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Corpse Party

XSEED Invites You to a Corpse Party

What would our PSPs be without you, XSEED?
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: November 22, 2011
We keep trying to claim the PSP is dead, with Western publishers all but abandoning the hardware months (if not years) ago, but over in Japan, the system still sells like hotcakes (if a little less strongly with the impending release of the Vita next month), which of course means Japanese devs and pubs are all too eager to put out games. Without publishers like XSEED, who have been very good to our PSPs here in the States, we would have literally nothing to play, which is why we're glad to see that the twilight years of a platform aren't filled with nothing more than rushed, half-assed ports and licensed kids' games (sometimes one and the same).

Corpse Party is a port, make no mistake, but it's not a rush job, and it's got its roots not in bigger console games, but as an indie-developed title by GrisGris that was brought to the PSP in Japan courtesy of publisher 5pb. Told through the perspective of an interactive novel (they're all the rage in Japan -- and for good reason as they blend audio, stills and text in gripping ways), the game features a mix of hand-drawn sprites, 2D anime-style portraits and backgrounds, and a proper aural accompaniment in the form of voices, music and sound effects, all to tell a story that decidedly not for kids -- even if it features them.

See, a bunch of schoolkids thought it would be a great idea in invoke some arcane rituals for a few fun scares (when is that ever a good idea? Seriously?), and surprise, surprise, the ritual teleports them into a another dimension where a dark, dilapidated school served as the stage for other kids' brutal (and we do mean brutal; watch the trailer by clicking the Movies link at the top of the page) slayings.

Trapped in this mockery of a school, the group must attempt to find their way out while avoiding 20+ gory "wrong ends" including, as XSEED describes them, being "forced to swallow scissors," "buried alive" and "cannibalized by your best friend". Right, so it's definitely an M-rated game, and one we're happy (yes, really) to see can make its way to our game-deprived PSPs. If the group can find the "true" ending in each of the five chapters, they'll escape, but clearly the odds are stacked against them.

Corpse Party hits today, as a download-only offering on the PlayStation Store for the tantalizing price of just $19.99. We'll summon our courage to bring you a proper review in between bites of turkey and stuffing in the coming days. Check back soon!