XSEED Brings EDF 2 Stateside (Those Bugs Don’t Stand A Chance!)


 

Here’s one way to end a crappy month plus: some EXCELLENT news from XSEED Games. They’re localizing Sandlot’s Earth Defense Forces 2 Portable V2 for the US and retitling it Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space. Okay, the title is somewhat (and intentionally) cheesy, recalling the 50’s aci-fi flicks that inspired the Japanese development team. But for those of us who’ve been fans of the EDF series since its 2003 debut, seeing the game finally arrive in English means many things.

For one, no more begging non-Japanese action game fans to “give it a try” because they’re fearful of any text they can’t read or navigate the controls without worrying. Granted, the games are dirt simple to play and anyone who can hold a Vita can dive right in. But between the radio chatter, menus, weapon and mission descriptions I’ve had to tell a few friends not to fret over, I can recommend the US version as an instant BUY. Second, while the story isn’t anything “special”, the fact that EDF 2 has a London map (where the game starts and has a few missions) before proceeding to Japan has made me want to see a complete script localization to see how the aliens ended up there first. Also, as things get bleaker for humanity as the locations get more destroyed, some of that radio chatter seems to be pretty bleak. In previous EDF games, there’s been a doom-like tone as the final dregs of soldiers take their last stands and say some farewells. You can’t make that campy… or CAN you?

Anyway, this one isn’t out until the fall, but I’ll be keeping an eyeball on it for sure.

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess : “It’s A Trap!” You’ll Fall For Over And Over

Deception IV_TNP

Okay, I’ll admit to being a bit behind in my beating quota. In other words, I still have yet to play Deception IV: Blood Ties on anything it’s been released on. As time, tide and games wait for no man, Tecmo Koei has made it known that there’s a follow-up coming in July for the PS3, PS4 and Vita called Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess. Fans of this long-running series which began on the original Playstation should be dancing around for joy while trying to avoid assorted traps and hazards in their own environments. For the uninitiated, here’s a live-action trailer with a tiny bit of the sinister yet intentionally silly gameplay at the end:


 

Now if only actual burglar alarms worked this efficiently. Although I’d bet the setup and resetting costs would be a wee bit costly.

Continue reading

PONCHO Hands-On: A Beautiful Trip, 3 Layers of Parallax at a Time

PONCHO Purpose Mad
 

I saw screens of PONCHO a while back and bookmarked the page, but my recent computer woes knocked the game off my radar until the magical unicorn named David Bruno hit me over the head with some more screens and a preview code. If you have a Steam account, a PS4, Vita or Wii U, love platformers and puzzle games of any type and have an appreciation for all things “retro”… well, you need this game, period.


 

PONCHO is an open world puzzle game from Delve Interactive that features a cute robot (who just so happens to be wearing a poncho) who sets out to find his creator. Robots require that sort of closure, you know. What makes the game unique is not just the lovely sprite graphics and eye-popping color work, but the three layers of parallax scrolling Poncho can move through as he explores. While some online wags have made Fez comparisons, the games only share mascot-ready main characters and the ability to travel through environments in abnormal ways.

Poncho13 (Custom) 

Granted, there have been a handful of games where hopping back and forth between planes was key to gameplay. Treasure’s Yū Yū Hakusho: Makyō Tōitsusen for the Sega Mega Drive and Guardian Heroes on the Saturn used multiple planes for their gameplay and Cobra team’s Bastard!! Ankoku No Hakai Shin for the Super Famicom featured characters that needed to be rotated from foreground to background as a major part of the gameplay. That said, those were all fighting game variants while PONCHO is focused on exploration and puzzles of assorted varieties.


 

As you can see in the videos above, the game looks phenomenal and the transitions between layers is flawless. Some quick hands-on time reveals it’s got the looks and play going for it and fans of old school/new school blends will be smiling for as long as they have their hands on a controller. There’s a slower, more languid pace to PONCHO that’s welcome in this twitch-heavy gaming age, but those timed sections will certainly keep you on your toes. Anyway, I’ll shut up for now other than to say that Rising Star Games has another winner on its hands and PONCHO will be one for the ages when it all comes together for its June release. Back with more in a bit – I have a little robot calling me to play with it. Er, find its creator I mean!

Monday Goes All Lost Weekend On Me

Ha. I was supposed to get stuff done today, but other than getting up too early to do laundry, today was a near total bust. Why? Well… my birthday present to myself came early and I was busy playing with myself.

Oh, wait… this is a family show. Oops. Hey, I got pictures as proof! Look:

Play-Asia Stuff 001 (Custom)
 

What? You were thinking something else? Anyway, Demon Gaze I’ll need to get used to because it’s both great (Wizardry-style gameplay) and pesky (I’m not at all fond of some of the character designs and somewhat icky fan service elements). On the other hand, Earth Defense Forces 2 Portable V2 is amazing on a few levels. Yes, developer Sandlot didn’t change the wacky animation from the original PlayStation 2 game and in fact, Pale Wing slides around and almost tips over like a Weeble even more when she’s not airborne. However, there’s a solid and lovely familiarity to the (smoother) visuals and gameplay that kept me busier than expected. Oops. Well, that Double Nyuutai Pack was a total steal thanks to an overstock, so I’m certainly pleased with my purchase and then some.

Play-Asia Stuff 004 (Custom)
 

I also got a Blu-Ray to review that’s more of a real “not for the kiddies” deal (it’s a pretty icky horror flick from Arrow Video), so I guess I’ll get to that shortly. Saving the earth from robots and too huge insects can be put on hold for the time being. Maybe.

Golden Week Sales Mean You Save Gold On Some Excellent Game Deals

NISA Golden Week Sale 

Well, this is pretty cool beans. To celebrate Golden Week in Japan, A few game publishers have tossed up a bunch of great Japanese role playing and other Japan-inspired or developed games, movies and anime up on the PlayStation Network at decent to excellent discounts. Check out the full list here if you’re click happy and ready to spend some of that disposable income. If some you JRPG fans late to the party need a nudge into that dollar shaped hole, I’ll let you know that Monkey Paw Games has Class of Heroes 2 on sale for $8.50 (it’s almost a steal!).

PSN Golden Week Sale 

Anyway, go hop to looking at those links as the sale ends on May 4, 2015. Yeah, just in time for you to spend the rest of your money on assorted Star Wars merchandise.

PSN April Flash Sale: Some Decent Deals For All Tastes

PSN April Flash Sale

 

I guess it’s now a once a month deal or so over at the PlayStation Network when it comes to finding quickie weekend bargains available for a short time. This month’s big deal PSN Flash Sale is a nice lineup of PS3, PS4 and Vita digital games plus a bunch of movies at okay to excellent prices. Don’t forget to poke around the site and look up other deals, as there are some cool titles not part of THIS sale that are part of other promotions. You never know what you might find outside the box, right?

Review: La-Mulana EX (Vita)

La-Mulana EX CoverPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: Pygmy Studios

Publisher: Rising Star Games

Genre: Archeological Ruins Exploration Action!

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $19.99

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

“Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games…”

LMX_LaunchScreens_03

Yeah, I see you looking at those handsome La-Mulana EX screens and that exciting trailer and thinking “Oooh, a new ‘Metroidvania’ game to play and beat in a day or two!” Ha. La-Mulana EX laughs at your brimming overconfidence. Let me be the first (or perhaps last, as this review is a bit late) to inform you that going into this game with your dreams of adding a fast notch to your speedrun belt will have you lose that belt and perhaps your Vita right out the nearest window or under a speeding bus or some other method you choose to remove that handheld from your possession.

 

 

No, the game isn’t “bad” by any stretch of the imagination. Not at all. It’s just going to be one of the toughest games you’ll play if you’re not willing to read the digital manual and pay close attention to the basic to advanced techniques you’ll learn. In fact, what’s here will hopefully make you remove the word “Metroidvania” from your gaming vocabulary, as it’s a meaningless description that’s also a bit lazy in how it fails to actually describe a game as deep as this one. Continue reading

Project Root: OPQAM’s Retro Inspired Shmup Reverbs The Nostalgia Meter

Project Root shipComing up on the radar from publisher Reverb Triple XP is Project Root, an arcade-style space shooter with a nicely retro vibe and shiny modern visuals. Headed to PS4, Vita and Xbox One on April 28 after landing on Steam last year, the game packs in a few fixes over the original version as well as Cross-Buy for PS4 and Vita owners.

Developer OPQAM has added a great little twist to the usual side or vertical scrolling shmup by giving players a full 360 degrees of movement, allowing them to play levels as they see fit. If you know your game history fairly well, you’ll see that this free roaming style of shooter isn’t *new* by any means if you’re old enough to remember Thunder Force II on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (or Sharp X68000 PC if you’re REALLY old school*). The chance to preview the game via a work-in progress build popped up recently and yes, when opportunity knocks, an return call must be made… Continue reading

PSN Flash Sale: Break Your Backlog With 81 Great Game Deals

PSN Flash Sale Madness 

As soon as I saw this PSN Flash Sale page, this scene from The Bridge on the River Kwai popped into my head and made me cackle madly for a few seconds:

(thanks, The Dork Knight!)
 

Anyway, wow. Don’t pass this one up, folks! It’s ONLY available to US PSN users, doesn’t require a PlayStation Plus account and as you can see, covers PSOne Classics, PSP, PS Vita, PS2, PS3 and even four PS4 titles! I had measly $1.82 sitting in my account for a while doing nothing. Now, all but 3 cents is left because I couldn’t pass up two older PSP games I missed out on. I was tempted to spend more money, but I’m needing to save up for a new TV and some other stuff that can’t wait. That said, YOU know you need about a dozen or more of these games for under a buck each, right? RIGHT? Yeah, I knew it. Go spend frivolously and report back on what you bought so I can live a bit more vicariously than usual.

La-Mulana EX Vita Code: We Have A Winner!

LMX_LaunchScreens_03
 

As my scratchy throat woke me up to get it some more tea with honey, and I kicked and almost tripped over the box I put the names in when I got up (Memo to self: next time, make sure the box in on a table and not the floor!), I’ve decided to pick a winner for the La-Mulana EX Vita code. The funny thing is, one of the names I wrote popped out of the box when I kicked it and I was going to declare that person the winner (hey, I was kind of half asleep!). But I decided to redraw the winner just to be fair… and actually picked the same name again. Not easy to do when you pick facing away from the box the names are in while in a dark room with your eyes shut. Anyway, congratulations go out to:

Nate V.! (applause)

Check your email, mister!

As for you non-winners, listen up (and put down those torches!). Stick around if you happen to:

a) likes indie games and could use an instant mini-backlog
b) are a Star Wars fan who likes oddball collectibles

I have a couple of interesting giveaways in the works soon you may want to be a part of. No spoilers here, but it’ll be fun to see what happens…