Friday, October 17, 2014

Race the Sun and Don't Die, Mr Robot dated for Vita

Race the Sun, the atmospheric looking flyer will hit the PS4, PS3 and Vita next week in Europe on the 22nd, running at a smooth 60fps on all formats. It adds in some exclusive content in the form of the Labrinthia world which is trickier but slower than the main game.

The idea of FlipFly's game is to keep up with the sun, as you solar-powered craft doesn't go well in the dark, and it looks suitably spartan.

Offering a little more levity is Don't Die, Mr Robot (formerly Avoid Droid), which lands the following week on the 29th with some fast-paced, fruity arcade action.

Fate/Hollow Ataraxia gets a new trailer (JP)

Hitting Japan at the end of November, Kadokawa and Type-Moon's Fate/Hollow Ataraxia comes with a very soulful theme song, for once, plus a limited edition on the way. It's all neatly captured in the latest trailer which is rapidly gaining views, suggesting it could be a decent seller for the Vita.

The game follows on from the Vita update of the PS2 RPG Fate/Stay Night. An off-shoot, Fate/Extra CCC graced the west thanks to Ghostlight, but it might be a stretch to get these over here. Still, we live in hope.

More themes appearing for free on PSN

In all the rush to enjoy Minecraft and the other recent games this week, you  may have missed the arrival of more free themes for the latest PS Vita firmware. So, grab them from the PSN Themes page and brighting up Vita's display with Tearaway and Uncharted the first two games to get the treatment.

Hopefully Japanese developers will brighten up their games with these, and if we're lucky enough to get them too, cool! It'd also be cool to see some FuturLab and other indie efforts to make this more than just another quirky, but underused feature.

Dengeki Fighting Climax finally gets an interesting trailer

After quite a few duds, this is more like it from the Sega team creating Dengeki's 20th anniversary brawler. We've got a bit of action going on, some cool and quirky moves from hoops-loving Tomaka Minato, a neat Sonic level background.

It is still a bit tutorial heavy, but the team definitely seem to be pushing a learn-before-you-buy approach.  Expect plenty more clips before the Japanese launch in November, there's the latest batch to go with this one over on Famitsu for Kirito, TsukasaNami Miyuki, Taiga Aisaka, Himehiiragiyukina, of Satomi RenTaro.

Enjoy a spot of Jaggy Racing on PSM

The flood of weird games makes it harder to spot anything interesting on Sony's PlayStation Mobile page. But here's one that landed on the store recently, Jaggy Race from Tiz777. A puzzle racer, it is a port of an iOS game but comes across well on the Vita with physical controls, is only £2.39 and well-rated.

Note, if you are a PSM developer, drop us a tweet so I can cover your game, its getting harder to find them out in the melee.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Live app coming to PS Vita in 3.35 firmware update

Hot on the heels of the pretty useful 3.30 update, comes another decent jump, all the way up to 3.35 for the Vita and PS TV, to go with the PS4's 2.0 major update. It will add various features including four-player Remote Play support to PS TV, so I guess you can have a gang of friends round with their own DualShocks.

Along with the behind-the-scenes stuff, the Vita will also get the new Live from PlayStation app, so they can watch live gameplay streams from lucky folk using their PS4 systems. No date for this yet, but it will come with more features, some interesting comments in the PS Blog piece.

BLASTR soon to non-violently confront Vita owners

Currently an intriguing-looking PC game in development in Australia, BLASTR will head to the Vita among other consoles via the porting power of Unity at some point in 2015. The student developers have put up a handy mock-up to show it will look, but I'm deeply tempted by the mix of arcade and puzzle action, which is best explained on the site, while you can follow progress on Twitter.

Dengeki Fighting Climax puts up no resistance

I'm still not 'getting' this game, as mentioned in the first trailer post. This clip still doesn't sell itself to me, why would anyone post a clip of a training session against a static opponent? It is hardly selling the best features of the game.

Still, we get to see a good repertoire of moves, but I think the animation is all a bit stilted. And, while the backgrounds are cute, it does all look rather tame compared to the western brawlers that have lit up the Vita. Sure, there's all the characters that Dengeki die-hards will love, but still not clicking for me.

Chaos Rings III gameplay action (possible spoilers)

After September's exquisite trailer, here's a gamer having a good play-through of Square's Chaos Rings III trilogy pack on the Vita. There could be spoilers, should this package ever make it west or if you plan on playing the iOS versions some time. Kind of reminds me that I should get back to playing FF-X for a while, but it was very heavy going. I wonder if this is a little lighter on the exposition?

Any fans impressed with this off-shoot, or is it more a case of Square padding out the roster with easy ports?

Game on for the set-top box sales battle

So, the battle is officially on for the living room gadget of choice. Google has just dropped the Nexus Player, shipping early November and Amazon's Fire TV should be an easy gift idea. Apple will join today (hopefully) with a radical update of the Apple TV, probably redesigned to bring iOS games to the big screen without the need for AirPlay from your iPhone (rendering this neat little chart totally out of date).

Which of these is most likely on your family's Christmas shopping list? They all have strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you want to use them for, and nothing is the "perfect" solution. Yes, Apple can stream games and content, but that's not "on" the device. What is clear is that the PS TV with the Vita's four-year old technology is starting to lag behind the newcomers, with buyers having cutting-edge expectations - or do you?

Things could (and should) change as more apps arrive for the PlayStation TV, but time is running short if it is to make a positive impression in the real world, now the marketing shine has been blown off. With incompatible games, limited media services, poor Remote Play network performance, things already seem grim. I'd also want to see just how much performance power the Nexus Player's Intel chip can put against the others.

There's also the likes of the Chromecast and other diminutive gadgets to consider in an increasingly crowded space by the TV. Just imagine if Sony had launched PS TV a year ago in the west? Just imagine a TV set with six HDMI ports!

Notes: Updated to correct some memory and storage details, an early version did list all media services, but looked ugly and repetitive! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Google's Nexus Player, another box to challenge the PlayStation TV

Sony can't or won't run the PlayStation TV as a proper set-top box. There's no Netflix at launch (or at all in Europe), with conflicting reports on if it will ever work. Add in no HBO, no iPlayer, etc, and it seems Sony only wants you to use its cack-handed Movies Unlimited service. Widening reports suggest its Remote Play feature isn't all that good, and its games roster is hampered by random incompatibilities or license restrictions.

Putting another boot on PlayStation TV's jugular comes Google's Nexus Player to join the crowded micro-STB market, launched alongside the latest Motorola-built Nexus 6 and a HTC Nexus 9 tablet, it is another effort by Google at the living-room market after the arse Google TV project. It will be available in early November. And, if Apple launches a gaming-enabled Apple TV today, then suddenly every box for your TV does games, and in a less fussy way than Sony's device.

The Nexus Player is a $99 sleek puck-style device with a small remote and an optional game controller ($39) for all those Android titles. It comes with 8GB of internal storage, unlike Sony's crippling memory card concept, and offers superfast 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It plays all the major media services and plays at 1080p. At least the total price is comparable to the US PS TV bundle, including memory.

Sony's only saving grace here is that Nexus Player will only be available from Google's own store. The difference is, millions of Android fans are aware of the device launch due to the interest in the phone and tablet. Sony's PS TV launch was barely registered by most of the tech sites.

Meet the ladies of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;birth 2

Ahead of the early (physical and digital) 2015 launch, Idea Factory International has popped up a first set of English screenshots for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation! Meet the young ladies bringing order to the world of Gamindustri, which faces yet another crisis.

Everything looks suitably clean and hi-res, hopefully it'll run happily on PlayStation TV, as the grils battle to fight off the threat of ASIC.

Minecraft leads the way on Vita PSN update

Europe is already alive with the sound of tunnelling as the 260MB Minecraft title is downloaded at record speeds. Also out this week is Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus for this week's dose of scantily-clad Japanese ladies. Not quite as neat as the Japanese limited edition, but its here! Looks like we get sword-fighting game Nidhogg another time.

Check out this week's offers with Hatsune Miku, fresh from her American tour at a decent price and Urban Trials as an utter bargain!

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F (PS Vita)
Was £24.99/€29.99/$44.95, now £14.99/€17.99/$26.95
Additional 10% PS Plus discount

Urban Trial Freestyle (PS Vita)
Was £5.79/€6.99/$10.45, now £0.79/€0.99/$1.45

Ring Run Circus heads to PS Vita

Kalio, a developer from Uruguay is bringing its iOS arcade game to the Vita. An arcade puzzler, the circus-themed games sees the player guiding characters through linked rings to pick up the goodies on each level.

It looks fun with plenty of quirk and strategies to keep you on your toes. The game is currently with Sony for testing and should be out soon. The official site is here.

Monster Hunter slays Japanese chart

No prizes for guessing who's number one, which is likely to be there for some time. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate sold around 1.6 million copies in just two days, Capcom announced ahead of the chart update later today. Add in downloads and that's probably over two million.

PS Vita games are sticking around the Media Create chart, with Danganronpa and Legend of Heroes 2 bothering the 6 figure mark:

8 Danganronpa Another Episode Spike Chunsoft this week: 7,184 total: 93,113
10 The Legend of Heroes II  Falcom 5,021 102,905 87
12  FIFA 15 Electronic Arts 14/10/09 4,253 New entry
18 Ar Nosurge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star (Gust) - 3.157 / 12.398 

Nintendo announced the new model 3DS topped 230,000 units on the week. Lets see the new pink Vita or Value Packs match that! As if that wasn't "kerching enough", another version of Tokai Watch is due in December!

My money is still on a PlayStation 4 Portable to lure Japan into PS4 ownership that they can play on the move. Unsurprisingly, Vita hardware sales dived to below 10,000, losing almost 5,000 sales. Looking forward, here's some recent PS Vita scores from Famitsu, but there's nothing that should help sales match those big blue sales spikes at the end of last year in the chart:

Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 2014 (PS3/Vita) – 9/9/8/9
Super Hero Generation (PS3/Vita) – 8/8/8/7
Puri Pia: Prince Pia Carrot (PSP) – 8/7/7/6
Divekick: Addition Edition (PS3/PSV) – 9/8/8/7
Chaos Rings III: Prequel Trilogy (PSV) – 8/8/9/8