Now Playing: 05.24.2011

The kids can fulfill their karate fantasies with animated pandas while adults can do the same with bouncy ninja chicks… IN 3D!

By Andy Hoover. Posted 05/25/2011 08:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Every Tuesday, Nintendojo discusses the week’s video game releases on Now Playing. As long as a game’s on a Nintendo console, it’ll show up here– so come every week and don’t miss a thing.


May 24, 2011
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game (THQ)
Nascar 2011: The Game (Activision)

May 25, 2011
Crazy Machines (Mentor Interactive)

Virtual Console and WiiWare

May 23, 2011
Overflow (Digital Leisure)


May 24, 2011
Dead or Alive: Dimensions (Tecmo Koei)


May 24, 2011
Cake Mania: Main Street (Majesco)
Emily the Strange: Strangerous Conspiracy)
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game (THQ)
Murder in Venice (City Interactive)
Paws and Claws: Pampered Pets 2 (THQ)

May 25, 2011
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass (Deep Silver)


May 23, 2011
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (1st Playable Productions)
99 Bullets (Enjoy Up)
3D Twist & Match (BulkyPix)

It’s our third week into this new approach of informing our beloved readers about all the latest playables in Nintendo-land and we already have something of a streak going – once again we get to lament our poor, neglected Wii. A couple licensed games are sure to please the younger gamer and fans of driving in circles but neither is likely to light a fiery passion in the more serious Wii gamer; though it is worth mentioning that Kung Fu Panda 2 does utilize the uDraw tablet, so fans of the peripheral might want to look into it further. Overflow and Crazy Machines at the very least look like competent puzzlers with the former being all about redirecting cascading fluids and the latter being based around Rube Goldberg-like contraptions.

This week’s handheld releases definitely have a few more bright spots this week, but lets save the best for last. Cake Mania is, well, Cake Mania. Chances are you know whether or not you are a fan at this point so you can take it or leave it as you see fit. Emily the Strange and Murder in Venice both come from the point-and-click adventure camp and let’s be honest, this genre is well represented by a slew of brilliant titles and this week’s offerings don’t quite look like they are up to the challenge. Murder in Venice at best appears generic and Emily the Strange comes from the fine purveyors of shovelware at Conspiracy. Granted, I’m extrapolating these assessments from past history and first impressions from trailers and gameplay videos, but the DS has been a minefield of quick and dirty titles for more than a while now, so I hope you forgive me if I sound a little jaded.

Emily the Strange logo

And then there is Kung Fu Panda 2 for DS, which might be worth a least a second glance. The game based on the first movie was a surprisingly strong title developed by Vicarious Visions that took a lot of cues from the original Metroid, only diluted a little bit for younger audiences. The new game, however, is developed by Griptonite, a studio with plenty of experience cranking out licensed software for handheld platforms with varying degrees of success. They are capable of making solid games but I would wait for some hands on impressions to start rolling in before making the plunge.

And let’s not forget Duke Nukem: Critical Mass, a title that confusingly moves away from the franchise’s FPS roots, a style that plays plenty fine on DS, in favor of side scrolling platforming and shooting. Duke did the same thing with Manhattan Project, which was recently re-released on Xbox Live and PSN, to decent enough results so maybe the will be able to pull this off.

Oh, and there is Paws and Claws: Pampered Pets 2. You know, we used to talk about new releases on the podcast way back when, then we stopped when every week involved listing off half a dozen different animal games. It wounded me deeply in way that I don’t like to talk about, so let’s leave it at that.

Now let’s talk about DSiWare. Puzzle Quest is a great marriage of puzzle and RPG gameplay that has been available via cartridge for years, but for those of you who have waited you can now get this awesome little gem for a mere 800 points. 3D Twist & Match is another puzzler, only this one is all about rotating 3D models to match them up with a silhouette, a fairly simple basic concept made all the more appealing by a 200 point price tag. The really interesting title this week is 99 Bullets, an old school shooter in the vein of Galaga where you only have 99 shots to complete each level. The graphics are colorful and trippy enough to make it stand out and that gameplay twist is intriguing at the very least.

However, verything mentioned above pales in comparison to this week’s sole 3DS title –- Dead or Alive: Dimensions. Early reviews have been exceptionally positive so far with the franchise’s great visuals, fast mechanics, and anatomically exaggerated physics all making the transition to 3D without missing a beat. We could talk about the trademark “jiggle” the series is famous for, but Dead or Alive is one of gaming’s most acclaimed fighters for a reason – it has always featured a bevy of varied characters and unique gameplay ideas such as multi-teared stages and fighting system with a heavy focus on counters, dodges, and grapples.

What makes this release all the more exciting is the fact that after only a couple of months, 3DS already has another AAA fighter to join Street Fighter IV, while Blazblue: Continuum Shift 2 will make it three when it releases next week. If fighting games is your reason for existing, then 3DS has already surpassed its predecessor when it comes to delivering the goods.

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