Capsule impressions of this week's arrivals on the console downloadable scene...
WiiWare -- Three games this week. The biggest is probably UNO!, which has been a major hit on XBox Live Arcade and now comes to WiiWare with local and online multiplayer features intact. bittos+ is a square forming/nesting strategy game that intends to be "the next big thing in casual gaming," which likely means it is not. "Aha! I Found It" Hidden Object Game challenges 1-4 local players to find specific objects onscreen.
Wii Virtual Console -- One game this week, Lucasarts' Ghoul Patrol for the SNES, which was marketed as a sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors but was not as successful.
XBox Live Arcade -- Two games last week. Konami continued its venerable square-based RPG strategy series with Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment. If you've played the earlier series entries, the initial tutorial will test your patience, but after the warmup is over it's traditional Vandal Hearts action -- right down to the repetitive sound bites, text-based dialogue popups and simple 3-D models. Also, Square-Enix released DEATH BY CUBE, which tries to capture the frenetic energy of classic dual-stick 2-D shooters like Robotron: 2084. But the camera doesn't show the entire playfield, which makes the rapidly converging enemy cubes difficult to track, and in my opinion the action depends too much on the "dash" move to confuse and evade the incoming foes. The game ends up being mostly about flitting around before being overwhelmed, and the blood-splatter effects seem way out of place.
DSiWare -- Three games this week. NUMBER BATTLE is a strategy game involving rules based on the mystical concept of Feng Shui, except here you can actually measure and predict the flow of "chi" so it becomes a genuinely useful concept. AiRace: Tunnel looks to be a S.T.U.N. Runner type of 3-D action/obstacle course game. And most bizarre for me personally, the premise of Escapee GO! sounds a lot like a play I just finished doing -- players take on the role of Claire, who awakens with amnesia. Except David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers does not send Claire out to escape encroaching enemies using her newfound enhanced (cybernetic? psychic?) senses.
PSN Store -- Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment also turned up for the PS3 (see XBLA notes above), fitting for a series that debuted on the original Playstation.