Among upcoming video game releases: An intriguing Japanese take on 1920s New York in Sakura Wars, the latest WarioWare game encourages players to make their own games, and karaoke game Lips: I Love The 80s does for the Xbox 360 what SingStar 80's did for PlayStation consoles.
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love (PS2, Wii)
Release date: North America, March 30 (PS2 & Wii). Europe, April 2 (Wii only).
This is a single-player Japanese strategic role-playing game, so prepare for some cross-cultural entertainment. Secretly, highly trained teams masquerading as theater performers have been protecting our cities from invasion by ancient demonic armies, many of whom have previously manifested themselves in Japanese history. Not only that, but in between action sequences there is plenty of opportunity to interact with other characters, make connections, and improve relationships, as in the Harvest Moon or Persona games. Not the most obvious of genre bed-fellows but a mix that's worked for the Sakura Wars series so far.
Price: $29.99 / €39.99 (Wii), $39.99 (PS2 premium version)
WarioWare DIY (NA March 28, EU April 30, DS)
Release date: North America, March 28. Europe, April 30.
The latest WarioWare game, which is, as always, hosted by Mario's nemesis and greedy buffoon Wario, remains faithful to its lineage by placing greater emphasis on presenting a collection of quirky mini-games. There are 90 of those ready to play, but the real draw lies in allowing users to play and share games of their own creation. Since the Japanese release at least, Nintendo has been releasing two new mini-games each week, and running regular competitions to find the best creations after announcing a certain theme.
Price: $34.99 / €29.99
Secret Files: Tunguska (DS, Wii)
Release date: North America, March 30. Europe, released May 2008.
Usually, games are released in North America first and Europe second, even if separated by only a few days. This mystery puzzle game was first released in Europe on PC in 2006, then on Wii and DS in 2008. At the time, Videogamer.com called it "one of the best adventure games on the Wii," and now those Wii and DS versions make their way to North American shores where players can investigate a mysterious real-life explosion that occurred in 1908 Russia. European residents can find the game at much reduced prices.
Price: $19.99 (DS) / $29.99 (Wii)
Lips: I Love the 80s (360)
Release date: Europe, April 2.
The Xbox 360's karaoke sing-a-long returns for its fourth instalment, after Lips (2008), Lips: Number One Hits (2009), and most recently Lips: Party Classics (March 2010). I Love the 80s mines its thematic focus with a collection of 40 decade highlights includes "Gold" by Spandau Ballet, "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners, Kim Wilde's "Kids In America," "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell, and "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
With microphones: €64.99
Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack (360, Win PC)
Release date: North America, April 6. Europe, April 9.
Though these extra missions for October 2009's surprise hit Borderlands have been available via download for some months, they're now hitting shop shelves. The main game is a humorous wild-west-style shooter that takes place on a half-colonized alien planet full of hostile beasts and bandits. Contained here are the first two batches of post-release content: The Zombie Island of Dr Ned, where the player looks for a cure amongst hordes of infected horror movie homages, and Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, which is all about fending off waves of baddies, preferably in the company of friends.
Price: $19.99 / €19.99
Torchlight (Windows PC)
Release date: Europe, April 9. North America, released January 2010.
Torchlight was an underground hit late in 2009, going against recent trends by remaining a single-player-only fantasy action game. Released digitally, it was favorably and rightfully compared to the genre-defining Diablo of 1996, retaining key personel who worked on that game. Players wander dungeons near the town of Torchlight as either a warrior, ranger or wizard to fight the corrupting power of a mysterious buried mineral and the beings it has enslaved.