Here are this week's releases on WiiWare, DSiWare, and Virtual Console!
Snowpack Park Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Comic Mischief Price: 800 Wii Points Description: Welcome to Snowpack Park! You've arrived in hopes of hanging out with some of the local penguins and learning how to take care of them. However, a recent storm has just sent the residents of the park fleeing to various islands throughout the area, and there are only a few penguins to be found. Take control of either a Mii™ character or one of the game's built-in characters and brave various terrains and unexpected obstacles. Travel from island to island, find penguins and bring them back safely to the park. But getting them back is just the beginning. The penguins have different moods, which will go up and down depending on how much interaction they have with you. If a penguin's mood gets too bad, it will leave the park. To prevent that from happening, you must learn how to feed, pet and play with the penguins in order to keep them happy. Throughout the park, you'll also find fun minigames to play, headwear pieces for the penguins to wear, fish for them to eat, blowfish to roll up into snowballs and a variety of other useful things. You can even collect photos of yourself and the penguins by visiting one of the park's photo-taking locations. Prepare for a heartwarming Antarctic adventure!
And Yet It Moves (demo version) Publisher: Broken Rules Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Violence Price: 0 Wii Points; full version available for 1,000 Wii Points Description: And Yet It Moves is an award-winning, physics-based platform game in which you must run and jump through a world made of paper. To help you solve the game's mind-bending levels, you possess the unique ability to rotate the world at will. Walls become floors, slides become platforms - but a harmless pile of rocks becomes a hazardous danger when turned upside-down! Use the Wii Remote™ controller like a magic wand to tilt the world. Explore beautifully crafted environments. Survive 20 challenging levels filled with strange creatures, traps and puzzles. Unlock bonus levels, competitive play modes and surprising modifications that change the entire game. Turn your world upside-down with And Yet It Moves!
BIT.TRIP FATE (demo version) Publisher: Aksys Games Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Fantasy Violence Price: 0 Wii Points; full version available for 800 Wii Points Description: BIT.TRIP FATE is an on-rails side-scrolling shoot-'em-up that finds CommanderVideo riding the vibe to discover his fate. CommanderVideo will need a little help from the friends he made in BIT.TRIP RUNNER to thwart the Mingrawn Timbletot, who has mutated the world into an ugly technological nightmare. Join forces with the Junior Melchkin, CommandgirlVideo and others to increase CommanderVideo's power and save the world. Whether you play in single-player mode or team up with a co-pilot, you'll need a steady hand to navigate the vibe and aim your blasters at the twisted souls who are out to destroy you.
Jett Rocket (demo version) Publisher: Shin'en Multimedia Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Cartoon Violence Price: 0 Wii Points; full version available for 1,000 Wii Points Description: Let Jett Rocket explore the beautiful planet of Yoroppa and find out why it has been attacked by the evil Power Plant Posse. Visit tropical islands, poisonous swamps and freezing-cold glaciers. Ride the ocean on your Jet Boat, parachute from giant cliffs, speed through Arctic regions on your Jet Snowboard or skyrocket with your Jet Turbine. You'll need everything you've got to fight back and save Yoroppa!
ThruSpace (demo version) Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 0 Wii Points; full version available for 800 Wii Points Description: ThruSpace is an exciting puzzle game in which you'll move and rotate an object called a keydron through gaps in walls. Putting your keydron through a gap earns you points, and mastering this ability allows you to perform combos (picking up pairs of crystals simultaneously) and tricks (rotating the keydron so that its shadow covers the gap completely before passing through it) that are essential to achieving high scores. Refine your skills in multiple game modes: Normal, Endless and Trick Challenge. Brush up on the rules in Keydron Tutorial or watch replay data in Keydron Memories. As the game progresses, the number of available keydrons, backgrounds, stages and levels will increase. ThruSpace is easy to play but difficult to master. Do you have the skills and reflexes to overcome its increasingly complex challenges?
Tetris Party Live Publisher: Tetris Online, Inc. Players: 1-4 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points™ Description: Now you can party with Tetris whenever and wherever you like! Tetris Party Live features several exciting game modes from the popular Tetris Party series, including Marathon (a favorite single-player mode), Computer Battle (challenge the computer), VS Battle (challenge a friend) and Duel Space (strategize to claim more space than an opponent). But the party doesn't stop there: Take the Tetris fun online via the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection service (broadband Internet access required) and enjoy multiplayer Tetris with up to three opponents at a time. You can also use the global ranking system to see how your Tetris Party Live skills stack up against the rest of the world.
Supermarket Mania® Publisher: G5 Entertainment AB Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Supermarket Mania is a mesmerizing time management game. Help Nikki keep five grocery stores stocked to the rafters with the provisions customers want. If you work fast and hard, you'll earn enough money to upgrade your establishments and show your adversary what a little hometown pluck can do. Supermarket Mania includes 50 levels in Story Mode, Endless Shift Mode with extra bonuses, five shops, seven types of customers, 20-plus upgrades for your shop and more than a dozen products to sell.
Music on: Electric Guitar Publisher: Abylight Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Transform your Nintendo DSi™ system into an incredible electric guitar and your stylus into a pick. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to play your favorite songs, even if music isn't your thing. Pedals include Distortion, Flanger and Delay. The Advanced Play Screen is great for melodies, arpeggios and chord variations. Enjoy 32 definable chords on the control pad. Discover more than 950 chords in all and save up to 10 sessions.
SPIN MASTER Original platform: NEOGEO Publisher: D4 Enterprise Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older) - Cartoon Violence Price: 900 Wii Points Description: SPIN MASTER is a side-scrolling action game that was originally released in 1993. Take on the role of an adventurer named Johnny. Dr. De Playne has stolen your piece of a treasure map and kidnapped your girlfriend, Mary. Now you must set off to retrieve them both. Make your way through five different stages, each featuring a unique and colorful boss at the final turn. After clearing each stage, you will obtain a piece of the treasure map. Put all the pieces together and you're in for one big surprise. Make full use of jumps and standard attacks to advance through the game. To experience really explosive and invigorating combat, be sure to employ the wide range of special attacks that are also available, including spirit charges, sliding attacks and super bomb attacks. Another player can also join in the action simultaneously!
Y'know, I've held off on buying Tetris Party for the DS because I already own Tetris DS. But for $5, I can have a version of Tetris on my DSi at all times. And I can still play it online! It's kinda crazy, because I don't know how many times I've bought Tetris over the years... but I think I'll bite for this one.
There's a PSP mini version of Tetris as well, but I think it's like, $10 and doesn't feature online multiplayer. So... did... did DSiWare just beat out PSN in this case?!?
A new VC title, nice. I'll probably download Spin Master at some point.
As for Jett Rocket, I liked it. I'd give it a 7/10. It's like Sonic 4 for me....it's enjoyable, but not great. As an obsessive fan of platformers, I'll try just about anything and JR didn't disappoint overall. Still, there are many, many Wii platformers that I'd recommend over it. Good thing there's a demo, so everyone can try it out.
I downloaded it, for some reason. Guess I was hankerin' for a new Neo-Geo VC game more than I thought.
Do I regret playing the $9 for it? No. Are there many interesting-looking downloadables I don't think are worth $9 and a few minutes of my time? Not really, I have to admit.
Would I have spent $9 worth of quarters on this game in an arcade? Not a chance in hell.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, after beating the game in 30 minutes (admittedly, using the save feature to cheat and effectively get unlimited continues):
Rating - Meh.
It's got big colorful sprites, and tons of enemies on screen everywhere, but the level design just feels cheap (there are many cases where I don't think you can avoid damage), there are many different weapons but they all feel samey, the music is unmemorable and the digitized cries get on your nerves fast.
I played the Jett Rocket demo this morning. Overall, it was kinda bland, but I may give it a shot (it was just the tutorial level, after all). Very pretty and smooth framerate. Shin'en did some incredible work on the technical side.