Check Out the Play Nintendo: Kids Summer Tour

Nintendo of Canada is bringing the fun this summer with the Nintendo 3DS and a whole lineup of games to try out as the Play Nintendo: Kids Summer Tour crosses the country starting in July and running until early September. There will also be play zones, meet ‘n greets with your favorite characters, and giveaways (while supplies last).

Games on tap will include the brand-spanking new Kirby: Planet Robobot (see my glowing review here), Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Mario Kart 7, Yo-Kai Watch, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Yoshi’s New Island, and New Super Mario Bros. 2.

Here’s how the tour breaks down when Nintendo comes to town:

Quebec Tour Dates:

  • Jul 1 @3pm-10pm: Dorval- Canada Day Celebration
  • Jul 2 @12pm-9pm: Montreal-Midway Fun, Place Bourassa*
  • Jul 3 @12pm-9pm: Montreal-Midway Fun, Place Bourassa*
  • Jul 9 @2pm-6pm: Montreal- Fete Des Enfants*
  • Jul 10 @2pm-6pm: Montreal- Fete Des Enfants*
  • Jul 15 @12pm-9pm: Montreal- Amusements Spectaculaires, TOHU Cité des Arts du Cirque
  • Jul 16 @12pm-9pm: Montreal- Amusements Spectaculaires, TOHU Cité des Arts du Cirque
  • Jul 17 @12pm-9pm: Montreal- Amusements Spectaculaires, TOHU Cité des Arts du Cirque
  • Jul 22 @11am-9pm: Granby- Mascot Festival
  • Jul 23 @10am-5pm: Granby- Mascot Festival
  • Jul 24 @10am-5pm: Granby- Mascot Festival

Ontario Tour Dates:

  • Jul 29 @11:30am-5pm: Toronto- Centreville Theme Park*
  • Jul 30 @11:30am-8pm: Toronto- Centreville Theme Park*
  • Jul 31 @10:30am-8pm: Toronto- Centreville Theme Park*
  • Aug 5 @12pm-6pm: Port Hope- OnRoute service centre
  • Aug 6 @8am-2pm: Port Hope- OnRoute service centre
  • Aug 7 @9am-3pm: Port Hope- OnRoute service centre
  • Aug 13 @11am-10:30pm: Toronto- York-Eglinton International Street Festival
  • Aug 14 @11am-7pm: Toronto- York-Eglinton International Street Festival
  • Aug 19 @7pm-11pm: Mississauga- Port Credit Buskerfest
  • Aug 20 @1pm-11pm: Mississauga- Port Credit Buskerfest
  • Aug 21 @1pm-7pm: Mississauga- Port Credit Buskerfest

BC Tour Dates:

  • Aug 31 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 1 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 2 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 3 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 4 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 5 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*

The above comes from Nintendo of Canada’s website, where you can check back for the latest up-to-the-minute changes that may occur, including the possibility of more events.

Also, do note that the events marked with an asterisk have entry fees applicable, so be sure you’re ready to pay your way at the door.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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E3 lurks in the distance, and things are quiet… but not too quiet…

Kick & Fennick for Wii U – Kick is a young boy out to help his robot companion, Fennick, by traveling through 45 levels and blasting baddies with a gun that has enough “kick” to launch him from place to place!

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Metroid Prime Hunters for Wii U – Samus Aran and six of the fiercest bounty hunters in the galaxy are in pursuit of the treasure of a lost warrior civilization in order to claim its untold power for themselves.

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B3 Game Expo for Bees for Wii U – Take on the role of the newest security bee at the convention hive for the bee gaming convention known as B3. After being distracted by the pre-show hype, it’s time to make things right in this first-person shooter.

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153 Hand Video Poker for Wii U – You may be good at playing a winning hand in Poker, but can you handle 153 hands?

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Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie’s Double Trouble for Nintendo 3DS – Dixie Kong is back, and this time she’s got her oversized infant cousin Kiddy Kong with her to lend a hand as they fight their way through the Northern Kremisphere in search of Donkey and Diddy!

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SSSnakes for Nintendo 3DS – The classic returns, updated for a new era. Modern visuals appear on the top screen, while a more simplified map appears on the bottom. Plus, you can now shoot to take out rival snakes! Just don’t accidentally snack on yourself!

New DLC

Fire Emblem Fates – New DLC Map V: Endless Dawn – In this fifth part of “Heirs of Fate,” Shigure leads the party storms the enemy. This pack goes for $1.99 USD. (I know this was posted last week. Strangely enough, this is what was in the press release; I’m not sure if it didn’t get released last week, or they just forgot to update this week’s.)

Fire Emblem Fates – Map Pack 2 DLC – Other versions of the Hoshidan and Nohrian children from other dimensions are under attack. These fledgling warriors of the Deeprealms are now forced to save themselves and their parents by rising up and discovering the mystery of their adversaries. Your leveled-up units from the main Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest games are unable to lend their assistance in this six-map series, which you can receive as they are released for $7.99 USD.

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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Nothing especially huge has dropped this week — unless you count the absolutely enormous world of Xenoblade Chronicles — but there are two cool-looking free-to-play games available to try out this week. At that price, anything is worth a shot at least once, right?

Lost Reavers for Wii U – From Ancient Ruins and Medieval Castles to a Modern City, this free-to-play four-player co-op game is all about teamwork as you each pull together as one of four unique characters to retrieve treasures and return them to your extraction point.

The Deer God for Wii U – Oh deer! This side-scrolling adventure is all about survival, reincarnation, and karma as you find power-ups, test your platforming skills, and unlock secrets most ancient as you must live and survive as a deer.

Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii U – Shulk’s original adventure returns once again! Funny how after it took so long to get here, Nintendo of America is quickly re-releasing it in short order along with its sequel, huh? See where it all began with this Virtual Console re-release of the original Wii title!

Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – This freebie has been out in the States for a month through a promotion we northern folks never got to partake in, but now everyone can download this free title and conquer 50 levels using the special abilities of 11 Minis. All you need to get started is any one amiibo figure!

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Disney Art Academy pre-purchase for Nintendo 3DS – You can’t start learning to draw with Disney until May 13th (well, you can, but not with this title until it’s released), but you can pre-purchase it now and have it ready to go when the clock ticks down and the game is made available.

SEGA 3D Classics Collection for Nintendo 3DS – SEGA’s collection of 3D Classics is finally here! From previously-released titles such as 3D Sonic the Hedgehog to never-before-seen-in-this-part-of-the-world titles like 3D Power Drift, there is plenty to see here.

ASH for Nintendo 3DS – This turn-based role-playing game’s story is cast with an air of uncertainty as the royal army is deployed in absence of a king, leaving its leader to wonder the true intentions of the Magistrate.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “Star Fox Zero : Space Battle,” “Shovel Knight Campfire Dream,” and “Plague Knight’s Theme.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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This week, Nintendo bounces back with a pretty solid lineup of titles, including three of the most celebrated games to ever grace the Super Nintendo Entertainment System’s library — if you have a New Nintendo 3DS, at least. If yours is without the New, you can still enjoy Square Enix’s latest role playin game tour de force. Meanwhile, over on Wii U, beta season is finally open for Bandai Namco’s intriguing new online multiplayer romp, Lost Reavers.

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Bravely Second: End Layer for Nintendo 3DS – In this direct follow-up to Bravely Default, Agnés Oblige is in trouble and it’s up to you — er, Yew — to save her!

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Nintendo 3DS – This Super NES classic not only returned the Zelda series to its top-down roots, but effectively established the foundation for many games to follow.

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Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest for Nintendo 3DS – Donkey Kong has been kidnapped! Rather than cave in to the Kremlings’ ransom, Diddy Kong is taking charge to rescue his big buddy, and he’s got his ponytail-swinging girlfriend Dixie along for the ride in her breakout role.

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Super Metroid for Nintendo 3DS – What A Link to the Past did for Zelda, Super Metroid did for Metroid. Return to Planet Zebes to track down the stolen Metroid hatchling before the space pirates can use it to cause havoc across the galaxy!

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Langrisser Re:Incarnation -TENSEI- for Nintendo 3DS – Available April 19th: Your choices determine the outcome in various settings throughout the game. Three factions are in need of your leadership — will you choose the path of light, the road to darkness, or try to find another way?

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Super Strike Beach Volleyball for Nintendo 3DS – Choose from eight characters, each with their own patented Super Shot, and attain glory in Campaign mode, endure as many rounds as you can in Survivor mode, or just relax in Free Play mode.

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Excave III: Tower of Destiny for Nintendo 3DS – Join the heroine Scarlett on a hack and slash dungeon-crawling adventure through the auto-generated rooms of the Fantasy Tower!

Asdivine Hearts for Wii U – Restore light to this fantasy world by traveling alongside your four companions (plus a cat) and engaging in animated turn-based battles and sub-quests, among other challenges.

WiiU_LostReaversBetaTestVersion_gameplay_04

Lost Reavers Beta Test Version for Wii U – The full service doesn’t launch until April 28th (for free, no less), but you can get some practice in this four-player cooperative game now.

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Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! for Wii U – What age is your brain? Join Dr. Ryuta Kawashima as he helps you figure it out, as well as exercising it through quick mental activities that will help keep your mind in shape.

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Draw 2 Survive for Wii U – Quick reflexes and split second decisions are the key to survival as you must “Draw 2 Survive,” whether by yourself or in a group of four in this free title.

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Slots – Pharaoh’s Riches for Wii U – Enjoy Las Vegas style slots, a pyramid bonus game, and more, all from the comfort of your Wii U.

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Dodge Club Party for Wii U – One, four, or five players can engage in this 16×16 square free-for-all based on the interactive installation that toured art galleries, night clubs, and festivals across North America.

WiiU_ParanauticalActivity_gameplay_03

Paranautical Activity for Wii U – I’ll let the description speak for itself: “Paranautical Activity combines the classic FPS action of games like Doom and Quake, with the randomness and difficulty of modern roguelikes like Binding of Isaac and Spelunky.”

New DLC

Fire Emblem Fates – New DLC Map – Ballistician Blitz and A Gift from Anna – For $1.99 USD, you can get the trial ground known as the Ballistician Blitz, based on The Wooden Calvary stage from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. Choosing “A Gift from Anna” on the “Play DLC” section of the Dragon’s Gate after you download it gives you a free download that is playable only once, resulting in you receiving either the Sighting Lens or the Witch’s Mark. You can also purchase Map Pack 1 to get everything released through April 21st for less than you’d pay individually.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “Animal Crossing : Gardening Weather” and “Bravely Second : Ask Agnès.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
    • Spring into savings on Nintendo eShop with the Super Spring Sale! Save up to 30 percent off select games in Nintendo eShop until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 21. Remember: Purchasing items from Nintendo eShop is an easy way to earn points for the new My Nintendo rewards program. Just make sure your Nintendo Network ID and Nintendo Account are linked prior to making a purchase. Visit https://my.nintendo.com/ for more information.
    • Joe’s Diner (Wii U), Jewel Match 3 (Nintendo 3DS) and more games from Joindots are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 21.
    • Shovel Knight – Digital Version (Wii U and Nintendo 3DS) is more than 30 percent off (reduced from $14.99 to $9.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 21.
  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U
    • Runbow is 25 percent off (reduced from $14.99 to $11.25) until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 28.
    • Peg Solitaire, Skeasy and more games from RCMADIAX are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 20.
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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Not a whole lot to speak of this week, though a compilation package with some of Nintendo’s earliest classics (and their remakes) is now available on the Wii U:

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Game & Watch Gallery 4 for Wii U – Classic games which helped make Nintendo a household name can now be yours to enjoy on contemporary hardware. Play recreations of Fire, Boxing, Rain Shower, Mario’s Cement Factory, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3, and many more in recreations of their original liquid crystal-display format, or remade with Mario and friends to the specs of the Game Boy Advance!

Star Fox Zero pre-purchase for Wii U – Be among the first to play this new title from the Star Fox franchise by pre-purchasing it through the Nintendo eShop on Wii U or through this link. Doing so will not only allow you to play after a small update upon launch, but also net you a $4.99 discount towards Star Fox Guard when the two titles are released on April 22nd.

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Emojikara: A Clever Emoji Match Game for Wii U – Create your own emoji masterpiece by unlocking a collection through completing word puzzles!

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Epic Dumpster Bear for Wii U – Is this memes? Regardless, there are 70 levels spread across seven worlds, plus bonus puzzle levels which make special use of the Wii U GamePad as you seek revenge on the evil corporation that destroyed your forest.

SUPER ROBO MOUSE for Wii U – Three worlds are divided into 20 levels as you guide Robo past dangerous blades, spikes, flamethrowers, lasers, and sharks in order to escape from the evil Boltz Clan.

N3DS_DollFashionAtelier_gameplay_01

Doll Fashion Atelier for Nintendo 3DS – Choose a Pretty, Gothic, Victorian, Princess, or Antique doll and dress it to impress from 600 available items.

New DLC

Fire Emblem Fates – New DLC Map – Anna on the Run – For $1.99 USD, you can find out the fate of Anna as she gets cornered by thieves. You can also purchase Map Pack 1 to get everything released through April 21st for less than you’d pay individually.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “Disney Frozen,” “Mickey & Friends,” “Stitch & Company,” and “Disney The Little Mermaid.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
    • Spring into savings on Nintendo eShop with the Super Spring Sale! Save up to 30 percent off select games in Nintendo eShop starting at 9 a.m. PT on April 7 until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 21. Remember: Purchasing items from Nintendo eShop is an easy way to earn points for the new My Nintendo rewards program. Just make sure your Nintendo Network ID and Nintendo Account are linked prior to making a purchase. Visit https://my.nintendo.com/ for more information.
  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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It’s a cavalcade of classic Nintendo characters in the Nintendo Download this week, ranging from the land of Hyrule to Donkey Kong Island to the Mushroom Kingdom to Yoshi’s Island to Eagleland! And Shantae is here, too!

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Hyrule Warriors Legends for Nintendo 3DS – This port of the Wii U classic features new characters from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, new heroes such as the crossbow-wielding Linkle, new story mode chapters, and more! Plus, if you purchase the “Legends of Hyrule Season Pass” for downloadable content, you’ll be able to use Ganondorf from The Wind Waker immediately and download the additional packs as they become available throughout the year.

Just be careful about downloading this if you don’t have a New Nintendo 3DS; I’ve heard various reports that say it doesn’t run very well on the non-New models.

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Donkey Kong Country for Nintendo 3DS – The beast is back on the New Nintendo 3DS! Join DK and his sidekick Diddy on their first adventure to stop the Kremlings from stealing DK’s coveted banana horde!

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Super Mario Kart for Nintendo 3DS – The one that started it all hits the New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, and brings what I personally believe to be the best Battle Mode in the series with it.

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Earthbound for Nintendo 3DS – The cult classic role playing game from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System library lands on the New Nintendo 3DS at last! Join Ness and his friends in this adventure to stop the evil Giygas from destroying the world!

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for Nintendo 3DS – Enjoy a scenic journey through the Gifu prefecture as you use simple controls to guide a train from Minoshi Station to Minami Kariyasu Station.

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Japanese Rail Sim 3D Journey in Suburbs #1 Vol. 3 for Nintendo 3DS – In the third volume of the series, you’ll drive the distance from Minami Kariyasu Station to Yamada Station through the center of the Japanese archipelago.

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Japanese Rail Sim 3D Journey in Suburbs #1 Vol. 4 for Nintendo 3DS – The fourth volume of the series takes players on a scenic journey from Yamada Station through Gifu prefecture to Hokuno Station.

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Witch & Hero 2 for Nintendo 3DS – Take control of both the spell-casting witch and the dauntless knight once again — at the same time! Work in tandem to defeat your foes; just know that while the knight cannot be slain, the game is over should the witch meet her end!

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut for Wii U – The most popular game in WayForward’s Shantae series has been revamped to include high definition illustrations, a new Warp System, a Magic Mode Costume, and rebalanced gameplay.

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Yoshi’s Story for Wii U – An underrated gem from the Nintendo 64 library, in my opinion. It may not be much for full retail price, but as a downloadable Virtual Console game, Yoshi’s Story is good. Join a group of differently-colored newborn Yoshis as they pursue Baby Bowser following his theft of the Happy Tree.

Infinity Runner for Wii U – This new entry in the running genre places you on board the largest spaceship ever made, the Infinity, as you flee for your life from the last of the werewolves.

New DLC

Fire Emblem Fates – New DLC Map – Hidden Truths (1 and 2) – Two new maps which serve as a prologue to the games are now available for $4.49 USD, or you can purchase Map Pack 1 to get everything released through April 21st for less than you’d pay individually.

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

Activities

Mini Mario & Friends amiibo Challenge – Between March 25th and April 27th, purchase any amiibo from a participating retailer to gain an early access code that will allow you to play the latest Mini Mario game on your Nintendo 3DS or Wii U for free. Just tap any amiibo figure to get started!

National StreetPass Weekend: Spring Edition – From March 25th to 27th, get up to six StreetPass tags from across North America by stopping at a Nintendo Zone location with your system from the Nintendo 3DS family (i.e. Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, New Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS XL).

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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Nintendo has announced twelve new additions to its budget line of Nintendo Selects titles, the successor to their previous Player’s Choice line of best-sellers.

On March 11th, four games each will be re-released for the Wii, the Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U at a price of $29.99 CAD. These include Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3, and NES Remix Pack for the Wii U; The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Yoshi’s New Island, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and Mario Party: Island Tour for the Nintendo 3DS; and Super Mario Galaxy 2, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Super Mario All-Stars for the Wii, which are also playable on the Wii U.

“Whether you just picked up a new Wii U or Nintendo 3DS system over the holiday season or want to expand your ever-growing game collection, Nintendo Selects are a great, affordable option,” Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier, said in a press release. “Not only are these games easier than ever to enjoy, but they also represent some of our highest-quality offerings in recent memory.”

Having had the privilege and pleasure to review several of these titles over the years, here are links to those relevant reviews:

In addition, I have an old review of Animal Crossing: City Folk that I’ll see about publishing ahead of this release.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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After the X15 Media Showcase, Nadia and I had the opportunity to check out the newest release in the Skylanders series, Skylanders SuperChargers. And with the game coming out this we– wait, it’s coming out tomorrow?! Since when do games come out on a Sunday?!

Okay, I’m told that this is apparently what Skylanders has been doing for years… as well as Disney Infinity, and apparently even LEGO Dimensions. No guesses as to why, but I’m assuming it has something to do with the toys.

Ahem. So on the eve of the release of this game, I figured now was as good a time as any to share my thoughts on what I’ve seen. I don’t have a copy of my own yet, though I’m expecting a review copy sometime for the November/December issue of Nintendo Force magazine.

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One thing to make clear is that it should be no secret that I like toys. I own a ton, I’ve reviewed a good few, and I hope to indulge in more for many years to come. That said, I’ve not had a chance to properly get into one of these “toys to life” styled games, but I’ve long thought what Skylanders is doing is pretty cool, and I’ve enjoyed the little bit I’ve seen and been able to dabble in.

One of the cool parts is how creative many of the characters are, enough that it’s generally pretty easy to find a guy that you like to be your “in” to the whole concept. From what I can tell, the stories don’t tend to focus on specific player characters, allowing you to use whoever you like without missing a beat. With each previous iteration I’ve looked over, I’ve found a number of characters who look like a lot of fun.

That said, in what might be considered a masterstroke, player initiation may be easier than ever this time for Wii U, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS owners with the inclusion of Nintendo’s own Bowser and Donkey Kong as playable characters.

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Not only does the familiarity of the characters help ease one into this strange new world, but it’s done with a style I love. The game really seems to play up the whole “toys” thing, not just in how they appear on-screen (DK’s texture, for instance, has more of a molded look than a real fur-like aesthetic), but also the way they’re presented. Decked out in special attire and gear as “Turbo Charge Donkey Kong” and “Hammer Slam Bowser,” they are reminiscent of so many figure variants released in various toy lines over the years, from Battle Armor He-Man to Cyber Samurai Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They even have their own brief bios, much like what you see on the back of Transformers packaging nowadays:

Turbo Charge Donkey Kong is joining the Skylanders in their fight against Kaos with a barrel full of powerful moves!

Hammer Slam Bowser is ready to battle alongside the Skylanders and pound down evil with his mighty hammer!

Their various moves in the game are also centered around their histories, with Bowser able to call upon a pack of Koopa Troopas to sic on his foes. Meanwhile, one of Donkey Kong’s moves features some falling girders from the original Donkey Kong arcade game, but the bulk of his moves involve his barrels, and to me, that’s awesome. Really, DK doesn’t fight with barrels nearly enough, so this is a nice change.

The core gameplay feels like a fairly standard 3D beat ’em up, though if you’ve got a character with ranged attacks, that’s obviously less beating and more shooting. While DK has been playable in the 3D space before, it was never quite like this, while this is pretty new territory for Bowser. However, smacking foes around is only part of the game this time around.

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Each year, Skylanders brings with it a new gimmick. The second year was giants, the third had characters who could swap top and bottom halves to gain new powers, and last year featured trapper specialists who could capture baddies and bring them over to the good side. While those figures are all still compatible with the new game, this year’s gimmick revolves around vehicles.

Like G.I. Joe, this year’s Skylanders are there, fighting for freedom over land and air… and sea, too! The new guys, including DK and Bowser, come with their own vehicles which specialize in one of the three terrains as needed, and you can mix and match characters (even older ones!) with the different rides. Bowser comes with the Clown Cruiser and Donkey Kong has the Barrel Blaster (seen driven by Bowser above), while others have their own rides, too, including the pretty cool Spitfire and Hot Streak, who takes their place in all other versions (and will hopefully be available separately). (Another, Super Shot Stealth Elf, is available in all Starter Packs.)

However, if you match a character to their own personal ride, such as Bowser to his Clown Cruiser, you’ll be able to “SuperCharge” the vehicle for more power and abilities. For Bowser, this results in a Clown Cruiser which looks more like one of his fleet of airships (seen below), while pairing DK with the Barrel Blaster adds rocket boosters and brings Diddy Kong in on a sidecar to help man the cannons.

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That said, what I played of the vehicle portions was kind of a mixed bag. Aerial portions featured an “up is up and down is down” movement style, which I was still able to overcome despite my preference for the opposite. While it sounds like you can toggle those before a race, the same can’t be said for driving on land. On straightaways, it’s great; there’s a bit of Mario Kart-ish drifting, boosting, jumping, and even item usage.

However, when you come to an arena, things get a bit… strange. I had a difficult time steering just how I wanted to, as it no longer uses standard car controls, or from what I could tell, even something like overhead racing games (R.C. Pro-Am, Off Road, etc.). It was an odd transition, and one that the children they had test it reportedly took well to, but it seems that adults like myself have a tougher time adjusting. It’s not impossible — I was able to complete the sequence — but it does run a bit counter-intuitively, and there were no plans to allow other options when I spoke to the representatives.

Incidentally, the Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions (titled Skylanders SuperChargers Racing, which come with Hammer Slam Bowser and his Clown Cruiser) will be focused on the racing, while the Wii U version (with Turbo Charge Donkey Kong) will be the full-fledged game, with beat ’em up fun and all that goes with it.

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As for the toys themselves, they’re great — better than my lousy pics above of the lot we got to see can convey. There are no points of articulation or any normal action figure gimmicks — these are figurines that make up for a lack of play features outside of the game with some nice painted detail instead. While I’ve always liked having at least some posability to my figures, I won’t lie — I’d have killed to get these when I was a kid, and in the cases where I had Mario figures that weren’t posable, I was able to make do.

That said, the Bowser and Donkey Kong figures do have some added functionality. With a quick turn of their base, they go from being Skylanders figures to amiibo, able to work with the games that correspond with previous Bowser and Donkey Kong releases. Given my collection currently features neither, they’ll make a most welcome addition.

The vehicles are cool as well, with some nice metallic detailing and paint apps. Unfortunately, they don’t interact with the figures outside of the game, so Bowser can’t ride in his Clown Cruiser, and so on; they’re sort of like those toys where you might have a driver-less Flintmobile from The Flintstones (for example) in that regard. That said, the ground vehicles do have working wheels, so you can race them as you would any toy car, and that’s a pretty neat touch.

Oh, and there is one downside to the vehicles: they’re only available in their standard modes, rather than the cool “SuperCharged” formations. It’s to be expected, yet a pity all the same that such cool designs must stay on the television screen.

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As with Skylanders Starter Packs in years past, there will also be Dark Editions, including for the Nintendo versions. These are available on all platforms except for the Nintendo 3DS, which is unfortunately left out. The Dark Editions feature different sets of figures, including distinct (that is, the game reads them differently) versions of the characters included (so you can’t mix and match your regular and Dark Donkey Kongs and Barrel Blasters). There is also an additional Kaos trophy, which is “the only way to unlock special Kaos gameplay content.”

It’s a tough call. While I like the “dark” thing and all (and have my fair share of black repaints), I think I prefer the more colorful versions of the characters. Both look great, it’s just a personal preference thing here.

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I’m not going to lie: from what I’ve seen and played, and with Star Fox Zero and The Legend of Zelda bumped out of 2015, this is one of the Wii U games I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on.

Skylanders SuperChargers will be available in Standard Edition on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U for $84.99, while the Dark Edition will be available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii, and Wii U for $124.99; Skylanders SuperChargers Racing is available for Wii and Nintendo 3DS for $84.99 and $79.99 each, respectively, beginning September 20th. You can find more information on the game at the official website.

Edit: Updated the text to reflect the different titles for the distinct Nintendo 3DS and Wii versions.

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This week has some rather impressive offerings going for it, all told. It still skews Wii U-heavy, but considering how things have been on that front, that’s not so bad.

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Year Walk for Wii U – Use the GamePad screen to study a mysterious folklore encyclopedia while solving tactile puzzles using its motion controls. Check out the trailer here.

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Skylanders SuperChargers Portal Owner’s Pack for Wii U – Available September 20th: You’ll need a Skylanders portal to play this, but with that and the digital versions of Instant Spitfire and Instant Hot Streak, you’ll instantly be on your way towards stopping Kaos from wreaking havoc on the world of the Skylanders. Collect the 40+ figures and vehicles released under the Skylanders SuperChargers banner to take the attack to land, sea, or air! However, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the Wii U Starter Pack, which includes the exclusive Turbo Charge Donkey Kong figure. Click here for the trailer (assuming they ever set it to public).

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Car Battler Joe for Wii U – Just as his father was before him, Joe Todoroki wants to become a Car Battler in this Game Boy Advance title. Customize your ride, sign up for jobs, take on missions, and win in tournaments as Joe explores the dangerous roadways surrounding his village.

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Defense Dome for Wii U – Described as “a throwback to classic arcade-style shooters of the 1990s,” you’ll use the Wii U GamePad to lock on to enemy missiles with your scope and launch counterattacks while the television gives you a look at the bigger picture.

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Rock ‘N Racing Off Road DX for Wii U – This classic arcade-style off road racing game for up to five players features several modes, a wide variety of tracks, and “loads” of rock ‘n roll music.

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Zombie Defense for Wii U – Stop the zombies on their approach in this real time strategy/tower defense game with two modes and 35 deadly missions.

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Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – This free downloadable content for Shovel Knight places you in the role of Plague Knight, “the addled alchemical master of disaster,” in his own adventure! Get new relics, explore a new story, and take on levels tweaked to Plague Knight’s own unique abilities.

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SENRAN KAGURA 2: Deep Crimson for Nintendo 3DS – This 2.5D side-scrolling brawler is definitely not for all ages. Rated M for Mature, one or two players work to control two of 12 characters in this clothes-ripping free-for-all.

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The Legend of Legacy – Demo Version for Nintendo 3DS – Available September 22nd: Before the latest role playing game from Atlus is released on October 13th, see if unraveling the mysteries of Avalon’s past is for you in this free demo.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “Pokémon: Dancing Pikachu,” “Pokémon: Pikachu’s Cry,” “Pikachu Bundle: Dancing & Cry,” and “Pokémon 151: Mewtwo.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

Permanent Price Reduction (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

Activities

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. “Red Badge” Tournament – Compete in Nintendo’s Public Tournaments to see how your squad rates and, if you’re one of the top competitors, earn a unique title that is visible online and gives you bragging rights. This one runs until September 20th.

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For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

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If you know the words, you can join in too!

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Donkey Kong 64 for Wii U – K. Rool is back in Rare’s final Donkey Kong game, and this time he’s captured four members of the Kong family to keep Donkey Kong preoccupied while he enacts his most fiendish plan to date! In addition to a solo mode, you can also enjoy competitive fun in the game’s battle arena mode.

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Tilelicious: Delicious Tiles for Wii U – Use your brain to slide the delicious puzzles in order to save the children and discover the secrets of the Cosmic Candy Ring!

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Word Search by POWGI for and for Wii U – Up to five people can play in 27 categories spread across more than 300 puzzles.

Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler for Nintendo 3DS – The next batch of premium StreetPass content is here! In Battleground Z, you’ll team up with people you StreetPass with to fend off hordes of zombies throughout Hobbiville, while Ultimate Angler has you set off for the StreetPass Islands to go fishing with friends! Each game is $4.99 USD each, or get both together for $7.49 USD.

Plus, for $4.99, you can get the StreetPass Mii Plaza Upgrade to unlock new features such as StreetPass Birthdays, as well as a Mii character VIP Room.

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3D Fantasy Zone II W for Nintendo 3DS – Opa-Opa is back in the 1987 sequel to the original Fantasy Zone. Remade from the ground up by M2 for the Nintendo 3DS, it’s up to you to help the sentient spaceship overcome the enemy invaders! Check out the trailer here, and read my review of the recent release of the first game here.

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DOOORS for Nintendo 3DS – Can you escape the maze of doors? Use your wit and intuition to set yourself free! Check out the trailer here.

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Pazuru for Nintendo 3DS – Complete more than 70 twisty puzzles that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. Once you’re done there, you can create and share your own creations!

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A-Train 3D: City Simulator for Nintendo 3DS – As the new Chief Executive Officer of a city’s transportation company, it’s up to you to keep the trains running on time! Just don’t spend more than your budget allows, or else you’re out!

Update

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS have both received updates which must be applied if you wish to continue playing online. In addition to allowing you to download new content, including Mii Fighter costumes such as those based on Dunban, Proto Man, and Mega Man X, there are also new levels, character balancing, and other tweaks.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

New themes this week include “Yoshi’s Springtime Siesta.” So, just the one, then.

Nintendo eShop Sales (Prices in USD)

Super Spring Sale for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on April 20th, get up to 30 percent off select games.

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Darts Up 3D for Nintendo 3DS and Darts Up for Wii U – These titles are on sale until 8:59am PT on May 14th.

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Paparazzi for Wii U – This title is reduced from $4.99 to $2.99, 40 percent off, until 8:59am PT on April 28th.

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Lucadian Chronicles downloadable content for Wii U – From 9am PT on April 21st until 8:59am PT on April 28th, this content is reduced from $7.99 to $4.99, 37 percent off.

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Costume Quest 2 for Wii U – From 9am PT on April 17th until 8:59am PT on April 24th, this game is reduced from $14.99 to $9.99, 33 percent off.

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Circle Entertainment Sale for Nintendo 3DSCastle Conqueror EX, Fairune, and Parking Star 3D are discounted until 8:59am PT on May 7th.

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ATLUS Sale for Nintendo 3DSCode of Princess, Etrian Odyssey Untold: Millennium Girl, and more are discounted from 9am PT on April 20th until 8:59am PT on April 27th.

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Real Heroes: Firefighter 3D for Nintendo 3DS – This game is reduced from $9.99 to $4.99, 50 percent off, until 8:59am PT on April 30th.

Price Reductions

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Breezeblox for Wii U – This title has been reduced from $9.99 to $4.99.

Events/Activities

International StreetPass Week – “Take your Nintendo 3DS system on a whirlwind tour without leaving your hometown! From April 16 to April 26, collect up to six Mii characters from across Europe, the United States and Canada when you stop by a Nintendo Zone location. U.S. and Canada visitors will even get a special Mii of Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. Find a Nintendo Zone hotspot near you here.”

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. “Declaration” Tournament – “See how your Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. squad stacks up online in Nintendo’s Public Tournaments. Top players earn unique titles that are visible online and earn major bragging rights with their friends and around the world. The new “Declaration” tournament runs through April 20. Opt in via the SpotPass feature for notifications on future tournaments, and click here for more information on multiplayer tournaments. Good luck, agents!”

Mega May is Back! – Vote Today – “During the entire month of May, Nintendo and Capcom are celebrating our favorite blue bomber, Mega Man, with six game releases on the Virtual Console service for Wii U. The Game Boy Advance versions of Mega Man Zero 2, Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue, Mega Man Battle Network 3 White, Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun, Mega Man Battle Network 4 Blue Moon and Mega Man & Bass will land on the Nintendo eShop throughout the month. Click here to vote for the first game of Mega May, which will release May 7. Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. PT on April 29.”

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

On the Wii U this week, we have Mario and friends partying down. On the Nintendo 3DS, we have a new Fossil Fighters.

Nope, I don’t think there is ever going to be a better time for me to post this on Mario’s Hat than right now:

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Mario Party 10 for Wii U – Available March 20th, the tenth numbered installment (don’t forget the portable versions!) of the long-running series puts the power of the King of the Koopas into the hands of the player using the GamePad! A new mode also uses Mario-themed amiibo for a new experience as well! Or you can just play the classic way. Check out a trailer here.

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Elliot Quest for Wii U – In the words of Simon Furman, “I never did want to live forever.” Unfortunately for the hero of this 8-bit-styled retro adventure role playing game, that’s just what he’s been cursed with and is on a quest to cure. Uncover secrets, find more powerful weapons, and search for the ancient demon residing on Urele Island– maybe he can help with that whole “not dying” thing, you know? Check out the trailer here.

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Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament for Wii U – The Dream Champ Tournament is comprised of five worlds, and it’s up to you to help Klonoa eliminate the fellow contestants within each and lay claim to the magical items. With your Wind Bullet’s power to draw in enemies to use as platforms or weaponized projectiles, this ought to be a snap… right?

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PENTAPUZZLE for Wii U – You know the puzzles you occasionally get in the Monster Manor game in the Nintendo 3DS’s StreetPass Plaza? This is basically 70 levels of that, fitting all the different shaped blocks into the right position.

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Super Destronaut for Wii U – Featuring Classic and Time Attack modes, one or two players (simultaneous) can take on the space invaders attacking in this arcade classic-styled shooting game.

Fossil Fighters: Frontier for Nintendo 3DS – Available March 20th, the third installment in the Fossil Fighters series puts you behind the wheel of a custom fossil-finding vehicle in a 3D world. Gather up the bones, bring some vivosaurs to life, and pit them in combat against one another!

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Iron Combat: War in the Air for Nintendo 3DS – “The skies of future Earth are endless battlefields and you have volunteered to become a living weapon, the last hope to vanquish an evil corporation bent on enslaving mankind. Chase in the air as a sophisticated fighter aircraft, then transform into a hi-tech mecha to finish off the enemy.” Basically, you’re sort of a Transformer who’s more of an anime girl than a giant robot, and you can engage enemies in either your air fighter form or your mecha assault mode.

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Navy Commander for Nintendo 3DS – It’s Battleship, but with more features and options, such as adjusting grid size, number of ships, time limits, and using secret weapons. Two players can play together on a single console, or using two Nintendo 3DS systems with just one download of the game.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

New themes this week include Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Lincoln vs. the Aliens, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, Skylanders Trap Team Air Theme, Skylanders Trap Team Life Theme, Skylanders Trap Team Magic Theme, and Skylanders Trap Team Tech Theme.

Nintendo eShop Sales (Prices in USD)

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Paper Monsters Recut for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on April 2nd, this title is reduced from $7.99 to $5.99, 25 percent off.

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Renegade Kid game sale for Wii U and Nintendo 3DSMoon Chronicles, Xeodrifter, and more from Renegade Kid are on sale until 8:59am PT on April 2nd.

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Turtle Tale for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on April 2nd, this title is reduced from $2.99 to $1.99, 33 percent off.

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Circle Entertainment game sale for Nintendo 3DSGlory of Generals, Quell Reflect, and Swords & Soldiers 3D are on sale until 8:59am PT on April 9th.

Bigben Interactive game sale for Nintendo 3DSSpot the Differences!, Viking Invasion 2 – Tower Defense, and more from Bigben Interactive are on sale until 8:59am PT on April 2nd.

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GameMill Entertainment game sale for Nintendo 3DSBig Hero 6: Battle in the Bay and Disney’s Frozen: Olaf’s Quest from GameMill Entertainment are on sale from 9am PT on March 20th until 8:59am PT on April 27th.

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Monster Combine TD for Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on April 18th, this title is reduced from $8.00 to $4.99, 37 percent off.

Permanent Price Reduction

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GetClose: A game for RIVALS for Wii U – This title is reduced from $4.99 to $2.99.

Events/Activities

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – Medal March Tournament – “See how your Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. squad stacks up online in Nintendo’s Public Tournaments. Top players earn unique titles that are visible online and earn major bragging rights with their friends and around the world! The Medal March Tournament will run through March 22. To keep updated on Nintendo’s Public Tournaments, opt in to notifications via the SpotPass feature in the game. Click here for more information. Good luck, agents!”

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars “Create your own levels in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars game and challenge players all over the world to complete them. You can also give tips to other creators and spread the word about your favorite levels. Click here to learn more about building levels so you can start earning stars!”

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D “The results of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D drawing challenge in Miiverse have been revealed by Eiji Aonuma, producer of The Legend of Zelda games. Aonuma also gave his comments on the recognized drawings. Click here to see the gallery!”

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

It’s been a long time in coming, but finally, Nintendo is allowing for some form of cross-platform purchasing, where purchasing a game available for both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on either platform will get you the other version for free! So far, it’s only for two of this week’s releases, but at least it’s a start. Let’s hope they find a way to do the same with Virtual Console titles soon, eh? Of course, that begs the question of whether they’d ever allow it to work retroactively on older purchases, but that might be getting ahead of ourselves.

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SkyKid for Wii U – You might remember this guy from the now-defunct ShiftyLook webcomics, or their Mappy online cartoon series, each offering a drastically different portrayal. In either case, this is where he came from: A side-scrolling shooter for one or two players in a World War II-ish air battle.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – The first of the two cross-platform purchases available today (click here to see how that works), this installment of the series not only allows you to lead Mini-Mario toys to the goal, but to create your own stages to share and earn star “tips” which allow you to purchase more parts for further building.

OlliOlli for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – The other cross-platform buy today offers one-life skateboarding gameplay with “more than 120 tricks and grinds across 50 deviously crafted levels and 250 challenges.” Complete all the challenges, and you’ll unlock the RAD Mode for super-skilled players who want to make their way to the top of the leaderboards.

Proun+ for Nintendo 3DS – Available now for an introductory price ($5.99 USD, no CAD price given), Proun+ takes you through the world of modern art as a ball racing along a pipe while dodging obstacles at one of five different speeds with a jazz-rock soundtrack.

Azure Striker GUNVOLT Demo and Update for Nintendo 3DS – This spiritual successor to the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series arrived late last year, but now features a demo and an update which adds a boss rush mode and New Nintendo 3DS XL functionality, among other tweaks and fixes. If you’re playing the demo, you can also transfer your progress when you get the full version.

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Best of Casual Games for Nintendo 3DS – Four games– Zuma, Hidden Object, Match-3, and a time management game– are brought together as you travel Europe to acquire puzzle pieces.

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Hollywood Fame: Hidden Object Adventure for Nintendo 3DS – An “enthralling” story accompanies hidden object gameplay as you seek out more than 250 objects and characters to become a star.

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Zombie Incident for Nintendo 3DS – The great citadel Hamartia has become the symbol for human sin, and its day of reckoning has arrived. Your job is to explore the citadel, find the eight golden stars, and get out of there!

Nintendo eShop Sales

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Tengami for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on March 12th, this title is reduced from $9.99 to $4.99, 50 percent off.

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Master Reboot for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on April 1st, this title is reduced from $14.99 to $7.49, 50 percent off.

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DartsUp, Rock Zombie, and Spy Chameleon for Wii U – These EnjoyUp games are on sale until 8:59am PT on April 2nd.

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Ping 1.5+ for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on April 2nd, this game is reduced from $4.99 to $2.99, 40 percent off.

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The Letter and Mazefor Wii U – These TreeFall Studios games are on sale until 8:59am PT on March 13th.

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Space Lift Danger Panic! for Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on March 20th, this title is reduced from $2.99 to $1.99, 33 percent off.

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Wakedas, Witch & Hero, and World Conqueror 3D for Nintendo 3DS – These Circle Entertainment games are on sale until 8:59am PT on March 26th.

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Darts Up 3D for Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on April 2nd, this game is reduced from $2.99 to $1.49, 50 percent off.

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AeternoBlade for Nintendo 3DS – From 9am PT on March 6th until 8:59am PT on March 27th, this title is reduced from $14.99 to $4.99, 66 percent off.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

New themes this week include Kirby: Craft-Paper Party, Kirby: Sweet Gourmet Race, Kirby: Stripes and a Smile, and Azure Stiker Gunvolt: Sumeragi 7.

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

Wow, now this is an awesome week for the Nintendo Download. I hope no one minds if I espouse a little personal history with some of this week’s releases.

But first, a trailer for this week’s six huge releases that is a very nice throwback to when the series launched back in 1994:

Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie’s Double Trouble for Wii U, and Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Land 2, and Donkey Kong Land III for Nintendo 3DS – Six platforming adventures from Rare that were originally released for the Super NES and Game Boy, respectively, which followed the duos of Donkey & Diddy, Diddy & Dixie, and Dixie & Kiddy Kong (also respectively) as they sought to thwart the evil schemes of the dastardly King/Kaptain K. Rool and his legions of Kremlings. These are the titles which inspired the modern Donkey Kong Country titles from Retro Studios (see how you can get them for less in the eShop Sales below), though they play a bit differently from their successors.

On a personal note, I’ve been waiting for these releases for a long time, and I never expected them to come all at once. They were once on the Wii Shop Channel, but abruptly removed by Nintendo of America for reasons unknown; other regions at least had a little forewarning, but my wife and I were on a bus to New York City for the Wii U launch when the news came through. The worst part was we were actually looking at buying a then-inexpensive Wii for her mother and loading it up with all three Donkey Kong Country games, as she was a big fan of the series.

We had the first two ourselves, and had there been any sort of warning, we’d have snatched up the third. We have it for Super NES, but I’ve never beaten it; having it on Virtual Console would surely have helped, but at least now I have another chance. Fun Fact: According to an article from Kotaku UK, this game’s setting of the “Northern Kremisphere” was “modelled after the mountainous and forested regions of Northern Europe and Canada,” which is part of why I derived my choice of Weekly Deals visuals from this game.

As for Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, I’ve long wanted to take advantage of the Wii U Virtual Console’s features for this one. I completed the game in its entirety, “102%,” in my youth, but I’ve apparently lost a step along the way, with Toxic Tower becoming a stopping point that’s not only thwarted myself, but my wife and our friends time and time again. Not this time! With the help Restore Points (which I only intend to use for that section), I fully intend to stomp a toxic mud hole in K. Rool’s @$$ and walk it dry.

Regarding the Game Boy Donkey Kong Land titles, I’ve only played the first one, as I hear the latter two are basically remixes of their respective Super NES counterparts. The first, however, includes a fair amount of original content, including one of my favorite worlds in a Donkey Kong game: Big Ape City, where the original Donkey Kong (now Cranky) took on Mario!

A few other fun bits before moving on: As noted above, the trailer Nintendo released today was inspired by the ad campaign for the original 1994 release of Donkey Kong Country, and you can see an example of that here.

Over on PoisonMushroom.Org, I’ve detailed some of the personal history with Donkey Kong Country and myself in my recounting of the Blockbuster World Video Game Championships, and I also wrote an article last year which casts Donkey Kong as Nintendo’s true hero of the 16-Bit Console Wars, rather than Mario. I hope you’ll enjoy those.

Moving on…

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GravBlocks+ for Wii U – A Match-3 puzzle game with a twist: Gravity! That is, changing gravity to suit your whims and help you score higher multipliers. Just avoid the Destruction Hazards lurking within the walls!

IRONFALL Invasion for Nintendo 3DS – A third-person shooter with single and multiplayer modes, you can begin taking on alien robots now for free or stock up on some downloadable content first.

Titan Attacks! for Nintendo 3DS – This classic arcade-style shoot-em-up tasks you with driving the invading aliens back from Earth to the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and their homeworld of Titan where you can finish their threat for good.

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Luv Me Buddies Wonderland for Nintendo 3DS – Minigames and educational activities for children are the order of the day here, though it boasts appeal for children and adults alike.

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Around the World in 80 Days for Nintendo DSiWare and Nintendo 3DS – Based on the classic Jules Verne novel, this puzzle games features a two-player mode and more than 80 levels per journey. With the handheld positioned upright, there are options for both left and right-handed players.

Nintendo eShop Sales

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Until 8:59am PT on March 3rd, buying any of the Donkey Kong titles released today, as well as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and/or Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D in the Nintendo eShop will get you 30 percent off the purchase of either of the latter two titles. Full details can be found here.

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Cypronia games for Wii UAngry Bunnies: Colossal Carrot Crusade, Cake Ninja 3: The Legend Continues, and more from Cypronia are on sale until 8:59am PT on March 31st.

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TNT Racers for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on March 5th, this title is reduced from $7.99 to $4.99, 37 percent off.

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Toon Tanks for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on March 12th, this title is reduced from $1.99 to $1.49, 25 percent off.

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JoinDot for Nintendo 3DS3D MahJongg and other Nintendo 3DS titles from JoinDot are on sale until 8:59am PT on March 13th.

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Aqua Moto Racing 3D for Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on March 5th, this title is reduced from $7.99 to $3.99, 50 percent off.

Price Reductions

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“Beginning at 9 a.m. PT on March 1, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom and more games from Little Orbit will receive permanent price reductions” on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

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Van Helsing Sniper Zx100 for Nintendo 3DS – This game has been reduced from $6.66 to $2.99. Guess the novelty pricing didn’t do it too many favors.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

New themes this week include “NES: Donkey Kong“, and on February 28th, “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: Hunter’s Seal” and “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: Palicoes 4 Ever.”

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

Earlier today, Nintendo ran a new Nintendo Direct to reveal some of their upcoming plans for the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo eShop, and Wii U for the coming year. In case you missed it, you can view it in its entirety below:

Naturally, while the Nintendo Direct provides more general information much of the time, there are some specifics based on whether you’re living in the United States or, as I like to focus on here, in Canada.

First up, let’s talk about the questionably-named New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Those who follow the business more closely are no doubt already aware that the New Nintendo 3DS came out in Japan and Australia last year, while other regions have had to wait for an announcement of their own (hence my own silence on the subject). Today is the day we would learn more, and February 13th is the day it will be available here in Canada. The price is $229.99, and unlike the aforementioned regions, the only size here will be the XL version. Plus, if you’re looking at upgrading from a previous iteration of the hardware, you’ll want to hang on to your AC adapter, as that’s not included. If you’re new to the Nintendo 3DS experience, then you can still purchase one separately, and you’ll definitely need it– while the battery usage in this version is less than the others, you’re still going to need to recharge sometime.

From the press release, “New Nintendo 3DS XL offers a number of new enhancements designed to offer the smoothest and most engrossing portable gaming possible. New Nintendo 3DS XL features a wider range of controls with the addition of a C Stick and ZL/ZR buttons, super-stable 3D via face-tracking technology and built-in NFC functionality that allows for communication with amiibo figures.”

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Four versions will be available on February 13th: In addition to New Black and New Red, there will be a The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D-inspired version which also retails for $229.99, but doesn’t come with the game it’s named for. This will be available at EB Games, Future Shop, Best Buy, and Amazon.ca. As of this writing, the latter three are not yet listing it online, while the EB Games website appears to have already sold through their stock.

Speaking of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, it too will be available on February 13th.

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Similarly, this may just be a formality at this point, but exclusive to EB Games is the $259.99 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate bundle, which comes with a copy of the aforementioned game preloaded. Like the Majora’s Mask 3D version, this one is also sold out online already. Between these two, you may want to try your luck in-store.

I’ll try to have a review of the New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware for you before long, but that wasn’t the only thing talked about during the Nintendo Direct. Let’s get into some games!

Starting with Nintendo 3DS:

The showing kicked off with a teaser of a new Fire Emblem game– not the mysteriously quiet Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, however. Created by the same folks who brought us Fire Emblem Awakening, “the new adventure adds challenges never before seen in the series and asks players to make decisions that will affect the game’s world in new ways.”

In addition to single player hunting, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will allow multiplayer on a portable system through use of broadband internet for the first time. Plus, select players will soon be able to download an early access demo which features both single and multiplayer options.

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In April, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (whose Wii version I reviewed here) will be released exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS XL. In addition to offering 3D visuals and the ability to view maps and character stats on the bottom screen, a new mode will allow players to view 3D models of the characters and listen to music from the game’s soundtrack. If you’re wondering what the deal is with that Shulk guy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U or Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, now’s your chance to find out!

Oh, and if you want to see the game in action, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch the full Nintendo Direct for that.

A one-two punch of the popular Puzzle & Dragons is coming to the Nintendo 3DS. Not only will the strategy-RPG puzzle game be released in the form of Puzzle & Dragons Z, but it will also come with Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, featuring power-ups and enemies from the Mario games.

Arriving on March 13th, one month after the release of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will see Abraham Lincoln bring together a collection of heroes from American folklore and classic literature to fend off an alien invasion. What’s more, the game uses the New Nintendo 3DS XL’s built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) reader to scan Fire Emblem amiibo characters, allowing you to use the likes of Marth, Ike, Lucina, and Robin in the game as well.

“But wait!” you say. “How can I get a Marth amiibo now? They’re all gone!” Fortunately, the Nintendo Direct brought good news on this front, as it seems more Marth are on the way. With any luck, Villager and Wii Fit Trainer, among others in short supply, will be getting the same treatment.

Launching this spring, Etrian Mystery Dungeon from Atlus and Spike Chunsoft is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive which combines the gameplay of the two series which form its namesake, Etrian Odyssey and Mystery Dungeon. Create your own party of heroes, then embark on a near-infinite quest for loot!

Marvelous USA and XSEED Games will bring Story of Seasons to Nintendo 3DS this March. It combines farming and life simulation, and players with other lands throughout the in-game world will be able to connect with other players online.

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Ever wonder what would happen if Nintendo did Free-to-Play? You’ll find out in February with this free Nintendo eShop download as players “put their puzzle-solving skills to the test by matching three or more Pokémon in the Puzzle Area to deal damage as they battle wild Pokémon across a variety of stages.” You can purchase items in-game using Nintendo eShop funds, and more details and footage can be found in the Nintendo Direct video at the top of the page.

Available for all Nintendo 3DS systems on February 13th, Bandai Namco’s Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ is best experienced on the New Nintendo 3DS XL, thanks to its additional shoulder buttons and second analog input. You can also use select amiibo figures to customize your craft with different Nintendo-themed skins.

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Fossil Fighters Frontier will be available on March 20th, allowing two to six players to team up and battle each other’s Vivosaurs in local or online tournaments. Again, more details and footage are in the complete Nintendo Direct.

That’s mostly it for the Nintendo 3DS news. Now, want to find out about the Wii U, amiibo, and stuff for both platforms in the Nintendo eShop? Read on!

A nice lineup today, including a number of movie titles. If it weren’t for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, I’d have gone with a movie theme this week.

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – The most smashing-est sequel of the year is here! Click here to see a trailer.

As for my review, I’m holding on just a bit longer so I can give the online features a good go first. It will be here soon, and amiibo, too!

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Watch_Dogs for Wii U – As Aiden Piece, a hacker whose criminal past led to a violent tragedy in his family, you’re out to gain revenge for your loved ones by using Chicago itself as your weapon of revenge.

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DK: King of Swing for Wii U – Swing your way to victory with Donkey Kong and the gang as you collect bananas and crystal coconuts in the five worlds of Adventure Mode or the puzzling single-player Jungle Jam Mode.

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Snake Den for Wii U – The PC classic returns with a twist, as now up to three players can partake in the ever-growing shenanigans through five worlds and 100 levels.

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Alphadia Genesis for Wii U – The peace between two kingdoms becomes tenuous, and the relationship between the two protagonists may be put to the test in this role playing adventure.

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ZaciSa’s Last Stand Demo Version for Wii U – Still unsure about this space-faring tower defense game? Now you can try it for free!

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The Amazing Spider-Man for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – Based on the 2012 film, now you have the opportunity to turn Manhattan into your playground and subdue villains with the Web Rush combat system.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – Based on the 2014 film, you can now play as Spidey’s alter-ego Peter Parker to investigate before swinging into action.

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The Penguins of Madagascar for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – Stealth, puzzle-solving, and Cheezy Dibbles await in this adaptation of the upcoming film.

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Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire for Nintendo 3DS – Return to the Hoenn region and be the very best, like no one ever was as you try to catch ’em all. Along the way, you’ll discover new Mega Evolutions as you attempt to unlock the secrets of Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre. Click here for the trailer.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nintendo 3DS – Taking place after the 2014 film, this “sewer-crawler” takes some inspiration from Gauntlet and Diablo, albeit without the multiplayer.

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Battleminer for Nintendo 3DS – Ants have taken over! Rescue the hostages in this open-world block game.

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Fishdom H20: A Hidden Odyssey Demo Version for Nintendo 3DS – Get a taste of what it’s like to build the ultimate aquarium in this free demo.

Special Offers

Get a Smashing Soundtrack and Mewtwo DLC – Register both Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with Club Nintendo to get a soundtrack CD (from November 21st through January 13th, 2015) and free MewTwo downloadable content (November 21st through March 31st, 2015). Learn more by clicking here.

National StreetPass Weekend is back! – “Swing by a Nintendo Zone hot spot with your Nintendo 3DS system from Nov. 26 through Nov. 30. We are mashing up StreetPass Relay Points across the U.S. and Canada so you can get up to six StreetPass tags from many different places. Collect puzzle pieces from Mii characters to fill up your puzzle panels in Puzzle Swap or pick up enemy tokens for StreetSmash in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Find a hotspot near you here: http://www.nintendo.com/3ds/nintendozone.”

Nintendo eShop Sales

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Nordic Games Sale for Wii UJeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and more are on sale from 9am PT on November 25th until 8:59am PT on December 2nd.

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The Letter for Wii U – Until 8:59am PT on November 30th, this game is reduced from $1.99 to $0.49, more than 75 percent off.

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Ping 1.5+ for Wii U – From 9am PT on November 26th until 8:59am PT on December 3rd, this title is reduced from $4.99 to $2.49, 50 percent off.

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Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay for Nintendo 3DS – From November 26th until 8:59am PT on December 3rd, this title is reduced from $29.99 to $19.99, more than 30 percent off.

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Natsume Games Sale for Nintendo 3DSYumi’s Odd Odyssey, Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns, and more are on sale from 9am PT on November 25th until 8:59am PT on December 1st.

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Disney’s Frozen: Olaf’s Quest for Nintendo 3DS – From 9am PT on November 26th until 8:59am PT on December 10th, this title is reduced from $19.99 to $19.99, more than 30 percent off.

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The Keep for Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on December 4th, this title is reduced from $12.99 to $7.99, more than 30 percent off.

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Classic Games Overload: Card & Puzzle Edition for Nintendo 3DS – Until 8:59am PT on December 1st, this title is reduced from $19.99 to $19.99, more than 30 percent off.

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Real Heroes: Firefighter 3D for Nintendo 3DS – From 9am PT on November 25th until 8:59am PT on December 4th, this title is reduced from $9.99 to $4.99, more than 50 percent off.

Coming Soon

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth for Nintendo 3DS – November 25th

Mighty Final Fight for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U – November 27th

Mario Pinball Land for Wii U – November 27th

Ultimate NES Remix for Nintendo 3DS – December 5th

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for Wii U – December 5th

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.