With the Nintendo DS set to launch in America in seven weeks' time on November 21st, more details on various third party titles are starting to emerge - even though Nintendo has yet to unveil its launch line-up.
Namco this month outlined more details relating to Pac-Pix and Mr. Driller. Pac-Pix, as you may recall from E3, involves drawing a Pac-Man on the DS' touch screen and then trying to gobble up enemies and collect fruit by drawing lines for the little muncher to bounce around on.
But as well as drawing lines to change direction (he turns left or right depending on which way you draw the barrier), you can plonk the stylus down on Pac-Man to bring him to a halt, and it's also possible to send Pac-Man into a semi-circular tunnel on the top screen to collect bonus fruit by directing him off the top edge of the touch-screen.
In the case of Mr Driller, Namco has identified a new Pressure Mode, which highlights the progress of a monster creature tunnelling toward the player on the top screen, as you frantically dig to avoid him on the touch screen. There will also be a pressure meter on the bottom screen to show how far behind the monster is at any given time, along with the traditional oxygen meter.
Namco also says it'll be possible to control our hero with the stylus by tapping the touch screen; he'll then squirm off burrowing in the direction of wherever you tapped. Otherwise it's D-pad and face buttons. In addition to Pressure Mode, a regular Mr Driller mode will feature nine stages of various depths and challenge levels, and there's also a 10-mission time attack mode with tougher obstacles including immovable steel blocks.
Namco has yet to finalise release dates for either game, and it sounds like there ought to be more to Pac-Pix than we've heard about at the moment (indeed, it's even possible that the game will be bundled with something else, like Namco's Pac 'n Roll title), but with the system just seven weeks away from launching we'd expect to learn more soon.
Meanwhile, Majesco has confirmed that its first two DS titles will be Moonlight Fables, a fantasy side-scroller game by Cyber Philharmonic, and the previously announced 3D shooter Nanostray from Iridion developer Shin'en Multimedia. However neither will be a launch title; instead both will pitch up sometime during 2005.
On the bright side, both will feature touch-screen input of some description, utilising both screens, and both will feature network play. Details are still to be confirmed, but we do know that Nanostray will support an online ranking system. You can find more details and shots of Nanostray here.
And we should of course have much more on the DS as we get closer to November 21st, including details of who's doing the best pre-order and import deals since, as you're doubtless well aware, Europe won't be seeing the inventive handheld until early next year.