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PSP Minis

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Two 1980s SNK classics hit PSN: Chopper I, The Next Space


Aug 21
// Dale North
SNK adds two more of their Arcade Classics to the PlayStation Network today: Chopper I and The Next Space.  I've never heard of either, but I love that there's a game called The Next Space. These both come from the golde...
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SNK releases 2 arcade classics: Gang Wars, Time Soldiers


Jul 24
// Dale North
This week, two more pre-Neo Geo era arcade classics will come to the PSP and PS3 from SNK. Both Gang Wars and Time Soldiers will be released on the PlayStation Store as Minis, straight from the 1980s to your fancy little fut...

Review: Velocity

May 28 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]228139:43801[/embed] Velocity (PlayStation Minis)Developer: FuturLab Publisher: FuturLab Released: May 1, 2012MSRP: $4.99 Trials Evolution is to racing games as Velocity is to shoot-em-ups. You may mistake them for cookie-cutter entries in their genre when glancing at screenshots, but these two games reveal themselves to be much wilder beasts through play. However, some basics of the shmup hold true for Velocity. You fly across a top-down 2D plane, shoot at things, and dodge obstacles. If this was all you did, I wouldn't have shouted in agony over the course of the game's 50 stages. I wouldn’t have been nearly as thrilled, either. Like Trials, you must unlock new tiers of stages through skillful play. Performance is measured in three ways: time, survivors rescued, and points received from defeating enemies. Though beating most of the stages isn't difficult, I had a hell of a time perfecting my time and strategy. Survivors, basically icons you pick-up by maneuvering over them, often conflict with taking the shortest way through a stage. Thankfully, you have some unique abilities to help you out, each of which is slowly unveiled throughout the course of the game. Things start simply enough. Holding down the right trigger makes the screen scroll faster; if you want to earn gold medals, you'll need to use this function generously. In fact, some levels require it, giving you little more than a minute to reach the end. Once you get used to the game's speed, developer FuturLab throws a wrench into the system with teleporting. Holding down the square button brings up a cursor which you can move across the screen; let go and your ship will reappear in its place. Managing the screen acceleration and teleportation at the same time will melt your mind the first couple of tries. You'll need to get used to it; after all, these are only baby steps in comparison to what's to come. Eventually, you'll unlock long-form teleportation which lets you drop a limited amount of spawn points you can return to at any time. This becomes necessary as stages soon turn into mazes with areas that only unlock through multiple treks through a section. Later maps are full of colored lasers locking you out of an area. The only way to get rid of a laser wall is to destroy its generators, spread across the stage, in order. You may find the first generator near the end of the map, the second in the middle, and the third in the end. So careful use of dropping spawn points is key. Luckily, the game suggests ideal spawn drops to the player by flashing blue across the screen. For a game about finding the perfect shortcut, FuturLab has ironically taken a couple itself. Each of the 50 stages share most of the same textures, music, and enemies, making for a rather monotonous experience. Given how exhausting the game can be, it doesn't help that the audio and visuals only add to the repetition. The charm of the recycled Amiga-esque graphics and music that sounds like it came from a Windows 98 key cracker soon wears off its welcome. Though Velocity lacks polish, it's clearly a labor of love. The game offers a wealth of unlockable content: documents that give background on the story, concept art, insanely difficult challenge stages, random two-player mini-games, and Minesweeper, to name a few. If you haven't figured it out by now, Velocity is as much a puzzle game as it is a shooter. If you are up for a challenge for your trigger finger as well as your brain, you may be surprised by how original, wild, and intense a game it is. Though there are better looking and more accessible indie puzzlers to play, there are few that will leave you as bewildered and addicted through its alien concepts. What Velocity lacks in scope and variety, it makes up for in originality.
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We often demand to see something new, yet when we do see something new, we become scared. Original concepts and mechanics have a tendency to make our brains hurt. Velocity made my brain hurt, and not just a little, either. ...

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PlayStation Vita gets access to more PSP games and minis


May 16
// Jordan Devore
Sony is slowly but surely filling out the roster of PlayStation Portable games and minis that are available on the PlayStation Vita Store. This new batch, which is out right now, isn't the most glamorous, but they can't all b...
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SAR - Search and Rescue on the way to the PSN


Mar 20
// Chris Carter
As part of SNK's new "Arcade Classics" program, old dog SAR - Search and Rescue is on it's way to the Playstation Network. Evidently, back in the day, SNK wasn't sure that people would know what SAR meant, so they included th...

Review: Marbians

Oct 11 // Victoria Medina
Marbians (PSP Mini [reviewed], Android, iOS, Mac)Developer: Osao GamesPublisher: Nordisk FilmReleased: October 5, 2011MSRP: €3.99/ €2.99 (PlayStation Plus) The premise of Marbians is that cute little bug-eyed martians have crash-landed in 1940's Roswell, New Mexico and the only way for them to get back home is by you solving puzzles. There are three boxes (levels), each with individual puzzles that, once beaten, are open for you to replay. The first box, which is open automatically, contains 22 puzzles, and within each puzzle are three moonrocks to collect. The second and third boxes can only be opened once a certain number of moonrocks have been obtained. The controls are simple, but not terribly cooperative. All you really need to know is how to aim, stop, and switch between marbians, but nobody bothered to add a way to reverse directional control. This might not sound like a big deal, but it can lead to some serious frustration while trying to line up a shot and, occasionally, a puzzle that you need to redo. Besides directional confusion, the controls are just downright unresponsive at times and are more of a hindrance than a boon. Of everything in this game, the controls suffer the worst and are the weakest link for the title. The puzzles themselves are, for the most part, clever and each box maintains a different theme to add variety. As I went further into the game, new elements were added to keep things fresh. My only complaint with the puzzles was that the difficulty seemed fairly arbitrary. I could go through eight or nine without batting an eyelash and then run into one that was incredibly hard and required blind luck more than skill to solve. For instance, the first box introduces basic gameplay and the initial few puzzles are used as a way to become familiar with the style of play. I was doing well, and was expecting the difficulty to gradually increase, until I got to the ninth puzzle, which I spent an unreasonable amount of time on. I eventually got to the point where I was not trying to line up shots or determine the best route, I was just flicking my controller in a direction and hoping to move on. I can not even tell you how I ultimately beat that puzzle; I just got lucky. Overall, however, the puzzles are not terribly difficult to beat if you take a moment to examine what you have to work with. The real challenge becomes collecting moonrocks, since you will need a certain number (as previously mentioned) to continue. If you don't collect enough the first time through, expect to repeat a few puzzles until you've collected enough to move on. Or, if you are a completionist, until you have collected all three from each puzzle. The music, graphics, and style of Marbians are all fun and have a very strong '40s vibe which adds a unique flair and sets it apart from similar titles in the genre. Each puzzle is laid out using items decorated for the period with tunes to match. While I may not have loved every puzzle, I enjoyed the settings and backgrounds they were presented with. All in all, Marbians is a nice little game, with good aesthetic quality and entertaining puzzles. Although there isn't much meat to it, there is enough to keep you busy for a few days (unless you blow right through it). That said, for the price, it would have been nice to see a bit more content. I also would have liked more attention to the platform they released the game on. It feels as though they took something that worked on mobile platforms and threw it onto another platform. They added controller functionality because they had to, but it doesn't feel as though any real thought was put into the implementation.  While the original versions of the game might be great, it would have been nice if a little more attention was given to this new version. Instead it feels as though the bare minimum was done to meet requirements, and while that doesn't detract anything serious from the puzzling aspect, it does leave me feeling as if they just don't care all that much, regardless of actual reasons. I can't help but wonder if it would just be better to buy it on a mobile device and save a few dollars. This was a fun diversion, but it may have done a better job as a mobile, touch-based game.
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Physics-based puzzle games have become more popular recently, thanks in no small part to the growing popularity of mobile gaming. While many of those games are clever, entertaining, and a grand way to kill time, they don't al...

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Review: Awesome Summer Minis Bundle


Aug 03
// Darren Nakamura
If Steam sales and iPhone apps have shown us anything in the past few years, it's that gamers are cheap, and many will buy games for pocket change without hesitation.  Enter Frima Studio, a Canadian developer that has be...
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Walking Dead-inspired OMG-Z hits PSP Minis


Aug 03
// Nick Chester
Developer Laughing Jackal is apparently really into zombies and explosions, judging by its new PSP Mini title, OMG-Z. And who isn't, really? The premise of OMG-Z is simple: zombies have infested the world, and it's your job ...
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Sony is going above and beyond to help out indies


Jul 31
// Tony Ponce
Sony has expressed a strong desire to improve its digital output going forward, but I still hold doubts about how seriously they are taking the mobile market. However, if this latest news is to be believed, not only is Sony t...

PlayStation Store is back with a stampede of updates

Jun 02 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
PSN & PSP games: Alien Crush - $5.99 (PSN, PSP) Bonk's Adventure - $5.99  (PSN, PSP) Wizardry: Labyrinth Of Lost Souls - $14.99 (PSN) Sega Rally Online Arcade - $9.99 (PSN) Star Raiders -  $9.99 (PSN) Red Johnson’s Chronicles  - $12.99 (PSN) Under Siege -  $19.99 (PSN) Back To The Future: The Game – Episode 3 - Free With Season Pass (PSN) Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp - $9.99 (PSN) Bomberman ’94 - $5.99 (PSN) Learning With The Pooyoos – Episode 1 - $8.99 (PSN) Lego Pirates Of The Caribbean - $29.99 (PSP) Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars - $29.99 (PSP) PSone Classics: Missile Command - $5.99 PSP minis: Star Hammer Tactics - $1.99 Best Of Solitaire - $4.99 Block Cascade Fusion - $1.49 Sky Force - $4.99 Card Shark - $1.49 Days Of Thunder - $4.99 Top Gun - $4.99
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Good news: The PlayStation Store is back online in North America! Bad news: There's so much new content that was put out all at once that it's simply overwhelming. Not saying it's bad news for the consumer, but it's just a sh...

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Gamocracy: Swedish developer wants to make your game


Mar 17
// Nick Chester
Sure, the Trollhättan, Sweden-based development team The Bearded Ladies Consulting is a small team. Founded a mere two years ago, at least two members weren't even making games at the time -- one was a liquor store sales...
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Yes, please! Pac-Man CE arrives on PSP Minis tomorrow


Jan 31
// Jordan Devore
While Pac-Man Championship Edition and its new DX follow-up are largely about competing for the top score among friends, I will gladly go for a portable version. Many of you will too. Tomorrow, Pac-Man CE is releasing on Play...

Review: A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks!

Jan 12 // Destin Legarie
A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks! (PSP Minis)Developer: FrimaPublisher: FrimaReleased: December 21, 2010MSRP: $1.99 The game succeeds by adding a little bit of style while not breaking tradition.  You're given comic style cut-scenes at the beginning and before each boss fight which act like mini-rewards simply for playing the game.  They're just comic panels but they're fully voiced comic panels.  Hearing the hero say "I pee everywhere to mark my territory... though I sometimes do it sitting down" makes it hard not to crack a smile.  You should know that these scenes may contain some swearing, but profanity has never bothered me and the fact that they were bleeped just made me giggle even more.Beneath all of the humor is a great shoot 'em up.  Nothing crazy happens, you'll just encounter enemies that fly in from the top of the screen, each with their own patterns and powers, and it's your job to take them out.  As you do, you'll collect orbs that you can redeem for upgrades to your ship.  These upgrades can range anywhere from better firepower, to better magnets for picking up more orbs.  Also, when you enter the shop you're greeted by a love interest for the hero, and the banter between the two will keep you coming back.  I kept hoping he got in her pants for the sake of comedy.  I wont spoil the outcome for you though. There are two different types of stages within the 18 different levels you can enter.  There's boss stages that I mentioned earlier where you'll be given a brief story, take out the alien, and get a weapon upgrade.  Then there's the question mark stages where you fight a mini-boss that builds itself out of a bunch of other ships.  Kind of like Megazord from Power Rangers but in space.  Take it out and you'll be rewarded with more orbs.  It may seem like it would be monotonous, but the ramped up difficulty is what keeps you coming back, maybe this time with a few new upgrades to kick some alien butt with.  Speaking of upgrades, if you ever find the need for extra orbs there's a survival mode where you can take on enemies and use any of the orbs you collect in the campaign.  Nice if you want to play for just a few minutes, or just power up your ship to pro status.Now I did encounter one big problem with the title.  Sometimes I would finish a level, the game would cross it off (indicating I had finished the boss) but then the cross would disappear and I would lose all the orbs I just collected and have to finish it again.  This even happened to me after beating the game which was extremely frustrating.  I had to finish a few levels twice just to proceed and it's never fun losing something you just worked hard to earn.  Hopefully they fix the bug in a patch. Though it's over quickly, (I finished it in about 3 hours) the game does offer multiple difficulty settings.  Starting with "Wussy," it moves up to "Competent" and also offers "Insane" for it's starting roster of difficulties.  If that's too easy for you "die trying" is unlockable so even those hardcore shooter fans will find something to enjoy.If A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks is any indication of what other games are in the PSP Mini collection, then gamers are in for a treat.  It doesn't try to do too much, it's a lot of fun, and it's cheap.  I wanted to keep coming back for more.  It was so addictive that I was distracted through the day because I was itching to come home and blow up some alien scum.  If you like shooters, spend the cash.  You won't be disappointed.
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Simplicity.  Sometimes a simplistic concept can be an amazing one.  Take this game for example.  A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks! takes the shoot 'em up genre and doesn't try to clone geometry wars, doesn't try to ...

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MiniSquadron flying to PlayStation Store next month


Jan 12
// Nick Chester
iPhone games continue to find their way on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, as Grip Games and Supermono Studios have announced that it's releasing MiniSquadron as a Minis title in February. MiniSquadron has players...
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A Space Shooter For Two Bucks! is what you'd expect


Dec 10
// Nick Chester
Frima Studios, the developer behind the decent PSP Mini title Young Thor has announced its new game, A Space Shooter For Two Bucks!. It's exactly what it sounds like, a game where you pilot a ship in outer space, shooting thi...

Review: Who's That Flying?

Nov 16 // Maurice Tan
Who's That Flying?!Developer: MediatonicRelease date: November 16, 2010MSRP: $5.99 Who's That Flying?!, or WTF?!, is your standard fare 2D side-scrolling shoot 'em up with a twist. As Earth, the protector of our lovely planet, you are an invincible galactic hero. That means that while you can get stunned by some enemies, you can't die by being hit. However, being a protector and all that, it's your job to make sure no enemies make it past you. That's where the tower defense element comes in: every city you protect in each of the stages has 50 health. Every enemy that makes it past you costs the city 1 health and translates into less bonus points at the end of a stage. While the core gameplay revolves around shooting all the Ravagers, the black bigmouth enemies that swarm your screen, each level throws different types of larger enemies at you to distract you. These types of enemies take more hits to kill and either shoot at you to stun you, or fly into you for the same effect. However, they never try to get past you to damage your city's health so you can ignore them if you want. You can just keep blasting everything from the safety of the left side of the screen, or fly in and melee-kill Ravagers up close. But this is also a bit of a double-edged sword though as the attack animation slows you down and stops you from spraying bullets for a precious second. Sometimes the melee attack can be a handy last resort tool to grab that one Ravager that got past you. More often than not, it results in missing another Ravager by not shooting continuously. If you do succeed in blasting everything on the screen consistently, the city's population awards you by cheering you and by filling a special attack bar. As long as you don't let any Ravager get past you, these special attacks grow in power as your bar grows. The first Turbo Fire power is useful enough, but keep on blasting and you'll quickly get a thin Super Beam laser followed by a screen-raping Hyper Beam. In a nutshell, the campaign runs you through 5 levels with 3 stages each and a boss at the end of the third stage. And although the boss fights make the third stage of each level last a bit longer, you can  blast through an entire level in about 20 minutes. Which raises the question: "WTF?! is really short on content?!". Luckily, the answers is that nothing could be farther from the truth.The campaign is not very long itself, but the story that plays out between levels is pretty damn funny. It's not hilarious in a "Hahaha, this is too funny and blarg now I'm dead" manner, but it will raise a smile on your face unless you are just really jaded. For a shoot 'em up the story is well integrated as well, which is nice for a change. As Earth's protector, you are defending yourself against allegations by the Galactic Council of planetary protectors who claim you let Earth be invaded. Not only that, but your showboating as Earth's hero didn't really help your case that you did nothing wrong. As you retell the game's playable events, the game use elements from the overarching story as a tutorial mechanism. How did you defeat that giant monster? Well, I just shot it until I held R and pressed X rapidly, duh. Other than just finishing the campaign, you can replay each stage for a higher highscore by getting bigger chains and keeping your city's health intact. For a $6 game you can play on the PSP and which even looks great on a PS3 with a HDTV hooked up, the campaign alone wouldn't even be a terrible deal because it's a fun enough. But apparently that was not enough for Mediatonic.The campaign is just a way to get you acquainted with all the different types of enemies and with the techniques of managing your special attacks bar. A Challenge mode gives you 24 short challenges to hone the skills you gained in the campaign. Whether you have to finish a stage on turbo speed, reach a set amount of points without missing a single Ravager or defeat a boss as fast as possible, this mode offers you couple of hours worth of extra content. It's a fun mode that forces you to rethink the tools at your disposal, such as the melee attack.The real meat of the game comes from the Infinite mode. This is where you survive for as long as possible to reach the highest highscore. You'll have to apply all the skills you learned from the campaign and later honed in the Challenge mode. The standard highscores could have been a bit higher though, as it's pretty easy to reach twice the highest preset highscore in the game. With 4 levels to choose from, this will keep you playing for a long time. That is, if you are the kind of player who goes for highscores. Who's That Flying?! sports a distinct graphical style that looks a bit like The Behemoth's, although that is unfair to Mediatonic if you look at their past games. The clear graphics definitely help to make it a pretty good looking game on a big screen if you want to play it on your TV. The soundtrack consists of a single theme that is styled to each city. It's a nice approach to have consistency in a small game while having enough variety so it doesn't become annoying. Having said that, the Ravagers could perhaps have done with a bit more variety. Even though every level throws new bigger enemies at you, the main enemies always stay the same. You could argue that it does keep the Infinite and Challenge modes from getting too chaotic, but a different Ravager for every level's setting wouldn't have been the worst thing to add. The game is also not very hard; veteran shmup players will get silver medals easily enough. Still, getting gold medals in very mode and on every level will definitely not be a first try affair. Overall, Who's That Flying?! is a charming, fun and cheap 2D shoot 'em up with a lot of personality and plenty of bang for your buck. If you never bothered with the PSP Minis before, then Who's That Flying?! could just be the most compelling argument to date for giving it a closer look.  
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UK indies Mediatonic sure are a busy bunch. Not only did they release a ton of browser games for the likes of Adult Swim and SEGA, as well as mobile games, but their previous PSP Minis title Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princ...

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Who's That Flying?! Not sure, but they're funny-looking


Oct 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
Mediatonic, makers of the very cool Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, have a new PSP Minis title coming out on October 12th. Who's That Flying?! purportedly combines a side-scrolling shooter with a tower defense ga...

Review: Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess

Sep 20 // Conrad Zimmerman
Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess (PSP Minis/Xbox Live Indie Games [reviewed])Developer: MediatonicPublisher: MediatonicReleased: April 22, 2010 (PSP) / August 25, 2010 (XBLIG)MSRP: $4.99/240 MS Points In each of six stages, The Duke threatens a different monster who -- clearly responsible for the kidnapping of a certain princess -- tries to escape The Duke's mighty wrath by flying upwards. Controlling The Duke, you give chase to the monsters in a vertical-platforming race jumping from platform to platform and must strike the monster three times before they reach the top of the stage where you cannot reach them. Sounds easy enough and, frankly, it is. The challenge in Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess comes not from merely defeating monsters but in looking good doing it. The Duke has a few stylish moves in his repertoire and performs deft leaps, flips and other animations as he moves. He can jump and perform a second jump in mid-air. This double-jump also serves as his attack. He may also cling to and jump off of a wall as a temporary stepping stone should he need a second pair of jumps to reach a distant platform. And, finally, he may jump down through a platform he is standing on. Every time The Duke lands on a platform, a combo counter increases. If he steps on a platform he has already been to, the counter resets. The higher your combo, the more points you will earn when you hit the monster. The combo count also determines which of three attacks The Duke uses to ultimately conquer his quarry. Finally, increasing the combo also increases the speed at which The Duke moves and, thus, puts the pressure on the player to be ever more accurate. The Story mode is a delightful, though predictable, romp. The Duke is a comically arrogant figure who persists in being funny even when you already know what the joke is going to be. The combination of happy and creepy in the art design goes a long way towards supporting the joke, as it becomes obvious quickly that all of the monsters are scared utterly sh*tless by the clueless Duke, and their helplessness is reflected cheerfully in their appearance. Beyond the Story is a Score Attack mode with an additional 18 levels, three for each of the stages in the main game. It is possible to achieve a perfect run -- hitting every platform in a single combo before defeating the monster -- on all of the game's 24 levels. For the perfectionist, this combination of simple gameplay and insidious level design is like crack cocaine. Because The Duke's attack is a commonly used move, easier levels become more challenging as you attempt to perfect them, since you must pace yourself to ensure that the monster will not be killed prematurely but will be hit at least twice before delivering the coup de grace at the peak of the level. You can use either the left analog stick or the directional-pad to control The Duke. On the Xbox 360 controller, the clear choice -- as should be expected -- is the analog stick. It performs its task admirably and never did I find that it wasn't up to the task from an accuracy standpoint. The directional-pad still works, though I have had occasional difficulty in dropping down from a platform using it and, on the whole, it just doesn't feel as responsive. If you enjoy a good platform game with a considerable but worthy challenge and a lot of charm, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess will certainly deliver that for you. It is addictive, occasionally frustrating and constantly fun. Your money would be wisely invested in this one. Score: 9 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)
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It's an incredibly simple game with a timeless story. Deep within his haunted castle, The Duke awakes to discover that his princess is nowhere to be found. Clearly, she has been kidnapped by a monster and it's up to the dashi...

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Angry Birds catapulting to PSP Minis this fall


Aug 25
// Nick Chester
A few weeks ago, I told my wife she should download Angry Birds HD for the iPad. She did, and I regret recommending it; I haven't seen the iPad since. Now I have to keep both my PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 away fro...
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Monsters (probably) Stole My Princess now an Xbox Indie


Aug 25
// Conrad Zimmerman
When I saw this announcement, I had to do a double-take. It never occurred to me that a PSP Minis title would ever see the light of day on an Xbox platform. And why should it? But, sure enough, you can get Monsters (probably)...
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iPhone shooter N.O.V.A coming to PSP/PS3


Aug 19
// Jim Sterling
N.O.V.A is considered one of the top-tier iPhone games. Gameloft's first-person-shooter not only nailed the controls, it provided a genuine console experience and some pretty impressive graphics. Now PSP and PS3 fans can play...
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Who's That Flying?! (WTF?!) coming to PSN this September


Aug 04
// Nick Chester
Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! developer Mediatonic has revealed its next PlayStation Mini title, Who's That Flying?! today. (Get it? "WTF?!")The game is said to be a mix of side-scrolling shooter and tower defense, w...
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Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter stomping onto PSP/PS3 Minis


Jul 25
// Matthew Razak
Hunting dinosaurs is the manliest form of hunting ever. That makes Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter the manliest game to hit PSP/PS3 Minis ever. In it (and I want you all to be ready for this) you hunt dinosaurs with a variety of ...
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Trippy PSP Mini music title Vibes hits PSN next week


Jun 04
// Nick Chester
Laughing Jackal has announced that its bringing a new rhythm game, Vibes, to PlayStation Minis on June 8. The game will feature 13 music tracks, including classical, J-Pop, psychobilly, and punk. Gameplay looks like it revol...
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Sony admits 'jury's still out' on PSP Minis


May 24
// Dale North
What do you think of the PSP Minis. I think they were wannabe DSiWare or App Store apps. Smaller, cheaper bits of software that you were supposed to go nuts over. I have a few, and they're...okay. I didn't need or strongly de...
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Echoes is the cheapest PSP/PS3 Mini at $0.99


May 12
// Dale North
Have you been wanting to try out a PSP/PS3 Mini but didn't want to drop the cash? How's $.99 for you? Halfbrick has dropped the price of Echoes on the PlayStation Store to only a buck this week. It was original released in 2...
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Freekscape: Escape From Hell hits PS3/PSP this week


Apr 05
// Jim Sterling
Here's a neat little game that's come from nowhere! Sony has just revealed that Freekscape: Escape From Hell is hitting the PlayStation Network this week, and it looks really cool for a mere $4.99! Freekscape is a cartoony p...
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PSP Mini BreakQuest now available on PSN


Apr 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
Breakout is a perfect example of how the simplest games can be the most timeless. In all its many varied forms, it's still the same wonderful, basic experience of breaking blocks and moving on. Today, a new PSP Mini game...

Review: Age of Zombies

Mar 02 // Jim Sterling
Age of Zombies (PSP) Developer: HalfbrickPublisher: HalfbrickReleased: February 25, 2010MSRP: $4.99 Age of Zombies is an undead-slaughtering romp through time as protagonist Barry Steakfries undoes the history-altering work of Professor Brain. Traveling to prehistoric times, thirties Chicago, ancient Egypt, medieval Japan and the future, Barry will take down zombies with all manner of weaponry, earning points for combo kills and taking on a number of bosses, all the while making silly one-liners.  It's very hard to screw up a top-down shooter, so it's safe to say that Age of Zombies is pretty damn playable. The aim of the game is to score points by using unique weapons and hitting as many targets as possible before the ammo runs out. Barry earns no points for using his standard gun, so the player is encouraged to run around the map, grabbing SMGs, flamethrowers, shotguns, miniguns and explosives.  It can be immensely satisfying mowing down over 100 zombies with a minigun, and the chaining system keeps things involved and makes the player think about herding zombies into a nice fat crowds, perfect for racking up easy kills. It just feels good to get a huge pile of zombies following you and then tossing in a grenade. The weapons are varied and all of them are rather useful, and it soon becomes easy to work out how to get the maximum potential from each firearm.  Not that the game itself likes to keep things too simple. Age of Zombies, like all good top-down shooters, has plenty of challenge to it. Not only are there always more than enough zombies chasing Barry around, each time period has its own unique undead warriors, such as ninja zombies with throwing stars or zombie mobsters with guns. Some of the bosses, like the Ramen Samurai, can also be rather tricky too.  Unlike in other shooters, Barry won't die after being hit once. Borrowing a page from the FPS handbook, Age of Zombies dispenses with one-hit kills and health meters in favor of recharging HP. If Barry gets hit enough times, the screen starts to go slightly red, and players need to avoid damage until it recovers.  If you think that will make things easy, think again. It doesn't matter how much health you have when the zombies close in, and that is perhaps Age of Zombies' biggest flaw. It is very easy to get painted into a corner, with zombies coming in from all angles at all times. Getting hemmed in against a wall, or crossing a bridge only to be surrounded on both sides, is a bit too common, and there are many times when you simply know you can't fight your way out of a situation and have to sacrifice a life.  That frustration aside, Age of Zombies is a great little addition to the PSP Minis channel, and well worth a download. It looks pretty good, with simple cartoon visuals and over-the-top gore, and the game is also pretty funny, albeit in a rather cheesy way. Each time period also has its own announcer who shouts out the weapon names as you collect them. This is worth noting because the Japanese level sounds everso racist. Your enjoyment of Age of Zombies will most likely be determined by your tolerance for top-down zombie shooter games, of which there are a lot. If you've still got room in your belly for another zombie shooter, then this is most definitely for you. It's simple, it's fun and it's very silly. Those sick to death of the undead might want to give it a miss.  Score: 8.0 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
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I must confess to be among those who are getting very tired of zombie games, but a good undead romp can still win my heart now and again. Halfbrick's Age of Zombies makes no bones about the fact that it is a big dumb zombie s...

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