Friday, August 28, 2015

Dave's Space!

Woah, guys! Dave, from Woah Dave!, is returning for another arcade romp on 3DS and Vita (Wii U, PS4, & Steam, too) later this year in Space Dave! from Choice Provisions. Check out the teaser trailer below.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#TeamHandheld Report - 08/27/2015

I've done lots of jumping around since the last Report, so there are four games I'm covering this time. I have also shared a few tweets from the #TeamHandheld nation talking about what they've been playing recently. Feel free to join in for the next Report.

Now Playing

Steins;Gate (Vita)

I don't watch a lot of anime. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I don't make the time to follow any of the series that are out or keep up with what's good. That said, When I first heard people talking about the Steins;Gate anime series, it drew my attention because of how crazy and over the top the sci-fi story sounded. I ended up picking up the Blu-ray and fell in love, but now it's time to allow that love to bleed over into the visual novel that just hit Vita.

The star of the series is Okabe Rintaro, or the mad scientist Hououin Kyouma, as he prefers to be called. While J. Michael Tatum isn't back performing masterfully as Okabe, everything else that was great about the anime returns including Okabe's fantastic dialogue. The wild story, the endearing characters, and the mind blowing twists and turns the plot takes are all here. Much like the anime, it starts a little slow, but the character building that takes place during this ramp up is never boring and is extremely important in making the ending sequences much more powerful. If you like amazing stories that will really mess with your head, I highly recommend checking out Steins;Gate.

-A fantastic, mind blowing thrill ride-

Curses N' Chaos (Vita)

If there's one thing that Curses N' Chaos gets right, it's the chaos. This arcade action title lets you pick from Lea or Leo and then tosses you onto a single-screen stage where you must fight off wave after wave of enemies. Things get hectic pretty quick, so you'll have to use everything you have at your disposal to clear each level. Gold that you earn along the way can be used between stages to upgrade items, which will help as things get tough quickly. I felt like I was only making incremental progress, but never enough to feel a noticeable increase in skill or power. Things were definitely chaotic, so if you like repetitive action or old school arcade gameplay, Curses N' Chaos will be your thing. If you want something with a little more meat on it, I'd consider passing.

-Its chaos may be its curse-

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (3DS)

I've kinda become addicted to rhythm games recently. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F and F 2nd on Vita have been a couple of the games I've been playing on and off over the last little bit, so I was curious how Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX would hold up. For me, I really enjoyed the shake up Project Mirai offers. Along with being a little easier to complete each song, the chibi-style characters and the ability to use buttons or the touch screen really helps. There is additional content where you can take your chosen character out on the town to buy new outfits or to get items to decoration their room, so it's more than just a straight rhythm game. That said, the rhythm game portion is what held my attention more than the other areas.

While I don't know anything about the song selection outside of the game, I found all of the ones I played to be very catchy and fun to watch the animated scenes going on in the background. If you're looking for an extreme challenge, this might not be for you, but I found it very welcoming. I gave up on DIVA F 2nd pretty early on, because I couldn't just casually play a song without fear of failure. Admittedly, I'm no expert when it comes to this genre, but I still love music and like to enjoy the music while playing, so having a more laid back experience is great for me. This is easily my favorite of the three Hatsune Miku games I've played so far, but that's not a slight against the others. I don't really need the extra sim stuff, but it doesn't take away from the experience and others will probably love it to death.

-Better for casual play, but still really solid-

Xeodrifter (Vita)

I was super excited to check out Xeodrifter after having missed playing it on 3DS earlier in the year. A smaller scale Metroid style game, this looked to be the title that could help hold me over until Axiom Verge finally releases on Vita (yes, I'm still holding out hope for that happening). Unfortunately, I found this one to be a little too bare bones for me. The first couple bosses were rough and the upgrades were novel, but not really fun to use. The first item I got was the submarine function which simply let me dive into the water that had been gating my progress, and the second allowed me to phase between the foreground and background. While a neat concept, the poorly spaced checkpoint system had me repeating the same section over and over again until I lost patience. I hear the game is short, but there would need to be a LOT more content in the next few areas to really make this worth battling through. I think I'll continue holding out for Axiom Verge to hit Vita.

-One dimensional-

Upcoming Games

Amnesia: Memories (Vita)

Not that I don't have enough on the visual novel front to play, but now I get to check out some otome goodness.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night (Vita)

This game is...*gagged and pulled away by PR*

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (Vita)

I've only put this aside because of my addiction to Steins;Gate, so I will dive back in soon, I promise.

#TeamHandheld Updates

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Promo Trailer for Superbeat: XONiC

There's a new trailer for Superbeat: XONiC, the first title co-published by PM Studios and acttil. This spiritual successor to DJMax is coming to Vita in a couple months and has been confirmed to run on Vita TV as well. And unlike the DJMax Technika Tune for Vita, this rhythm game will function using the touch screen or standard button controls. Check out the new trailer and packaging art below.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#TeamHandheld Report - 08/19/2015

I hope everyone enjoyed the last #TeamHandheld Report as much as I enjoyed writing it. I have four games on the docket for today, but before I get to that I want to offer up the chance for others to share their experiences. If you're playing a 3DS or Vita game and want to be featured on here, tweet your impressions with the #TeamHandheld tag and you might be highlighted in the next Report.

Now Playing

The Swindle (Vita)

The Swindle is an odd one. On one hand, I really enjoy playing it and couldn't seem to stop. On the other hand, the randomness makes each level feel like an unfair crap shoot, especially early on. You have 100 days to progress as far as you can by breaking into homes and warehouses to earn (read: steal) money. This income is then used to upgrade your skill set allowing you to do new things like unlock security doors, break through walls, or just move faster. Progression gets more difficult as the days pass, but having more tools at your disposal helps. The difficulty ramp is just too steep right at the start. It felt like playing Rogue Legacy, but with a limit on generations.

The random level layout was the biggest problem as without a wide variety of tools to use, the heists were often impossible to get through with any significant amount of money. Eventually I found that breaking in, hacking a computer for a hefty sum, and getting out was the best option for the early stages, but I'd often get greedy and go for one more hack and die along the way. Between the random levels and dying too easily, I felt like I was never making decent progress. Despite being hooked on The Swindle initially, once the 100 days were over I hung up my thief gear, having barely made a dent in the game.

-My heists were a bust-

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (Vita)

I don't want to spoil much about the story of Danganronpa Another Episode, as that's the game's biggest draw, but I can say that it's still quite impressive in that area. It maintains the dark tone of the original, but lacks a little variety since there's not a large cast of characters to interact with. Komaru and Toko are a great contrast to each other, and their exchanges are really fantastic, but I do miss the class setting and the murder mystery plot of the original two. The combat sections just don't hold up as well, but that might be because I'm not really a fan of shooters. They are easy enough to get through, and if you fail, you can restart on an easier difficulty, but I'm just not feeling that part. Thankfully, the story segments are very frequent and it's easy to rush through the combat portions to get to them. Again, it's a fantastic side story that helps supplement the main games, but it's not Danganronpa 3.

-Rushing through combat to get to the story-

Actual Sunlight (Vita)

I've never played a game that made me question my life choices the way that Actual Sunlight has. While focused primarily on depression and anxiety issues, this game still has the ability to reach anyone who has ever struggled with problems such as work stress or just finding their place in life. The hour and a half I spent working through this text-heavy adventure game had me reflecting on my own experiences and made me realize how much I have to be thankful for. Despite sharing some issues with the main character Evan, I'm glad that things are not as bad as they seem at times. Actual Sunlight gives a deeper look into the darker side of humanity that I'm sure many of us have faced. While it does get a little less focused towards the end and starts to drag a bit, it was still absolutely worth experiencing.

-Dark, so dark, but real-

Resident Evil Revelations 2 (Vita)

My early impressions of Resident Evil Revelations 2 are that it feels a lot like RE2, but with the modern control scheme and two player focus of the newer games. It looks good, handles well, and runs quite smoothly on Vita, but I'm not too far in right now. The game's structure will be something I'll touch on more as I get deeper, but there have been some tough sections so far such as being swarmed by zombies while trying to protect my partner as she opens a door. At least the game handles checkpoints fairly well, because I've died here three times already. Load times are a little long, but are thankfully not very frequent. This version offers all of the content in one big 3.8 GB package, so if you've been holding off until it was complete and want to play this game on the go, now is the time.

-Old school experience that runs well on Vita-

Upcoming Games

I have so many games that listing them all would take a while, so instead here's a screenshot of what's on deck.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Xeodrifter Dated on Vita

The 3DS hit Xeodrifter now has a date for the Vita (and PS4) version. Launching on Sept. 1, this game will be cross buy for both systems for $9.99. Check out the launch trailer and new screens below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#TeamHandheld Report - 08/12/2015

When I created Pocket-Console, the idea was that I'd just use this as a place to cover whatever handheld games I was interested in. Over time, it's become more of a place where I share #TeamHandheld news on upcoming games and offer up an occasional traditional review of whatever I've finished or put a decent amount of time into. Ideally, I'd like to review every game that comes across my plate, but the reality is that there are more games coming out for Vita and 3DS than I could ever possibly put a fair enough amount of time into to feel comfortable to give a lengthy review.

That said, I have a new plan for game coverage. Since I don't have enough time to play everything to completion, I'm going to try to at least write a brief, informal post about as many games as I can check out. The #JRPGJuly movement was the inspiration for this, as it is much more manageable to use this format to talk about lots of games, even if it's only off of an hour of playtime for each. In this day and age many of us have a very limited amount time to play games, so I'd like to at least share what I can instead of nothing at all.

Now Playing

XBlaze Lost: Memories (Vita)

I played the original, XBlaze Code: Embryo, last year and really enjoyed the story, but was not a fan of the game's structure. It was a visual novel with a lot of trial and error progression to get to its better endings. I finished one storyline and was hard pressed to repeat a lot of the same content to get another. XBlaze Lost: Memories starts off much better.

Instead of an exposition dump right off the bat, the sequel takes a different route by having the player control a single character in a dungeon in between these bouts of story. While I'm still too early to see how the pathing works across multiple endings, exploration helps to break up the monotony much better than before. I like these characters, so I'm curious to see where it goes. I just hope it doesn't retread a lot of Code: Embryo, because I've already been there once and don't need that much of a refresher.

-Enjoying: Currently-

DJMax Technika Tune (Vita)

Between Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games constantly talking it up, its spiritual successor Superbeat: XONiC releasing soon, and having a gift card from Amazon, I decided to finally check out DJMax Technika Tune. This rhythm game is harder to get into than I thought, but the music is really catchy. I don't follow K-Pop, but I quickly became a fan of Kara thanks to this one. Between "Step," "Jumping," and "Lupin," I've been playing a lot of these.

That said, I still kinda suck at this one. Having to manage the top and bottom part of the touch screen is just awkward for me, especially when having to hold and move my finger across it. I'm getting better, though, so that's something. This is easily some of my favorite music out of all these Vita rhythm games, so that's a big plus.

-Jumpin' jumpin' jumpin' for joy-

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (3DS)

For some reason the 78 hours I spent with Xenoblade on the Wii just wasn't enough, so I had to snag a New 3DS just to play the portable Xenoblade 3D. Outside of a few UI changes that improve the experience for a handheld, it's the exact same game. It doesn't seem to matter, though, because I'm still having as much fun this time as I did the last. In fact, my first time through I stalled about ten hours in because I wasn't having fun. It wasn't until I returned and found that I much preferred playing as Reyn instead of Shulk that I really fell in love with it. This time I start off in "Reyn Time" and haven't looked back. I'm about twelve hours in and should be getting Dunban soon, so maybe I'll go back to him again. I do know one thing, this is really helping hold me over until Xenoblade X hits in December.

-Really feeling it in my pocket-

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (Vita)

I've been leery of Danganronpa Another Episode since I first checked out some footage of the Japanese version. After all, I really enjoyed the slower pace of exploring and investigating that the first and second Danganronpa games brought. This one is much more action focused during the gameplay sections, but don't let that fool you. Story is still a very major part of this semi-prequel spinoff, and it brings the pain right from the start as you get to play as Komaru Naegi, younger sister of the main character from the first game.

If you decide to check this out, you need to play the first game and really should play the second one, too. While it might not spoil the second one (at least early on), there is a lot of context that would be missed if you haven't played it as well. Another Episode also succeeds in bringing back a character I didn't really care for from the first game and made me change my tune about her. I hope the action gameplay holds up over the long haul, but so far at least the story has me hooked. And don't despair, there is plenty of Monokuma to go around, though he's not as wicked as before.

I do want to scream briefly at this game for not having subtitles during cutscenes. Thankfully, the Japanese vocal track DLC that will be available for free will have English subs during cutscenes, so that's good. Sadly, I'll probably be finished with the game before that hits, but at least others won't have this problem.

-Don't despair, the story seems solid.-

Upcoming Games

Actual Sunlight (Vita)

The developer was kind enough to hook me up with a code for this one, so I plan on checking it out soon. The fact that it's supposedly not super long is a big plus for me, but I want to make sure to give it the time it needs to complete the whole thing. Should be soon.

Lost Dimension (Vita)

I started the tutorial mission of Lost Dimenion right before Danganronpa hit, so I didn't get far. I do want to give this one a serious look, because it reminds me of a poor man's Valkyria Chronicles. Once again, this is another game that doesn't have subtitles in cutscenes. This is a problem for me, because I can't always play with the sound on and don't always have headphones (yes, bathroom gaming is a thing).

The Swindle (Vita)

I've heard mixed things on The Swindle, but I at least want to give it a fair shake. It looks interesting, and I often like unique stealth games.

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (3DS)

I'm a sucker for a good rhythm game, so I want to see if this music in this one holds up. I really liked the first Project Diva on Vita, so this one might be just what I need to hold me over until Persona 4 Dancing All Night hits. The only problem is going to be getting me to turn Xenoblade 3D off.