How a Viking Conquest Showcases PlayStation’s Cross Play

When I played the upcoming PS3 & Vita downloadable title, When Vikings Attack, last week, I realised something about PlayStation’s Cross Play and the Wii U – that they’re actually very similar.

It’s hard to tell if Sony had this in mind all along, or if they were inspired by Nintendo’s reveal of the Wii U last year, but using a Vita to control a game on the PS3 seems awfully similar to using a GamePad to control a game on the Wii U. Remote play, however, has been there from the start – showing Sony took the initiative with connectivity years ago.

[videoyoutube]It’s not entirely as functional as the Wii U however; it isn’t implemented into every game and it doesn’t go much further than using a Vita as a controller in the multiplayer component, but it does work very well indeed. Being able to choose between looking at the Vita or the TV is great and whilst current titles – Vikings and PlayStation All-Stars – feature same-screen gameplay, it could be a brilliant alternative to split-screen in the future.


The short latency is really impressive – using a Vita to control the game is just as speedy as using a DualShock controller and perhaps even better, due to the secondary touch screen available. Being able to do all of this without cables, even available over WiFi, is a truly impressive feat. Now that they’re past the launch window of the Vita, Sony seem to be pushing the cross compatibility of their two consoles, so let’s hope they keep it coming.

Oh, and When Vikings Attack is an absolute blast, particularly on the multiplayer side of things. It’s a simple and somewhat crazy concept – you control a group of townspeople and have to fend off groups of Vikings by throwing bits of the environment at them. The Vikings will throw objects back, of course, so you’ll have to avoid them and keep your group together.

Objects can range from smaller items such as bin bags or missiles to much larger items, including vehicles, giant disco balls and various other, often hilarious, items. Picking up items is automatic, whilst hurtling them towards the enemy groups is a matter of pointing the stick in the right direction and tapping the square button.

The objective is essentially to get past the hordes of Vikings and add more people to your group along the way, all whilst avoiding losing out by being hit by an enemy projectile. Bigger groups are slower and more likely to be hit, but can pick up larger objects – it’s a very good system.

It has a lovely art style too – think Fat Princess’ cel-shaded style, without the defined outlines. It’s very quirky, colourful and suits the game perfectly – it’s hard to imagine a much better fit for the game.

[drop]Vikings, unfortunately, can get slightly repetitive, with group after group appearing and with little variation beyond some larger enemies at certain points. Whilst environments do change (one level is in a zoo, for example, with various themed animal sections) it often takes too long before you can move along to the next area. Perhaps a levelling system or a better scoring system would combat this, but such a feature is unfortunately not present.

Versus multiplayer is a different story, though – it doesn’t become repetitive for a second and having another player battling against you is a much better experience than playing against computer controlled Vikings. Many laughs and a lot of fun will be had with this essential multiplayer mode.

So, yes, it’s a great game and Cross Play is a wonderful system, not only for Vikings but for the brilliant PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, too. Let’s hope we can see even more Cross Play features in the future, bringing the system on par with Nintendo’s Wii U functionality.



  1. I like the look of this game.

  2. “Remote play, however, has been there from the start…”

    It’s still barely supported…

  3. I do like the look of this but i think i would probably tire of the gameplay mechanic easily. Cross Play is sounding pretty neat though.

  4. Game of the show/year/decade.


    • Check your email and then say that again.

  5. played this several times at EGX and really loved it, whether it was Vita or PS3 I was playing with. It’s just so simple and yet so much fun :)

    • There didn’t seem to be much to it, but what i played was strangely addictive.

      Wasn’t sure i was getting the point of it, but from the above, it seems i was! :)

      Seems to be one of those games you intend to play for 5 minutes & end up in bed at 4 in the morning.

      • … in bed at 4 in the morning thinking about how many people it would take to lift your bed and throw it at someone.

        I found myself really wishing it had started life as a football hooligan sim.

      • Haha – Is that with you in it, or are you participating in the chucking? :)

        I reckon about 5. 6 for a good heft.

  6. “I realised something about PlayStation’s Cross Play and the Wii U – that they’re actually very similar.”

    Is this not an absolutely massive “given”, as such? (meant nicely)

    Regardless… it’s lovely to see it being used so well above. This is where Nintendo will differentiate themselves. Their new console is ALL about this. Sony just saw it as an option and have done nearly bugger all with it from the very beginning. Sad but true.

    • Like motion… it being an ‘extra’ will mean limited support, whereas out the box ensures full support from everyone

  7. “It’s not entirely as functional as the Wii U however; it isn’t implemented into every game”

    Good. Nor should it be.

    I have to say that I much prefer Sony’s approach, both with this and Move. Microsoft are shoe-horning Kinect into everything, whether it really fits or not; whereas Sony’s approach with Move has been pretty much to let developers decide whether or not they want to implement it. It’ll be the same with the Wii-U controller – it’ll be used whether it benefits a game or not.

    The problem with forcing the use of ‘alternative’ control methods is that they can ultimately have a detrimental effect on games – see reviews of ‘Fable: The Journey’ for the latest example.

    • This excerpt from the wiki page said it all for me;

      “A large portion of the game takes place with the player character’s horse. Driving the horse requires “holding” the reins and guiding the horse along a path. The player must also care for their horse by petting and brushing it as well as caring for it when it gets hurt”

      Oh dear.

  8. remote play

    wii who (u)???

  9. I do hope we see more cross play usage and ideas, but Remote Play has been absolutely farcical. As with many other things Sony has failed to utilise the opportunities available to them, which is a shame as I still dream of being able to put any game into the drive of my PS3 and play it somewhere else on the Vita. I absolutely don’t understand why this hasn’t happened before but perhaps the Wii U will force them to address it.

  10. Do you know what? The whole time I was playing against Tef at EGX, when using the vita, it didn’t even particularly occur to me to look up at the PlayStation screen!

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