Score: 3.5 out of 5
Platform: Nintendo DS
ESRB: E 10+
Custom Robo Arena is very much like Custom Robo for GameCube. It’s a familiar concept that battles are waged between robots and not between people. The twist is that you play as a kid who does all of the battling, not as some kind of futuristic soldier. And the battles take place in a ring, or arena, not on the battlefield. The robots are small and called “robos” instead of being some sort of huge mech kind of thing. Overall, the game has a charming interface and graphics, and the combat is limited to taking place in a ring. I think the combination of those factors makes this a very good game for children who are interested in robots. Also, geekier adults, such as I, will enjoy the extensive robo customization features.
I had actually written a much longer review, but for some reason it simply disappeared. My guess is that I hit “publish” but didn’t hit “save”. Gotta love duplicating my efforts.
You play as a kid who is starting a new school and wants to join the robo team. In this, you walk around the town and talk to people. Unfortunately, this part reminded me of Pokemon for GBA, which is my way of saying that it isn’t really up to DS standards. Although, to be fair, when you talk to someone the artwork is pretty good. It’s just that the exploring the town part is very basic.
The real action comes in the robo arena. Before the battles you can tweak your robot by modifiying different parts such as guns, pods, body frame, bombs, and legs. You can make your robot heavily armored and slow, or give it one really good gun, a light body, and then hop around and shoot. The ability to customize your robot so heavily is a major strongpoint of the game. There’s strategy involved in building and configuring your robo and then there’s tactics involved in the actual fighting. Fighting is pretty fast and frenetic, and best of all no one gets hurt so this seems like a pretty good game for kids. I also like the way that the fighting is confined to a ring, which sends the message that fighting is only ok under controlled circumstances.
Nintendo Reveals Strong Second-Quarter Lineup for Wii, Nintendo DS
REDMOND, Wash., March 7 /PRNewswire/ — Wii(TM) owners of all ages have
discovered the fun of playing with a group of friends in the same room. Now
for the first time players can compete with one another near and far with
Pokemon(R) Battle Revolution, a game of remarkable firsts:
* the first Wii game to include Nintendo(R) Wi-Fi Connection play
* the first Pokemon game for Wii
* the first game to link Wii and the hand-held Nintendo DS(TM)
* and the first Wii game that can be controlled using Nintendo DS
When Wii and Nintendo DS are linked, players can use their Nintendo DS
units as controllers or import characters from the upcoming Nintendo DS games
Pokemon(R) Diamond Version or Pokemon(R) Pearl Version. Pokemon Battle
Revolution launches on June 25 exclusively for Wii and brings a dramatic new
chapter to the Pokemon franchise, which has sold more than 155 million units
worldwide. Pokemon Battle Revolution also serves as one of the standouts in
Nintendo’s second-quarter launch lineup, which the company revealed today in
conjunction with the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Pokemon Battle Revolution will be joined by Super Paper Mario(TM), the
first Mario(TM) game for Wii; Mario Party(R) 8, a multiplayer party game; and
Big Brain Academy(TM), a brain-training game that builds on the phenomenal
success of the Nintendo DS brain games. These will add to the ever-growing
library of Wii games, which will total more than 50 by the end of June.
Nintendo DS fans will see the arrival of Pokemon Diamond Version and Pokemon
Pearl Version, two surefire smash-hits.
“With strong third-party support, Wii and Nintendo DS have games on the
way for both casual and veteran gamers,” says Nintendo of America President
Reggie Fils-Aime. “Our new ways to play have attracted millions of players
around the world. This lineup demonstrates our commitment to leading the
industry with the future of video gaming.”
Third-party publishers also have stepped up their support of both Wii and
Nintendo DS, recognizing these systems as the hottest things going in the
video game industry. The list of games for April, May and June includes the
April 9 Super Paper Mario Nintendo
April Prince of Persia Rival Swords Ubisoft
April Bust-A-Move Bash Majesco
April Bioncle Heroes Eidos
May 15 Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Midway
May 29 Mario Party 8 Nintendo
May Tamagotchi Party On Namco Bandai
May Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Disney Interactive
at World’s End
May Escape from Bug Island Eidos
May Spider-Man The Movie 3 Activision
June 11 Big Brain Academy Nintendo
June 25 Pokemon Battle Revolution Nintendo
June Cosmic Family Ubisoft
Spring Heatseeker Codemasters
Q2 Legend of the Dragon American Game Factory
Summer Shrek the Third Activision
Summer Transformers the Game Activision
April 22 Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl Nintendo
May Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Buena Vista
May Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu Atari
May Pony Friends Eidos
May Diner Dash Eidos
May Touch the Dead Eidos
June 4 Nintendo DS browser Nintendo
June 4 Planet Puzzle League Nintendo
June 11 Touchmaster DS Midway
June Zendoku Eidos
Spring Naruto Ninja Council 3 Tomy
Spring Time Ace Konami
Spring Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom Konami
Q2 Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Natsume
Summer Shrek the Third Activision
Summer Transformers: Autobots Activision
Summer Transformers: Decepticons Activision
Game Boy(R) Advance
Summer Shrek the Third Activision
The worldwide innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment,
Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and
software for its Wii(TM), Nintendo DS(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance and Nintendo
GameCube(TM) systems. Since 1983, Nintendo has sold nearly 2.2 billion video
games and more than 387 million hardware units globally, and has created
industry icons like Mario(TM), Donkey Kong(R), Metroid(R), Zelda(TM) and
Pokemon(R). A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in
Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the
Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, visit the company’s
Web site at www.nintendo.com.
Pokemon USA, Inc., a subsidiary of The Pokemon Company in Japan, manages
the property outside of Asia which includes licensing, marketing, the Pokemon
Trading Card Game, an animated TV series, home entertainment, the official
Pokemon Web site and an online retail center www.pokemoncenter.com. Just
coming off its 10th worldwide anniversary in 2006, Pokemon was launched in
Japan in 1996 for play on Nintendo’s Game Boy(R) and has since evolved into a
global cultural phenomenon. Pokemon was introduced in North America in
September 1998 and today is one of the most popular toy and entertainment
properties in the world. For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.
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
I met with my good friends Anthony (from 2K Sports) and Katie (from Access PR) yesterday and they showed me Major League Baseball 2K7 on Xbox 360 and PS3. It’s going to be available on everything except GameCube and Wii (they would have had to create a whole new control system and couldn’t do it in time for the season) and it will ship in the first week of March 2007. i was pretty impressed with it. Overall, the graphics and sound are great. The details are all there, from Inside Edge statistics that affect AI on a play by play basis, to 150 signature style individualized player animations, and even to shirts rippling in the wind and little puffs of dirt coming up from player’s footsteps. The commentary was reasonably interesting, at least for the few innings that we played. The heckling “Hey, I stole your girlfriend Jeter”) was pretty cool.
Here’s a screenshot from PS3:
Pitching controls remain the same, using the “Payoff Pitching” system and now you can even control the catcher and have him call the game. Hitting is the same using the swing stick. On PS3 you also have the option to swing using the controller due to it’s 6-axis motion sensing capability. I couldn’t get the hang of this during the brief time that I had with the game. They reworked a lot of the fielding so that momentum when running seems more real than last year. They also revamped every stadium, including lighting down to the way that shadows affect hitting. The PIP baserunning makes it easy to control runners.
Here’s a screenshot from Xbox360:
There is online play with online leagues for both Xbox 360 and PS3.
Also new is the ability to manage your budget and set ticket prices in franchise mode.
Here’s a PSP screenshot:
I spent a few days in Las Vegas last week to visit Midway. They booked The Joint at the Hard Rock for a great event that highlighted several of their 2007 and 2008 titles. They had some great sushi and the scotch was flowing freely; what could be bad?
BlackSite: Area 51 This FPS is due to ship summer 2007 for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. The story is pretty cool. You’re sent into an area because some troops are missing and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. There are all sorts of creepy crawlies that come after you. My favorite are the ones that you kill but their heads pop off and continue to pursue you. Midway promises realistic sound, but I couldn’t tell because it was in a crowded noisy room. The graphics look great and lighting effects were very cool. The massively destructible environment is another cool thing. All in all, the short level that I played was a whole lot of fun. There’s also a basic squad based element, which I mainly used to order my guys ahead on point. There were some performance issues, but it’s a very early build. All in all, this is a title that I’m looking forward to.
Hour of Victory This Xbox 360 WWII FPS is built on the Unreal Engine 3 so it looked fantastic. The innovation with this title is the ability to switch between 3 characters. There’s the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character, the stealthy slit their necks from behind character, and the eagle eyed sniper. At various points in each level you are given the opportunity to switch guys. Interestingly, you can do any part of the game using any character although some are better at certain parts than others. I found that using the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character made this game feel exactly like Call of Duty. Not a bad thing for me, because I love these WWII shooters. In fact, I can remember a night when the guy in the apartment above me asked me to stop storming the beaches at Normandy (Medal of Honor) because it was 2 in the morning. I wonder how many other people like them. How much of a market is there for them? Very little was said about multiplayer modes, although the level looked like a good multiplayer design. The other cool thing is that you can take over turrets, planes, tanks, etc. That’s always tons of fun in multiplayer.
They also showed Stranglehold which looks like so much fun. I’ve written about it several times before.
They showed a trailer for The Wheelman with Vin Deisel. I can never tell very much about a game from the trailer. It’s too early for me to have anything to say about this one.
They showed a great video about the controls for Mortal Kombat: Armagedon for Wii. This looks like a lot of fun. It’s basically a combination of swipes and motions with the remote and a little button pushing. I’m really looking forward to playing this one.
And finally they had playable The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar which is a MMO for PC. They announced that it will ship on April 24, 2007. They just started a pre-order program which gets you the game for $9.99 per month or $199 lifetime. It looked good and there was a lot of excitement about it.
REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ — There has never been anything like it. Independent U.S. sales figures released by the NPD Group today confirmed a red-hot launch for the new Wii(TM) system by Nintendo, and the crowning of the portable Nintendo DS(TM) as the best-selling video game device of any type for both the holidays and all of 2006.
Along with stunning success for The Legend of Zelda(R): Twilight Princess
and historic sales of accessories, including more than 1.5 million extra controllers for Wii alone, Nintendo recorded the most successful across-the-board holiday performance in U.S. video game history.
Among key results:
* Consumers purchased every Wii console available at retail — more than
a million in just the 44 days between U.S. launch and year end.
* With sales of another 1.6 million systems in December alone, Nintendo
DS achieved full year sell-through of 5.3 million.
* The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was purchased by an
extraordinary 86 percent of Wii buyers, or more than 900,000 games for
that system alone. Coupled with the companion version released in
December for Nintendo GameCube(TM), the two versions of the newest
Zelda title totaled approximately 1.5 million unit sales in less than
seven weeks, which would represent one of the five best-selling games
for the entire year.
* Wii owners also purchased an average of three additional games from a
wide library of choices, in addition to the Wii Sports title packed in
with every hardware system.
* Two Nintendo DS titles, New Super Mario Bros.(R) and Brain Age(TM):
Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, also were top-10 sellers for the year.
* Throughout the November/December holiday shopping period, Nintendo
accounted for more than half of all video game hardware systems sold in America.
Earlier this week, Nintendo increased its projected worldwide financial performance for the year ending on March 31 to be the best in company history.
“Millions of players, both hard-core and brand-new, are already enjoying the unique entertainment provided by Wii, but demand for the system remains incredibly high,” says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “So our work is just beginning. We’re dedicating ourselves to maximizing both manufacturing and distribution full bore throughout 2007, to make sure everyone who wants to experience the future of video gaming can do so just as soon as possible.”
The momentum behind Wii will continue unabated through the early weeks of 2007, with retail debuts of WarioWare(TM): Smooth Moves, Wii Play(TM) and Mario Party(R) 8 from Nintendo; a host of third-party releases; and a steady stream of classic games made available via download with the Wii Shop Channel.
REDMOND , Wash., Oct. 13, 2006 – As both an entertainment and a business, Nintendo DS™ today is the powerhouse of the U.S. video game industry, driving nearly all industry revenue growth so far this year. Without this portable system, the video game industry growth overall would be nearly flat when compared with 2005, according to independent sales figures from the NPD Group of Port Washington, N.Y.
Through September’s end, the U.S. industry overall shows revenue growth of 11 percent when compared with the same period in 2005. Nearly all of the growth comes from the portable DS – without it, the industry would report a mere 1.6 percent growth over the past nine months. DS hardware and software units posted a robust gain of 203 percent when compared to the same period in 2005. The news is the same globally: Nintendo recently announced estimated full-year shipments for DS hardware will grow to 20 million units from 17 million units worldwide, while estimated DS software shipments increased to 82 million units from 75 million.
“Numbers dramatically show the value of reaching out to the masses with products that are compelling and comfortable,” says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “And this perfectly sets the stage for our breakthrough Wii console, which appeals to both core players and current non-players with an intuitive control system and a price everyone can afford.”
The NPD numbers also indicate that during September, Nintendo DS lifetime U.S. sales surpassed more than 6.2 million units. That total includes more than 1.4 million units of the new Nintendo DS Lite systems, which launched just 16 weeks ago on June 11. It’s important to note these numbers represent Nintendo DS systems actually purchased by customers, not ones shipped only to stores.
“During a home console generation upgrade, consumer interest in existing consoles tends to drop as anticipation for new consoles increases. Hand-held game hardware and software revenues have kept the industry afloat,” says Billy Pidgeon, Program Manager, Consumer Markets: Gaming at IDC. “Hand-held gaming has spurred real industry growth, and Nintendo’s longstanding leadership in this space continues to drive this market.”
This summer, Nintendo launched its Touch Generations brand to help newcomers to video games identify which nontraditional and pick-up-and-play titles are appropriate for them. The response from consumers has been enthusiastic, as four of the top 10 best-selling Nintendo DS games are Touch Generations titles. Touch Generations games include Brain Age™: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day and the three versions of Nintendogs ™. And at the same time, avid players also are fueling growth: the New Super Mario Bros. ® title, exclusively for Nintendo DS, is the third best-seller among all video games this year, including console games.
Nintendo’s internal statistics show the Touch Generations brand continues to reach more women and older gamers. Nintendo statistics show a significant percentage of all Touch Generations software buyers are female and are age 25 or older, demonstrating the broad appeal of Nintendo titles like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy™, which provide engaging and entertaining content for baby boomers and seniors alike.
For more information about Nintendo DS, visit www.nintendods.com. For more information about Nintendo’s Touch Generations brand, visit www.touchgenerations.com .
SANTA CLARA, Calif., (September 26, 2006) – Leading video games publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. today announced that Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier™ for the Nintendo DS™ system has shipped and is available in retail outlets nationwide.
A turn-based strategy title based on the best-selling collectible miniature game from WizKids Games, Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier takes players to a time where war is rampant and the fate of the land rests in the hands of one brave warrior.
Players take on the role of a warrior who is tasked to fight and rally as many troops as possible in an effort to restore peace and keep the Land alive. This warrior must prove himself by fighting hard and earning the respect of other soldiers by engaging in small battles along the way. The more respect a player earns, the more inclined others will be to fight alongside him in an all-out war against those trying to destroying the Land.
“The Mage Knight™ franchise has always delivered a solid gameplay experience with lasting appeal,” said John Whitmore, Director of Internal/External Development at NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “While staying true to the traditional tabletop game, Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier allows players to strategize, customize their armies and conquer the magical Mage Knight universe.”
Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier provides players with a deep and structured combat system based on the established Mage Knight rules. Players can explore and conquer more than 80 maps including forests, mountains, villages, icy plains and other various types of terrain throughout the Land. Players can also build an unstoppable custom army by utilizing more than 90 different units of troops through recruitment and conquest.
Mage Knight: Destiny’s Soldier is rated “E 10+” for ages 10 and up by the ESRB, is now available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99.
BURBANK, Calif. — (September 26, 2006) — Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment affiliate of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), today announced that “The Cheetah Girls,” “Phil of the Future,” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Tipton Trouble” are now available. “The Cheetah Girls” and “Phil of the Future” are available for the Game Boy(R) Advance. “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Tipton Trouble” is available for the Nintendo DS(TM). All three games are rated E for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).
“Kids can take their favorite Disney Channel characters anywhere this fall with new adventures from ‘The Cheetah Girls,’ ‘Phil of the Future’ and ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,’” said Craig Relyea, vice president of marketing, Buena Vista Games. “With the recent success of ‘The Cheetah Girls 2’ Disney Channel Original Movie, we’re particularly excited to offer fans more ways to interact with the performers’ story.”
In “Phil of the Future,” developed by Handheld Games Corp. for the Game Boy Advance, players help their favorite characters from the popular Disney Channel series save a town overrun with the mischievous pets from the future – “The Blahs”. As Phil, Keeley or Curtis, players collect and assemble more than 20 futuristic gadgets to solve puzzles, overcome obstacles and capture the blahs to save the day. With several mini-games and unlockable features, “Phil of the Future” offers players hours of fun.
Join “The Cheetah Girls” as they dance and sing their way to a talent competition in Spain, where the top prize is a record contract. Players take on the role of each of the four Cheetah Girls – Galleria, Chanel, Aquanetta and Dorinda, plus Galleria’s pedigree pooch, Toto. To prepare for the big gig in Barcelona, players create their own tunes in the music studio, choreograph dance moves and coordinate Cheeta-licious outfits. The game also features mini jobs for each girl — flip ribs on the grill with Aqua; teach dance with Dorinda; make music with Galleria and Toto at home or coordinate outfits at a high-end fashion store with Chanel. Developed by Gorilla, “The Cheetah Girls” is an adventure that fans won’t want to miss.
“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Tipton Trouble” is an action platform game from developer A2M, based on the Disney Channel’s popular TV show, “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” The game enables players to enter the world of Zach and Cody, 12-year-old twins who live with their mother in one of Boston’s swankiest hotels. As in the TV show, the twins attempt to save themselves from 14 outrageous situations by jumping, crawling, climbing, running and racing to conquer enemy forces. Players can race through corridors on Zack’s skateboard, shoot various objects like water balloons, bubble gum and cream pies from Cody’s amazing vacuum, and unlock mini-games that feature two-player wireless action.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gives their fans the chance to get into the chase themselves, when the two hilarious, chase-filled TOM AND JERRY TALES games for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS ship on October 31! Putting an emphasis on what Tom and Jerry are all about – the chase – the TOM AND JERRY TALES games allow gamers to play as Jerry who must make his way through the house to survive, running through mouse holes, destroying the house through interactions with Tom and recovering the precious cheese Tom has stolen along the way. Each version of the game features exclusive content-the GBA version includes various mini-games to keep the chase moving, while the NDS version includes touch-screen activated events that require players to use lightening quick reflexes to cleverly avoid Tom and create general mayhem in the house.