Alive and kickin’
Stop! Pack up that PlayStation Vita shaped coffin and plop your posterior on a pew: Sony’s smallest system may not possess the unstoppable popularity of the PlayStation 4, but if going mainstream was really considered cool, then we’d all be rocking Bieber barnets and humming the chorus to Love Yourself. No one wants to do that, so who cares if the Vita’s barely sold 10 million units – the little man that can’s got game. Seriously, here are 25 upcoming titles that should be on your game-dar.
A Boy and His Blob may look like the kind of Google Search Term that would win you a one-way trip to HMP Bullingdon, but it’s actually an uber-cute adventure game from Majesco which swallowed its first jelly bean all the way back on the NES. The premise involves feeding your anthropomorphic bulge different sweeties in order for it to change in shape and size. There’s literally no way of talking about this without sounding like a deviant, is there?
This streamlined side-scrolling Creed will whisk you away to China, India, and Russia, as you assume the role of three different Assassins across a trio of side-stories which ultimately see you laying the smackdown on some Templar tushy. Fair enough, this is a compilation of those dodgy digital download tie-ins that we all hoped had gone the way of the dodo, but with big publishers generally skipping Sony’s handheld, Ubisoft deserves some kudos for putting this out. We ‘spose.
What do you mean you’ve never dreamed of becoming a tyrannical warlord on the train? That’s honestly the only thing on our mind when we read the Metro’s cringe-inducing Good Deed Feed. But while Civilization Revolution 2 Plus will not allow you to bat the obnoxious column into the deep recesses of the cosmos, it will instead enable you to get pally with Napoléon Bonaparte. We always did have a thing for his bicorne baseball cap.
If there was a version of Top Trumps inspired by Vita games, then Cosmic Star Heroine would have maximum points in the ‘Name’ category. The game itself sounds tasty, too: a classic, turn-based sci-fi RPG which clearly owes its entire existence to Phantasy Star. Heck, developer Zeboyd Games is even promising SEGA CD-esque cut-scenes, which anyone who’s played The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin will know is a bloody good thing.
It’s a rogue-like so Simon Fitzgerald’s name is already proudly nestled next to Crypt of the Necrodancer in our internal review document, alongside about six exclamation points and the number eleven. This one’s USP is the fact that it’s part bang-your-head-against-the-wall-hard and part holy-crap-this-is-as-funky-as-a-Niles-Rogers-lick. Essentially, it’s a fusion of rogue-like and rhythm, which sounds like a recipe for success to us.
You’re a video game phony if you haven’t played Tim Schafer’s adventure game back catalogue, so we’re about as fake as practically every character not named Holden in The Catcher in the Rye. We’ve got to be honest, Push Square Towers knows more about almond milk than this celebrated classic, but that’s the beauty of a re-release, isn’t it? Now a whole new generation can bask in the glory of that bit where that thing happens.
A story about Digimon which involves some kind of Cyber Sleuth. Listen, we haven’t got a didgeridoo why there’s such a hullabaloo surrounding this Bandai Namco joint, but we suspect that weeaboos the world over will get a kick out of seeing their favourite childhood not-Pocket Monsters gathered on the Vita’s delicious display at once.
Rage burst is what tends to happen when Ramsey gobbles up the last custard cream and leaves a biscuit crumb trail of evidence leading to his desk, but in God Eater 2 it’s what happens when the usually spiky haired crew run out of Garnier. Not really – this is a Monster Hunter-esque slaughter-’em-up with big bosses and even bigger swords. It’s taken its sweet time journeying to the West, so you should probably thank the gaming gods for this. Once done, you have permission to, y’know, eat them.
Alicia’s such a great name, isn’t it? It sounds like Alice, but it’s different enough to prevent you from making mental connections to Alice Cooper, and, look, that’s a damn good thing. The game itself is a purrdy Metroidvania-type thing-a-majig, with pixel art and chiptune sounds and all of those other assets that hardcore gamers hate. But, it looks proper bo in motion – and it’s also called Heart Forth, Alicia! which may just be a rival for Cosmic Star Heroine in our hypothetical Vita-inspired Top Trumps game.
While the kindly peeps at publisher Square Enix defecate all over Agent 47’s shiny scalp with Hitman PS4’s abhorrent release schedule, Sony’s planning to bring mobile spin-off Hitman Go to the Vita. This is more snazzy puzzler than cosplay simulator, but as far as branded mobile tie-in titles go, it’s got a real sense of board game style. It’s a release that we have no qualms saying will probably exceed your expectations, which we don’t say often where the Final Fantasy maker is involved.
Moody and atmospheric with amaze-balls audio, Hyper Light Drifter takes you to a distant land where you’ll uncover lost technologies and stumble upon secrets long buried. This one has “pretentious indie platformer” stamped all over it, but based on the brief glimpses that we’ve seen thus far, we reckon that it may end up actually delivering upon its pre-release hype.
We’re just as tired of comic book movies as we are LEGO games, but we had to include LEGO Marvel’s Avengers on our bumper list because… Well, it’s a big game that’s coming to the Vita. Look, we know that the handheld versions of these titles are pretty much universally trash compared to their console equivalents, but there’s something moreish about the collectathon loop that these titles employ. Admit it, you’re going to play for the easy Platinum, aren’t you?
Mega Man maker Keiji Inafune may be better suited to daylight robbery than game development these days, but Mighty No. 9 is shaping up to be the perfect Vita game. While we’re not overly impressed with the bland art style that the developer’s adopted, we’re big fans of the gameplay loop, which is more about momentum than precision platforming. If the level design’s good, then we’ll maybe forgive Comcept for the controversial Kickstarter campaign. Maybe.
Telltale’s spun better yarns than Minecraft: Story Mode, but it’s nice to see the studio continue to commit support to Sony’s slender system – especially seeing as it works on approximately a billion different devices these days. With an all-star voice cast and arguably the biggest gaming brand on the planet, it’s a bit of a shame that the developer’s block-based adventure has fallen a little flat, but if word of The Nether makes your nether regions twitch, then this one’s for you.
Big bots butt heads in Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force, the latest instalment in the hit arcade series. We’re not entirely sure how the handheld version of this already niche overseas series has managed to secure a Western release, but we know that we’ll be bracing ourselves for an epileptic fit in anticipation of its launch. In addition to the brand’s customary 2v2 combat, this entry also has a tactical option as well.
We’re not 100 per cent sure how to say its subtitle, but Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir is a Vanillaware game, ergo it looks hotter than Jennifer Lawrence with her modesty concealed only by chili peppers. This one actually launched in 2008 on the PlayStation 2, meaning that everyone was too busy moaning about Devil May Cry 4 to pay it much attention. Every game deserves a second shot, though, and just like Muramasa: Rebirth, it’ll be getting that chance on the Vita.
Rainbow Skies was announced so long ago that we have reasons to believe there are references to it in the Old Testament, but we’d need a priest on staff to confirm. Either way, this is the long-awaited sequel to surprise PS3 role-playing game Rainbow Moon, which we liked a lot. Developer SideQuest Studios is actually beavering away on a PS4 port of the aforementioned right now, so whether its sequel makes 2016 is touch and go. We hope that it does, though.
There’s a unique Warriors game for all seven billion people on God’s green Earth, but another one won’t hurt, will it? Samurai Warriors 4: Empires is a revised version of Samurai Warriors 4-II which itself is a revised version of Samurai Warriors 4. Shrugs. Look, this author can’t tell you a whole lot about this game, but Ramsey will surely have all of the need-to-know details when he requests to review it alongside the other dozen Warriors games Koei Tecmo has lined up for 2016.
That series what has all of the big breasts is bouncing back to the Vita, and it’s ditched the god awful cooking motif from its previous instalment and swapped in the Warriors-esque 3D combat of Shinovi Versus. Expect more fanservice than a crossover cartoon and more incriminating content than on Rolf Harris’ personal computer, but hey, if that’s your thing, fill your boots.
Drinkbox Studios didn’t get the memo about the death of the Vita and has decided to follow up the genuinely excellent Guacamelee with this first-person dungeon crawling game. While Severed uses touch controls only, the developer’s promising plenty of depth, as you puzzle your way past a variety of antagonists, uncovering their weak spots along the way.
The latest advocate of the ‘Noun City‘ naming convention, Shakedown Hawaii is the sequel to Retro City Rampage, and this time it’s applying its self-referential Grand Theft Auto blueprint to the 16-bit era. The game’s set 30 years after its predecessor, and will see you assuming the role of the imaginatively named Player, who “comes out of early retirement to rebuild his neglected corporate empire”.
This dungeon crawler, developed by Demon Gaze maker Experience Inc, opted to release first on Xbox platforms in Japan – meaning that it’s likely sold seven copies since debuting in 2014. Its name may inspire mystery, but it’s actually a pretty bog-standard role-playing game in which you’ll pick from several classes, including dwarves and elves.
The world is on the cusp of a virtual reality revolution, but it’ll probably be some time before we’re able to truly submerge ourselves into Sword Art Online-esque fantasy worlds. Hollow Realization is a sequel to Sword Art Online: Lost Song, which we described as “safe” but “enjoyable” in our review. There ain’t nothin’ “safe” or “enjoyable” about an MMO without a logout button, let’s make that clear.
If Cosmic Star Heroine has the best name on this list, then Cyberpunk Bartender Action is surely the best sub-title. VA-11 Hall-A is a self-described “booze-’em-up about waifus” in which you must mix drinks in order to learn a little more about your customers and the post-dystopian world that they inhabit. The quality of the writing will be imperative to this title’s success, but it’s got a premise that’s at the very least deserving of your attention.
World of Final Fantasy looks and sounds more LEGO game than role-playing game, but there’s nothing wrong with introducing a new generation of players to, well, the world of Final Fantasy. The game takes place in chibi-realm Grimoire, which has been inhabited by monsters and various characters from the franchise’s past. Look, as long as Vanille, Hope, and Fang steer well clear, then this is a chirpy little spin-off that we can get behind.
Which of these Vita games are you looking forward to in 2016? Are there any instant classics that we’ve missed? Make your voices heard in the comments section below.
Which of the following Vita games are you most anticipating? (57 votes)
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Civilization Revolution 2 Plus
Cosmic Star Heroine
Crypt of the Necrodancer
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
God Eater 2: Rage Burst
Heart Forth, Alicia!
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Minecraft: Story Mode
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir
Samurai Warriors 4: Empires
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus
Stranger of Sword City
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
World of Final Fantasy
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