Vita Rooms Games Round-Up

While we covered all things Vita Rooms on Monday with an article about the event itself, there were several games there that we missed out in our initial coverage.

So, I took my time to travel back to the, now open to the public and surprisingly rather empty, Vita Rooms in order to take a closer look at some of the games you’ll be playing in the next few months. Here are some bite-sized previews of the games we felt you’d like to hear about first.

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Hustle Kings

Despite only ever playing the demo of the PS3 version of Hustle Kings, I can say that it is a very similar game on Vita: in other words, a videogame version of real-life pool with score multipliers and many other game traits. It’s hard to tell if there are new modes or tables but it looks practically identical. There’s one major difference, though, and that lies with the game’s controls.

[drop2]Harnessing the touch screen of the Vita, you’re able to fine-tune your aiming by simply dragging the cue on the screen. You’re even able to choose exactly where to place the white ball or even where the cue hits it. You’ll also drag a slider (rather than the cue itself, bizarrely) back to hit the ball. The controls work well, with help from the Vita’s fantastic screen, and even though it doesn’t compare to the real thing, it’s quite fun to play.

The graphics are top-notch and it’s a very realistic representation of a game of pool on the table but some of the background graphics off-table are low resolution with very poor textures. All in all, though, Hustle Kings should be fun if you’re a fan of pool games and want a good game to play on the go. There’s even cross platform play with PS3 which is a great feature.

Top Darts

Top Darts, much like Hustle Kings, is a game-ified version of a popular game that’s often played in pubs but also played professionally. In fact, there are a few similarities between Top Darts and Hustle Kings: it’s also a Vita version of a similar PS3 game (which I’ve personally never had a chance to play).

It’s a well-made darts game, however, utilising the touch screen to aim and then throw your dart. Although it fails to make a mark with a truly excellent control scheme: I couldn’t quite manage to throw the dart easily. The presentation is great, though, with your score appearing below the dart on the board as you hit it.

The first level I played in Top Darts – the classic game of 301 –  managed to capture the pub atmosphere with background chatter and a mouthy commentator. It’s a nice touch and, with the great looking (albeit somewhat aliased) visuals, it was a good darts experience. There’s a range of other game modes, too, including arcade challenges which change the visual style completely. One of these challenges involves hitting numbers on the board as they fall down at the side, and it certainly makes a change from the rather dull game of darts.

Top Darts isn’t going to win any awards – it’s just a darts game. The arcade challenges are fun and it’s a good representation of the game, though, however many gimmicks it may rely on. Fans of playing darts on the move should enjoy this, providing the price is right.

Super Startdust Delta

Dual sticks were always a highly requested feature for the new PlayStation handheld, even before we heard rumblings of its existence. If we ever needed a game to justify those requests, Super Stardust Delta is it. It makes wonderful use of the twin stick controls to create a great shoot-’em-up.

[videoyoutube]Whilst it’s not a direct port of PS3’s Super Stardust HD, there are many similarities. The gameplay is almost identical, as you move your ship around a planet with one stick and destroy enemies with the other. There’s the usual power-ups to get each of your two initial weapons’ power to 100% and a bomb to clear out enemies that are closing in. You’re also able to boost and collect a different power-up to get super weapons, and the Vita can be tilted to see further around the planet.

The game looks absolutely stunning, with many bright colours painting explosions across the screen. It’s hard to deny that a 3D effect would be brilliant, but the Vita’s screen makes up for this – it definitely looks better than Stardust HD. If you’re planning to get a Vita, though, this game should be on your radar; Super Stardust HD was an absolutely brilliant twin stick shooter and Delta looks to be even better.

Lumines Electronic Symphony

You’d be forgiven for thinking of Tetris before Lumines when given the phrase ‘falling blocks puzzle game’; after all, Tetris is one of the most popular puzzle games of all time and I defy anyone not to hum along to Music A the next time you hear it.

If you weren’t a Gameboy player and instead waited until the PSP for your first block falling experience, then you’ll be familiar with Lumines. If you aren’t though, then picture this: it’s similar to Tetris, but instead of making lines, you make a block of four squares (or more) of the same colour by dropping randomised blocks into the level.

There’s also a constant musical beat in the background, which integrates with the gameplay in the form of a sweeping line that removes matching blocks as it passes.

[drop]It essentially plays like Lumines always has, though it looks sublime, with the blocks taking on a more cube-like 3D form and it has brilliant presentation with different backgrounds and a great user interface. All the music sounds great, too, and whilst it was a bit 90s, the music on the level I played really fitted in with the gameplay.

If you’re a fan of music and fun puzzlers or just, you know, blocks, then this is the Vita game for you.

FIFA Football

FIFA Football is, essentially, everyone’s favourite football game shrunk down to a pocket-sized version, with some exclusive features that make use of the Vita’s new ways to play.

I’m not the biggest fan of football – it doesn’t ever seem to interest me outside of the World Cup – and I’m definitely not a FIFA player but it will definitely please those fans out there. Whilst its bigger brother will obviously be more suited to those who wish for a football experience at home, those away players will absolutely love this.

Visually, it’s grand; the character models naturally aren’t as realistic as those on the home console versions, but it’s a brilliant looking game for a handheld. Whilst the crowds do disappoint somewhat, the pitch is a stunning green and the HD graphics are very nice to look at.

The controls are very tight and responsive too – it’s exactly everything a handheld football game needs to be. It even makes use of the Vita’s touch controls for passing – which can be very gimmicky and needless – or switching players whilst defending, which is actually quite useful as you’re simply able to touch who you’d prefer to control.

The rear touch controls are even used for precise goal shooting; the back of the Vita acts as a virtual net as you tap where you want to take aim, though this can be problematic if you like to spread your hands across the back of the handheld.

FIFA then, whilst not for me, will be very exciting for fans of the series that want a console-like football experience while away from the comfort of their own home.

If you’d like to play any of these games yourself, head to Vita Rooms on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow before the end of the week. We’ll also have some full previews of other games from the event soon.

Click here to read our full review of the PS Vita, here for our thoughts on WipEout 2048, here for our review of Uncharted: Golden Abyss and here for what we think about Rayman on the machine.

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29 Comments

  1. I enjoyed Hustle Kings on ps3 so tempted with the Vita version.

  2. went up to see this during my lunch hour on Thursday and was shocked to find I was only one of 4 people in.

    As someone who has a PSP gathering dust and very little time away from the house to devote to such a machine I wasnt going to be getting a Vita until the price had dropped considerably, if at all.

    However, the Vita Room has convinced me otherwise (if I can find the money from somewhere).

    One thing I did notice was that my natural grip means that my fingers are placed on the rear touch pad at all times, as you mention above. Hopefully this wont be an issue with most games.

  3. If Top Darts is like the PS3 game, the graphics and physics of darts are spot on, better than any other. But it was let down by a lack of character, presentation and a faceless voice that kept shouting and grated quickly.

    Lumines & Super Startdust however are games I shall be buying as soon as possible. Excited.

  4. *Stardust

  5. FIFA Vita looks great, but I’m going to wait for the Euro 2012 game, as that should be out in April, looking at previous years.

  6. J’adore Lumines.

  7. Does Lumines have enough variety to justify the purchase?
    Never played it before, I don’t know if it’s worth getting.
    Never been big into the likes of Tetris.

    • Couldn’t really tell in the short time I had with it, hence why I couldn’t squeeze out a full preview :)

    • Gaah!!!
      I have it pre-ordered from Amazon, it’ll cost me about €16 when you factor in postage, is it worth that?
      (Or will the trade-in value be worth it? :P)

      • Couldn’t really say, if you like music and puzzlers then definitely.

      • It’ll appeal, if you like similar games from that genre, such as Tetris, Bejeweled… That kind of thing.

        The main variety comes in the increasing level of challenge, rather than gameplay, though there are puzzle modes and other minor divergences from the main game.

        There’s a PS3 version which might have a demo you could try?

      • Oh good, I’ll look for that demo later then. :)

  8. Hustle Kings and Top Darts are 2 of the main games in this article. The way that they are on the PS3 means they should be perfect for Vita as they have a good pick up and play nature.

    Are they digital only or will they be retail aswell.

    • Top Darts, Hustle Kings, Super Stardust Delta are Download only (even if retailers are listing them).
      And will probably retail for £10 or less jus tlike PSN versions.

      Lumines if Retail and Download and around £25-£30

      Same for Fifa Football which seems to have got no coverage at all or is it just me?

  9. Superstardust delta is the title out of those what definately interests me the most. I played the PS3 version to death and loved it.

    Hustle and Top Darts are a bit meh. Fifa like the article poster football doesn’t interst me but lumines looks interesting.

  10. Cool….

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