Digital Blend: The PS Vita launches (again) and Call of Duty brings in Overwatch

digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch alan wake american nightmareWelcome back to Digital Blend, our weekly look at the world of downloadable video gaming that exists at the fringes of the mainstream. That means we look at the hottest new mobile game releases, downloadable content drops on consoles and PCs, indie darlings that deserve your love and attention, and the best values in under-$20 gaming.

Keep your comments and feedback coming. We want to hear from you! Did you try something you read about here and enjoy it? Is there a particular game you think we’ve overlooked, or news you want to share? Any questions you are dying to ask? Let us know! Your thoughts, feedback, suggestions and (constructive!) criticism are welcome, either in the comments section below or directed at yours truly on Twitter, @geminibros.

Making headlings…

  • digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch playstationSony’s PlayStation Vita launched for real in North America on Wednesday, February 22. First Edition bundle buyers were able to nab the new portable for themselves last week, but now anyone in North America can spend the base price of $249.99 on a wi-fi model (or $299.99 on a 3G/wi-fi), instead of tacking on an extra $100 for all of that other stuff. Of course, you’ll probably want to start off with at least one game and a memory card. If you’re still on the fence about the Vita, maybe Ryan’s review will convince you. Our launch title review library continues to grow as well, as you can see here.
  • digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch angry birds spaceWe learned last week that Rovio was prepping the March 22 release of Angry Birds Space in association with NASA and National Geographic. This week brings the first trailer for the game, a cute little tease that show zero gameplay but promises a bigger announcement on March 8.
  • digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch battlefield aftershockEA pulled the free iOS game Battlefield 3: Aftershock from the App Store in response to negative user feedback. The game is now being re-evaluated based on that feedback, presumably for a re-release further down the road, according to a statement given to IGN.
  • digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch amnesia a machine for pigsDear Esther writer Dan Pinchbeck will be teaming with Frictional Games for the sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The upcoming game, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, is said to be set in the same universe as its predecessor, opening on New Year’s Day in 1899. Get the rest of the details from Joystiq‘s interview.
  • digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch shoot many robotsTwo upcoming downloadable games just got their release dates this week. Sine Mora, the gorgeous Grasshopper Manufacture-developer shmup, will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade on March 21. One week earlier, Demiurge Studios will release its side-scrolling action game, the awesomely titled Shoot Many Robots, on March 13 and 14 for PSN and XBLA, respectively.

Top buys for the week

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare :: Xbox Live Arcade :: 1200 MS Points
Remedy is still keeping quiet about any plans for a proper Alan Wake sequel, but Microsoft’s annual House Party 2012 promotion brings the next best thing this week in Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. With a roughly five-hour campaign and a completely separate, action-focused arcade survival mode, there’s a lot of game here for your 1200 MS Points. You can read all about it in my review.

digital blends the ps vita launches again and call of duty brings in overwatch escape planEscape Plan :: PlayStation Vita / PS Store :: $14.99
This PS Store-exclusive release from Fun Bits Interactive, the creators of Fat Princess, is one of the absolute must-own launch titles for Sony’s PS Vita. It’s a black & white puzzle adventure starring the adorable duo of Lil and Laarg. You use the Vita’s touch and motion controls extensively as you swipe, tap, tilt and shake your way through a series of obstacles, all of it backed by a killer soundtrack. Check out my review for more details.

WrestleFest :: iPad / iPhone :: $3.99 / $2.99
It’s got WWE branding now, but the new iOS release of WrestleFest is a port of the age-old coin-op arcade game. The roster’s been trimmed down a bit for the portable release and updated to include some more current wrestlers, but the game play is just what it always was. You’ve got multiple modes to choose from, including the fan favorite Royal Rumble. This isn’t a universal app, so make sure before you buy it that you’re getting the right version.

Midway Arcade :: iOS :: $0.99
I’ll make this really simple. For $0.99 you get a collection of classic Midway arcade games, including Rampage, Joust and Spy Hunter. And that’s not all! There are also a pair of expansion packs priced at $0.99 apiece: the Fantasy Game Pack includes Gauntlet, Gauntlet II, and Wizard of War and the Action Game Pack includes APB, NARC and Spy Hunter. This one right here is my personal top pick of the week.

Beat Hazard Ultra :: iOS :: $0.99
The abundance of cheap-o iOS games this week doesn’t end with arcade classics. Beat Hazard Ultra is a rhythm-based action shooter that uses your own iTunes library. It’s got some lovely visuals and fun twin stick shooter gameplay, one of the rare virtual analog stick styles that actually works on a touch screen.

Keep an eye peeled next week for more news, including the next stage of the Xbox Live House Party, and much more.  

Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

There are all sorts of reasons for ripping records and storing them digitally, but what's the best way to do it? We cover the different types of equipment and software available for ripping records at any price in this guide.
Gaming

You can preload ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ soon, and you definitely should

Red Dead Redemption 2's launch is quickly approaching. If you're planning on buying a digital version, you should keep in mind that the file size is roughly 90GB. Thankfully, you can preload the game starting October 19
Home Theater

MicroLED vs. OLED: Two hot TV technologies battle for your dollars

Samsung claims its new MicroLED TV tech offers all the benefits of OLED without the drawbacks. Join Digital Trends to take a close look to see if MicroLED TV lives up to the hype, and where it could go in the future.
Photography

Adobe’s Premiere Rush is a video-editing app designed for social media projects

At Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe unveiled updates across the board for all of its Creative Cloud apps, from the release of Premiere Rush CC, a social-focused video editor, to Project Gemini, a digital drawing and painting tool.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Product Review

Kill a Nazi while skiing in ’Battlefield V: War Stories’

World War II is hardly a unique setting for a shooter, but Battlefield V’s War Stories has managed to liven it up. Our preview left us eager to see more of the new Battlefield’s single-player story.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.
Computing

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Gaming

The best video games to gift this holiday season, from ‘Spider-Man’ to ‘Hitman 2’

The holidays are quickly approaching and you might be looking for ideas on what to get your favorite gamer. Here are the best games you can buy for your gaming loved ones this holiday season.
Gaming

Have problems with your Xbox One? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

Choose your weapon wisely -- these are the best keyboards for gaming on your PC

Your PC isn't complete without one of the best gaming keyboards on the planet. We have a list spanning full-sized models to compact versions from Razer, Cooler Master, Corsair, Logitech G, and more.
Gaming

Why are game studios run like sweat shops? The human toll of ‘crunch time’

After the revelation of 100-hour work weeks in Red Dead Redemption 2’s development, we spoke with a number of developers about what it’s like to work in crunch culture in the game industry.