With Soulcalibur IV and Geometry Wars 2 still keeping many a gamer busy and Madden 09 unofficially kick-starting the holiday gaming rush next week, it's time for the (refreshingly brief) 2008 summer doldrums.
The lack of AAA system-sellers this week might give some less-heralded games a chance to shine, specifically Jonathan Blow's Xbox Live Arcade platformer Braid. A platforming puzzle game with a time-manipulation game mechanic, Braid won the Game Innovation Award at the 2006 Independent Games Festival. The game has a distinctive style, from its self-described "painterly" visuals to its protagonist, a squat, red-headed man in a shirt and tie. Braid will sell for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).
Beyond Braid, there are a handful of notable retail games, spearheaded by ports. The PC edition of Beijing Olympics 2008 is expected to finally clear its last hurdle and appear on shelves, where it will be joined by Monster Madness: Grave Danger for the PlayStation 3 and Grid on the DS.
As for the Wii's downloadable games, Nintendo is releasing the Sega Master System port of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Virtual Console for 500 Wii points ($5). The downloadable-game service will also see the addition of the Sega Genesis action game Splatterhouse 2, which will sell for 800 Wii points ($8). Joining those retro offerings will be Gameloft's original WiiWare game, Wild West Guns. Available for 1,000 Wii points ($10), Wild West Guns is a quick-draw competition for one or two players.
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
AUGUST 4, 2008
King of Clubs (Wii)
Summer Athletics (Wii)
Beijing 2008 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games (PC)
Sonic the Hedgehog (Wii Virtual Console) Splatterhouse 2 (Wii VC)
Wild West Guns (WiiWare)
AUGUST 5, 2008
Monster Madness: Grave Danger (PS3)
Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour (PS2)
Little League World Series 2008 (Wii, DS)
Rock Blast (DS)
Quick Yoga Training (DS)
The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom (DS)
Professor Brainium's Games (DS)
AUGUST 6, 2008
Braid (Xbox 360)
AUGUST 7, 2008
Sony has not yet announced it's PlayStation Network releases for the week.
AUGUST 8, 2008
Fate: Undiscovered Realms (PC)