom, focusing on some special puzzles for keen players.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Persona 5 Dancing All Night a possibility?

Atlus in Japan has registered a bunch of sites recently. with the names, and and listed. Its not too far of a stretch to imagine a Persona 5 Dancing game, and a Persona 5 Ultimax fighting game using the characters from the new episode. What the others are could be anyone's guess, but the chances of a Persona 5 Golden seem to be slipping fast as Vita sales in Japan.

2015's Persona 4 DAN was fun, but jammed with too much chat, and fluff. Hopefully any future game, assuming it came to Vita would be tightened up. However, Switch or other formats are now more likely.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vita sales continue to fall as Switch takes hold in Japan

Vita sales slid to a level not seen since the barren post-launch wasteland of 2012 in Japan, with the machine selling 5,600 in the latest Media Create hardware sales figures.

Sales are definitely been caned by the Switch, which is selling every unit Nintendo can make in Japan, with Mario Kart to come in a couple of weeks. And with Minecraft coming to Switch soon, it should make an easy replacement for all those Japanese currently loving the blocky game on their Vita.

The only Vita interest on the chart, aside from Minecraft, is Entergram's new busty schoolgirl adventure RepKiss which managed to sell around 3,000 copies.

Still, things are looking up over the next few weeks, with Sting's Dungeon Travelers 2-2 out this week and Desire Remaster, Akiba's Beat and Exile Election on the 27th, but even that lot won't move Vita sales much, Sony needs new colours or a new model and fast to stay competitive, which seems less likely than ever, even as Switch gains steam.

While the small but loyal Vita userbase may continue to punch way above their weight in Japan, the power of the Switch launch will soon see publishers and developers switch focus if momentum continues.

Check out Akihabara as rendered in Akiba's Beat

Just a few weeks to go until we get to roam the streets of Akihabara, home to Akiba's Beat developer Acquire. Which is why they've gone to impressive lengths to capture the look and tone of their own beat. PQube are on publishing duties for PS4 and Vita, and while this may lack the stripping vampires of 2014's Akiba's Trip, it should still sell well as a physical Vita release.

Players enter the delusional dungeons with teams to find out what's causing mayhem on the streets! More on the game here, which is out on the 19th of May in Europe. Rice Digital has a Limited Edition for collectors.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 trailer

Wow, they really are dragging out the Japanese empire building series, with a new Power Up Kit as part of this package. Guess that stuff never gets old! Koei's latest installment comes out at the end of May in the east, with PS4 and PS3 versions in tow. The Vita version has touchscreen controls and use of the camera to create player's own characters.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Rose in the Twilight overview trailer

With a Rose in the Twilight now on sale on EU PSN for just £14.99 you might be tempted, but not sure what all the fuss is about. Let NIS America enlighten you with this new trailer explaining the basics and nuances of the game.

In this sepia platform adventure, a girl awakens in a castle void of color and time, affixed with the Curse of Thorns upon her back. After meeting a sleeping giant, the two work together to escape. Help them unravel the mystery of the thorns and the history behind the somber castle.

Bandai's new game is Code Vein

Coming to unspecified formats, Bandai Namco across the world has just dropped some information via Famitsu to go with last week's teaser trailer. With what looks like a vampire-tinged Souls game, it features a range of attacks, and buddy support, that can strengthen your own character or weaken enemies.

UPDATE: The title now features in the new Famitsu magazine and looks rather too shiny and detailed for the Vita, while still very much in the God Eater vein, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

FURTHER UPDATE: Bandai's western PR state the game is coming to "major home consoles in 2018" which doesn't sound very Vita to me.

UPDATE: Confirmed from E3 2017, the game is for current-next-gen consoles and PC only, no code vein for Vita owners.

As a Unreal Engine-powered game, I'd guess the likelihood of a Vita version is low, although others have proven it can work, if enough hoops are jumped through. And, since its from the some of the God Eater team, they should have the experience to create a version that does the job. More to be found out soon, whenever the Bandai press release arrives, likely this week, with some gameplay videos hitting next month.

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] hitting Japan in Summer

2D brawler from the arcades and PS3, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] is an updated version hitting Japan this Summer on the PS4 and Vita with an updated version, It adds a new playable character and presumably a few tweaks to the battling and costumes. Here's a peek at the PS3 original in action, with some very impressive backgrounds and high-speed battling.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Caligula's digital bundle comes with swimwear

Struggling to find Vita news these days, so even the addition of some swimwear to Atlus' digital bundle of The Caligula Effect will have to do. Yep, you get the game, a theme and some cossie DLC because that's just what you need when fighting off evil music producers in a digital prison!

The game is out in early May and should provide a little help and comfort to those suffering from not owning Persona 5!

Vita rival PGS handheld PC goes Titanium

If you're looking for an after-Vita gaming device, but don't think Nintendo can cut it, there are plenty of others out there, from endless Tegra-powered Android model handhelds to this full PC in a portable console. The PGS must be doing some business as the company behind it are pushing out new models, with Titanium casing and a new software bundle.

A new limited edition, the PGS Hardcore Titanium is due for the end of Q2 2017, with some custom gear for early buyers. Offering full Windows 10 gaming, plus all the emulators you want without having to jump through Henkaku hoops, perhaps this is your next gaming machine? Check out their blog for more details and the system's spec which remains unchanged with an Atom X7 Quad Core CPU and Intel HD video, which might not cut it for big-screen gaming, but should be decent enough for a small screen device.
With all this market activity, and new interest thanks to the Switch is Sony really going to let the Vita go quietly into the night?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Vita sales slides further in Japan

Is it time to ring the alarm bell yet on Vita sales in its home territory? Fair enough, its a quiet week all round, with no new game, but dipping to just below 6,000 sales on the new Media Create chart data is among the worst performances across the Vita's lifetime.

Blue Reflection is already out the chart on Vita and Musou All Stars is dropping fast, while the PS4 versions at least show some resistance. Nintendo's Switch continues to sell out wherever stocks are found, so things are looking slightly bleak on the Vita front.

Does everyone in Japan who wants one now own a Vita? Will future sales just be replacements? Is Sony's sudden interest way too little, too late. The good news is, it doesn't really matter for us, we have a long list of games over the next year, some will be cancelled sure, but the rest will make it and be enjoyed by the loyal Vita community.

Last week's chart

More characters show up for VN Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds

The characters are rolling out for Idea Factory's visual novel Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, with another Blind Date roster of samurai for the plucky heroine, Chizuru, to choose from.

Ryouma Sakamoto: A gunslinging, smooth-talking samurai who offers to help you find your father. Sakamoto hides behind pseudonyms and his charming smile. Can you trust this handsome stranger you've just met?

Kazue Souma: A young samurai who doesn't think highly of the Shinsengumi. Souma is a serious, headstrong person. Kondou invites him to join the Shinsengumi as your first student - can you teach him well? 
Hachiro Iba: A samurai from the Okuzume, the guards who protect the shogun. Iba is the Shinsengumi's old friend from Edo, but for some reason he claims to know you...
The game lands in one month and could well help cement the Vita's reputation as a classy VN machine. 

Cladun Returns gets an intro trailer

Over a year on from the Japanese teaser, and arriving west in June, Cladun Returns is an unashamedly good-fun pixel retro RPG from NIS America. Set in Arcanus Cella, your job is to help out the souls of the dead, who gather there to await reincarnation. What are the odds on there still being lots of vases, chests and leveling up!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle arrives in June

For Europe at least, America gets the latest Touhou fun-fest in July, digital only on Vita! The bullet-hell battle game sees you fighting with arrays of fiery death, melee attacks, or magical spell cards. Featuring ear-tingling beats for each character, you might just find yourself dancing while you play!

The backgrounds look horrendously basic, but that should allow for plenty of speed on the Vita version, as the Kobuto brand continues to go boom! This breaks away pretty heavily from the RPGs, wonder what else NIS can do with the series?

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory gets a rave anthem trailer

With most of the key features in English, suggesting a very close global launch, this is one of the friendlier trailers out of Japan, showing off all cool new stuff in the new Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory adventure.

Looks like a lot more gloss on the PS4 version, which I'm sure will be left out for the Vita, but who cares when one of the most playable games on the console, and one of the better sellers in the west is back for another round.

Hopefully the music in the trailer will be a hint of what's to come - would be cool to have a game that has a header-edged OST. And, of course, lots of new DigiMon to herd and nurture!

MechRunner back on the radar?

Okay, this is odd. After two years of no tweeting, no Kickstarter updates since last August, I'd assumed Spark Plug Games had gone the way of the truth, taking a Vita version of metallic shooter MechRunner with it. So much so, I even peeled off the MechRunner skin from my Vita!

UPDATE: PS4 codes are going out now, The PS Vita version is still in the works, news to follow.

However, all is not lost, the developers just posted an update, that the PS4 version has been approved by Sony. Really guys, the radio silence has not helped your cause! Will there be a Vita version to follow, or has that been dropped, as is often the fashion. The $28K they raised in 2014 must all have gone, so any progress is likely being done around other jobs.

Nippon Ichi put on the frightners

Its only a five second clip, but this new teaser site from NIS Japan, is showing off a new horror game. New clips will be added in the coming weeks, certainly, there's nothing blipvert or subliminal that I can see in the frames of this clip.

Is it a Vita game, is it another class-murder fest or something new, gritty and realistic? Guess we'll find out in a few weeks. Looks like NIS has a few new games up its sleeve, which should give us a good indication of how Vita support, or not, is looking post Switch launch.

UPDATE: Okay, the game is confirmed as a remake, Iwaihime Matsuri, of Ryukishi 07's horror series, coming to PS4 and Vita later this year.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

God Wars latest trailer ups the artwork

Revealed last summer, Kadokawa is still pumping out the trailers for God Wars, with over two months until launch, with a western release also delayed. While I love the video's art style, the game itself looks pretty much like your typical tactics title, which makes me wonder if they are overcompensating for something. Still, it seems pretty impressive and the demo got some good feedback in Japan.

Check out January's anime story trailer for more slick visuals.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Blue Reflection and Musou Stars show the torch passing from Vita to PS4

The tipping points continue to keel over for the Vita, with two games on Sony's big console easily outstripping the handheld.

Crossover whack-a-moler Musou Stars on PS4 hits the No. 2 spot for Tecmo with 40,000 sales, while the Vita version can only manage No. 6 and 17,800. This was pretty much expected, given the shinier and faster console version. Both are way behind Monster Hunter XX on 3DS, which sells another 125K despite horrible user reviews.

A similar battle is between Blue Reflection which is at No. 3 for PS4 with 35K sales and only No. 8 on the Vita with close to 14K sales. That, in the past, would have been closer, or see the Vita winning, so Gust may be wondering how long the portable is worth supporting. At best, it (or publisher Tecmo) just reduces the production run and relies more on digital sales, but that won't help the Vita's visibility in the chart.

Anime-based Death or Kiss is the third Vita title in the Media Create top 10, picking up just under 12K sales, double the PS4 version's, showing where the Vita's strength now lies. While Chaos Child Love Chu Chu creeps into the top 20 with 6K sales.

None of which can help the Vita hardware, it manages just a few hundred more sales on last week, creeping up to 7,780. With no big games on the horizon, except the new Digimon and maybe God Eater, we're really in the territory of praying the major developers stay interested, and relying on niche publishers to keep the bandwagon rolling.

Switch continues to sell well, doing another 45K, with Vita very much clinging onto the coattails of the big three, at 6.5% of hardware sales. Hopefully, Sony will be happy with a flat line year bringing another 600K sales, plus whatever seasonal boosts it can get. But, if whatever is left of the 5 million strong Japanese user base doesn't show up for launches, even that won't save it next year.

Gaming releases go quiet for a couple of weeks now, Dungeon Traveler 2-2 pops out in a fortnight, with Akiba's Beat and Gun Gun Pixies at the end of the month.