Friday, August 24, 2018

Warped Metaverse teases a strange beach life

Warped Metaverse from PrimeShots is a game that's undergone a long gestation and transition from the early looks a couple of years back, when it was known as Project Classic.

It is also a project that answers my recent call for more polygonal Vita games, reminding the world that it can do more than (very) pretty pixels. Check out lead dev's Nicholas Marcelin's Twitter for more.

Not much idea about the game from these clips, bar a few explosions. Great to see a team being ambitious, the only bad news is that winter 2019 release date. Might as well make it January 1st 2020 and be the first Vita game of a new decade!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Latest Vita Media Create data and Famitsu scores

Things went full-on summer holiday mode in Japan last week with no new entries and sales figures heading for the hills. The Vita managed to sell 3,083 units according to Media Create, so even in the quiet times, people are still picking up Sony's ageing hardware in decent numbers. But nothing like the Switch which managed over 54.5K on a no-news week.

Over in Famitsu land, good scores for a couple more Vita games, with slightly higher hopes for the Toybox-developed mystery adventure, World End Syndrome published by Arc System Works where the dead come back to life every 100 years.

World End Syndrome 8/8/8/8
Piofiore no Banshou 8/8/7/8

Death Mark gets a western limited edition

This week has been another one-bit-of-bad-news-outweighing-all-the-good, but the good news does keep trickling out with a physical U.S. release of Death Mark from Aksys for the actual Vita. Featuring an art book, audio CD, stickers and the game, its an impressive haul, the same deal that PS4 and Switch owners are getting, showing commendable effort by Aksys.

Likely getting an autumn release, hopefully we'll see this in Europe as the Experience-developed horror title has all the hallmarks of a dark epic.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Pato Box release dates and punchy trailer

The joy of indie is the ability to do something that no traditional publisher would. Enter Pato Box, possibly the peak indie game to arrive on the Vita (along with Hatoful Boyfriend). With its strong age rating, ludicrous matches and the fact you're a duck all give this game something crazy-magical. That and the fierce mono art style should make this something special, arriving on Vita in September.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Perils of Baking cooking on the Vita

Lillymo Games, and his dog, are hard at work bringing chef-themed platformer Perils of Baking to the Vita. Done when its cooked, the game hit PS4 earlier in the summer and is a full of precision jumping challenges, clever use of vertical space and pancakes!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Canned Mega Drive shooter HardCore brings the noise to Vita

Two points here. There are many legendary cancelled games across developer history. Imagine's Bandersnatch, NovaLogic's Necrocide and many more fell by the way side for a host of reasons. Check out Unseen64 for a massive list across history's gaming formats.

Second, physical publishers focused on limited runs of indie titles can only farm the current and recent crop so far down the food chain before people stop buying, because they aren't good enough or are too niche. Therefore a logical archaeological exercise is to start digging up some of those abandoned games and bring them back to life, assuming the code, music and art assets still exists.

Step forward Strictly Limited who have dug into coding history and pulled a corker out of the bag. Hardcore looks fucking epic. To be crude, it's Bitmap Bros. meets Turrican, but so much more

One of the surely-would-have-been-a-hit efforts from legendary publisher Psygnosis and Swedish developed Digital Illusions (who first shot fame with the Pinball Illusions games, and are now EA-DICE). But the good news is the lost-to-history title, originally planned for the Mega Drive, is coming to PS4 and Vita next year.

The official site has more details and screens, and will be the place to sign up for the limited editions. Given that the new-but-old Mega Drive game Xeno Crisis is only coming to the Switch and PS4, this is great news. But I now start wondering, what gems will the publishers dig up next? From a massive seven years ago, here's a very early dream list of mine (of published games), will have to browse through the dumped project list to see what would be great.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bullet Girls snipe the Japanese chart

Vita sales ticked up according to Japan's Media Create data last week, up to just over 3,500. That's as Bullet Girls Phantasia nudged into the chart at No. 19. It sold 6,441 copies, rather far down on the PS4 version's 14,400 hitting the top 10, showing the ever growing gap in cross format sales.

Remember you can import the Asian version of BGP with English subtitles if you want to get down with the trigger happy ladies. Bullet Girls 2 sold 17K on Vita, so a big drop since 2016, the original sold almost 30K on launch in 2014. So, while combined sales are okay, and suggest another episode, perhaps the Vita won't be a format of choice next time.

Looking ahead, Arc System's World End Syndrome is the most interesting release ahead of a raft of visual novels including Killer and Strawberry, for August. But things don't really pick up until September when Steins Gate Elite should make some waves.

Last week's figures confirm Plutonium Pirates for Vita

What a difference a day makes, started the week seeing Vita channels flooded with piracy/homebrew news and the ever-expanding world of Switch goodness. Yet, all it takes is a little good news to change my mood, and here we go with more of it from

After yesterday's Bobby Bombastic announce, today comes confirmation that Plutonium Pirates can run on the Vita, so a port is on the way. That's a truck-load of retro-gaming fun to enjoy and I can't wait to see it in action.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Bobby Bombastic flies in more retro-modern heaven for Vita owners I think are my new favourite people, just when we think the Vita is running out of steam, along comes some new heroes. Having already announced Sigi A Fart for Melusina for September,  they now promise us the tribute-heavy world of Bobby Bombastic, paying homage to a host of 8- and 16-bit titles.

This quick and early WIP clip looks excellent and recreates some of the classics from the dawn of gaming with Atari's HERO! Can't wait to see more.

Root Letter: Last Answer teaser trailer

Not sure if this is a new episode, a revamp or compilation from Kadokawa and Shimane, or for what format (given the series recently went into VR). Whatever, interest is high in Japan, and around the world, for a new Root Letter effort, perhaps even a movie if you dig into the comments.

UPDATE: Confirmed as showing at Tokyo Games Show for PS4 and will release on the Vita

A Root Letter 2 game is definitely on the way, but again with no detail. This could be the same thing, or not. We'll probably get some detail later in the year, with most publishers holding off from actual news in the summer. Still waiting to find out what the Side Kicks developers have up next!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Otomate's Variable Barricade intro video

One thing the Vita will never run out of is a constant supply of otome fun for Japanese gamers. The latest effort, in the form of Idea Factory's Variable Barricade is another romantic tale with sinister undertones.

In this VN tale, a dodgy grandfather sends four charming but scheming suitors to dote on his granddaughter, Hibari Toujou. What is their mission and who will she choose in the usual VN fun and games? More detail on VNDB.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sony's 500 million celebration reveals the number of Vitas sold

Sony is shipping a new PS4 model to celebrate 500 million PlayStation consoles sold since the arrival of the original slim gray box of joy. Over the years, the systems have actually sold 525.3 million various PlayStation consoles according to EuroGamer. But how many did the Vita sell? One or two people at the back of the room mutter, darkly?

Of course, Sony knows the individual numbers and could just tell us, but that would mean admitting a failure, and companies don't like doing that! Still, with a little maths, we can figure out how many the Vita sold out of that enormous figure. Take 525.3 as the starting point and subtract these numbers (grabbed off Wikipedia, but they're mostly Sony's figures, although the company has been increasingly spotty in its reporting, so there's some room for error).

82.3 million PS4 sales to date.
83.8 million PS3 sales lifetime
155 million PS2 sales lifetime
102 million PSone sales lifetime
82 million PSP sales lifetime

Leaving around 20.2 million Vita consoles in the world, which even with a 5% margin of error isn't bad for an abandoned device. That's at the higher end of estimates when people stopped giving a crap around 2015.

For context, Sony was bleeding red ink in those years, and perhaps didn't have the spare capital for multiple major tech investments. But to abandon 80-million PSP users and, around then 15 million Vita users? That's not a smart move and has left the field wide open for Nintendo to steal the whole market.

Anyone can spin this number anyway they like, but I'd say it shows both how badly handled the post-launch period really was, and how damaging Sony unnecessarily ditching western support for it in 2015 affected sales.

Since then, JRPG fans, indie lovers and retro gamers have kept the boat floating thanks to a tight group of developers and publishers, big thanks to them. Since most sales now are import or second-hand, the number could be higher if Sony had kept some faith in the format.

Looking into the history books, while 20 million isn't much by Sony's standards, that's double sales of Dreamcast, in the same ballpark as Game Cube and around where the Switch is now, showing how dumb Sony looks, missing the opportunity to launch a HD remote player or hybrid when it had the chance.

Persona Dancing launch trailers with December date

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the Vita logo on these trailers, just in case Atlus had decided to do something really dumb. More importantly, we have a 4 December release date for both Persona 5 Dancing in Startlight and Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight.

The pre-order button on the new website doesn't work yet, but looks like there's no change to the digital-only Vita release! Check out the 2015 Persona 4: Dancing All Night review if these disco versions are all new to you!

Check out Bullet Girls Phantasia English version in action

Decent size Japanese games not coming west is no longer the problem it used to be, in some cases. Check out the Asian/English version of Bullet Girls Phantasia on action thanks to keen YouTuber Padoca. Hopefully more publishers will take this route to make it easier to import titles without the full cost of a western release.

In the shrinking world of Vita games it may not be the best solution but it does make sense.

Kemco opens Fernz Gate on the Vita

Kemco brings us another Japanese mobile RPG, in the form of Fernz Gate from Kotobuki Solution. The original on iOS rates a decent 4.8/5 on the App Store.

UPDATE: There's now a trophy listing up on Exophase for anyone keen on this turn-based battle fest.

The story goes... After awaking in some unfamiliar woods, Alex, an ordinary high school kid living an ordinary life, learns he has somehow ended up in Fernland, a world where peace and order have been replaced by conflict and destruction.

Fighting to defend himself from monsters, the ever-ominous threat of the Overlord, and one chaotic event after another as he tries to find his own place in this new world, Alex comes across a young woman by the name of Lita from a peaceful world like his own.Hitting it off, they soon become friends and set out together, but what hidden truth awaits them as their adventure begins to unfold...?

- Join forces with buddies and fight! You may even encounter some familiar faces!
- Take advantage of the Secret House and dispatch buddies to collect items or place them on stands to gain special-effects!
- Plant seeds to grow parameter-increasing fruit.
- Easy-to-use tap controls on classic turn-based battles!
- Upgrade and customize weapons!
- A variety of sub quests, monster guide to complete and much, much more!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Punch Line release dated

Europe will get its hands on PQube's Punch Line on August 31st, with America a few weeks later on  September 25th! A supernatural visual novel adventure story by the writer of Zero Escape, the physical Cheermancy release looks like quite the package.

Obviously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with an underwear-obsessed Japanese kid/ghost creature! As long as you enjoy young ladies and their bottoms!

Vita sales tick along nicely in Japan

Vita sales are down just a smidge this week in Japan, down less than 100 on last week's Media Create figures at 3,339. No Vita games in the top 20, as a host of Switch, PS4 and even 3DS releases make the chart, including their Saga Scarlet Grace versions.

The Vita edition sold over 90K in 2016, but these versions at launch sold just 15K on PS4 and 9.5K on Switch. Just a gentle reminder to Square how powerful the Vita user base is. 

FullBlast lines up Vita in its sights

UFO Crash Games' shooter from 2016, FullBlast looks like it is on the way to the Vita via a fresh trophy listing. Flying over a modern city scape, mech insectoid/fish-like alien invaders roll in in waves and need taking out, cue a natty attack craft and a wide range of weapons.

First thought is its a shame the aliens don't do damage to the city around them, and the faster you shoot them the better "protection" bonus, or similar, you get. Second one is, I wonder how the Vita will cope with the rotating sections when the boss enemies turn up. Also, hope there's a portrait mode to get rid of the borders, or just do away with them all together.

Still, another shooter is always welcome on the Vita, and Ratalaika and their porting friends are proving total demons when it comes to providing the Vita with entertainment.

UPDATE: Ratalaika has confirmed an early September release for FullBlast

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Long Reach finally touches in mid-August.

Mark your calendars for that relatively rare thing, a Vita adventure. The Long Reach has been quite a while in making its way over, but will land on our lucky little portable on the 14th in the US and 15th in the EU.

The Merge Games/Painted Black title looks and sounds dark and threatening. Hopefully get some vita pics or video, but here's the original trailer for now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Jack N' Jill DX gets Vita trophies

Original a mobile game from 2014 by Rohan Narang, Jack N' Jill DX sounds like a Vita update. Describe as a cute retro platformer, the Game Boy monochrome release has a strong 8-bit vibe. The trophy listing offers 11 gold and a platinum. The author was also behind Squareboy vs Bullies.

Trying to find out what the DX version adds to the 140 levels over 4 worlds of the original. Of more interest would be Jack N' Jill 3D, a colourised, sharper-looking successor that came out on iOS last year. Hopefully that too will get a Vita release.

Here's a look at the original, while I try and find some more details. Based on the throw-away trophies and Squareboy history, guess this will be another Ratalaika release.

UPDATE: All confirmed and coming in September

Bullet Girls Phantasia Asian version coming August with English Subs

More of a confirmation, as I think this is old news. According to a note in D3's latest Bullet Girls trailer, The Asian version of Bullet Girls Phantasia (Text in English, Korean, and Traditional Chinese) is being localized and will be published by H2 INTERACTIVE on 9 August. Love Lab is handling the translation side.

Anyone wanting a physical release, looks like this is the only way to go, it is available from Play Asia.

Japanese stats from Media Create and Famitsu

The latest Media Create charts has Collar x Malice |Unlimited making a quick dip into the chart at No. 10, selling 7,695 physical copies, including the various limited editions. That's as hardware data shows Vita sales dropping 850 over last week, down to 3,414.

Over in Famitsu-land, the latest scores are out. Good to see Darkest Dungeon getting a decent 31, the same as Bullet Girls Phantasia, both topped by Idea Factory's latest visual novel Charade Maniacs, a game all about suspicion and trust, scoring 33.

Charade Maniacs  8/8/9/8
Darkest Dungeon  8/8/8/7
Bullet Girls Phantasia 7/8/8/8