The games of February 2012

Vita launch and other big names means a short month of madness

Army Corps of Hell

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

It's hard to believe on the surface that something titled Army Corps of Hell could bear any resemblance to the colorful, Shigeru Miyamoto-spawned Pikmin series. But after playing Square Enix's original Vita launch title at the Tokyo Game Show last fall, we couldn't shake off the comparison. Army Corps of Hell puts you in charge of a skeletal lord of demons that controls a mess of minions – a total of 99 in the demo we tried – and the lightweight real-time strategy approach and squad command just feels like a modern-day homage to Nintendo's GameCube classic. Granted, it's one with intense violence and extreme heavy metal music, but we'll take it.

Super Stardust Delta

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

Super Stardust Delta doesn't look like a significant shift away from Super Stardust HD on PlayStation 3 (or Super Stardust Portable on PSP) – but it does look seriously dazzling on the crisp, large Vita screen. When we previewed the arcade-style shooter just a few weeks back, we described the PlayStation Network download as "visual stimulation to the max," making it a pretty good (and assuredly affordable) launch showcase option. But it also makes solid use of the Vita's control options, with power-ups that let you drop bombs by lightly shaking the system, or place black holes by tapping the back touch panel. At its core, though, it's tried-and-true Super Stardust. And that's plenty fine with us.

Hustle Kings

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

Hustle Kings looks much the same as it did on PlayStation 3, offering a slick, straight-up take on billiards in a downloadable, online-playable game. The Vita version allows for cross-platform online play with the PS3 release, as well as online play over 3G, plus asynchronous turn-based play for when you can't play a full match at once. Beyond that, the game also includes touch screen controls for more precise aiming, as well as the ability to create your own table baize designs. Assuming the price is right, this should be a pretty stellar option for pool fiends.

Dynasty Warriors Next

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

Along with Ridge Racer, most system launches nowadays feature some sort of Warriors series release, and… well, to absolutely nobody's surprise, Vita owners will have the option of picking up Dynasty Warriors Next later this month. Based on our hands-on time with the full Japanese game, surprises are few and far between in the latest entry of the sprawling, predictable hack-and-slash action series. While it's a lengthy, robust option that can surely keep players busy for dozens of hours, the charm wore out for us within 30 minutes with the import version. We won't dare you to stick it out longer.

Tales from Space: Monster Blobs Attack

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

Tales from Space: Monster Blobs Attack is the Vita-exclusive sequel to last year's well-liked PS3 download, Tales from Space: About a Blob, and many liken the franchise experience to that of a side-scrolling Katamari Damacy. Across more than two-dozen stages, you'll roll around as a mutant blob, absorbing everything in sight in the hopes of growing large enough to continue on. Expectedly, the downloadable Vita sequel adds various control options, including touch screen and back touch panel interactions, as well as "Tilt-a-Blob" bonus stages that let you move the system to command the titular ball of goo.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

Nothing quite like an enhanced port of a 2004 original Xbox game to ring in your brand-new piece of hardware! Actually, we quite liked Ninja Gaiden Sigma when the upgraded PlayStation 3 version shipped in 2007, so this PlayStation Vita port should offer a good opportunity for folks who slept on it for years to finally catch up. Along with an intense challenge and loads of enemies to slice and dice, this Vita version adds some unique control options, like moving the hardware around to aim arrows, or tapping the back panel to strengthen your Ninpo. Plus, the game includes a much easier Hero mode for those who don't want to be consistently annihilated.

Plants vs. Zombies

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: February 22

Above: Admittedly this is for the PSN version, but we're betting the Vita one will be pretty similar

New platform, new Plants vs. Zombies, it seems. The PlayStation Vita downloadable port of PopCap's deceptively cute and much-loved game delivers the same casual strategy experience seen on other platforms, albeit optimized for the Vita's various control options. As on iPhone and iPad, you can tap cards to choose undead-attacking plants and place them anywhere on the grid with another tap, plus the Vita release lets you tilt the system to collect precious sun icons that fall onto the screen. Otherwise, it looks to be the same tower defense-style game we've dug on other systems, but newcomers should certainly give it a look.

February 27

PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond

Platform: Nintendo Wii
EU: March 23

When PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure launched in late 2010, we said it was "easily the prettiest Pokémon game to date" while also slagging on its repetitive skill games and bland theme-park attractions. Essentially a colorful diversion for series die-hards, PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond looks much the same as its predecessor, letting you explore a location packed with Pokémon and simple activities. The sequel adds three additional playable Pokémon – Oshawott, Snivy, and Tepig – and four-player minigames, but otherwise looks like more of the same.

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