Friday, March 30, 2012

Five PSP games you should have played, but probably didn't

Of all of these "five games you should have played, but probably didn't" posts I've written and published over the last few months (here's one about DS games and here's one about Wii games), this one is the least ... informed, for lack of a better word.

After all, although my PSP game collection has grown by leaps and bounds since Christmas (more on that in an upcoming post or two), it's still a bit meager. As such, I've yet to play a number of titles that are included on lists similar to this one--titles like Half-Minute Hero, Jeanne D'Arc and Valkyria Chronicles II.

Still, I've played--and thoroughly enjoyed--enough of the system's retail and digital releases, especially niche-y ones, that I think the list below should be helpful to those of you who, like me, are looking to bolster your game collection in the PSP's waning years.

1. Cladun/Cladun x2--I'm including both Cladun games here because I'm the kind of guy who thinks it's always best to start a series with the title that got the ball rolling, so to speak. (What a concept, right?) That said, most folks--especially those who have been visiting this blog for a while--likely have heard that the second Cladun bests its dungeon-crawling predecessor in pretty much every area and, as such, many probably will want to begin with Cladun x2. If that describes you, and if you're a roguelike novice, I say "go ahead." If you're a roguelike nut, though, and a bit more ... adventurous, I'd suggest giving the original Cladun a go first and then moving on to its follow-up if you enjoy the experience.

2. Corpse Party--I've only just started playing through this PSN-based horror adventure title, but I've already experienced enough of it to know it was well worth the $19.99 I spent on it. Of course, I'm both a horror buff and an aficionado of pixel-based graphics that look like they were pulled from an unreleased SNES or Super Famicom game (always a good thing in my book). If you're not exactly a fan of either of those things you may not like Corpse Party as much as I (and others) have, but I have a feeling some of you still may enjoy it quite a bit anyway.

3. Everybody's Stress Buster--Does the name of this game not ring a bell? That may be because that title only appears on the Asian and European versions of this mini-game-filled release. (The Japanese iteration is called Minna no Sukkiri, or Everybody's Refreshment.) When it was brought to North America, though, it was renamed Hot Shots Shorties (after being divided into four different "game packs" and plopped onto PSN). Anyway, why should you buy and try this title, whatever it's called? Well, it features 12 mini-games, for starters. Also, a number of them are really fun. My favorites: The Dynasty Warriors-esque "Counter Crusader" and the Katamari Damacy-ish (kinda sorta) "Vacuum Dash."

4. Mighty Flip Champs DX--If you like portable puzzlers that bring something new to the table, WayForward Technologies' Mighty Flip Champs DX is the title for you. I have to admit that this one--and its stage-flipping gameplay--has proven to be a little too taxing for my poor ol' brain, but I've still enjoyed it quite a bit, thanks in large part to its adorably crafted graphics. (I'm especially fond of the in-game versions of the main character and her fishy friend.) Its music is nice enough, too, but both aspects (graphics and music) pale in comparison to the aforementioned gameplay, which tasks players with traversing from one side of a stage to the other by literally flipping said stage back and forth in order to access previously unaccessible areas.

5. Patchwork Heroes--Of all of the games included in this post, this is by far my favorite. In fact, I like it so much that I'm on the brink of spending a lot more than I should on a complete-in-box copy of the Japanese version (called Hyakumanton no Bara Bara). Why am I so enthusiastic about this particular title? It uses a great, colorful art style that brings to mind paper or fabric cutouts, for starters. Also, it features an appealingly jaunty soundtrack that fits the game's frantic, fast-paced action like a glove. Finally, its gameplay recalls that Taito arcade classic of my childhood, Qix. (For more about that last point, check out this recent-ish post.)

Honorable mentions: Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom and Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip


Viewtiful_Justin said...

I want to play Cladun and Patchwork Heroes SO BAD! I wish they'd just release PSP games on the PS3 for could totally run them.

Bryan Ochalla said...

I'll bet you'd love both of them, Justin -- Patchwork Heroes especially. Also, playing Patchwork Heroes with a real controller's analog stick would be *great*. Using the PSP's analog nub is one of the most annoying experiences I've come across as a gamer :\

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Really? That's disappointing. I didn't realize the nub was hard to use.

Bryan Ochalla said...

The nub itself is easy enough to use, Justin. Its placement is what makes things difficult. Making things worse is that the PSP's d-pad is really stiff and not that comfortable to use either. Granted, I have a PSP-1000, so maybe Sony improved things in later system revisions, but as it stands my PSP can be pretty annoying to use. Still, I keep going back to it because I quite like the games I've bought for it so far :|

RetroKingSimon said...

You're right, I haven't played any of these! :) I haven't used my PSP for a while now, actually...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Well, then, Simon, turn that sucker on and download a few of these games -- especially Patchwork Heroes, if its description at all interests you.

Sir Gaulian said...

Great list. I've ordered Corpse Party from elsewhere (Australia is great in so many ways, access to games like that is not one of them) and am looking forward to playing it.

If I may suggest a few - Class of Heroes (which may have renewed interest given talk of a sequel), Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble is way too cool to ignore, and Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner (come for the art, stay for the compulsive monster-demon collecting!)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Sir Gaulian! Nice seeing you around here again. (Or, at least I think you've been here before. Sorry if I'm mistaken!)

Thanks for the suggestions, BTW. I have to admit I'm very much on the fence about Class of Heroes. Everything I've read about it suggests it's not a very good game. Obviously you think otherwise? If so, why is that?

I am interested in another dungeon-crawler, though -- that being Unchained Blades. Can't wait for that one to come out!

I've heard of Kenka Bancho -- and heard that it's great -- but I'm not entirely sure it's for me, as I'm not the biggest fan of beat 'em ups. It is a beat 'em up, right?

I've never heard of Jewel Summoner, so I'll have to give that one a look, no question.

Thanks again for the suggestions!

Sir Gaulian said...

Love the site, so I've been around before!

Class of Heroes is unashamedly old school in the same way the Dark Spire was on the DS. Although Class of Heroes has a whole lot more in the way of customisation. I think it was quite popular in Japan, so I think it'd be right up your alley.

Which reminds me, try ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman. A great modern rogue-like and probably the last great game for the system.

As for beat 'em ups, it's a different strokes different folks type of thing. So perhaps if you have no inclination toward the genre, stay away from Kenka Bancho.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hmmm, well, maybe I'll have to re-think Class of Heroes. Not right now, mind you, but in the future. (I've got my eye on far too many other games right now to switch course and go for something else.)

I definitely reading about and being interested in -- or at least curious about - ZHP around the time it was released here. Not sure why I didn't pick it up, as I loved a good roguelike, especially.

As for Kenka Bancho: I wouldn't say I have NO inclination toward the beat 'em up genre, but it is nearly at the bottom of my "genres I'm interested in" list (above sports games that aren't tennis and FPSes). So, we'll see. I'll keep a mental note of it, at the very least.

Thanks again for the comment and the suggestions. I appreciate both!