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Azure Striker Gunvolt includes free Mighty No. 9 crossover minigame

Players who hop on the Azure Striker Gunvolt bandwagon when it launches in the 3DS eShop next week will receive a free bonus minigame that features a playable character from fellow Keiji Inafune project Mighty No. 9.

Mighty Gunvolt is a five-level, NES-styled platformer starring Azure Striker's Gunvolt, Mighty No. 9 main character Beck, and Ekoro, a supporting character from developer Inti Creates' Japan-only rail shooter Gal*Gun. Players who purchase Azure Striker Gunvolt within its first three months of release will receive a download code for Mighty Gunvolt once it premieres in the 3DS eShop.

Azure Striker Gunvolt launches digitally in North America on August 29.

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Adventure Time: Nameless Kingdom debuts November 21 in Europe

WayForward's next Adventure Time game, The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, premieres in Europe for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and PC platforms via Steam on November 21, publisher Bandai Namco revealed this week.

Announced earlier this year, The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom takes gameplay cues from classic entries in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, and models its structure after the lauded 16-bit action-RPG A Link to the Past. Gameplay focuses on solving environmental puzzles to progress through the game's many dungeons, ditching the roguelike-styled gameplay of its predecessor Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! for a more traditional approach.

A North American release date for The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom was not announced.

[Image: Bandai Namco]

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In the garden of Eden Hazard, don't you know that I love FIFA 15?

Belgium and Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard is the new face-next-to-Messi's-face for FIFA 15, at least in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Voted the best young player in the English Premier League last year, Hazard is also a less hazardous proposition to have on the cover than last year's choice, Gareth Bale. If you'll remember, Bale left for Real Madrid after appearing on the FIFA 14 cover in a Tottenham shirt, leaving EA Sports in a bit of a pickle. No such fun, sadly, is on the cards for Hazard this year.

To see the full box art, dribble below the break and remember to wipe.

EA's sportsball sim will once again grace a myriad of platforms starting September 23 in North America. Three days later it'll come to Europe, where Microsoft's once again offering it as part of a Xbox One bundle, priced 400 euros or £350.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Mega Man 6, Blazblue Clone Phantasma

Mega Mega Mega Man, he's up on the eff- okay, yes, that's the Mega Man 2 theme a la Brentalfloss, but he's not done one for Mega Man 6, the NES platformer out on Wii U Virtual Console this week. Of course, in the musical maestro's opinion Mega Man 6 is "okay." How's that for a recommendation? At least it's better than 7, we almost hear him sing. Oh, also on Wii U Virtual Console this week is Gradius spin-off Life Force, if you're looking for something retro in a more co-op flavor.

Meanwhile, with Disney Infinity 2.0 still out of reach, Nintendo's getting things simmering by bringing OG Disney Infinity to the eShop for the first time, for free. You'll still need a physical figure and base to play it, though. As for the 3DS, we reckon top dog this week is Blazblue Clone Phantasma. Nope, not Blazblue Chrono Phantasma, but a 3D action game spinoff of the fighter series. The cast of characters are still there but hyper-deformed and cute, even if they're still beating the bejeezus out of each other.

As always, you'll find the full list of new releases past the break. Sales-wise there are nine new discounts starting this week, which we'd say qualifies as plenty. We refer you to The Big N's press release for the full list, but we like the look of a third off Aeternoblade at $10 and Chasing Aurora half-price at $4.

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Final Fantasy Explorers plants its flag in Japan this December

If you live in Japan you can grab your backpacks and lead the way in upcoming 3DS co-op RPG Final Fantasy Explorers. Vámonos indeed because as Jump revealed (via Gematsu), it's only a few months before the game hits retail shelves there on December 18.

Continuing the Crystal Chronicles vibe, Final Fantasy Explorers lets up to four adventurers combine forces in quest-driven action. Players take on classic series jobs like Knight, Monk; Black and White Mage; and as this week's Famitsu reveals, Paladin and Hunter. Just as familiar are the summons players do battle against, including the likes of Ifrit and Shiva.

Final Fantasy Explorers remains unconfirmed for Western release, though US and Euro trademarks suggest a voyage across the oceans is on the cards. For now, make you own trek below the break to see three new vids showcasing the Monk, Knight and Black Mage.

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Adorable BlazBlue action spinoff hits 3DS this week

Developer Arc System Works, a studio most famous for hyper-kinetic 2D fighters, will launch BlazBlue: Clone Phantasma on the 3DS eShop on August 21.

Unlike its traditional fighting game predecessors, BlazBlue: Clone Phantasma is a 3D action game that renders the BlazBlue cast as tiny, super-deformed, cutesy versions of developer Arc System Works' typically elaborate character designs. The goal remains "defeat your opponent," but in lieu of flashy combos the giant-headed characters attempt to knock one another off a given stage. This gameplay shift renders BlazBlue: Clone Phantasma more simplistic than its fighting game forebears, but that aligns with the game's budget $6 price tag.

Unfortunately, BlazBlue: Clone Phantasma does not feature online multiplayer. This omission will likely shorten its shelf life, in much the same way that 2010's BlayzBloo: Super Melee Brawlers Battle Royale proved a momentary distraction, but lacked enough long-term depth to draw players from the series' fighting game core.
[Image: Arc System Works]

Level 5's Fantasy Life becomes reality in Europe next month

Finally, Fantasy Life is confirmed for Europe with a regional release date of September 24. Don't let the proximity of finally to fantasy in that opening sentence mislead you, the 3DS RPG is a Level-5 joint, even if it does feature music by Nobuo Uematsu.

It's taken a while for Fantasy Life to head West after it charmed Japan back in 2012 with its mix of action-RPG combat and Animal Crossing-like vocational fun. According to Nintendo of Europe's press release, the game features a Link Mode tool that lets you chat online with other players while you adventure, a separate feature to the local and online co-op (for up to three players.) That suggests the new version includes the Link expansion released in Japan, which also added new areas, quests and items as well as the chat functionality.

As Nintendo revealed at E3, Fantasy Life is also coming to North America on October 24. Below the break you'll find a new trailer showcasing the game's various features, including the ability to buy a faithful doggie pet. Truly, that is the Fantasy Life.

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The Last of Us still the remaster of the UK house

Apparently not contented by its six-week run as the UK No. 1 last year, The Last of Us is now halfway to repeating that success in its PS4 guise. Again, in terms of new releases there's little opposition to really strain The Last of Us: Remastered, but three weeks on the trot isn't to be sneezed at, particularly with all those spores about

Despite the quiet state of the summer, fantasy action-RPG Risen 3 failed to break the top 40 in its debut week. As such, this week's UK top ten is a very familiar read for regular purveyors of the charts, with Lego, FIFA, Minecraft, Call of Duty, GTA and Battlefield all in the mix. That said, we may see a new No. 1 next week if Diablo 3 catches hellfire on PS4 and Xbox One in the new Ultimate Evil Edition.

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Pokemon goes mega bro in Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire



Yo Slowbro, we gotta talk. We notice you're taking hits like a champ in the new trailer for Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire where you Mega-evolve into Mega Slowbro. We see you got these super high defense stats, and you bro-down with some of the toughest pokemon out there. We're just wonderin' where this came from, bro. Brotein shakes? Some brototype muscle pill?

You know what, it's none of our business, bro. Live and let live. We're just happy to see you get some time in the spotlight, and look forward to some brodacious battles with you on November 21. Until then, stay chill bro.
[Image: The Pokemon Company]

Gamescom Awards evolve, favor 2K's monstrous game

The votes are in, and the winner of the Gamescom 2014 Awards is ... *drumroll* Oh, you saw the headline and figured out the pun already? Well, you're right; it's Evolve, the 4v1 monster-on-human huntfest from Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios. The game took home not only the award for "Best of Gamescom," but also the awards for "Best Console Game Microsoft Xbox," "Best PC Game," "Best Action Game" and "Best Online Multiplayer Game."

Other highlights include Super Smash Bros. taking home the "Best Mobile Game" award for its 3DS iteration, while its console counterpart took home the "Most Wanted Consumer Award," a title that premiered at this year's ceremony. LittleBigPlanet 3 also won multiple awards, specifically the "Best Social / Casual / Online Game" award and the "Best Family Game" award.

We're relatively sure that Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call won the award for "Best Simulation Game" due to its simulation of music, but we can pretend it won because it simulates being an adorable JRPG character singing along to catchy tunes, too. Check out the full list of winners after the break.

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New Sonic Boom media, snag action figure with GameStop pre-order

Pre-order bonuses are often of the digital variety these days – map packs, character skins, downloadable waffle recipes – but those who pre-order Sonic Boom from GameStop will pick up something much more tangible. Specifically, GameStop pre-orders (EB Games in Canada) will include an exclusive and svelte Sonic action figure (he's really been working off those chili dogs, it seems). As you can see in the image above, the figure includes a fashionable, be-scarved Sonic, an "Ancient's Crystal" and what appears to be a snorkel.

Finally, whether you pre-order Sonic Boom or not – we wouldn't blame you for playing it cautious – you can also take in a new trailer and some screens.

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Mario Kart 8 sales surpass 1 million in US

Over one million players have felt the cold dead eyes of Luigi on them in Mario Kart 8, Nintendo has announced, revealing the racer has become the second Wii U game to reach the sales milestone in the United States. According to a press release, New Super Mario Bros. Wii U was the first title to sell over one million units in the region.

In a filing earlier this month that showed the company post a $97M quarterly loss, Nintendo said Mario Kart 8 enjoyed a great attach rate with shipments of 2.82 million by the end of June.

"Mario Kart 8 continues to drive momentum for the Wii U platform," the publisher said, claiming hardware sales have increased by "nearly" 60 per cent in the first seven months in 2014, versus the same reported period in 2013. Though official numbers were never revealed, July 2013 was notable for seeing a drastic 34-percent hardware sales slump versus 2012 results.

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July NPD: PS4 leads hardware, Last of Us returns to top software

July 2014 continues the trend of rising hardware sales and declining software sales, according to the NPD, though the software sales charts have seen a shakeup thanks to Sony's Last of Us re-release.

"Hardware sales doubled in July 2014 (vs. July 2013), stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware," states analyst Liam Callahan in the latest NPD report. Callahan adds that combined sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after nine months of availability are now nearly 80 percent higher than prior generation consoles. The PlayStation 4 continues to be the top-selling new-generation console for the seventh month in a row.
[Image: Sony]

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A wild Mega Audino appears in Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire remakes

The latest Pokemon to receive the Mega Evolution treatment is Audino, a 'mon with such precise hearing that it can diagnose illness simply by listening to a patient's body. As a result of this phenomenal ability, the Pokemon Centers of the Unova region keep Audino at hand to assist Nurse Joy. The 'mon apparently took a liking to its unforeseen medical profession as the Mega Evolved Audino almost looks like a tiny, stylized doctor, complete with white lab coat and stethoscope.

Though the Pokemon Company is only now debuting Mega Audino, Pokemon fan site Serebii reported on the Mega Evolution two days ago when both Mega Audino and Mega Slowbro accidentally appeared on the official Korean Pokemon website. The Pokemon Company has yet to officially acknowledge the existence of Mega Slowbro, and offered no comment to our inquiries. Despite this, the Korean leak correctly predicted every aspect of Mega Audino, leading us to expect a Mega Slowbro announcement shortly.

Mega Audino will make its video game debut in the upcoming Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire 3DS games which are scheduled to launch on November 2. You'll find a trailer highlighting the new Mega Evolution below the break.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Azure Striker Gunvolt zaps 3DS eShop August 29

Inti Creates announced that its Mega Man-inspired side-scroller Azure Striker Gunvolt is primed for a North American eShop release on August 29, arriving stateside shortly after its Japanese debut.

A European release featuring French, Italian, German and Spanish-language text is also in the works. Developer Inti Creates previously revealed that it was nixing localized voice acting in a bid for a near-simultaneous global launch.

Azure Striker Gunvolt will be priced at $14.99 when it hits the 3DS eShop later this month.

[Image: Inti Creates]

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