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This Week's Downloads

A flood of major download releases hits this week. Synch your release calendar here.


The PSP go hits retail on Sunday. Not surprisingly, this week is going to be huge for download software. But not just on PSP! Nintendo's various platforms have a bunch of titles on the way that have the potential to be must downloads. Even Xbox Live Arcade has some homegrown content this week. Let's take a look.

WiiWare has four games on the way for 10/27:

  • Bit.Trip Void Rhythm Seijin no Danmaku (Arc, 500 WiiPoints)
  • Simple Series Vol.5 The Judo (D3 Publisher, 500 WiiPoints)
  • Castlevania the Legend ReBirth (Konami, 1000 WiiPoints)
  • Shadow Walker (Gamearts, 1000 WiiPoints)

(Click the links to be taken to game info pages for the games. This is an in-development feature for the site, so in addition to looking ugly, some of the pages may be lacking in content right now).

Of these, I'm going to probably pick up Castlevania and Shadow Walker.

The ReBirth games have thus far been worthy downloads (although I have to admit that I wish Konami would go nuts with full Bionic Commando-style HD remakes). Typical for WiiWare and ReBirth, Konami hasn't gotten too specific with gameplay details for Castlevania, so it's unclear how much will be new and how much will be the Game Boy original with a new coat of paint. For Castlevania fans, the music is particularly of note, as Konami is promising new remixes of music pulled from throughout the series.

Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth

Shadow Walker originally got attention just because it's being developed and published by Gamearts, the studio that made Lunar and Grandia and, more recently, worked with Nintendo on Smash Bros. Brawl. Aside from the Gamearts tie, though, the game has an eye catching art style and an intriguing premise that seems to fit well with the Wiimote in pointer mode.


Shadow Walker

As for the other two games, Bit.Trip is already available outside of Japan. The Judo is the latest entry in D3's WiiWare line of Simple series games. The game is played from the first person with players using the Nunchuck and Wiimote as right and left hands. Players can select from 20 players and face off in two-player split screen matches. Online support includes worldwide rankings

Four games are on the way for Virtual Console on 10/27:

  • Championship Lode Runner (Hudson, Famicom, 600)
  • Sonic & Knuckles (Sega, Mega Drive, 600)
  • Face Off (Namco Bandai, Arcade, 800)
  • Rolling Thunder 2 (Namco Bandai, Arcade, 800)

Sonic & Knuckles was somewhat of a surprise announcement, coming just last week from Sega. It's also one of the rare VC games that has something you won't find in the original: a special screen for selecting which cartridge you want to connect. Sega says that the game can attach to Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3. I remember Sonic & Knuckles connecting to more than just that for a few additional bonuses.

The special Sonic & Knuckles menu.

DSiWare gets three titles on 10/28, spanning the full range of prices:

  • Earth Saver (Tom Create, 200 DSiPoints)
  • Puzzle Iro Iro Monthly Crossword House Vol.6 (Nintendo, 500 DSiPoints)
  • Kuni Yaburete Sanga Ari (Square Enix, 800 DSiPoints)

Of these, Earth Saver looks like it could offer the most bang for the buck. As detailed last week, it offers a simple premise and the potential for addictive classic arcade-style gameplay. See the official site for some movies that might push you over the edge for a purchase.

Earth Saver

The puzzle game is the 6th in a monthly series from Nintendo. If you haven't gotten into it by now, I don't imagine you'll find anything new here. Nintendo has been running a raffle contest since part 4 that offers players a chance to win such prizes as cleaning detergent, coffee makers, and McDonalds gift certificates.

Kuni Yaburete Sanga Ari was announced just last week. A port of a cell phone game of the same name, the title promises wireless play and full stylus controls. The stylus controls hopefully mean it won't be as wretchedly bad as Square Enix's ports of Crystal Defenders.

Kuni Yaburete Sanga Ari

Xbox 360 owners will be getting in on the fun on October 28 with one Xbox Live Arcade release. In a rare homegrown XLA game, Taito is delivering Rainbow Island Towering Adventure. The 800 MS Point download appears to be the WiiWare title of the same name in full HD and with Xbox Live support. See this story from last week for details.

Rainbow Island

Sony doesn't usually share it's download content plans until Wednesdays, but with PSP go set for November 1 release, we already have a solid schedule for PSP releases. Here's what's due out this week:

  • Crystal Defenders (Square Enix, 10/29, ¥900)
  • PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe (Q Games, 11/01, ¥2000)
  • LocoRoco Midnight Carnival (Sony, 11/01, ¥2800)
  • Echoshift (Sony, 11/01, ¥2000)
  • Persona 3 Portable (Atlus, 11/1)
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy Universal Tuning (Square enix, 11/01, ¥4,000)
  • MotorStorm Raging Ice (Sony, 11/01, ¥3800)

Of these, the last three are also retail releases, with the retail versions priced a bit higher.

PSP Crystal Defenders
Dissidia Final Fantasy Universal Tuned

Sony and its third parties have been gradually filling up the PSP's download library with download versions of older titles. This has reached fever pitch over the past few weeks, with dozens of titles dropping simultaneously at times. I imagine there'll be another flood this week as publishers try to lure new PSP go buyers to lower priced offerings.

One piece of PSP download content isn't actually a full game. Sega will be offering a Phantasy Star Portable 2 download on November 1. As detailed here, this demo is packed full of content, and since it's free you might as well download it anyway!

A few of the Phantasy Star Portable 2 tie-ups will make it into the demo.

Game Archives may or may not see content this week. Last week, the service saw a paltry update with just Dungeon Explorer. Sony usually updates once every other week, but perhaps there'll be an exception to coincide with PSP go. It seems too early for Final Fantasy IX, given that FFVIII hit at TGS, but a major Square Enix release sounds like the perfect way to welcome the new hardware.

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