Several people were disappointed Nintendo of Europe didn't start off the latest Hanabi Festival with a certain vampire-slaying game last week, but there's no need to complain any more - It's out now! It brings with it a rather tedious little NES import, which might also mean this is already the final week of the Festival, as there are no other imports on the schedule. Aside from a wacky Nintendo-published game, DSiWare doesn't really get anything truly interesting with its five games, while WiiWare's sole release can be described as nothing more than "unique."
The Hanabi Festival possibly concludes with Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, which was originally released for the Turbo-CD, in Japan only. Aside from a SNES "port," which turned out to be an almost completely different game, it was never released elsewhere until a PSP remake came along in 2007. Japan then also got the original game on Virtual Console the next year, and since then it's been a very long wait, which is now thankfully finally over. The game ditches most of the additions of Super Castlevania IV, such as whipping in 8 directions, to go back to the way the original NES trilogy played - So you can expect another hard journey through Dracula's castle. It's one well worth playing, though, because it's easily among the best of the "Classicvania" games, as our review will tell you.
The game accompanying it is one to stay far away from, however. Milon's Secret Castle been available in other regions since 2007, and there's a reason you don't hear anyone talk about it - It's a famously frustrating game. The castle definitely lives up to its name, because it's filled with secrets, most of which you HAVE to find to beat the game, as well! It'd be fine if there were any hints as to their locations, but there aren't, so the only way you're going to make it to the end is by literally attacking every single block in sight hoping to uncover something. Add to this the game's extreme difficulty, sloppy controls and annoying music and sound effects and the only real thing it's useful for is gifting to people you hate. You can read our almost 3-year old thoughts (!) here.
The only new WiiWare release is an interesting one, to say the least. In Muscle March, you play as one of several muscle-bound men, a woman or a polar bear, as you chase several thieves trying to make off with your precious protein powder. As you chase them through the game's locales, they'll bust through several walls while posing. The gameplay consists of nothing more than matching these poses in order to make it through the walls unharmed. The game's looks are certainly unique, but the gameplay is really quite shallow, and it ultimately offers nothing special. Previously thought to be 800 points rather than 500, thankfully, Namco Bandai has decided to have mercy on us and has stuck with the cheap North American price.
DSiWare gets the lion's share of releases again, with another five. Leading the bunch is Photo Dojo, a Nintendo-published fighting game, in which you can take pictures of yourself, friends, pets and other things and then have them fight each other in your living room, backyard, or anything else you can snap a photo of. With such a ridiculous concept and the fact it's only 200 DSi Points, we don't think you can do much wrong in downloading it. We'll review it soon, but in the meantime, you can read Sean's first impressions of the Japanese release.
Libera Wing is another tower defense title. Like Starship Patrol before it, it seems a bit more interactive than the usual games in the genre - You can use items, abilities and other things to help out, and as such everything doesn't just come down to your tower placement. It costs 800 DSi Points, and we'll review it soon.
Car Jack Streets is, at first sight, pretty much a downloadable Grand Theft Auto game. You drive around the city, stealing different cars if you wish, doing tasks for various people in order to earn money. These can range from killing certain people to driving someone to where they need to be, but the ultimate goal is quite simply to earn enough cash to pay off your debt. Although noticeably smaller than even the first, 2D GTA game, we thought it was still quite competent and worth a download if you enjoy the aforementioned other series. It costs 800 DSi Points.
The last two releases are oddballs. Flips: The Enchanted Wood is the third story from EA's retail DS story collection to be available, and is very likely to be just like the previous two in terms of "gameplay". But Flashlight is perhaps the weirdest thing on the service so far - It seems to be exactly what it says on the tin, allowing you to use your DSi as one of several types of flashlights. It already has a backlight of its own, surely you can get by with that? We'll review both of these soon. They cost 500 and 200 DSi Points, respectively.
And so it's likely another Hanabi Festival has ended, after only two weeks this time! Which games would you like to see the next time?