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Video game releases: 'Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet'

Lush animation in Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, buccaneering antics in Pirates of the Black Cove, and Fruit Ninja's produce piercing aplenty are among upcoming games.

Pirates of the Black Cove (PC)
August 2, Teen / 12+, $19.95 / €19.95

Fancy launching one billion cannon balls in a pirate ship broadside while building an empire of ruffian-friendly ports and towns? Then consider this, the logical next step for the makers of Commander: Conquest of Americas (very serious) and Woody Two-Legs: Attack of the Zombie Pirates (utterly silly).

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (360)
Xbox Live download: August 3, 1200 Points ($15 / €14 / £10 / ¥1,770). Rated Everyone / 7+ / A (all ages).

Iron Giant and Ratatouille film whiz Michel Gagne provides all the art for this side-scrolling spaceship game. Distinctive style, co-op for up to four players, and even a dash of chugging black metal.

Fruit Ninja Kinect (360 via XBLA)
Xbox Live download: August 10, 800 Points ($10 / €9 / £7 / ¥1,180). Rated Everyone / 3+ / A (all ages).

Adding body-controlled fruit slicing for arm-flailing action, and a multiplayer mode for iPhone favorite Fruit Ninja. Also included free with The Gunstringer (September 13).

Age of Empires Online (PC)
August 16, Everyone 10+ / 12+, free

World conquering is getting cheaper all the time, as Age of Empires prepares to tempt players away from Facebook games like Empires & Allies and Civ World.

No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise (PS3 + PS Move)
North America: August 16, Mature, $39
Europe: Available on PS3, 18+, €59 / £45
Japan: Available on 360 and PS3

An upgraded vision of Wii cult hit No More Heroes, a game of exaggerated violence, irreverent humor, lightsabers (sorry, beam katanas), assassination leagues, and a thousand jabs at Grand Theft Auto.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (360 PS3)
North America: August 16, Teen, $59
Europe: September 8, 12+, £40
Japan: Available now, B (12+), ¥7,980

Mashing biblical characters and modern technology, Enoch dons designer jeans and angelic armor on a quest to quell a universal rebellion. Striking visuals, and great reviews of the Japanese version. North American release originally scheduled for July 26.