The Playstation Vita was launched in 2012 and was the spiritual succesor to the original Playstation Portable. With it’s front touch screen and rear touch pad as well as the inclusion of a second analogue stick along with the usual host of buttons, it gives this pocket powerhouse the ability to run games that other handheld devices can only dream of.
When you think Batman game, especially that of the Arkham series, large open areas, stalking groups of enemies from above and crazy melee combos come to mind. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is a new addition to the franchise for handheld consoles PSVita and Nintendo 3DS. Developed by Armature Studio, who previously ported Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 to PSVita and at the time of writing this are developing Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition for the Sony handheld. Blackgate is their first original game; a ”2.5D” sidescroller akin to “Metroidvania” style games, the player having to navigate large, almost labyrinth-like levels.
Broken age started life back in 2012 as a Kickstarter project under the name Double Fine Adventure. With an initial development goal of $400,000 it soon smashed that by hitting £3.45 million with 87,000 backers. Broken age became the largest crowdfunded video game project at the time and also proved that crowd funding was a viable way for developers to fund their games and help their ideas and creations come to fruition. It showed that not only was their interest out there for a game still in early development but there was also the people and the funds to back the project. Many indie developers have now taken the crowd funding sites to help with their development and marketing costs with varying results.
Gravity Rush is an open world adventure that features a heroine, Kat, who wakes from darkness into a strange world with no memories of her previous life. It is this central conceit, a fish out of water with no previous memories, that fuels the narrative. Kat soon discovers that she is able to shift Gravity (with the help of a friendly cosmic cat, Dusty) towards any desired direction or plane in her world and ‘fall’ towards it. The story is an intriguing mix of discovery, good vs evil and humour. Kat is a quirky character, who is initially unpopular amongst the frankly simplistic general population of the city she appears in. As she becomes more involved with the citizens of Hekseville and starts to deal with the problem of a plague of amorphous black and red blobs called the Nevi, she soon starts to gain favour.
The boys and girls from DrinkBox Studios are back on the PS3 and Vita with a brand new offering. While there are no mutant blobs in space this time round, there is a tale. A tale about a princess, kidnapped by an evil super villain and as you’ve probably guessed already, in need of rescuing by you. You control Juan, a farmer from the outskirts of small town Pueblucho, Mexico. After being alerted to a large explosion at El Presidentes mansion, you discover that a an evil skeleton intent on sacrificing the daughter of the president in a bid to acquire eternal power. Then you are murdered. Game over right? Nope. Juan wakes up in the world of the dead and happens upon Lucho Libre, or mask of the dead. Thus allowing him to travel back and forth between the world of the living and his new home in a bid to stop it all before it’s too late.
You play a Nimbus based levitating deity who is worshiped by cute looking followers. The aim is to protect these dinky people, as you defend them from the attacks of varying waves of odd enemies. A right to left shooter may sound far from unique, but here comes the rub. Your followers have to be defended from flying demons that will try to carry them off, rolling beasties, that squish them. By killing these varying waves of beasties said Pilgrims will emit a heart of adoration, these hearts only last on screen briefly. Unless you kill more devilish abominations and the hearts swell as their love for you increases, due to your protective powers.
Football Manager is one of those games that you cannot put down (as long as you’re a football fan). It really is the epitome of ‘just one more go’. It’s ruined countless lives and marriages and the PC version is one of the most pirated games of all time. With over 1000 enhancements from the PSP version, the Vita edition promises to be closer to its PC counterpart, and with the significantly higher power of the Vita, it really is. Essentially ‘Classic’ Football Manager is the classic mode from the PC game. Which in itself is how Football Manager was a few years ago, before the humongous amount of improvements were added to give it the great depth and detail that it has today. Classic mode is more streamlined and massively easier to use, and with the innovation of the PS Vita touchscreen, it’s faster, prettier and much-needed upgrade to the old PSP game.
I must confess I’ve had my eyes on this game since it was first announced as coming to PSVita & PS4, having originally been released as an iOS / Android game. This version could be classed as a definitive edition adding more features, levels and music than the original release. Visually this game has more than a deliberate passing resemblance to 3D shooters such as Star Fox on SNES. Using the processing power of current systems to unleash some graphical effects I don’t think I’ve seen before the main one being colour diffusion, which occurs when you boost your ship with R1 causing a fish-eye lens effect and separation of the colours within the objects, something similar is done within Fez but doesn’t have the same impact as it does within Futuridium.
Gravity Crash Ultra sets you in a classic game scenario where you must defeat the enemy that seem to be everywhere, collect the craved items, in this case different coloured gems and artifacts as well as the odd rescue mission for some poor helpless downed pilots that need a lift home. After that it’s just a simple case of defeating the big, bad bosses and its home in time to tea and biscuits. Ok, so that may sound like a generic game that pop up every now and again but this isn’t one of them. This is something that stands way above the rest. Gravity Crash Ultra is a twin stick shooter that developers Just Add Water have worked hard on, tweaking each and every part to make what was originally a good game into something even better.
Surprise ultra-violent indie hit, Hotline Miami graced PC’s around the world in October 2012, propelling Devolver Digital into the spotlight. Eight months down the line it finally makes its console/handheld debut, but does it translate well from mouse and keyboard to a joypad? Hotline Miami is a top down shooter, stylised in 2D pixels it takes the best of Smash TV, Manhunt and the movie Drive and throws them altogether in a fast paced, addictive rollercoaster of blood, bullets and beheading. You play the role of an unnamed psychotic ‘hitman’, who receives answer phone messages with little more than an address. You then head to said address and kill everybody in the building.
Charming. This word instantly comes to mind when I played Jacob Jones & The Bigfoot Mystery. I recently picked this up on PSN for under £2, it looked interesting enough to warrant a download but then I started playing… What a gem! This game is the most fun I’ve had on my PSVita for the last few months. This may come across as over-exaggeration but sometimes you just need a nice, simple game to refresh your gaming pallet. Jacob Jones comes from the developers Lucid Games. The UK team, based in Liverpool, consists of almost 40 people who have worked on previous games such as Project Gotham Racing, Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone. Once you’ve read this review, do check out their site Lucidgames.co.uk or give them a tweet @LucidGamesLtd
The rhythm action genre was once an over populated game type but since the demise of annual Rock Band & Guitar / DJ Hero games due to market saturation, there has only been one game of note that springs to mind & that’s Retro:Grade. After seeing an early trailer and reading Zen Studio‘s press release explaining how Kickbeat was a different type of beat matching game, due to the main character being at the centre of the game and directly controlled by music matching button taps. Playing the game on Easy gives you visual button prompts to indicate which direction the enemies are going to attack you from. There are three colours of enemy that will try to slap you silly. Yellow attack one at a time, Blue attack in quick succession and Red attack two (or more) at a time.
It’s been a long time since there has been a survival horror game of any real note. There are games from my past that have given me a genuine fright like Alien Trilogy, Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill on PS1, Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, PS2 & PS3 HD remaster), Silent Hill 2. The thing all these games had in common was the difficulty to survive due to little amounts of health and ammo, tied to an atmosphere based on moody graphics & soundtrack. The only games on PS3 I can think of to get the survival horror sense right are Bioshock and more recently The Last of Us. So can Jasper Byrne’s PC game having been given extra time and content with help from Curve Studios and brough a definitive version to PlayStation give me the willies or will it be a horror to survive?
I guess this is one part retro review, one part recent review, as Metal Slug 3 was just re-released for the fifth, maybe sixth time, on the PS4 (along with the PS3 and PSVita). I’ve lost count to be honest. I’m sure Wikipedia has the numbers. All I know is I remember playing through this game a number of times on the PS2, and I loved it back then, but that was about 8-10 years ago, for a game that is now 15 years old, so the question is: Does this hold up? “Oh god yes!” would be my response if I was at the pub, and I wasn’t obliged to explain why I held such a view. But here we are, with you reading my words and wondering why I’m not getting to any form of cohesive point, and instead opting to hold your attention by spinning some elaborate and anticlimactic yarn that’ll culminate with nothing.
The fine folks at Criterion Games, who you might know from the wonderful games Burnout Paradise and the more recent Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit have released the latest game in the Need for Speed franchise, Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The announcement of Most Wanted in general was a very exciting proposition, but the more exciting piece of information was the fact that Criterion Games themselves would be developing the version of the game to be released on the Vita. This is a quite a coup as the handheld versions of “Triple A” titles are generally farmed out to other smaller studios in order to allow the main developer to focus on the versions to be released on the larger consoles and PC.
Is an old school looking skateboarding game by Roll7 exclusive for the PSVita. Can this recapture the fond memories of playing Tony Hawks Pro-Skater on the PlayStation or will it be an epic bail followed by a terrifying virtual concrete eating face-plant. From the first videos I saw of OlliOlli I was under the impression that this game was simply going to be an endless runner in style, but with the twist of having a skateboard. I was wrong this game has some simple looking pixel graphics that hide within them a game of incredible depths. Your aim is to get from left to right pulling off tricks, doing grinds, building up a score and trying not to bail.
Many called Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 the greatest JRPG of all time back in 2008 when it first came into light on the PlayStation 2. And although some Final Fantasy fanboys may beg to differ, I totally agree. So enter 2013’s HD all bells and whistles update, Persona 4 Golden. Is it still the best? Does it translate well enough to a handheld? Persona 4 Golden is part high school social simulator and part dungeon crawler. The protagonist moves to a small countryside town from the big city to live with his uncle and cousin. Starts a brand new school, makes some new friends and becomes a part time detective after a local television presenter is murdered. After trying out an urban legend ‘the Midnight Channel’, the real adventure begins with you and your new pals being sucked into the ‘TV World’
The Playstation Vita is quickly becoming the home to some of the great mobile games out there. There is a great range of new and HD remakes coming out to keep all but the most cynical gamer more than happy. One such title just released is PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD brought to us by Double11. Previously on the PS3 and the PSP, now a full HD title comes to the Vita. This addictive little game has always been a personal highlight of Jedi Junkie’s and now he gets to review this latest release for the site. So, what did he think? was it as good as he remembered? is it a worthy addition to the Playstation Vita collection of games?
It would be hard to find a gamer around today that hasn’t at least heard of Plants vs Zombies if not played it. Its one of those titles that everyone knows, its in the same realm as Angry Birds and Tetris. The title is on pretty much every format out there. From mobile to console, a group of plants can be found defending themselves and their home against those damned zombies. The title has now hit the PlayStation Vita with all its touch screen goodness. This game is available as a download only from the Vita store for £8.99. This seems like a lot compared to the price on the IOS store.That said, you are playing on the Vita with a bigger screen and trophy support. Is that enough to justify the purchase?
Proteus starts you on the ocean as you head to the eponymously titled island. Not knowing what to expect when I reached the sandy shore or what I was going to experience when I arrived. The controls will be familiar to anyone who has used a control pad to play a first person shooter, left stick allows you too move and the right stick controls your view. Proteus is I believe the worlds first stroll ‘em up, done in an intriguingly pixel graphical style, allowing exploration of this title’s weird pixelated Island. Did I find this wander around the Island of the games name a holiday on the handheld or not worth the journey. The visual style of Proteus is very odd, yet reassuringly familiar.
More and more games are making the transition from mobile markets to the console market. There seems to be a demand for smaller, less expensive games that have some good, strong gaming mechanics to them to offset the more expensive triple A titles. Developers Yeah Us have decided to jump in on this market opening and bring their title Pumped BMX+ to the PlayStation platforms. I’ve always been a fan of games such as Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman and Dave Mirra titles so any BMX or skateboarding game always piques my interest. After seeing the trailer for Pumped BMX+ I had to see what it was like. The obvious comparison that will probably be made initially is that to the Trials games one mobile. I can tell you now that its nothing like them. Yes its a linear track game and you control the bike to make it to the end of each level but that’s where it ends.
It must be hard being somebody important in the Resident Evil universe, as once you become embroiled in bioterrorism incidents or zombie outbreaks, they seem to follow you around everywhere. A simple walk to the shops can turn into a fight for survival, or a family visit can inexplicably morph into a sudden mutation extravaganza. Or maybe this happens… At a TerraSave conference with Moira Burton, daughter of series favourite Barry Burton, Claire Redfield is basically loving life and being appreciative of the fact she isn’t involved in another horrible freak show of bioterrorism, experimentation and all-round abject horror…
This game from Ratloop Asia was originally a PC flash title that back in 2010 was nominated at the Independent Games Festival. Now it has been brought over to the console world with some additions and improvements. We managed to get hold of the Playstation Vita version of this fun, bird brained puzzle platformer. It is your job to find and assassinate the leader of the regimist penguin foes. You must take out the enemy and free Albatropolis from oppressive control. Doing this involves going into Albatropolis and hunting down the enemy commander. From time to time you get a little help from other bird brethren who offer advice, and direction. It is not the most original story out there but its done in a nice way with a fun yet mature theme.
In 2013. Yacht Club Games, a recently formed studio helmed by a fellow named Sean Velasco, had a hankering to make a game in a similar vein to Mega Man and Duck Tales, as one tends to do. Of course, making games is a serious expenditure, one that Yacht Club needed some help with. Taking to Kickstarter on March 17, 2013 to announce their very first game, Shovel Knight, Yacht Club were inundated with funding from a variety of sources and by the time the campaign ended, their $75,000 goal was smashed and the final total reached over $300,000. Fast forward through some unfortunate delays, an eventual PC release and the announcement of free DLC updates in the future, we arrive at today: Shovel Knight is finally here on Xbox One, PS4, PS3, PC and Vita.
Dubbed as a Monster Hunter clone and a game that’s supposedly going to ‘significantly’ boost sales not just in its native Japan, but worldwide, Souls Sacrifice is Marvelous AQL’s first offering. Yes, it has huge monsters. Yes, it has gathering missions. But what sets it apart from the rest of the bunch?You’re a captive. Next on hyper evil sorcerer Magusar’s sacrificial list. However luck is on your side buddy! All in the form of Librom, a supernatural book made from human flesh with a slightly disfigured face. He explains that if you read the tales within him, you will gain experience from the battles of the past and be ready to take on your abductor in the final showdown. And this my friends can be done at any time. Yep, if you want to take on big, bad Magusar straight away, you can. You won’t win, but you can indeed try.
Sound shapes is a rhythm-action game, developed by Queasy Games. Except it isn’t really a rhythm game. Normally I’m not a fan of this particular genre, but watching previews before I got my hands on it, the style of game play intrigued me. Sound Shapes is actually a hard-core platformer, with a lot more depth than first impressions gave it credit. Playing it, I was reminded of Supermeat boy, Super Mario World and Little Big Planet. Your main aim is to move a circular spinning shape around a level, following some very basic physics-based rules and with a very simple control system. The aim is to collect coins, dotted around various parts of each level and progress to completion with as many coins as possible.
I’m not really a fan of 16-bit style games, the pixel art doesn’t generally interest me, I grew up gaming on Commodore Amiga and Sega Mega Drive. Having been back and played Sonic 2 on PS3 I feel it hasn’t aged well and is frustratingly hard. Feel free to call me a snob but I feel games have grown up, so I can’t say I was expecting to be taken a back by the renamed Stealth Bastard for PlayStation. I was so wrong it’s not funny, but the game made up for it by killing my Clone, over and over as punishment. Stealth Inc. has you controlling a single clone, navigating through complex mazes of a platforming nature, solving puzzles to allow you to reach the exit, sounds so simple doesn’t it.
One of the initial launch titles for the Playstation Vita, Super Stardust Delta is the follow on from the similarly titled Super Stardust HD for both the Playstation 3 and the previous handheld device, the PSP. The premise for this game is extremely simple really. At its heart its a classic arcade shooter drawing heritage from the likes of Atari’s Asteroids. You play the part of a small nimble ship on screen that has to survive a bombardment of large asteroids and rock formations, mines and other more nerferious creatures out to get you. You are armed with a variety of systems to help you clear the screen of these. You have two main weapons which are more effective against certain enemy types.
I must first declare I’ve never played the original Surge on PSM, so when I received the press release stating the improvements I had nothing to judge it against. That said the list was rather impressive and FuturLab seem to have taken on board criticism of the original Surge from Gamers & Neogaf members. Being a block puzzle addict I was looking forward to this release. You have to match the same colour / shaped blocks by tracing a line over the screen joining them, when you release the blocks disappear and points are awarded. You can only connect blocks that have a side exposed and are lit up. The more blocks you link the bigger the score, though there are ways to make your score even bigger through a couple of interesting ideas.
If you’re foolish enough not to have bought a PS Vita then you may not be aware of how brilliant some of it’s games are, how reasonably priced and how innovative some of this portable system features are. One of these being the utilisation of it’s rear camera and Cards with symbols on to map graphics and characters on the screen that move in 3 Dimensions called AR (Augmented Reality), as you move the PS Vita around images enlarge as you get closer or shrink as you move further away. Four Door Lemon were one of the first developers to create a game for this mechanism on the PS Vita, the launch title Table Football can be downloaded from the PSN Store for free. Since then they continued the format and stylings with Table Ice Hockey for the same price as this game £1.59.
Table Top Racing (Written by Darren) – Score: 3/5
Mutant blobs attack is a launch title for Sony’s new portable gaming system, the Playstation Vita. With so many titles available at launch, why would you pick up this little game. Well the answer is pretty simple. Its awesome! The developers, Drinkbox Studios have created this following on from their PS3 success Tales From Space: About A Blob and rather than play it safe by releasing it on the same system, they decided to launch on the Vita. This was a great move on their part as Mutant Blobs Attack works really well on the smaller screen. It feels perfectly smooth and its the perfect game to either play all the way through in one or two sittings or play a little at a time while on the move.
Thomas Was Alone didn’t interest me when I first started seeing press for it, as it looked like a very basic platformer with rectangles as characters and fairly plain looking visuals but after hearing at lot of good things, including three nominations at the BAFTA video games awards, I can safely say I was intrigued. As I’ve already mention at first glance it appears to be a very simple platformer but after playing the first few levels, I started to discover it’s charm. The striking thing is the narration which is provided by Danny Wallace (Voice of Shaun Hastings in Assassin’s Creed & writer of Yes Men), it feels like it’s being read by a parent telling a bedtime story to a child, from the inner monologue of the characters and thanks to an exquisitely well written script.
I only have very vague memories of Tempest games, the rotating around a tunnel shooting enemies in wireframed vector graphics. I was expecting this game would give warm and fuzzy feels to the growing number of retro-game fans but wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. The visual presentation does harp back to a bygone age but my lord is there a lot going on. If you’ve ever suffered from migraines, then you’ll understand when I say graphically it looks like the start of the headsplitting phenomena. The mass of flashing neon colours and shapes creating a massive blind spot of focus on the games display, thankfully without the usual cranium cracking pain of a migraine.
A prequel story to the popular Uncharted franchise by Naughty Dog on the PS3. This PSVita launch title surprised me greatly. Granted it did take me over a year for me to Platinum, but that’s because of the PSVita’s lack of games that I’ve been playing. (ED: Cheeky) It’s made by Bend Studio and not Naughty Dog although they had a certain amount of control over it. They also allowed Nolan North to reprise his role as a younger Nathan Drake, as well as assisting with original assets. There is also the inclusion of Near functionality. This allows Treasures obtained from killed enemies to be traded with fellow gamers. Once a complete Treasure Set is gain a trophy is unlocked.
Urban Trials Freestyle is the first title on the Vita from Tate Multimedia. A relatively unknown developer, they have experience in producing games for a variety of devices, but have produced a lot of content on mobile platforms already, especially the DS and the PSP. This bodes well for the Vita. It needs more games designed specifically for the mobile gaming market, and it shows with this current IP. First, lets get the inevitable out of the way. Comparisons will be made to that other motocross platformer game on the Xbox. It will always happen when games by competing developers are very similar. Lets be honest, there are enough generic shooters out there that do basically the same thing, you can’t fault Tate for capitalising on a successful genre.
There has been a movement in video games recently to take some of the most celebrated games on past consoles and reworking or remastering them in order to re-release them on newer hardware. We’ve discussed the merits of these HD remakes in great detail on more than one podcast. I am a huge supporter of this practice as it has allowed me to experience many games that I might not have gotten the opportunity to play otherwise. Granted when most people think of HD remakes they think of the God of Wars, the Metal Gear Solids, or the Sly Coopers of the industry. Velocity Ultra from the developer FuturLab is also an HD remake of sorts. The original Velocity game was released as a PlayStation Mini title that could be played on the PSP or PS3 (and later on the PSVita).
When Guardians Of The Galaxy was announced as the latest outing in then Marvel film franchise I have to admit I had to take a moment to find out who this band of galactic misfits where. They are by no means the most well-known of the Marvel characters that could have been chosen and so I was initially skeptical as I’m sure many others were. Add to this Zen’s announcement that they were launching a pinball table based on the film and I was wondering if this would appeal to the masses. Without giving away any spoilers for the film I can say that any fears you have for a more unfamiliar set of characters to most being a major release need to be allayed. The film is amazing. It’s every bit as good as the other films out there and can hold its head up high. Can the Pinball table claim the same thing?