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Vita

PS VITA photo
PS VITA

See Nippon Ichi Software's new game in action


Rose and the Old Caste of Twilight
Feb 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Curious what Rose and the Old Castle of Twilight looks like in motion? Well, you're in luck. NIS has released the first footage of its upcoming puzzle game, and, yep, it sure does look a lot like its predecessor,&nb...
JRPG photo
JRPG

PS Vita JRPG Stranger of Sword City delayed


Now coming in late April
Jan 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Stranger of Sword City's PlayStation Vita release is being pushed back a month. Initially planned for a late March debut, the portable dungeon crawler is now expected to arrive in North America on April 26. A E...
Falcom photo
Falcom

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is out now across Europe


For PS3 and Vita
Jan 30
// Kyle MacGregor
A month after its North American release in December, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is now available across Europe, courtesy of NIS America. I haven't had a chance to crack open my copy just yet, but it's definit...
NIS photo
NIS

Rose and the Old Castle of Twilight is looking just gorgeous


In a morbid sort of way
Jan 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Nippon Ichi Software's Rose and the Old Castle of Twilight is shaping up to look every bit as lovely as its predecessor, htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary, if these new screenshots are any indication. The PlayStation Vita puzzler i...

Rocketbirds 2: Revolution photo
Rocketbirds 2: Revolution

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken sequel coming soon


Get set for Rocketbirds 2: Revolution
Jan 19
// Vikki Blake
Rocketbirds 2: Evolution is coming soon to PlayStation 4 and Vita. Writing on the PlayStation Blog, creator of the original Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Sian Yue Tan confirmed that the team has spent four years developing ...
htoL#NiQ photo
htoL#NiQ

Firefly Diary team announces new Vita game


Rose and the Old Caste of Twilight
Jan 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Nippon Ichi Software's experimental puzzler htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary was a success, it seems, as the studio has unveiled a successor of sorts, Rose and the Old Castle of Twilight. While not a direct sequel to The Fire...

Destructoid's award for Best Vita Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 22 // Laura Kate Dale
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
GOTY 2015 photo
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
The PlayStation Vita has not had the strongest year for releases. With some of the system's biggest exclusives moving to PS4 and a drastic reduction in the number of new games being produced by first-party developers, many ha...

Gundam VS photo
Gundam VS

Gundam Extreme Vs. coming Stateside on Vita


Dibs on the Char clone
Dec 21
// Nic Rowen
After years of surviving on a thin stew of import model kits and Crunchyroll viewings of Iron Blooded Orphans, North American Gundam fans are finally getting some love. Namco Bandai is bringing Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs....
God Eater photo
God Eater

God Eater Resurection may be coming west


Per a European trademark
Dec 20
// Kyle MacGregor
God Eater Resurrection, a remake of Bandai Namco's take on the Monster Hunter formula, looks like it's coming west, or so suggests a European trademark filing made December 18. In January of this year, the publisher also file...
Bastion photo
Bastion

It's the last day to get Bastion on PS4 and Vita for less than $3


You done good, Kid
Dec 14
// Brett Makedonski
The Kid just rages for a while. He knows it's a fool's errand to try to rage forever. He's smarter than that. The Kid has already seen one Calamity and that's enough for a lifetime. Come December 15, The Kid figured it'd be b...
Downwell on Vita photo
Downwell on Vita

Devolver shows off Downwell running on PlayStation Vita


In tate mode
Dec 11
// Darren Nakamura
Steven mentioned in his review that he would buy and carry around a dedicated handheld for Downwell. I've had the thought that it would be great on a Wii U GamePad oriented vertically. This might be the closest either of us w...

Review: Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space

Dec 08 // Jed Whitaker
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space (PlayStation Vita, PS TV)Developer: SandlotPublisher: XSEED GamesReleased: December 8, 2015MSRP: $29.99 If you're like me, you've played every EDF game and know what to expect when it comes to them, and this iteration doesn't break from the formula. In this enhanced remake of the second game in the EDF series -- originally only released for PS2 in Japan and Europe -- you'll be playing as one of three classes: Infantry, Pale Wing, or Air Raider. Infantry is your basic soldier that uses weapons you'd find in most modern day armed forces: assault rifles, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and so on. Pale Wing, on the other hand, is a female soldier with a jetpack and futuristic weapons; she moves slowly and is mostly useless on the ground while being nimble in the sky. Air Raider is a new addition that wasn't in the original release, and it mostly uses deployable weapons and plays more of a support role. In my playthrough, I sampled each class before decided to stick with the familiar infantry, as they just seem like an all around fit when playing solo while Pale Wing and Air Raider might fair a bit better in multiplayer. While up to four player online co-op is available, I was not able to test the functionality before release, so I can only assume the other classes fair a bit better online. [embed]325189:61454:0[/embed] Each of the three classes have their sets of weapons that are unlockable via pickups randomly dropped by enemies. This mixed with the six available difficulty levels adds a lot of replayability, on top of completing the game with each class; if you're a completionist, you'll get your $29.99 worth here.  Initially, I was concerned this being a port of the second game in the series would mean more repetition and less variety, but I was pleased to find out that wasn't the case. EDF2 has the best collection of enemies of any of the other games in the series. Aside from giant ants and spiders there are rolly pollies, flying saucers, centipedes, and daddy long legs-like walkers that are taller than skyscrapers. While this doesn't completely quash the repetitiveness of killing giant bugs and UFOs every stage, it certainly helps. Even the notorious slowdown that the EDF series is infamous for is mostly missing. In my playthrough, I experienced maybe two or three instances of choppiness due to the amount of enemies on screen, which surprising considering the Vita isn't exactly a powerhouse.  It isn't all explosions and sunshine, though. Most levels offer a tank, a speeder bike, and a helicopter, all of which control terribly. The tank is slow and clunky, the speeder bike is too fast to be controllable and useful, and the helicopter's guns aren't strong enough to be of use if you're lucky enough to hit something with them, and flying too high causes lots of pop in. On top of the terrible driving controls, the aiming just plain sucks for vehicles, mostly due to lack of crosshairs, which are provided when outside the vehicle.  Some stages take place in the city at night, where basically everything is pitch black (to a fault) other than windows in skyscrapers that shine brightly with a fuzzy glow around them, which just looks plain awful. Otherwise, graphically EDF2 looks like basically every other game in the series, which isn't surprising considering some of the levels feel almost identical if they aren't actually identical.  Aside from those issues, the main problem I had with the game was some enemies not being aggressive, instead opting to hang around in the far reaches of maps. Nearly every level's objective is 'murder all the bugs' and there was at least four or five times I had to either hunt and search to find the last enemies hiding spot, or slowly walk across the whole map. While tedious, these walks weren't the end of the world for me, just minor inconveniences of my fun-filled destructive romp. Earth Defense Force 2 may not be a brand new game per se, but has enough original content to keep it feeling fresh alongside the other recent releases in the series. With a lot of replayability, online four-player co-op, and a budget price tag it is easy to recommend to Vita owners looking for some campy over-the-top action in spite of its flaws.  EDF! EDF! EDF! EDF! EDF! [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] EarDefense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PlayStation 4)Developer: SandlotPublisher: XSEED GamesReleased: December 8, 2015MSRP: $49.99
Review: EDF2 photo
Honey I Shrunk the Kids 2: Buggernauts
Two words. Giant. Bugs. Also giant spaceships, giant kaiju, and giant explosions. If you're looking for campy sci-fi action on your Vita look no further than Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space.

Review: Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours

Dec 06 // Jed Whitaker
Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours (PC [reviewed], PS4, PS Vita)Developer: TaitoPublisher: DegicaMSRP: $59.99 (PS4) / $49.99 (PC) / $39.99 (Vita)Released: November 30, 2015 (PS4, Vita), December 3, 2015 (PC) Dariusburst was originally released as a Japan-exclusive PSP game before being revamped for arcades as Dariusburst: Another Chronicle. An expanded version was later released in arcades called Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX, which is included in Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours as AC mode.  AC mode offers a few different flavors of play: Original, which closely emulates the original arcade game; EX, which ups the difficulty; and Chronicle, which offers around 3,000 areas. Everything in AC mode displays in an ultra wide screen aspect ratio true to the arcade game; this means the top and bottom of the screen are black while the middle is a long narrow playing field, unless you own an ultrawide monitor. On paper, this sounds silly, but it somehow makes the game feel a lot more arcade-like, especially if playing on PC where the game can be played across multiple monitors.  Original and EX modes are pretty standard Darius affairs: select one of three starting stages, move from left to right shooting enemies with your standard weapon and burst attack, collect upgrades by killing colored enemies, fight a giant boss ship, decide where to go next, complete three stages, and that's it. Rinse, repeat. Each path correlates to difficulty and has its own stages and bosses. The only standout features are being able to select from various ships that each play a bit different, and the ability to play with up to four players locally.  Chronicle mode is laid out across planets with each containing numerous areas to liberate. Each area offers different challenges such as using only specific ships which have varying weapons, or playing with multiple players. Because there is no online play, you'll have to gather together other space shooter fans or wait till someone else playing on the same cabinet completes that challenge. [embed]323296:61428:0[/embed] AC mode functions as if you are playing one of 64 physical arcade cabinets, which you are randomly assigned to when first launching of the game. Because the game doesn't explain this (or anything really), I switched to cabinet one in the menu, as I thought 13 would be an odd place to start. Players on each cabinet work together in Chronicle mode to liberate the various areas on the planets, meaning if you don't happen to have three other friends, someone will eventually liberate that area allowing you to select others. That said, you don't have to complete areas in any order and can jump around between planets at will. Chronicle mode having around 3,000 areas sounds like fantastic value, until you realize most of the areas are the same few levels just with tweaked challenges, orders, and ships. If you and three local friends are not opposed to grinding and repetition, you might dig Chronicle mode, but to me it just seems like fluff.  The same criticisms can be said about Chronicle Saviours' CS mode, as it is over 200 areas of repeating levels and bosses. CS mode at least offers a different aspect ratio that fills more of the screen and feels more like a home experience, and a level selection web with dated quips that resemble a very shallow story. There is also something to work toward in CS mode, as ships are unlocked to be used as you wish via points earned based on your score, though I found myself mostly using the default ship for each area. Aside from the filler content, Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours has satisfying combat all around. Tons of enemies fill the screen, bosses are massive three-dimensional fish or crustaceans, and the soundtrack is killer. I could see myself popping in every now to check on progress in Chronicle mode, and perhaps play a level or two, but this certainly isn't the kind of game you'll want to attempt to marathon. The price discrepancy between platforms makes little sense and is borderline offensive. The PC offers multiple monitor support, while the PS4 and Vita offer Trophies and cross-save support, but not cross-buy. The Vita version lacks multiplayer. While this isn't the first time I've seen a game released on consoles at a premium price, it is still a poor practice. For what equates to a fancy enhanced port of a nearly six-year-old game, $39.99 is far too much, let alone $59.99 on PC. Unless you're a die-hard space shooter fan who doesn't mind repetitive filler content, it is hard to recommend Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours at the current price point, even if it does have solid gameplay. I'd suggest waiting till it goes on sale for somewhere around $20 or less, as that is a far more reasonable cost.  [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Superbeat: Xonic (Vita, PS TV)Developer: NurijoyPublisher: PM Studios, Atlus & ActtilMSRP: $39.99Released: November 10, 2015
Review: Dariusburst photo
Fish drowning in filler
The Darius series may not be as recognized as competing space shooters such as R-Type and Gradius, but it deserves its spot alongside those series as the best shooters of all time. This latest iteration packs in an ...

Review: Superbeat: Xonic

Nov 30 // Jed Whitaker
Superbeat: Xonic (PS Vita [reviewed], PS TV)Developer: NurijoyPublisher: PM Studios, Atlus & ActtilMSRP: $39.99Released: November 10, 2015 This spiritual successor to the DJMax series has you tapping on the edges of the screen as visualized music from various genres fly at you, or optionally using the D-pad and buttons if that is you'd prefer. Personally I found that Superbeat was far more suited to touchscreen gameplay than traditional controls. By using touch you never have to think about what buttons to press, instead just matching the notes as they connect with the screen, which in turn makes things a tiny bit easier. The only downside to touch is getting used to the scratch notes, which are yellow notes that require tapping then quickly swiping either up or down based on the arrow inside of them. Scratch notes really gave me trouble till I'd spent days with the game and finally found the perfect technique to trigger them. Aside from that, the gameplay is spot on. Hitting notes just feel great on the smooth OLED of my launch edition Vita, even if I didn't recognize any of the music upon first playing it. By the time I was finished with the game I found myself humming along to songs and going back to play my favorites to level up.  [embed]323291:61307:0[/embed] Superbeat has an XP leveling system that is used to unlock songs and World Tour stages. XP is gained by completing songs, and bonus XP are awarded for difficulty and perks related to unlockable DJ Icons. DJ Icons can grant perks or protections such as double health, more recovery, more XP and even break shields. Shields are used to prevent damage being taken and combos being broken and are necessary for many of the World Tour stages unless you're a natural born finger dancer.  World Tour is really where you'll spend most of your time with the game, completing various challenges that require various goals such as massive combos that last across songs, perfectly played songs, and achieving high scores. My biggest gripe with the game is that the difficulty of World Tour stages doesn't really match up with their listed difficulty; I often found myself failing the easy stages while breezing through medium and hard difficulties.  The Tour stages that are brutally difficult require you to get 90%+ JUD, with JUD being related to score. While DJ Icons can help you pass many stages, they do little to help pass JUD stages, as the shields only grant you "good" rated presses instead of "superbeats" that give you a higher score. Some of the challenges are so hard that I found it damned near impossible to complete them in my time with the game, meaning I missed out on one last set of challenges and another "fart" sound effect that can be used in place of the default rimshot sound effect played when hitting notes.  After close to 40 hours with the game, I'm nowhere near acquiring all the unlockables, though I've managed to unlock every track -- all of which I really enjoy aside from one metal song that gives Crazytown's "Butterfly" a run for its title of 'shittiest song ever.' I rarely play my Vita, but now I'm going to have to pack it and Xonic along with me for any flights as my new go to "don't panic because you could die at any moment" game.  Superbeat: Xonic is an original enough take on the rhythm genre to make it feel fresh again and is easily the best touch screen based music game I've played with Cytus coming a close second. Filled to the brim with catchy tunes, I'll be revisiting Superbeat in the coming months anytime I travel. Apart from some brutally difficult challenges, the only other thing holding me back from giving this game a perfect score is that it is on the Vita, a system that I'd still regret buying even if this was the second best rhythm game I've ever played -- long live the king, PaRappa the Rapper. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: NintendoMSRP: $39.99Released: November 20, 2015 [embed]323291:61307:0[/embed]
Superbeat review photo
Fingering has never been so fun
I've been playing rhythm games since they exploded onto the scene with PaRappa the Rapper in 1997, and having nearly played at least one title of every rhythm game series released I can easily say Superbeat: Xonic is top tier. But be forewarned, this is the Dark Souls...nay...the 127 Hours of music games, only you get to keep your arms attached. SUPERBEAT: XONiC

Boob DLC photo
Boob DLC

Pay real money for fake boobs in Gal Gun: Double Peace


Only a BOOB would buy this
Aug 28
// Jed Whitaker
Great news everyone, now game publishers are holding the boobies hostage behind DLC paywalls, at least if you want anything other than average. There is now DLC available in Japan for Gal Gun: Double Peace that allo...
Sony photo
Sony

Sony confirms Tokyo Game Show conference details


My "D" grade Japanese GCSE won't help much
Aug 25
// Vikki Blake
Sony has confirmed that its Annual Toyko Games Show conference will take place on September 15. The news was confirmed via a post on the Japanese PS Blog. Sony declined to present at last month's gamescom conference, sta...
Waifu bartending photo
Waifu bartending

VA-11 HALL-A's got cat girls, booze, and an oppressive state


Cyberpunk Bartender Action
Jul 06
// Steven Hansen
I've written before about VA-11 HALL-A, which should be the best anime-inspired bartending sim of the year. And I don't say that lightly.  This new trailer shows off some more of the patrons you'll be liquoring up and s...
Crows: Burning Edge photo
Crows: Burning Edge

Crows: Burning Edge announced for PS4 and Vita


Based off the manga
Jul 06
// Chris Carter
Bandai Namco has revealed an unlikely project, titled Crows: Burning Edge, set to debut on the PS4 and Vita at some point in the future. It's based off of the Japanese manga series, which features delinquents in high school ...
In Japan photo
In Japan

PlayStation Vita strategy RPG Makai Shin Trillion out next month


In Japan
Jun 03
// Steven Hansen
Makai Shin Trillion is coming to Vita in Japan on July 23. We first saw it just over a year ago. The Vita strategy RPG comes from developer Compile Heart whose last four developed games (Fairy Fencer F, Hyperdimension Neptun...
Vita photo
Vita

Sony exec calls Vita a 'legacy platform'


That's not a good sign
May 27
// Brett Makedonski
Those who hold out hope that Sony will change course and start avidly supporting the Vita may want to finally give up on that pipe dream. The outlook for the PlayStation handheld has been grim, and is even more so after a top...
Octodad photo
Octodad

Octodad on Vita will have same-screen co-op


Haha, what a cluster
May 21
// Chris Carter
Young Horses, the developer of Octodad, has noted that the Vita version of the game will be released on May 26. It'll cost you $14.99, but since it features Cross-Buy, a PS4 purchase already netted you the Vita version for fr...
Freedom Wars photo
Freedom Wars

Use today's PSN flash sale as an opportunity to get Freedom Wars


One of the best games on the platform
May 15
// Chris Carter
Freedom Wars is pretty great. Our own Brett Zeidler loved it, I loved it, and now it's on sale today on the PSN for $4.80, down from $29.99. Other discounted Vita games for today's Flash Sale include Nidhogg, The Walking Dead...

Review: Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities

May 07 // Jed Whitaker
Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities (Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 6 Plus], Playstation Vita, Wii U)Developer: Psychose Interactive Inc.Publisher: Psychose Interactive Inc.Released: April 23, 2015 (iOS) / TBA 2015 (Android, PlayStation Vita, Wii U)MSRP: $4.99 Rose Hawkins wakes up after being shot in the face, only remembering that she was searching for a missing girl named Eden. She doesn't recall who shot her, how she is alive, or where she is.  Upon exiting the room Rose is greeted by a hallway formed in red curtains, the kind you'd find at any theater. An antique dictation device is waiting for her, and a message plays automatically from a woman named Noah who has been waiting for her. Noah knows Rose by name, and promises her more information on Eden if she can free her nurse friend from the asylum she is about to enter. Rose comes face to face with Noah in a throne surrounded by mannequins one last time before entering the asylum, Noah still talks through audio dictation for some reason. This is the kind of tone you can expect from Forgotten Memories. [embed]291661:58457:0[/embed] Like any psychological survival horror game, the story is deep, twisted and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Most of the lore you'll come across in case files, notes, and a couple of cutscenes. Forgotten Memories is very old school in this regard, but still manages to have an engaging story worth searching for. Old school is a  word that can be used to describe most parts of the experience, for better or for worse. I almost didn't finish the game due to how difficult the game is, just because the developers felt the need to shove in old school mechanics for old school sake. Saving the game requires tracking down a computer and using a floppy disk, an item that is extremely limited in the game. While classic survival horror games used this save game mechanic, most notably the original Resident Evil series, it sucks for a game on mobile, especially when the game is brutally difficult. Forgotten Memories' app store description originally warned prospective buyers to only purchase the game if you are a hardcore gamer due to the level of challenge involved. They weren't joking -- I almost didn't finish it to how quickly and often I'd die. Luckily I must not have been the only one as the developer quickly released an update that included an easy mode. It provides players with unlimited saves, more ammo, easier enemies and more medkit pickups, among other tweaks. Even with this easy mode I found myself in situations with a sliver of health, no medkits and some distance between myself and the nearest save point.  Touchscreen controls were a mistake, plain and simple, and hopefully they don't carry over to the Vita and Wii U versions of the game. The left side of the screen controls character movement, while the right side controls the camera and aiming. The first place touched on the left side of the screen acts as a center axis, and Rose will move in the direction of your fingers position in reference to said axis. Camera and aiming control seems inconsistent on how much movement there is, often times leading to needing multiple swipes just turn around. On the right side of the screen are also icons that allow you to run or go into an aiming mode with your flashlight or weapon. With a weapon drawn tapping anywhere on the screen will cause Rose to attack. The pipe, the only melee weapon I found in my playthroughs, can be used three times consecutively to perform a powerful combo attack that pushes enemies backwards. Since this piece of junk is your main weapon, combat boils down to letting enemies get close enough to attack, performing the combo, rinse repeat. It leaves a lot to be desired. Shitty controls aside, Forgotten Memories nails the survival horror atmosphere unlike any game I've played in years. Haunting violins can be heard as you search for clues and keys, pounding drums mixed with noise play during combat, and the intro music is haunting, a mainstay of the Silent Hill series. I found my heart beating in my chest with my breath held as I ran past enemies to escape rooms. Hearing distorted singing coming from a shadow-like child that is just down the hallway where you need to go is fucking horrifying. While it is indeed a horrifying affair, it ends all too abruptly at just under an hour and a half on my first playthrough.  Having been in development for years, Forgotten Memories feels like it was purposely cut short to allow for sequels or download content. That being said, the pacing is tight and there is no filler whatsoever, but it still feels like the first chapter of a longer game. Aside from the brevity, awful controls, and dull combat, the game is easily recommendable for those looking for that Silent Hill feel. Though only the desperate should pick up the mobile version, or those that have a compatible controller, otherwise wait for the console and PC releases sometime this year. While the graphics are some of the best I've seen on mobile, they can only be better elsewhere. Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities is about the best you can do for survival horror currently, if you can stomach the control scheme. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Forgotten Memories review photo
Horror-ible controls
Survival horror has always been one of my favorite genres, with Silent Hill being the absolute king. When I heard about a game inspired by and with voice actors from Silent Hill 2, arguably the best in the series, I was ...

Afterbirth update photo
Afterbirth update

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth expansion to feature new transformations, ruin my life


Norman Bates chic
Apr 28
// Nic Rowen
Well I'm doomed. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth expansion, Afterbirth, is going to include a whopping eight new transformations to discover, experiment with, and obsess over. I'm already addicted to transforming into Guppy the...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

NIS announces a bushel of Atlus games for Europe


RPGs and tigers and bears! Oh my!
Apr 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Poor European Atlus fans... They're always so upset. I wish I could brighten their day somehow. Oh, hey, what's this? A press release from NIS... Four Atlus titles coming to Europe? Hot damn! Apparently Shin Megami ...

Review: Flame Over

Mar 11 // Robert Summa
Flame Over (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Laughing JackalPublisher: Laughing JackalReleased: March 10, 2015MSRP: $9.99 Set up as a twin-stick shooter with randomized levels and a persistent upgrade system, Flame Over doesn't seem all that challenging. I mean, just look at it. It presents itself as a fun, lighthearted romp where you put out fires, save people and rescue cats. You know, the normal shenanigans that firefighters experience on a daily basis. However, Flame Over quickly dispels that belief and smacks you in the face with its difficulty. Your first obstacle to overcome will be to nail the controls down. You can shoot water with the right bumper and use an extinguisher with the left. The initial difficulty comes in realizing you can use both rather interchangeably and that your movement is directly affected by their application. [embed]288880:57716:0[/embed] There is no real tutorial, so you are pretty much left to figure it out for yourself: there are tips you can enable, but who needs those. As is pretty standard, your time within a given level is limited. It seems rather tame at first, but once you realize how long it takes to put out a fire or how much you need to refill your water or extinguisher, time suddenly seems to slip away fairly quickly. You can add to your running clock by rescuing random people scattered about, but their availability and willingness to follow you can vary -- for instance, they would stop following me if I ran too far ahead and there was an object between us. Similar to Spelunky's ghost, when you run out of time, the figure of death will appear. He'll chase you down (albeit pretty slowly), but if you touch him, game over. While he does move at a casual pace, it gets harder and harder to dodge him because of the walls of flames and tight spaces you can find yourself squeezed into. Of course, in most roguelikes, game over is a way of life. This is how you learn. So just like other titles, you accept it and move on. This is an area I would have liked to see be handled a little better. Roguelikes really work when you can restart your game fairly quickly -- as in, I push X and I restart right away. While it's not a slow process in Flame Over, it's not as fast as some other roguelikes you may be used to. This can add to a bit of frustration already built up from your previous failure of a run. It's not a big deal, but something that should be refined for a game like this to really shine. It really is a pretty straight forward and rewarding game. While it's in no way perfect, it's a completely serviceable roguelike for its price and for the Vita. If you can't get enough of this genre, then by all means consider Flame Over. Even though it doesn't really set itself apart from the crowd, it's got enough there to garner a following and perhaps deliver on future iterations or changes to improve upon the established formula. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Flame Over photo
Sound the alarm
Roguelikes suck. They don't suck as in they are horrible to play. They suck for me because they're so damn hard. But in this genre, that's part of the challenge. For whatever reason, our gamer brains desire to overcome the im...

Severed is full of one-handed vengeance

Mar 10 // Caitlin Cooke
The colorful art style of Guacamelee! makes its return in a beautiful, dark package. In Severed you play a young heroine set out on a course of vengeance after losing her home and her arm in a brutal attack. Her dark story coupled with the deserted surroundings made for a chilling atmosphere, and etched within the demo were moments that tugged at my heart ever so slightly.   The movement style is a refreshing version of old-school first-person dungeon crawlers, allowing you to choose directional paths in a four-pointed compass-like system. Enemies spawn immediately when arriving to a location, and players swipe to attack while moving directionally to combat multiple monsters in a room. Each enemy has its own rhythm in terms of attacking, blocking, and parrying, and when various monsters start to compound together in a room it becomes advantageous to memorize their patterns.  Once enough successful attacks have been built up, players can enter a mode that slows down the monster’s movements and allows them to sever appendages to go in for the final kill. Once slayed, enemies drop various objects which can then be used to upgrade health, defense, and severed power. Health is only given from a mysterious orange fruit which hangs in solitude on a magical tree.  The final boss in the demo took me a while to master, but once I did I felt like I was on top of the world. He dropped a piece of neat-looking armor, which supposedly imbued my character with a special power for the rest of the game. I learned later that all bosses drop a piece of armor with a unique power, and that both the power and the armor can be upgraded throughout the game. At first it took me a while to adjust to the movement and touch screen-style exploration, especially when I needed to move and attack at the same time. I have such tiny hands, so having to hold the Vita while swiping and hitting the directional pad proved to be difficult at times. However, I quickly came to appreciate the interactivity of the world, especially when it came to fighting monsters.  Although the demo was pretty fleshed out, the team mentioned that it plans to make a lot of improvements before launch. Vertical elements will be added to levels, like staircases in rooms that will expand the dungeons vs. one flat area. A daytime/nighttime feature will also be included, which will enable environmental puzzles in the world. The team also plans to feature NPCs, who will introduce more dialogue to the story. Personally, I loved the quiet nature of the character and general silent plot progression, so my hope is that the team keeps it as simple as possible. Severed comes out this summer for the PS Vita, and Drinkbox also anticipates releasing it for other touch screen-friendly devices as well. I can tell that there are big things to come from this game, and can't wait to get my hands on the full release.
Severed photo
But hopefully, you'll have two to play with
There’s something serene about exploring a desolate place for the first time. Too often in games I find myself dropped into an environment, expected to pick up the pieces quickly to achieve a goal and left with little t...

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