Monday, June 1, 2009

The LoadDown - 06/01/2009

This is pleasant -- TWO games I'm interested in on the Wii downloadable schedule today.

First, the Virtual Console has Boulder Dash for the Commodore 64 -- a classic kinetic puzzle game that I've only really played on the Atari ST (and that was, if memory serves, a homebrew game in the same style.) The game was a huge hit back in the day and saw several sequels and many, many ports -- for 500 points, I won't be able to pass this one up when I'm in a puzzling mood.

On WiiWare, we have two games this week. Texas Hold'em Tournament is from Digital Leisure, the people who own the Dragon's Lair franchise but have been branching out into small, casual games of late. There was an online-play bug in the European release, since patched, so I expect it's also fixed for its NA release.

I'm not really a poker fan, so the REALLY big one on WiiWare for me this week is Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. It's the first of what appears to be a 9-episode series, but as it's not labeled "Episode I" in the title, it's possible the additional chapters will be handled as downloadable content, or will have different subtitles. Square-Enix has retained the style of the 16-bit Final Fantasy II (US)/IV (Japan) in this direct neo-sequel, although it's not slavishly retro -- fonts are high-resolution, and there may be other differences as well. I've been itching to play a classic-style JRPG, though, and I think this will fill the bill nicely. Pricing may be a concern, as this initial package is 800 points and there's no word yet on the cost of future episodes -- but I recall paying $70 or $80 new for FFII on an SNES cartridge back in 1991, so this is in the same ballpark 18 years later, even without adjusting for inflation. Having the episodes spread out over time will probably make the total bill easier to swallow, as well. And I suspect Square-Enix knows this all too well.

Over the weekend, I played through the trial version of Wallace & Gromit: Fright of the Bumblebees on XBLA -- it's very nicely done and high on my list to buy. So many good downloadable games released these past few weeks, so little time! But it's a nice problem to have, even though the only thing I expect to have time to "play" this week is Malvolio in a production of Twelfth Night that opens Thursday. Once in a while it's good to put down the controller and step outside.

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