Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nurse Vita Love Hits Today

Degica Games, in collaboration with Kogado Studio, has localized Nurse Love Addiction for Vita. This game is a visual novel about life, love, and romance originally released on PC, but is now available for Sony's handheld. It just hit PSN today for $39.99 for those who are interested. Check out some of the screen below for a better idea of what you're in for.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

DotEmu's Vita & Switch Games Interview

This interview with the French video game studio DotEmu's CEO Cyrille Imbert touches on the upcoming Vita release of Ys Origin, physical releases through Limited Run Games, and future titles. Many thanks to all involved for taking the time to answer these questions. While there is some overlap, head over to RPGamer for some chat about the console side of DotEmu's RPG releases.

Michael A Cunningham (Pocket-Console): First off, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Recently you released Ys Origin on PS4 and soon on Vita. How did that deal with Falcom come about? Did you approach them with that specific game in mind or what? If so, what was it about Ys Origin that made you want to release it on consoles? (Editor's note: I'm thankful you did, as I love Ys Origin.)

Cyrille Imbert (CEO, DotEmu): Haha, I am glad that you liked it. Ys is a great RPG series. We first started to work with Falcom on Ys Chronicles I&II that we adapted to mobile. We came to Japan and proposed them this mobile project which they accepted. Mobile was a new market for them and as we already had nice references like Final Fantasy or Double Dragon, it was not too complicated. When we decided to expand to the console market, we thought that Ys Origin would be a great way to start. We presented the project to Falcom and even if they are familiar with the console market, they liked our vision of promoting the series in new languages, like French or Spanish. There was also a lot of possibilities in terms of UI improvements, screen ratio, achievements, etc. Finally, Sony really helped us out as well, as our main point of contact there is a huge fan of the series.

MAC: Did you handle any re-translation for this version or was the XSEED PC release dialogue used in full?

XSEED was really supportive and authorized us to use the English version they did as a reference for other languages. We knew their translation was top-quality, so we thought it would be great to ask them. I am glad we did!

MAC: We are excited for the Vita version that's still on the way, is it still on track for a May release? What challenges have you faced in bringing it to Vita?

Yes, the release will be on May 30th as announced, and we are really excited! The delay is due to the fact that we made the mistake of working first on PS4. As it is a game from 2006, the optimization work in terms of performances was not too big. However, when we started to work on the Vita, we saw almost immediately that the performance optimization would take us a long time, as the device is made very different. We miss-calculated that. But the build we have in the office now looks and feels great and I can’t wait to see people playing Ys Origin on the go.

MAC: Will there be UI changes on Vita, as there were some tiny icons even on PS4? Will load times be comparable to those on PS4?

Yes, we adapted completely the UI and tutorials in all languages, to provide the best portable experience possible. Also, as we had to do a lot of optimization work for the PS Vita, the load times should be the same or even quicker than on the PS4 version. By the way, the PS4 version will most likely be patched soon so players can enjoy the optimization work we did for the PS Vita.

MAC: Any plans to work with Falcom on future ports? The company still has a few PSP games, mostly the Legend of Heroes games, that would be great to see ported to newer consoles or PC.

That would be great indeed, we are working regularly with Falcom for Ys Origin and Ys Chronicles and we would definitely love to continue to bring their other licenses too. (TLoH: Trails in the Sky would be very, very nice for example ;) )

MAC: Can you talk about the limited edition of Ys Origin that will be released via Limited Run Games? Just an art book included with it or is there more? Will the PS4 and Vita versions have the same limited edition content?

Unfortunately I can’t reveal much for now, as we are still working on it, but you will be hearing about it very soon. Yes, both collector versions should have the same content.

MAC: How has it been seeing your games released in physical format?

It’s great! Thanks to Limited Run Games we have the opportunity to actually have something that we can hold in our hands. It is a great feeling and I think we will do more and more physical editions with our upcoming games.

MAC: What has it been like working on games for Vita? Ys Origin and Windjammers both look like great additions to the system.

The Vita is a device from 2012. That implies a lot of optimization work, even for games that are old. So we need to spend more time and extra care for this kind of work. However, the final result is great: coming from the mobile scene, we love the idea of people playing these games on the go. 

MAC: How is Windjammers coming along? Do you have a release window for it yet? Will both versions hit at the same time and both have online play?

We are going to release big news for Windjammers by the end of May. So no definitive release window yet, but if everything goes well, players will be able to throw flying discs at each other this summer. We are aiming for a simultaneous release, but as we learned with Ys Origin, we prefer to be 100% sure before confirming anything. 

MAC: On the publishing side of things, you've recently released Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap on Nintendo Switch. Was the Switch release handled directly by DotEmu and LizardCube or did you have third party help? What fun challenges arose from working on the Switch release?

The Switch release/publishing and project management was handled directly by DotEmu worldwide but we got help from our friends at Kakehashi Games for the Japanese version (same for other platforms). As for the game itself, Seavens Studio handled the Switch port with a lot of implication from Lizardcube. And they did a wonderful job, given the time constraint. Nintendo really supported us on this one and we are very grateful, it was kind of a dream to be on a new Nintendo platform.

MAC: What should fans of handheld games look forward to as far as future projects from DotEmu? Any hints or teases?

As for handheld devices, we are now fully operational to go for the PS Vita or the Nintendo Switch. So when it will make sense, we will of course do everything we can to have our future releases there as well.

Pocket-Console and #TeamHandheld would like to thank Cyrille Imbert and the DotEmu team for their support of the Vita and Switch, and also for taking part in this interview.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mr. Shifty Breaks into Switch Soon

Team Shifty and publisher tinyBuild have announced that this lovely action and stealth blend, Mr. Shifty, will arrive on Switch (and Steam) on April 13. Being described as "Hotline Miami meets Nightcrawler" was all it took for me to get excited over this, as the quick action of Hotline Miami made it one of my favorite games. If Mr. Shifty can capture the quick restart feel with the trial and error gameplay, it should be a spot on winner for me. I'm looking forward to playing this when it hits next week. Mr. Shifty will be $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Upcoming Nindie Games

The following titles were shown off or listed during today's Nintendo Switch Nindie showcase video as upcoming games hitting Switch.
  • 1001 Spikes
  • Away: Journey to the Unexpected
  • Battle Chef Brigade
  • Blaster Master Zero
  • Cave Story
  • Celeste
  • Dandara
  • Duck Game
  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Fast RMX
  • Flipping Death
  • GoNNER
  • Graceful Explosion Machine
  • Has-Been Heroes
  • Hollow Knight
  • Hover : Revolt Of Gamers
  • Human Resource Machine
  • Ittle Dew 2
  • Kingdom: Two Crowns
  • Little Inferno
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
  • Mr. Shifty
  • Mutant Mudds
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • NeuroVoider
  • Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
  • Overcooked!
  • Pankapu
  • Perception
  • Pocket Rumble
  • Portal Knight
  • Redout
  • Rime
  • Rive
  • Rogue Trooper Redux
  • Runner 3
  • Shakedown: Hawaii
  • Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
  • Snake Pass
  • Splasher
  • Stardew Valley
  • State of Mind
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • sU and the Quest for Meaning
  • Terraria
  • The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth +
  • The Escapists 2
  • The Fall Part 2 Unbound
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 3
  • The Next Penelope
  • Thumper
  • TowerFall Ascension
  • Treasurenauts
  • TumbleSeed - A Rolly Roguelike
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse
  • Unbox: Newbie's Adventure
  • WarGroove
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
  • World of Goo
  • Yooka-Laylee
  • Zombie Vikings

Friday, February 24, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 02/24/2017

The #TeamHandheld Report is back with three new Vita games this week. I still have some 3DS titles I want to go into, but other games keep getting in the way. And with the Switch launching next week, oh dear...

Now Playing

forma.8 (Vita)

I've just started on forma.8, but it already has its hooks in me. This action adventure title falls in line with Metroid-style exploration, but features a cute, floating circle as the main character. Flying around these open areas looking for the right path is engaging and feels different enough from the formula to be fresh. I've only just started on this one, so I can't say too much yet, but know that I will be back to talk more about it.

-Very engaging so far-

Vertical Drop Heroes HD (Vita)

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is the latest in the group of what I call slow progression games to hit the Vita, joining titles like Rogue Legacy and Bard's Gold. These are games where you make incremental progress while learning the basics in order to eventually be able to finish the level without dying. The difference here is that instead of venturing through a castle while fighting off foes and finding random treasure, your hero is doing all that while dropping vertically down the stage. Much like Rogue Legacy, you get to select from a random assortment of character types at the start of the level, each with their own unique skills. Much like the other games of this ilk, it's quite challenging and often frustrating, but that's all part of the charm...I guess.

-Another drop in the bucket-

Deemo: The Last Recital (Vita)

The Vita is a treasure trove of rhythm games, many of which people have probably never heard of, so it would be understandable if you'd never heard of Deemo: The Last Recital before now. This game is currently available via an Asian English import, but is coming digitally to North America soon, but I got a little impatient and opted for this version. It's delightful. The rhythm sections are about what you'd expect, though the music so far is lovely. There is also a story mode and it's strange, but I am not really here for that. Just give me more music.

-Hitting the right notes-


Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS) & Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)

Both of these are still ready to go, but I've had other RPGs get in the way. I want to do these justice, so just keep hanging on.

Various (Switch)

The Switch is hitting soon, so I plan on checking out a few new games on that, in handheld mode of course.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fast RMX Boosts to Switch Launch

The eShop will be up and running on Switch on day one and will have a few solid indie titles to support it. One of the most interesting is Fast RMX from Shin'en Multimedia. This speedy looking racer brings back memories of F-Zero and the SNES, and I can think of little that would be higher praise from me. Update: Shin'en has confirmed the price will be $19.99 at launch on Mar. 3.

Friday, February 10, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 02/10/2017

Sorry about missing last week's #TeamHandheld Report, but health issues caused a bit of a delay. No worries, though, because I'm back this week with more.

Now Playing

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers (Vita)

I'm not the audience for most Dynasty Warriors games and I know it, but sometimes games will offer something new and catch you off guard. It wasn't until close to launch that I even looked closely enough at Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers to learn that it's actually a tactical RPG. That did enough to spark my interest, so I decided to check it out. While still filled with the DW lore that I have little interest in, combat is actually quite unique for the series.

Instead of mowing down wave after wave of enemies, it has a fairly standard grid-based battle system. Player units have various skills like a typical TRPG such as ranged attacks or close-up melee options. While still early, it's obvious that there is a deeper level of strategy at work here, so I imagine things will get more challenging as it goes on. The first few tutorials are pretty basic, but enjoyable enough to likely make this the Dynasty Warriors I spend the most time with.

-Finally a Dynasty Warriors for me-

Asdivine Hearts (Vita)

After putting a lot more time into Asdivine Hearts, I can see more of the charm of this game. While not an innovative masterpiece or flawless gem, Asdivine reminds me more of an SNES RPG I would have rented in the summers of my youth. The characters are cute, combat is varied, and the story solid enough, though the clich├ęs are out in force.

I've been on a brief break from this one while I've been checking out other games, but I've gotten back into it and plan to finish it off, which is telling by itself. While this won't likely be a big award winner, I'm happy it made it to Vita and am glad I've gotten a chance to play it.

-Unusually fun-

Uncanny Valley (Vita)

Uncanny Valley has a very unique premise, as it's an adventure game where your action will impact the story and how things play out, sometimes meaning that things could end quickly and badly. I wasn't able to get very far in this yet, but from what little I played the interface was really awkward. Unless I can get a better grip on the controls, I'm not sure how much more I'll be interested in playing. It's just super finicky with a horrible UI that doesn't work well as it's been implemented here.

-So awkward-


Deemo (Vita)

I meant to talk about this one this week, but need some more time on it.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS)

This is my last shot at this series really hooking me. I've tried all the others so far, but they've just not stuck.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)

I loved the original Devil Survivor, at least until the crazy ending sections, but never really played much of the sequel. Glad to get to play the updated version.

Friday, January 27, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 01/27/2017

Welcome to this week's #TeamHandheld Report. I was able to play three games that I didn't expect to like, but found them to mostly be positive experiences. Let's see what's up.

Now Playing

Asdivine Hearts (Vita)

I've been eyeing Kemco RPGs for quite some time, but each one I've looked into or tried just didn't sit well with me. Not that they were awful games, just not a good match for me as they were a little too by the book. However, I'd heard from fellow portable gaming connoisseur Shaun Musgrave that Asdivine Hearts was the one to give a shot before writing off Kemco's output completely.

Developed by Exe-Create, this title has been more enjoyable and a lot less generic than I'd expected. There's nothing super special about it so far, but the characters are interesting, the gameplay is solid, and the story has been decent enough. I know that might not seem like a ringing endorsement, but it really is for a Kemco title. It hasn't given me quite the feeling that Circle's Mercenaries Saga series has, though straightforward RPGs have seen lots of games like this come and go. Asdivine Hearts has kept me interested, and that's saying a lot.

-A curiously intriguing, yet simple RPG-

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (Vita)

Much like dungeon crawlers have yet to really stick with me, musou games have also lacked the appeal to keep my interest. It's not a genre I try to be harsh on since I know they aren't for me, but when a game stands out enough to keep me wanting to play that's pretty impressive. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star has done more to entertain me than I thought possible of this genre. The story segments have been good and the combat, which usually is what bores me, has been faster and more engaging than prior games I've tried. While I'd initially hoped this would be an RPG like Fate/Extra before it, the end product turned out to be a pleasant anomaly and that's a good thing.

-Surprisingly fun for a genre I don't usually like-

Bard's Gold (Vita)

Bard's Gold came out a few months back and I missed it, but I was glad to finally get a chance to check it out thanks to eastasiasoft. It borrows a lot of roguelike elements and combines it with some platforming like Rogue Legacy, but is simply one stage at a time instead of working through a large dungeon. Controls were a little less tight than I'd like, and the stages were frustrating. It's a neat concept, but just didn't really sit well with me. Something like Rogue Legacy was creative with its replays, but Bard's Gold just had me doing the same thing over and over until I got it exactly right. I didn't get that far, so I can only imagine how much rougher the later stages would have been. It's not a bad game, but is totally not for me.

-Not quite my thing...-


Deemo (Vita)

I meant to talk about this one this week, but need some more time on it.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS)

This is my last shot at this series really hooking me. I've tried all the others so far, but they've just not stuck.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)

I loved the original Devil Survivor, at least until the crazy ending sections, but never really played much of the sequel. Glad to get to play the updated version.