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Topics - Yoshidious

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TalkBack / DS Lite Bundles for the UK in October
« on: September 22, 2008, 10:46:53 PM »
Brain Training, Big Brain Academy, Nintendogs, and Cooking Guide will each be packed in with DS Lite colours in another push to draw in new users in the UK over the holiday shopping season, with Europe-wide releases to follow.

 In an effort to attract an even greater number of British consumers into the Nintendo DS fold, Nintendo has announced that it will bundle DS Lite units with top-selling "Touch! Generations" software for the first time ever in the UK just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Available at British retailers from October, and across the rest of Europe before Christmas, the packages will include the following pairings (with estimated retail prices listed):    

  • Black DS Lite with Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training, £120
  • White DS Lite with Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training, £120
  • Red DS Lite with Big Brain Academy, £120
  • Pink DS Lite with Nintendogs Labrador and Friends, £130
  • Blue DS Lite with Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What to Eat?, £130


18th September, 2008 – Believe it or not Christmas is just around the corner, which means the time for gift shopping is almost upon us once again! However, do not fear as help is on hand from Nintendo with its new Nintendo DS Lite bundles set to ensure the entire family is suitably entertained over the festive season.    

The new official bundles have been created to make sure all newcomers to the world of Nintendo have the widest possible choice and the best and most enjoyable entry experience possible. Ideal for all, these bundles will make sure even the most difficult family and friends can be catered for!    

The new packs are available across Europe this Christmas, with the following available in the UK from October:    

  • White Nintendo DS Lite console and Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? software at the estimated retail price of £120.
  • Black Nintendo DS Lite console and Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? software at the estimated retail price of £120.
  • Red Nintendo DS Lite console and Big Brain Academy software at the software at the estimated retail price of £120
  • Pink Nintendo DS Lite console and Nintendogs Labrador and Friends software at the estimated retail price of £130.
  • Blue Nintendo DS Lite console and Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What To Eat? software at the estimated retail price of £130.

    So whether it’s a gift for a dog lover, someone who gets pleasure from their brains being trained or a fanatic of classic gaming, Nintendo  have something to suit everyone’s tastes, making Christmas gifting less stressful and more delightful for all!

    TalkBack / Trauma Center: New Blood Heading to Europe on November 7
    « on: September 17, 2008, 06:20:54 AM »
    Nintendo will publish the PAL version of the second of Atlus' medical dramas for Wii just shy of a year on from its North American launch date.

     Nintendo has announced that it will publish Trauma Center: New Blood, Atlus' critically acclaimed medical drama/surgery simulation for Wii, across Europe on November 7. The launch will occur just thirteen days shy of the anniversary of the game's 2007 North American release, and fifteen months after Nintendo brought Trauma Center: Second Opinion—a Wii launch title in North America—to European shores.    

    Trauma Center: New Blood builds on its Wii predecessor with a number of new and expanded features, including widescreen support, extensive voice acting, a two player co-op mode, and online leaderboards for high scores. The sequel also contains a unique storyline, with two new playable characters being pitted against a new epidemic threat known as "Stigma".    

    Nintendo World Report's full review of the North American version of Trauma Center: New Blood can be found here.    


    Hands at the steady - It's time to get back to the operating theatre!    

    Get into your scrubs and save lives as Trauma Center: New Blood launches on Wii. Offering an all-new immersive storyline, Trauma Center: New Blood will challenge your medical know-how, introduce you to two brand new characters and encourage participation in co-operative play, as you head to the operating theatre to combat the latest deadly virus - Stigma. So get ready to put your steady hands to the test and polish up on your operating skills as Trauma Center: New Blood goes on sale across Europe on 7th November 2008.    

    Trauma Center: New Blood welcomes two new playable characters, Markus Vaughn and Valerie Blaylock, both highly skilled doctors soon whisked to LA to investigate the epidemic of a new deadly disease - Stigma. Caduceus, the international organisation that treats and researches new diseases is called in, however they struggle to stop the disease from taking more lives. Markus and Valerie soon come to play an important part in unravelling a web of deceit and betrayal that could lead to lethal consequences.    

    Throughout Trauma Center: New Blood players are put in numerous enthralling situations where patients' lives hang in the balance. Players must strategically and skilfully use a set of medical instruments to operate on a wide variety of illnesses. Keeping one eye on the clock, operations must be successfully completed within a set time before advancing to the next chapter in the story. Budding surgeons can also choose the difficulty level. But beware, a harder skill level will see an increase in damage caused if mistakes are made and the stabiliser medication becomes less effective!    

    Using a combination of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk brings realism to a whole new level as players enjoy the lifelike use of surgical instruments, for example by simulating the real-life motion of using a defibrillator with both controllers. In addition to this, players can also look forward to some new procedures to further their medical knowledge. Manual CPR and skin grafting can now be attempted as well as a variety of new medications available to inject.    

    The Wii Remote is used to wield surgical tools with precision, making every operation a truly nerve-wracking process. In case of emergency, each character has a unique Healing Touch at their disposal. This allows players to briefly slow down time or stabilise the patient's vitals. It can only be performed once per operation and requires the player to swiftly and precisely draw a five-point star on the screen. Manual dexterity is further tested in tense operations where the Wii Remote must be carefully twisted to put broken bones back together. With more emphasis on realistic operations, Trauma Center: New Blood will have your heart racing as you struggle to save the lives of your ill-fated patients.    

    Trauma Center: New Blood will also see two players able to team up in almost every operation using co-operative play mode. Combine your talents with a friend or family member to save lives together as you operate simultaneously, each selecting instruments from your own set. Players can also compare their healing skills with the rest of the world as they upload scores to leaderboards via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.    

    So step up to the table and take the challenge to save lives and be a medical hero in this exciting new instalment of hospital drama as Trauma Center: New Blood launches across Europe on 7th November 2008.

    TalkBack / WiiWare Trio for Europe
    « on: September 13, 2008, 03:47:55 PM »
    Plättchen: Twist 'n' Paint and Bomberman Blast make their global debuts on the PAL Wii Shop Channel as Midnight Pool rounds out a historically plentiful WiiWare update.

     Hot on the heels of three weeks of Virtual Console games making their first appearances in PAL regions, this week's update to the Wii Shop Channel constitutes another first: a three-deep roster of WiiWare games to download in the same week. Furthermore, two games out of the trio, Plättchen: Twist 'n' Paint and Bomberman Blast, are now available for the first time anywhere in the world.    

    Created by independent developers Bplus, Plättchen: Twist 'n' Paint (1500 Wii Points) is described as an action-puzzle game that involves painting tiles in appropriate colours. The game features three distinct modes, 300 levels, eight player versus play, and four player co-op multiplayer options.    

    Bomberman Blast (1000 Wii Points), from Hudson, also features eight player functionality, both locally and online via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The classic Bomberman formula now comes with Mii integration, new gesture-triggered items, and online rankings based on your battle record.    

    Gameloft's Midnight Pool (800 Wii Points) rounds out the unprecedented trio of WiiWare games. First released in North America last month, this pool sim adds three rule sets, seven selectable characters, and advanced trick-shot challenges to the classic cue sport.

    TalkBack / REVIEWS: Bangai-O Spirits
    « on: September 08, 2008, 10:54:47 PM »
    Fortune favours the mecha with omni-directional missiles.

     Bangai-O Spirits is the latest frenzied offering from Treasure, developers of such action classics as Gunstar Heroes and Ikaruga. Just as was the case for its 1999 progenitor on Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast, Spirits puts players in control of the Bangai-O, a mecha that finds itself constantly under fire from all directions. However, on this occasion Treasure has decided to eschew a traditional progression structure, offering instead a myriad of levels to play from the get-go, with a robust and intuitive level editor opening up the potential to create and play countless more. The result is an intense, eclectic, and wildly creative experience that blends chaotic action with measured strategy to superb effect—a unique package that is only diminished by a certain lack of polish, and the all-too-obvious sense of the DS cracking under the strain of the sheer madness of it all.    

    Upon booting up the game for the first time, it quickly becomes clear that Bangai-O Spirits was created with no aspirations beyond gameplay. The gloriously explosive world of Bangai-O is never explained or rationalised in any way; in fact, the fourth wall-breaking dialogue during the game's tutorial achieves quite the opposite. Wry self-awareness aside, this section uses a number of simple levels to introduce players to the controls, weapons, and gameplay mechanics that comprise the game's design.    

    Controlling your (ostensibly gigantic, but very small on screen) mecha is fairly complicated, as it is equipped with a full range of movement through the air and various pieces of omni-directional weaponry. This extensive functionality proves to be a lot for the D-pad and buttons of the DS to handle. As a result, the scheme may take some getting used to before players feel in complete command of the highly manoeuvrable mecha, but the controls are ultimately very effective thanks in particular to a well-implemented auto-aim function.    

    Bangai-O's weapon types span two categories from which players choose two of each: standard and EX, with some types appearing in both categories. Standard weapons include machine gun-like missile launchers and melee weapons, such as an energy sword and an enormous baseball bat. EX weapons perform charged attacks by consuming a power meter, either releasing an omni-directional barrage of missiles, or performing special functions such as reflecting enemy fire or freezing enemies in place for a short time. Matched up against a wide range of enemy and level designs, this array of weaponry becomes a suite of strategic options for players to employ.    

    As a product of the gaming minds at Treasure, it will comes as no surprise that deft use of strategy is not the only key to survival in Bangai-O Spirits; twitch reflexes also prove invaluable amid the perpetual maelstrom of ricocheting projectiles, and players are actively encouraged to embrace danger. Close proximity to enemy fire can magnify the firepower of EX missile attacks up to four times the standard full charge, meaning that breaking into the middle of the fray is often the most efficient way to blow away the enemy. Furthermore, damage taken actually replenishes your EX meter, while enemies destroyed by bigger explosions drop higher value pickups (varieties of fruit, naturally) that rack up the score and also fill the EX meter, helping to perpetuate a cycle of destruction.    

    Once the tutorial levels are out of the way, the game simply leaves you to sample the other 150+ levels on the game card in any order you choose. The levels are grouped into three categories: "Treasure's Best", "Puzzle Stages", and "Other Stages", with the vast majority falling into the latter. Though it is recommended that the levels be attempted in order within each category, this implies the presence of an underlying difficulty curve that is not discernible in reality. Naturally, there are fluctuations in difficulty across the large number of levels, but in general they are all similarly (very) difficult. Moreover, a number of levels are designed to destroy the beleaguered Bangai-O within a matter of seconds if the correct strategy is not executed, so trial and error is unquestionably the order of the day. This is where Bangai-O Spirits' open, bite-sized structure can be a blessing, as there is no need for players to remain stuck on a particularly frustrating level, and the process of learning a level's pitfalls is rarely a prolonged one.    

    Bangai-O Spirits' refusal to adhere to a structure also brings with it some significant drawbacks. Without unlockable content or some other incentive structure, some may not be sufficiently motivated to explore the depth of the game's content. The game's score system could have provided scope for the creation of tiers of achievement for each level and rewards associated with them (such as the medals found in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games), but no such structure is implemented. This lack of encouragement is compounded by the absence of a progression of levels, which means players may not become drawn into the game in the same fashion as would be the case if there were the promise of a line of new worlds with different enemies and weapons to encounter in each. Perhaps most surprisingly for a Treasure game, there are no unique set piece boss fights in the game, only a few larger enemies that can be found interspersed throughout the game on numerous occasions.    

    In lieu of some greater visual, narrative, or other context for the proceedings, Bangai-O Spirits is heavily dependent on the ingenuity of its levels to capitalise on its gameplay potential. Though there are a few designs that seem like throwaway inclusions, the multitude of stages deliver a wealth of diverse creativity. The abstract nature of the game imposes very few constraints on the level designs, leading to stages based inside everything from giant faces to classic arcade games. Some are focused on testing reflexes and endurance, but Bangai-O Spirits is at its best when a level's layout challenges you to devise your own personal solution to a conundrum, one composed of enemy and weapon types rather than moving blocks (though the game has a few of those too). To this end, the various enemies have been designed to force players to grasp the merits of all the different attack types. For example, a wall of missiles will not always destroy everything in its path as some foes can block or deflect them back in your direction; but with a whack of the baseball bat, these enemies can be stunned and left helpless in the face of another volley of explosives.    

    This union of over-the-top action with strategic combat inside of cleverly-designed levels gives Bangai-O Spirits its unique feel—a game with traditional arcade-style qualities, but with none of those old constraints attached. The chief detraction from the effectiveness of this design is the fact that it is apparently too much of a technical burden for the DS to bear smoothly. The visual style on show may be very simple, with basic backgrounds and uncomplicated enemy sprites of limited animation, but the sheer number of rebounding projectiles that flood the lower screen of the DS frequently has the game juddering along at a reduced pace. The largest EX attacks can literally bring the game to a stop for a second or so before the oversized missile sprites begin to slowly fan out across the screen.    

    The staccato pace that results is visually unpleasant, but its impact on gameplay is not as significant. The occurrence of slowdown is so systematic as to be reliable; thus, when entering an area about to be filled with missiles, you can prepare for the inevitable change of pace that ensues. Indeed, this phenomenon makes positioning the Bangai-O between lines of enemy fire to deliver the biggest possible EX attack considerably easier, which given the overall difficulty of the game will doubtlessly come as a relief to many. More jarring is the sudden sensation of increased speed felt when the smoke clears after a massive explosion obliterates an entire area. The net result definitely blunts the game's intensity, but Treasure has done a reasonable job of trading off between the amount of on-screen chaos and the playability of the game to find a middle ground that still works well.    

    Otherwise, respectable use has been made of the capabilities of the DS for Bangai-O Spirits. The soundtrack is unremarkable, but the sound effects help accentuate the action very well, with crunching explosions that lend some much-needed weight to all those sprites knocking into each other. Also, up to four player co-op is possible through multi-card wireless play, but this could not be tested for the purposes of this review. The top screen is left to display the layout of the entire level, which can sometimes prove useful, but the dual screens are really put to use in the game's level editor. The touch screen interface makes editing any of the existing levels or creating entirely new ones a breeze, and with the comprehensive range of tools available, it really is possible to create levels every bit as full-featured as the levels pre-existing  on the game card.    

    In terms of sharing your creations with the rest of the world, Treasure decided to bypass the framework of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection by implementing the "Sound Load" function. This involves levels being encoded into a stream of modem-like audio data, allowing the level to exist as an audio file on a PC which can then be distributed online without restrictions. To play a level in this form, the audio must be played into the DS microphone via headphones. This process proves to be inconsistently effective, and thus will likely cause annoyance, but the trade-off for unfettered availability of levels is probably worthwhile; the more gamers are able to play levels created by their contemporaries, the more their own creativity will be spurred.    

    The level editor proves to be the true heart and soul of Bangai-O Spirits, as it reveals Treasure's rationale behind structuring the game the way they did.  Their goal was clearly to create an extensive playbook for gamers to draw upon when devising their own levels. This is not to say that the content on the game card is of scant significance, because the 170 levels are infused with tremendous creativity, provide a lot of entertaining content, and stand up very well as a game in their own right. However, the potential of the level editor means that the Bangai-O Spirits experience is intended to be much more than simply a play-through of a series of levels.    

    Combined with the unorthodox structure and uncompromising difficulty of the game, this emphasis on user-generated content may limit its appeal to a relatively small audience.  But for those who are intrigued by what Bangai-O Spirits has to offer, there is a deep and rich well of truly unique gaming enjoyment to be tapped here. It may not exude high production values, and it lacks the satisfaction associated with the kind of skilfully crafted linear experiences that Treasure is most famous for; but if gameplay is king, then Bangai-O Spirits is a monarchist.


  • Excellent core gameplay combines all-out action with strategic combat
  • 170 levels provide many and varied challenges
  • All the tools needed to freely edit, create, and trade levels are available

  •        Cons:
  • Systematic visual slowdown
  • Lack of structure and incentives may render the experience less absorbing for some

  •                Graphics:  7.0
           The visuals have been kept fairly simple to accommodate astonishing levels of on-screen action, but this only limits the slowdown to manageable levels. All the levels have a generic look owing to the fact that they could have been created from the templates in the game's level editor, but the anime-inspired sprite aesthetic retains a certain charm.

                   Sound:  7.0
           With a soundtrack of forgettable compositions and instrumentation familiar to anyone who has played through Treasure's GBA titles, Bangai-O's music is passable but far from impressive. The sound effects are much more satisfying as they supply the near-apocalyptic events with real punch.

                   Control:  8.0
           Applying the full range of Bangai-O's functions to the D-pad and buttons of the DS makes for a control scheme that is not immediately accessible, but is ultimately very functional. The effectiveness of the auto-aim function will assuage concerns over the need for analogue control in a game that constantly surrounds you with enemies from all angles.

                          Gameplay:  9.0
           Bangai-O Spirits' core gameplay is based around creating as much danger as possible, and then encouraging the player to rush headlong into that peril. This proves to be a constant source of amusement in itself, but the set of weapon and enemy designs open up a range of strategic possibilities within this framework which the level layouts then exploit to excellent effect. The result is a diverse range of challenges that require thought, quick reflexes, and persistence to overcome.


           Lastability:  9.0
           170 levels may overstate the lasting appeal to be found in the content present on the game card because many of them are very brief, and the absence of a defined progression or a reward scheme may leave gamers uncompelled to methodically play through them all. However, the challenge on offer can keep committed players occupied for a considerable amount of time, and the excellent level editor and freedom of level sharing promise a world of possibilities to make Bangai-O Spirits worth coming back to.


           Final:  9.0
           Bangai-O Spirits is a truly unique package of old-school gameplay sensibilities and a completely untraditional structure. The experience is raw and rough around the edges as the game strains the technical capabilities of the DS, but the superb (and taxing) gameplay design triumphs over the game's shortcomings, and the level editor should entice players to dive into the world of user-generated content in order to further explore its considerable potential.      

    TalkBack / Professor Layton to Make European Debut in November
    « on: September 04, 2008, 01:26:35 PM »
    The first in the series of logic-puzzling adventures, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is set to launch across Europe on November 7.

     Nintendo of Europe has announced that Professor Layton and the Curious Village, the first in a series of logic puzzle-driven Nintendo DS point-and-click adventures will launch across Europe on November 7. The European release will take place nearly nine months after Nintendo localised and published the game for the North American market on February 10 of this year.    

    Professor Layton and the Curious Village tasks players with guiding the Professor and his young companion Luke through an investigation of the village of St. Mystere, solving numerous brain teasers in pursuit of the solution to a larger enigma. Outside of the main story, additional puzzles will become available on a weekly basis for those able to access the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.    


    Professor Layton and the Curious Village arrives on Nintendo DS!    

    4th September 2008 - Prepare to step into a mysterious and eccentric world when Professor Layton and the Curious Village arrives on the Nintendo DS on 7th November 2008. With over 130 logical and lateral thinking conundrums immersed in an engrossing and compelling storyline game, and additional puzzles available every week via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, players of all ages everywhere will be challenged to the limit as they search to unravel the hidden secrets of the village St. Mystere!    

    Taking control of two quirky and intriguing characters, Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke, whilst being guided by fully animated cut scenes, players must successfully decipher the numerous taxing puzzles that face them to reveal events and strands of the ever-mysterious storyline. Only when everything has been discovered, all mysteries resolved and the ultimate item – the Golden Apple – recovered, will the player have solved the mystery surrounding St. Mystere.    

    Throughout the game, Professor Layton and Luke will meet the curious townsfolk of St. Mystere who will try and confuse them with riddles and conundrums to hinder their path. Using the Touch Screen to navigate, players must unleash their detective skills to uncover as much information as possible from conversations and the environment around them. Be warned though, a few characters have hidden agendas of their own and will do everything in their power to prevent you from uncovering the truth.    

    Successfully completing a puzzle will see players rewarded with Picarats Points. Storing them safely in Professor Layton’s trusty trunk, the player is to unearth as many of these points as possible to keep track of performance. Puzzles featured are suitable for all ages, however the harder the riddle the more Picarats awarded – so always think twice before giving up so easily! If you do get stuck however, help is on hand in the form of a Hint Coin. Using these will unlock one of three possible hints to help you on your way to successfully understand this baffling town. However, these are hidden treasures so be sure to overturn every stone with the stylus to find them!    

    In addition to overcoming the constant puzzles within the main storyline, there are numerous side missions to keep the mind in full throttle. Completed puzzles may unearth strange items, like parts of machinery, furniture and scraps of paintings, which are used in more mind bending and curious mini-games!    

    Even when the challenge is over and the mysteries unravelled, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection will keep you gripped as new riddles will be available to download on a weekly basis aiming to bamboozle the most curious of minds!    

    So what are you waiting for? You may have trained your brain with Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training but once again its time to grab your thinking cap and travel to St. Mystere to solve the puzzles and challenges that surround Professor Layton and the Curious Village!    

    Professor Layton and the Curious Village launches on the Nintendo DS across Europe on 7th November 2008.

    TalkBack / Space Invaders Get Even Across Europe in October
    « on: August 20, 2008, 05:19:46 PM »
    PAL Wii owners will take command of the legendary invaders as they attack the Earth in an exclusive new WiiWare title.

     Square Enix has announced that it will be bringing another instalment of Taito's legendary Space Invaders series to PAL territories in the form of Space Invaders Get Even, an exclusive new WiiWare title available to download from the Wii Shop Channel in October.    

    Following on from the release of Space Invaders Extreme for Nintendo DS, Space Invaders Get Even further commemorates the 30th anniversary of the arcade classic by putting gamers on the other side of the storied conflict. Players take command of the Space Invader hordes in Get Even, controlling UFOs and marshalling the iconic extra-terrestrial creatures to combat tanks, fighter planes, and bosses drawn from Earth's defence forces.    

    Commanding the invasion will involve choosing between five different attack modes for your forces, and battles will rage across seven different environments. Also, players' high scores will be measured against the best the world has to offer via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.    

    There are currently no details on a price point for the PAL release of Space Invaders Get Even, nor has there been any suggestion of additional downloadable content being made available. In Japan, Space Invaders Get Even has been set for an August release at a price of 500 Wii Points, with further content to be released later on.    


    Beaming Down on WiiWare this October    

    London (20th August 2008) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories, today announces the TAITO® game SPACE INVADERS GET EVEN™ will be available, to download exclusively from the Nintendo WiiWare™ service, across Europe in October 2008.    

    30 years after the original SPACE INVADERS® ignited an entire entertainment medium and founded a gaming generation; players can now prepare for role reversal in this brand new action-invasion, where the fate of the Earth is in their alien hands.    

    Players will control mysterious UFOs and give orders to hordes of Space Invader underlings in an attempt to overrun Earth and battle Earthlings' attacking human weaponry.    

    John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix Ltd. comments, "SPACE INVADERS EXTREME launched earlier this year recaptured the hearts of many gamers, and launched the SPACE INVADERS series to a new generation of younger fans. SPACE INVADERS GET EVEN promises to be a great follow-up release for this the 30th anniversary of the series."    


  • Intense action-invasion where the roles have reversed and you, and your Space Invaders are attacking Earth!
  • Control mysterious UFOs and give orders to hordes of Space Invader underlings, as you attempt to destroy the feeble human weaponry
  • Five unique attack modes to fit any battle situation you will face. Choose between Shot, Homing, Burst, Drill and Hopping
  • Be prepared to battle the onslaught of Earthling technology including Tanks, Battleships, Fighter Planes, Fortified Buildings, Attacking Helicopters, not to mention the Bosses!
  • Battle across seven unique gaming environments
  • Upload your High Scores via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and battle for the world's highest score!

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    TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: Pirates: Duels on the High Seas
    « on: August 15, 2008, 07:48:46 AM »
    DS owners, prepare to be boarded!

     Following on from the WiiWare release of its sister title, Pirates: The Key of Dreams, Pirates: Duels on the High Seas for Nintendo DS is a top-down action game that puts you at the helm of a Pirate ship on a voyage for ancient treasure, blasting through fleets of enemies and sea monsters as you go. Oxygen Games granted me the opportunity to go hands-on with a preview build of the game prior to its release in the UK later this month, and after some extended playtime, here are my impressions.    

    Your single-player quest begins with the selection of a difficulty level corresponding to the size of your ship (the greater the size, the lesser the difficulty).  The ship's controls are executed exclusively with buttons; the D-pad steers, while the shoulder buttons propel the vessel either forwards (R) or backwards (L). Weapons are fired using the face buttons, with the port and starboard cannons being activated by A, while consumable pick-up secondary weapons (such as rockets and mines) are triggered using B. With just a little practice, this scheme proves more than adequate for manoeuvring your vessel in between obstacles and around enemies.    

    Pirates: Duels on the High Seas employs 3D graphics to present the game's action on the upper screen, and the results are quite effective, if rather lacking in appreciable textural and architectural variety across the different environments. I noticed some slowdown affecting a few situations involving a particularly large number of enemy ships on-screen at once, but otherwise the game runs fairly smoothly. On the lower screen, a simple map displays a bird's-eye view of the area around your ship, indicating the presence of enemy vessels or weapon installations with skull icons.  These can assist in the formulation of a little advance planning, if necessary.    

    The sound design on show here is very sparse. Without music to accompany the action during a level, just a few basic weapon fire sound effects and seagull noises are left to carry the audio load. There is some music used in tandem with the brief static story scenes between levels, and a quick fanfare for clearing an area, but otherwise there is nothing to speak of for a soundtrack. What little music is present is thematically suitable, if rather uninspired.    

    Though the presence of a top-down perspective and a ship capable of picking up various weapons may evoke thoughts of a vertically scrolling shooter, Pirates: Duels on the High Seas is structurally more similar to a side-scrolling fighting game, such as the Subspace Emissary component of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Typically, you navigate through levels on a linear path, often at liberty to simply bypass enemies rather than face them down. Combat is only necessary when a locked gate prevents you from progressing until, for example, you have destroyed all the ships in that particular area. There can be rewards for destroying enemy ships along your way, such as gold or new crew members that enhance your ship's abilities, but these inducements appear seldom enough to provide scant encouragement to methodically destroy every enemy that crosses your path.    

    When engaging in combat does become imperative, the intention is clearly for you to manoeuvre your vessel such that it can deliver devastating broadsides to your opponents while evading enemy fire. However, the enemy AI and balance of the game's statistics mean that such dexterity is seldom necessary to progress through the next gate. When dealing with smaller vessels, it is quite safe to remain stationary while pumping out cannon fire until they sink. Also, the collectible sub-weapons can make quick work out of larger ships and cannon placements, but in their absence the process simply becomes something of an exercise in tedium rather than tension.    

    Fighting the game's biggest enemies, such as a colossal battleship or a sea dragon, can require greater care and attention, but this is mitigated by the inclusion of an ability to continually replenish your ship's health. Selectable from an icon on the touch screen after you find a shipwright to become part of your crew, this option can make your ship near-invulnerable at the cost of a quite trivial amount of gold (which is relatively ubiquitous in itself). Combined with the fact that (most of the time) your ship is in little danger from the standard enemy boats, this low price for such a useful ability makes it all too easy to get out of a tight spot in one of the bigger battles. It also renders the other selectable crew-based ship abilities, such as greater range for your weaponry or a wider field of vision on the lower screen, practically irrelevant due to their comparatively meagre usefulness.    

    Overall, Pirates: Duels on the High Seas has some quite solid foundations in terms of controls and graphics, but some curious design choices mean that these are not being fully exploited. Also, it remains to be seen whether there is sufficient variety in the tasks and level designs to maintain players' interest throughout the course of the game. In addition to the quite substantial single-player campaign, Pirates: Duels on the High Seas will feature multiplayer modes for up to four people to participate, with or without extra game cards. Unfortunately, these options could not be utilised in this preview build of the game. UK DS owners will have the opportunity to discover how multiplayer Pirate-duelling will shape up, along with the rest of the game, when the final version goes on sale on August 22.

    TalkBack / Chrono Trigger Coming to Europe in 2009
    « on: August 06, 2008, 03:05:59 AM »
    The legendary time-travelling RPG will make its belated debut in PAL territories on DS in the early part of next year.

     Square Enix has announced that Chrono Trigger will launch across Europe and other PAL territories for Nintendo DS in early 2009, marking the end of a fourteen year wait for the Super NES classic to make an appearance in those regions.    

    The DS version promises to be extremely faithful to the original 16-bit time-travelling RPG epic that was denied to PAL gamers in the mid-1990s, maintaining the same audio-visual presentation while adding some new features such as touch screen functionality, a new dungeon, and an as yet unspecified wireless play mode.    


    London (6th August 2008) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories, today announces that CHRONO TRIGGER® will be released across PAL territories in early 2009 exclusively on the Nintendo DS™ handheld system.    

    They say that "time is money" but for our hero, Crono it is much more than that! Get ready to travel through time to avoid the destruction of the world as we know it. With CHRONO TRIGGER, your notion of time will be turned upside down as you race against it like you've never done before, while all the decisions you make along the way will affect past, present and future!    

    Originally released in 1995 for the Super NES® CHRONO TRIGGER is regarded as a classic that was sadly never released in the PAL territories. We may not have a time machine to rectify the past, but thankfully CHRONO TRIGGER is about to change history. This all-new edition of CHRONO TRIGGER contains all the classic essence of the original while introducing the portability, dual-screen presentation and Touch-Screen functionality of the Nintendo DS.    

    John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix Ltd. comments, "It gives me great pleasure to see CHRONO TRIGGER being released in Europe and the PAL territories. With its ground breaking story and gameplay, this epic RPG with multiple endings has already won the hearts of many fans and I hope it delights a whole new audience of players into revisiting the CHRONO TRIGGER world time and again."    

    About CHRONO TRIGGER    

    Story  When a newly developed teleportation device malfunctions at the Millennial Fair, young Crono must travel through time to rescue his misfortunate companion from an intricate web of past and present perils. The swashbuckling adventure that ensues soon unveils an evil force set to destroy the world, triggering Crono's race against time to change the course of history and bring about a brighter future.    


  • A masterpiece with an engaging and unparalleled storyline, leading to the discovery of multiple epic conclusions to a journey that transcends time.
  • An unprecedented and inspiring musical score created by Yasunori Mitsuda.
  • Intriguing battle system made possible by the unique combination of the Active Time Battle system and Tech skills.
  • Famed character designer Akira Toriyama lends his signature art style to create the vibrant world that has captivated gamers around the world.
  • Taking advantage of the Nintendo DS hardware, CHRONO TRIGGER makes its way onto the portable platform with all-new dual screen presentation and Touch-Screen functionality.
  • A brand new dungeon and a DS Wireless Play mode adds exciting new dimensions to this timeless classic

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    TalkBack / REVIEWS: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
    « on: July 30, 2008, 04:51:23 AM »
    Get a crash course in turn-based strategy courtesy of Square-Enix.

     As a successor to the Square-Enix series of tactical RPGs, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift once again incorporates extensive character-building and customisation elements into a turn-based strategy game. The result is a delightfully presented experience full of content that offers an open, less hard-edged take on the strategy genre, accommodating new players without relinquishing its depth entirely.    

    It should be noted as a necessary preface to this review that this writer has no prior experience with tactical RPGs or the Final Fantasy franchise itself. Thus, the perspective contained herein is one largely unfamiliar with the heritage and conventions that come with the title.    

    Final Fantasy Tactics A2 opens with a young schoolboy named Luso being magically transported away from our world into Ivalice, the setting for a number of recent Final Fantasy games including Final Fantasy XII. The relatively straightforward story sets Luso on a path back to his homeland, as he joins a clan of adventurers questing for loot and status across the fantastical landscape.  This quest provides a satisfactory backdrop to the growth and development of Luso and his companions throughout the course of the game.    

    While not technically groundbreaking, the two-dimensional graphics employed to bring Ivalice to life are detailed and beautiful, while special effects during battles add some dazzling moments to the proceedings. Luso and the other characters are represented with portraits during dialogue scenes, and appear as quite basic sprites with limited animation during battle, but these portrayals are never less than appropriately functional. The soundtrack also exudes the same sense of polish that has become expected of Square-Enix's output on DS, providing suitably grandiose-sounding instrumentation for the epic fantasy setting.      

    Ivalice cannot be openly explored as in a typical RPG, but is instead split up into a number of locations that are selected from a world map as Luso's clan takes on various quests. These quests include such tasks as defeating all foes, holding a particular location, or protecting a non-player character, but almost exclusively consist of participating in a turn-based battle, so the variety to be found is very definitely constrained. Main quests advance the story with some reasonably effective text dialogue scenes playing out before and afterwards, while numerous side quests can be selected in order to simply accumulate experience, items, money, and more.    

    With turn-based strategy at its heart, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has much more in common with Fire Emblem and Tactics Ogre than its Final Fantasy stablemates. Battles are fought on isometric maps between your clan and various adversaries drawn from the Final Fantasy mythos. All actions are performed by selecting from menus and then specifying areas on the grid, which can be executed with the stylus as well as with buttons. The dual screen display proves more useful than touch screen functionality for improving ease of use, as it makes it possible to readily view information without repeatedly switching between numerous menu screens.    

    Much of the strategic potential contained within the game's battles depends on the layout of the environments themselves; the terrain affects the ability of your characters to move around the grid, while elevation can sometimes protect against attacks coming from below. The orientation of your warriors is also a consideration, as attacks to the rear can deal considerably more damage than those to the front or sides, encouraging players to use the perimeter of the battlefield to their advantage, and to position characters back-to-back for mutual protection.    

    Attacks vary by range, area of effect, and elemental category. In tandem with the importance of the environments, these attack types open up an array of strategic possibilities. For example, tight formations protect your clan from close-up physical attacks, but can be swiftly decimated by a long-range magical attack that affects multiple grid spaces, so paying attention to what your opponents are capable of is highly advisable. However, the intuitive tradeoffs in the game's design, such as that between attack range and attack power, are oftentimes insufficiently pronounced to make their strategic exploitation integral to victory. Quite blunt exercise of your characters' abilities is frequently adequate to progress through the game, and this can prove somewhat unsatisfying.    

    The abilities of your clan members are determined by a number of factors, and this is where Final Fantasy Tactics' RPG elements can be found. Firstly, characters accumulate experience points from participating in battles, raising their statistical attributes as they ascend in level. However, this is only a very basic part of how your clan members develop throughout the course of the game. Each character has a job that comes with specific abilities, such as healing spells for a White Mage. These abilities become "mastered" over time such that a character can then be assigned a different job with new abilities to use, but retain abilities from their previous occupation. Furthermore, equipping clan members with rare armaments (procured by trading specific combinations of items at the Bazaar) can bestow further abilities upon them, eventually opening up new job types for selection by that character.    

    The net result is enormous scope to customise your characters along branching paths of jobs and abilities, injecting something of a personal touch into the development of a clan and its subsequent use on the battlefield. However, this great breadth of opportunity to character-build works to remove some of the hard edge from the strategy component of Final Fantasy Tactics A2. With a wealth of optional quests to exploit for experience points and items, those finding themselves frustrated with the latest quest in the storyline can take the time to build up their clan such that it can overwhelm its foes rather than being forced to carefully out-manoeuvre them.    

    The ease with which one can substitute strategy with brute force is magnified by the aforementioned weakness of the tradeoffs between attack types, and as such many of the battle scenarios do not feel meticulously crafted to create tactical problems in the same way as those found in out-and-out strategy games. The Law system, which places restrictions on what actions can be performed in battle in exchange for certain clan privileges, sometimes inserts an interesting tactical wrinkle into a battle scenario, but its effects far more frequently seem arbitrary or entirely trivial. Nevertheless, the game design does reward care and attention to detail, and those that have little desire to play through side quests can fall back on their cunning to circumvent grinding to some extent.    

    Overall, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is a quite uncommon (if not flawless) coupling of remarkable depth with relative accessibility, although it will not take players by the hand through all of its intricacies. The open-ended structure and accommodating difficulty curve encourage experimentation, and give players ample opportunity to approach the game in their own way with regards to strategy and party management. A keen interest in custom character-building may well be required to get the most from the game, as this element provides the greatest depth for players to explore. However, as a gracefully presented package that includes a lengthy main quest and numerous hours of supplementary content, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is a very worthy purchase for an audience much wider than only genre and/or franchise devotees.


  • Beautiful and polished in every respect
  • Achieves reasonable accessibility without sacrificing complexity
  • Many, many hours of gameplay to be tapped

  •        Cons:
  • Strategy element de-emphasised by weak tactical tradeoffs and ample opportunities to “level grind” your characters
  • Constrained gameplay variety may limit lasting appeal for some

  •                Graphics:  9.0
           The isometric battlefields of Ivalice are drawn in exquisite detail and vibrant colour, while luminescent special effects bring some spectacle to the otherwise static action. Pleasant character portraits accompany the dialogue scenes, with the in-battle representations remaining clear and simple with little animation.

                   Sound:  8.5
           The soundtrack conveys an appropriate sense of grandeur with high quality instrumentation and solid (if not especially memorable) compositions, and the slashes and spells during battles are all satisfyingly embellished by the sound effects.

                   Control:  8.0
           Stylus control is included, but the discretion of the D-pad and buttons is often preferable for selecting positions on the battle grid. Menu navigation is kept simple by the clear presentation of the various options across both screens.

                          Gameplay:  8.0
           Highly involved party management and a deep framework of abilities fit into a traditional turn-based strategy template very nicely, but the gameplay may have been more satisfying had the design more sharply emphasised tactics over power. The upside is a more accessible, less frustrating take on the genre that offers players different ways to approach the game.


           Lastability:  9.0
           With an extensive story-driven quest to complete, in addition to many side quests and the capacity to customise your clan in great detail, there is clearly the potential to sink an enormous amount of time into Final Fantasy Tactics A2. However, this is somewhat limited by the uniformity of the gameplay, and the absence of multiplayer options beyond item trading.


           Final:  8.0
           Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift incorporates sophisticated customisation into a solid turn-based strategy foundation to create a slick, high quality game that won't deter genre neophytes from discovering its intricacies. However, this process is not without its tensions, and the exercise of tactical discretion seems to have been left weaker in the mix than would have been ideal, making an otherwise highly substantive experience somewhat less rewarding than it could have been.      

    TalkBack / Pokémon Live Touring the UK
    « on: July 20, 2008, 12:30:00 PM »
    British Pokémon trainers will have the opportunity to catch Darkrai at Woolworths stores throughout the country during August.

     This August, Pokémon trainers all across the UK will have the chance to download the mysterious 491st Pokémon, Darkrai, to their copies of Pokémon Diamond or Pearl as the Pokémon Live tour hits Woolworths locations around the country.    

    Twenty Woolworths stores will be transformed to play host to the tour, granting everyone the opportunity to enter into Pokémon battles, via both DS wireless play and Pokémon Battle Revolution on Wii. There will also be the chance for people to play the recently released Pokémon Mystery Dungeon titles on DS, and My Pokémon Ranch for WiiWare.    

    The events will include a number of other activities, including face painting, balloon modelling, and the chance to win a family holiday. The tour dates are as follows:    

    • August 6: Edinburgh
    • August 7: Glasgow
    • August 8: Metro
    • August 9: Stockton on Tees
    • August 10: Liverpool
    • August 13: Hanley
    • August 14: Chesterfield
    • August 15: Staines
    • August 16: Milton Keynes
    • August 17: Norwich
    • August 20: Exeter
    • August 21: Bristol
    • August 22: Gloucester
    • August 23: Newport
    • August 24: Swindon
    • August 27: Bromley
    • August 28: Bexleyheath
    • August 29: Beckton
    • August 30: Basingstoke
    • August 31: Portsmouth

    Further information can be found at the Pokémon Live website, and in the press release below.    

    Unleash your inner Pokémon at Woolworths stores this Summer!    

    Battle the crowds, beat the boredom and kick start a summer of fun and adventure with Pokémon Live.    

    17th July 2008 - Discover the mystery of Darkrai – download the 491st Pokémon to either Pokémon Diamond or Pokémon Pearl at Pokémon Live exclusively at Woolworths stores across the UK this summer and find out whether it is friend or foe. Pokémon Live will take you on an adventure like no other this August, transforming Woolworths stores nationwide. Play the all new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness. Start the adventure now by visiting and test your Aura to discover your inner Pokémon.    

    The Pokémon Live tour will allow you to experience the thrill of Pokémon, whether you’re an experienced trainer or you’re looking to try something new and exciting this summer. Bring your DS Lite and challenge a Pokémon Trainer to a battle using Pokémon Diamond and Pearl or transfer your Pokémon onto the big screen and battle in 3D Colloseums in Pokémon Battle Revolution on Wii. You can also enjoy face painting, balloon modelling, and discover Pokémon Ranch, the brand new title available exclusively through WiiWare.    

    Pokémon Live will also give you the chance to win a family holiday to Florida. This trip of a lifetime for 2 adults and 2 children includes tickets to SeaWorld, Aquatica Water Park, Bush Gardens and Discovery Cove. Additionally at each Pokémon Live event you’ll have the chance of winning a family day trip to Alton Towers plus £100 spending money. And if that wasn’t enough, be one of the first 50 to attend the event and receive a fun-filled Pokémon goodie bag.    

    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of Time and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness is on sale now at the estimated retail price of £29.99.    


     WHEN: August 2008

     WHERE: Woolworths stores nationwide

     For a full list of venues please see below:

     06.08.08 EDINGBURGH

     25 Milton Link

     Milton Road



     EH15 3QH

     07.08.08 GLASGOW

     The Forge Retail Park

            33 Beardmore Way

     Gallow Gate,


       G31 4BG

     08.08.08 METRO

     33/37 Garden Walk (unit 122)



     Tyne & Wear

     NE11 9XY

     09.08.08 STOCKTON ON TEES

      Portrack Lane

     Stockton on Tees

     County Durham

     TS18 2PA

     10.08.08 LIVERPOOL

     74- 75 St Johns Way

     St Johns Centre



     L1 1LS

     13.08.08 HANLEY

      7-9 Upper Market Square


     Stoke on Trent

     ST1 1PY

     14.08.08 CHESTERFIELD

      Unit MSU2, Vicar Lane



     S40 1PY

     15.08.08 STAINES

     101-103 High Street



     TW18 4PL

     19.08.08 MILTON KEYNES

      94/98 Silbury Arcade

     The Centre MK

     Milton Keynes


     MK9 3AH

     17.08.08 NORWICH

     Unit 6 - Riverside Retail Park



     NR1 1WR

     20.08.08 EXETER

      Unit 100

     Guildhall Shopping Centre



     EX4 3DX

     21.08.08 BRISTOL

      Unit 7 - Imperial Park

     Hengrove Way


     BS13 7TJ

     22.08.08 GLOUCESTER

     12-18 Eastgate Street



     GL1 1PH

     23.08.08 NEWPORT

      Unit 1 - 28 East Retail Park

     Docks Way



     NP20 2NN

     24.08.08 SWINDON

     23-25 Regent Street



     SN1 1JL

     27.08.08 BROMLEY

     57 High Street



     BR1 1JY

     28.08.08 BEXLEYHEATH

     93/105 Broadway



     DA6 7JN

     29.08.08 BECKTON

     Unit 4, Beckton Retail Park

     Alpine Way


     E6 6LA

     30.08.08 BASINGSTOKE

       1-13 Chiswick House

     Town Centre



     RG21 7LD

     31.08.08 PORTSMOUTH

     121-127 Commercial Road



     PO1 1DB


     Tel: +44 (0) 870 60 60 247 (calls are charged at UK National Rates – PLEASE obtain permission from the person responsible for the bill before calling)

    TalkBack / Gradius Rebirth Coming to WiiWare
    « on: July 18, 2008, 09:38:55 PM »
    The next instalment in the classic arcade shooter series will be downloadable from the Wii Shop Channel.

     Following the emerging trend of renowned franchises being resurrected through digital distribution services, Konami has announced that its classic arcade shooter franchise Gradius will appear on WiiWare in the form of Gradius Rebirth.    

    The first new title in the series since 2004's Gradius V on PlayStation 2, Gradius Rebirth will utilise a visual style that is highly reminiscent of Gradius III, which is currently available in its SNES form on Wii through the Virtual Console service, along with the NES conversion of the original Gradius. It is currently unclear whether Rebirth will be a remake of a previous Gradius game, or instead feature an entirely original design.

    TalkBack / FEATURES: Whither Now, Samus Aran?
    « on: July 11, 2008, 03:00:11 PM »
    Feature: Whither Now, Samus Aran

    This is where you can discuss our ideas for the future of the Metroid franchise or tell the world about your ideal future for Samus and the Metroid franchise.

    TalkBack / PAL WiiWare Update
    « on: July 08, 2008, 02:06:14 PM »
    WiiWare week on the Wii Shop Channel brings My Pokémon Ranch, Pop, and DLC for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.

     The bi-weekly update schedule for WiiWare in PAL territories continued last week with two new games and additional content for the WiiWare launch title, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.    

    My Pokémon Ranch (1,000 Wii Points) connects wirelessly with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl for Nintendo DS, allowing players to store up to 1,000 of their Pokémon in a ranch where they can be photographed interacting with Miis.    

    From developers Nnooo comes Pop (700 Wii Points), a bubble-popping high score challenge that debuted as a launch title for WiiWare in North America. Chaining bubbles of the same colour is the key to reaching higher and higher scores, which can be uploaded to online leaderboards and included in messages to friends via WiiConnect24.    

    Finally, Square Enix has released additional content for My Life as a King through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Pay & Play. The list of features includes further dungeons, costumes, and more:    

    • Infinity Spire (300 Wii Points)
    • Library (200 Wii Points)
    • Castle Renovation (100 Wii Points)
    • New Royal Outfit (100 Wii Points)
    • New Chancellor Outfit 2 (100 Wii Points)


    Get set for a Pokémon treat this week as the phenomenon debuts on WiiWare with My Pokémon Ranch. Watch as Pokémon and Miis interact with each other for the first time! Enjoy the relaxing Ranch life by viewing your Ranch and its Pokémon, taking pictures, and sending those pictures to your friends. The more Pokémon and Miis that you bring to your Ranch, the more fun it becomes!    

    My Pokémon Ranch can be linked with the Nintendo DS Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version Game Cards to deposit the Pokémon you’ve caught in these games to your Ranch! You can deposit a maximum of 1,000 Pokémon from up to eight different Game Cards! Make your Ranch livelier by having fun with your friends and family! My Pokémon Ranch is available to download today for 1000 Wii Points.    

    Next up is Pop and it’s all about popping bubbles! It may sound simple but there are lots of things you can do to get a high-score and have fun. Just keep an eye on the timer because when it runs out it's game over!    

    Each bubble is worth both points and time so try to fill up your timer first then focus on scoring high. You can then start to chain the same colour of bubble for big points by popping bubbles of the same colour. This is a great way to increase you score.    

    Friends can join you in a game of Pop, too! Whenever you are playing all they need to do is connect their Wii Remote and then join in the action. Watch out because they may start using power-ups to hold you back! If they do try to pump up some bubbles or detonate a nuke this will create a shock-wave which will destroy any matching colours of bubbles it touches.    

    Finally there are badges for completing certain objectives; online high-score tables and WiiConnect24 messages so you can keep up with your friends’ progress and boast about your own. Download Pop today for 700 Wii Points.    

    Also available this week, get your hands on some exciting new add-on content for FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King™ (WiiWare) via Nintendo Wi-Fi    

    Connection Pay & Play.    

    Simply select "Purchase Add-on Content" from either the main game menu or the in-game castle menu, and choose from the following:    

    Infinity Spire (300 Wii Points)    

    Adds Infinity Spire dungeons to the game.    

    Library (200 Wii Points)    

    Adds a dungeon containing many large elementite to help develop your kingdom.    

    Castle Renovation (100 Wii Points)    

    Adds a jukebox and the ability to change adventurers' names to the castle.    

    New Royal Outfit 2 (100 Wii Points)    

    Adds a new costume for the king.    

    New Chancellor Outfit 2 (100 Wii Points)    

    Adds a new costume for Chime.    

    With the WiiWare pipeline filled with exciting and refreshing games keep checking and the Nintendo Channel for all the latest WiiWare news and releases.

    Podcast Discussion / Episode 105: Gun Show
    « on: July 02, 2008, 03:16:32 PM »

    Absence continues to make the heart grow fonder.

    Muscular French "Chibiz" are the future!

    With Jon Lindemann sitting in the host's chair for the jet-setting Jonathan Metts and the calamity of Episode 103 still fresh in everyone's memory, only someone with a title as sober-sounding as "Senior Editor" could be trusted to maintain the maturity of the show, and so Radio Trivia host Michael "TYP" Cole joins the rest of the usual crew for another extensive episode of RFN.  

    After a New Business segment that includes James making friends with Winnie the Pooh and the unthinkable combination of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and vocal communication, the discussion shifts to the news, including: Mega Man 9 for WiiWare, Castlevania's unanticipated foray into 3D fighting, and Ubisoft's continuing attempts to force James into anger management therapy.

    In the final segment, the gang responds to a healthy dose of mail mostly directed at Jonny (naturally), running the gamut of listener concerns from Boom Blox's lacklustre sales to the very survival of the survival horror genre. So sit back, enjoy, and discover James' deep-seated fear of men's biceps.


    This podcast was edited by James Jones.

    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their new album, Rocket Number 9, directly from the record label, or download it from iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!

    TalkBack / PAL Virtual Console Update
    « on: June 30, 2008, 07:00:57 AM »
    Five more classic games are available to download as the Wii Shop Channel continues to alternate between WiiWare and VC every week.

     Continuing the recent trend of Wii Shop Channel updates alternating between new WiiWare games and additions to the PAL Virtual Console library, last week saw another five retro games become available to download:    

    • Pac-Attack (SNES, 800 points)
    • Super Fantasy Zone (MD, 800 points)
    • King of the Monsters (NEOGEO, 900 points)
    • Cybernoid (C64, 500 points)
    • Summer Games 2 (C64, 500 points)

    The update includes a rare addition to the Super NES contingent of classic games available on Wii in the form of Pac-Attack, a falling block puzzler starring Namco's legendary mascot Pac-Man. Meanwhile, the once rival Mega Drive provides Super Fantasy Zone, the sequel to the Sega Master System shooter Fantasy Zone already available on Virtual Console.    

    Last week also continued the recent flow of more NeoGeo and Commodore 64 titles onto Virtual Console. SNK's console offers up another fighting game, King of the Monsters, which sees six selectable creatures battle against each other in Japan. From the Commodore 64, Summer Games 2 is another instalment in the "Games" series of titles (which includes California Games and World Games, already available on VC), and features eight different athletic events to play. Also on C64, Cybernoid combines elements of the shooter genre and maze exploration in a quest to recover stolen minerals.    


    This week Pac-Man makes a welcome return in Pac-Attack originally released on Super Nintendo in 1993. The aim of the game is simple: keep your screen clear of falling blocks and ghosts by eating them! And boy is Pac-Man hungry, as he will keep eating until he hits a dead end. Download this fun and quirky classic for 800 Wii Points.    

    Next up this week, will you have what it takes to destroy the Enemy Generators and defeat the Menon Guardians in Sega Mega Drive’s 1992 game Super Fantasy Zone™? Help Opa-Opa in his mission to avenge the death of his father at the hands of the evil Dark Menon. Eliminating your enemies will let you rack up gold, which you can use to buy even better weapons, upgrades and other equipment. Spend your gold wisely as each boss will present you with a different challenge. Super Fantasy Zone™ can be yours for 800 Wii Points.    

    Switch from guns to claws, as King of the Monsters, the action game featuring mighty battles between giant monsters, previously unleashed onto the NEOGEO in 1991 is now available to download on Wii. Six fearsome creatures rampage across Japan clashing with other monsters in order to become the definitive King of the Monsters. With special moves like fire breath and high-energy beams, get ready to devastate opponents and become the ‘Best of Beasts’! Download it today for 900 Wii Points.    

    And as if that wasn’t enough, disaster strikes as space pirates take over in Commodore 64’s retro, 1988 game, Cybernoid™. The dastardly fiends have stolen valuable minerals, jewels, ammunition and weaponry, and if you choose to accept your task, you must battle in your Cybernoid fighter to recover the precious cargo before time runs out for all of us! Now go, brave soldier, and outwit those pirates for 500 Wii Points!    

    Finally, prepare for the pinnacle of athletic achievement with the arrival of Summer Games 2™, originally released on Commodore 64 in 1985. Watched by millions of people, you must take centre stage and compete against the world’s best athletes in a 3,000 year old competition. Summer Games 2™ challenges your competitive skills with a series of athletic contests for one to eight players across eight different events: cycling, equestrian, fencing, high jump, javelin, kayaking, rowing and triple jump. Summer Games 2™ competes its way into Virtual Console’s ever-expanding list of titles and can be downloaded now from the Wii Shop Channel for 500 Wii Points.    

    Virtual Console offers users the ultimate retro gaming experience. This week’s titles join the list of 228 classic titles already available for Virtual Console in Europe.

    TalkBack / Nintendo of Europe Unveils Summer Release Dates
    « on: June 24, 2008, 02:36:59 PM »
    Software line-ups for Wii and DS include a number of late arrivals as well as some new additions, with Wario Land: The Shake Dimension set for launch on September 26.

     Nintendo of Europe has announced the launch dates for upcoming Wii and Nintendo DS software throughout the summer. At the top of the list for Wii are Guitar Hero Aerosmith and the long-awaited arrival of Super Smash Bros Brawl at the end of this week (both launch June 27). But aside from Brawl, there is only one other first party Wii title coming this summer. Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, the recently revealed two-dimensional platformer, is set to finish off the season with a September 26 release.    

    For the DS, Nintendo will publish the latest extension of the hugely successful Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness (July 4), and Make 10: A Journey of Numbers (September 26). Make 10 aims to help younger players improve their mental arithmetic skills in a fantastical setting.    

    It is clear from the list that the summer will be dominated by third party games. There are a number of Wii titles arriving late from other regions, such as Super Swing Golf (July 25), Soul Calibur Legends (August 28), and Rockstar's controversial Manhunt 2 (August). Sega's Samba De Amigo will be coming to Wii in September, along with THQ's de Blob, a stylised action-adventure involving colorising a world gone monochrome (September 26). World of Goo, one of WiiWare's most promising upcoming projects, is pencilled in for a release sometime in the third quarter of this year.    

    Nintendo DS sports a robust line-up of third party games this summer, covering a wide range of genres with a number of new entries into prominent franchises such as Guitar Hero, Ninja Gaiden, Final Fantasy, Ace Attorney, and Sonic the Hedgehog. The season will also see something of a renaissance for the shoot 'em up genre on DS with the release of BangaiO Spirits (August 22), Nanostray 2 (September), and Space Invaders Extreme.    

    The complete schedule can be seen below:

     Wii Software 2008            

    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo)      27th June 2008
    • Bejing 2008 (SEGA)      27th June 2008
    • Big Beach Sports (THQ)  27th June 2008
    • Wacky Races – Crash and Dash (Eidos)    27th June 2008
    • Guitar Hero Aerosmith Bundle Pack on Wii (Activision)   27th June 2008
    • Kung Fu Panda (Activision)      27th June 2008
    • Radio Helicopter (505 Games)    27th June 2008
    • Okami (Capcom)  June 2008
    • We Love Golf! (Capcom)  June 2008
    • Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour (Disney Interactive Studios)       June-Sep 2008
    • Pool Party (SouthPeak Games)    4th July 2008
    • Wall E. (THQ)   4th July 2008
    • Cocoto Kart Racer (Neko Entertainment)  11th July 2008
    • Baroque (Rising Star Games)     18th July 2008
    • Margot´s Word Brain (ZOO)       18th July 2008
    • Yamaha Supercross (ZOO) 18th July 2008
    • CID The Dummy (Oxygen Games)    25th July 2008
    • Super Swing Golf (Rising Star Games)    25th July 2008
    • Table Football (505 Games)      31st July 2008
    • Pimp My Ride (Activision)       July 2008
    • The Incredible Hulk (SEGA)      July 2008
    • Jeep Thrills (ZOO)      8th August 2008
    • Legend of Sayuki (505 Games)    8th August 2008
    • BROTHERS IN ARMS : EARN IN BLOOD (Ubisoft)      14th August 2008
    • BROTHERS IN ARMS: ROAD TO HILL 30 (Ubisoft)     14th August 2008
    • Calvin Tucker´s Redneck Jamboree (ZOO)  22nd August 2008
    • Clever Kids: Farmyard Fun (Ghostlight)  22nd August 2008
    • Clever Kids: Pirates (Ghostlight)       22nd August 2008
    • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 (EA)    26th August 2008
    • Runaway The Dream of the Turtle (Focus Home Interactive)        28th August 2008
    • Soul Calibur Legends (Namco Bandai/Ubisoft)     28th August 2008
    • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Vivendi Games)   29th August 2008
    • Brave: A Warrior's Tale (SouthPeak Games)       August 2008
    • Carnival Games: Mini Golf (2K Play)     August 2008
    • Manhunt 2 (Rockstar Games)      August 2008
    • Space Chimps (Brash Entertainment)      August-October 2008
    • Chess Crusade (ZOO)     5th September 2008
    • TNA impact (Midway Games)       5th September 2008
    • Pipe Manja (Empire Interactive/ Kochmedia)      14th September 2008
    • Bratz: Girls Really Rock ! (THQ)        19th September 2008
    • Order Up (ZOO)  19th September 2008
    • Sim City Creator (EA)   19th September 2008
    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (LucasArts/Activision)   19th September 2008
    • Counter Force (505 Games)       26th September 2008
    • De Blob (THQ)   26th September 2008
    • Wario Land: The Shake Dimension (Nintendo)      26th September 2008
    • Family Trainer (Namco Bandai)   September 2008 (EU)
    • Samba De Amigo (SEGA)   September 2008
    • Wild Earth: African Safari (Majesco/Codemaster) September 2008
    • All Star Cheer (THQ)    Q3 2008
    • Rockband (EA)   Q3 2008
    • Jeep Let's Off Road (ZOO)       Q3 2008
    • World of Goo (RTL Playtainment) Q3 2008
    • WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (THQ)        Q3 2008
    • Skate It (EA)   2008
    • Top Spin Tennis (2K Sports)     2008
    • Sonic Unleashed (SEGA)  Late 2008

    Nintendo DS Software 2008    

    • Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (Ubisoft)     26th June 2008
    • FINAL FANTASY TACTICS® ADVANCE 2: Grimoire of the Rift  (SquareEnix)    27th June 2008
    • Kung Fu Panda (Activision)      27th June 2008
    • Journey to the Centre of the Earth (THQ)        27th June 2008
    • Shining Star Super Starcade (ZOO)       27th June 2008
    • Evolution GT (Lago Srl) June 2008
    • Sid Meier´s Civilization Revolution (2K Games)  June 2008
    • The Incredible Hulk (SEGA)      June 2008
    • Top Spin 3 (2K Sports)  June 2008
    • Asterix Brain Trainer (ATARI)   June-October 2008
    • Animal Genius (Ubisoft) 3rd July 2008
    • Farm Life (Ubisoft)     3rd July 2008
    • Puzzler (Ubisoft)       3rd July 2008
    • Bakushow(Rising Star Games)     4th July 2008
    • Cory in the House (Disney Interactive Studios)  4th July 2008
    • Mahjong-Eine Reise um die Welt (dtp young entertainment)        4th July 2008
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time / Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness (Nintendo)  4th July 2008
    • Road to Vegas (Ghostlight)      4th July 2008
    • Super Speed Machines (Ghostlight)       4th July 2008
    • Wall E. (THQ)   4th July 2008
    • Guitar Hero: On Tour (Limited Edition Buindle) (Activision)     18th July 2008
    • Rythmn & Notes (505 Games)      18th July 2008
    • Brico Utile (Neko Entertainment)        18th July 2008
    • Déco Tendances(Neko Entertainment)      18th July 2008
    • International Athletics (Ghostlight)    18th July 2008
    • Margots Word Brain (ZOO)        18th July 2008
    • Yamaha Supercross (ZOO) 18th July 2008
    • Crazy Labyrinth (DTP/Eidos)     25th July 2008
    • Mazes of Fate DS (Neko Entertainment)   25th July 2008
    • Tennis Elbow (Neko Entertainment)       25th July 2008
    • The Mummy Tomb of the Emperor (Vivendi Games )  25th July 2008
    • The Woodleys - Summer Sports (dtp young entertainment)  25th July 2008
    • City Life (Monte Cristo Multimedia)     July 2008
    • Dream Pinball 3D (SouthPeak Games)      July 2008
    • Jewel Quest (Astragon)  July 2008
    • My Make-Up (Oxygen Games)       July 2008
    • Pirates: Duels on the High Seas (Oxygen Games)  July 2008
    • Zoo Hospital (Eidos/Majesco)    July 2008
    • Die Reitakademie (dtp young entertainment)      1st August 2008
    • Jeep Thrills (ZOO)      8th August 2008
    • Lissy Horse Life mit Carry Case (Deep Silver/Kochmedia) 9th August 2008
    • BangaiO Spirits (D3Publisher of  Europe)        22nd August 2008
    • Clever Kids: Pirates (Midas)    22nd August 2008
    • Clever Kids: Farmyard Fun (Midas)       22nd August 2008
    • IMAGINE FIGURE SKATER  (Ubisoft)        28th August 2008
    • Brave: Shaman's Challenge (SouthPeak Games)     August 2008
    • Gauntlet (Eidos)        August 2008 (tbc)
    • Space Chimps (Brash Entertainment)      August-October 2008
    • Chess Crusade (ZOO)     5th September 2008
    • Spellbound (505 Games)  5th September 2008
    • Spore Creatures (EA)    5th September 2008
    • Mein Beautyhotel für Tiere (dtp young entertainment)    12th September 2008
    • Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (Rising Star Games)        12th September 2008
    • Shin chan e i colori magici (505 Games) 12th September 2008
    • Subbuteo (505 Games)    12th September 2008
    • Blended (505 Games)     19th September 2008
    • Bratz: girls Really Rock ! (THQ)        19th September 2008
    • Dungeon Explorer (Rising Star Games)    19th September 2008
    • Ontamarama: Music Maniacs (505 Games)   19th September 2008
    • SimCity Creator (EA)    19th September 2008
    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (LucasArts/Activision)   19th September 2008
    • De Blob (THQ)   26th September 2008
    • Drawn to Life: Spongebob Squarepants Edition (THQ)      26th September 2008
    • Make 10: A journey of numbers  (Nintendo)       26th September 2008
    • Shaun the Sheep (D3Publisher of  Europe)        26th September 2008
    • 8Ball Allstars (Oxygen Games)   September 2008
    • Bratz Ponyz 2 (Game Factory)    September 2008
    • Code Lyoko 2 (Game Factory)     September 2008
    • Cosmetic Paradise (505 Games)   September 2008
    • Element Girls (a.k.a Magic Diary) (DTP) September 2008
    • History™ Great Empires: Rome (Lago Srl) September 2008
    • Lock´s Quest: Construction Combat (THQ) September 2008
    • My Dress-Up (Oxygen Games)      September 2008
    • Nanostray 2 (Majesco/Codemaster)        September 2008
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (SEGA)   September 2008
    • Super-Bikes Riding Challenge (Lago Srl) September 2008
    • Toy Shop Tycoon (Majesco/Codemaster)    September 2008
    • Zenses Ocean (Game Factory)     September 2008
    • Zenses Rainforest (Game Factory)        September 2008
    • Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations (Nintendo / Capcom)       3rd October 2008
    • Naruto Ninja Council 2 (Nintendo / TAKRA TOMY)  October 2008
    • Arkanoid (Ubisoft)      Summer 2008
    • Space Invaders ExtremeTM (SquareEnix/Ubisoft)   Summer 2008
    • Crossword  Challenge (The Games  Company)       Summer 2008
    • AMF Bowling Pinbusters! (ZeniMax Europe Ltd.)   Summer 2008
    • Ducati Moto (ZeniMax Europe Ltd.)       Summer 2008
    • Skate It (EA)   2008
    • Sonic Unleashed (SEGA)  Late 2008
    • I Love Beauty and Sushi Academy (City Interactive S.A.) Q3 2008
    • RUBIKS Classic (working title) (Game Factory)   Q3 2008
    • All Star Cheer (THQ)    Q3 2008
    • Sokoban DS (RTL Playtainment)   Q3 2008
    • Time Hollow (working title) (Konami)    Q3/4 2008

    TalkBack / Lost Winds is No.1 on WiiWare in Europe
    « on: June 21, 2008, 05:17:32 PM »
    Encouraging sales from Frontier's platform adventure in the face of stiff competition from Square Enix and Gameloft. Nintendo Europe planning television WiiWare campaign.

     Laurent Fisher, Marketing Director for Nintendo of Europe, has revealed that Lost Winds has outperformed all other WiiWare games (including Nintendo's own Dr. Mario & Germ Buster) in Europe since the service's launch on May 20. Speaking to, Fisher noted that TV Show King and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King have run close behind Frontier Developments' acclaimed platform adventure, also deeming WiiWare's first month of activity "encouraging" overall.    

    Citing confidentiality concerns, Fisher did not divulge precise sales figures, but did speak to some early download trends for Europe; each WiiWare game has seen "a very constant flow of downloads", while sales relative to the installed base size have closely mirrored those in other regions. Fisher has also indicated that Nintendo of Europe is preparing a television advertising campaign to increase awareness of WiiWare beyond the reach of current press and online efforts.    

    Frontier is based in the United Kingdom and Gameloft, the makers of TV Show King, is based in France, meaning that two of the best selling WiiWare games in the region to date have been produced from within Europe.    

    The critical and commercial success of Lost Winds has led to many suggestions of a sequel. Most recently, when asked by whether there would be more WiiWare games coming from Frontier Developments, head man David Braben responded "I think we'd be mad not to, but we're not talking about those just yet."

    TalkBack / PAL Virtual Console Roundup
    « on: June 16, 2008, 10:23:14 PM »
    The Commodore 64 and NEOGEO dominate a five-strong line-up of additions for the week, and there are further indications that Super Mario RPG may be ready to make its belated debut in PAL regions.

     Following the absence of any Virtual Console the previous week, a relatively substantial five classic games were made available to download from the PAL Wii Shop Channel on Friday. The uncharacteristically large update comprised the following titles (with original formats listed and prices in Wii Points):    

    • Alex Kidd in Miracle World (SEGA MASTER SYSTEM, 500)
    • Fatal Fury 2 (NEOGEO, 900)
    • Nebulus (Commodore 64, 500)
    • Ninja Combat (NEOGEO, 900)
    • The Last Ninja 2 (Commodore 64, 500)

    Also this past week, VC-Reviews noted that the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has issued a rating for the 1996 SNES classic, Super Mario RPG. Following the announcement that it would arrive in Japan later this month, this provides further indication that the celebrated collaboration between SquareSoft and Nintendo may be ready for a Virtual Console release in the West.    

    Given that first party Virtual Console games have hitherto been released simultaneously across Australia and Europe, the OFLC rating is also cause for optimism among European gamers longing to experience Mario's first foray into the RPG realm. A PAL Virtual Console release would mark the first time that Super Mario RPG has been made available domestically in either Europe or Australia.    


    Head back to the 80’s this week as the SEGA MASTER SYSTEM classic, Alex Kidd in Miracle World™ hits Virtual Console. Take on the role of Alex Kidd in this bright and colourful platformer as you set off in search of your kidnapped brother, Egle. Pitted against monsters and the villainous henchmen of the notorious Janken the Great; run, swim and punch your way through 16 action-packed levels to see the safe return of your brother. Available to download now, get your hands on Alex Kidd in Miracle World™ today for 500 Wii Points.    

    Next up this week comes the Commodore 64 classic Nebulus. Investigate strange goings-on on the Planet Nebulus as someone or something has built huge towers on the sea floor. Head out in your submarine to all eight of the mysterious towers and navigate your way to the top of each to defuse the evil threat within. Probably one of the most outstanding games from classic software house, Hewson, in 1987, Nebulus can be downloaded now for 500 Wii Points.    

    Get set for the ultimate action adventure next as the Commodore 64 classic, Last Ninja 2™, hits Virtual Console. Blending a mixture of exploration, puzzle solving and combat, get ready to learn the way of the ninja! In this sequel to the popular C64 original, the heroic Armakuni follows his arch-enemy, the evil Shogun Kunitoki, through time to Manhattan of 1988. Challenge your nemesis within the urban jungle and defeat him with your ninja skills. Available to download now, Last Ninja 2™ can be yours for 500 Wii Points.    

    Prepare for battle next as the groundbreaking second instalment in SNK’s wildly popular NEOGEO fighting game series, Fatal Fury, smashes its way onto Virtual Console. Fatal Fury 2 sees Terry, Andy and Joe reprise their roles from the first title, with another five challengers stepping into the limelight to battle it out for the coveted championship title. Also introducing a novel addition to the health system that sees players able to unleash a last resort desperation technique when their health has fallen to a certain level, Final Fury 2 will sort the winners from the losers! Featuring revolutionary gameplay features, colourful graphics and an engaging soundtrack, download and enjoy Fatal Fury 2 today for 900 Wii Points.    

    Finally this week on Virtual Console, get ready for some high-octane side-scrolling combat action with the NEOGEO classic Ninja Combat. Hurled into the fray as a deadly ninja living in the near future, your mission is to assault the foreboding Ninja Tower, home of the evil clan of rival ninjas known as Kage Ichizoku. Players must master close combat techniques such as kicks, punches and jumps to deliver devastating blows to enemies and carve a path to Ninja Tower to defeat your rivals. With warriors such as Musashi, Kagero and Gembu at your side, and available for a friend to play in co-operative mode, undertake the ultimate ninja challenge as Ninja Combat becomes available to download today for 900 Wii Points.    

    Virtual Console offers users the ultimate retro gaming experience. This week’s titles join the list of 223 classic titles already available for Virtual Console in Europe.

    TalkBack / PODCAST: Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 102
    « on: June 13, 2008, 04:13:50 PM »
    Let the Reviewers' Rage flow through you.

     Short, on topic, and informative?  Not your average RFN!    

    Episode 102: Massage the Text    

    AAC Format    

    MP3 Format    

    Subscribe via iTunes    

    Digg Radio Free Nintendo    

    The battle-hardened RFN team assembles once more to tackle the most pressing matters in Nintendo gaming today, beginning as usual with our (less than entirely) New Business. Jon teases us with the prospect of another long-overdue review while exploring the joys of reading on the go; Greg braves the perils of online Wii games with Pro Evo Soccer and Dr. Mario; Jonny gives us a sneak peek at the next Trauma Center for DS, while James continues to let Square Enix plunder his Wii Points.    

    Catching up with our backlog of emails in the second segment, we provide answers to the burning issues you care about, including: small developers we want to see working on Wii, Nintendo propaganda movies of the past, and the chances of a comeback for everyone's favorite gyroscope-holder, ROB. Also, the crew seeks closure by swapping war stories about reviewing awful games (no prizes for guessing James' picks), before ending with a look at the week's WiiWare and VC updates.    


    This podcast was edited by James Jones.    

    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their new album, Rocket Number 9, directly from the record label, or download it from iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!

    TalkBack / PAL WiiWare Update: Actionloop Twist
    « on: June 06, 2008, 11:02:43 AM »
    Wii version of the DS puzzler becomes the first post-launch WiiWare game in Europe while the Virtual Console is left without any additions.

     In the first update to the WiiWare service in PAL territories since its launch last month, Actionloop Twist has become available from the Wii Shop Channel for 1000 Wii Points.    

    Making its Western debut in Europe, Actionloop Twist is based on the Nintendo DS puzzle game Actionloop (known as Magnetica in the US). This Wii version includes motion controls and Mii integration, along with local multiplayer options for up to four people.    

    There were no additions to the Virtual Console library of downloadable games to complement the lone update to WiiWare, marking the first time in several weeks (including the WiiWare launch week) that this has happened in Europe.      


    This week the popular Nintendo DS puzzle game Actionloop Twist™ launches on WiiWare! Pick your favourite Mii character and take control of the Gemstone launcher simply by twisting the Wii Remote back and forth, firing magnetic Gemstones of matching colours to make them disappear before they reach the end of the loop. Jump straight into the action in QuickPlay modes for one or two players, put your skills to the ultimate test in Challenge mode, or see if you can survive the Quest mode where every level brings a new way to play. Or, if you’re in a party mood, try Multiplayer mode for up to four players; either with friends, against the computer, or a combination. Cooperate and clear the Gemstones together, or compete to see who is the Actionloop Twist master! Actionloop Twist™  is available now on WiiWare for 1000 Wii Points    

    With the WiiWare pipeline filled with exciting and refreshing games keep checking and the Nintendo Channel for all the latest WiiWare news and releases.

    TalkBack / Nintendo Channel Arrives in PAL Territories
    « on: May 30, 2008, 12:23:54 PM »
    Game information and downloadable DS demos come to Europe and Australia alongside three Virtual Console games, but no update to WiiWare in its second week.

     The Nintendo Channel, an online service providing information and advertisements for first party and third party games on Wii and DS, has gone live across Europe and Australia.    

    DS owners will be able to wirelessly download demos from the Nintendo Channel to their handheld console, provided they agree to share information regarding their Wii usage with Nintendo online. In notable contrast to the North American Nintendo Channel, all of the demos available initially are of first party software, including:    

    • Big Brain Academy
    • Dr. Kawashima's BRAIN TRAINING
    • 42 All-Time Classics
    • Mario Kart DS
    • Professor Kageyama's MATHS TRAINING
    • Picross DS

    The Nintendo Channel also offers users the opportunity to provide feedback for Wii and WiiWare games, given that they have put in a sufficient amount of playtime. The WiiWare service did not receive an update this week following its launch on May 20, while the Virtual Console saw the release of three games:    

    • Burning Fight (NEO GEO, 900 points)  
    • Pokémon Puzzle League (N64, 1000 points)  
    • Samurai Shodown (NEO GEO, 900 points)  

    Now available to download free of charge from the Wii Shop Channel, the Nintendo Channel uses 127 blocks of memory.

    TalkBack / How Talkback Flame Wars Kill Mockingbirds
    « on: May 28, 2008, 03:55:23 AM »

      In the famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird, it was said that it was wrong to commit that eponymous act because Mockingbirds cause people no harm, only providing music for us to enjoy. Such entities are not merely confined to the pages of Harper Lee's work or the world of ornithology, however. Indeed, I would submit that the work of this very website is its own breed of Mockingbird.    

    Nintendo World Report is the product of people giving of themselves, simply because of their passion for Nintendo and video games generally. Nobody earns a living from NWR; we do not praise or decry games for financial gain, there are no backroom deals with publishers for exclusives, no plastering of the site in Kane & Lynch promotional material or other such dubious practices. NWR exists only for the love of the game, if you'll forgive the expression. Having been a reader of the site all the way back to its PlanetN2000 days before joining the staff last year, I have long appreciated this fact along with recognising the outstanding quality of the staff's work over the years.    

    This is not to say that, due to NWR's nature, the opinions and reasoning of our staff members are somehow unimpeachable - far from it. We do not proclaim our reviews to be definitive or absolute. Passionate disagreement and debate are to be welcomed and indeed celebrated, and we are no strangers to these things as a staff either. We only aim to provide criticism and analysis that is sufficiently thorough, considered, and well-articulated that our readers can glean their own insights from our work, whether they agree with us or not. Consequently, the diverse feedback from the vast majority of our forum-goers who participate in commentary and debate regarding our work is a large part of what makes contributing to NWR so rewarding.      

    However, this also leads us to those who qualify as NWR's would-be assassins in this literary analogy: the furious few that seem to take our attempts to provide honest analysis as some sort of unacceptable personal attack in those instances where their views diverge from those expressed by NWR staff. Seeking to right such grievous wrongs, they take to their keyboards (with fingertips aflame and Caps Lock already enabled) and proceed to spew a mix of zealous assertions and puerile insults that serve no purpose other than to assuage their apparently volcanic displeasure at discovering that someone has the temerity to disagree with them.    

    I believe that such unprovoked and unreasonable attacks are, in their own small and pathetic way, analogous to killing one of Harper Lee's Mockingbirds. This is not (I'm happy to say) because any of our staff are sufficiently thin-skinned to be dealt a mortal blow by such ingeniously fashioned barbs as "you're just plain dumb with a small poo brain". The sadness here lies in the fact that some people are apparently so incapable of respectful disagreement that they do not simply refuse NWR's unconditional offerings, but instead are compelled to belittle those that work to provide them without thought of personal gain.    

    Though hardly a phenomenon unique to NWR or the video gaming media in general, its existence here is all the more incomprehensible given the fact that our work at NWR (regardless of whether a review is glowing, scathing, or anywhere in the vast, nuanced space in-between) is only ever in the service of our readers. The true folly of such intolerance is that we are always exclusively on your side, whether you agree with us on specific issues or not, and to behave otherwise is to your detriment, not ours.

    TalkBack / Six Games Launch WiiWare in Europe
    « on: May 20, 2008, 03:21:56 PM »
    Digitally distributed Wii games arrive in PAL territories, with six (of a possible eight) titles making up the first batch.

     WiiWare, a line of original games available to download from the Wii Shop Channel, has gone live across Europe today with six games on offer initially:    

    • Dr. Mario & Germ Buster™ from Nintendo
    • FINAL FANTASY® CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King™ from  Japanese developer SQUARE ENIX
    • Lost Winds from UK developer Frontier
    • Star Soldier R from Japanese developer HUDSON SOFT
    • Toki Tori from Dutch developer Two Tribes B.V.
    • TV Show King from French developer Gameloft

    The list above includes some familiar faces from last week's North American WiiWare debut such as Lost Winds, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. However, Dr. Mario & Germ Buster has previously been available only in Japan, and Toki Tori Take 2 (a remake of the 2001 Game Boy Color platform/puzzle game Toki Tori) is making its world debut as part of Europe's WiiWare launch.    

    Nintendo had previously indicated that two further games, Nnooo's Pop and Oxygen Interactive's Pirates: The Key of Dreams, could have been part of today's launch. It would appear that these games may have been held back to supplement future updates to the WiiWare service.        

    SUPER SIX KICK OFF WiiWare!    

    Today marks a momentous occasion on Wii as WiiWare storms onto the console. Get set to expect the unexpected as a raft of original, fresh and thrilling games from first and third party developers become available to download directly onto your Wii, through the Wii Shop Channel.    

    Kicking off WiiWare’s launch in style, six superb new titles from developers across Europe and the world are available to download now! Why not treat yourself to the following:    

    Dr. Mario & Germ Buster™ from Nintendo    

    The all-time puzzle classic returns for the Wii generation, featuring online gameplay and a new Germ Buster mode! Destroy all the viruses trapped in the bottle by dropping and slotting capsules to create lines of matching colours. The more viruses you clear, the faster the capsules drop.    

    In Dr. Mario, challenge the computer in 1 Player mode, go head-to-head with a friend in 2 Player mode, or prove your skills against the world via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. You can also send a demo version of the game to a friend (within your region) using WiiConnect24.    

    In Germ Buster (based on the relaxation game in More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima), up to four players can use their Wii Remotes to grab, spin and slot capsules as your Miis try to keep the nasty bugs at bay. Who thought that catching germs could be so much fun?    

    Dr Mario & Germ Buster™ is available now for 1000 Wii Points.    


    According to legend, a deserted town now serves as the lifeless reminder of a once powerful kingdom. The young son of an exiled king reaches this land after a long journey, finding only an abandoned castle – and a magic crystal. Though tarnished by years of neglect, the crystal has maintained its luminous glow and bestows upon the boy the power of architek, the ability to manifest memories into reality. With the help of loyal servants and audacious adventurers, the new king dutifully prepares to rebuild his people’s homeland in this new realm.    

    FINAL FANTASY® CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King can be downloaded now for 1500 Wii Points.    

    LostWinds™ from Frontier    

    LostWinds is a fresh, enchanting adventure that lets you wield the awesome powers of Enril the wind spirit - from raging tornados to the gentlest breeze – to guide and protect Toku, a young boy who is the only one who can help you release the curse placed upon the world of Mistralis and its people by evil Balasar.    

    Mistralis is a stunningly presented, magical land full of wonder and intrigue that bursts to life with your every action and exploration. LostWinds’ novel, playful controls let you use Enril’s elemental powers to jump and glide Toku through Mistralis’ different regions, buffet and smash enemies and solve puzzles on their journey to a dramatic showdown. Bursting with new gameplay ideas that embrace the Wii controller, LostWinds puts the power of the wind in the palm of your hand.    

    LostWinds™ is available now for 1000 Wii Points.    

    Star Soldier R from HUDSON SOFT    

    A new kind of shooter where players aim for the best scores within a 2 or 5-minute time limit! Develop various scoring strategies and pump out those points within the breakneck timeframe! In-depth gameplay, tons of replayability!    

    Assembled in record time to counter the advance of a powerful enemy, the mysterious Brain Forces, the "Caesar" starfighter takes off to fight for the very future of mankind!  Shoot down countless enemies, upgrade your ship to the max with power-ups hidden throughout the levels, and carry out an all-out assault against the core of the enemy fortress! Combining the excitement of shoot'em-ups with in-depth scoring strategies, this state-of-the-art competitive shooter will keep you coming back for more!    

    Upload your best scores with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and pit your skills against the world's best fighter pilots from the comfort of your living room!    

    Hone your skills and show the world who's boss!    

    Download Star Soldier R now for 800 Wii Points.    

    Toki Tori from Two Tribes B.V.    

    Toki Tori is his name and collecting eggs is his game! In this puzzle / platform game, players get to use a variety of items such as the Telewarp, InstantRock™ and Slug Sucker. Clever use and combinations of these items is needed to solve all the game's levels, of which there are more than 70. These levels range from easy to brain-teasingly hard, resulting in dozens of hours of puzzle play-time.    

    Toki Tori makes the most out of what the Wii was to offer. It uses of the Wii Remote for a unique control scheme, which offers players a new and more relaxing play style. A second player can help you out, by drawing hints while you are playing. The game even uses the Wii Message Board in a unique way!    

    In short, Toki Tori:

     - is a puzzle / platform game

     - offers dozens of hours of gameplay

     - uses the multiple Wii Remotes for a new play style

     - uses Wii Message Board


    Toki Tori is available to download now for 900 Wii Points.    

    TV Show King from Gameloft    

    Become King of a fun TV trivia show! Confront friends and family with your Mii and see who is the smartest! Confront friends and family in a TV quiz game show! Let your Mii try to answer fun and challenging trivia questions, from the classics to original stumpers, spanning across history, geography, literature, science, sports and entertainment! For an extra challenge, use your Wii Remote in original ways. Make it to the finals and see who can win the greatest amount of cash in one last, ultimate duel. TV Show King will challenge your brain! Now, get ready… get set… and go play TV Show King!    

    - Have fun and test your general knowledge with more than 3,000 questions on all kinds of subjects; for an alternately serious and hilarious game.

     - Use your own customized Mii as your in game character for a truly immersive experience.

     - Numerous entertaining themes including music, cinema, entertainment, history, geography, sports, common knowledge, fun and pop culture.

     - Answer the questions following the different game rules: use your Wii Remote as a torch light, as a scratching tool or as a pointer.

     - A true animated TV set: highly colourful characters (a host, a DJ and a cheering crowd)

     - A turning wheel to spice up the game: double your gain, loose everything or swap your cash!

     - Increasing tension with an increasing difficulty and stakes!    

    Download TV Show King for 1000 Wii Points.

    TalkBack / Okami Coming to Europe This Summer
    « on: May 01, 2008, 02:25:20 AM »
    The Wii version of Capcom's critically acclaimed 2006 PS2 game gets a PAL release date.

     Capcom has revealed that Okami will be released for Wii across Europe on June 13. Originally created by the now disbanded Clover Studio, Ready at Dawn's port of the renowned action-adventure has enjoyed a mostly positive reception since its North American launch on April 15 of this year.    

    A unique art style and lengthy playtime have earned Okami high praise from critics and gamers alike since debuting on the PlayStation 2 in 2006, but it has not succeeded commercially to the same extent. This European release date puts the game's launch just two weeks shy of the much anticipated arrival of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, threatening to overshadow its arrival and affect sales performance.

    TalkBack / Wii Fit Makes History with UK Launch
    « on: April 28, 2008, 05:33:41 AM »
    Nintendo's fitness tool bests Mario Kart Wii as its fastest selling piece of software ever in the UK, generating the third-most revenue for a game launch in British history.

     Only two weeks after the runaway success of Mario Kart Wii, Nintendo UK has made history once again as Wii Fit has displaced the multiplayer racer as the company's fastest selling game for the British market. The "body awareness" software and Balance Board accessory have generated the sixth most sales and third most revenue ever for a game launch in the UK during its first two days after release.    

    Priced at £69.99, Wii Fit has found its way into the hands of about one in ten British Wii owners since its debut across Europe on April 25, earning Nintendo approximately £16.3million. Only Halo 3 (£16.9m) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (£24.2m) have managed to out-gross Wii Fit in their launch periods, though the release of Grand Theft Auto IV may add to that list shortly.    

    With Mario Kart Wii occupying the no.2 position (despite a 62% drop in sales from last week), Nintendo held the top two spots of the UK All Formats Chart for the first time since the 2003 launch of Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance. The Sega-published Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games rounded out a clean sweep of the top three positions for Wii, cementing the platform's current dominion over British software sales.

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