And yet, as you do come to the end of Hyperdevotion Noire it’s difficult not to think that it’s taken a slight step ahead of the Neptunias. While there still feels as though there are a few too many characters, at least this time around they all seem to be fully fleshed out, and supporting combat mechanics mean there’s a good chance that you’ll find an excuse to actually take them into battle and use them. Noire provides a different, perhaps more traditional leading lady to the game, and helps balance some of the randomness that the other characters demonstrate. It’s a fun enough ride, and franchise fans will lap it all up, but maybe it needed to go even further to demonstrate some wider appeal.
In the end then, Daylight is neither horrifying in the good way nor in the bad way. Once you've managed to become inured to the cheap shock factor Daylight feels like nothing more than a simple tech demo for the Unreal 4 engine, and it's not even one that manages to present the engine in a good light. Conflicting mechanics, poorly managed procedural generation and the lack of any real hook for replayability mean that this is one that probably needed more time in the oven before seeing the light of day. If you get lucky with the level generation and don't abuse the mechanics then there's enough here for a playthrough with a few shocks that will only take a couple of hours - but the risk of an utterly duff experience is too high to recommend.
Many times when reviewing a visual novel it feels more like coming up with a book report than trying to objectively frame your views on why pressing buttons this time was different from pressing buttons last time. With the purer gameplay elements perhaps not providing the full quality experience their potential may have promised it's left to the writing found with the daily and deadly life sections. Thankfully the writing (and, by extension, the translation work) here is second to none, and just like a good book you'll find it difficult to put the Vita down when you have Danganronpa up and running. It's Japanese, it's crazy, it's fantastic and there's the best bear character you'll ever see in a game ever (sorry P4G Teddy!) ' just be sure to enjoy the time you spend locked into Hope's Peak. Oh, and don't do anything too drastic to get out'
Regardless of the above quibbles OlliOlli is a game that's going to live on your Vita for a long, long time. It's a great example of the kind of game that works perfectly on the move, but just couldn't be achieved on a mobile platform. It's twitch gaming of the finest quality, with the simplicity of the controls obfuscating the true depth of the combo system that overlays them. Give OlliOlli a chance and you'll be hooked, more so than with any other Vita game that's appeared for a while. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dream about hardflips and salad grinds, impossibles and laserflips down at the South Bank. Potentially while wearing a silly hat.
Say what you want about Sony, but their ability to dig through the randomness of third-party content and produce the odd anomaly is almost unrivalled. And really, 'anomaly' is a great way to describe the latest uncovering, HumaNature Studios' Doki-Doki Universe. Ambitiously releasing on PS Vita, PS3 and PS4 at the same time Doki-Doki Universe is a tale about humanity, about self-realisation, about magicing items out of a non-existent hat. It's also about flying poo, but more about that later. Hold on to your (hopefully real) hats, this is about to get crazy. Again.
How do you follow up one of the most successful debut games of all times? Well, by making a sequel of course. But what about after that? How does messing around as a co-developer on a few spin-offs strike you? Hardly taxing though, is it? Regardless at the rising sense of apprehension you may feel, sooner or later you're going to have to strike out and make something new, become innovative again, create rather than repeat. Developers Media Molecule have only just reached this final phase, having spent the last five years playing around with LittleBigPlanet iterations and derivatives. Their first steps with a new intellectual property have been brave ones, leading them onto the Vita and into the paper world of Tearaway.