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!

Phantom Breaker Battle Grounds pummels you with its trailer (western PSN release imminent)

Japanese retro-brawler Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds hits the western PSNs next week. Offering cooperative, side-scrolling combat that brings back memories of Target Renegade, Double Dragon and other arcade fisticuffs, it will cost a mere $12/€10 with some extra DLC from series like Steins Gate. To celebrate, here's a rather short trailer.

The 5bp/mages developed game is an updated take on female-led Phantom Breaker which was a more traditional beat 'em up, but with the Vita pretty full of those games, this makes a neat diversion and one that should capture some hearts (and throats) among the old school gamers. With up to four players on-screen, there's plenty of action against oversize enemies and numerous tiddlers to thwack, sock and pummel.

Great Edo Blacksmith site opens up its forge

The official website has gone live for Nippon Ichi's Great Edo Blacksmith. And all it has to show for all that patient waiting is a logo, until next week. At least we've seen the lovely ladies, and we've found out about the basics of the game through those mag scans.

Guess the magazines articles have to have their exclusivity first, which seems rather quaint. Still, if you want something to do right now, Bandai Namco's Godzilla site has also gone live today (only for PS3, but hey, its Godzilla). Also update is NIS's own True God Fashion site, an update of a PSP horror game coming in August.


Hopefully someone will tell NIS that there's no capital S in 'BlackSmith', but as long as we get a compelling role-player out of it, I'm not really that worried. Will the lady-bothering elements (its a good job my Twitter following is 92% male) put you off? Guess they'll be toned down for any western release, as with Criminal Girls.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Counterspy ready to sneak onto Vita, launching clandestinely in August

A new trailer for Dynamighty's Counterspy is out, showing off the game which is off on its mission on 19/20th August. Using stealth and a silenced pistol, plus whatever you can find to hand, it has a brilliant 60s spy-caper soundtrack, a unique visual style and the finest mix of bits of metal gear, Spy vs. Spy and other classic titles.

There's a little more info over on the PSN blog, but check the company's social pages for greater insight into the game that doesn't want to seen. Can't wait for this, and yet another chance to save the world from those evil doers, while maintaining my poise, style and sipping an expensive drink afterwards.



It looks like Sony is packing the summer break with indies to keep us out of the usual lull, which is welcome, with Metrico, The Swapper and Hohokum among others, but would it really kill them to find one or two big releases to get the gamer's salivating?

Quick update: Sony must be very keen to remind us of the line-up, they've just put up a new Hohokum trailer, showing off the curious and colourful exploring game in action.

EU PSN Update, get Entwined with your Vita

Aside from the heavily trailed release of Entwined and Walking Dead S2E4, there's a couple of deals of the week hitting the Vita that might be even more interesting. Certainly in terms of longevity, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace has years worth of gamplay, while Dustforce

NEW

Entwined (Cross-Buy PS4/PS3/Vita) Price: £6.49/€7.99/$11.95
The Walking Dead: Season 2, Ep. 4, Amid the Ruins Price: £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55

DEALS of the WEEK

Dustforce – Was £7.99/€9.99/$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/$7.55
Ragnarok Odyssey ACE – Was £24.99/€29.99/$44.95, now £11.99/€14.99/$22.95
(Plus Additional 10% discount for PS Plus members)

DLC 

One Piece Unlimited World Red (Cross-Buy PS3/Vita)
Quests for Bugs and Fish (£2.49/€2.99/AU$4.55)
Robin Swimsuit pack (£2.49/€2.99/AU$4.55)

There's also a bunch of games listed on PlayStation Mobile, which check to see if any are new when I get to my Vita.

Oreshika 2 shifts 93K on Japanese Debut, Vita sales strong

The Media Create charts are out in Japan and Oreshika 2 manages a sturdy entry at No. 2 shifting 93,775 copies. Freedom Wars drops down to No. 7, but still sells another 7,600 units and Persona 4 Golden makes a welcome return to the chart at No. 19, selling another 2,500 copies thanks to the new TV series (more than the new Persona Q on 3DS) which takes it over the 300,000 lifetime sales mark.


On the hardware front, the Vita had another good week, selling 29,601 units including 2.2K Vita TV units. The Vita has sold 90,000 units in the last three weeks, with the launch of the new value packs and a good run of software.

My current hot topic, Operation Abyss is out tomorrow in Japan, alongside western developed WRC 4 World Rally Championship and 5bp's Corpse Party Blood Drive, which should shift a few units between them.

New Operation Abyss screens light on abyss-ness

Good lord, there's a whole massive article on Dengeki with perhaps 25 screens on it, and exactly one of them shows a monster. The rest are your perky colleagues and a couple of the bosses. I know the Japanese love going on about their characters, but really? Show us some action!

Anyway, here's the, umm, action shot! You can see all the pretty people in the main article here. Fortunately, I've covered plenty more stories about this game, with a bit more of the good stuff, as Demon Gaze fans wait eagerly for this to head west.


Experience were also behind Stranger of Sword City, which should be landing on the Vita after debuting on Xbox earlier in the year. All in all, things are looking good for classic JRPGs.

The Toukiden Kiwami limited edition is pretty slick

Toukiden Kiwami, or Extreme if you prefer, will land in Japan next month, and to encourage people to grab this semi-upgrade, there's a decent looking special version aka the Treasure Box from Tecmo Koei with audio CD, book of illustrations, limited edition costumes and cuddly toy along with the game on PSP or Vita. Its quite a pricey bundle at 11,800 yen on Vita (around £68) but


The quality of the content in the game looks pretty hard to question, given all the effort Tecmo is putting in, but will the fans, or new Vita owners, really rush out to buy a modest expansion. Hopefully we'll get this soon in the west and can find out for ourselves. The game releases on 28 August in Japan, check out the recent demo in action here.


Use your Vita to play Class of Heroes 2G on PS3

Class of Heroes 2G is coming to the PS3 next month in the U.S. from MonkeyPaw and Gaijinworks with an exclusive dual-screen feature. Adventurers can use a PSP or Vita to link to the game to display the second screen. That allows players to get constant access to important extra details like in-game maps, comprehensive character status/information and detailed enemy descriptions along with what loot they drop. 

Not only will the second screen offer extra nuggets of valuable information but allow players to control the on-screen action for the game. All the information displayed is still accessible in the game, it just won’t be displayed alongside the action on the screen. Its a shame more developers didn't try and make greater use of cross-screen features between the consoles, but good on MonkeyPaw for trying.


Note, there's a special limited edition boxed version for US gamers on the Monkeypaw site.

Great Edo Blacksmith mag scans from Japan

After all the seductive teasing, here's our first look at Great Edo Blacksmith, Nippon Ichi's get-rich-and-hitched before you die tale of a metal basher. Mag scans are going around on Twitter (thanks Frank) and from the pics it looks like the focus is very much on the ladies today, with the dungeoneering taking a back seat for now.


From the pics, the RPG side does look pretty old-school, but with a proven engine in Criminal Girls, why go changing things around? And, yes, it does seem the flavour of the year, stroking your potential fair maiden gets yet another run out. Will the Japanese ever get bored of this idea, or is it something engrained in their developers that all gamers will want to do? Expect some edits if it does come west!
 


I'll keep an eye out for better screens and images and post those once they break cover.

Citizens of Earth's trailer of hope

Your new Vice President of Earth will now deign to speak to us mortals... in the new trailer from Atlus about the unfortunate real politik this newly elected berk finds himself in. There be monsters, angry wildlife, protests and many other threats to his hairline. How will he solve these troubles? Through delegation, which I guess means finding the right person for the right job.

But looking at the people following him, good choices seem a bit thin on the ground. Developer Eden Industries (whose previous PC game Waveform was a lot simpler, but very stylish and well-rated) looks to be packing in the humour, but will it translate to a worldwide indie hit for Atlus, or will the brash style see it categorised as a mobile game thrown onto console?

With politics such a joke anyway, I wonder if it'll play a little close to the edge, or just stick to the well-trodden plastic parliamentarian approach? Either way, always good to see something new heading to the Vita (and other formats).



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Table Top Racing hits PSN in August, memories of Micro Machines!

Capturing the essence of the Micro Machines game from the Megadrive days is a pretty tall order, but Playrise claim to have cracked it with this fun, cartoonish, miniaturised racer arriving in August on PSN. A little more detail on the PSN blog.


Still not much in the way of a decent action video about the game, but the screens look perky enough, and its looks native res to boot. The developers were part of the WipEout team, so have plenty of pedigree in making a good racer. I'll update the release schedule.