Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Destiny of Spirits downloaded 500,000 time, big whoop!

With Angry Birds games hitting the 2 billion download mark, its a half-glass-full moment to see a Vita game, a free one at that, only managing 500,000 downloads around the world. So, almost a third of the world has played Angry Birds, while barely 1-in-8 Vita owners have tried something Sony is offering for free. Perhaps some marketing, you know?

I've dipped in and out of Destiny of Spirits since the beta, but its never really grabbed enough to keep me playing. Perhaps another playthrough is in order? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!

If you're in a similar frame of mind, or have missed out, why not give the game a go now? Sony is putting up a host of cheaper in-app-purchases and some extra content coming should you get hooked by it? There's nothing wrong with the elemental battle game per se, it just took ages to do anything. If Sony could speed the play up a bit I might enjoy it a bit more.

Rogue Legacy hits the Vita this week on PSN

There seem to be a large number of Rogue Legacy addicts on Twitter right now, a number which will only grow as the game hits PSN today for the US and tomorrow in Europe. The PC hit from Cellar Door Games sees your offspring continue the battle, even if you die, with a certain amount of genetics to spice things up, plus endless realms to explore and loot to collect.

The PlayStation version comes with some extras including a Platinum trophy, touch screen support plus Cross Buy and Cross Save for always-on rogueing. Rogue Legacy is picking up plenty of 9/10 reviews, so seems to deliver in every area, another great addition to the Vita's roster. Look forward to checking it out tomorrow.

Review scores:

PSU - 9.5/10
PushSquare 8/10
Pulp365 9/10
IGN 9/10

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blue Beetle captured in LEGO Batman 3

While the story will change (lots of spacey stuff) there's little that Warner can do with the format of the LEGO DC comics games, so we have Batman fighting the Joker and his cohorts. Making welcome changes to this episode are the arrival of the Blue Beetle (the Jamie Reyes version), AquaMan and others.

There's also some new gear for our heroes to play with, like Robin's rather old-school new diving helmet, pictured below. There are millions of new screenshots out of Warner's ComicCon appearance, but most of them could be from any of the games. Natuarlly, they're not Vita shots, but it shouldn't look too far off the end result.

Tecmo Koei merging with Gust

Both brands have provided a lot of decent Vita games, so this could be good news. Tecmo has helped publish Gust's games over here, so the two have a firm relationship. Gust has given us the Atelier and Surge series, while Tecmo produces pretty much any game with a pummeling stick or sword as part of the line up including Toukiden, Dynasty Warriors and others.

The merger will be effective from the 1st October and will see Gust become a brand and studio within Tecmo. The release promises that Gust will be able to expand its existing series, create new IP and bring them to a broader audience. Hopefully we'll get boxed copies of Gust games, rather than Europe's diet of PSN only releases.

You can currently pick up Atelier Meruru Plus and Atelier Totori Plus on the UK PSN, both at over £30, hopefully those prices will come down in the near future.

Latest UK Vita chart, Killzone and Borderlands scrap it out of the top

Killzone manages to blast its way past Borderlands 2 to reclaim the Vita chart top spot, proving that gamers do love big-budget shooting on the handheld, whatever Sony will tell you. Expect FIFA 14 to soon be replaced by the equally insipid FIFA 15, otherwise the charts are just hanging on for some Minecraft.

7 - FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 6 44
8 = TEARAWAY SONY . 8 36

Over on Amazon's Vita top sellers, Final Fantasy is currently flavour of the hour, with Minecraft still pre-ordering well in 2nd spot. Ratchet and Clank is in 3rd place while fans are clearly keen for Tale of Hearts R, which is fourth, despite not arriving until mid-November.

According to Sony's PSN Top Sellers list, One Piece Unlimited World Red is top, with the digital-only Another World in second. Borderlands is third, followed by Final Fantasy X and The Walking Dead Season 1.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Judas Code gets a short, sharp trailer

Hope you weren't looking for too much new stuff from this clip of Judas Code, as it shows pretty much what the first screenshots were about, with a little more movement. City in the lurch, check! Hero on the run, check! Big green eyed lady to help out, check! All good then, just give us some more info next time please Tri-Ace?

All we know is it will be free to play, looks rather fun and has picked up a good few thousand views in its first days, which suggests at least some Japanese gamers are keen on it. Expect more in the weeks to follow, probably with a big TGS formal unveiling.

Guardians of the Galaxy hits Zen Pinball 2

I was wondering why there was an update for Zen Pinball 2 blinking away on my Vita this morning, and now I know. Never one to miss out on a good tie in, Marvel, Star Wars, Plants vs. Zombies, etc, Zen has grabbed the latest mega-blockbuster movie Guardians of the Galaxy and will have the pinball table up ahead of the film's launch (in the UK).

Packing in renditions of Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and the other heroes, its only a couple of pounds, so hard to pass up if you like your super heroes and furry friends in the same screen. ome more detail on the PSN blog.

Sega's Phantasy Star Nova video captured

Sega made a very big show and dance about Phantasy Star in Japan last night as part of a Thanksgiving event held in Sapporo. There's new details for Chapter 3 of PSO 2 plus some in-game footage of Phantasy Star Nova, now dated for Nov. 27 that's well worth checking out. Check out the whole show below, I'll update as I find the juicy bits.

It starts out with the typical fluffy characters and squeaking bints on stage, but toward the end of the first part, there's the new content for PSO2 with a chicken getting some "oohs" from the crowd, really? The gameplay video quality is pretty low, I'll see if I can find something better.

There's another big gameplay clip in Part 2, around 23 minutes in with some Shining Force crossover content. Parts 3 and 4 has some live multiplayer action, with some replica mechs and kit on show at the end of that section. Part 5 has a little bit of cosplay, then they start talking about PS Nova.

Part 6 shows off character creation and some gameplay for Nova, Part 7 is more PSO 2 live play, part 8 has some new footage from PSO 2 Chapter 3.

Sony lists its Vita Gamescom lineup

Sony may (or may not) announce some new stuff for the Vita at its Gamescom press event. Regardless, it will have a bunch of Vita games on show, including Freedom Wars. I make it five major games already out, four major games not yet released and the rest are indies led by Minecraft. More on the official German Gamescom site.

Interestingly, or suspiciously, Disney Infinity is listed for PS4 but not for Vita, as are Galak-Z and Helldivers, which I thought were Vita titles.

Soul Sacrifice Delta
Invizimals: The Alliance
The Sly Trilogy
The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy
PlayStation Vita Pets

Hatsune Miku-Project DIVA-F 2
Lego Ninjago Nindroids
Freedom Wars

Super Exploding Zoo
Flame Over
Frozen Synapse Tactics
Final Horizon
Dragon Fin Soup
Murasaki Baby
Minecraft PS Vita Edition
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Friday, July 25, 2014

Does no one else talk about the Vita?

Thought for Friday: I was wondering in the cosmic scheme of things how the Vita is in the mess its in. There's little way to get a finite answer because marketing, presence in stores, perception and other elements are all pretty intangible. Sony may have spent millions marketing the thing, but I rarely ever saw any effort at promotion, and really the issue boils down to user choice.

This little graph from Google Trends shows what people have been talking about in the years around the Vita's life. The 3DS is way ahead, but surprisingly, Android Games has been a more popular search topic. Even more surprisingly, iOS (or iPhone or iPad) games are way down, yet "Vita games" barely registers as a search term.

Try that search with games and its ridiculous, phenomena like Minecraft and Angry Birds dominate, PS3 games like Uncharted 3 get some spikes but there isn't one Vita game that makes a dent. Take out the big ones and leave the Vita games, Persona 4 does really well, but everything else, even exclusives like Tearaway struggle to register.

Borderlands shows what the Vita can do in terms of interest, but that's a viciously steep downslope, which most Vita games suffer from. I won't even show the chart, but GTA on PSP generated more interest than anything the Vita has ever done (and still does). So, people (outside our quirky group of owners) never talked about the Vita, the games made little or no impact and the world didn't care.

Its a shame things ended up that way, but juggling search terms, regions and types and its pretty much the same story, outside Japan. Anyway, on with the gaming for those of us that do care. How do you fix that? Shove a Vita up Justin Bieber's arse? Everyone will want one then!

Stylish new paint jobs for Switch Galaxy Ultra's ships

With the super-fast Switch Galaxy Ultra nearing completion, developer Atomicon is playing with the paint cans for some new looks for the game's racing craft. Check out the game's Facebook page for the evolution of the WipEout-esque craft as the game moves from PSMobile to a fully-specced Vita title.

The team is clearly focused on a highly polished product and the original's gameplay was class enough to ensure this should do well. Given the original WipEout crew were dissolved by Sony, and Nintendo can't be arsed to ressurect F-Zero, there's plenty of space for games like these on the Vita and hopefully Atomicom will get the reward they deserve and create something even more spectacular next time round.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tiny Troopers pics herald summer launch

After being announced for the Vita back in March, we now have a summer release date for the many-million selling mobile combat game from Wired Productions. The new screenshots for Tiny Troopers look pretty spiffing too, likely the PS4 version in a new post on the PS blog, which gives it a summer launch date.

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is a brand new edition, mixing both of Tiny Troopers 1 and 2 with a brand new control scheme as well as cross play and cross save functionality! There will be a video along soon to enjoy along with a narrower release date. I'll try and chase some Vita snaps. 

Whatever happened to the Vita's apps?

The Vita doesn't really need apps, but it was a minor delight that the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others came out around the launch period to show the media and social capabilities of the handheld. How much do you use them now? I use Twitter, Skype and YouTube from time to time, but that's about it.

I'd love to use Netflix, Crunchyroll and some other media apps, but they don't even exist in Europe. I was kind of hoping Sony was holding onto them for PlayStation TV, but that makes no sense in the gloom of the Vita's line-up. Sony and partners should be throwing them out like confetti to keep users engaged with the Vita, and therefore a little more likely to buy games.

Following that, you have to wonder what happened to other common media apps like iPlayer or Sky TV. These apps are relatively small, easy to code (or port Android editions) and with flexible codecs on the server side, sending Vita formatted video should be a trivial exercise.

So, what's stopping them? Twitch mentioned the possibility of an app, but don't appear to  have gone further. Being able to stream Vita sessions would be awesome, although there might not be enough power to do so. What else do we gamers need but there isn't an app for yet?

Sony/GAME over-pricing digital downloads

One of the Vita's big issues is how to sell digital games in stores, to keep those retailers happy and in the loop? We've already seen a PSN-like store appear on Amazon's Digital Vita store, but with only a modest effort on the Vita side.

Now major UK retailer GAME is stocking digital download cards to help bridge the gap between physical sales and digital. You may have noticed a bunch of tweets from GAME stores about these, with the big kick-off tomorrow.

With prices starting from £3.99 that should help give indies some shelf space (Limbo and TxK are on there) as well as increasing the number of games on offer for the Vita beyond the usual top five and some cheap second hand titles. PS One titles will form part of the range. Trouble is, they're still doing it the wrong way round, charging more for a download than a new physical copy... madness!

In some cases things are as they should be, with tat like Smart As and Little Deviants only £6.99 for download. However, for this to do any business, the big name games should at last price match the boxed copy.

Akiba's Trip second western trailer gets chatty

Hopefully you've seen plenty of the combat videos from the Japanese version of Xseed's vampire-stripping fighting game set under the bright lights of Akihabara, but what the hell was all the background context and stuff? You can check that out too now, there's a western trailer with some of the game's social interactions as Akiba's Trip Undead and Undressed approaches its US launch (12 August, the EU date I have is October for some reason).

Since the vampires prey on social energy, I guess they'll be after those doing the most inane chatting, imagine if that happened in real life, no more Beliebers! So, have a peek at the clip and you can see there's lots of banter going on, which will likely attract the beasts, and then its pummeling time.

No word on the PS4 version if you need your naked vampires in HD!