The Nintendo Download: Bits, Trips, Karts And Blobs

It's a jam-packed edition of the Nintendo Download, with enough games to leave you comatose on the couch for hours.

Where to start? This week is pretty packed, especially in the DSiWare department, with five more Electroplanton to play with at 200 points a pop. There's also a notepad application called myNotenook Blue from Nnooo (200 points), which allows users to jot down notes and features 18 unlockable paper styles, which is nearly too much excitement for me to stand. Add in Gameloft's Castle of Magic (500 points), a platform adventure that uses the Nintendo DSi Camera to transform your character into powerful new forms, and you've got enough DSiWare goodness to have you in leftovers for weeks.

The Virtual Console gets two new old games, and they're both relatively big ones. Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo is still one of the best racing games around, and at 800 Wii points its an absolute steal. It is accompanied by the NES original A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia (500 points), which should be a treat for those who've played the recent re-imagining without having played its inspiration.

Rounding up this week's Nintendo Download are four new entries to the WiiWare service. We've got Bit.Trip Void, another entry in Aksys' colourful rhythm-centric series (600 points); Harvest Moon: My Little Shop (1200 points), which allows players to grow and sell things, building their Clover Town store up from nothing; Little Tournament Over Yonder from Gevo Entertainment (800 points), a strategy game for 1-2 players; and Learning with the PooYoos: Episode 1 (500 points), a brain trainer for children aged 3-6.

Check out the full list below to see if you spot anything that will keep you occupied once Thanksgiving dinner ends and awkward family time begins.

BIT.TRIP VOID Publisher: Aksys Games Players: 1-4 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 600 Wii Points™ Description: The third installment in the retro-arcade BIT.TRIP saga is a synesthetic exploration of rhythm and music as they pertain to our everyday lives and moods. With a control scheme that's new to the series yet wholly familiar to gamers, players have complete freedom to move about the screen wherever they desire, interacting with the music in brand new ways. The classic game-play aesthetic remains as colour - and the absence of colour - are explored to the fullest. Trip out in four-player co-op and get lost in the beat with a friend. See if you can survive the onslaught of Beats and further your own BIT.TRIP.

Harvest Moon: My Little Shop Publisher: Natsume, Inc. Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 1,200 Wii Points Description: Welcome to Clover Town, where you've just taken over your grandparents' farm and shop. The town has fallen on hard times, though. People are leaving, businesses are struggling and the magic of the Harvest Sprites is gone. Can you turn Clover Town's fortunes around and restore its missing magic? Raise crops and animals, then use what you farm at your shop. Keep your customers happy by making wild fruit juices, towering ice cream cones and extravagantly decorated eggs in a series of fun and fast-paced activities that use the Wii Remote™ controller to its fullest potential. Chop vegetables in midair, shake your Wii Remote controller to match your cow's moves, roll eggs through tilting mazes and more. Use your hard-earned money to buy new crops and animals or expand and decorate your shop. Along the way, you'll meet and befriend lots of new and interesting characters, as well as several familiar faces from the Harvest Moon series.

Little Tournament Over Yonder Publisher: Gevo Entertainment Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Cartoon Violence Price: 800 Wii Points Description: In the world of Little Tournament Over Yonder, play as a young Prince or Princess and lead your team through numerous battles. Plan and deploy your units to gain strategic advantages. Launch real-time battles between units and fight hard, fast and smart. Build your team, hire new units with different powers, then groom them with battle experience to gain level. With strategic planning and real-time, fast-paced fighting, this game is for the complete warrior - one who works his mind and his muscles. Go for Single-Player Tournament glory or challenge your friend in a 2-Player Versus match.

Learning with the PooYoos: Episode 1 Publisher: Lexis Numérique Players: 1 ESRB Rating: EC (Early Childhood) Price: 500 Wii Points Description: Welcome to the world of the PooYoos, the first fun, poetic brain trainer for children aged 3 to 6. With the PooYoos, a merry band of adorable baby animals, children will have fun while learning the developmental basics: numbers, letters, lateralization, shapes, colours and more. Children get to dance with their new friends and enjoy lovely interactive rewards. There are two levels of interactivity, so children can play according to their age and level. This game has been designed for use by children who have not yet grasped reading.

Virtual Console

Super Mario Kart Original platform: Super NES™ Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 800 Wii Points Description: Get in, sit down, buckle up and experience frantic kart racing in the game that started it all. Select one of eight characters from the Mario series - offering a variety of driving styles - and take on three championship cups in three different kart classes. Win enough and you'll unlock a fourth circuit: the ultra-tough Special Cup. Crossing the finish line in first place isn't an easy task, though, as each track has unique obstacles to conquer. Racers can obtain special power-ups that boost them to victory. For a different kind of challenge, take on a friend in multiplayer races or go head-to-head in a Battle Mode arena, where the object is to pop your opponent's balloons before you lose your own. With more than 15 tracks to master and nearly endless replay value, Super Mario Kart is classic gaming with some banana peels thrown in for good measure.

A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia Original platform: NES™ Publisher: Majesco Entertainment Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 500 Wii Points Description: Blob has come from the distant planet Blobolonia in search of an Earth boy to help him save his world. Join him on this fantastic adventure, searching for treasures in mysterious caverns beneath the earth, then travelling to Blobolonia to battle the evil emperor. Discover Blob's amazing appetite for jellybeans and the different transformations that occur with each flavor. Use these shapes to overcome even the most outrageous obstacles. A Boy and His Blob is a fantastic journey filled with constant surprises and humorous characters.

Nintendo DSiWare

Castle Of Magic Publisher: Gameloft Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Cartoon Violence Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points™ Description: Be prepared for anything as you try to save your friend from the clutches of the horrifying magician Nefastax. Stand up to wild monsters in environments that directly influence your movement. As you navigate this universe, the ground will make you stick, slide, sink, swim, levitate and even walk on the ceiling when gravity disappears. A never-before-seen use for the Nintendo DSi Camera application lets you transform yourself into powerful new forms. Visit an in-game Photo Cabin and search for a real-life object that matches the colour of the character you want to transform into. Take a picture of a blue object with your Nintendo DSi system and…presto, you're transformed into a swordfish. You can customise game items - from coins to enemies - with pictures of your choice. Our cute hero's adventure is just too big and immersive for one screen, so he'll have to jump between the top and bottom screens of your Nintendo DSi system. Ready to dive into the adventure?

myNotebook: Blue™ Publisher: Nnooo Players: 1 Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: myNotebook allows you to take notes wherever you are. Just pop open your Nintendo DSi system and jot down your thoughts. Make a list and cross it off or play your favourite pen and paper games (games not included). You can even personalise your notebook by drawing on the cover and changing the paper type with 18 unlockable paper styles. Use the pen or pencil to make notes or doodles, then erase the bits you don't like. With five ink colours, you'll always be able to make your notes and doodles look stylish.

Electroplankton Luminarrow Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Luminarrow plankton are famous for their habit of perfectly following arrow-shaped formations. The plankton spin as they move, changing directions as soon as they come in contact with an arrow that's pointing in another direction. The pitch of the sound they make will change depending on where the arrows are positioned. There are four types of Luminarrow: red, yellow, green and blue. Each type floats at a different speed and makes a distinctive musical tone. The four types of Luminarrow drift together to create beautiful melodies. Completely alter the direction of the arrows to change their sound dramatically.

Electroplankton Sun-Animalcule Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Sun-Animalcule plankton get their name from their tendency to emit light in a sphere around them. The plankton begin as eggs and gradually grow, emitting light and fascinating sounds throughout their entire life cycle. The sounds they make will change as they grow from infancy to maturity, growing very quickly until they disappear completely. Sun-Animalcule plankton only emerge in the morning, noon and evening. They lose strength as the night wears on; that's when the crescent-shaped Falcato plankton take their place. The pitch of the plankton changes depending on where they grow.

Electroplankton Lumiloop Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Lumiloop plankton are curious, donut-shaped aquatic creatures. While stationary, they have the ability to spin at a very high rate of speed. As they spin, the Lumiloop emit unique sounds and a fascinating ring-shaped glow. Lumiloop plankton seem to always grow in clusters of five. They produce sounds at different pitches as they spin together, creating a beautiful harmony. This is called a pentatonic scale. Depending on where they live, Lumiloop plankton that produce several different sounds have been identified.

Electroplankton Marine-Crystals Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Resembling delicate snow crystals, Marine-Crystal plankton float elegantly on the surface of the water. The plankton get their name from their distinctive snowflake shape. They grow in clusters of 35 and line up in very orderly formations. When stimulated, Marine-Crystal plankton spin and produce vibrant sounds. While the plankton do grow in size if they are repeatedly tapped, they gradually return to their original size over time. They are born in four polygonal shapes: triangle, square, pentagon and hexagon. The ends of the crystalline protrusions also take on the same shapes. The tone of the sound they make will change depending on the shape of the Marine-Crystal plankton's body.

Electroplankton Varvoice Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Varvoice plankton memorize the sound of human speech and repeat it over and over. They accomplish this amazing feat by oscillating the long flagellum that extends from their heads. By resonating the vibration with their water-droplet-shaped body, the plankton produce sounds that closely resemble the human voice. The body can expand and contract at will. By changing shape, they can easily manipulate the sound of the voice. Words that the Varvoice memorize and play back in reverse have a particularly strange ring to them. Researchers refer to this phenomenon as Varvoice inversion.


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