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.