If you ventured onto the PlayStation Store this week, and ventured to the Vita/PSP sections, chances are pretty good that you noticed Aksys Games' latest offering, as Sweet Fuse: At Your Side has officially launched in the US.
A couple of things set Aksys Games' Sweet Fuse apart from the pack. For starters, it's a visual novel, a seldom seen genre here in the states. In short, the game is more like a visual bit of literature with lots of reading and artwork and occasional interaction on the part of the player. Huge in Japan, these types of games have never really taken hold here in the States.
Which brings us to the second unique aspect of Sweet Fuse: The fact that it even released here. When it comes to the multitude of advancements this current generation of games consoles has provided, one of my absolute favorites has got to be the fact that games like this are seeing the light of day in the US. In the past, niche titles (Like Sweet Fuse and similar PSP oddity Corpse Party) would have never stood a chance on the American market. After you factor in the cost of translating the title, packaging enough copies to turn a profit and get them to retailers, the price of admission is simply too high compared to the number of people likely to pick the game up.
With digital distribution, though, developers like Aksys are taking more and more chances on games like Sweet Fuse, as they can produce a limited number of physical copies and rely primarily on digital sales from the fans who are eager to try these types of games out.
And that kind of awesomeness is exactly why US gamers are now able to take Sweet Fuse: At Your Side for a spin. In the game, players will take on the role of Saki Inafune, the fictional niece of legendary game creator, Keiji Inafune.
Uncle Keiji has fulfilled his life's dream of building a theme park based on video games but, on opening day, the evil Count Hogstein takes Inafune and several other higher-ups captive while terrorizing park visitors.
Saki eventually volunteers to take part in Hogstein's evil game, tasking seven individuals with tackling seven puzzles over the course of seven days. Failure means that the park attraction the puzzle is ties to (along with those trying to solve said puzzle) will be destroyed.
The player will follow Saki as she and her companions (an assortment of hunky dudes) try to save the theme park, Keiji Inafune and his fellow executives. Light word puzzles and dating sim mechanics are plugged in but, for the most part, the player will make a few decisions and watch their consequences unfold across the span of the story.
Featuring 14 unique endings, Sweet Fuse offers replayability for up to 30 hours of gameplay, according to Aksys.
As I said, it's a niche game, and one that usually wouldn't thrive in a market typically more interested in shooting aliens, shooting terrorists, and shooting just about everything else they can point a gun at. But it's available now on PSP and is compatible with the Vita. Those who are interested can pick it up now for $24.99.