Thursday, March 6, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
March Vita Releases
A few days ago I mentioned how it was hard to go a day without a new, quirky Vita game being announced. As such, I wanted to briefly post a list of upcoming Vita titles. I've started with March releases and have included a bit of media along with them.
From there, I have a list of games announced for North America from April into 2015. I might have missed some, but it's a hefty list as is. I've included links to announcements or coverage of these future games as well.
Now is a great time to own a Vita. Let's look at the games we'll be playing in March and beyond.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f
Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD
Deception IV: Blood Ties
The Walking Dead: Season Two
End of March
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I picked up Thomas Was Alone almost as an afterthought. It was part of Sony's 14 for 14 sale on PSN a while back, and I grabbed it along with Spelunky and Lone Survivor. It was the last of the three that I tried and the one that I enjoyed the most. I never expected to find characters in a game where you control geometric figures, let alone well-developed characters, but I did. And it was great.
Thomas Was Alone is not that long of a game, about three or four hours total, but that's OK. It's paced well enough that those few hours fly by and it doesn't wear out its welcome. You control a team of shapes in a platforming environment and have to get each unique "character" to a specific spot on a stage in order to move on. This means swapping between each of them and using others as platforms or for leverage to make it through, as each shape has skills and limitations that must be taken into consideration.
The title character Thomas is a rectangle with decent jumping ability, but his cohort Chris is smaller square with lesser jumping skills. This, in turns, makes Chris pessimistic and distrustful of the world, where Thomas is more bright-eyed and cheerful. It also means that Chris is going to need a lot of help getting around. So yes, there are characters in Thomas Was Alone, and they are really well-defined in line with their abilities. Claire the superhero, gravity-defying James, and the elite Sarah are all shapes (technically they are all AI, but they really are just shapes) with personality, and it helps to add another level of depth to this puzzle platformer. The narrator gives them life, and even though the dialogue is brief only offering a few lines each stage, it's enough to help you care about the characters.
It all comes down to fun, and Thomas Was Alone brings that by offering up puzzle stages with a decent enough challenge on top of the backdrop of sentient geometry on an adventure. While a little on the short side, it plays fantastically on Vita and was totally worth the $2.50 I paid for it. It's not on sale at the time of this writing, but if you're looking for another charming platformer on Vita, you can't go wrong with Thomas Was Alone.
Disclosure: The game was purchased via PSN by the reviewer and was completed (100%, all trophies).
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Just yesterday Aksys Games revealed the Vita version of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma was coming to North America, complete with cross-platform compatible DLC. This morning a new listing popped up on Amazon for Xblaze Code: Embryo, a PlayStation Vita visual novel set in the BlazBlue universe.
The game is set 150 years before the events of BlazBlue and is said to focus more on information gathering than decision making. Using a gathering system called TOi, players will find that their story paths will branch based on what they discover in the game. While we've not received any official information yet, the Amazon leak does have Aksys Games listed on the mock box art. For now, you can pre-order Xblaze Code: Embryo for $39.99 and the placeholder release date is set for June 24, 2014.
Below is the opening for the Japanese version.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Developer Mode 7 released the original Frozen Synapse on PC back in 2011, and now Double 11 is working on the evolved version of that, Frozen Synapse Tactics, is gearing up for a PlayStation Vita release. This game is a turn-based strategy game retooled for the Vita in a way that is said to keep all the challenge intact, but makes it easy to play for those who are used to modern tactical shooters. Having not played it yet, I'd recommend checking out the alpha gameplay trailer below, reading the PS Blog developer post, and reading Richard Naik's review on GameCritics.com of the original PC version for a better idea of what to expect.
PS Blog post.
Dynasty Warriors 8 for PlayStation 3 is getting a stand-alone expansion pack on March 25 called Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, but that's not what we care about here. At the same time, Tecmo Koei is releasing a PlayStation Vita (and PS4) version of the game known as Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition. The Vita's Complete Edition will feature the original game along with all new episodes, five new characters, and new hypothetical scenarios. Ambition Mode, Challenge Mode, and Free Mode will also be included, along with a new Ultimate difficulty setting.
Tecmo Koei has released new media for the game. Shown below are shots from the PlayStation 4 version.
I'll be honest, I've never really enjoyed a Sonic game. I played the original three on Sega Genesis and a few since, such as Sonic Generations on 3DS, but none of them kept my attention. That said, from what I've seen of Sega's latest attempt at a reboot, Sonic Boom might actually have something interesting going on.
Big Red Button is taking the lead on this latest release and giving it a Western slant, as this game is not even scheduled for a Japanese release as of now. Sanzaru Games, the developer that managed the recent Sly Cooper game, is taking charge of the 3DS version (Big Red Button is handling the Wii U release). The gameplay in the latest trailer actually looks interesting, but as with many Sonic games before this, it could all be smoke and mirrors. We'll see when this releases later in 2014.
I played Velocity Ultra on PlayStation Vita and found it to be a fantastic experience. It was fast, challenging, and the gameplay was tight and responsive. Now the awesome team at FuturLab have released alpha gameplay footage of 2014's sequel, Velocity 2X, also on Vita (and PS3). This game blends the intense shoot em up action from the original with Metroid-style gameplay segments, and the results looks fantastic. I cannot wait for this one. Check out the video below.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I've only sampled the PS3 demo, but it was quite catchy. I'm looking forward to checking out the Vita version, as I feel like this game would be perfect in portable form.