Keeping up with all the new game releases isn’t easy, especially with all the different systems out there. In this week’s feature, we’ll take a look at the best ones for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS from 2009. If you’re a gamer, you may want to check these out in case you happened to miss one…
A Boy & His Blob
A beloved NES classic gets a 2D remake, with 40 completely new stages and plenty of jelly beans to satisfy blobs of all shapes and sizes. The graphics are great and the stages are filled with puzzles and enemies to thwart on your way to saving Blobolonia.
Namco updated their PS1 classic with gorgeous new visuals in this Wii remake. A platformer with similarities to the Kirby series, Klonoa grabs enemies in his way and uses them to jump higher, knock down walls, or dispatch foes as he works his way across the myriad locales of Phantomile.
Little King’s Story
A real-time strategy game with a deceptively cutesy look, Little King’s Story complex nature quickly emerges as you manage a dozen different job classes in your attempt to conquer neighboring kingdoms. Fans of Pikmin and RPGs will find lots to enjoy in this quirky quest.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Vanillaware brings their brand of painterly 2D visuals to the Wii, set in a demon-filled medieval Japan. Two characters are selectable, each with their own story to complete as they slash their way across the country battling mythological monsters. You know what they say; if looks could kill…
NEW Super Mario Bros. Wii
Nintendo’s Mario series returns to its 2D routes in this sequel to the DS hit, but adds a hectic 4-player mode to the mix for even more hilarious hijinks. Play it alone or with friends for two completely different experiences, all while enjoying the nostalgic platforming fun that Nintendo seems to do best.
Dragon Quest 5: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
The original Dragon Quest 5 (Super Nintendo) never made it out of Japan, so you shouldn’t pass up the chance to finally experience what many consider the best in the series. The game’s events take place over the youth, young adulthood, and fatherhood of the main character. Additionally, players choose from one of three potential brides to marry, and players can recruit monsters into the party. With its endearing cast of characters and epic quest spanning three generations, Dragon Quest 5 is without a doubt my favorite DS game of the year.
Mario & Luigi 3: Bowser’s Inside Story
From the creators of the original Super Mario RPG (SNES), the Mario & Luigi series’ third installment is a surprisingly solid RPG. The series’ renowned reflex-testing battles, in which players must tap a specific button to deal critical hits or avoid enemy attacks, returns. This time however, the Mario Bros share screen time with their reptilian nemesis Bowser, who has swallowed them whole! It’s a funny and extremely polished adventure that fans shouldn’t miss.
Professor Layton & The Diabolical Box
A mystery story mixed with an activity book, Professor Layton may not be for everyone. With it’s simple and user-friendly stylus game design, anyone who can read can pick it up and play it immediately. This time, the Professor is looking for the Diabolical Box, an artifact which is said to kill anyone who dares take a peek inside. Hundreds of brain-teasers mixed and an entertaining story with great production values await.
Retro Game Challenge
Based on Retro Game Master, a Japanese tv show where the hapless Shinya Arino plays a never ending flood of classic video games, Retro Game Challenge is essentially a mini-game collection. Although the games are completely original, they’ve been designed with the distinct look and feel of genuine 8-bit Nintendo games. As such, older gamers (like myself) will experience a kind of faux-nostalgic trip as they work their way through games resembling childhood favorites.
The sequel to a Japanese-only GBA game, Rhythm Heaven is a series of mini games where players must tap and flick the screen to the beat of each level’s song. The game features the same quirky graphical style of the Wario Ware series, and unlike Elite Beat Agents the songs are not well known hits, but original compositions. Players won’t have a visual guide (beats) to help them, so much of the game’s challenge comes from paying close attention to a song’s changing tempo.
The Verdict is Still Out…
Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers
Square-Enix’s long awaited Final Fantasy title for the Wii is set to release on December 26th. In contrast to previous Crystal Chronicles titles, the new game keeps the action-oriented game play but ditches the multiplayer in favor of a more traditional single player quest. Visually the title is right up there with the Wii’s best, but the strange new game play mechanic where the hero can telepathically lift objects and enemies looks like it could be hit or miss.
Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Nintendo’s second Zelda title for the DS is due out on December 7th. The last DS Zelda title was considered sub-par by some fans, but it’s a safe bet DS gamers will still flock to the stores in droves to pick up the latest offering.
WiiWare & Virtual Console
Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse
Konami’s vampire-slaying adventure broke the mold by allowing players to choose different paths through the game, where they would meet and team up with one of three special characters. Grant could climb walls, Alucard could transform into a bat, and Sypha had magical projectile attacks. A challenging, but gorgeous NES game.
Final Fantasy IV: The After
Gamers familiar with the original Final Fantasy 4 will no doubt want to revisit the world and characters, and this side story allows them to do just that. Originally developed for mobile phones, the graphics and music are just the way you remember them, and each chapter can be downloaded separately if you just want to dabble.
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
This unusual Zelda game switched things up with a variety of new powers for Link, as he transforms into a Deku Plant, a Goron, and a Zora by wearing magical masks. The land of Termina will be destroyed by the moon in three days, so Link must use the Ocarina of Time to slow things down and even reset the clock. This game play mechanic is frustrating to begin with, but once you get used to it there is a great game waiting to be explored.
Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
An early strategy title developed by Yasumi Matsuno (Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy 12) before he and his team joined Square-Enix. The game design features a unique mix of turn-based and real-time strategy, and battles that rely more on party formation and unit type than direct player control. While not the timeless classic that is Tactics Ogre, Ogre Battle is still certainly worth looking into.
Super Punch Out!!
While not quite as good as the original Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!, the Super Nintendo sequel does a good job of recapturing much of its boxing fun. With all new boxers requiring new strategies, the game is only missing Little Mac, which is a bit of a disappointment.