I met with Majesco a few days ago and checked out their spring lineup. It’s essentially casual games, ie not hardcore gaming, on Wii and DS. I liked a few of them, but I can’t help but remember that Majesco once shipped BloodRayne. That was a great game and you couldn’t really ask for something more hardcore than that. Times have changed and markets have changed. My guess is that it has more to do with the finances of developing and publishing blockbuster titles. Nothing that Majesco showed me is going to run away with the market, but there’s certainly fun to be had.
Cooking Mama Cook Off – This innovative game for Wii puts you in the kitchen where you learn recipes and cooking techniques. It was pretty fun on DS and now they’ve got a Wii version with 55 new recipes. An interesting thing that they did was add an international element. There are 10 countries, each with a champion and 2 dishes. So you can compete against the little Spanish girl to make paella and that unlocks the paella recipe. It’s really a bunch of clever cooking based mini games. For example, you hold the Wii controller upright and spin it like you are spinning pizza dough on your fingertip. The speed with which you spin the controller dictates the size of the pizza. There’s 2 player split screen which should be a blast at parties. It’ll ship in April for $49.99.
Cooking Mama: Cook Off Trailer
Toon Doku – This sudoku game for DS ships in May or June 2007 and will cost $19.99. It’s sudoku with cartoon characters instead of numbers. It turns out that Sudoku is more about pattern matching than adding numbers, which surprises me. In otherwords, having the same rules – line up all the pictures so they aren’t duplicated horizontally or vertically and all are used – works for anything, not just numbers. This gives me some insight into Sudoku. But it honestly doesn’t make it any more for me. I guess a huge sudoku fan would like to play with different pictures on the pieces but it doesn’t affect the game. For those who think it sounds cool, you can edit custom characters to build your own set and then trade them over multiplayer. There are about 100 levels.
New York Times Crossword Puzzles – This Nintendo DS game has 1000+ New York Times Crossword puzzles. There’s multiplayer competitive or collaborative (which sounds very cool). I like the idea of two people working on the same crossword puzzle together. You can pick your puzzles from the calendar or do quick puzzle which randomly generates a puzzle. There are hints which tell you one letter at a time, but as of now there are no actual answers. I spoke to the marketing guy about adding answers because it would really bother me to work on a puzzle all day and not be able to know whether it’s right or wrong. If you’re a crossword puzzle fan with a DS then you’ll love this game. It ships in Q3 2007.
Cake Mania – This is a direct port of the casual online game from the PC. In it you manage a bakery by multitasking to servce customers. They come in and give their order and then you have to make the cake and serve them while at the same time waiting on everyone so no one leaves. It gets harder and they start asking for more complicated cakes so you can upgrade your kitchen to have more ovens or upgrade your shoes so you can run faster. This will ship in April or May 2007 for $19.99. It’s not my kind of game, but it looks like something that people could get hooked on.