AR Games for the PS Vita

download these for free from the PSN

When you buy a shiny new PS Vita, one of the things you'll find in the box is a pack of six Augmented Reality (AR) cards (look for them with the various other bits of paperwork). On one side, they've got a slick blue PS Vita design, and on the other they have big black glyphs and not-quite-so-big grey numbers. On the info card that comes packed in with the AR cards, it says "download a selection of free games to play with your AR Play Cards"--the three games below are said selection. If you lose or damage your cards, you can download new ones to print from the PSN.

Cliff Diving

Cliff Diving AR Game for PS Vita
Cliff Diving AR Game for PS Vita. SCEA

It sounds like a silly idea for a game, but Cliff Diving actually makes pretty good use of the AR feature. Use your AR cards to create different diving boards and pools for Diver Dan, then use the PS Vita's controls to get Diver to Dan to dive off the boards into the pools. The more you master the controls and timed button presses, the better your dives and the better your score. The aim of Cliff Diving is to get perfect scores and win the prize money (not real money, alas).

You can't just make Diver Dan leap off the board and into the water, though (well, you can, but not if you want to do well). First you have to build up adrenaline by timing your button presses with his heartbeat. Then you also have to jump off the right part of the board (helpfully indicated by a green x). Hold the button longer to make Dan jump father. Then, as he plummets towards the water, time your button presses to match each hoop he dives through. Master all that, and you'll get a perfect score.


Fireworks AR Game for PS Vita
Fireworks AR Game for PS Vita. SCEA

Probably the prettiest of the three free AR games for the PS Vita is Fireworks. This game only uses three of the Ar cards--cards 01, 02, and 03--but you can use one at a time, combine any two, or use all three. Each card creates a cartoony little house on your screen, and these houses shoot off fireworks. Your aim is to detonate the fireworks before they fly off the screen, and to create the best fireworks display that you can. It's sort of a rhythm game, but without a lot of rhythm. The music is so simple it doesn't really add a whole lot to the experience.

As with Cliff Diving, if you want the best score, you have to get your timing right. In Fireworks, each firework has an indicator on the screen that you tap to detonate it. Tapping early is better than not at all, but time it perfectly to get the best explosion and the highest score. Each of the three houses has a different difficulty level as well--01 is easy, 02 is medium, and 03 is hard. Combining two or all three houses increases the difficulty even more. If you get really good at Fireworks you may even be able to work your way up the online leaderboard.

Table Soccer

Table Soccer AR Game for PS Vita
Table Soccer AR Game for PS Vita. SCEA

The final free AR game is Table Soccer (or Table Football if you're outside North America). In this game, you use all six of the AR cards to create your own customized stadium. Three cards create the field, two create the stands, and the last one is your scoreboard. Different combinations of cards in different positions will give you a different stadium, and you can even make your field bigger by placing the cards.

Use the touchscreen to more your players around and get them to kick the ball while you take on your opponents in a variety of matches and tournaments. The players are pretty tiny, but you have the option to zoom in to get a better view of each player, or zoom out to see the whole field. Table Soccer also includes multiplayer (or at least two player), allowing you to take on your friends via Ad-Hoc mode.

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