Monday, March 2, 2015

Plague of Shadows To Descend on 3DS, Vita

Yacht Club Games revealed the first remixed mode for 2014 platformer darling Shovel Knight, which will be playable at PAX East. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows features the popular boss Plague Knight in a quest to concoct the Serum Supremus (Ultimate Potion) and possibly find some love in all the wrong places along the way, with the other members of the Order of No Quarter trying to stop him.

The remixed gameplay will involve finding items to create alchemy recipes, and adds the ability to create bombs and other explosives to conquer new platforming challenges. The mode will come to the 3DS and Vita - the latter getting the core game during Sony's Spring Fever promotion on April 21 - as a free update in the 2nd quarter.

Check out some screenshots from the new mode below.

Shadow Blade Reloading for Vita

If you enjoy fast-paced, action platforming, Shadow Blade: Reload from Dead Mage might just be for you. This speedy-looking title is scheduled to hit Vita (and other platforms) in Q2 2015. The game is currently available on Steam Early Access and has received positive reviews so far. Check out the three trailers and multiple screenshots below.

Stealthy Second Launch from Curve

Last year's Wii U indie title, Stealth Inc 2, is coming to Vita in April. The original was a fun, challenging little game, so it's great to be able to get another go at the series on Sony's portable (and other consoles) soon. Those going to PAX East should swing by booth #3164 to check this and Curve Digital's other titles out.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pocket Review - 3D Classics Fantasy Zone

Given the nature of how Sega is releasing the second wave of their 3D Classics, Fantasy Zone will have a shelf life of a couple of months before its sequel will release. Although the usual M2 polish and presentation is present, the core game itself is a solid yet unspectacular shooter.

Unlike most shooters of the era, Fantasy Zone made its name on two key features: its art style, with bright colors and a generally cute art style, and its upgrade system which relies on dropped coins to build funds for upgrades. The early levels are simple matters of pattern recognition, but the bullets really start flying in the later stages of the game. After completing the game, a bonus mode unlocks much like in 3D Classic After Burner II that provides some neat changes to the game.

Once again, M2 has given the release a lot of customization options, including control over the game's difficulty and even cosmetic changes. The 3D effect works quite well on the 3DS as well. However, the core gameplay is still frustrating - even under ideal circumstances it's quite easy to get a Game Over or even waste money on the power-ups since they disappear on a lost life.

The enemy designs are fantastic, and M2 does a fantastic job bringing these mid-to-late 1980s games into the modern day. However, most people should probably save their energy for March's OutRun if they're looking for a great 3D remake, or April's Fantasy Zone II if they're in the market for a great shooter.

TLDR: Great presentation wrapped around a shockingly average game
Recommended for: 3D Classics completionists and people who enjoy "cute-em-ups"

This game was played on a New 3DS XL and was purchased by the reviewer.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

XBlaze Remembers Vita this Summer

Aksys has revealed that XBlaze Lost: Memories is hitting Vita (and PS3) this summer. This title, a sequel to Code: Embryo, expands on the original's story and continues their adventures. Unlike the first game, this visual novel offers an RPG-style exploration mode, complete in 8-bit style. The story of Code: Embryo was very interesting, but the trial and error gameplay was very frustrating. Here's hoping this one handles the multiple endings better. Here are some screens from the official reveal.

Pocket Review - Titan Attacks (3DS)

For the review of the Vita version, click here

The single screen shooter is a very basic game concept, and if you're going to bring one out nearly 30 years after Space Invaders you need something extra to stand out. Puppy Games and Curve Digital have added an element of risk and reward in Titan Attacks, but the 3DS version by its nature is a bit more difficult than the previous Vita counterpart.

The gameplay is quite familiar - your ship is at the bottom of the screen, a row of alien ships is at the top, and they drop down, increase speed and reverse direction as they crawl inexorably toward you. You can take three hits at the start and have two shots on the screen at the same time, but the enemy ships are incredibly aggressive with their shooting (especially in the later stages). You can earn money and bonus points by shooting down the saucers at the top, or by surviving a level without getting hit to build up a multiplier. The key to making it to the later stages is to build up a lot of money to buy additional firepower, extra hits or even the screen-clearing smart bombs.

(images courtesy Digital Spy UK)

The biggest problem with Titan Attacks on 3DS is the low screen resolution - even the XL screen struggles sometimes to identify a particular type of ship that splits on shot impact, making it hard to build up a good combo and unlock the more expensive prizes. The controls are good bar the forced touchscreen use to start the game, since everything after that can be accessed via d-pad/button controls.

Titan Attacks is a game that is incredibly fun to play once you've built up a lot of momentum, but on the 3DS screen it's hard to build that momentum. If you have access to the Vita version - especially as a PlayStation Plus download this past December - the higher res screen does wonders, so consider that if you are interested in this type of game. On 3DS, it's not as easy to recommend.

TLDR: A game that takes a while to build momentum and fights you at every turn.
Recommended for: Arcade shooter fans who missed their chance on the Vita.

This game was played on a New 3DS XL via a review code provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shut All the Doors, Hotline Miami 2 is Coming Soon

In case March wasn't already exciting enough, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number also has a release date. This title from Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital will be hitting Vita along with other consoles on March 10, though no pricing has been revealed yet (the game will be $14.99 on Steam). Check out a few of the new launch screens below.

Vita Heating Up in March

Dubbed a "pyroguelike" like the developers, Laughing Jackal's Flame Over now has a release date. It will hit Vita's next week, Mar. 10, 2015 for North America and Mar. 11, 2015 for Europe. This hot title will release for £7.99 / €9.99 / $9.99 across its various regions. Check out the developer Let's Play below for a better look.

OlliOlli2 Rolls Out in March

Roll7 had a surprise for us all this morning when the studio announced that OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood would be releasing next week for PlayStation Vita (and PS4). The game will be out on March 3, 2015 in North America and the following day in Europe. Check out the launch trailer below. No pricing details have been revealed as of yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Xeodrifter Drifts to Vita

Xeodrifter hit the 3DS earlier this year to much praise, and soon Vita owners will get a chance to play this action adventure hit. Newly formed indie team Gambitious Digital Entertainment is helping Renegade Kid bring this title to Vita (as well as PS4 and Xbox One) this spring. Debuting at PAX East, this new version shouldn't be too far off. Check out the trailer and new screens below.