The slow summer game season continues, and there's plenty of news about this year's general slump in video game sales. Are the sales slumping, or is the market just shifting more and more to online, beyond the reach of the standard retail analyses? It's a little bit quiet here too this week -- here's what's new on the semi-underground distribution circuit!
Wii Virtual Console -- Another SNK Neo*Geo fighting game arrives for your comprehensive collection: WORLD HEROES PERFECT, pitting stereotypes of all nations against each other in deadly combat. I've played the original World Heroes, and that's probably enough for me, though this version is a little more cartoony, with bug-eyed "impact" reactions that give it a different feel from most of the many Neo*Geo fighters.
DSiWare -- This platform is still active, in part because these games can also be played on the 3DS in 2-D, though the screen ratios can be a little funky due to differences in the hardware. This week brings us Dot Runner: Complete Edition, which is a strange first-person concept that borrows heavily from Pac-Man; I'm not sure the main 3-D display is nearly as useful as the overhead 2-D display on the bottom screen when it comes to actual gameplay. Decathlon 2012 is also on the wirte, clearly inspired by classics like Activision's Decathlon and Konami's Track & Field; the stylus controls may actually be an improvement, or at least, as the promo copy says, "this time you don’t have to worry about
breaking your joystick." Burn!
3DS eShop -- Quite a bit here, as usual. Nintendo's 8-Bit Summer celebration continues with the emulated Game Boy classic, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. There's also Planet Crashers, an action-RPG with an emphasis on one-on-one combat, and Mole Mania, another 8-Bit Summer title that calls Sokoban and Pengo to mind.
XBox Live Arcade -- One new game arrives, called Wreckateer (no relation to the similarly-pronounced Japanese indie game Recettear). It provides Kinect-based controls as the player aims a massive ballista to destroy goblin-infested castles. C'mon, you know you've always fantasized about being the Orcin' Man.
PS3 on PSN -- Two new titles arrive. Foosball 2012 is a digital version of the old tabletop soccer game with players mounted on rods. I'm not sure why this seemed like a good candidate for the digital age, but I imagine it requires a lot less hunting for the ball after it flies across the rec room and into the dog's water dish. Malicious is a stylish action/combat game with hordes of enemies, a "vessel" mechanic granting varying abilities, and a damage model based on the presence of the character's limbs. "I'll bite yer legs off!"
Notable on PC/Mac -- The Steam Summer Sale has ended. But at least that means Wadjet Eye Games' new point-and-click adventure, Resonance, is now available on Steam after a considerable delay. And Borderlands 2 is now up for pre-order.