Saturday, June 9, 2012

The "Magic" PS Vita Games I Want

I've made it no secret on Twitter and other corners of the interwebs that I just don't match the (formerly) rampant enthusiasm surrounding Sony's newest portable system.  Prior to the system's launch, Sony swore that the little handheld's launch line-up would set the world on fire, but now that Spring came and went, I'm still not seeing the amazing software library that was promised; and neither are even some of the most vocal Sony fanatics.

So, for me, the PS Vita's early library isn't all it was first cracked up to be--and even though it's typical for such a new system to have sparse software offerings, it remains a disappointment for those who bought into Sony's promises.  But hopefully, that's starting to change.  As someone who really enjoys the quirkier side of video games, I thought it was great news when a Sony representative told Destructoid that they do, in fact, care about the "magic" of niche and indie titles.  Below is a list of the unique and charming Vita exclusives that have my attention, and could finally persuade me to buy the system... once memory card prices drop.

Sound Shapes

Sound Shapes is a would-be Vita launch title that got pushed back.  Put simply, it's a rhythm/platforming game with a creation tool.  Players can create music with in-game tools which then form a 2D stage, or they can build levels which then become the game's soundtrack.  Given my love for "hybrid" games like these, as well as those that enable players to create and share, it's bound to be one of the more notable, but overlooked gems in the Vita's early library.  Also, deadmau5 is contributing to the soundtrack, if that's what you're into.

Gravity Rush

With its June 12 release date looming close, it was hard to avoid giving this game a mention.  It was one of the very first games revealed for the Vita, and turned heads with its gravity-manipulating gameplay.  Players tilt the Vita to shift the direction of gravity, and touch the screen to dodge and attack monsters.  Cutscenes are often depicted in comic book-like panels that complement the game's dramatic, cel shaded art style.  Like Sound Shapes, it was originally intended for the Vita's launch window, but Gravity Rush is still easily the most interesting game in the system's near future.

New Little King's Story

The original Little King's Story is widely considered one of the better "hidden gems" on the Wii.  I still haven't quite gotten around to adding it to my collection, but this sequel has piqued my interest.  As cute as I find the original's storybook look and feel, I also love to see anime-esque re-imaginings of... just about anything.  With regards to gameplay, my tendency to waste away precious hours in The Sims 2 suggests that I could easily find myself sucked into a portable life simulation game--it's a terrifying but exciting thought.  And the fact that it will have "love sim" elements, too?  All I need to know, friends.  Sign me up.


This adorable "gimick action game" by Game Arts comes to life with a distinctive chalk art style and oozes personality.  In Dokuro, a Princess has been captured by an evil Dark Lord, and one of his underlings has a change of heart one day and resolves to help her escape.  It's a simple but charming twist on traditional "save the princess" scenarios, and the game is bound to be filled to the brim with heart-meltingly cute scenes like these.  With the front and rear touch screens, players can switch between the tiny, titular skeleton who can double jump, and a princely hero who can carry the Princess over obstacles.  And even if our bony knight in shining armor never makes his Western debut, it looks like precisely the type of game that can do without dialogue, making it extremely import-friendly.


So right now we don't know much about KickBeat.  But the little I've seen, I like a lot.  While at first glance, it may look like a fighting game, it's actually a rhythm game--and an exceedingly flashy one, at that.  Between the city and arena backdrops, the dialogue, and the stylish finishers, it definitely gives the vibe of a kung fu action film.  It may end up being more style than substance, but for now, I can't help but love that I'll get to deflect inbound missiles off perfectly timed roundhouse kicks and face off against a creepy, tentacled, Chinese Wizard of Oz.

Soul Sacrifice

Confirmed for North America and Europe just in time for this year's E3, Soul Sacrifice is the next project from Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune.  It's a dark, "true fantasy" action game where players must sacrifice their health, organs, or even their very lives in order to cast powerful magic spells.  The game first caught my attention when I read about Excalibur, the spell where you tear out your own spine to turn it into a sword.  That's just so morbidly awesome that it makes me curious as to what other twisted feats I can pull off in this game.

Aside from its purely macabre appeal, however, is the evident strategic element involved.  The cost of magic is especially high; how will I do when I'm forced to pick and choose carefully when to unleash my ultimate powers and when to hold back?  Whether or not the developers pull off that sense of strategy and contemplation during confrontations with menacing bosses will be the true test for Soul Sacrifice.  There's also multiplayer, so it will be interesting to see how these gruesome but strategic spells work in a cooperative setting with other humans.

Well, there are my picks for the Vita's upcoming, lesser known, but still "magical" games.  You may notice I left out multiplatform surefire hits like Level-5's Time Travelers and Chunsoft's Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, as well as remakes of established franchises like Persona 4: The Golden and Tales of Innocence R.  Those are certainly promising titles in the future of the Vita software line-up, too, but not what I wanted to focus on here.

Do you have a Vita?  What are you most looking forward to playing on Sony's new handheld?  Let me know in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. It's about time. I've been keeping on eye on this system since launch. I've played it a few times while visiting various electronics stores. It's powerful, ergonomic, and sexy.