It seems like DSiWare's GO Series has been around for forever, but the first title — GO Series: 10 Second Run — only launched in September 2010, followed by a series of quick-fire games in every genre from pinball to platforming. At the time of writing, the series stands at 10 titles but it's not over yet, with two new games on the way this summer. We decided to take a closer look at the continuing evolution of DSiWare's most intriguing series.
Western publisher Gamebridge initially approached Japanese developers with the idea of publishing their distinctly Japanese games across Europe and America, reaching out to teams whose names might be unfamiliar but whose output certainly isn't: Artepiazza, responsible for the excellent DS Dragon Quest remakes and Suzak, who created the Game Boy Advance F-Zero: GP Legend, were among the first companies enlisted, joined later by former Sonic Team head Yuji Naka's Prope studio and Intense.
The concept was to bring Japan-only DSiWare games to the Western market, with a label to help players identify these games as part of a unique group, though in North America some games have gone by the G.G Series label instead.
Tony Byus, of Gamebridge’s Japanese partner Intergrow, explains why the GO Series appeals to developers:
A lot of the time these companies work for big publishers, developing games such as Dragon’s Quest, Wario, Gundam etc. When they get time off between projects they want to make something independently and DSiWare is the perfect platform for this. They can create original games for themselves in a small time frame.
That creativity is evident in the games already available on DSiWare, with tower defence in Defence Wars and even acrobatics in Let’s Swing. The most recent game in the series, PicDun, released in Europe last week and reaches North America on 6th June, blending Picross and dungeon crawling. As you can read in our GO Series: Picdun review, it's precisely the sort of game we're grateful for on DSiWare: original, deep, lengthy and enjoyable. The next two releases in the series, due this summer, look set to offer even more unique experiences.
GO Series: Portable Shrine Wars from Tom Create is probably the most bizarre game to hit the series yet. Based on a Japanese festival that sees dozens of people carry portable shrines called “Mikoshi” on their backs, you must barge past other mikoshi carriers, attack them by flinging your team members in their direction and recruit their fallen men for extra human ammunition. There will of course be enormous bosses, opposition ninjas and other obstacles along the way, hopefully resulting in a game quite unlike anything on DSiWare.
The second title is less out there: Fishing Resort comes from small studio Mechanic Arms, and was released in Japan under the name Itsudemo Tsuri Biyori, which roughly translates to “Every Day is a Perfect Day for Fishing”. The cutesy anime-style graphics are attractive, but underneath lies all the fishing features you’d expect: a range of rods, lines, float and bait, touch screen controls and even the ability to trade rankings and player data via local wireless communications.
At the moment there's no solid release date or pricing for either title, with Gamebridge only telling us to expect the titles to release in Europe and America this summer.
With new titles added to the series on a regular basis, Byus explains the process that brings new games on board with a refreshing honesty:
Firstly we play all the games to judge the quality. Then we try to assess if the games would appeal to players in Europe and America. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong.
One example of getting it right would be Defence Wars, which Byus notes has been very successful sales-wise, though he states that overall DSiWare sales have declined in recent months, with Earth Saver in particular underperforming against expectations.
With that in mind, the inevitable question is “will the GO Series continue on DSiWare?” Byus’s answer is straightforward:
We’ll continue with DSiWare as long as there are good games to release and there are enough people downloading them. In the future hopefully we will be able to expand the series to also release digital download games for Nintendo 3DS.
With 3DSWare just around the corner, it’s easy to overlook Nintendo’s first attempt at a downloadable store for handhelds, but Intergrow and Gamebridge will be hoping 3DS users will check out the DSiWare GO Series long after the 3DS eShop is available in early June.
We’ll bring you more news on the new GO Series games Portable Shrine Wars and Fishing Resort as it reaches us here at Nintendo Life.