Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd (PS3/Vita)
Although Sega just got around to finally releasing the first Project DIVA F game as a downloadable title on the PSN in the States, here in Japan Hatsune Miku games have been going strong for a while, and next year will bring us a new one. The sequel to the first Project DIVA F game is slated to release Spring 2014 for the PS3 and Vita, and will feature new songs and character modules in addition to some classics. As far as gameplay mechanics go, it plays the same as the first DIVA F game, with the addition of sliding touchscreen notes and double scratch notes, which require dragging both your thumbs along the Vita’s touchscreen simultaneously (or flicking both thumbsticks at once for the PS3 version). The demo I played was on the Vita, and featured three new songs which I admit I’ve already forgotten the names of. Still, the cinemas were pretty (if a bit distracting) and the gameplay was incredibly responsive and challenging. I recently got into the first Project DIVA F game, and I have to say I’m sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner. I’m definitely looking forward to its sequel. For fans of music/rhythm games looking for a challenge, you could definitely do worse than Hatsune Miku games
Sonic: Lost World (WiiU/3DS)
Based off the demo I played at TGS, Lost World seems to be a return to form for Sonic. It’s got all the fast-paced jumping and spinning action you expect from a Sonic game, and boy do I mean fast; I actually cleared the demo in a little under 2 minutes by just running at full throttle through the stage, much to the shock of the booth attendants. It felt very much like those classic Green Zone stages from the original Sonic, since you could just zip through them if you wanted. The way it played seemed like a combination of the classic and “Adventure” series of games. Lost World has the potential to be a good Sonic game, but I will reserve judgment until I have had a chance to play more than one stage.
Puyo Puyo Tetris (3DS/PS3/Vita/WiiU)
In the States, I believe Tetris has always been the most beloved puzzle game, but in Japan I’m pretty sure that title goes to Puyo Puyo (although Tetris is very popular here too). While I don’t feel the need to explain Tetris, Puyo Puyo is a puzzle game that has you arranging falling couples of drops into groups of four of the same color. The more you clear out at once, the more garbage blocks get dropped into your opponent’s screen, which encourages you to build elaborate piling combos. These two giants of puzzle gaming are finally being brought together in Puyo Puyo Tetris. It’s a versus game where you can choose to either play on a Tetris board or a Puyo Puyo board against your opponent. The demo I played was on the 3DS, although the game is slated to come out for the PS3, Wii U and Vita as well. I was allowed to choose either Tetris or Puyo Puyo to battle with against an AI opponent, who automatically chooses the opposite, and as I am absolutely terrible at Puyo Puyo I decided to go with Tetris. Everytime I cleared a line in Tetris, the AI opponent would have garbage blocks dumped on its Puyo Puyo board, but everytime the AI cleared some drops I would get a whole garbage line on my Tetris board. While the Tetris player can choose to save blocks for later use, and it looked like the Puyo Puyo board had less room to maneuver in, I still felt like it was unbalanced. I’ve met some incredibly talented Puyo Puyo players in my time over here, and I felt like they could have made some monster combo that would have landed multiple garbage lines on my board at once, whereas with Tetris you don’t have the ability to stack and combo as easily. Still, I’m sure fans of both games will enjoy Puyo Puyo Tetris; I’m just not skilled enough to be one of them. Puyo Puyo Tetris is releasing in Japan next year, with no currently announced plans of bringing it to the States or Europe.