APP OF THE DAY: Cliff Diving review (PS Vita)

So it's nearly here. Tomorrow sees the UK and US launch of the Sony PlayStation Vita and the long wait is almost over. We've already looked at an official game or two, but now it's time to focus on one of the many apps Sony plans to offer in its store, ready for download from day one.

Some of them, like this, are even completely free...

Cliff Diving

Format
PlayStation Vita
Price
Free
Where
PS Store

When you first open the box containing your shiny, new PS Vita, not only will you see the handheld console, a power adaptor and USB cable, but there will also be a series of cards featuring strange symbols. It's not a peculiarly odd game of Snap - which won't ever end thanks to no repetition of the shapes - but a series of augmented reality triggers, the purpose of which will be baffling at first.

However, if you go on the PS Store, you'll see that there are several games offered free from launch day, including Fireworks, Table Football and this one, Cliff Diving. Those AR cards are for these apps, and we thoroughly recommend you get yourself a-downloading.

The reason it's free (perhaps) is that Cliff Diving is not the most in-depth game out there. We'd go as far as saying that it's more like a side show on a multi-event sports game. However, it does show off some of the potential of the Vita, while offering enough gameplay to keep you satisfied for a while.

You place an AR card - generally the one marked "01" - on any surface, point the PS Vita at it, and the game will collapse the real-world surroundings in order to build a diving board and pool. There are different scenes that you have to unlock by earning more and more in-game dough, and that's about it.

Dives are essentially performed through a sequence of well-timed pushes on the "x" button, and you get a score after each depending on how accurate your tapping has been. As you progress through levels, you are required to perform more elaborate sequences of dive, and there are different diving methods you can utilise on each background.

The most fun, we suppose, is actually in seeing your real world dining table, for example, explode ready for an atoll to burst forth. Plus, as it manipulates the background image as well as adding it's own graphics, it's clever to see a fairly decent stab at showing a gaping hole in a household object.

You can also add another of the AR cards at a different height and actually create your own custom scene, which can even have an effect on the gameplay, as you can choose the size of the pool your diver has to plunge into.

Cliff Diving won't win any prizes for its depth (ironically) but is a wholly decent casual gaming experience that more than justifies its price tag. Being free, and that.