Before we get into the games I should explain my rather eclectic choices. The simple fact is that AAA games are no longer appearing on the Vita and next year’s schedule is packed full of indie titles, most of which are also appearing on PS4.
The only companies who are continuing to support the console are in the far east and if we had restricted ourselves to games exclusive to the console then below you would have found five games, probably with the word “soul” or “monster” in the title, all of them feature wide eyed schoolgirls with magical powers. That would be rather boring so I have bent the rules slightly for Ones To Watch: Vita so I can talk about…
Duke has has rather bad reputation on consoles thanks to the dismal Duke Nukem Forever game released by Gearbox. The Megaton Edition, which retains the quaint “3D” moniker, is a compilation of the original games and includes the Atomic Edition and three unique expansion packs.
The games may look rather basic compared to today’s titles but where Duke excelled was in the gameplay department. Well, gameplay and scantily clad ladies, but mostly gameplay. Many older gamers will relish the chance to play one of the best shooters ever created. We can also rest assured that, short of Devolver Digital uploading bull excrement to the PSN, this will be the best Duke Nukem game on PlayStation.
HtoL#NiQ, or to give the game it’s full title, Hotaru no Nikki, is one the few PS Vita exclusive titles for next year and has been created by Japanese game developer Nippon Ichi Software. You play as Mion, a young girl who awakes on December 31st, 9999, in a strange land filled with rubbish, discarded machines and the bodies of dead children. Merry Christmas everybody!
Rather than control Mion you control two fireflies, the front screen controls the ‘normal’ firefly whilst the back controls the dark and spooky shadow firefly. The dark cogs and shadow landscape is reminiscent of Limbo but the control scheme should make the game stand out, and it has had favourable reviews in Japan.
DrinkBox Studios, makers of one of the finest PS Vita games, Guacamelee!, return to the console with a gesture based combat game. Severed is the second game in our ones to watch to have a female heroine, perhaps the unnamed warrior from this game can team up with Mion and Kai from Velocity X2 and create the PS Vita version of Charlie’s Angels.
The game is an RPG-light with branching story paths, puzzles and enemies you can slice in to bits and then use as a hat. Guacamelee! was, and indeed still is, one of the best games on PS Vita so we have high hopes for Severed.
On 20th September at the Tokyo Game Show 2013, a mysterious trailer was shown with Gravity Rush’ Kat leaping around a cityscape and the words “Fall again… A new project from Team Gravity.” Later that day it was confirmed to be a new Gravity Rush game, but apart from that we know very little.
There are a few hints in the trailer, Kat has a red aura around both of her wrists which was not present in the first game and she seems to be leaping about rather than shifting Gravity, which is perhaps the sign of new powers.
The more observant of you may now be stroking imaginary beards and thinking “Hmm, I’ve heard this all before.” Well yes, you have, it’s exactly what I wrote for last year’s ones to watch on PS Vita and Gravity Rush 2 has yet to surface.
To round things off we have Koduku, a horror game set on a Japanese island full of Lovecraftian creatures inspired by Japanese folklore. Rather than shoot your way out you must stealth, cunning and a magical talisman to discover the creatures weaknesses and find a way past them. The game looks gorgeous and the team are aiming for a unique game inspired by modern art, the Siren games, Butoh dance and Japanese legends.
Developers Carnivore Games have been rather tight lipped about the game but did give an interview to PlayStation France as they are French, even though they are based in London. They explain (via the wonders of Google translate) they have tried to make “visual and rhythmic fights” and that you can “sacrifice your health to give to your lucky points of attack success, in order to increase your chances of beating monsters.”