Brandon Boyer

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Nintendo has released its first and third party release list through the end of winter, and — with 100 some titles on the list — I thought I’d do a little chaff separating and focus on the few that look the most promising. Nintendo’s own heavy hitters, the Wii remakes of Mario Power Tennis and Pikmin, DS’s Pokemon Platinum, and Rockstar’s top down DS exclusive Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars are the obvious choices, but let’s dig down even further…Wii:

Onechanbara Bikini Zombie Slayers (D3Publisher, February): The Onechanbara series has been a favorite since it made its import-only PlayStation 2 debut as a budget-priced ‘Simple 2000’ title. Its U.S. title sums up pretty precisely what it does well: mix stylish over-the-top undead violence with playful cheesecake sexuality, as seen here.


Major Minor’s Majestic March (Majesco, March): Originally slated as a holiday title, Major Minor is the latest collaboration between the same team (illustrator Rodney Alan Greenblat and Nanaon-Sha designer Masaya Matsuura) that brought you Parappa and UmJammer Lammy. Still rhythm gaming at its core, the game sees you playing as the conductor of a parade, keeping time with the Wii remote to convince the locals to join in. Expect a smart challenge that belies its candy-colored coating.

Little King’s Story (Marvelous, Feb. 17): Somewhat akin to Square Enix WiiWare sim My Life as a King, Story expands on that town management by letting you more directly control troop expeditions into the surrounding forest areas in a friendly real-time-strategy to build an empire out of a little village.

Madworld (Sega, March): Gritty but slapstick duo-tone ultra-violence set in a ‘Running Man’ esque TV show, Platinum’s Madworld says more with its recent holiday trailer than a quick summary can do justice.

Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball (Southpeak, March 17): Another one where the name says it all, though I’ll probably be opting for the eventual Xbox Live Arcade release here to take full advantage of online play.



Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (D3Publisher, Q1): Infinite Interactive’s attempt at blending Othello/Reversi and its typical RPG framework as Neopets Puzzle Adventure — you know, for kids — may have taken too many steps too far at making it everyone-friendly, but Galactrix looks to retain the richness of the first Puzzle Quest only now as a hexagonal puzzle game set in a sci-fi universe. Fully expecting this to re-take over my life, and, as with the original, to end up purchasing it on nearly every platform it lands on.

Zubo (Electronic Arts, March): EA’s Bright Lights studio broke free of creating endless Harry Potter games with their own IP: a kid-friendly RPG where vaguely weeble (as in the wobblers)-ish characters do battle by way of rhythm mini-game dance offs.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (Electronic Arts, Q1): One of the top of the list, Hatsworth is another unlikely story where Kyle Gray — one of the Experimental Gameplay grads that also spawned World of Goo designer Kyle Gabler — broke free of the Madden bonds at EA’s Tiburon studio to create a DS puzzler/platformer combo where color-match pieces below affect the ol’ chap above, as seen in its trailer.

Flower, Sun, and Rain (Marvelous, March): A DS remake of a PlayStation 2 original adventure game from Killer 7/No More Heroes developer Grasshopper Manufacture, this one’s out in Europe already, but I’ll be having another look at the U.S. version so I won’t have to remember exactly how many ‘tyres’ a ‘lorry’ has. The story’s got all the delightful high weirdness you expect from GHM: set in a Groundhog Day-like repetitious scenario, the main character just needs to get to the lobby of a hotel so he can stop a plane from being hijacked and obliterated, but is met with consistently more unlikely obstacles.


Big Bang Mini (Southpeak, Jan. 6): If you were one of the handful who weren’t completely baffled by and were genuinely quite taken with PlayStation 2 launch game Fantavision, this one’s another fireworks-based puzzler by French team Arkedo, wrapped in gorgeous neon Lite-Brite/vector design.

Retro Game Challenge (Xseed, Jan. 6): Finally, another absolute top of the list (and one that’s seen a lot of play as its import original). I’m planning on doing something more exhaustive on this, because it needs and deserves it, but the quick sum is that it’s a collection of fictitious 8-bit retro classics that require you to meet specific titular challenges to progress, but all as part of a cohesive nostalgic experience that includes retro game magazines (filled with reviews, cheat codes, interviews with its fictional developers) as well. Expect much more on this soon; see the trailer in the meantime.

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