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Tuesday, February 26, 2008 Shipping Announcements

by Rainier on Feb. 26, 2008 @ 3:33 a.m. PST

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

Brain Assist (NDS)

Designed to specifically target the right hemisphere of the brain, Brain Assist will test one's visual perception skills and stimulate the creativity center of the human brain.

Players will be guided through the game by six different Brain Assist nurses. These nurses administer the 10 different brain teasing games in Brain Assist and are responsible for scoring a player's performance upon completion of the exercises. Each game offers a different challenge in order to exercise the different facets of the right hemisphere of the human brain. These games range from "shape identification" where players piece together specified shapes to "spot the difference" where players look for differences between two almost identical images. Other games such as the "match game" tasks players to match two identical symbols in a jumbled collection of other symbols. Each game tests the ability of the player's right brain to process and digest the exercises quickly and accurately.

Brain Assist on the Nintendo DS will retail for $29.99 and is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed (Wii)

The sci-fi action franchise's debut on a Nintendo platform features four unique open-world environments to explore and high fidelity destruction on the ground, in the air via UFO and in the all-new Big Willy, a prototype alien mech masquerading as a fast food restaurant mascot.

"The Destroy All Humans! franchise turns the tables on traditional sci-fi gaming, allowing gamers to play as the alien and unleash massive destruction," said Brad Carraway, director, global brand management, THQ. "Big Willy Unleashed continues this tradition and brings the franchise to Wii gamers for the first time, with new features like the Big Willy mech that really ramp up the game's destructive mayhem."

"Big Willy Unleashed was designed for the Wii from the ground up, providing a unique Destroy All Humans! experience gamers won't find anywhere else," said Jack Sorenson, executive vice president of worldwide studios, THQ. "The game offers three different modes of play, with Crypto, his UFO and his Big Willy mech, creating a variety of ways to unleash high-fidelity destruction."

Designed specifically for the Wii, Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed fully utilizes the Wii Remote to deliver an all-new sci-fi action gaming experience. Players control Crypto as he travels the world in the Funked Out 1970's, unleashing massive destruction on foot, in his UFO and for the first time, at the controls of his Big Willy mech. Players will explore four open-world environments as they play through a variety of story-driven missions, open-world sandbox gameplay and co-op and competitive multiplayer.

Developed by THQ's Locomotive Games, Inc., Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed is now available for the suggested retail price of $49.99.

The irreverent sci-fi action gaming franchise will continue its path of destruction with Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed for the PSP (developed by Locomotive Games) and Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon for the X360 and PS3, both scheduled to launch later in 2008.

Naruto: Ninja Destiny (NDS)

Featuring stunning, cinematic techniques and the original orange-clad ninja, the fighting game promises vibrant 3D battles that are true to VIZ Media's hit animated TV series Naruto.

"Naruto: Ninja Destiny is easy to pick up and play yet challenging to master for the core fighter, setting the bar even higher for the possibilities of 3D fighting games on the Nintendo DS," said Mark Shinohara, executive vice president, TOMY Corporation. "With the unique gameplay features made possible by the touch screen and two-player wireless combat, fans can unleash their inner ninja like never before."

"It's been very gratifying to see the Naruto brand grow and evolve with each new iteration," said Alison Quirion, vice president of marketing, D3PA. "As fans of the series ourselves, we are always looking to bring Naruto to broader audiences and introduce new ways to bring these amazing characters to life."

Players can take their ninja battles on the road with Naruto: Ninja Destiny, the first 3D head-to-head Naruto fighter for the Nintendo DS. Featuring scenes, characters, and storylines up to the 140th episode of the hit anime series, the game improves upon the Japanese original with additional characters, content, and improved frame rate. Any aspiring ninja can unleash powerful jutsu and take advantage of items to brawl their way to victory against 16 different characters. Dual-screen combat will allow fierce battles to unfold on the top screen while special power ups can be strategically unleashed on the touch screen for fast, frenetic action. Designed to appeal to both fighting game veterans and newcomers, players can endeavor to become a proficient ninja master by chaining together a string of deadly combos. Naruto: Ninja Destiny offers an intense single-player story and versus mode, along with wireless multiplayer combat.

Patapon (PSP)

Patapon is a 2D platform-action game that transforms players into a drum-wielding leader responsible for guiding the Patapons, a small, quirky tribe of warriors seeking to reclaim their homeland. Following on the heels of a successful launch in Japan, Patapon makes its official North American debut featuring a one-of-a-kind art style, infectious music, and a unique control system where players will issue real-time commands to the Patapon troops through a variety of rhythm-based combinations.

"Bringing together such disparate elements as musical beats, action, and strategy into one package, Patapon is a ground-breaking game that demonstrates our efforts to bring continued innovation to PSP," said Jeff Reese, director, software marketing, SCEA. "At $20, Patapon is a tremendous value that offers loads of original gameplay. The game's colorful design and rhythm-based controls are just the tip of the iceberg as players learn to manage a much deeper system of customization and strategy."

For years the Patapon tribe has lived in the desolate frontier, driven from their home by the evil Zigoton army. Behind the Patapons' cute exterior, lies a fierce warrior spirit that can only be commanded by the beat of the war drums. They wait for the day a leader will emerge to wield the drums, guiding the Patapons in battle against their enemies and helping them to reach the far end of the world.

In Patapon, players will encounter a unique style of gameplay that blends rhythm and action, where various combinations of drumbeats are used to command the Patapons to march, retreat, attack, defend, charge, and use magic. The game presents a variety of warrior types, along with a wide selection of weapons and shield upgrades, allowing each player to customize their Patapon army and strategize for each mission. Using character designs by popular French graphic artist Rolito, who also served as chief artist for the game, Patapon brings a distinctive and colorful art style.

Set among a variety of vivid 2D backgrounds, Patapon unfolds through more than 30 missions where players are tasked with outfitting a Patapon army, collecting resources, and using strategy to grow the tribe into a devastating fighting force. Incorporating various button-timed drumbeats in real-time to control the Patapons, players will strategically traverse through each environment, battling the Zigoton enemies as well as larger than life boss creatures each step of the way. The game presents a variety of warrior types such as archers, infantry, cavalry, and more that players can unlock, along with a wide selection of more than 100 weapon and shield upgrades, allowing players to customize their forces throughout the funky adventure. Additionally, Patapon features five unique music-based mini-games where players will earn items to create stronger and faster Patapons, leading to a more dynamic Patapon army overall.

Patapon, rated "E" for Everyone, is now available at an MSRP of $19.99.

Ricochet Infinity (PC)

The latest installment in the Ricochet series from Reflexive Entertainment offers players near infinite play with over 200 levels built into the game and thousands of additional levels available for download online.

Playing through the Galactic Tournament, challengers must bust bricks, gather gold rings, unlock new ships, and climb the ranks to become the Ringmaster Grand Champion. Ricochet Infinity sports a number of new, innovative features, like the "recall" ability in which a player can control the ball's movement and call the ball back to the ship.

When launched digitally, Ricochet Infinity received a warm welcome from game reviewers, winning praise for the new power-ups, bonuses, level design and overall game play.

"Ricochet Infinity gives breakout players the ultimate in value — with a dedicated website that offers literally thousands of additional levels, this is a game that players can enjoy for hours and days on end," said Mark Cottam, CEO of MumboJumbo. "We're proud to bring Reflexive's vision to retail because it's a great product."

"We are excited to partner with MumboJumbo in bringing our most precious IP to retail," said Michael Mei, head of Business Development at Reflexive. "MumboJumbo's expertise and depth at retail is first rate, and we're thrilled they will be stewarding Ricochet Infinity onto the retail shelves."

Breakout games were first introduced in the mid-'70s with the introduction of the original "Breakout," which was influenced by the popular "Pong" game. Essentially, a ball is hit and bounces across the screen to bust up bricks or other obstacles. The object of these types of games is to clear the bricks from the board while not losing your ball.

Casual games have come a long way since Pong and Breakout, with DFC Intelligence analysts predicting earlier this month that 2008 will be a banner year for casual games and that downloadable, casual PC games are expected to eclipse $2.3 billion in annual sales by 2012.

Ricochet Infinity retails for $19.99 and is rated 'E' for Everyone.

Spitfire Heroes: Tales of the Royal Air Force (NDS)

Get ready to turn the tide in the aerial battles that shaped the outcome of World War II! This exciting air combat shooter brings the heroic actions of the RAF to Nintendo DS with intuitive flight mechanics, devious enemy pilots, and wireless support for up to four players. Players fly for the Royal Air Force through missions based on real events that shaped the outcome of the war. Exciting features include:

  • Fast-Paced Air Combat: Roll, shoot, bomb, and maneuver your way through some of the toughest opponents ever to take to the skies. Earn medals and ranks as you progress through the course of World War II — if you survive!
  • Exciting Mission-Based Gameplay: Enter into frenzied dogfights with German fighters, strafe columns of enemy tanks, cover the evacuation of Allied troops, knock buzz bombs out of the sky with a tip of your wing and more in an expansive campaign that recreates some of the most famous battles of the war.
  • Robust Multiplayer: Survive the Air Campaign and select your favorite fighter to combat your friends. Up to four players can go head-to-head via Nintendo DS Local Wireless Connection.

Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (PS3/X360/PC)

Throwing gamers into a WWII like no other, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is set in an alternate 1953 where, following the fall of Europe, Nazi forces launch an invasion on the gateway to the United States. Opening with decimating attack on New York City, players take on the role of construction worker Dan Carson caught in the middle of the blitzkrieg.

As the city is taken block by block, players must survive the initial assault before regrouping with a team of resistance workers and lead a fight back against the oppressors. With the Third Reich's sights set on the seat of government, the action takes players to Washington D.C. and, eventually, to a startlingly different London, which has been flying the Swastika under Nazi rule for over a decade.

Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is rated "T" for Teen by the ESRB, and its UK launch will follow on March 14.

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