E3 DS game roundup

DS Air, Magical Vacation, Touch Detective, Hotel Dusk, more.

Last week at E3 Nintendo announced plenty of new DS games, but with so much going on it was inevitable some would slip through the cracks - so now we're back, how about a little roundup of the others?

In no particular order then we have DS Air, Magical Vacation, Touch Detective, Clubhouse Games, Tenchu: Dark Secret and Hotel Dusk: Room 215 - with plenty of adventuring among that lot.

DS Air, to start with, is a working title for a TBA release, which sees you dogfighting over two screens, with a wingman in co-op or with up to three friends wirelessly or, Nintendo hopes, over Wi-Fi Connection online. Some shots are up to go with the announcement.

We have shots for all in fact, including next up, Magical Vacation, another working title, due out in Q4. It's an RPG in which the students of Will O' Wisp magical academy are on an adventure through outer space to rescue their classmates and teacher "and just maybe the whole solar system while they're at it". Cor etc. You'll get to explore planets, using stylus controls for everything from combat to conversations and outfitting allies. What's more, up to six players can wirelessly link up to explore dungeons together.

Then there's Touch Detective (we're just going to go ahead and link the names to shots now, so we don't have to come up with any more clever "in line" link descriptions, which is SUCH a CHORE). Known as Osawari Tantei in Japan, Touch Detective's been picked up by Atlus for release in the US this autumn. It's about a a woman called Mackenzie who inherits a detective agency from her dad, and investigates bizarre cases in a world populated by mechanised butlers and walking skeletons. She gets help from mushroom-man Funghi and robotic servant Cromwell, talking to witnesses and using items to further her investigations. Atlus reckons it "has the same kind of innovative touch-screen gameplay that made Trauma Centre so popular". But hopefully not the same difficulty spikes, eh?

Next/then there's/etc Clubhouse Games, due out in Q4, which is a collection of more than 20 classic board, card and party games playable alone or with up to seven other people over Wi-Fi Connection, single or multi-card wireless play. There's draughts, darts and poker among 'em, and in-game PictoChat-style discussion with other players. It's part of Nintendo's "Touch Generations" push, along with the likes of Big Brain Academy, which is geared towards people outside the usual channel of "core gamers". Which means your mum and the like. But hey, you might like it too. We loved Brain Age, after all.

Next we have Tenchu: Dark Secret, which has has actually already been announced. It's quite far along, in fact, and due for an August 21st release in the US. It has more-than-40-mission single-player campaign in the tradition of the stealth-action series, and two-player options over Wi-Fi Connection - but for trading items rather than gameplay, sadly.

Finally there's the odd-sounding Hotel Dusk: Room 215, a graphic adventure from Cing, due out in Q4, in which players play an ex-cop trying to find a missing friend. The clues lead to a hotel with a strange room where wishes are granted, apparently. Players hold the DS like a book and use the touch-screen to interrogate people, search for clues and solve puzzles, and graphically it's done with hand-drawn character portraits animated in black and white. As you can see if you click through to the shots, it's quite the handsome devil.

As am I, obviously. And there's your DS catch-up. More as we spend the afternoon peering under rocks.

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