Vita

Super Exploding Zoo

Super Exploding Zoo, at first glance is a simple puzzle game with cute graphics. It looks like something you might find on Kongregate: fast, easy to explain and teeming with short enough levels to play four or five while waiting for something else to happen. The first few levels do nothing to dispel that notion. You’ll guide an animal through a simple level, collect some companion animals, blow some stuff up along the way, kill the monsters and win. READ MORE

Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy

Dungeon-crawlers have had a resurgence in popularity in recent years, led by the PC indie game scene and the Etrian Odyssey series. As a result, more and more niche titles have been getting a chance here, particularly on systems like the Vita. Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is the newest entry in the genre from Experience Inc. (the studio behind Demon Gaze), but it’s not necessarily a step forward for the company. READ MORE

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Titan Souls began its life as a game created for a game jam, “Ludum Dare 28: You Only Get One.” These competitions challenge designers to build a game from start to finish centered around a given concept in only a single weekend. In many ways, “you only get one” is the ideal motto for Titan Souls, as you only get one hit before death, you only get one arrow with which to kill the many bosses and you only need one hit on each boss to kill it. Getting this one hit in on each of the many varied bosses of Titan Souls proves to be an intense, but also extremely gratifying, experience. After each narrow victory, I automatically found myself gritting my teeth, breathing heavily and pumping my fist in the air, and I wanted nothing more than to do it again. READ MORE

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There have been many differing takes on the mech combat genre throughout the history of games, and Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo offers a competent (if relatively simplistic) action-oriented spin. There are plenty of customization options for enthusiasts who love gearing out their rigs in the best available equipment with customized colors and looks, but there just isn’t enough compelling gameplay underneath to keep the casual mech crowd interested. READ MORE

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With the rise of mobile and handheld gaming encouraging novel, bite-sized experiences that are still capable of taking creative risks, roguelikes have seen a return to prominence in recent years. Their structure allows for different experiences, with sessions not intended to last more than a few minutes. Games like Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac have received ports to portable systems, and proven that the formula works very well for devices built with a pick-up-and-play mentality. This brings us to Laughing Jackal’s devilishly difficult new entry into the genre, Flame Over, a game with a lot of great ideas that falls short in some tragic ways. READ MORE

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Helldivers does not like you. Every time Arrowhead could have chosen to help you out they chose instead to hamper, and Helldivers is better for it. Buried beneath a Starship Troopers (movie, not book) veneer is a challenging and interesting twin-stick shooter. It is the job of the titular Helldivers to spread managed democracy to the bugs, the cyborgs and the illuminant. Super Earth is at war with all three races, and when they are all vanquished the war simply starts over, but if the bugs are defeated when you play for the first time then you’ll be fighting cyborgs and illuminant. READ MORE

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When looking at the lineup of games published by NIS America, hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary doesn’t exactly fit in. You’re expecting to see more anime-styled RPGs and strategy games with a lot of humor and assorted silliness. You’re expecting to see months of gameplay and a sensibility that seems out-of-place among most Western titles but right at home on a system like the Vita. You’re expecting to see exploding penguins.

The last thing you’re expecting to see is The Firefly DiaryREAD MORE

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With the current renaissance of the adventure game underway thanks to companies like Telltale, it can be easy to forget the genre had dried up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Before then, LucasArts, at the top of its game, released a slew of excellent adventure titles, many of which are considered classics. The last in its long line of well-received adventure games was Grim Fandango, a neo-noir comedy taking place in the Land of the Dead.

Widely considered one of the best adventure games around upon its initial release, Grim Fandango has now been faithfully remastered, containing everything that made the original special and then some.

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Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE

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Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy achieves the gameplay goals that it sets out to hit quite well. It functions as a straight dungeon crawl, with individual quest runs broken up into bite-sized five-to-15-minute chunks. It isn’t the most interesting game, and it doesn’t really push the envelope in any new ways, but it is fun and it is designed well for portable play. If you enjoy short dungeon runs, beating up bad guys and collecting loot, then you should seriously consider Fantasy Hero. READ MORE