Apprentice Cashier

Crazy Market • PlayStation Vita

Other than the monthly free games you get with PlayStation Plus, I was a bit surprised to find this little arcade romp in the PlayStation Store for the princely sun of $0.

The idea? Take an item from the conveyer belt, scan it, place it back on the conveyer belt. It’s a fairly simple little game, and the first few levels are easy enough to obtain the ‘Perfect’ score.

If you paid more than a dollar for this game on your smart phone, you’d probably be OK with it, but to charge for this on something as powerful as the Vita would be offensive. Well done to Sony for pitching this at the right level, sucking it up, and giving us all a little something for nothing.

I Smell A Rat

Jak 3 • PlayStation Vita

I finished Rayman Origins this morning and endured a lengthy credits session in the hope that I would get a ‘Game Complete’ trophy, but nothing popped up and I was left a little unsatisfied. I think achievements and trophies should have a nice mix of easy, average and hard, but, most certainly, you should get something for knocking a game on the head. I understand there is a trophy for battling some final boss that pops up once you get all the skeleton teeth, but the game was dragging on a bit and my enthusiasm was wearing thin.

So, with Rayman over, I was a bit stumped with what to play. I didn’t really have anything new downloaded onto the Vita, and that New Little Kings story just makes me want to punch myself in the face, so I launched the third of the Jak and Daxter series to see if Naughty Dog could entertain me.

While I moderately enjoyed the first Jak game (‘The Precursor Legacy’) the second game left me pretty frustrated wandering around town, so I was fairly annoyed to see the same environment – albeit in the desert – at the start of this game. The open-ended gameplay doesn’t really work in this series, and I quickly get lost, frustrated and bored trying to navigate my way around the map.

I figured that this is the first trophy for the game, running around on the back of a llama-type creature and collecting seven rats around the desert town. It wasn’t fun, and I struggled to get to the end of the challenge, but I did it because I had nothing else lined up on my trophy to-do list. Jak 3 isn’t great, but I may pursue it a little longer, hoping that there is some redeeming qualities about the game further down the track.

Escape King

New Little King’s Story • PlayStation Vita

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Well, I was wrong about Rayman – it looks like you pretty much have to do the same number of levels again just to save another series of NPCs, but in all honesty, I’m probably going to do just that later today.

I also had hoped to finish attacking the FIB building in Grand Theft Auto V today (with a subsequent trophy), but Rockstar have done a pretty good job of distracting me with fun things to do in Los Santos.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d expand my gaming repertoire today with a title called New Little King’s Story. I am confused to whether this is a western game making fun of JRPGs (doubtful as this is a Konami title), or if it’s just a shit JRPG (supported by the fact that PSN has the trophy in Japanese!). I managed to hang in there for the tutorial, but I am doubtful that this title will hold any lasting appeal for me. I’ve grown out of reading and clicking through dialogue since gaming advanced beyond Police Quest (undoubtedly the best Sierra title ever), so why on earth there is a niche market for this genre I’ll never know.

Crusher!

Rayman Origins • PlayStation Vita

Another Rayman Origins trophy this morning, and a testament to how much gaming I would miss out on if I didn’t have a Vita!

This one was for crushing 50 enemies, which – depending on your play style – is actually fairly easy in Rayman, particularly in the later levels. I think I’m on the home straight with the ‘core’ Rayman story, as the level select screen has pretty much filled up, and I’m about to start the ‘Cloud’ levels up in the sky. It looks like there are a few quick-and-easy trophies to score once the game is finished (such as replaying a level, or playing a level with a different character), so I’ll try and polish off a few of these before I put Rayman down for good.

Betilla’s Back!

Rayman Origins • PlayStation Vita

This one was an early morning trophy as I worked on Rayman Origins in the wee hours of the morning. I had never really had a go at the Rayman series, but I saw some demos of the new Rayman on the Wii U at PAX Australia, and figured that I better fill that long-voided title from my gaming repertoire. Shame, Ben. Shame.

This is an early achievement, which is awarded after the first basic level. I’m still not entirely sure what the story to Rayman Origins is, but it seems like the idea is to rescue these non-descript purple dots from witches and general nasties from a forest.

It’s a good little title, but I’m getting nowhere near the number of little yellow firefly-esque things which convert into purple dots at the end of a level. This might require a re-play, which is probably quite easy on a commute, but we’ll wait and see how Rayman stacks up against the flurry of new titles coming to your local gaming concern.

Welcome to Flying Hamster!

Flying Hamster HD PlayStation Vita

Flying Hamster HD costs about $2, and is worth every cent of it … and not much more.

This trophy kicked in at the end of the first or second stage, and is pretty much a reward for turning the game on. You fly around the screen and spit at things, mixing it up occasionally with cherries, eggs, and beer. There are a few big bosses, and some loose story behind the whole exercise which seems to involve a female love interest being repeatedly kid(hamster?)napped. After entertaining this charade for 15 minutes, I had used up all my ‘continue’ tokens and got a fat red ‘Game Over’ on-screen. I managed to score myself a trophy for a local high score, which didn’t seem particularly onerous to beat, but it added to my ‘haul’ for this title. To be honest, it’s likely to be the only two trophies I’ll ever earn for Flying Hamster … and I’m OK with that.

Combo

Doodle God • PlayStation Vita

I started playing Doodle God this morning because my free PlayStation Plus download of Street Fighter hadn’t quite downloaded. This is an obvious smartphone port and a fairly simple trial-and-error game of matching different elements to create new elements, and so on and so forth.

This little trophy dinged early in the game, as it gives you a fairly good indication of what basic elements you need to combine at the start. It got increasingly more difficult as the game went on, but for under $3, this is a game that you play for a quick fix, and not the experience of a journey.

Charted! – Hard

Uncharted: Golden Abyss • PlayStation Vita

Today I completed the Uncharted franchise’s PlayStation Vita effort: Uncharted: Golden Abyss. It’s a fun little romp through Naughty Dog’s imagining of heritage-rich South America, and it maintains the same look, feel and gameplay that has made the series a favourite for PS3 owners.

Golden Abyss is a standout title for the Vita. In the few games that I’ve played on Sony’s handheld, I’ve been somewhat perplexed by the volume of second-rate PC indie game ports, versus dedicated development such as this. The latest addition to the Vita catalogue, Killzone: Mercenary, shows the level of ingenuity and quality that can be milked from Sony’s handheld masterpiece.

The Hard completion of Golden Abyss was a walk-in-the-park compared to the same difficulties on the PS3. Navigating tricky ledges is made idiot-proof thanks to the touchpad, with even the most complicated gun battles taking, at best, only 4-5 attempts. A few glitches, particularly when scrambling up and down rock faces required the occasional ‘Restart from Checkpoint’ solution, but the frequent auto-save limited the inconvenience.

This was a good game. I’ve started another dabble in a few select chapters on Very Easy to try and collect some missed secrets, photos and charcoal rubbings, but I have had some difficulty solving these puzzles and, while this is a solid gaming package, I will probably get sick of the game before I complete them. No matter how much I love adventuring with Nathan Drake, there’s only so many times you can push through a story only to have a cutscene close off an area behind you that may have had that treasure …