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Hohokum dev's latest boasts llamas that go boom

Super Exploding Zoo is a game that developer Honeyslug describes as a "arcade-y tower defense-y explode-em-up," though most players will simply know it as "that game where explosive llamas stop an alien invasion."

"That old family favorite, the Super Exploding Zoo, is under attack from evil aliens who've come to devour all the lovely, tasty animal eggs," reads the developer's brief story synopsis. Since humanity is useless in the face of alien invasion, it's up to a squad of militant animals to fight off the omelette-loving extraterrestrials. Some critters feature their own unique abilities – the crocodile can ford rivers while the meerkat can dig – but regardless of which critters you lead into combat, gameplay in Super Exploding Zoo boils down to a war of attrition against increasingly lethal waves of alien invaders. Helpfully, Honeyslug mixes things up a bit with the addition of puzzle stages and online multiplayer gameplay.

Super Exploding Zoo is slated to appear on the PlayStation 4 and Vita handheld where it will feature cross-play functionality. Honeyslug has yet to reveal a release date for either version of the game.
[Image: Honeyslug]

Final Fantasy series developers unveil Zodiac for Vita, iOS

French developer Kobojo has assembled a team of Final Fantasy series veterans for Zodiac, an upcoming multiplayer online RPG for iOS platforms and the PlayStation Vita.

Taking place in a persistent online world, Zodiac features gameplay that spans side-scrolling 2D environments interspersed with turn-based battles. The project boasts the involvement of Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 10 scenario writer Kazushige Nojima and Final Fantasy Tactics composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, among other creative talent.

Zodiac is due to launch in 2015.

[Video: Kobojo]

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Murasaki Baby review: A touch of weird

I'll say it first to get it out of the way: Murasaki Baby looks like something that spawned from the slimy, deliciously quirky mind of Tim Burton. Specifically, Murasaki Baby on the Vita looks like the gamification of Tim Burton's The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, a short book of dark children's tales told and illustrated by Burton himself.

It's important to note that this book is short, because it shares that descriptor with Murasaki Baby, and for an apparently similar reason: They're both too strange to support a longer format. From a holistic perspective, Murasaki Baby is a triumph of editing, in recognizing the limits of an absurd idea and executing it to its full potential – and no more.

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Final Fantasy Agito+ is a free Vita game for Japan

Final Fantasy Agito is coming to Vita in Japan as a free game called Final Fantasy Agito+, due out on January 15, 2015. A new trailer details the Vita game, with information translated by Final Fantasy Union. Final Fantasy Agito+ contains the content in the original mobile RPG launched in May in Japan. The new game will be available digitally for free or at retail for 3,800 yen ($35).

There's no word on a western release of Final Fantasy Agito+ or its original counterpart for iOS and Android.
[Image: Square Enix]

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Unity Pro now free for all licensed PlayStation developers

Unity Pro is now available for all licensed PlayStation developers at the low, low cost of nothing. Those that become approved developers for Sony's platforms will have access to "PlayStation ready versions" of Unity Pro, which offers developers the tools to create 2D and 3D games and applications. Unity Pro normally costs $1,500 or $75 per month, as listed on Unity's store.

Unity entered a partnership with Sony to offer optimized tools for the PlayStation platforms in March 2013. Sony has since shown greater interest in hosting the creations of independent developers, adding "fully-integrated solutions" for PS3 and Vita this past March. PlayStation Mobile developers received free access to Unity for PSM in June before Sony killed support for PSM on Android last month.
[Image: Unity]

Capcom slashes prices on PSN, from Okami to Street Fighter

Capcom fans with access to the PlayStation Network have good reason to be excited, as the publisher has unleashed a deluge of discounts on games ranging from classic 2D fighters to modern survival horror epics.

Highlights of the sale include fan-favorite PlayStation 2 crossover fighter Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 at $5 and Lost Planet 3 at $13.49. The Resident Evil games are likewise discounted, with Resident Evil 4 HD at $6.80, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition at $15 and the HD remake of Resident Evil: Revelations at a mere $13.49, among other sizable survival horror discounts. Capcom's discounts on Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max and Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen are especially tempting, as both the classic 2D fighter and the uneven but compelling third-person fantasy adventure can be purchased together for less than $10.

For full details on all of Capcom's newly-announced discounts, visit Capcom Unity. Not only are all of the discounted games listed in an easy to read format, but Capcom also links directly to the Sony Entertainment Network, saving potential customers the hassle of looking up each game individually on their Sony console of choice.
[Image: Capcom]

PSN Tuesday: Murasaki Baby, Fibbage

This week's PlayStation Store update brings a handful of games to PS4 that began life elsewhere. The future-set strategy game Anomaly 2 arrives ($14.99) after first emerging on PC and mobile platforms, alongside a "special edition" of the originally PS3/Vita exclusive rhythm game, KickBeat ($9.99). Fibbage ($6.99), a local co-op party game that first launched on Xbox One, is also now available for PlayStation platforms.

The marquee game of this week's release list is Murasaki Baby ($14.99), a Vita-only platforming title that Sony put in the spotlight during its Gamescom 2013 presentation. A Joystiq review for the game is forthcoming.

For more PlayStation Store updates, including details on a number of discounted items across all platforms, check the official PlayStation Blog.
[Image: Sony Europe]

Xbox chief: Minecraft will continue on PlayStation, mobile

When word spread last week that Microsoft was considering a purchase of Mojang and its gaming titan Minecraft, fans were concerned about the game's future. Would Minecraft become an Xbox exclusive? Would it be locked to Windows Phones going forward? In a video discussing the acquisition, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that Microsoft would continue to help develop Minecraft on all the platforms that made it a $2.5 billion brand in the first place.

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Destiny claims biggest launch ever for new IP in UK history

Destiny sold more at launch in the UK than any other new intellectual property in gaming history, following Activision's claim it shipped $500 million worldwide last week. Bungie's shooter is the second game to break the new-IP record this year, the first being Watch Dogs in May. The most successful UK launch of any game ever still belongs to Grand Theft Auto 5, but Destiny now boasts the biggest launch of 2014.

Not that any of that's surprising, frankly, and we're still waiting on hard sales figures from Activision. It's maybe more revealing to dissect Destiny's UK sales-by-platform percentages, especially since they offer a 50-50 cross-generation split between PlayStation and Xbox. While PS4 leads the way with 46 percent, Xbox One and Xbox 360 come in second and third with 36 and 14 percent respectively, and PS3 makes up the remaining 4 percent.

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Sony UK boss: Vita sales are 'robust,' banking on Minecraft

Sony has been fairly low-key on Vita recently, with little mention of the device at its Gamescom press conference this year, and just a little Vita love during its Japan & Asia conference. However, Sony hasn't forgotten Vita – its sales are "robust and consistent," Sony UK head Fergal Gara claimed in an interview with Eurogamer.

"It's trucking along," Gara said. "It's currently in year-on-year growth and enjoying a healthy year, and it's about to hit its biggest and potentially most powerful release of the year, which is Minecraft. That could be an extraordinary release for Vita."

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Jungle Rumble brings musical monkey mayhem to Vita 'very soon'

Developer Disco Pixel has announced that its rhythm-based platformer Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas is coming to Sony's Vita handheld.

In Jungle Rumble, players control a troop of monkeys that must battle an opposing simian faction for control of the local banana supply. "Using the PS Vita's touch screen to tap along to the beat of the jungle, players drum on monkeys and then drum on trees to have their simian soldiers swing through the trees," reads the developer's official gameplay description. "Drum on coconuts and then drum on enemies to throw those coconuts with rhythmic flair." Unlike most rhythm games, Jungle Rumble doesn't require that players mimic existing songs, but instead the game creates a dynamic soundtrack to match the rhythmic drum hits which control the in-game action.

Though Disco Pixel offers a solid description of the game, the developer fails to mention when Jungle Rumble might reach the Vita, beyond saying that it should arrive "very soon."
[Image: Dead Pixel]

Marvel Super Heroes star in LittleBigPlanet Vita re-release

Just over two years after the adorable burlap creatures of LittleBigPlanet first reached Sony's Vita, the charming, creative platformer is being relaunched with an extra helping of Marvel Comics cross-brand synergy.

Dubbed LittleBigPlanet PS Vita: Marvel Super Hero Edition, the new version of the handheld game features all the content included in its original release as well as a host of Marvel Comics-themed DLC. Exactly which heroes might appear is unknown, though given the long history of Marvel Comics character skins in LittleBigPlanet, it could be anyone from the ubiquitous Thor and Iron Man to more esoteric faces like Forbush Man and Squirrel Girl. In total, 18 character costumes will appear in the re-release, alongside three mini-games, "Avengers: Ultimate Escape, S.H.I.E.L.D Interceptor and Hero Rush."

According to the EU, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita: Marvel Super Hero Edition will reach European territories on November 19 at a price of €20. There's no word on a North American release just yet, but we've attempted to contact Sony and will update this piece when we hear more.
[Image: Sony]

Vita oddball Murasaki Baby on board next week

Murasaki Baby - AKA that touch-based Vita game where you guide a little girl who has her mouth on top of her head - is out on September 16 in North America and September 17 in Europe. It's priced $15 for regular users, but if you've got Plus membership you'll be able to grab it for $12 during its first week.

Murasaki Baby marks the debut of Sony Europe's self-proclaimed "avant-garde" Ovosonico studio, which was founded by former Grasshopper Manufacture director Massimo Guarini. That might explain the why of the game, but not the what: Well, in it you're guiding the head-mouth girl, a lost child called Baby, through nightmarish landscapes. While you can drag, tap and swipe to help Baby along, you're also in control of the world around her. Swipes of the rear pad, for example, can change the background to useful effect, like bringing in a wind turbine to drive lurking bats away. You can also tap on the front screen to take out dangers like, er, flying safety pins. They may not sound the deadliest of foes, but if one of them hits Baby's heart balloon then she immediately dies.

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Bloomberg: Mojang's Notch 'unlikely' to stay on after MS buyout

If Microsoft's reported attempt to buy Mojang is successful, a Bloomberg source says founder and owner Markus "Notch" Persson is "unlikely" to stay on at the Swedish studio afterwards. According to the source, which Bloomberg notes as a person "familiar with Microsoft," the two companies are finalizing details after agreeing a framework and approximate price, which The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg believe to be in excess of $2 billion. Bloomberg's insider adds Persson will remain to help during a transition period, but will probably leave the company afterwards.

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal claimed Microsoft is in talks to buy Minecraft studio Mojang, and "three people with knowledge of the talks" back that up for Bloomberg. Both Microsoft and Mojang declined to comment to Bloomberg, while a Microsoft spokesperson told Joystiq, "We don't comment on rumors or speculation." According to the reports, the deal could be finalized this week.

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Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Review: Magically malicious

A game with new ideas, even bizarre ones, can be a refreshing palate cleanser after playing so many shooters, platformers, and RPGs, and Vita exclusive Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc certainly had new ideas. Combining brain-tickling courtroom drama with finger-breaking twitch mechanics, it was an odd game whose story ultimately won out over its discordant mechanics. Its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, doesn't stray terribly far from the original, except to add more weird mechanics apparently just for the sake of being weirder. Its well-crafted story still makes it worth pursuing all the way to the end, but it tries its hardest to annoy you with aggravating game styles before you get there.

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