The Week Ahead - 25/05/07

Feature: It could be worse, like last week

With the exception of multiplatform extravaganza Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End it's a bit of a drought this week on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. So it's advantage Nintendo with both Mario Strikers Charged Football and Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales as first-party highlights. Indeed, Nintendo is less afraid than any other company of releasing games between May and August, mainly because many of their games have a summery feel and they can count upon such a loyal fanbase, which always helps.

Otherwise, you'll be looking to Sega's interesting puzzler Crush on PSP or the bizarre charms of Shadowhearts: From the New World on PS2 to keep you up at nights. Not such a terrible week then and there's also the tremendous looking Forza Motorsport 2 to look forward to, which is pencilled in for June 8 on 360.

The complete list of games released in the UK this week (25/05/07):

  • Alpha Prime, PC, Idea Games
  • Crush, PSP, Sega
  • Custom Robo Arena, DS, Nintendo
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, DS, Nintendo
  • Heatseeker, PSP, Codemasters
  • Mario Strikers Charged Football, Wii, Nintendo
  • Naruto Uzumaki Chronicles, PS2, Atari
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, 360/Wii/PS3/PSP/PS2/PC/DS, Disney
  • Saints Row (Classics), Xbox 360, THQ
  • Shadow Hearts: From the New World, PS2, Ghostlight
  • Spongebob & Friends: Volcano Island, PS2/DS, THQ
  • WWII: Battle Over Europe, PS2, Midas

Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii)

On the surface there's nothing particularly extraordinary about Mario Stikers Charged Football. It's a sequel to the frantic but slightly disappointing 2005 Super Mario Stirkers on GameCube. You get the entire oddball 5-a-side action that made it so distinctive: banana skins, shells, power-ups and explosions but it's all controlled via the Remote and Nunchuck controllers. But what's really significant is this is the first online enabled game to hit the Wii and for that reason alone it's going to be one to watch. Hands-on previews suggest it's an improvement over the original with a greater sense of balance even though each character has a ridiculous 'charge' strike power-up. With score-lines in the region of 10 - 15 this is likely to be daft but utterly absorbing. Look out for the review next week.

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (DS)

The cute multi-coloured mascots from Final Fantasy have broken out and gotten their very own dedicated title. In fact, it's a series of mini and micro games you can play by jumping into picture books, hence the title. The clever games range from positioning trampolines around with your stylus to firing darts into balloons (by blowing into the DS microphone). It's had rave reviews in Japan and while a little fluffy the 60 mini-games plus a rewarding card-based duel system indicates it's more hardcore than it looks.


Crush (PSP)

Crush is an innovative puzzler that tasks you with restoring sanity to the game's amnesiac character by solving conundrums in his mind. Sounds a bit Freudian but if screenshots are anything to go by then the premise of crushing 3D worlds into 2D platforms to unlock secrets could be very enticing indeed. Sega has been pretty coy about releasing code (which is usually the kiss of death) but there's certainly nothing else out there like this and we're cautiously optimistic it'll be decent.

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