Playstation Vita has finally arrived in shops worldwide this week. Provided in the box is a set of AR Play Cards, which are used with some simple games to show off Sony's take on augmented reality. As with the 3DS's similar offerings, they're a great introduction to the console, and showcase for the tech. The first of these is Cliff Diving, available for free on PSN now.
Cliff Diving features the reckless and often painful-looking exploits of Diver Dan. You place one of the provided AR Play Cards on a table, desk, floor or hopefully more imaginative location, and a diving board will spring from it. It will be accompanied by a target body of water (which will become more difficult to access as the levels progress) and the tiny Dan himself.
While the Vita is equipped with a touch screen, the game keeps gimmicky controls to a minimum. Timed presses on the rear touch pad build your player's adrenaline meter, allowing for showier, higher scoring dives. Aside from this, it's simple face button control all the way. Well timed button combinations will send you soaring through bonus rings on your way to the pool, netting you a hefty bonus when your chosen trick is complete. Success also awards you with money, with which to buy more impressive airborne moves. Messing up, meanwhile, results in a horrific yet sadistically funny ragdoll animation. Losing a little money for Dan's hospital bills at this point is a great little comic touch.
It's plain from just a few minutes with the system that it's an impressive piece of kit. With the term 'portable PS3' being bandied about, it has a lot to live up to. It certainly seems to be a behemoth in visual terms, but there's more to gaming than that. With Cliff Diving, we can see a lot of potential for unique new spins on existing ideas, and this is encouraging indeed.
Take a look at an introduction to Sony's new baby below: