Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nintendo to Release Puzzler on e-Shop


Nintendo has announced, at least announced in Japan, that they will be bringing a new puzzler developed by Nintendo platform veteran Intelligent Systems to the Nintendo 3DS e-Shop. The game is titled Hiku-osu, and it looks absolutely adorable.

While I cannot read Japanese myself, Andriasang, the website that first broke the story, claims that "in Hiku-osu, you play as the powerful Maro who's out to help people. Maro's town has been covered in a mysterious block-like toy called Hiku-osu." The story at Andriasang also claims that the game will include 250 stages, will be released on October 5, and will cost 700 yen.

Nintendo does have an official site up for the title, but besides noting that there are a few extra videos located on the page that one can view, there isn't much else to understand if you cannot read Japanese. Sorry! You can still look at the adorable pictures, and who doesn't like that.



Source: andriasang.com

Screens after the break.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More Cave Story 3D Screens, Old is New

I'm afraid there is not really a lot new from NIS America about Cave Story 3D, so we'll have to keep waiting for its estimated November 8th release. NISA did just release some new screens, so enjoy while you wait. These screens do highlight how 2D sprite mode can be selected to give the it the look and feel of the original Cave Story.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Falcom Rumbles, Reaches for the Rear


There is a lot of portable rumblings from Falcom right now and they are reaching for the rear. It's not as dirty as it sounds, they just want my money, nothing more. More about that later.

First, The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki is out in Japan on Sept. 29. It received 8/8/8/8 - 32/40 from Famitsu and scores of 90/80/95/90 from Dengeki. Many are calling Trails in Blue, but I'm going to do my own completely unofficial and inaccurate localization and call it The Legend of Heroes: Into the Blue. It sounds more natural, really. For those that don't know, this is the fifth Legend of Heroes game in the Falcom developed PSP line and the second that was not ported over from PC. The Sora no Kiseki/Trails in the Sky games are the first three and 2010's Zero no Kiseki (or as I again inaccurately dub Path to Nowhere) is the one right before this. Here's a look at a trailer from a game we are never ever going to see in English...or at least not for a long time. This one is going to be big in Japan though, as Falcom had already taken over 200,000 retail orders for the game as of August. It should be big for the company.


It's not all Legend of Heroes at Falcom, though as they also announced Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees for the PlayStation Vita at this year's Tokyo Game Show. This will be the first official version of Ys IV that Falcom has created, as there are two others, both made by other developers. This Vita release will take the foundation Ys Seven set for gameplay and build on it. It will have a more dynamic camera, audio free from the constraints the PSP placed on it, and uses of the rear touch panel for ordering around allies. I'm ready for this, so I really hope it gets picked up for North America, but it won't even be out in Japan until 2012, so we have time.


Falcom isn't content to let the PSP, their most actively developed system, die out. The company is developing a PSP game alongside Ys Celceta and should be released in 2011. In the meantime, I'll sit back, cross my fingers, and continue to wish for a Vita compilation of the Sora no Kiseki trilogy, or at least the first two. A man can dream, right?

Source: endlesshistory via Twitter & Andriasang

Friday, September 23, 2011

Diamond Trust of London: No News is Good News?


The savvy follower of video game news, or perhaps the dedicated follower of Jason Rohrer, has undoubtedly heard of a Nintendo DS game by the name of Diamond Trust of London. The title was originally to be published by Majesco, but differences of opinion as to how it should be published placed the title into limbo. At least until Zoo Entertainment announced that they wanted to publish it.

And that's pretty much all we've heard on the title. Yeah, there have been a few blog updates on the official website (seven, to be exact), but we still don't know approximately when the game is supposed to be released or any details concerning  the barely mentioned Amazon-only distribution method or it's limited edition goodies.

I know, I know, this sounds very impatient of me, but the game is going to be a very limited printing and only available during a very specific window of time. My fear is that those who want a copy, even if interested, will completely miss the window of availability. That would suck.

Zoo Entertainment, do yourself a favor and at least make a game listing on your website. Pretty please?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another PSP RPG? Why Yes XSEED, Please Take My Money


As Editor-in-Chief for RPGamer, I am in a position where is it fairly easy to receive complimentary copies of games from publishers such as XSEED. However, for games I have a personal interest in, I make every attempt to purchase those titles on my own, especially portable games. I want to support these publishers as a fan, not just through my writing, because I appreciate the risk they (Atlus, Aksys, NIS America, XSEED) take to bring out games in English that we would not otherwise see. I just recently ordered Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin and have Solatorobo, Fate/Extra, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 on pre-order. So thanks to XSEED Games, I now have yet another game to add to that list.

XSEED is bringing over Grand Knights History, a Vanillaware developed 2D turn-based RPG with conquest simulation aspects thrown in. This will be available "this winter," which when listed without a year usually means early 2012. It will be released on both UMD and PSN and will help my ever growing PSP RPG collection gain another level. It looks like this and NISA's Black Rock Shooter might just be some of the last RPGs we see for the system. A darn shame that more North American gamers didn't love up to the PSP, but it really has just been a system for RPGamers. That said, I'm not totally sure how the online aspects of this game will work or really even exactly what the conquest entails, but I'm more than glad to support any PSP RPG localization at this point.




Dear Calciobit, Please Come to North America


I'm not quite sure why I'm so attracted to this game. Maybe it's just my strange attraction to games with quirky artistic direction. Maybe, because it sounds so different than anything I've ever played, that the jaded gamer inside of me wants to experience something different. Label me intrigued, and ever since I wrote about the game after it was shown in a demo reel at the Nintendo 3DS pre-TGS press conference, I've wanted a copy. Nay, I must have a copy.

Unfortunately, I learned that the game is a soccer management game, and while that sounds even more intriguing to myself, I can't imagine the game ever releasing outside of Japan, or at least in the US. There's always the chance it could release in Europe, as they have a lengthy history of soccer management games, but considering the 3DS is no longer region-free, I may have to miss out.



Source: Gpara.com and the Minisite at Nintendo Japan

Professor Layton RPG Gets Trailer


I didn't catch that the next installment of the Professor Layton series (the above logo'ed Professor Layton and the Last Specter) was going to have a supposed 100 hour role-playing game inside of it. How did I not notice this, especially considering the sprite work looks amazing? It's very similar to what Fantasy Life looked like before they announced it for the 3DS and changed the visuals from 2D to 3D. Which makes at least some sense, as the same company is responsible for both titles.

I'm not what I'd necessarily call a Professor Layton fan, even if I do own more DS games than what is reasonable, but the entire look and feel and idea of a Professor Layton RPG really appeals to me. Level-5 and Nintendo, you have sold an extra copy of your game. It's sad that Europe will miss out on the adventure, but the DS is still region-free. At least the availability is there, if one's desperate enough.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sony Vita to be Region-Free


Pocket consoles have, as far as my memory can recall, always been region-free. That feature is one of the primary perks in collecting games for nearly any previous generation of pocket consoles. This is especially true if one enjoys specific flavors of quirkiness in titles that are only released in, at best, one region. My Nintendo DS collection is filled with Japanese and European games that are simply oustanding. Most of these titles never will come to North America. Never. And though I've had to spend hefty sums of money importing of them to the US, especially given the weak dollar the last several years, I've always been supremely thankful that I have at least the ability to play such titles.

Imagine my horror when I heard the 3DS would not be region-free. I mean, sure, some titles I can always live without, but would I want to live in a world where I could not play my beloved Pic Pic? Would I be forced to import separate consoles for each region? The entire line of thought was supremely depressing.

Thankfully, Sony has announced on the coattails of the Tokyo Game Show (at least announced via Twitter, if you can call that an announcement) that the Vita will be region-free. Yay!

The more I hear about the Vita, the more I'm convinced that it may be the next portable console for me. If they can figure out a way to get my UMDs to work on the thing, then I'll be sold.

Zen Pinball 3D Screens Released

Here's a batch of screenshots from the previously announced Zen Pinball 3D. I missed them the first time around. Whoops!


Zen Pinball 3D to Release on 3DS



I've always had a fascination with video game pinball adaptations. Perhaps I'm alone in this fascination, but there's something intriguing about a digital, albeit sometimes unrealistic, enhancement of a very physical game. Sadly, I play very little video game pinball. The last video game pinball I was into was Galactic Pinball, so it's been a while.

Despite my seemingly apathy for modern digital pinball releases, I can't deny that Nintendo handheld platforms have had their share of digital pinball titles. More than their share, even. Revenge of the 'Gator was released in Japan way back in 1989, and since then we've seen:

  • Kirby's Pinball Land
  • Pinball of the Dead
  • Mario Land Pinball
  • Pokemon Pinball
  • Dream Pinball
  • Sonic Pinball Party
  • Pac-Man Pinball
  • Pinball Tycoon
  • The Little Mermaid II: Pinball Frenzy
  • Pinball-e
  • Microsoft Pinball Arcade
  • Pinball Fantasies
  • Hardcore Pinball
  • 3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride
  • Hero Shuugou!! Pinball Party
  • Ottifanten Pinball
  • Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire
  • Pinball Advance
  • Hollywood Pinball
  • Super Robot Pinball
  • Metroid Prime Pinball
  • Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon
  • GO Series: Pinball Attack!
  • Crazy Pinball
  • Dream Pinball 3D
  • Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection
  • Powershot Pinball Constructor

I wholly admit that before I constructed that list, in my mind, it was a much smaller list. I now realize It's absurd to imagine pinball games not coming to a Nintendo handheld. The Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection will be out very soon (if not this very second), and now with the Zen Pinball 3D announcement, we already have two pinball games coming in less than a year. Keep them pinball games coming! Apparently we like them, a lot. If we didn't, I'm guessing people would stop making them.


Press release after the break.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sony Reveils Vita Game Cases

In the wake of the Tokyo Game Show over in Japan-land, images of the game cases from Sony's next handheld have appeared on the web. And, okay, while this isn't entirely about pocket console games, it is sort of related, so I have justified posting my fascination in this subject.

Game cases in general have already fascinated me, and I truly wish I could be a fly on the wall during a meeting where they make these decisions. Why are the cases specific sizes? Why is the case so bloody huge when compared to the memory cards themselves?

A huge thanks to the denizens of NeoGAF for both acquiring and creating these images and the lovely post about them.


Source: NeoGAF

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CAVE to Release Shirotsuku on Vita


Shirotsuku was a title I certainly had never heard of previously. When it was announced last night at the Sony pre-TGS press conference, I started digging around, as I typically do when I hear of an announced game that I do not recognize, and it seems it is a fairly well-known title originally released on various cellphone-based social gaming platforms in Japan. Apparently, it's coming to the US in some form or another, though I'm not entirely sure as to what that form is. The trailer listed below for the iPod and iPhone version popped up on YouTube on August 5, but after diligent searching on the iTunes Store, I could not find the game.

I know what everyone will say. It's just another Japanese looking Farmville-like game. But, you know, I don't care. The characters are darn cute, and a Japanese castle-making game sounds amazing. That's right, amazing. Too bad we'll probably never get it. I guess it's possible, but I'm not holding my breath.


The official press release is listed below.

- NEWS RELEASE - 

CAVE to Release Games for PlayStation ® Vita

CAVE Interactive Co., Ltd. (Shinjuku, Tokyo JASDAQ Code: 3760) has announced that it will be releasing games for the PlayStation® Vita, starting with its social game “Shirotsuku” followed by an original shooting game (title TBA).*

*Localization status of both games is currently to be determined.
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Shirotsuku (Title TBA)
“Check in” and “Step Out”! Enjoy your portable game system in a brand new way!
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Become a “daimyo” in the Sengoku period of Japanese history and build up your own tiny castle kingdom in this Sengoku simulation game by CAVE. Use the “check in” feature to pick up souvenirs exclusive to your geo-location and construct unique buildings from that area. Once your castle town is bustling, skirmish and try your luck in battle against other users.

Check In for Fun!
Use the location registration feature of the Playstation® Vita to pick up souvenirs and buildings exclusive to your geographic area.

Play in Your Free Time: Step Out and Check In!
In “Shirotsuku”, you’ll earn coins in-game according to how far you’ve travelled since your last check in. The cash you earn on your morning commute quickly stacks up! Pick a building and a spot to place. Your townsfolk will automatically build it, allowing you to enjoy “Shirotsuku” in your spare time, waiting for the bus, on your lunch break and more.

■ More Fun with Friends!
Show off your castle towns, trade souvenirs, and more! There are plenty of features to enjoy with friends. Connect to your favorite social network and meet new people to play with.

■ Build a Castle Town in the Palm of your Hand!
More than 400 types of buildings and more than 400 samurais! The same great content fromShirotsuku, enjoyed by over 3,000,000 people in Japan, is here for the Vita version.

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Shirotsuku (Working Title)
■ Platform :PlayStation® Vita
■ Genre :Castle Creating Simulation
■ Price :TBD
■ Release Date :TBD

■About Shirotsuku (Cell Phone Version)
“Shirotsuku” is a social game in which players become a daimyo (warlord) in the Sengoku period of Japanese history and create their own tiny castle kingdom.
Users “check in” using geo-location info from Shirotsuku’s unique GPS feature, which links the player to their physical location.
With in-game events that utilize geo-location, Shirotsuku’s “Step Out and Check in” theme resonated with users and has helped grow its user base to over 3,000,000 users as of May, 2011.
Official site (PC and Mobile): http://4629.jp


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Square Enix Bravely Defaults on Creative Naming

It is hard not to expect a crazy name from a new Square Enix title, but in the case of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, I have to wonder why? A game that appears to be a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, it seems that title has been ditched in favor of a completely new, more awkward title. This new 3DS title will available in Japan in 2012 and was just one of the awesome pieces of news to come from Nintendo's 3DS Conference.