Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Soldner X2 finally heads to the Vita

The likelihood of Soldner hitting Vita was mentioned back in July, but is finally confirmed with a winter release, thanks to EastAsiaSoft. The classic-style shooter will add to the Vita's explosive growth in all things arcade, with lots of big weapons and bigger enemies to take down.

For fans of classic side scrollers, it should fill a big gap in the Vita's line-up and will hopefully spawn a few more entries.

New Danganronpa and Legend of Heroes boost Vita sales in Japan

Three new Vita games burst into the Media Create top 10, with the new Legend of Heroes II,  Danganronpa action spin-off and Dungeon Traveler's 2 all shifting decent numbers. After what seems like plenty of hype, Bakumatsu Rock did pretty poorly with just 5,000 sales.

That lot helped to boost Vita sales by around 5,000 which is a nice spike, but again nothing to get excited about, while still being double PS4 sales. That's up 10,000 on this week last year, however there's still no sign of a great white hope for the big spikes we've seen in previous years.

01./01. [3DS] Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo) - 109.811 / 1.375.818 (-66%)
02./00. [PSV] The Legend Of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki II # (Nihon Falcom)  - 86.283 / NEW
03./00. [PSV] DanganRonpa: Another Episode (Spike Chunsoft) 70.596 / NEW
08./00. [PSV] Dungeon Travelers 2:  (Aqua Plus)  - 16.460 / NEW
09./00. [PS3] Destiny # (Sony Computer Entertainment) - 12.095 / 79.990
10./00. [PSP] La Corda d'Oro 3: Another Sky  # (Koei Tecmo) - 11.005 / NEW
14./08. [PSV] Toukiden: The Age of Demons Extreme # (Koei Tecmo)  - 6.220 / 135.476 (-22%)
18./00. [PSV] Bakumatsu Rock: Ultra Soul # (Marvelous) {2014.09.25} (¥6.264) - 5.551 / NEW

Sony chucks another sale at Vita owners

With the drizzle of new games drying up, Sony's plan to keep Vita owners happy is to chuck yet another sale at us, again Most have a 10% or 20% additional PS Plus discount. So, if there's one or two you haven't got - Ridge Racer is now a decent bargain, Gunslugs is essential and I'm giving Real Boxing a go - then dive in, the sale runs to the middle of the month.

BreakQuest: Extra Evolution Pro Was £5.79/€6.99/$10.45, now £2.49/€2.99/$4.55
Doctor Who : The Eternity Clock Was £7.99/€9.99/$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/$7.55
Farming Simulator Was £6.49/€7.99, now £2.49/€2.99
Fort Defense North Menace Was £3.99/€4.99/$7.55, now £1.69/€1.99/$2.95
Gravity Badgers Was £3.99/€4.99/$7.55, now £1.69/€1.99/$2.95
Gunslugs Was £1.99/€2.49/$3.75, now £0.79/€0.99/$1.45
Indoor Sports World Was £3.99/€4.99/$7.55, now £1.69/€1.99/$2.95
Need for Speed Most Wanted Was £39.99/€49.99/$69.95, now £6.49/€7.99/$11.95
Rayman Origins Was £14.99/€19.99/$24.95, now £5.79/€6.99/$10.45
Real Boxing Was £5.79/€6.99/$10.45, now £2.49/€2.99/$4.55
Retro City Rampage Was £9.29/€11.25/$16.95, now £4.99/€5.99/$8.95
Ridge Racer Was £14.99/€19.99/$24.95, now £4.49/€5.49/$8.25
Ridge Racer – Ultimate Edition Was £19.99/€24.99/$32.95, now £6.49/€7.99/$11.95
LEGO Batman: The Videogame Was £15.99/€19.99/$29.95, now £7.99/€9.99/$14.95
Naruto UN Impact (PSP) Was £7.99/€9.99/$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/$7.55
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side (PSP) Was £11.49/€13.99/$20.95, now £3.99/€4.99/$7.55

Onsale for just a week are these:

Child of Light (PS Vita) Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95, now £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95 

Hotline Miami (Cross-Buy) Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55

Sony finally acknowledges Vita for PlayStation TV

A new advert for PlayStation TV mentions the Vita, holy shit! "The vast library of games from PS Vita" no less, wow! I'm not sure about the "simply amazing" given the struggles Sony is having selling anything other than the PS4, with the rest of its business in the shit, but hey, after this recent lack of any mention, and some sort of state of denial, hopefully Sony Europe will follow the US's lead.

Check out the compatible games list and get ready for a new dawn in Vita-ness - perhaps!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Futuridium

If you're really, really old, you may remember Sega's Zaxxon in the arcades (1982). If you're slightly less old, you'll recall Hewson's Uridium on the C64 (1986). Jam those two together, perhaps with a nod to Argonaut's classics, warp forward a generation or four, and you get Futuridium (previous coverage).

The aim is simple, scour the enemy dreadnaught ships for blue energy cubes and destroy them, then find the exposed core and detonate that to destroy the vessel. Getting in your way are the very urgent need to flip 180 degrees through increasingly complex levels, dodging enemy fire, rotating scenery, all while trying to fire at the right altitude to hit the targets.

Its not easy, but it is fun! And, with a handy supply of continues, Mixed Bag make sure that you don't get too disheartened by a level. On the other hand, they are pretty vicious when it comes to awarding medals with some mental times and chain requirements to achieve the best result on a level or to get on the leaderboard.

You get trophies for finishing the five zones, each of which has 10 increasingly complex levels, and more for picking up increasing numbers of medals, with a Silver Trophy for doing it in one credit and a Gold for getting all the medals.

Win the fight!

A simple demo level sets you up on the controls, the first thing you may want to do is invert the Y-axis in settings so forward is down and back is up. Then all that stands between you and victory are the acidic beats, the a slightly freaky 3D effect and your own stupidity as you mix firing, height, turning and boost to escape a level as quickly as possible.

In the early going, there's a fair amount of crashing into the scenery and over compensating to line-up for a row of cubes. Modern gamers might plead for a targeting reticule and the ability to angle shots down as you descend, and they would be useful but probably take away some of the challenge and rawness of the game.

As you get into it, there's some clever, if not fiendish, level design with all kinds of shapes being thrown to keep you from your objectives. To jolly things up, there's bonus levels and new modes opening up as you progress.

While it feels simple and primitive, don't underestimate Futuridium's challenge. This is a game that can stand proudly alongside the likes of TxK, Velocity 2X and Gravity Crash Ultra as fine examples of the near-lost art of shooting.

Score: 8/10
More reviews
Price: €9.99 (€7.99 for PS+)
Dev: Mixed Bag
Progress: Fought outside the box

Japan getting excited about Marginal 4 Idol game

Arriving in Japan in November, Marginal 4, Idol of Supernova from Idea Factory is a game about the highly popular (as in 68 million Google search results) Marginal 4 Idol group. The animated band created by Rejet, should help provide the Vita with a decent bump come the release of this game, but don't expect much in the way of dramatic gameplay.

Subtitled Announce trailer, from earlier in the year.

That doesn't give much away, so here's some of their music, which isn't as bad as you might fear. The characters have their own Twitter accounts with 15K+ followers each, and there's a lively tweetstream (from presumably Japanese girls) counting down to this release.

WaterMelon will bring 16-bit MegaDrive RPG Pier Solar to Vita

The curious journey of an RPG built and released for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive is a great read. The fact someone can still make MegaDrive carts is pretty amazing Marginally better news is that the sizeable adventure, full title Pier Solar and the Great Architects, arrives on PS3 and PS4 this week (on the US PSN at least).

Even better news is that the developers should soon be announcing a Vita version, where it should look and play the best, with those 16-bit graphics really popping on an OLED. The big console versions are Cross Buy, so hopefully you can play it now and enjoy it later on the Vita, or just wait for more formal news.

Pier Solar tells the story of Hoston, a young botanist who must save his father from a mystery illness. Along with his two best friends Alina and Edessot, the three friends embark on a quest seeking a rare herb.

Monday, September 29, 2014

MechRunner gets a gameplay trailer

I like MechRunner, not just because of the neat skin the team sent me as a Kickstarter funder, but as it helps the Vita's burgeoning line-up of awesome shooters along.

Here's a video clip of the game in action (on PC, its also coming to PS4), but rest assured the game will land on the Vita with a meaty-metal impact sometime soon. Why not sign up to the game's newsletter and be in with a chance of winning a spiffy Alienware PC, if you live in the US, or have a Granny in the States.

okay, just realised the trailer isn't brand now, posted it last week, but hey - news is light so watch it again!

FIFA 15 storms to Vita No. 1 in UK Chart

The UK update unsurprisingly sees FIFA roar to the top of all charts - except on the 3DS where it gets beaten by Fantasy Life. So, despite all the warnings, Vita owners have rushed out to pick up the borked, restricted and cut-down Legacy Edition.

Someone has listed the sales breakdown as PS4: 32%, 360: 30%, XB1: 22%, PS3: 15%  and the Legacy version on PS Vita ,PC,Wii and 3DS at just 1%. However, given its limited nature and very long life near the top of the charts, I guess they all mount up over the year to make it worthwhile for EA's fat wallet.

Hopefully, a few got the hardware bundle to increase the handheld's ownership, otherwise not much is happening in the chart, which doesn't include downloads. Frankly I'd be impressed if some of these games were selling 100 copies physically.

1 new FIFA 15 EA SPORTS - 1

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

Friday, September 26, 2014

Preview: Tales of Hearts R

Bandai Namco has provided a video of the first throes of Tales of Hearts R on Vita in lieu of preview code, to form opinions before the game's November release. A DS original, an upgraded 3D version landed on the Vita last March in Japan - arriving in Europe on 11 November.

Likely the Vita's second biggest release of the year behind Freedom Wars, it is certainly worth looking forward to. Beyond the fairy tale intro as two youngsters, chased by a witch, fall to their apparent doom, it soon gets going into the game proper in the not-quite-a-slum, not-quite-picturesque Seaville Woods.

Master Sydan is teaching young Kor Meteor (that's him, below, suffers from weak nipples - he's probably decapitating a pineapple on legs in this shot) about Spiria and magical blades. Guess what, young Kor is a bit of a talent! He roams around the slightly, but not too, pastel-tinged, landscape with a bit of a swagger.

After a spot of the inevitable combat training (those jellies will be easy to outwit in a combat situation) we're soon down the rabbit hole into the story proper as Kohaku Hearts (are these porn names?) washes up on the beach and starts bossing people around.

Very soon, we're racing around metaphysical crystal mazes, picking up skills and experience. There's loads to learn with Artes, Somas and Skills plus a range of Battle options plus your usual fancy load-out of equipment to fight the increasingly chunky line-up of fantasy buglets with.

The game's real-time combat is probably the standout visual feature from the video, you can drop in and out of the menus to pick attacks, then roam around dispatching little Jonny-bug-boy with your party's arsenal of weapons. Even so, it hardly seems to be pushing the Vita.

If I had to find something to dislike, the rapid cutting between and mix of anime and polygon-based characters is rather jolting. Otherwise, I look forward to building Mr. Meteor's skills up and exploring this ludicrously camp, but apparently massive, world. That's probably the highlight of any Tales game, and based on this quick look, there should be plenty to work with.

Tales of Hearts R has a Japanese voice track with English subtitles, so you have to pay a bit more attention than usual, I'll definitely turn the audio down as its mostly endless shouting! You can take or leave the witchy/magical plot, but running through the game should be good fun. Hopefully its success will see Tales of Innocence R get a showing over here.

Showing a fair effort at promoting the game, Bandai Namco have some neat extras. Don't forget to check out the pre-order goodies! Having recently loved the dungeons of Demon Gaze, I was more set on Operation Abyss, but this could well pitch me into the entire Tales of ... series with Bandai needing to feed me more!

FIFA 15 on Vita, another EA disaster

Well, I did not see that coming (sarcasm). Not only has EA managed to foist another non-update on the Vita owning community, it has even managed to strip out some features this time, according to folks on Twitter.

With the big launch being trumpeted by Sony with a price-cut PS4 bundle, the Vita does get a more half-hearted bundle. But the game itself appears to be missing more features, and EA might be mis-advertising according to one report.

Pretty much what you'd expect from the EA borg collective, although Sony isn't helping by failing to even mention the Vita bundle in its own press releases. EA probably will escape as buried in its releases is the usual... "A version of FIFA 15 will also release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita handheld entertainment system this Fall. Not all game features are available on all gaming platforms." However, if it doesn't clearly explain that to buyers, then see you in court!

Are any of the features missing from the Amazon description? I won't buy it so I can't find out, still enjoying the original FIFA Football that I picked up for £8 that has exactly the same engine, FIFA 13 is now the cheap option. Note, if you do want FIFA 15, it costs a mental £35 on PSN, so get the cheaper boxed version!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shooter Futuridium hitting PSN next week

To go along with the vectors of TxK, the pixels of Velocity 2X, enjoy some old-school polygons with next week's shooter Futuridium from Mixed Bag. Anyone who remembers Zaxxon, STUN Runner or a host of other blocky shooters should feel right at home.

The game is out on PSN next week at $12.49/€9.99 or $9.99/€7.99 for PlayStation Plus subs for a dose of pure arcade twitchiness and blasting fun.

Tales of Hearts R gets pre-order goodies

Bandai Namco's Tales of Hearts R is one of the Vita's biggest releases this year and the publisher is making some effort to generate some interest with a collection of DLC costumes from previous games and the Vesperia series.

They include:

  • The Legacy Costume of Caius from Tales of The Tempest for Kor 
  • The Legacy Costume of Marta from Tales of Symphonia  for Kohaku  
  • The Legacy Costume of Malik from Tales of Graces F for Gall O

Get the Day One Soma Link edition for a set of three Tales of Vesperia outfits for Ines, Kunzite, and Beryl! There's also a chance to win some exclusive Japanese goodies. The game is out mid-November.

I'll have a preview up tomorrow, so check back to see how the game looks. 

OlliOlli2 trick-sliding to the Vita

OlliOlli2: Welcome To Olliwood has just been announced by Roll7 at EGX in London. Guess the first one did pretty well as this will expand on the original in all ways with new worlds, levels and tricks, the names of which defy explanation, like the Anti-Casper Flip and Darkslides.

The alpha version is playable at EGX and if you missed the original it is now half-price on the EU PSN.

 There will be 5 NEW worlds, 50 NEW Amateur and Pro Levels and 250 NEW Challenges to tear through, along with the return of the much loved Daily Grind, Spots Mode and RAD Mode. On top of this smorgasbord of delights, OlliOlli2 is set to have a NEW Mode: Combo Rush.

This mode is a split-screen Local Multiplayer (up to 4 players) that pits players in a race to ramp up biggest scores on a spot in a set time limit. Once again, the crate diggers at Roll7 are scouring the airwaves for a shimmering 18 track curated extended Soundtrack to the game that you can't just stop playing.

Get ready for the Mother of all Batteries

Bit of an odd one this, but we've all got multiple devices that probably need charging at odd times. So, the Mother of all Batteries will store enough power to charge four things at once. The unit itself is the size of a tablet, 9.9" at most, weighing 1.5lbs, so easy enough to carry around on long road trips.

I'm not too sure why they've picked a PSP, a very old iPad, iPhone and iPod as marketing, but there you go - I did have to check it was a new video  - just imagine a Vita or a bent iPhone 6 Plus in its place.

If you're interested, more here! At $199, its a lot more than those diddy power packs you can get off Amazon, but should help the serious gadget head out in times of need.