Monday, December 04, 2006

Pump It Up Exceed Portable

In the arcades and on the home consoles, Andamiro's Pump it Up game featured choreographed moves where players stepped in time to the tempo and rhythm of a song. The PSP transplant of PIU Exceed foregoes all that and you're left with finger-smacking five buttons to the cues on screen instead of shuffling your feet around like a rabid dancer.

Since the original Pump it Up is a physically demanding game and the PSP version isn't, it's best to view the portable version in the same vein as a game such as DJ Max Portable. That is, a rhythm game where onscreen cues must be hit with proper timing and coordination. There's nothing more and nothing less to it since PIU purists won't be moving their feet to this release. That said, PIU Exceed is an enjoyable rhythm game with a large selection of K-pop and remixes of classical music pieces thrown in for good measure. In the early going in Home Mode which allows for multiple misses without kicking you out of the game, all eight of the playable songs are from Andamiro's internal music production crew known as Banya. The music selection screen is appropriately dubbed "Banya Channel" where songs are selected from a rotary array where the name of the song and some artwork is displayed for each track. In addition to the 8 available songs, another 19 may be unlocked upon fulfilling game conditions.

In Arcade Mode, players have 1 minute to select a song from the available roster of 34 songs and a few unlockable tracks that aren't ready for play yet. Unlike the forgiving Home Mode, miss too many cues in Arcade Mode and the game ends with a thunderous slam. «NCS Game Notes»

Wii Japan Launch

Japan joined the Wii revolution over the weekend and retailers promptly sold out of consoles. On the distribution side however, hundreds of Wii consoles were still available for sale at lofty valuations. As of this morning, 576 Wii units were ready for export. Since NCS knows how the pricing will pan out in about 1-2 week's time (it'll drop), we're halting all imports of Wii consoles until prices return to normal levels.

Links of interest

Gamespot Wii Sell Out

Hajimete no Wii

Welcome to the Wii, a wondrous and engaging device which plays games and forces couch taters to rise up and move their arms in energetic sweeps, shaking motions, and the occasional thrusting attack. To demonstrate the versatility and power of the Wii Remote controller, Nintendo gathers together nine mini-games which test reflexes and vim:

Shooting - Targets appear on and over a grassy field. Blast at them.
Finding Mii - Dozens of characters walks around an intersection. Find the target Miis based on the details presented before the challenge
Ping Pong - Disembodied hands swat a ball back and forth above a blue table while crowds of characters gather around to view the table tennis extravaganza
Posing Mii - An energized playfield appears with Mii characters in "Walk Like an Egyptian" poses floating in space. Move and position them over body outlines that match each Wii
Laser Hockey - A futuristic version of Air Hockey where the players use a neon-lit "C-shaped" paddle to bounce and ricochet the ball
Billiards - Poke at a ball with cue thrusting moves to smack balls into corner pockets and center receptacles
Fishing - Manipulate a disembodied hand that's grasping a fishing pole and hook flattened fish swimming just below the surface of a pool of water
Charge! - Cows are thundering down a track. Grab the Wiimote «more»


Taking a cue from similar games before it such as Cameltry and Super Monkey Ball, Kororinpa asks gamers to manipulate an entire stage in order to move a marble from point A to point B. By rotating and moving the Wiimote with careful nudges and slight shakes, the play board obediently swivels, turns, and tilts to slide the marble to the goal. The marble obeys the law of physics and moves faster when the controller is tilted at a greater slant and slows down when the Wiimote is tilted against its current directional roll. By using a coordinated system of ebb and flow, players guide the marble through precarious stages where a death drop is the reward for poor reflexes and bad judgment.
The stages in the game are a varied lot with mundane earthy tracks and with multi-tiered levels that take place high above a bustling city with heavy traffic below. Then there are the exotic tracks which hover in outer space or positioned near a kingdom of sorts. Kororinpa features 20 types of spheres or marbles in different styles and decorations. Some marbles are in the shape of animal heads while others feature banded patterns or marble-like striations within. Not all 20 marbles are available at the outset of the game but they may unlocked after completing certain objectives and fulfilling game play requirements. «NCS Game Notes»


Trek to an uninhabited island with your girlfriend and encounter unexpected creatures of the wretched sort. Instead of shuffling zombies however, large groups of insects appear from the darkness. When your girlfriend turns up missing, take hold of a flashlight ala Siren and enter a dark forest in a bid to reunite with her. When running around the wilderness, the flashlight casts a wide arc of light that illuminates a sizable area of the game world but leaves enough darkness to make things spooky. Along the way, learn the secrets of the island and savagely beat down hundreds upon hundreds of insect victims. With the Wiimote, sticks may be used as swinging weapons and stones may be picked up and thrown to do projectile damage. Over 20 makeshift weapons may be utilized in the game to attack the crowds of insects.
When battling cricket-like creatures, they'll blow out large amount of blood when struck and their ghastly long legs curl up when killed. Spiny caterpillars undulate towards the protagonist in a slow squirm of impending danger. The insects move realistically and skitter, hop, crawl, and scamper around the landscape to give squeamish players the heebie jeebies. Caterpillars attack by rolling themselves like logs at the player «more»

SD Gundam: Scad Hammers

Positioned as an alternative retelling of the Gundam One Year War mythos, Mobile Suits have been super-deformed and their usual weapons have been taken away. Instead of the regulation issue beam saber and heavy artillery, the SD Gundam wields an almighty hammer in the shape of a spiky iron sphere which is lashed out from a variable-length chain. One-liners and gags also pepper the script for a light-hearted romp into the heart of the Gundam universe.
The Wii nunchuk controls general movement while the Wii remote is used to send the Gundam Hammer flailing at enemy soldiers and the occasional boss. The hammer may be upgraded into a Drill Hammer for piercing power or other power-ups such as a Magnetized Hammer which captures enemies and boosts it swinging power with the hostage. To throw out the hammer, lash the Wiimote outwards with a flick of the wrist. The force of your flick affects the intensity of the attack while short side-to-side moves of the Wiimote will make Gundam shake the hammer around to knock any enemy that's near your attacking bot. To rotate the hammer around to smash everyone around the Gundam, press B and rotate the entire Wiimote in a circular motion to do some serious mass damage.
«NCS Game Notes»

Swing Golf Pangya

Originally released on the PC where it garnered a loyal following as an MMO golfing simulation, Pangya reaches the Nintendo Wii for some Wiimote swinging antics. Known as Albatross 18: Realms of Pangya on the PC, seven million fans have enjoyed the game and Pangya Season 3 was recently released with new characters, new moves, and new courses.
Although none of the Season 3 improvements made it into the Wii version of Pangya, the game is nevertheless an enjoyable golfing simulation where the Wiimote is swung like a real golf club. Grasp the Wiimote with both hands and lift it above your shoulder and then swing it downwards in a circular stroke to knock the ball towards the goal. Courses include standard golfing greens as well as more exotic locales such as ice courses, an aircraft carrier course, a multi-level archipelago course, and others. When it's time to swing, it's possible to select a Tomahawk or Cobra shot and then choose PowerSpin or PowerCurve followed by a tweaking of the direction of your swing and a power adjustment. Once ready, pull back on the Wiimote, swing, and blast the ball towards the green like a projectile. Golfers who shoot par or better earn coins known as Pang which may be used to purchase better equipment which in turn improves one's level of game.

Wing Island

Take to the skies and fly a bi-plane to complete simple missions and aerial challenges. The control of the biplane is rudimentary where the Wiimote and nunchuk are used to sway the plane from side to side, glide, and heave higher. To perform a swirling roll, rotate the Wiimote in a vigorous circle and it'll spin through the air like a trained seal. To sway, just rock the controller smoothly and it'll obey.
Depending on the mission, players control either a single bi-plane or a squadron of five planes that are seemingly tethered to each other and move as one through the skies in perfect formation. Objectives are given before each mission including one where the plane has sight targets on the ground. Simply descend close towards the target and a cursor will appear on the target to indicate that you've successfully spotted the objective. A similar mission requires that targets be sighted and then the bi-plane has to glide close to it in order to drop a net on each target on the landscape.
Other missions include popping balloons, engaging in delivery missions, racing against competing bi-planes, locating a lost child, and photographing flocks of birds. Each mission is allowed three minutes to complete which is more than enough time for most of the tasks.
«NCS Game Notes»

Japanese import outlook

NDS DS Dengeki Bunko Inukami! feat. Animation Mediaworks
Healthy Support Recipe 1000 DS Nintendo
Mahjong Kakutou Club DS: Wi-Fi Taiou Konami
Otogi Juushi Akazukin Konami
Power Pro Kun Pocket 9 Konami
PS2 Dokapon the World BEST Asmik Ace
Momotarou Dentetsu 16 Hudson
Genso Suikoden V - Best Konami
Gundam SEED Destiny Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. II Plus Bandai
Ryu ga Gotoku 2 Sega
Taiko no Tatsujin 7 Doka! Namco
PSP Parappa the Rapper SCEI
Sarugechu Piposaru Racer SCEI
Taito Memories Pocket BEST Taito
X360 Blue Dragon Microsoft
Blue Dragon Xbox 360 Bundle Microsoft SO
Zegapain NOT Bandai

USA Release Outlook

NDS Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin leads preorders for the week followed by NDS Kirby Squeak Squad.
NDS Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Konami
Kirby Squeak Squad Nintendo
PS2 Grand Theft Auto Trilogy Rockstar
Rayman Raving Rabbids Ubisoft
PS3 Fight Night Round 3 EA
Full Auto 2: Battlelines Sega
PSP Brothers in Arms D-Day Ubisoft
Star Wars Lethal Alliance Ubisoft
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 THQ
Wii Ant Bully, The Midway
Far Cry Vengeance Ubisoft
Ice Age 2 Vivendi
X360 Star Trek Legacy Bethesda