Sony's PlayStation Mobile service never quite lived up to its potential. It was originally conceived as a way for Sony to try and compete with the likes of Apple with its download platform for small downloadable games and apps, and, more importantly, it was part of an attempt to bring PlayStation gaming to mobile phones, and give Sony a point of differentiation in that space - if you were a gamer, then you would have to have a Sony phone for the PlayStation experience on the go. Or so Sony hoped.
We were, in fact, quite positive on the platform in its early days, seeing that it did indeed have the potential to find itself an audience and give developers another quality discount platform to work on. Things started well too, with a few games that were genuinely worthwhile. However, Sony's strategy with the PS Mobile was ultimately a failed one, and in fact despite targeting mobile platforms for PlayStation content it ended up seeing its greatest success with tiny developers working on cheap games for the Vita. Sony has already discontinued PlayStation Mobile on Android devices, and soon it will be discontinued on the PlayStation Vita too.
So, in memory of the deceased platform, let's have a look back at some of the games that defined it.
There's the good...
There were three games in particular I would like to highlight as real PS Mobile highlights over the years:
Tokyo Jungle Mobile - A simplified version of the cult PlayStation 3 high, Tokyo Jungle Mobile is a roguelike with a difference - rather than play as a hero wielding sword and magic and dispatching monsters, you take on the role of an animal in a city that has had all of its humans disappear. The way you'll need to play depends on whether you're taking on the role of a herbivore or carnivore, but either way you'll need to scavenge for food, defend yourself from predators, and then breed to keep the genetic line going. As a small downloadable game, it works brilliantly.
16Bit Trader - 16Bit Trader is an old-school like trading game that works on the basic economic principle of "buy low, sell high." You'll take on the role of trader, buying up products for cheap when they're mass produced in an area, then taking them to another city that has a scarcity for that product. It's a simple game, but the colourful presentation really sells the experience.
Adventure Bar Story Labyrinth - Another roguelike, Adventure Bar Story Labyrinth is a sequel of sorts to Adventure Bar Story, which was a mobile game notable because the scenario writer had worked on Atelier games in the past. Some of that comes into this game too, where you'll need to accumulate ingredients to cook increasingly complex food. It didn't reinvent the wheel, but it was a mightily entertaining game nonetheless.
And then there's the bad...
Sadly, that honeymoon period ended quickly enough. Because developers could enjoy greater exposure by simply releasing their game directly on to the PlayStation Network, or alternatively releasing it on the Google Android store, there was no real reason to release their games on this platform... unless for whatever reason they couldn't get their game on those platforms.
Don't believe me when I say these games could be absolutely terrible? Okay then, let's look at three games that were released on PlayStation Mobile which would be genuine contenders for the worst games I've ever played in my life... and there are games on the platform that look far worse that I simply couldn't bring myself to play:
Nekomimimusumega Sekainohatemade Sanmawotabeniikuno DADADA - An endless runner that didn't really work, the most notable thing about this game is actually that title, which is both unpronounceable and hilarious. A pity that the gameplay is as bland as they come.
VitaBounce - The only possible way that this game could have been developed was the developer was on a hell of an acid trip. There's no other way to describe it. From the truly insane music to the random-to-point-where-my-brain-melted graphics and gameplay that you could recreate in five minutes on Game Maker, to call VitaBounce "nonsense" is to insult other nonsense games.
Pinky Spots Leg Massage - From memory this is the only game I have refused that has a 0/5 score at Digitally Downloaded. It's a game in which you rub dots on photos of girls legs so that they wriggle around and moan a little. It also doesn't work properly. Yep. Let's move on.
An important note for people with PS Mobile software!
With the death of the PlayStation Mobile platform, there's a couple of things that people need to be aware of. Firstly, from July 15 onwards there will be no new games released on the platform.
Then, from September 10, you won't even be able to download games that you've purchased. The only way to preserve your games is to download everything you want to keep before September 10, and then back it up yourself to a PC or likewise. For a game like Pinky Spots that's hardly a loss, but if there are games that you have enjoyed on PS Mobile, it's time to take their preservation into your own hands.
Oh, and one final note - it was a PlayStation Mobile game that scored a two word, 5 star score from us. That's pretty awesome, right?
- Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld