Hohokum is beautifully endearing, whimsically comical, filled with bold colours and sumptuous aural dreamscapes. Its fluid mechanics are simple and straightforward, allowing players to concentrate on finding ways to interact with the cartoonish worlds and uncovering little visual rewards for their troubles.
But I found it to be somewhat problematic at first.
Hohokum feels like you're playing through a drug-induced cartoon from half a century ago in some ways. I half expected to be ambushed by Blue Meanies as I meandered through its myriad worlds. It's lovely to behold with its bright, bold colour scheme and cutesy art courtesy of Richard Hogg. I spent a good deal of time in one chamber of the game where the long, snake-like, cycloptic rainbow eel thingy that you control links up with a bunch of friends and they all respond to your controller inputs for a bit. It was like playing with a virtual spirograph, and I just danced for a bit with my rainbow eel chums and I looked up and I'd been doing it for almost half an hour.
That's probably my favourite bit of Hohokum so far, to be honest. it's a simple game once you peel away the quirky art. You steer this one-eyed spectrum snake around, occasionally slowing it down, sometimes speeding it up. And that's it. There are a bunch of multi-screen levels to the game that present you with some sort of bizarre tableau and just leave you to figure things out for yourselves. It's like a PixelJunk Proteus in some ways, or what Nokia's Snake did during the acid years, forgetting all about eating that square pixel, and going on a colourful bender.Click here to read more...
Hohokum is another one of those arty games that's going to polarise people. Some will hold it up as an example of unconventional interactive entertainment and proof that games can and are art. Others will passionately argue that it isn't even a game. There will be those that miss the point completely, some for whom this really isn't their thing. Equally, there will be others that pronounce Hohokum to be one of the best things to be seen all year.
I like the way it encourages a genuine spirit of "play" in a manner that's rather unique.
It's a combination of beautiful, striking art from Richard Hogg, various aural dreamscapes that soothe and relax, and fluid mechanics that aren't explained outright, instead encouraging you to discover little cartoonish vignettes through direct interaction as well as poring over the scenery with your eyes.
It's quite possibly the bubble bath of gaming.
The review's on its way.
Platform: PS Vita (reviewed)
Developer: Wales Interactive
Gravity Badgers joins the illustrious line of rubbish games with fantastic names. Though nowhere near as bad as the genuinely offensive Hyper Fighters, this Angry Birds clone really does the bare minimum to live up to its sensational monicker.
Seriously: Gravity Badgers. Gravity. Badgers. What a waste.
I never, ever, use the term 'clone' lightly, but I'm afraid that Gravity Badgers earns it hands-down. We find ourselves flinging badgers into outer space by virtually pulling back and dragging them across the screen, only instead of castles, they're presented with an array of physics-based obstacles. Critically, celestial bodies can either attract or repel your furry cosmonaut, deflecting their path towards the exit. Judge it right and you can pull off crazy slingshot effects; mis-cue and you'll send your badger into deep space.Click here to read more...
Sony’s handheld just gets quieter and quieter each passing expo season and this year was arguably its darkest yet, with Sony barely mentioning their once proud handheld. The Vita is a quality piece of kit, but it never caught the imaginations of the third-party developers in the triple A scene. Instead it has become the champion of niche and indie titles. While we here at Dealspwn love our indie games, they’re never going to be the true system sellers the Vita badly needs. That said, we’ve done some digging around at Gamescom 2014 to see what lies ahead for the PS Vita. Here’s our Top 5 most important moments we took away from this year’s Gamescom.
The device released as PS Vita TV in Japan will be available on these shores later this year for around £85, allowing gamers to stream their PS4 games to a second TV in the house. As the original name suggests though, it will also effectively be a Vita console that you play on the TV. ‘Most’ card and digital titles can be played on PSTV, we imagine the ones that don’t will be those that include a lot of touchscreen/tilt controls like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. PSTV is considerably cheaper than a Vita handheld and could lead to more Vita software sales from gamers currently on the fence. There’s still a bit of a chicken before the egg scenario going on here though as there needs to be interesting titles to entice people to buy. Because let’s face it, remote play on the Vita doesn’t exactly inspire the smoothest of experiences with using the new device to stream PS4 gameplay to another TV. We’d love to be wrong on that though.
If you read my recent 9/10 review for Table Top Racing on the Vita, you'll know that I think it's one of the best racers available on the handheld to date. The game inspires fond memories of older games like Micro Machines and Mashed with its miniature vehicles, weapons and old-school camera options.
At £4.99, it's an absolute bargain, but if you'd like a chance to get a copy for free, you should probably get involved with our competition. It's super simple to enter after all.
We have a UK/EU PSN code to give away and all you have to do is comment in the box below and enter a valid email address in the relevant box too. Say anything you want, there's no catch. Tell us your favourite racing game you played recently. Which one you're looking forward too? What makes a great burger? Anything really. Just remember, only one entry per person will be counted. A winner will be picked at random when the competition closes Sunday 24th August at 17:00 UK time. Good luck!Click here to enter.
Platform: PS Vita
Developers: Playrise Digital
Racers, start your engines! Well, charge up your PlayStation Vitas first, as I’ve no doubt many of you haven’t had a reason to put it on for a while unless you’re a fan of niche Japanese titles. But that’s about to change and for a no-excuses price of £4.99 too.
Table Top Racing is an arcade racing title with healthy influences from the likes of Micro Machines and the weapon-sporting Mashed (but not Wrecked, thankfully). You race miniature toy cars across a range of tracks that include sushi restaurants, picnic areas and tables full of junk. Every course is fantastically designed with lots of tight turns and sudden shear edges that keep the racing pack together throughout.
Slight rubber-banding keeps the races tight too, but when some laps are as short as twenty seconds it never feels unfair. The AI is sharp too, especially in the later tournaments. Unlike many racers with weapons though, the AI don’t just focus on you, instead they’ll ruthlessly fight amongst themselves, often providing you with a chance to slip by an angry huddle, although you’ll often risk a rocket up the backside for such slyness.Click here to read more...
We know you've been keeping some stuff back, Sony. We know you love to make a splash at Gamescom. Now is the time to do it. Sony have been teasing surprises for the past week or so. Will Until Dawn be returning? Can we please have some news from Media Molecule and Guerilla Games? Is there a timeframe on Morpheus? It's time for some answers, and you can check out the Twitch embed and my live Tweets after the jump.
Jon's fashioned a list of expectations and predictions, and you can find that right here.Click here to read more...
Platforms: 3DS | PS Vita (reviewed)
Developer: Hellbent Games | TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
LEGO. Ninjas. Both of these things are undeniably excellent in their own right, so I suspect that the LEGO Ninjago toy line can boast the shortest brainstorming session in company history. "We haven't sold Ninja-themed kits since 1998. So how about... more ninjas... only this time on a futuristic alien planet with multiple armies that we can keep expanding on with new sets? Also some of the ninjas are robots. We can call them Nindroids."
"That's terrible. Let's do it, and also make a mechanical dragon. We can call it the MechDragon. Have a raise."
So Ninjago was born, and in fine transmedia style, spawned an animated series followed finally by a handheld game on PS Vita and 3DS. It's the sort of eye-rolling predictable play that you'd expect from any big company, but does it live up to the usual standard we expect from TT Games?
Click here to read more...
£35 PSN Credit | CD Keys | £28.87 (with code)
There's no such thing as money for nothing, but a significant discount is another matter. Once again, CDKeys are back in stock to net you £35 worth of PSN credit at a £7 saving, further enhanced if you visit their Facebook page for a 5% discount code. Credit is shared over all PlayStation consoles, so it's worth having a bit in reserve.
Thanks to rama26285 @ HUKD!
If you're a regular here at Dealspwn.com, chances are you know that I love localised Japanese games. Often promising quirky ideas, new perspectives, interesting layered mechanics and gorgeous anime-inspired art styles, these niche titles tend to be a breath of fresh air that break up the release schedule beautifully. They don't get a free ride, but I always muck in and do my best to shed light on the scene, from tiny doujin games or larger yet still decidedly niche gems.
In times past, us Europeans have often found ourselves on the sharp end of import duties, region locking and publishers who just don't see us as a priority. Thankfully, these days, plenty of publishers, localisation houses and distributors are queuing up to bring us a wide variety of translated and localised games on numerous platforms, often with little or no delay compared to the States.
So, with several months still to go in 2014, here's a highlight reel of upcoming localised niche Japanese software, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It's by no means a definitive list, so please bring up and shout about anything you're looking forward to!
Hatoful Boyfriend is very much a traditional dating sim. As a female transfer to St. PigeoNation’s prestigious school for birds, we'll balance middle school life with "dark conspiracies" and interact with a variety of suitors boasting traditional personality tropes (the smart one, the flirty one, probably a tsundere one)... only in this case, our prospective partners all happen to be pigeons.
Yes, that's right. Pigeons. It's an offbeat idea that we're actually rather excited about -- and I believe that Matt's working on a review.
Release Date: August 21stClick here to read more...
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD remaster is one of Matt and Carl's favourite games of 2014 -- or two of their favourite games, I suppose -- especially on Vita. Square's HD rebuild really shines on that luscious screen, while the gameplay apparently still holds up. £18.99 is a £1 saving versus ShopTo, while Amazon are out of stock at a similar price. Thanks to Bure11 @ HUKD!
The PlayStation Store Summer Sale is now open for business and set to run over the next four weeks, promising hot deals aplenty. Sadly the PS4 options are currently fizzling rather than sizzling beyond a slight saving on Battlefield 4, providing a somewhat embarrassing glut of EA's excessive Battlefield 4 and Need For Speed DLC. Shortcut packs. Why. Sony promises 25 PS4 deals next week though, so stay tuned.
Better news for PS3 owners, who can nab a much wider range of bargains. From bigger games like the Injustice Ultimate Edition at £11.99 to smaller gems like underappreciated brawler Sacred Citadel for £3.49, there are some potential savings to be cherry-picked.
Vita owners who love localised Japanese games should also look at recently-released JRPGs Conception II and Mind Zero, which are available at massive markdowns. Neither is exactly a leading light of the genre, Mind Zero being distinctly average and Conception II being a tad... risqué ... but I still have a soft spot for both.
As per usual you can browse the links below courtesy of the EU PlayStation Blog. However, savvy and undiscerning dealhounds might want to quickly search for full games on Grainger Games first, who are running a 10% discount on pre-owned goods with GGPO10 voucher code (originally reported by Jas10 @ HUKD).Click here to read more...
Don't want to settle for anything less than visual perfection when it comes to your handheld gaming? Well, GAME are stocking bundles of the original Vita right now for just under £135, and you should probably get involved.
The differences between the LCD screen on the Vita slim and the OLED screen on the older Vita models are only really apparent when you put the two consoles side by side. The LCD screen still looks great, it really does, but if you're playing, say, Rayman Origins or Legends, you might want the best visual experience. If you've never picked up an OLED Vita, ignorance might be bliss.
But is that a chance you want to take?
Frankly, I prefer the shape and heft of the old Vita, along with it's gorgeous screen, but I'd quite like a slice of the extra battery power that the Slim Vita is rocking.
For what it's worth, we'd go for the 16GB deal. You'll want that extra space.
Drop just over £150 at Amazon currently and you can nab yourself a shiny new PS Vita, the Action Mega Pack, and an essential 8GB memory card.
The new Vita loses a little visual lustre by swapping out the expensive OLED screen of the original for an LCD, but you won't really notice that unless you put the old and new versions side by side. Put it this way -- things still look great on the new Vita. Crucially, it also comes packing a couple of extra hours of battery life too.
As for the Action Mega Pack, you get five games on that 8GB memory card -- 3 Vita titles (Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, and PlayStation Allstars: Battle Royale) and 2 PSP classics (God of War: Chain of Olympus and Killzone: Liberation). You can pick up the Football Manager 2014 Classic bundle for the same price, but that only comes with a 4GB memory card. Believe me, you'll want as much storage space as possible.
Point & click adventure aficionados who don't own a PS4 or Vita can breathe a sigh of relief today, as Double Fine confirms that their Grim Fandango remake announced during Sony's E3 presser is also coming to PC, Linux and Mac at launch.Click here to read more...
It's not the cheapest we've ever seen, but sub-£15 is still money well spent on this superb platformer. Rayman Legends feels right at home on Vita, since those vibrant visuals and tight controls are a perfect fit for Sony's handheld, especially now that all the extra missions have been added via a free update. Thanks to CalumW96 @ HUKD!
£35 PSN Credit | CD Keys | £28.87 (with code)
Want £35 of PSN credit for £28.87? Of course you do, it's money for cheap. Like a credit card in reverse. Anyway, be sure to head over to CD Key's Facebook page to get a 5% discount code. PSN credit is shared across all Sony console stores so you can spend it on PS4, PS3, Vita and PSP. There's a neat Big in Japan sale on there at the moment, which includes Ni No Kuni for £3.99, which is just bonkers. Man, I wished I didn't hate Studio Ghibli at times.
Thanks to GobbleTurkey at HotUkDeals.
PS3 and PS Vita owners should gird their wallets for some outrageous savings in this week's PlayStation Store sale, which is appropriately titled 'big in Japan.' From big-hitters to niche sleeper hits, there's a bargain for everyone here.
Right off the bat, I'd urge you to consider picking up Ni No Kuni for £3.99. Even my honeyed words cannot adequately express how cheap -- and what brilliant value -- this is. One of the best and most beautiful JRPGs of recent years will set you back less than a high street burger.
It's just the tip of the iceberg that's full to the brim with different genres and gameplay styles. What do you feel like? Resident Evil Revelations for £10.99? Streets Of Rage 2 for less than £2, or Final Fight: Double Impact for £3.29? Vita owners should definitely pick up Earth Defence Force 2017 Portable, since I would have awarded the rambunctious shooter 8/10 if it weren't for the outrageous launch price. At £7.99, you'd best enlist, soldier. EDF! EDF!
Credit is due to hero2zer0 @ HUKD, who rounded this up yesterday.Click here to read more...
PS Vita 4GB memory card + 10 indie games | Base | £9.99 (save £7)
A great price for ten impressive indie games and a 4GB memory card to keep them on. £9.99 is an absolute steal for Alien Breed, Thomas Was Alone, Velocity, Men's Room Mayhem, Limbo, Coconut Dodge, Hotline Miami, Total Recoil, Superfrog HD and Roaming Cloud God.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Platforms: 3DS | PS3 | PS Vita | Wii U (reviewed)
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Cards on the table: I love One Piece. Granted, there's a world of deeper, more exciting and incredibly tedious anime/manga franchises out there, but for me there's nothing quite like watching madcap super-powered pirates fighting each other, engaging in hilarious banter, learning intense lessons about comradeship and doing almost no actual piracy whatsoever.
It's the sweet spot of irrepressible humour, great characters, shapeshifting reindeer, stretchy protagonists, violin-playing skeleton musicians and swordsmen so badass they hold a third blade in their teeth. And, as such, perfect videogame material. Even the incredibly inconsistent Omega Force managed to make an excellent Dynasty Warriors spin-off in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, but Gabarion have gone one step further by basing their latest tie-in on something more profound.
Namely Monster Hunter. It's a concoction that shouldn't work, yet in practice makes for one of the best anime tie-ins ever developed: a gorgeous, enormous and surprisingly compelling game that lasts for hours on end.
Though, as I made sure to mention in the very first sentence of this review, I'm a fan myself. Bear that in mind, won't you?Click here to read more...