Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sony celebrates PS Vita's 3rd birthday with massive sale and freebies

My, how time flies! If the Official PlayStation Blog hadn't mentioned it, I would never have realized that the PS Vita is now three years old. I bought mine on launch day and haven't been shy about sharing my love for the somewhat neglected handheld, and while Sony hasn't been extremely supportive of the system in recent months, it's great to see them celebrating the occasion with a big digital sale!

In addition to the large list of titles on sale from this week's PSN update until March 2nd, PS Vita owners will also be able to download the adorable Toro and Friends theme (normally $1.99) from February 26th until the end of the sale. There are also a couple of free items for Destiny of Spirits and Fat Princess – head over to the official post to get all the details.

While you can read the full list of games that are part of the sale over on the Official PlayStation Blog, I thought I'd take the opportunity to recommend a few of my personal picks from the list:

Atelier Rorona Plus, Atelier Totori Plus, Atelier Meruru Plus ($15.99 each with PS+) – If you haven't had a chance to play any of the games in the Arland Trilogy of Atelier titles, I highly recommend picking at least one of the updated PS Vita versions up. While everyone has their own favorite, Atelier Totori and Atelier Meruru are generally much more polished than the first game in the trilogy, Rorona, and the stories aren't connected in a significant way that requires each title to be completed before moving on to the next. These RPG's are prefect for portable play, and if you're looking for something that is a little more relaxing than a regular JRPG, all three are great options.

Deception IV: Blood Ties ($15.99 with PS+) – I normally wouldn't recommend a game I haven't played, but I recently purchased a physical copy of Deception IV: Blood Ties solely based on my Nichiest Podcast Ever co-host shidoshi's glowing recommendation. But let's face it, how many games  that came out in 2014 are based entirely around executing elaborate plans to murder people? That doesn't sound creepy at all, right? Wait, where are you going?!

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd ($19.99 with PS+) – The Project Diva games are by far my favorite rhythm games on the PS Vita (not that there's that much competition), and while they're also available on the PlayStation 3, I highly suggest getting the handheld versions if at all possible. While 2nd is the only Project Diva game in the birthday sale, it's definitely the better of the two, so I'd say it's a great place to start. Even if you're not sure you enjoy Vocaloid music, I can guarantee you'll find at least a couple tracks to get your toes tapping! If I still haven't sold you, check out my full review.

Monster Monpiece ($11.99 with PS+) – Okay, I know what you're thinking. Yes, this is the controversial game where you literally rub your PS Vita suggestively to level up your female monster cards. Funnily enough, the game is actually quite fun outside of the blatant fan service, which I could quite honestly do without. For only $12, though, I'd still recommend it as one of the only card battling games to ever come out in English! You just might not want to whip it out in public...

Unfortunately, my favorite games of 2014, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair aren't part of the PS Vita's 3rd birthday sale, but as you can see, there are still quite a few great titles that made the cut! I actually own nearly everything I'd want on the list, but I am eyeing Tales of Hearts R... If anyone's played it, let me know if it's worth picking up in the comments!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Swooning Over: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls Japanese Version

Considering Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair were far and away my favorite games released in 2014, it should come as no surprise that I am extremely excited to hear that NIS America has announced plans to bring over the third game in the series, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls later this year. 

Unlike the first two games in the series, however, this is one that I couldn't wait for a localization to purchase, so I went ahead and preordered a copy of the Japanese version after having my mind blown by Danganronpa 2 back in September. Of course, like many Japanese game releases, Danganronpa Another Episode came with some extras, so what better occasion to show them off than the game's English localization announcement?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pokémon Café at Shibuya Parco 2015 [Guest Post]

Waiting in line at the Pokémon Café
Greetings, Chic Pixel readers! This is Sarah (@everydayfoxlife), one of Anne’s newest correspondents in Japan. Recently Roy (@kotowari) and I had the opportunity to visit the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Café Anne wrote about recently in our neighboring city of Shibuya. Was it worth the 7 hour wait? Let's see...

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Newest Humble Weekly Bundle Includes... A Hatoful Boyfriend Body Pillow?

In what might very well be the best Humble Weekly Bundle ever to exist, the charity game bundle is offering not only a plethora of quality games at a pay-what-you-want price, but a Hatoful Boyfriend body pillow, as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Giveaway from Chic Pixel!

Regardless of what you think about Valentine's Day, any holiday is a great chance to show my appreciation to all the readers of Chic Pixel! So, whether or not you plan on spending the day celebrating with a special someone, here are Chic Pixel I'd like to celebrate all of you with a little giveaway!

Prize pack includes: Macross figure, One Piece toy, Evangelion figure,
Fairy Tail gatchapon, Dragon Ball GT gatchapon, Hatsune Miku gatchapon,
pineapple ramune candy, three otona no amasa matcha Kit Kats, and more!
One winner will receive everything pictured above, plus a few extra Japanese snacks I found lying around. [Update] I'm also going to throw in one Steam code for Long Live the Queen, a super awesome simulation game! Giveaway is open worldwide and ends February 15th, 9 pm EST. Just follow the instructions in the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Many of the items I'm giving away come from the Betoyo Bento Japanese collectable subscription box, so if you like the idea of getting cute Japanese trinkets in the mail, do check them out! And thanks for your continued support of Chic Pixel!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Boys Over Flowers Season 2 Manga to Launch on Valentine's Day

In a surprise announcement from Viz Media, acclaimed manga artist Yoko Kamio is returning to her seminal Boys Over Flowers manga with a sequel titled Boys Over Flowers Season 2 that will debut in North America this Valentine's Day! 

The original Boys Over Flowers, or Hana Yori Dango, was published over 10 years and finished with a whopping 37 volumes, making this sequel announcement even more of a shocker. Twelve years after the final volume was published, the series is back with a new set of faces at Eitoku Academy, two years after the F4 have graduated.

What's particularly exciting about this announcement is the fact that the series will be released bi-weekly simultaneously in Japan and North America, and on top of that, Viz Media is offering current chapters for free on VIZManga and the Viz iOS and Android apps. The first three chapters will also be featured in Weekly Shonen Jump as part of the Jump Start Initiative, so if you're already subscribed, you'll be able to read them on February 16th (or you can subscribe online for only $19.99 for 12 months!). 

I'm one of the many who is more familiar with the Boys Over Flowers drama than the actual manga, but since Boys Over Flowers Season 2 debuts with a whole new cast, I don't believe you need to have much knowledge of the original series to enjoy it. I know I'm excited to see how Yoko Kamio will update the 90's classic for a modern audience! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Otome Game Spirit Parade Preorders Open, 2 Additional Routes Added

There is certainly no shortage of small, independent English otome games and smartphone dating sims for those of us who like to romance handsome anime men, but it's great to see more otome-style titles coming out from western developers. Spirit Parade is one such game, and it is now available to preorder for only $10

I've had my eye on this one for a while, but after trying the recently-released demo, I'm looking forward to its release later this spring even more. The main protagonist Nara (can be renamed by the player) is spunky and self-confident, and when she finds herself in the spirit world (an amalgamation of Asian mythology, drawing from Japanese, Chinese, and Korean folklore) she's determined to find out how she got there. There are a number of different endings to the relatively beefy demo, which introduces the two main male suitors and an eccentric cast of supporting characters.

The fun, engaging writing is perfectly complimented by the game's gorgeous visuals and setting, which, admittedly, is often what turns me off about many western otome games. I love that clearly a lot of time has been put into the backgrounds as well as the characters themselves, and I can't wait to see the other locations that will make it into the final game!

When developers Lettuce Waltz teased further announcements related to the game, I decided to hold off posting about the demo so that I could include any additional news, and I'm so glad I did! While I figured the two suitors in the demo weren't going to be the only romance options in the full game, they clarified that Shuye's partner Haiyue will be available once Shuye's route is cleared. In addition, due to fan demand, they'll be adding Mikio and Diaochan routes, bringing the total number of romance options to five. This is not only exciting due to the increased options for players, but the fact that including Diaochan means there will now be a female character to date!

If Spirit Parade seems up your alley, be sure to try out the demo for PC/Mac/Linux and preorder now to get the game for the reduced price of $10 when it releases before summer hits in North America!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chic Pixel Plus Episode 23 – The Monster (Hunter) Mash

In honor of the impending English release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the 3DS, the first episode of Chic Pixel Plus of 2015 is dedicated to all things MH4U! I'm joined by my Team Derp hunting buddies Elliot "can't get enough of this podcast" Gay and "if it's not good, sell it in two days" Hasemo to discuss the ins and outs of our collective first serious Monster Hunter game.

But first, we touch on a few news items, including some recent Kickstarters of interest, as well as what else we've been playing/watching (Tales of Zestiria, Kuroko no Basuke, and more). Then, we delve into our histories with the Monster Hunter franchise, what weapons we use and why, favorite/not so favorite monsters, and answer some listener questions. If you're on the edge of your seat waiting to play MH4U, this is the podcast for you!

*Be warned that there is some discussion of a new G rank monster (other new monsters are discussed, but nearly all have already been revealed in promotional materials), so if you don't want to be spoiled in any way, skip over the portion where we start talking about some meanie called "Gogu."

Opening ♫ - Wind of Departure (Professor Sakamoto Super 8bit Remix) – Monster Hunter Compilation Re:Mix Chiptune
Closing ♫ - BBQ Spit "Jyouzu ni yakemashita!" – Monster Hunter 4G