The Vita Launch Round-Up: Part One «

It’s actually quite remarkable how the Vita has some 20-games for its launch lineup. With limited hardware and staff, we couldn’t extensively play each and every launch title for review; for the landmark games that call for reviews, you can go ahead and read those. But for the games that we weren’t able to quite review, but have at least played enough to give quick impressions, here they are. If you notice that this list is incomplete, and already checked the reviews, then come back a bit later — as the ones you’re wondering about are likely under embargo until a bit later this week.

FIFA Soccer for Vita is a curious beast. While the box art and graphics package resemble the current FIFA on consoles, the Vita version of EA’s popular soccer brand dials the defense back to last year’s standards: a framework that tied automatic tackles to the X and Circle buttons. Oddly, the helpful trail for Goalie mode that shows where the ball is traveling is also omitted. We realize this portable version of FIFA Soccer sports stunning good-looks, but it seems like the big deal here are the touchscreen passing and rear-touch shooting features. But presently shooting is a little too sensitive — often firing an unintended shot at the slightest touch. While the ability to target the ball to any spot inside the net is admirable, it makes holding the Vita comfortably to play FIFA Soccer really hard. Our best advice would be to grip the two indentations on the back of the device firmly and hope for the best, or turn off the rear touch panel and avoid the annoyance entirely.

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
While Hot Shots Golf might not be quite as dazzling as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, it’s still one of the prettiest installments to date — doubly so since you can also walk around with it in your pocket. World Invitational adds sensible touch mechanics, such as using the touch screen to repositioning yourself while teeing, or using the rear touch to gauge the distance between your character and whatever you’re tapping. As a random option, you can use Augmented Reality to “actually look” around the course in first person. Overall, it looks like another fine entry in the series; so while it might not be a great showcase for your shiny new Vita and its crazy capabilities, it’s still a pretty good way to pass time on it.

Hustle Kings
Take the previous Hustle Kings that you can now grab off of PlayStation Network. Now add features like touch controls and asynchronous multiplayer, and you have Hustle Kings for Vita. This is pretty much a direct port of PS3 billiards simulator — so you can pretty much guess your opinion on this installment based purely on your feelings for the last one. One nice feature is how you can play against PS3 players — so if you have a regular opponent, you can now play against him/her on the go. Though, the most interesting thing about this billiards simulator is its asynchronous multiplayer; think Words with Friends, but with cue balls instead of Scrabble.

Little Deviants
Chances are if you’re getting a Vita this week, then you’re getting the First Edition Bundle that automatically includes this title. So, this writeup is somewhat moot, since you won’t really need advice on whether you should buy it or not. If you’re still in a position where this minigame collection isn’t forced onto you, then we say: It’s not needed in terms of a game, but it serves as decent demo of the Vita’s features. Everything, from rear touch pad to accelerometer to Augmented Reality to dual analog sticks gets used somewhere in these 30-some minigames. They all consistently use an aesthetic that can be described as either cute or cloying — whether you’re shooting robots via Augmented Reality or playing whack-a-deviant with both front and rear touch screens. Consider this your obligatory minigame collection that shows off your hardware in wacky ways.


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