Port roundup: A Short Hike, YUKI, Space Elite Force & Drizzlepath: Deja Vu

We’re looking at four recently ported titles with A Short Hike, YUKI, Space Elite Force 1/2 and Drizzlepath: Deja Vu today – all of which started out on other platforms but which we tested on PlayStation for this roundup.

A Short Hike – now on consoles

An indie darling when it launched on Steam a few years ago, A Short Hike was a bit of a surprise release announcement when it arrived. And despite the acclaim for the PC original, we never played it before, so we were keen to try it out on a PlayStation 4 after all these years.

As you can probably guess, this isn’t the longest game out there – and it delivers on its title. You go on a short hike with Claire, our protagonist in this short tale who happens to look a little bit like NIS’ Prinny character. Your goal is reach the top of a mountain and you can jump and climb to get there, as well as fly for a limited period of time.

short hike2

It’s not a straight shot to the top though, and you’ll need to upgrade your abilities by performing tasks for some of the other characters you encounter on your journey. There tasks are rarely challenging, and feel inspired by the kind of busywork that makes it so easy to lose hours in a game of Animal Crossing. They’re not strictly mandatory as you can also upgrade by just exploring the environment and collecting the necessary feathers that way, though interactions are also part of the experience through some solid and often funny writing.

Skipping the dialogue would also trim down the game’s already short running time, because even if you go for side objectives and find a couple of secrets, this one will be over after an hour or two. It’s well worth it thanks to a charming audiovisual presentation (with a nice soundtrack) and ditto writing though, and the fact that it’s a budget-friendly game helps too.

YUKI – now on PSVR

We reviewed Arvore’s YUKI when it launched for the Oculus Quest, but the PlayStation VR port was recently finished and released as well. As it’s been one of the standout VR releases of 2021 for us, we couldn’t wait to dive back in.

The gameplay for YUKI on PSVR remains unchanged from the Oculus version, so we’re going to refer to our original coverage on that front, but we wanted to try out how well the experience translated to the Move controllers. Luckily, it translates very well, and you can really tell that these controllers were designed with motion controls rather than VR controls in mind.

yuki

Using your right hand controller to steer your action figure character through a virtual space, you can tilt, move and turn in any way you like to fire at the incoming waves of enemies and weave around the bullets trying to get you. With your left hand, you try to pick up the orbs and power-ups that you’ll encounter from time to time – which makes for some interesting and challenging multi-tasking situations that demand a lot of hand-eye coordination. Luckily, your left hand can’t be harmed by enemy fire, so for large parts of the experience you’ll just be focusing on the right hand character.

YUKI also translates well to PlayStation VR when it comes to the game’s visuals and performance. Despite the fact that there’s a lot of stuff going on at any given time in this game, the graphics are rendered smoothly in an audiovisual feast of light and color. Without slowdowns – even in boss fights – this is one of the better PSVR releases in recent months, and we’re glad we didn’t have to wait for the PSVR 2 to arrive for it.

Space Elite Force 1 and 2

In terms of value for money, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than getting two games for the price of one, especially if the price point is already at the lowest end of what you can find in the PlayStation Store. Space Elite Force 1 and 2 just launched for PlayStation and Xbox through QUByte Interactive, after earlier launches on Steam.

space elite force

Developed by Moraes Studio, both games are fairly generic horizontally-scrolling arcade shoot ’em ups, though they have a few tricks up their sleeve to make them stand out from the populated pack. Sure, you’ve got your typical 1990s-era visuals here, and a primary fire button as well as a special fire mode that launches stronger weapons, but the ability to briefly slow down time to get a couple of good hits in or get out of trouble is a rather novel one.

Facing off against bosses and collecting coins to power up your ship and/or weapons isn’t exactly original though, but you get plenty of options to boost your number of shots, give your missile a homing upgrade and make your primary gun more powerful. If you feel like surviving a bit longer, you can also opt to upgrade your ship instead, boosting your primary stats or enhancing your abilities to gather coins. There’s lots to upgrade, and you’ll even get a couple of trophies for doing so.

space elite force 2

Space Elite II feels like a true sequel in that it offers minor improvements in a number of areas, while giving players a very familiar feeling. You’ll see better graphics here and more levels/content, though it’s still not an especially long game and there are far better looking shooters out there. These games feel like nice introductions to the genre though, as they can both be completed rather quickly on account of some overpowered weapons once you start applying those upgrades. So if R-Type feels too challenging, give this one a go.

Drizzlepath: Deja Vu

Drizzlepath: Deja Vu is the second Tonguç Bodur title we’re checking out in a matter of weeks, after Lucid Cycle. As with that game, this one’s been brought to consoles by Eastasiasoft as well, and bears quite a few similarities to Bodur’s other work.

This is a walking simulator that doesn’t lean on a lot of traditional gameplay elements, but instead tells a story as you traverse its environments. As with Lucid Cycle, the landscapes in Drizzlepath: Deja Vu are wondrous and diverse, with strong fantasy influences. The story is a bit easier to follow this time around, though Bodur’s work does seem like it leans into the abstract and philosophical rather than delivering a clean linear narrative.

drizzlepath

This is made clear by the fact that you don’t even find out anything about your own character, who is a blank slate just moving through a world that wants to tell its story. It unfolds over the course of an hour or so, and if you want to you can even put it in a demo mode of sorts where it’ll play itself and you just take in the narrative. For some, it’ll be extra interesting that you can even earn the game’s trophies this way.

Besides the writing – which due to its abstract nature is not going to appeal to everyone, an important element of a game like this is the audiovisual presentation. Here, Tonguç Bodur impresses us yet again with an intriguing game world that feels grounded in reality yet offers dreamlike/fantasy perspectives on it with its architecture and use of color. If you enjoy the more artistic take on the walking sim genre, Drizzlepath: Deja Vu might be right up your alley.

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