Wait... that's not right, is it? Can I have another take? What do you mean "this is live?" Oh, damn it...
CAPCOM PUZZLE WORLD
|You'll be hooked on the brothers!|
(image from Playstation.com)
Then there's Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, a gem stacking, color matching contest with the added bonus of characters from the Street Fighter and Darkstalkers series. Big-headed versions of the fighters are set in the center of the screen, and swat at each other as jewels are destroyed and match-blocking counter gems are sent to the other player's bin. While the game is also available for more powerful home consoles, the version offered in Capcom Puzzle World is more faithful to the source material, without the ugly remastered graphics.
There's one more game, the Arkanoid-ish Block Block, but its inclusion is... well, puzzling when you consider that it was already offered in Capcom Classics Remixed. It's there if you want it, but the Buster Bros. trilogy and Puzzle Fighter are the real draws in the modest but competent package. B-
SNOOPY VS. THE RED BARON
Namco/Smart Bomb Entertainment
Snoopy vs. The Red Baron is an extrapolation of the scenes from the Peanuts specials, where Charlie Brown's beagle would clash with the World War I flying ace in a series of frustratingly vague aerial battles. Rather than racing past strobing colors on his dog house as he did in the cartoons, Snoopy flies over fully realized battlefields in his often mentioned, rarely seen Sopwith Camel. The graphics are impressive considering the game's age, rivaling Pilotwings Resort on the 3DS with a generous field of vision and diverse environments to explore.
|Snoop, there it is.|
(image from GamesRadar)
Another gripe, and this is purely aesthetic, is that it sometimes misses its mark as a tribute to the long-running comic. Characters are hideously rendered (don't expect the quality of the recent 20th Century Fox film) and sometimes badly voiced, especially Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty's long-suffering sidekick Marcie. Why is she a six year old with a lisp? Shouldn't that be Sally's voice? The triumphant war themes in each stage also clash with Vince Guaraldi's laid-back, plinky jazz tunes in the hub, but no matter. Flawed as it may be, Snoopy vs. The Red Baron is enjoyable enough that you'll be glad you were there when the Schulz hit the Richthophen. B
Idea Factory/Compile Heart
This game was created by Compile Heart, the successor to the developer of classics like The Guardian Legend and Puyo Puyo. That name must have been chosen under the mistaken belief that the new company has the soul of the old one, but considering its rather dire library, I can think of a few organs that are a better fit. How about Compile Spleen? Maybe Compile Tonsil? Wait, wait... Compile Lower Intestine! It reflects the quality of their output, at least.
|Monpiece... of Crap!|
(image provided by Idea Factory,
which really should be ashamed
of itself for publishing this game)
The selling point of this game (if it can be called that) is that the cards can be undressed with vigorous rubbing of your Vita, boosting their abilities at a heavy cost to your self-respect. If that's all it takes to keep you entertained, then maybe, maybe, Monster Monpiece is worth the two dollars it cost in a recent flash sale. However, if you're familiar with Compile Gallbladder's previous work (including such "masterpieces" as Hyperdimension Neptunia and its endless sequels), you'll know to keep your distance. Forget the tempting price... your time is worth much more than this. F
Sick of Monster Hunter clones on handheld systems? Well tough, you're getting another one. If it's any consolation, this is a pretty good one; not quite as hopeless as Soul Sacrifice Delta and certainly more entertaining than Freedom Wars. In Toukiden, you're a feudal fighter known as a Slayer, and it's your job to protect your territory from the encroachment of bizarre Japanese monsters called the Oni.
(Image from PushSquare)
Fighting the bosses can be a lot of fun, but there are a few nagging issues. First, they take a ridiculous amount of damage, to the point where it feels like you're trying to crush a brick wall with your forehead. Second, the monsters sprout purple ghost limbs to replace the ones you've destroyed, which feels like a cop-out on the part of the developers. Sure, the Oni occasionally stumble after you've dismembered them, but being reduced to a stump isn't as much a handicap in Toukiden as you'd expect.
So the boss fights are needlessly drawn out and the action gets repetitive, but there's a lot Toukiden has in its favor. Like dazzling, console-quality graphics. A wide assortment of weapons ranging from the the usual oversized katana to a pair of metal fists that send smaller enemies flying from the impact of your blows. Plenty of items and customization options to satisfy your raging OCD. And oh yes, a furry sidekick which wisely fades into the background rather than getting all up in your face like the Felynes from Monster Hunter. Toukiden is very similar to Monster Hunter, yes, but it's nevertheless one of the best games in a shrinking pool of recent Vita releases. B+
RESIDENT EVIL REVELATIONS
Resident Evil is twenty years old at this point, and it's clear the series has matured a great deal in those two decades. Where there were once stiff polygonal characters wandering through static backgrounds, there are now stunningly realistic characters in environments with real depth and volume. Where there was awkward turn-walk-turn control, there is intuitive gameplay that lets you slip through the grasp of hungry monsters. And where there was acting and dialog that left players rolling their eyes, there are performances that build tension rather than burying it under a mountain of cheese.
|You see a lot of Jill's butt in this game.|
It's practically its own character.
(image from Nintendo 3DS ROM)
(and no, I won't give you any)
Revelations hits choppy waters from time to time... it's tough to play on a New 3DS, with the tiny ZL and ZR buttons used to aim and fire your gun, and the touchscreen makes item management (especially using grenades) a handful. However, the game's most memorable (and horrifying) moments tend to make up for its lesser qualities. Good luck trying to sleep after you've met the communications officer you were trying to rescue. B+