Zombie Panic in Wonderland
This shooting gallery hails from Valencia, not Osaka, although not so you'd notice; it's all cherry-blossom, super-deformed manga avengers and zombie sumo wrestlers. The mechanics couldn't be simpler: destroy everything, including enemies, buildings and all level furniture, to fill your "clean-up meter" before time runs out. It's no Sin and Punishment, but it is immediate and basic arcade gratification with jump-in co-op, and at an appropriately low price point it could make a fun diversion come its expected release in December from Akaoni Studios.
Another puzzle-platformer of sorts, notable for its silhouetted, Chinese-lantern visuals, lack of scrolling (when was the last time you played a game with screens?) and lack of a jump button. You're a rolling stone, gathering no moss as you travel through the ethereal landscapes, toggling speed boosts, gravity-reversal and sticky friction powers to negotiate obstacles. With nothing to the game but the controls, it's vital that these feel just right - and they do, but the lack of consistency, with rules and powers being swapped about between screens arbitrarily, is jarring. Just like the other indie platformers here, with the noble exception of Super Meat Boy, NightSky puts ideas and atmosphere before execution. Due December.
And now we get to the really strange stuff. We've already covered this lavish update of the PC and Mac freeware cult in some detail, and it's out very soon. For the uninitiated, it's best described as a turn-based tactical martial arts game in which you manipulate individual joints and muscles of ragdoll fighters, 10 frames at a time, slowly constructing brutally violent, fantastically brief bouts. If you're quick, you can catch your own severed limbs before they fall and use them as weapons.
Nabi promises a more strategic game in which gripping and dismemberment are more important, a new ability to "boost" moves for extra force, the ability to send replay files to friends, and much-improved online matchmaking in a "tournament that never ends". Also, despite the abstract graphics, the most realistic and minutely simulated blood spatter you'll ever see. "That thing is melting," says the Nabi rep proudly, pointing to the Wii in the demo stand.
You, Me and the Cubes
Kenji Eno, noted sound and game designer of Altered Beast, D and others, was so entranced by the initial unveiling of the Wii remote that he cut out and stuck together a papercraft one for himself before begging Nintendo to be allowed to make games for the machine. The result is this slick and delightfully strange puzzle game.
An outlined cube hangs in space. You shake the remote to create little people called Fallos - boy and girl, blue and pink, always a pair - then select landing spots for them with the pointer and throw them at the cube with a flick, aiming to balance their weight so the cube won't tip. Then it rotates, another conjoining cube is added, you throw two pairs of Fallos and so on, until you're balancing a complex superstructure of varied cube types covered in the skidding, tumbling or (if you're skilled and lucky) stably sitting little folk. The aim of each level is to get a certain number of them on the cubes within a 100-second time limit.
It's an engrossing and original concept, with some similarities (in interface at least) to the brilliant Boom Blox. It also has the best production values of any of these games, with Eno's pristine soundscape a particular highlight. We saved the best for last, but Nintendo saved it for first - You, Me and the Cubes is out now for 1000 Wii Points (Ł7 / €10).