Friday, July 21, 2017

More info on Digimon Story Hacker's Memory

Bandai continue to drop information on the next Cyber Story game, even though it isn't arriving until early next year. Hackers in the digital world are divided into groups with different objectives. Some will cooperate whilst others fight each other to destroy the dimensional barriers and invade the real world.

The largest hacker group, “Zaxon”, will strongly fight to protect the Digital World. One member, Jimmy Ken, is unsatisfied with the management so decided to create his own group called “Demons”. Confusion reigns in the Digital World especially with this mysterious hacker named K who wants to chase the criminal who is hunting for your account.


In the game, players can battle against each other with Digimon they have trained. Upgrades to the Network Battle experience add a Rank Battle mode with pre-determined rules and rating points. Event Battle rules will change every 2 weeks. This special mode won’t affect players’ score but will reward players’ with items.


In the Free Rule Battle, players will be able to create a room with its own rules and invite up to 8 friends. The coins earned from Rank and Event Battle modes can be used in the Coin Shop to purchase accessories to equip your Digimon or change the appearance of your character in the online mode.

The Lost Child can be found in a dungeon

Kadokawa has just dropped a first look trailer showing off the characters and a few screens of The Lost Child in action. It looks suspiciously like an old-school RPG.There's science, magic, scales and some outlandish looking demons, but not much to get excited about. The game arrives on 8th August.

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late crashes west

PQube is bringing Arc System's Under Night IN-Birth Exe:Late[st] to the Vita by the end of this year. A missing link between traditional 2D fighter gameplay and the over-the-top craziness of ‘anime' fighters, it comes from developer French Bread.

They are responsible for Melty Blood, a cult fighting game big in Japan. UNDER-NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[st] takes place in a fictional modern-day Japan, where a mysterious event called Hollow Night occurs on a monthly basis. During the Hollow Night, shadowy creatures called Voids appear and attack innocent people. Survivors of these attacks sometimes develop special abilities and become known as an In-Birth. The game follows a young man named Hyde, a survivor of one of these attacks, as he becomes involved in the goings-on around the Hollow Night phenomenon.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sokoban Next is a puzzling arrival on Vita

Yep, another out-of-nowhere arrival on the EU PSN store today, meet Sokoban Next from PalmStorm. Billed as a smart game for smart people, the Hungarian company has tweeted in 18 months, so they aren't so bright.

Sokoban Next an iOS/Android port, but still looks like solid fun, with you helping the dragon hatch its eggs by pushing them into fiery nests across 100 3D puzzles. Only £5.35 seemes worth a shot!

Kuroyuren You Tan trailer

Now an Otomate title, Kuroyuren You Tan, and one that actually has a decent line-up of well-drawn, non sexualised characters. Might even go as far as to say some of them are attractive, apart from the ones with the silly mustaches! Guessing there's a naval theme judging by the stupid hats and some of the attire, other than that I know nothing!

Auto translate tells of a story set a year after a fire monster ravages Tokyo, all is quiet and love is in the air, until some flaming moths turn up!

Broccoli's Amazing Aria & Sweet Serenade Love trailer gets plenty of love

This has only been up a few hours and has already stormed past 7,500 views, not bad for a sing-song Vita love adventure from specialists Broccoli. The game is out in October, it might only be a port, but seems to be attracting plenty of comments and interest. There's an official site if you want more detail.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vita sales creep up again in Japan

At this rate, Vita could crack 5,000 sales a week, by December! Last week, the Vita sold 4,655 in Japan, up around 80 on the previous week's figures. That's with no new Vita releases in the Media Create top 20 and only Minecraft representing with another 3,100 sales.

On the other hand, Nintendo releases a new 2DS model and instantly sells 43,000 - imagine what a new Vita colour or even an upgraded unit could do! In reality, as Japan hits summer holidays, expect things to be very quiet indeed for the next six to eight weeks! But if the Vita continues to shift 4,000 units a week, that's enough to keep the droves of RPGs, visual novels and other Japanese curios headed our way.


For reference, the latest Famitsu has a couple of Vita reviews, with action game Utsusemi no Mawari scoring 32/40 and Sekai Project's visual novel Wagamama High Spec getting a modest 28/40.

Sony, time to update the PS Vita store app

None of this is rocket science, but Sony's absolute refusal to recognise the Vita in any shape or form, beyond modest indie developer support, is really starting to grate.

Take a look at the PS Store app - EU version - yours may differ. Gamer's Choice doesn't have anything from this year, with the latest release being from April 2016. Top Sellers hasn't been updated in getting on for a year, when Darkest Dungeon came out, while the All section still has PlayStation Now, even though Sony is canning the service on the Vita.

Is this really the best Sony can do in promoting games to a captive audience?
Top Sellers from a year ago, way to go Sony!
Don't even go into the Video section, New Films - no content, New to Rent - one item, Latest Episodes - no content. Top Films and Top TV Shows are kept up to date, but searching through "All" is a nightmare, so I hope you know the name of whatever it is you want to watch.
Who searches for TV show by year?
Also, there are hardly any video sales on, you'd think given Vita's sub-HD display everything would be super cheap! People watch loads of YouTube in a browser, we don't have Netflix on Vita in Europe, so why shun an obvious source of content?

Basically, the Vita PSN store app has had minimal updates over its life and nothing of note in recent years. At some point, Sony has to have a tidy out or clear up as Vita moves to end-of-life. Please, at least make it more usable for the people who still use it, more friendly to indies who are the lifeblood of the Vita now and perhaps just show you can make an effort, no matter how small.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Occultic;Nine visual novel hitting Japan

Okay, this series has only just come west, see the anime trailer. But in Japan, there's already a strange visual novel rolling out as a PSN-only release. Instead of picking verbal or dialogue choices as in most VNs, in this one you pick choices from the hero's blog.

Mixing magic, boobs and demons, its a heady mix, I guess if the western showing of the anime picks up fans, a translation may be incoming, but don't count on it. A teaser site for the game is now up.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Polara endless runs to the Vita

Another out-of-nowhere indie arrives on the Vita soon, using the Ikaruga colour changing trick to add a little spice to the concept. Polara, an old iOS game, doesn't look like much, but the gameplay could make it worth a punt if cheap enough on release very soon.

Japanese video Friday presents Clanpool intro and more

Hello Japan, please feed us impoverished western gamers more trailers!

First up is the opening video for Tokyo Clanpool and the much anticipated Gintama, even if most of us know nothing about them. Then, Rejet has a bunch of clips for Tokyo Boys V Fan (or whatever its called), showing off chunks of VN gameplay. Will update if anything else drops.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Samurai Showdown V Special slicing up the Vita

Ahh, Sony, you can always rely on them not to put the Vita in any of their headlines. I guess there's a PSN blog post that fails to mention the Vita also. I'm sure we're still allowed to watch this PS4-only trailer. Vita is in the small print, but who looks there? Any how, here's the trailer for SNK's classic brawler Samurai Showdown V Special which is coming Cross Buy and Cross Play.

Offering lots of slashing,  blood and pixelly fighting goodness, I'd prefer another Metal Slug myself, but there you go.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Domination battles in Digimon Hacker's Memory

Maybe I was a bit harsh expecting Hacker's Memory to be just a revamp of Digimon Cyber Sleuth. The developers at Bandai appear to be going to some lengths to add new combat systems and features, such as Domination, along with a very Daft Punk soundtrack.

Check out the new video and see what you think of the new Victory Conditions, the almost Lara Croft Go like movement system, and other features.

Media Create data shows Vita up on Omega Labyrinth Z launch

Japanese Vita sales continue to be as flat as roadkill, with the handheld selling another 4,500-some, just up on last week. Will any release ever help shift the flatline? Or, is the Vita simply in some perma-hell of doing just enough to stay relevant.

There's one new entry in at No. 5 with the updated cleavage-enhanced Omega Labyrinth Z selling 8,800 on Vita, just pipped by the 9,300 on PS4. Otherwise, Minecraft sells another 3,300 to remind people it exists, wonder if Vita would already be dead in Japan without it.

With the Switch selling five times as much per week in the slow months of summer, while the Vita might have a decent release roster, how long before developers and publishers move their focus to Nintendo's baby?


Last week's data

Shakedown Hawaii trailer shows bad business done good

Is this secretly a Donald Trump spoof? The semi-sequel to Vblank's Retro City Rampage adds in a Del-Boy Trotter element to the carnage, as you attempt to build dodgy businesses around Honololu-esque Hawaii.

Badged as "business in the front and bodies in the back" you need to build up your scams while crushing any opposition and have huge amounts of flaming fun into the bargain. With an eighties vibe and a crunching electronic soundtrack, Shakedown Hawaii will light up your Vita, hopefully later this year.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fallen Legion launch trailer

The Vita has done well out of the likes of Grand Kingdom, Odin Sphere and others. Now Fallen Legion is here with an all-in battle system for four character combat control and a huge set of RPG customisations. Enter the dark fantasy world of Fenumia and join Princess Cecille on a twisted tale to save her crumbling kingdom from foes within and without.

One second your Exemplars are slashing a manticore and the next you’re commanding your team to block right before a magic spell hits to reflect it back at your foes. In between battles, you make split-second decisions that change how the game unfolds. Will you raid an innocent village for a strength buff? Or stand up to a warmongering governor instead of resurrecting a fallen party member? Each choice you make bestows a different power-up and permanently changes the world.

How Sony might reinvigorate the Vita

The troubled history of the Vita will always be a contentious issue, especially for those who still love it. Mainly, it was a victim of Sony being a near bankrupt corporation suffering massive losses during Vita's launch years.

Sony sold off divisions and units, slashed jobs, wrote down everything it could and issued profit warnings monthly, the Vita being ignored was but a drop in the ocean. That perilous financial state made Sony risk averse, and the slow take off of the Vita sealed its fate, after a few one-shot big hitters and poor third-party efforts didn't fly.

Flights of Fancy

In a different time with some clever use of resources, and not by thinking like a monolithic game company, Sony could have out Pokemon'd Niantic's Go game with Invizimals, while LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway could have been in-school creativity fests, long before Minecraft.

Sony could have out-evolved the Switch long before it was revealed through hardware upgrades, while using Vita's awesome backward and streaming compatibility to attract the retro audience. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, etc!

Instead, it did none of those things due to those financial constraints, and focused on the PS4 and then the, even more, niche PSVR. Now the Vita's PSN store doesn't get updated, beyond what's new. PS Now support is ending to prevent us playing PS4 games. PlayStation Plus subscribers get minor releases at best.

There's the odd spot of kudos for developer support, but Sony does this so under the radar that whole games get released with no one noticing.

Major news sites never mention the Vita, Sony fails to mention it at every opportunity, with even multi-platform games appearing to be PS4 only. It is clear Sony wants all focus on PS4. With no sign of a Vita upgrade on the horizon, how could Sony make use of the Vita in a changing market?

Changing Times, Feel the Retro Vibe and Digging Out Secrets

As Sony stepped back, indies and Kickstarters filled the void. But with Switch on the rise and Kickstarter proving to be a falling trend, interest is fading. Developers should be aware of the sales possibilities and undying loyalty of a sizeable niche of gamers. So far, activity that is mostly down to the community and active developers.

So, where's Sony's 2017 Vita indie campaign? Where's the industry-only PowerPoint showing the returns on select Vita indies compared to their Xbox/PC/PS4 equivalents? 

As for retro, Nintendo is doing it, very cleverly with limited releases. Atari and Sega are doing it, although most wish they wouldn't. Spectrum and C64 games are still being developed, all the way up to low-poly titles and pixel fests across many formats.

So, where's the limited edition PS one-styled Vita with 50 classics on a memory card? 

None of this costs Sony much money, Japan produces many different limited runs. Apart from printing some boxes, creating the PS one design template for the Japanese Vita factory and some licensing fees for third-party PSone games, this is a cheap for-the-fans project. By adding in some rare or missing games like the original Ridge Racer, Persona 1 or Ace Combat it becomes a collectible, and talked about.

Where's the secret game?

Sony has the money now to help the Vita along a bit with the gaming division driving the company. It also has likely dozens of game concepts, canned Vita projects and side-projects across its studios that could be turned around to provide some quick love. If Nintendo can pull Star Fox 2 out of a hat, Sony certainly has a few tricks.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Accel World vs SAO out in Europe today

Accel World Vs. Sword Art Online brings together characters from two of Reki Kawahara’s series. Providing a large roster of characters battling in this action role-playing game adventure. Players will also be able to team-up with three other friends to battle rivals in fierce online multiplayer modes. Additionally, through the use of a new Switch System, players can enjoy fast-paced battles while switching to different characters, enabling them to chain together long combos without stopping the action on screen.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Life of Pixel Special Collection getting a Vita release

Super Icon's Life of Pixel was one of my favourite Playstation Mobile titles from 2013. Bringing all the generations of console and home computer gaming together into a simple but challenging platformer, it could definitely have done with a full PSN release with trophies and perhaps leaderboards and other refinements.


That time has come with Life of Pixel Special Collection adding all of the later updates and landing on PS4 and Vita this summer. The one-man coder is also hard at work bringing Best Buds vs Bad Guys to all formats. Hopefully we'll see that soon.

So that's why Sony pulled PlayStation Now from the Vita

PlayStation Now was a decent streaming gaming idea, but with an overpriced subscription. It let us play PS3 games on the Vita and rather well too with a decent WiFi connection. However, Sony announced earlier in the year that it was canning the service for Vita and other devices, and now we know why.

Because now it is introducing 50 PS4 games to the service that can now be played on Windows PCs only. For £12.99 a month, I'd be quite a happy Vita owner able to play the likes of Shadow Fall and others. But, no, Sony want us to ditch our Vita handhelds and blow more money on a PS4 slim or pro model. Which not everyone in the universe wants or can afford!

That also explains why Sony ditched the PS Vita TV model, as that would let people play some PS4 games on a big-screen TV for just £50. And we can't be having that now, can we?

Perhaps a few games have DualShock issues that might not translate well to the Vita, but mostly these games should do fine, it is merely Sony's money-grabbing, you-must-upgrade, mantra that has made this move slightly more annoying.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Halfway through 2017, Vita has sold 212K in Japan

While still dragging along the 4K-a-week line, up to 4,400 this week - the Vita has now sold just about 212,000 units in Japan in the first half of 2017. That's about half where we were last year, so bad news, but this number and the 5.6 million install base (assuming most Japanese still use their Vita) seems enough to keep publishers interested in Sony's rapidly aging hardware.


That's shown on the software side, where there are a few new Vita entries, proving that good or niche games will still sell. The much-anticipated Osomatsu-San shifted almost 12,000 physical units. And just about any visual novel will sell around 3,000 copies, showing the market is still there, if you add in a few digital sales too.

04./00. Osomatsu-San: Hang-Up Finding Employment Advice (Idea Factory) 11.579 / NEW
...
13./15. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Mojang) 3.175 / 1.170.416 (+4%)
14./00. [PSV] Tsumigui: Sen no Noroi, Sen no Inori for V (Dramatic Create)  3.105 / NEW
...
16./00. [PSV] Karumaruka Circle # <ADV> (Entergram) 2.937 / NEW

Review Don't Die, Mr Robot!

Currently a PS+ game, Don't Die, Mr Robot! is a neon-tinged, fruit-filled, robotic game of survival where your dear Mr. Robot is a target across many, many puzzles. The hypnotic game has an arcade, chill and time trial modes for practicing and honing skills, but it's in Remix mode that the game really shines with 50 puzzles and increasing rewards for your performance.

You can scoot through the first 20-odd, picking up bronze or silver medals, the odd gold or platinum, but soon you need to head back to get the higher rankings to open up later levels. That's where perfecting your skills really come to the fore, be it dodging enemy robots by the narrowest of margins, herding fruit, collecting coins or simply staying alive.

The coins can be used to collect new skins and costume accessories, or open access to special guests, who add a few limited powers to spice things up, but that's pretty much window dressing. With its vibrant colour scheme and an excellent collection of pacy electronic tracks, DDMR is a pitch perfect portable title, great for a quick blast, and to compare your score against the global and friend leaderboards.

The game could do with a little more variety when it comes to nasties, but the different gameplay challenges generally mean you're too busy focusing to notice, and if you get stuck on a challenge,  go back to chill mode and relax for a while! Certainly, this is the only game that's ever made me go, "not now, I'm collecting aubergines!"
The trick to getting high up the rankings is to maximise your fruit combos, kills and narrow scrapes to get huge combos, but each second you wait adds more chaos to the screen and requires pixel-perfect timing. It is hard not to love DDMR and be sucked in by the challenge, and is an utter bargain among the many smaller games on PSN.

Score: 7/10
More reviews
Price: £2.89 (PSN) (currently a PS+ title)
Size: 217MB
Dev: Infinite State
Progress: Fruit Pie

Save the Ninja Clan trophies pop up for Vita

Another week, another game pops up magically for the Vita and PS4 via a trophy listing. How hard is it for Sony to at least come up with a roster? Anyway, Save the Ninja Clan looks like a cross between 10 Second Ninja and a more traditional platformer.

It doesn't have the highest visual quality, but there's plenty of going on and it looks like a stiff challenge to add to the list of fun arcade titles.

Take a look at The Longest Five Minutes

Coming to the Vita in 2018 thanks to a chunky delay, presumably to get the Switch version ported, Longest Five Minutes from NISA comes with an overview video to explain the game. Amnesia as a game idea isn't new, but used in this way it makes for a different slant on the traditional RPG genre.

NISA bringing Demon Gaze II and Penny Punching Princess west

After a raft of visual novels out of Anime Expo, here come the RPGs, with NISA's successor to the hugely popular Demon Gaze arriving later this year and Penny Punching Princess (was Penny-Hungry Princess in Japan) in 2018. Longest Five Minutes slips from a 2017 release into next year.

There are limited editions shown off for each game, but no sign of a Vita physical release (yet), will check in with NISA and see what's happening.



In PPP, our newly minted Princess has to bribe her enemies to fight for her, rather than the usual bunch of heroes. She can also activate deadly traps to turn the tide of battle in this fast-paced RPG brawler.

Monday, July 3, 2017

NIS America tease with Ys VIII and Danganronpa V3 trailers

The latest trailers shown off by NIS America show off the mini-games in Danganronpa V3 and a quick bout of battling action for Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana. Both games are out in September and look likely to be among the last of the Vita's big releases.


The Ys clip is all about the Mysteries of the Isle. Enjoy them while you can!

Lots of Vita news from Anime Expo

For future reference, next year, don't worry about nothing on the Vita from E3. July is where its at, with Anime Expo providing more news, to keep feeding the weeaboos.

First up we have Aksys bringing a pair of visual novels, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly and Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk next year. A pair of otome titles, they seem to be better known for their music than any actual game.

They will come along with 7'Scarlet to bolster the Vita's VN roster. This lot seem to have sold around 5K each in Japan, so western releases are more likely to help them turn a profit.

Already on the release list, but now with a launch date is Bad Apple Wars which will land at the end of September. That's the same time as Danganprona V3 which probably isn't the best sales move, but we'll see.