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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]

New Nintendo eShop releases: Mega Man BC Challenge, Double Dragon 2

Capcom continues its quest to roll out a new Mega Man game in the eShop every week in August with Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge, a GBA-exclusive spinoff in the Battle Network subseries. Battle Chip Challenge joins the Wii U's eShop catalog this week alongside recently released series entries Mega Man 5 and Mega Man Battle Network.

Retrogaming fans can also get their hands on the NES version of Double Dragon 2 via the Wii U's Virtual Console service this week. Double Dragon 2 arrives with its two-player option intact, but please be considerate if you have friendly fire enabled -- your partner probably won't be too happy if an errant whirlwind kick ends them flying off a cliff.

Nintendo has more NES classics in store for the Wii U eShop by the end of the month, including Konami's Gradius follow-up Life Force and Donkey Kong Jr. Math, an early 8-bit release that commands a surprisingly high price on eBay despite its formulaic gameplay.

Other Wii U eShop highlights this week include Ubiquitous Entertainment's vertically scrolling shoot'em-up Gaiabreaker and PhobosLab's twin-stick shooter XType Plus. while 3DS owners can look forward to Collavier's action-puzzler Amida's Path and a demo version of the upcoming Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit! A full list of this week's featured games is after the break below.

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Super Smash Bros raises its 'Special Flag,' waves in Meta Knight

Among the growing list of playable characters in Super Smash Bros. is Meta Knight, the Kirby character that first enrolled in the series' battles in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Director Masahiro Sakurai revealed the character's inclusion in a recent Miiverse post, adding that the developer "didn't forget the Battleship Halberd either," Meta Knight's ship. Sakurai also noted that Meta Knight's "up special" move, Shuttle Loop, has been changed for the upcoming Smash Bros. "The glide is gone, and the attack slashes opponents twice while spinning in a large loop," he wrote.

Sakurai also discussed the new Special Flag item in the game in a separate update. Should players raise the flag above their heads without interruption long enough, they'll receive an addition KO count in time matches or an extra stock in stock matches, which can make all the difference in those game modes. As a result, Sakurai expects that players will fight for the flag once it appears, similar to series' Smash Ball. He also detailed the 3DS version's single player offerings today, which will receive a special 3DS XL bundle once Super Smash Bros. launches on October 3 before the Wii U version hits this winter.

Bite-sized Minis figures invade Skylanders Trap Team

Activision is preparing to launch an army of adorable miniature Skylanders toys alongside Skylanders Trap Team later this year, giving players the chance to send pint-sized versions of their favorite characters into battle.

Trap Team's "Minis" characters boast the same abilities and upgrades as their full-sized counterparts, but they have one advantage: They're cute as heck. Sixteen Minis figures will be available after Trap Team's launch, including Spyro's miniature cousin Spry, a tiny Gill Grunt named Gill Runt, and the Trigger Happy variant Trigger Snappy.

You can see the Minis in action via the galleries below. Skylanders Trap Team launches for consoles and tablets on October 5.

[Image: Activision]

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Smash Bros. 3DS gets a few more single-player hooks

Nintendo has previously discussed single-player content for Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS, including the replacement for Adventure Mode, Smash Run, a battle for powerups that concludes with stat-boosted brawls. Savvy fans might have caught every detail between Smash director Masahiro Sakurai's updates and the news avalanche that is E3, but today's batch of details offer a tidied, accumulative look of what fans can take a swing at while alone and on the go.

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Super Smash Bros. 3DS XL pack is black, white and red all over

A limited edition Super Smash Bros. 3DS XL pack is due out on October 3 in Europe, Nintendo of Europe announced this morning. The pack includes the special 3DS XL with the Super Smash Bros. crew on the front, and the game pre-installed. There's no word on a price or stateside launch for this ruby red baby.

Super Smash Bros. is due out on October 3. What a happy coincidence for this bundle.
[Image: Nintendo of Europe]

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