Happy (belated) Independence Day to our U.S. readers -- it's the dead of summer and a quiet time for new game releases. But there are quite a few new titles available for digital download...
WiiWare -- A new release at last, with Let's Create! Pottery making the trip over from the iPad. It's not a game as such, but allows users to shape virtual clay on a pottery wheel, then decorate and fire it. Like making real pottery, except without the messy cleanup and real objects to show for it.
Wii Virtual Console -- Another SNK Neo*Geo title arrives, as the crazy mechs and cyborg athletes of summer take to the field in 2020 Super Baseball.
DSiWare -- Two new titles, though they look a bit like stragglers as the 3DS becomes more of a focus. Topoloco is an educational title teaching kids about topography, which is more complicated than what they used to call geography when I was in school, but kids are smarter nowadays and memorizing the capitol cities of the 50 United States seems like a waste of time in the age of Google. 3, 2, 1... WordsUp! is the old "here are some letters, assemble as many real words as you can" puzzle; I was never very good at this as a mini-game in RockStar's Bully, but I wouldn't say it's not fun.
3DS eShop -- Lots going on here. The eShop releases 2 worthy NES games as part of Nintendo's "8-Bit Summer" series -- The Legend of Zelda, and NES Open Tournament Golf from 1991. Akari by Nikoli is yet another puzzle game from Nikoli; this one looks like a hybrid of Sudoku and Minesweeper. Family Tennis 3D is a multiplayer tennis game, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative to Mario Tennis Open, and if (as the official Nintendo video clip seems to indicate) the voices are still in the original Japanese, that might even make it a more entertaining buy. There's also a free demo of the retail co-op multiplayer RPG Heroes of Ruin.
XBox Live Arcade -- Three new titles since our last update. Mini Ninjas Adventures is a Kinect title based on the Mini Ninjas action series, with a similar third-person fighting perspective and simple, fun full-body fighting controls. Spelunky is a rogue-like dungeon... climber, I guess, with randomly-generated caves and retro-style graphics, coming to XBLA after success as a freeware indie game on PC and Mac. Bellator: MMA Onslaught is a one-on-one fighter based on the Bellator Fighting Championships, a mixed martial-arts event.
PS3 on PSN -- Two new games here. Dungeon Twister is a turn-based strategy title based on a well-established board game, with a room-twisting mechanic allowing players to hinder the rival adventuring team's progress. Bellator: MMA Onslaught also arrives on the PS3. There's no truth to the rumor that either version contains a hidden bonus round challenging
players to fight vandals swarming the title screen, trying to erase
parts of the "B."