Another week, another Wii-kly update! This week sees the arrival of two new games, one each for WiiWare and Virtual Console.
Bonsai Barber (Nintendo, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone-Comic Mischief, 1,000 Wii Points): The village residents are hungry for the latest in foliage fashion, and it’s up to you, the new barber, to fix them up. Use the tools of your trade: scissors, clippers, spray can, and more in this humorous, first-of-its-kind "first-person-groomer" game. Bonsai Barber features a colorful cast of 12 intriguing customers, including a temperamental shallot starlet (don’t call her an onion), an oddball strawberry boffin, a cactus cowboy, a daredevil carrot, and a suave banana with top-secret clearance. Each day, five customers arrive to test your stylistic skill. If the customer requests a specific style, you’ll plow that furrow, or you can rely on your expertise to pick from more than 30 popular fashions. Or, why not turn over a new leaf? Be creative and see how they react. They’re a demanding bunch, so if you miss an appointment, you’ll hear about it-on your Wii Message Board. If you do a good job, you may receive a gift or even a postcard from an exotic destination as your happy customers travel to distant lands and show off their exquisite coifs.
Super Punch-Out!! (Super NES™, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone, 800 Wii Points): Featuring the tight game play and humor the series is known for, this sequel to the NES™ classic sees Little Mac return to the ring with the World Video Boxing Association belt once again at stake. Slug your way through the grueling, sweat-pounding matches of the Minor, Major and World Circuits as you face off against some of Little Mac’s greatest rivals, such as Bear Hugger, Bald Bull and Super Macho Man. With a cast of new challengers waiting, do you have what it takes to identify their unique patterns and exploit their weaknesses? Go to your corner and come out fighting, but remember what Doc Louis would say: "It’s not about brawling-it’s about finesse!"
A lot of Nintendo news comes our way, courtesy of the company’s press conference at GDC today.
- First up is word that the ever-popular Wii has shipped a stunning 50 million consoles worldwide since its debut in 2006. Nintendo claims it is the fastest-selling console ever.
- The DS appears to have reached a sort of gender harmony, with the company claiming that 47% of all new DS owners in 2008 were female and that women make up 27% of the platform’s life-to-date install base.
- Addressing the Wii’s lack of storage options, Nintendo today released the SD Card Menu as part of its latest system update. This download will enable Wii users to launch applications, such as WiiWare and Virtual Console titles, from an inserted SD card.
- The Wii will today extend its Shop Channel to include classic arcade games. Initial offerings will include Space Harrier, The Tower of Druaga and Star Force. Pricing will range between $5-6.
There were two game announcements, too:
- Ninty’s head honcho Satoru Iwata announced Rock n’ Roll Climber, an upcoming WiiWare game making use of the Wii Balance Board. The game will have players scale virtual rockfaces, shifting their feet on the balance board to control the climber’s feet.
- The second is a rather big one – a new Zelda game for the DS! Dubbed The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, the DS title will feature a similar visual style to The Phantom Hourglass and will see traditional gameplay in the form of combat and dungeon exploration. It is due out later this year.
It’s Wii-day today for Square Enix, as the Japanese publisher announced at the GDC the forthcoming releases of new downloadable titles for the Wii.
The games are Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord for WiiWare, as well as the Final Fantasy series for the Virtual Console.
FINAL FANTASY IV: THE AFTER YEARS, is an RPG that continues the story that began in the 1991 Super Famicom™ title FINAL FANTASY IV. In Japan, this title was released as a downloadable cellular phone application in February 2008. It has since been lauded for its deep storytelling, and a year after its release, has been downloaded over 3 million times.
FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a Darklord is the newest instalment in the FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series, which has shipped over 2 million copies worldwide and is set to grow further in 2009. This title will be a sequel to FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King™, which launched simultaneously with the WiiWare service in May of 2008.
The Virtual Console release will see the famed RPG series made available for the first time on home console download. The very first game was released for the Famicom in Japan back in 1987 and will be available for download in May 2009.
With the start of a new week comes word of a new Virtual Console title, as well as a new WiiWare one. Nintendo has added Summer Games II, a Commodore 64 classic, that has players, as the name suggests, take part in summer games around the globe. The other game is BIT.TRIP.BEAT, a retro action game that features four-player multiplayer and a 8-bit soundtrack.
BIT.TRIP BEAT (Aksys Games, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone, 600 Wii Points): BIT.TRIP BEAT is a rhythm game that brings retro action into the present, letting you use the motion-sensing Wii Remote™ controller to bounce beats. Retro visuals, classic game play, four-player multiplayer and an 8-bit soundtrack will get you in the zone and rock your world. The challenges are mighty, but if you can stay cool as the difficulty increases, you’ll discover the beginnings of the BIT.TRIP saga.
Summer Games II™ (Commodore 64, 1-8 players, Rated E for Everyone, 500 Wii Points): A thousand athletes. A hundred countries. Billions watching around the world as you enter the stadium, marching confidently among your nation’s strongest, fastest and boldest young men and women. Your gaze sweeps the crowd as you realize the scope of your achievement. You are about to compete against the world’s best athletes in a 3,000-year-old competition. This is the pinnacle of athletic achievement: the Summer Games. Summer Games II challenges your competitive skills with a series of athletic contests for one to eight players. Experience the excitement and realism of eight different events: cycling, equestrian, fencing, high jump, javelin, kayaking, rowing and triple jump. Practice each event to sharpen your skills, then choose from the 18 countries you can represent in the competition.
This week’s additions to the WiiWare and Virtual Console services are Snowboard Riot, LONPOS and Sonic Chaos. Below are details:
Snowboard Riot (1,000 Wii Points): This snowboard racing and battle game can be enjoyed by multiple players and is compatible with the Wii Balance Board™ accessory. In an intense scramble for first place, guide your character down the slopes while snatching up items to attack and defend against rivals along the way. Up to four players can battle and participate in various ranking modes via Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection.
LONPOS (800 Wii Points): Looking for a puzzle game that anyone can play, but still offers plenty to master? Look no further than LONPOS, with its straightforward premise and large variety of puzzles to solve. Each puzzle revolves around a rectangular playing field of 55 spaces. Using a set of 12 pieces, the goal is to place every piece into the playing field, filling it completely. The higher the level, the more pieces you’ll need to fit correctly into the playing field. Challenge yourself with two single-player modes or bring a friend to compete against or cooperate with. When you think your skills are worthy, use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to check out how you compare with other LONPOS players or download additional puzzles and backgrounds. (Router and broadband access required for online play. For more info, go to www.nintendo.com.)
Sonic Chaos (500 Wii Points): Play as Sonic or Tails in Sonic Chaos, which was originally made for the SEGA MASTER SYSTEM. Dr. Eggman (a.k.a. Dr. Robotnik) has stolen the Red Chaos Emerald to create nuclear weapons. This has thrown the remaining Chaos Emeralds off balance, causing them to transport to a parallel universe. As a result, Sonic’s home, South Island, is sinking into the ocean. Speed through various levels in your crusade for the six Chaos Emeralds. Perform Strike Dashes and Super-Peel Outs as Sonic, or Spin Dash and Fly as Tails, and restore order in Sonic Chaos.
This week’s update to Virtual Console is quite hefty as it sees the addition of the fourth episode of Strong Bad, as well as Space Invaders and more. Here’s the deal:
Strong Bad Episode 4: Dangeresque 3 (Telltale Games, 1 player, Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older – Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Crude Humor, Mild Cartoon Violence, 1,000 Wii Points): Move over, generically buff action heroes. Strong Bad is here to show you how it’s done in his hand-crafted cinematic masterpiece, Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective. You play Dangeresque, a dirty cop in pursuit of a little action and several big sacks of cash. Can our hero stay alive long enough to defeat his arch-nemesis, save the world and get the girl? Looks like he’s gonna have to jump.
Target Toss Pro: Bags (Incredible Technologies, 1-16 players, Rated E for Everyone, 700 Wii Points): Target Toss Pro: Bags is a new video game based on beanbag toss, the nation’s hottest backyard and tailgate sensation. Bags – or Cornhole, as it’s called in some parts of the country – originated in the Midwest in the 1960s and has since become a staple at outdoor social events from coast to coast. Similar to horseshoes, Bags is a deceptively simple yet extremely competitive game where players try to toss beanbags into a hole in a slightly raised platform or "box" for points. Whether at a tailgate party or a summer barbecue, the game has become a social focal point, and the unmistakable thud of bags hitting the box is now a universal party soundtrack.
SPACE INVADERS: The Original Game (Super NES™, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone, 800 Wii Points): Experience one of gaming’s iconic franchises in this perfect rendition of the arcade classic. Take aim at the field of invaders relentlessly marching toward you. Move quickly but carefully, using the barriers for protection as you avoid missiles fired by the aliens and try to destroy all of them before they reach the bottom of the screen. Further enhance the nostalgia by choosing from several modes that simulate different versions of the arcade game (such as upright cabinet or black-and-white). Or if you want to prove your superior skills to a friend, try the new VS mode and see who can stop the alien menace the quickest. All in all, it’s pure gaming at its best, now with no quarters required.
FORGOTTEN WORLDS (SEGA GENESIS, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone – Fantasy Violence, 800 Wii Points): FORGOTTEN WORLDS is a one- or two-player side-scrolling shooter made by CAPCOM. It was one of the first games to incorporate 360-degree aiming and shooting. This SEGA GENESIS version provides the same impact and intensity of the classic arcade game. In the 29th century, without warning, warships broke through the sky, loaded with fiendish aliens. They rained down fire, bombs, missiles and napalm, leaving the land barren and inhospitable. Humanity was enslaved and Earth became known as the Forgotten World. In a hidden place, a group of brave humans raised two male children in secret. They brought up the young men as warriors, training them for battle. The two warriors emerged as armed machines of might, strength and super power – the Nameless Ones. Fight the hateful invaders as the powerful Nameless Ones. Collect Zenny to upgrade your weapons and satellite, and free the planet.
This week sees the introduction three new additions to the Wii Shop Channel in the form of two WiiWare and one Virtual Console title. Here’s the deal:
Brain Challenge (Gameloft, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone, 1,000 Wii Points): Just like your body, your brain needs to be exercised to stay in shape. Boost your brain and relieve stress through various minigames in a personal session to get a detailed evaluation. Challenge your friends’ brains in delirious party games to see who is the smartest. Test your brain’s abilities in Visual, Memory, Logic, Math and Focus minigames. Compare yourself with friends by challenging their brains in three multiplayer modes. Develop your resistance to stressful situations that could happen in real life. Use a customized Mii™ character to create personal sessions. Choose your favorite personal coach. Track your overall performance with detailed statistics and graphs. The special Kid Test and Senior Test modes will gather everyone around the game.
Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam (Virtual Toys, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone-Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, 1,000 Wii Points): Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam is a frenetically active cooking game in which you must serve food to your customers as quickly as possible. This could be a simple task, but the customers aren’t very patient, and you’ll find a multitude of annoying insects that make the noble mission of satisfying your small gourmets’ stomachs much more difficult. In the game’s Career Mode, your goal is to become the best chef in the city. To do so, you have to prove your worth by cooking in four fantastic restaurants: the Hot Dog, Hamburger, Pizza and Mexican Restaurant. Enjoy playing Yummy Yummy with your family, serving delicious food to the most surprising characters: vampires, ninjas, extraterrestrials and mafia thugs. Put on your chef’s hat, sharpen your knives and turn up the heat.
Mega Man 3 (NES™, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone-Mild Cartoon Violence, 500 Wii Points): In the year 200X, the notorious Dr. Wily, now reformed and working for the forces of good, works hand-in-hand with Dr. Light to build a new type of peacekeeping robot. When a new set of eight Robot Masters escapes the lab to wreak havoc on the world at large, only Mega Man can save the day. This time, Mega Man must rely on his new slide move and canine companion Rush to conquer the stages and vanquish evil. A new character, Proto Man, adds to the mystery and appeal of this seminal title in the famous action-game series.
Two new WiiWare titles are now live on the Virtual Console service for the Nintendo Wii as part of this week’s Wii-kly update.
The games are Alien Crash Returns and Home Sweet Home for 800 and 1000 points, respectively. Here’s the deal:
ALIEN CRUSH RETURNS (Hudson Entertainment)
ALIEN CRUSH RETURNS is the ultimate incarnation of the popular TurboGrafx pinball classic, Alien Crush. Boasting innovative game and control features, this is one Wii experience that you don’t want to miss. With all the ball-blazing simplicity and flipper action thrills of standard pinball, ALIEN CRUSH RETURNS has all the visual and digital elements that you’ve come to expect in a video game, including grotesque, eye-stunning playfields as well as unique Action Ball gimmicks that redefine the fun and excitement of pinball. You can even nudge the machine with your Wii Remote controller. What’s more, you can connect via Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection to enjoy a variety of features such as four-player head-to-head action, high score competitions and Extra Stage downloads.
Home Sweet Home (Big Blue Bubble Inc.)
Picture this scene… You move into your new home, and every room is perfect. Every room, except one. Here is the blank canvas for your vision, but you lack the know-how. Who do you call? The Home Sweet Home team! Home Sweet Home will give you the chance to unleash your hidden talents as an interior designer. You choose the furniture, patterns and colors to create a masterpiece that will blow your client away. With simple controls, a fun graphical style and an easy-to-use interface, Home Sweet Home allows you to nurture your creative side. Remember, a house is not a home until it is a Home Sweet Home.
This week’s additions to the Virtual Console service are:
Cybernator (SNES, 1 player, rated E 10+ for Everyone 10 and Older – Mild Fantasy Violence, 800 Wii Points): It is the near future. Resources are dwindling, and the major powers of the world are in dispute over territory. Pilot the Cybernator G5-E for the 95th brigade of the mechanized marines and throw yourself into the war. Get briefed before each mission to confirm your targets, and then do your best to clear each of the seven stages, freely using the suit’s equipped tools and four types of weaponry. By collecting the “power chips” left by defeated enemies, it is also possible to reinforce each weapon up to a maximum of three levels. It is left to your judgment as to whether to reinforce a specific weapon or to power up all weapons simultaneously, adding a bit of strategy to the nonstop action. The powerful background music, military-like atmosphere (look for bullet marks on the walls and the strained communication during combat) and intense story development combine to give the world of Cybernator a gritty, sci-fi feel that you won’t soon forget.
Alien Storm (Sega Genesis, 1-2 players, rated E 10+ for Everyone 10 and Older – Mild Fantasy Violence, 800 Wii Points): Shape-shifting aliens have infiltrated the city, creating chaos and panic! Fortunately, a trio of heroes called the Alien Busters has agreed to wipe out the invading creatures. The members of the team wield their own special attacks, and they unload a world of hurt on the Martian menaces from the city streets to the mother ship. Gordon, a tough guy with a bazooka, has a special gunship attack, while Karla has a flamethrower for alien crisping, though she prefers to use her special ballistic-missile attack. Finally, Slammer the robot can self-destruct at will and attacks the intruders with an electric whip and other devices. Take the aliens by storm and save your city.
Monster Lair (TurboGrafx16 CD-ROM, 1-2 players, rated E for Everyone – Mild Cartoon Violence, 800 Wii Points): Join young Adam and Laura as they embark on a fantastic adventure in this comical action/shooting game. Featuring beautiful music brought to life by the power of the CD-ROM, the game consists of 14 rounds packed with cute monster enemies. Players can either play alone as Adam (or play with a friend controlling Laura) as they battle their way through round after round. The first half of each round is the action scene, where players must avoid obstacles and pits. Use your Power Boost weapons against enemies and restore your Life Force with food as you head for the gate at the end. The second half is the exhilarating shooting scene, where players must shoot down flying enemies. Take out the boss at the end to clear the round and move to the next one.
This week’s releases on the Virtual Console service aren’t just games, but new features as well. But first, the games:
Pokémon Snap (Nintendo 64, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone, 1,000 Wii Points): As one of the most unique games in a renowned series, Pokémon Snap was the first truly 3-D Pokémon game and introduced the phenomenon to the Nintendo 64. Travel to Pokémon Island and meet Professor Oak to begin a safari, taking the best possible photographs of 63 different Pokémon as they exist in the wild, undisturbed by humans. This is not as easy as it sounds-the island has many types of climates and environments to explore, along with secret activities and hidden passages to discover. Plus, some of the Pokémon can be a little shy and won’t pose for the camera unless you tease them with special items. After you’re done, submit one picture of each Pokémon to Professor Oak, and he’ll judge it based on size, pose, technique and number of Pokémon captured.
Ghosts’n Goblins (NES®, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone-Mild Animated Violence, 500 Wii Points): Ghosts’n Goblins was a popular arcade game before it made the leap to the NES in 1986. Like later games in the series, Ghosts’n Goblins presents quite a challenge to players brave enough to take on the role of Arthur and delve into the realm of demons and monsters to rescue the kidnapped princess. Choose your weapons wisely and take advantage of their strengths to deal with the situation at hand. Pass through the six gates that stand between you and Astaroth, and teach him a lesson in chivalry he’ll never forget. Demonstrating a high level of technical prowess for a game of its era, Ghosts’n Goblins presents a unique and unforgettable universe. The stage for adventure is set. Are you up to the test?
BASEBALL STARS 2 (NEOGEO, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone, 900 Wii Points): Lace up your cleats and step onto the diamond with the pros of BASEBALL STARS 2. You’ll find everything you’d expect in a classic game of baseball, but with an arcade feel and intense action that distinguish it from the pack. Pick one of six unique teams from cities around the world, then get ready for nine innings of excitement, whether you’re taking on the computer in a 15-game tournament or squaring off against a friend. There are two modes of game play, so even the most inexperienced player can compete at the major-league level (with a little computer-aided fielding). Watch as the game develops through split-screen views and close-up shots worthy of any highlight film, and see if you can catch the numerous over-the-top animations of the large and detailed player models. Think you have what it takes to win the pennant?
Besides games, Nintendo added new features to the service, one of which allows players to post pictures they take in a game to their Wii Message Board and let their friends view the pictures. To celebrate the Holiday season, they have also added a new Gifting feature to send games to other Wii owners with whom players have traded Friend Codes.