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Sumioni: Demon Arts for PS Vita: Classic Japanese Art, Modern Platforming Action

Tom Lipschultz's Avatar + Posted by Tom Lipschultz on Jan 12, 2012 // Localization Specialist, XSEED

Before you stands a tower, and upon that tower stands an angry bowman, shooting wave upon wave of arrows in your direction. He’s far out of reach, and the tower completely blocks your path, so you’re forced to deal with this situation in order to proceed – but how do you go about it?

You could always hack at the tower’s support structure with your sword, wearing it away bit by bit until the whole thing comes tumbling to the ground…but that might take a while, and the bowman would be shooting you in the head repeatedly the whole time. Maybe you’d be better off taking out your paintbrush and drawing a sloped platform up, over and around the tower, creating a bridge to guide you past it safely. Or perhaps you could set the tower (and its occupant) ablaze, or spawn a lightning-spewing thundercloud above it and let Mother Nature handle the rest.

Or, if you’re feeling particularly frisky, how about summoning a phoenix or a sacred lion and directing it to spew waves of holy energy at the tower, instantly reducing it and any threats beyond it to ashes?

Sumioni: Demon Arts for PS Vita

In the world of Sumioni: Demon Arts, an ink-themed 2D action platformer coming to the PS Vita this spring, any or all of the above solutions lie at your fingertips. As long as you have enough ink stored up, you can enact endless miracles upon your environment. Need to cross a bed of spikes? Use the touchscreen to draw a platform over them. Flames coming toward you? Douse them with water – and try to time it so the steam this produces burns an enemy soldier.

Sumioni: Demon Arts for PS Vita

There are many ways to overcome virtually any obstacle in your path, and most of them make judicious use of PS Vita’s beautiful touchscreen. Should you find yourself too low on ink to employ these features, you can always create more by furiously rubbing the rear touch pad with every available appendage – but of course, you’ll be left defenseless while doing so, so timing these ink-padding sessions is of the utmost importance.

At the end of most stages stands a tall pagoda, from which enemy agents emerge endlessly. It must be destroyed, but not only is it built of sterner stuff than the many watchtowers dotting the land, it also comes equipped with cannons, automated razor arms, flamethrowers and other nasty surprises that won’t make the going particularly easy. But then, you have ink, fire, water and enormous, godly familiars at your disposal, so no one can accuse you of rushing into battle unprepared!

Sumioni: Demon Arts for PS Vita

Sometimes, you’ll encounter an enemy who’s simply out of your league and you’ll have no choice but to outrun it. In these situations, you’ll need to use your considerable arsenal of inky abilities to circumnavigate obstacles and enemy fire ASAP, lest you wind up as paste beneath a gargantuan demon’s ugly big toe.

And other times, you’ll be tasked with hunkering down in an open field and fending off waves of hostile attackers, awaiting the opening of an inevitable escape route that always seems another few seconds off.

Sumioni: Demon Arts is developed by Acquire (of Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls and Class of Heroes fame) and will be released on the PS Vita in North America as a launch window title through XSEED Games (yay, us!). Fun, fast, frenetic and fetching, the traditional Japanese “sumi-e” ink art style perfectly augments Sumioni’s fluid animations and diverse gameplay, giving it a one-of-a-kind look and feel on a one-of-a-kind system.

So next time you’re surrounded by deadly foes, just remember: Always bet on ink!

//Add Your Own

51 Comments   18 Replies

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1

+ remanutd5 on January 12th, 2012 at 11:42 am said:

interesting


2

+ LordRaoh on January 12th, 2012 at 11:52 am said:

Looks interesting, definitely something to keep an eye on.


3

+ adolson on January 12th, 2012 at 11:59 am said:

XSEED has been the only real reason to have a PSP in the last year or so, and now with the Vita launch, they’re off to a promising start. This game looks great! BUT can we get a Wizardry game on the Vita, too, please? :)


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:25 pm said:

    Hey, if Acquire should make a Wizardry game on the Vita, I’m sure we’d consider working on it. Wizardry rules! (:


4

+ WrekGar on January 12th, 2012 at 12:00 pm said:

Looks good…. need to see more but I’m leaning toward a day 1 purchase.

WrekGar
AKA PS “Blog Stalker”


5

+ MarinoBrea on January 12th, 2012 at 12:08 pm said:

Looks pretty cool for a $10 game…. this IS a $10 game right?


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:40 pm said:

    The North American price has yet to be decided. Bear in mind, though, that this is set to be a full-priced game in Japan, not a budget title. Acquire really wanted to put out something special with this one, and it really is a very fun, very well-made experience. I believe you’ll find it to be worth your time in the end, no matter the price.


6

+ ShadowOfEden on January 12th, 2012 at 12:15 pm said:

I really really like the the art style!

@5
It’s all about the amount of content. Why would it be a downloadable game if it has the content of a full game? Look has nothing to do with it. Beside, this game looks excellent (visually).

Not sold on the gameplay yet.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:41 pm said:

    The gameplay is definitely the biggest selling point, though, at least in my opinion — even more than the visuals.

    Simply put, this game is a lot of fun!


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+ Smert_ on January 12th, 2012 at 12:15 pm said:

Wow I’m impressed by how clever this game is. That’s the kind of stuff I love to see, because it deviates from the norm and pushes cool application of the Vitas features. Plus, it looks like it’ll be a fun adventure


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:43 pm said:

    Yeah, this should be the perfect game to use when showing off your shiny new Vita to friends. It uses the hardware beautifully, and does it while looking totally stylish. ;)


8

+ KwietStorm on January 12th, 2012 at 12:27 pm said:

The finger is mightier than the sword.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:43 pm said:

    Wow… That’s actually a really cool tagline for the game! I kind of want to use that somewhere now. ;)


9

+ MarinoBrea on January 12th, 2012 at 12:28 pm said:

@6

If it looks and plays like a $10 game, it can’t be compared to a “full price game”. Many $10-$15 games for PS3 looks gorgeous and play awesome too, but compared to the experience of a full PS3 game? big difference. Yes, it’s all about content, and we’ll have to see if it’s worth whatever the price may suggest. Right now, the casual gameplay and 2D looks, doesn’t make it more than $10 game to me, even if it’s a long $10 game.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:52 pm said:

    The gameplay is far from casual. I’d classify it more as “hardcore,” especially in some of the later levels.

    And why does 2D = lower expected pricetag? I never understood that. Personally, I love 2D gaming, and would love to see more beautifully-crafted 2D games like this come out on modern systems. 3D is overrated! ;)


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+ DaMann22 on January 12th, 2012 at 12:29 pm said:

I am very interested in this. Love XSEED so thats just an incentive. Will pick up


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:53 pm said:

    And XSEED loves you too, loyal customer! ;)


11

+ AguilarX on January 12th, 2012 at 12:33 pm said:

so i guess this confirms that this game is headed to the west. ill be grabbing this day 1 along with many other vita titles. add me AguilarX for those getting the vita


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:55 pm said:

    Oh, yes, the game is definitely coming out in North America. Launch window, too, which means its release isn’t tooooo far off!


12

+ CaptainHuggyface on January 12th, 2012 at 12:37 pm said:

@6
Of course it is a downloadable game, all PSVita games are available on the PSN but not all will have physical releases.


13

+ Burdmayn on January 12th, 2012 at 12:39 pm said:

This game looks pretty interesting, but it just makes me want Okami. It doesn’t even need to be a new title, just re-release the original game on the VIta and I’m sold. If there is a god, this will happen.


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+ saintaqua on January 12th, 2012 at 1:07 pm said:

This looks amazing!


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+ Neil on January 12th, 2012 at 2:04 pm said:

Looks good. Will buy for the right price.


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+ plaztiksyke on January 12th, 2012 at 2:28 pm said:

Looks really amazing, but I’ll be waiting to get a Vita until a hardware revision that doesn’t contain awful, awful quality cameras.

Any change of a PS3 version that uses Move? This would look *awesome* in 1080p!

@13, I agree. I just want Okami on PS3 in 1080p, HD audio, and Move support. It can be without a platinum, for all I care. After how awesome Dead Space: Extraction was, I’m surprised Capcom and others haven’t followed. I’d also still love to see Zak & Wiki on PS3 Move, so long as it doesn’t look as bad as No More Heroes did on PS3. blech.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 2:57 pm said:

    Honestly, will you really be using Vita for the cameras? It’s all about the games, isn’t it? And the Vita’s launch lineup is pretty darned impressive, if you ask me. I mean, I’ve been exposed to the Vita for a while now, what with working on this game… but I’ve also got a personal Vita to call my own preordered, and can’t wait to pick it up on American launch day!

    Viva la Vita!!! ;)


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+ MarinoBrea on January 12th, 2012 at 3:19 pm said:

@Tom Lipschultz

I haven’t played the game, but it will really have to have some high production values and content to justify a full-price tag. You know games like Marvel Vs Capcom 3 and Uncharted Golden Abyss have very large budgets, and your game competes with those for our money. Maybe your company should turn their focus to the small scale games, Vita needs lots of that too.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 3:36 pm said:

    Most of what we do are “small-scale” games, at least in terms of renown. That’s why we localize them: because we feel they deserve to be better-known.

    I think most of the titles in our catalogue could stand toe-to-toe with the big boys, though… if people gave them a chance, anyway.


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+ RidleysBox on January 12th, 2012 at 3:23 pm said:

@5

The Japan release is a $65 title, I would be surprised if it was less than $40 in the states.

That said, looks like an interesting experience.


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+ ro-kurorai on January 12th, 2012 at 3:37 pm said:

@17

It’s not their game, Xseed are the awesome folks localizing it, so anybody without knowledge of Japanese can enjoy the more original games rather than the Western main-stream ones.
Sumi Oni looks ace. The 2d style replicates Japanese sumi-e (ink painted pictures) art and the game-play looks like a lot of fun.
Definitely a d1p for me. Obviously such games don’t appeal to the average COD-gamer ;)


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+ cosmis_chaos on January 12th, 2012 at 3:42 pm said:

@ Tom Lipschultz. Very good point. Its a gaming system, not a camera. You are buying it for games and it including a camera is just icing on the sweet VITA cake. That said I loved Okami so this is a no brainer. The ink style of gaming makes my heart beat for all the good times I had with Okami and i hope this will be the game to fill the void.Who care about high production values. Okami was a barrel of fun and it wasn’t even an HD game with polished graphics.


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+ DION3TO on January 12th, 2012 at 4:35 pm said:

Wow..these visual totally remind me of Okami *_*
I am more than interested in this game. And I just liked the platfoming combat mechanics.


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+ DesmaBR on January 12th, 2012 at 4:40 pm said:

I was going to ask about the fully voiced version of Zero no Kiseki for the Vita, but I’m pretty sure that you guys just can’t do it.
But, still, any plan for the series? A Steam Version of Trails in the Sky maybe?

Sorry for asking too much, but I just miss some good JRPG on PC

Anyway, this looks really interessing… When I buy my Vita, I’m getting this


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 11:00 pm said:

    One game at a time, my friend! We’ll announce news on the Kiseki titles when we have news to announce, rest assured. And know that we’re all big Kiseki fans here, so we’re looking into every possible means of expanding the series’ visibility.


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+ Falaut on January 12th, 2012 at 6:38 pm said:

Sweet! If I’m getting the Vita day 1, this is definitely getting picked up along with GD.

Sony: PSOne Classics working for launch. Make it happen.


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+ xCoDeHx on January 12th, 2012 at 7:36 pm said:

It would be a day one buy if they released Okami for the PSV. Think about it, an HD remake with stunning visuals, solid gameplay, and touchscreen brush strokes. One can wish…


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 11:07 pm said:

    Hey, if we could, we would. Okami is a great game, and we’d love to be associated with it.


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+ Cjx324 on January 12th, 2012 at 7:56 pm said:

I can’t wait for all these great games coming out for VITA!!!

Games I’m Planning On Getting:
Little Deviants (Definitely – Comes with First Edition Bundle)
Uncharted (Definitely)
Little Big Planet (Definitely)
ModNation Racers (Definitely)
Rayman Origins
Resistance: Burning Skies
Sumioni: Demon Arts
Escape Plan
Unit 13
Motorstorm RC
Call of Duty VITA

Do you know when you guys plan to have this released?


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 11:03 pm said:

    All we can say right now is “launch window.” Which basically means, as close to launch as we can manage. We won’t quite be able to make the Vita’s launch date, I don’t believe, but we will endeavor to get it out shortly thereafter. How shortly that is, however, remains to be seen.

    …Also, no Gravity Rush on that list? ;)


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+ C_Y_P_H_E_R on January 12th, 2012 at 8:54 pm said:

this looks cool. just not creepy as the real stuff looks. they don’t smile. that’s just misleading. not interested in the E rated story but the gameplay looks fun. can’t wait to try it.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 11:04 pm said:

    To be fair, it’s E10+, not E. And I think the only reason it didn’t score a T rating is because the game uses ink as a substitute for blood, and the art is 2D instead of 3D.


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+ DemoniOtaku on January 12th, 2012 at 9:11 pm said:

This Game looks like Muramasa meet ookami… Two underrated Jewels of the Videogames… So this could be a really good game, Just give it a Epic story, Epic Soundtrack and great and lon lasting gameplay and take MY MONEY!

This level of game itsn´t valued 10$…


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+ Spacerac on January 12th, 2012 at 11:12 pm said:

I LOVE platformers, but with my religion I just can’t get with the whole “demon hero” thing, sorry. :(


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 12th, 2012 at 11:55 pm said:

    It’s not a “demon” in the way you’re thinking. It’s an “oni,” from Japanese mythology. Think of it almost like an orc or a goblin. Oni aren’t inherently evil beings, like devils in the Christian faith — they’re more “chaotic neutral,” to use a D&D term.

    So definitely don’t let the whole “demon” thing turn you off to this game. Demons aren’t always devils, after all. Sometimes, they’re just little red goblins — and this one does some pretty heroic things, even going so far as to choose the path of morality and virtue, and teach players a valuable moral lesson about life and death, depending on which ending you get.


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 13th, 2012 at 12:16 am said:

    Another way of looking at it, actually, is to pull out the old adage: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” You’re basing your impressions of the hero, Agura, on the fact that he has red skin, horns and is referred to as a “demon” (specifically, an “Inkdemon”)… but what you really should be judging him on are his actions. In the game’s prologue, you learn that Agura was sealed away not for doing demonic/devilish things, but essentially for being EXTREMELY LAZY. He’s freed from his banishment out of desperation, and although he doesn’t WANT to help at first, he agrees anyway because it’s better than the alternative.

    As the game goes on, he becomes more and more sympathetic, and really proves that underneath his apathetic exterior, he’s actually a pretty nice guy.

    So yeah… don’t judge him as a “demon” solely because that’s how the people of the game’s take on Japan have labeled him. Judge him on his own merits. I think you’ll find that he’s actually pretty cool!


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+ Spacerac on January 13th, 2012 at 1:00 am said:

Thanks for the clarification Mr. Lipschultz, I really appreciate it. I’ve played all the God of War games except the cell phone one and Ghost of Sparta and there I think “Hey, it’s just Greek mythology.” I play Assassin’s Creed and I think “the church WAS corrupted in that time-and in a lot of areas today, it sadly still is.”

The funny thing about what you’ve said is it’s very similar to what my (also with my religion) friends tell me about judging the Devil May Cry series because of Dante being a half devil.

So in light of that, I’ll give this game a shot-I was very intrigued about it’s gameplay when I first heard about it a few months ago. Again, thanks for taking the time. Platformers as a whole are my favorite genre and it feels like less of them are being made these days. :)


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 13th, 2012 at 10:28 am said:

    I would agree with your friends on Devil May Cry as well. In general, I’d say you should never turn down a game solely because it has devil or demon protagonists, because usually (in Japanese-developed titles, anyway), the message is that anyone — even devils — can be capable of redemption. And that actually seems to be a very appropriate message even for devout Christians, indicating that no one, no matter what their background or upbringing may be, is inherently bad.


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+ dimy93 on January 13th, 2012 at 3:26 am said:

Does Sumioni uses AR?


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    + Tom Lipschultz on January 13th, 2012 at 9:45 am said:

    ‘Fraid not. Uses every other trick in the book, though!


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+ RidleysBox on January 13th, 2012 at 4:28 am said:

WoW, they deleted my first post, must be because I gave info that anyone could find through google >.<

@5, This is a $65 dollar game in Japan, I would be surprised if it is less than $40 here.

It does look interesting, but platformers don't sell well anymore at high price points.


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+ ShadowOfEden on January 13th, 2012 at 5:29 am said:

@9
2D games are greatly underestimated, especially if they use sprites. A modern game using sprites will usually require more time to do the assets than the average 3D game (at even content, of course). The new Rayman for example, is a full priced 2D game and IMO, it is totally worth that price, much more than some other full priced 3D games. It’s not really about how complex the mechanics are either. Portal 2 has very simple gameplay. It’s the content that makes it worth 60$.

But as I said, the gameplay has yet to sell me the game. Looks gimmicky I think and could get old quickly. If a game has 40 hours long worth of stages but I get bored of it after 10, then it is worth 10 stages long of gameplay. But personally, I would buy a full priced platformer where the core gameplay consists of jumping on enemies. It’s the level design that makes it worth it (same for Portal 2) (if the game is good, obviously).


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+ onslaughtree on January 13th, 2012 at 6:15 am said:

The vita looks awesome and the games coming out all look great so far. My to concerns are,
(1) Game prices. The one reason that I do not buy as many games as I want is because of the prices. I think portable games should be specificly priced. $19.99 to $29.99. Ps1 classics/ Minis & PSN games are already priced at good prices.
(2) Internal Hard Drive. The biggest selling point of the pspGo for me was the 16 Gig Internal Hard Drive. Being able to have over 15 games downloaded to my pspGo and not have to carry around umd’s anymore was great.
The whole memory card thing for the Vita has me on the fence a bit. So I will see what gamers have to say. Keep on Gamin.


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+ Elvick_ on January 13th, 2012 at 6:48 am said:

@Tom Lipschultz: I’m with you on 2D being is just as valuable as 3D. Heck, I value 2D games more these days and try to buy every one of them.

Thanks for localizing this, I’ve said it elsewhere (facebook, youtube, etc) but I’ll say it again. I appriciate you guys bringing things like this to NA, so we can enjoy a variety of games. I’ll be buying it Day 1. I just hope it’s not as hard for me to find as Solatorbo for the DS was. Tried getting it day 1, but couldn’t. ):

Hopefully being in launch window will work in your favor for sales. People looking at things they’d normally not get to fill their ‘needs’. Although the launch lineup is fantastic to me. Can’t wait for PSVita.


35

+ ro-kurorai on January 13th, 2012 at 9:53 am said:

@Tom Lipschultz:

I’d like to express my appreciation for all you awesome, hard working fellas at Xseed. I’ll be frank: I got interested in the game the moment I saw the Japanese trailer but I had no hopes whatsoever to see an overseas release. Thankfully you’ve proven me wrong.

Thanks for bringing the more unique Japanese games to an international audience, especially the ones not being on everyone’s radars.

Sumioni looks unique and fresh, and the classical Japanese ‘ink painted pictures style’ (sumi-e) looks rad. It’ll probably shine on Vitas OLED screen.

Can’t really understand the folks critizing the game for an E10+ rating and 2D art style. Non-violent games are awesome, too =)

Anyways, it’s a d1p for me, just to support you guys and Acquire. Please keep up the good work. 本当に「墨鬼」に楽しみにしています。


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+ MarioTBK on January 13th, 2012 at 10:46 am said:

This reminds me of Okami a lot.

I just hope it has the same depth, it seems like it might not though. Still, it looks like a great title none the less, I may have to keep it in mind.


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+ Awolkia on January 13th, 2012 at 11:06 am said:

So…Why does the trailer have cosmic break music in it :X


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+ boxmyth on January 13th, 2012 at 11:57 am said:

Consider this bought with a vengeance. It’s great to see 2D games hitting the Vita along with all the 3D stuff. I’ve always preferred 2D anyway :)


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+ Reluctant-Hero on January 13th, 2012 at 1:53 pm said:

Sumioni looks great and I’m looking forward to picking it up in order to 1) support quality 2D games and 2) support XSEED.

Hopefully XSEED is also able to produce a great retail package. I still value great case artwork and fullly fleshed out, color, instruction manuals. They did an amazing job with all of the Ys, Trails in the Sky and Solatorobo releases. I hope they carry the tradition on to Sumioni.

If not, I guess I’ll just download the PSN version.


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+ Enigma777 on January 13th, 2012 at 2:07 pm said:

Reminds me of cross between Okami and Muramasa…. Which in not a bad thing at all! Looking forward to seeing more.


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+ kratos4994 on January 14th, 2012 at 11:35 am said:

Wow


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+ kratos4994 on January 14th, 2012 at 11:36 am said:

Sounds pretty beast


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+ androx11 on January 14th, 2012 at 12:29 pm said:

That looks like a beautiful game and a day-one purchase. Hopefully it will get to the US quickly, because the date it gets here will be the date I buy a Vita (unless Persona 4 hits first).


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+ tacoman78918 on January 14th, 2012 at 8:12 pm said:

i dident get not one part of that video


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+ leithal7 on January 15th, 2012 at 3:53 am said:

This game looks cool, nice art style


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+ Seshat on January 15th, 2012 at 1:56 pm said:

Wow, I guess it couldn’t be more clear where you guys got the inspiration for this (cough Okami cough). Although I prefer my avatar to be a wolf not a sumioni.


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+ ImprisonedTitan on January 16th, 2012 at 11:25 am said:

Kinda looks like a 2D version of Okami, which is awesome. The Vita just keeps getting better and better.


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+ oakaymrt2 on January 17th, 2012 at 9:53 pm said:

I am sorry that I am commenting about this and you may have seen this below already but this looks a lot like Okami and the 2-D platforming of El Shaddai all in one. Wait, did I just say a good thing or a bad thing?


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+ nosboy502003 on January 23rd, 2012 at 11:58 pm said:

Since you guys released the Corpse Party game, I’ve been loving it!!! Will you guys be releasing the sequel that was just released in September 1, 2011. I hope you guys work for it, I really wanna play the series. Please consider it!!!


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+ nosboy502003 on January 24th, 2012 at 12:01 am said:

I meant the sequel of Corpse Party, the Book of Shadows one. I love the first one you guys at Xseed released, I would totally put the money for that one. Please fufill my dream!!!!


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