Go! Go! Ninja!!!

Looks like we're back to a more familiar release schedule in Japan, but the number of new DSiWare releases is more than normal with 9 new titles (though it has to be admitted two of these are guidebooks).

The Virtual Console releases include Tecmo's second offering for the VCA: Ninja Ryukenden, which gamers elsewhere will recognise as Ninja Gaiden. The other title is the latest in Namco's never-ending series of VCA titles: Phelios, which has already had a Mega Drive port released on the Virtual Console in Japan; though given the amount of sprite scaling happening in this shooter the arcade version is undoubtedly the one to get. As with all Japanese VCA titles these will be 800pts each.

The WiiWare titles are as follows:

Tomy Car Driver (1000pts - Takara-Tomy) -- A collection of mini-games based around three emergency vehicles: fire truck, ambulance and police car. It looks like there's a driving segment followed by games like putting out fires. Playable with 1-2 players and featuring virtual vehicle cards and more mini-games to unlock.

Karaoke Joysound Wii (1000pts - Hudson) -- This is the WiiWare version of the disc game which was released last December. The primary difference appears to be a redesigned interface, so the WiiWare game plus a separate purchase of the required external USB microphone (3000 yen) looks like a better deal than the disc+mic option at over 6000 yen. You'll have access to some 50,000 tracks initially with the promise of 1000 new ones every week. You get a 3 song trial included, but after that tickets must be purchased to access songs which are available in 1-, 3-, 30- and 90-day amounts costing 300, 500, 1000 or 2000 Nintendo points each. The title supports 1-8 players and appears to be the ultimate Wii karaoke title with performance scoring and online leaderboards.

Okiraku Tennis (500pts - Arc System Works) -- The latest entry in the "Family" series of games from Arc System Works, with this one being focused on Tennis. No doubt like other titles in the series this will end up coming to WiiWare services overseas.

On Wednesday the DSiWare releases will include two new entries in the Pocket Rurubu series of holiday guidebooks which Nintendo are providing on DSiWare for 800pts each. May saw the release of guides for Tokyo and Kyoto; this month's guidebooks cover Hokkaido and Okinawa.

Also for 800pts is Card Hero Speed Battle Custom which looks like a card battle game with the fight action being carried out in the top screen whilst the card is displayed on the bottom. This is the DSiWare follow-up to a 2007 cart release from Nintendo called Koosoku Card Battle: Card Hero and appears to be an alternative to Pokémon on the DS which is thus far exclusive to Japan. It supports Wi-Fi for on-the go monster battling with friends.

For 500pts you can get something that looks like a Puzzle Bobble rip-off (with the bonus of getting your fortune told when you clear a board) from Gmode called Magical Drop Yurutto, the 3rd volume in Nintendo's Japanese crossword series Puzzle Iroiro Crossword House or a version of Othello called simply Othello from Arc System Works. None of these games have Wi-Fi support that can be seen.

Finally there are three offerings for 200pts each: two Game and Watch titles from Nintendo (Helmet and Chef) and a grid-puzzle game from Tomcreate called Ura no Ura.

Not a bad range of games, though the focus seems to be strongly on the casual side of things.