The Nintendo Download goes underground this week, dislodging sentient earthworms from the topsoil as it desperately searches for its mutated pet frog.
Despite a strong showing across all three of Nintendo's downloadable game services, the Virtual Console comes out on top this week, with one of the greatest action games for the Nintendo Entertainment System finally making it onto the Wii. I'm talking about Sunsoft's Blaster Master (500 Wii points). On one hand, it's the story of a brave adventurer travelling through the mutant-infested tunnels beneath the earth's crust in Sophia the 3rd, an armoured attack vehicle of unknown origin. On the other, it's a game about a kid looking for his missing frog, Fred. It's one of my favourite video games of all time, eclipsing even Interplay's Earthworm Jim 2 (800 points), also hitting the VC this week.
DSiWare is a close second this week, with titles like Littlest Pet Shop (800 DSi points), Bejeweled Twist (500 points), Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam (500 points), and Gameloft's Miami nightlife simulator Miami Nights (800 points) making up the inclusion of another silly Master of Illusion: Express title.
Not that this week's WiiWare offerings are particularly bad. I'm just not all that familiar with racer Stunt Cars (800 points), petri dish shooter Diatomic (800 points), Natsume's puzzler Moki Moki (800 points), and Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH (600 points), so my excitement is held in check by my unfortunate ignorance.
Check out the full descriptions below and see if there's anything worth your while. Other than Blaster Master, of course. That's a given.
Blaster Master™ Original platform: NES™ Publisher: Sunsoft Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Fantasy Violence Price: 500 Wii Points™ Description: The New York sewers were never like this. You've fallen down a hidden manhole into a world of creatures so terrifying they'd scare the rats away. You can panic and perish, or blast your way through an endless maze of tunnels in search of secret passages to your escape. Masters of the Caverns lay waiting - prehistoric creatures so powerful and gigantic they literally fill your screen. Load your arsenal and get ready for Blaster Master.
Earthworm Jim 2™ Original platform: SEGA Genesis Publisher: Interplay Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Cartoon Violence Price: 800 Wii Points Description: Superhero annelid Jim and his new sidekick, Snott, are back for an off-the-wall sequel in Earthworm Jim 2. Containing more action than your standard platformer from the Genesis era, each stage has a different style and mission, drawing on game play from different genres, including mazes, trivia contests and arcade-style levels. The game also features music composed by Tommy Tallarico. Do you have what it takes to rescue the Princess?
LITTLEST PET SHOP Publisher: Electronic Arts Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 800 Nintendo DSi Points™ Description: Experience your favourite LITTLEST PET SHOP pets in a whole new way on your Nintendo DSi system. Play catch with your pets and their favourite toys, dress them up in adorable new accessories and keep them happy by brushing and feeding them. You can even throw a little dance party for your pets and help them rock out to cool songs.
Miami Nights Publisher: Gameloft Players: 1 ESRB Rating: T (Teen) - Comic Mischief, Mild Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference, Use of Alcohol Price: 800 Nintendo DSi Points Description: You won't find a more complete life simulation than Miami Nights: Life in the Spotlight. Begin by designing your avatar with an unbelievable level of customisable physical detail. But it's not your physique that counts. Instead, your life choices and your everyday behaviour will influence more than 40 attributes that will make you a unique, progressive individual. The city of Miami is presented to you with no fewer than 30 places to explore. Plus, you'll be able to customise your entire home and interact with your environment in many ways. The most important part of the game play lies in how you interact with other characters. They will be the ones who'll help you achieve your goals. You'll be able to establish and break off different types of relationships with them. It's up to you to act like a bad guy or sweet girl, make friends or enemies, and choose the best way - honest or otherwise - to make your dreams become a reality.
Bejeweled Twist™ Publisher: PopCap Games Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Spin, match, explode - it's a brilliant new way to play. Spin and match explosive gems for shockwaves of fun in this quick-play version of the award-winning PopCap game. Rotate jewels to set up electrifying combos, outwit obstacles like Locks and Bombs, and create high-voltage Flame and Lightning gems. Play the intensely fun Classic mode or take on a friend in the exclusive Nintendo DS Battle mode. No matter how you play, you'll find endless ways to win.
Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam Publisher: Virtual Toys Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Comic Mischief Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Have you ever asked yourself what it would feel like to be among the stoves of the best restaurants in the world? Do you want to become the best chef there is, preparing scrumptious dishes? Jump right in and enter the world of Yummy Yummy and its mixture of flavours and aromas. In Yummy Yummy, you'll have to satisfy the hunger of the most diverse, colourful set of diners: vampires, extraterrestrials, mafia thugs, Vikings and more. Prepare hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas and Mexican burritos as quickly as you can before your customers get tired of waiting and decide to leave the restaurant without giving you a good tip. Roll up your sleeves, don your chef's hat and have a great time.
Master of Illusion™ Express: Matchmaker Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 200 Nintendo DSi Points Description: Master of Illusion Express titles feature mind-boggling magic tricks that you can perform with your Nintendo DSi system. Learn the illusions, practice up and amaze your friends. Master of Illusion Express: Matchmaker includes two tricks that use your Nintendo DSi system to reveal information about others. Use the Photo Diagnosis trick and stun others by taking two simple photos to pinpoint their exact age. Or have the Matchmaker trick show that another person has favourite dates or favourite foods that are similar to yours. Who knows? You could even land a date or make a new friend.
Stunt Cars™ Publisher: Icon Games Entertainment Players: 1-4 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 800 Wii Points Description: Stunt Cars takes place on elevated racetracks with very little to stop players from accidentally driving off the side. Turbo can be used to make a car go faster, but it can only be used for a limited amount of time in each race. As you progress through the game's four championship cups, you'll unlock special features such as driver achievement awards.
Diatomic Publisher: Grendel Games Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Mild Fantasy Violence Price: 800 Wii Points Description: Diatomic is a fast retro-arcade action game that takes place inside a set of petri dishes. The safe confines of your petri dish are about to be invaded by nine different diatomic creatures that seek to destroy you. Armed with your shield, tail, strategic intelligence and good reflexes, you stand a good chance of defeating the overwhelming odds. You must stay alive during 65 hectic stages spread over five chapters. The high score list shows what kind of player you are. Playing defensively and gaining an all-out defensive high score is harder to pull off than gaining an all-out offensive high score.
Moki Moki™ Publisher: Natsume Inc. Players: 1 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) - Comic Mischief Price: 800 Wii Points Description: It's a mind-bending, gravity-defying puzzler. The Moki are being devoured by the voracious Gromblins, and it's up to you to guide the hapless little guys to safety. Bend, twist and rotate the environment to herd the Moki through a series of brain-teasing puzzles. Along the way, you'll have to contend with deadly pitfalls, spinning blades and shifting gravity. Roll Moki down ramps, grab them with hooks and blast them with jets to guide them safely to the portals. Challenge your skills in 100 unique levels.
Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH Publisher: Two Tribes Players: 1-2 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Price: 600 Wii Points Description: Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH is a 3-D puzzle game with more than 70 challenging levels. Players need to guide Cubes to colour-coded exit points. Using the Wii Remote™ controller's intuitive controls, players herd the coloured cubes along by using Conveyer Belts, Warps, Stop Signs, Directional Signs and Splits. RUSH also includes the original Rubik's Cube as a bonus. Players can attempt to solve one of the four different-sized Cubes alone, compete against a second player or learn how to solve the classic Rubik's Cube.