Sometimes I like to sit back and imagine an alternate reality version of myself who is much happier, and living in a world where Sony supported the Vita. (I think we all feel that way. On both counts – Ed.)
This won’t be the first nor the last time you’ve heard someone complain and cry about the lack of care and attention the Vita received. But thankfully the handheld has a passionate fanbase who keeps its legacy alive and thriving to this day; fellow Vita lovers have been recommending plenty of obscure import games to fill up the our physical Vita collections. And you know how much we love collecting around here!
Here I hope to spread the word on four video games for the Vita that can be imported and played either in English — or with no knowledge of reading Japanese required to enjoy them.
Airship Q is often compared to Minecraft or Terraria — mostly because its gameplay centres around building tools and weapons by forging items and resources from the many blocks that make up the game world.
While it is a sandbox adventure game in some respects, it also has linear aspects, featuring a plot that initially starts out as a rescue mission to retrieve your brother from a witch. Said witch has turned you both into cat hybrids, and so to regain your human form, you’ll need to seek improvements for your weaponry, building equipment, and ship enhancements as you explore the world and discover the many secrets laying dormant on other islands.
Dungeons require a lot of digging and ladder building to traverse, and exploring outside affords you the fun sights of floating, intertwined islands. You will bump into enemies attempting to collapse your ship, secret areas where you’ll need to build specific buildings to keep the structure stable and traverse, and obtain loot from downed enemies.
Airship Q is a very fun, little platformer and building video game. The import version is playable in English once you download an update for the Vita version, or you can play it without obtaining the physical copy through Steam.
IA/VT Colorful may not provide any English patch of any kind, but it is an easy import recommendation because a patch is not required to enjoy the title. As a rhythm game in a similar vein to the Project Diva series, there’s no story mode, nor are there many options necessary to read or tamper with.
IA/VT Colorful stars the Vocaloid IA, whose voice sample comes from the famous vocalist Lia and is the only IA game to have ever been released as of now — unless you count Experience’s dungeon crawlers in the Demon Gaze series, which feature her distinctive vocals.
An appealing aspect of IA/VT Colorful is how welcoming it is to those who are new to rhythm games, which we all know can get pretty tough or alarming to try and pick up initially. With the game’s chain mechanic, scoring in IA/VT Colorful is a lot more lenient compared to similar games.
It also really delivers on the attractive and eye-catching visuals to, making the “colorful” part of its title very appropriate through both its dynamic interface and gameplay. With many different modes to sink many hours into and a strong track list with varying musical and graphical styles and genres, if you happen to be partial to rhythm games then you can’t go wrong with an import of IA/VT Colorful.
Bakumatsu Rock Ultra Soul
I’ve been trying to mention Bakumatsu Rock somehow and somewhere on Rice Digital for a long time now. (Happy to oblige – Ed.)
The game features a bizarre concept where the Shinsengumi are singers instead of warriors during the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule, and the reality of the situation does not make it any easier to get your head round it. Set in the 19th century, the game features modern instruments while the government controls its people through the power of Ieyasu Tokugawa’s Heaven Song; meanwhile, it’s our job to collect Peace Souls through the campaign, increasing our musical talents and tearing off our clothes in the process to make our way to fame and notoriety. Senran Kagura sounds normal all of a sudden.
As a hybrid of visual novel and rhythm game, to completely understand the story you’ll need to have a firm grasp of written Japanese, but it’s not at all essential for the rhythm sections which are highly enjoyable all on their own.
We can thankfully see a lot of the humour and character dynamics from the game’s story by watching the anime adaptation from 2014 as a substitute for the visual novel sequences. And with some absolute gems among the game’s original music tracks, well known and beloved seiyuus playing the various characters, wonderful art and character designs, and rhythm game sections that appeal to both newcomers and veterans, Bakumatsu Rock is a guilty pleasure plenty of us will enjoy — and not just for the eye candy. But I appreciate having it physically for that reason alone.
Dokuro is a gothic, yet cute platformer. The simple art design is similar to the fairy tale, storybook look of The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince, and this art direction is reinforced by its very own director, Noriaki Kazama. He previously worked on the hyper-violent Ninja Gaiden series, and attributed the shift in style for Dokuro to his experience of having a baby. It was a very worthwhile endeavour, as Dokuro proves to be a lengthy adventure filled with challenging puzzles and platforming to advance through as you escort the Princess out of the castle.
It’s an underdog story as we prove to the Princess and her kingdom how strong and capable this walking skeleton really is. While the game is primarily an escort mission, Dokuro changes things up enough to make it unique. Drinking a potion will change Dokuro into a prince whereby you can defeat enemies with more ease, or carry the Princess to safety if she’s in grave danger.
If you found this of any help, be sure to check out my recommendations for PS4 imports and Switch imports as further reading. And if you have any other imports worth mentioning, let us know in the comments and on our usual social accounts!
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