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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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Upgrade Disney Infinity Wii to Wii U free of charge

Still on the fence about buying a Wii U? Disney Interactive is offering a new reason to move to Nintendo's latest home console by allowing Disney Infinity players on Wii to upgrade to the Wii U version free of charge. Beginning today, those that own the Disney Infinity Starter Pack on Wii can download the Wii U version of the sandbox game from the eShop, including the game's multiplayer components.

The offer arrives just in time for the next game in the series, Disney Infinity 2.0, which stars Marvel's super heroes when it launches on September 23. The upgrade deal also makes sense for the publisher, as Disney Interactive would certainly love for the series' sizable fanbase on Wii to make the trek to Wii U, given that Disney Infinity 2.0 won't be available on Wii.
[Image: Disney Interactive]

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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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Amazon: Wii U game pre-orders up following Gamescom

With all the news that surfaced last week during Gamescom, it makes sense that video game pre-orders would increase at retailers like Amazon. As it turns out, the biggest winner coming away from the show is Nintendo, as Wii U games saw the biggest boost in pre-orders on Amazon (8.67 percent). By comparison, pre-orders for PS4 games rose 5.16 percent and Xbox One games increased 2.81 percent.

The largest increase for a single game was 42.3 percent for Slightly Mad Studios' Project Cars. Bandai Namco announced a limited edition version of the game last week, which likely spurred new pre-orders. Rounding out the top five are Rise of the Tomb Raider (30.25 percent), Bloodborne (16.08 percent), Hyrule Warriors (11.77 percent) and Quantum Break (10.77 percent). You'll find the full list of the top ten games whose pre-orders increased on Amazon after the break, courtesy of MCV.

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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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Marvel meets mayhem in Disney Infinity 2.0's Toy Box trailer

Image Marvel's superheroes invade Disney Infinity's sandbox-styled Toy Box mode in the latest trailer for Disney Infinity 2.0, showcasing the game's expanded options for user-generated content. Toy Box 2.0 allows players to create detailed interior areas and minigames that take advantage of... Continue Reading

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]

Ubisoft continues shift away from Wii U, Watch Dogs still coming

Making a rational business decision, Ubisoft is stepping back from whatever Wii U development it had going. With the rapid adoption of next-gen consoles and declining percentages in its portfolio of Wii U sales, neither Assassin's Creed game is scheduled for this holiday on Wii U.

"What we see is that Nintendo customers don't buy Assassin's Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Game Informer. Nintendo consoles declined from 20 percent to 14 percent of the company's portfolio over the past fiscal year.

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Dolphin Up is a Wii U aquatic stunt sim with a porpoise in life

Science tells us that dolphins are the smartest creatures of the sea, but video games tell us they'll put down the calculus textbooks in the pursuit of big air. Dolphin Up is an upcoming Wii U downloadable that shows us just how graceful the dolphin can be, with multi-flip jumps, dangerous tricks and air so big it takes our fusiform friend up through the atmosphere and into the firework rings of space. Because video games.

If you recognize Dolphin Up, that's probably because you've already seen it or played it on iOS and Android. Rawkins Games says the Wii U version features everything found in the mobile version and optimizes it for TV and GamePad fun and frolics. There's no concrete release date as yet, but the game's targeted to surface some time in September.

Take a dip in a new trailer below the break.

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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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New Project Cars screens want to take you for a ride

Image Slightly Mad Studios shows off the many shiny vehicles it has in store for Project Cars in the screenshots below as its sim-styled racer speeds toward a launch later this year. The former Need for Speed series developer presents its featured racing machines in astounding detail, and players will... Continue Reading

Video preview: Bayonetta 2

In the pantheon of video game absurdity, Platinum's Bayonetta franchise stands atop any other series. A witch with guns for shoes and hair that acts as both outfit and weapon trumps pretty much any other crazy concept ever concocted in interactive entertainment history.

Platinum brings its powerful action heroine back later this year in Bayonetta 2, exclusively on the Wii U. After spending time with the game, Joystiq Editor-in-chief Ludwig Kietzmann recounts the many monsters slain, snapshots taken of Bayonetta in action and puts an age-old debate to rest: long haired Bayonetta or short?
[Image: Platinum]

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