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PS Vita Welcome Park Information & Review

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PS Vita Welcome Park Icon

PS Vita Welcome Park Icon

Sony
When you first fire up your new PS Vita, you'll find something on the home screen called "Welcome Park." It's a little app, or rather a collection of mini-games, designed specifically to introduce users to the PS Vita's controls. And, while anyone familiar with touchscreens can probably get by without this app, there are a few PS-Vita-specific gestures that you'll need to learn.

What Is Welcome Park?

As I said, Welcome Park is a pre-installed app that comes free with the PS Vita, intended to introduce you to the controls in a fun and interactive way. It's a fairly basic collection of mini-games, but by the time you've worked you way through them (and it doesn't take long), you'll know all the PS-Vita-specific gestures and what they do, and you'll know how to use the camera and the microphone.

The app has five parts. Digit Chase teaches you how to tap, flick, drag, and use the rear touch panel through a series of challenges that have you counting numbers in order to beat a time goal. Hello Face introduces the camera and challenges you to take pictures of things that look like faces. Skate Axis uses the motion-sensors to help a little skateboarder jump over bouncing balls. Snap & Slide uses slider puzzles to get you used to using the camera and gives you more dragging practice. Finally, Sound Loop introduces the microphone.

How Does It Play?

For the most part, the games are pretty simple, and the motions and gestures not too difficult. Some of the challenges are harder than others, and you don't actually have to master them to be able to use your PS Vita effectively. Still, if you do master them you'll never have a problem using your device.

Skate Axis is probably the most fun of all the mini-games, but it's also the easiest to get through perfectly. With some of the other games, the responses seemed slow even when I was sure I'd tapped or dragged exactly as I should have, and sometimes the responses seemed too sensitive, making me overshoot the target. However, I did find that the more I played, the better the controls seemed to respond, which indicates to me that it was not really the controls that were at fault, but that I needed to train my use of them to be more precise.

Welcome Park Has Trophies?

Even if you don't think you need to learn how to use the PS Vita through some simple mini-games, you might find it worthwhile playing through to collect your first PS Vita trophies. There isn't a platinum trophy, but there is a gold and a silver, and several bronzes. Most of them are pretty easy to get, so you might as well go for it and beef up your collection.

Is It Worth It?

I suppose whether or not you think Welcome Park is "worth it" depends on what sort of value you're looking for. The app is free, and already installed on your PS Vita, so it takes no effort to get it. Depending on how good you are with touch screens you may find it super-easy or bordering on frustrating. I found it worth the time to get the trophies--for one, it was easy trophies, and for two, it turns out I needed more practice with the controls than I thought I would. On the other hand, I can't really give it many stars, since it is almost too simple. You'll know the first time you play whether or not you want to keep going and collect all the trophies, so I'd say give it a try at least. All you'll lose is a little time, and you might gain some skill and some bragging rights.
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