China Toy Fair


Nintendo Offers Free Wii Fit U Trial

WiiU_WiiFitU_091813_Scrn03Nintendo is giving Wii U owners the chance to get fit for free. Starting today, Wii U owners who own a Wii Balance Board accessory and have access to a broadband Internet connection can download a free trial version of Wii Fit U from the Nintendo eShop. The trial software is not an abbreviated version of the game—it is the full Wii Fit U experience. The trial will be downloadable from the Nintendo eShop between November 1 and January 31, and will work for 31 days from when it is first played.

Any trial participant who buys a Fit Meter accessory and syncs it to the game will be able to continue playing Wii Fit U forever. The Fit Meter has many of the same features of modern activity meters, and people can purchase one at select retailers and online.

With Wii Fit U, the workout goes wherever the user goes. People can work out at home, or take the Fit Meter with them to track steps taken, elevation changes, and calories burned. One button press syncs the Fit Meter data to the in-game profile, so people get credit for their physical activity, even if they aren’t at home for a traditional Wii Fit U workout. The game also lets people create custom routines of their favorite activities, review their progress and see what their friends are up to in online Gym Communities and Miiverse.

With more than 70 different activities to choose from, Wii Fit U combines fun and fitness in yoga, strength training, and fitness games. For the first time, dance activities are also included. Players can try eight different dance styles, including salsa, hula, and hip hop.

New Wii U Bundle Features Skylanders Swap Force, Nintendo Land

SkylandersBundle

A new Wii U bundle featuring Activision Publishing Inc.’s Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack will launch November 15. The bundle includes everything needed to start the new adventure, including a white Wii U Basic system; Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack, which includes Skyalnders Swap Force Wii U software, Portal of Power, three Skylanders figures, two Swap Force characters, a collector poster, trading cards, and sticker sheets;  and a Nintendo Land game disc.

Angry Birds Star Wars Comes to Home, Handheld Gaming Systems

angrybirdsRovio Entertainment Ltd. and Lucasfilm Ltd., in association with Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., have launched Angry Birds Star Wars for home and handheld video game systems. Angry Birds Star Wars brings the struggle between the Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs to new audiences on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii and Wii U systems, and the Nintendo 3DSAngry Birds Star Wars will also launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Twenty newly created levels join the more than 200 stages already available from the original mobile release of Angry Birds Star Wars. This latest version brings cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, letting players team up or square off. Moreover, this expansive edition exploits the unique capabilities of each game system to deliver a distinctive experience tailored specifically to each platform, including sharp and colorful, high-definition visuals, achievements and trophies, leaderboards, voice command support through Kinect for Xbox 360, and touch-screen controls on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita.

The next-generation versions of Angry Birds Star Wars maintain these core features while introducing new play and interface elements exclusive to each system. The PlayStation 4 system’s adaptation makes full use of the DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad to offer precision, touch-screen handling, and full support for PlayStation Move in both single-player and local multiplayer modes. Players can also easily record and share their accomplishments with the world with the PlayStation 4 system’s automatic screenshot and video capture options. [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Interactive Launches New Batman: Arkham Origins Games

Batman.ArkhamWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have released Batman: Arkham Origins. Developed by WB Games Montréal, the game is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license, and introduces an original prequel storyline in which a young, unrefined Batman faces the defining moment of his early career, and sets his path to becoming the famous Dark Knight.

Batman: Arkham Origins, in which Batman is hunted by eight of the deadliest assassins from the DC Comics Universe, is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and Windows PC. New to the franchise is a multiplayer mode, developed by Splash Damage, which allows friends and foes to engage in online play that blends traditional Arkham gameplay with those of third-person shooter mechanics.

Also available now is Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a companion game developed by Armature Studio, which brings core Batman Arkham pillars to the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS handheld formats. It allows players to continue the storyline of the console game.

Players looking to extend their gameplay experience can buy the Batman: Arkham Origins Season Pass, comprised of five of the game’s upcoming downloadable content packs. The Season Pass is available on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft, Nintendo eShop, and Steam.

Nintendo Teams Up with Snowboarder Jamie Anderson for Road to Sochi 100 Day Countdown

NintendoNintendo has partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee to kick off its nationwide Road to Sochi Tour in Times Square in New York City on October 29 with a 100 Day Countdown event, celebrating 100 days until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The event will take up three blocks in  Times Square and will include athlete demonstrations on a ski and snowboard ramp, as well as an ice rink for curling, figure skating, speedskating, and ice hockey.

Nintendo will also be there with hands-on demos for its new game, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which launches for Wii U on November 15. The game features characters from the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog universes competing together in 24 winter events, including the new event snowboard slopestyle, which is making its Olympic Winter Games debut in Sochi.

Jamie Anderson, slopestyle snowboarder and six-time X Games medalist, will be at the event to help promote Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He may meet with visitors in a designated area. In addition, the Mario and Sonic costumed characters will make appearances to take photos with attendees.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Launches with Massive Character Line-up, Lego Big Figures

Lego.MarvelLego Marvel Super Heroes has launched in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Windows PC. Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril is also now available for the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita handheld systems.

In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, players take on the role of their favorite Marvel characters, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk, as they assemble to battle some of the most menacing Marvel supervillains. More than 100 playable characters are unlockable, and players can also choose from bonus heroes, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Punisher, Squirrel Girl, and Deadpool.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes offers players a chance to show off their super skills by using weapons, such as Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer, or Hawkeye’s bow, during action sequences. Players will also be introduced to different character super abilities, such as Doctor Strange’s magic powers, Professor X or Jean Grey’s mind control, and more. Lego Marvel Super Heroes features some of the more legendary locations from the Marvel Universe, including Iron Man’s Stark Tower headquarters and the Daily Bugle. For the first time in a Lego game, players can clobber and smash bricks with super-sized Lego big figures, including Colossus, Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Armor, and the Thing.

The handheld Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril offers a different gameplay experience that includes challenging time-based missions, performing combo moves, and getting assistance from your superpowered tag team partner.

COMMENTARY: D3Publisher’s Upcoming Slate Captures What Makes Cartoons Great

Licensed video games can be a risky proposition. After all, a recognizable title doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Having personally experienced some lows in licensed games over the years, I felt it was my duty to attend D3Publisher of America Inc.’s showcase ahead of the holidays, though I had my share of reservations. But despite my trepidation, a few hours later, I walked out suitably impressed. Each licensed game’s creative team seemed to get what makes their respective source material unique, resulting in a product likely to please even hardcore fans. Here’s a rundown of the games:

Oct4.Ben10Ben 10 Omniverse 2: This title is based on a cartoon franchise that has been on TV since 2005, and revolves around Ben Tennyson, who in the most recent series, Ben 10: Omniverse, is a teenage superhero who can transform into 10 different alien forms. What makes the character interesting is that he must select the appropriate guise for any given situation, as each form has its own advantages and disadvantages. D3’s new game takes this basic characteristic and combines it with the “endless running” genre: For about half the game, Ben hurtles down a series of corridors, encountering one obstacle after another, with a very limited time to react. [Read more...]

Nintendo Re-launches The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker in HD

TheLegendofZelda.TheWindWakerHDThe packaged version of the re-mastered, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, has launched for the Wii U home console. The disc includes distinctive gold-foil packaging. Wii U owners can also download the game from the Nintendo eShop.

Fans who do not own the Wii U console can opt for a limited-edition bundle, which includes a black Deluxe Wii U console; a controller adorned with the gold Hyrule crest and symbols from the game; a download code for the digital version of Hyrule Historia, which details the chronology, history, and artwork of the Zelda series; and a code to download the game from the Nintendo eShop.

TheLegendofZelda.WindWaker.stillOriginally released for Nintendo GameCube in North America in 2003, the game tells the story of a young boy, who goes on a quest after his sister is kidnapped by a giant bird. The re-mastered, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, features enhancements such as Miiverse functionality, which lets players with broadband Internet access attach helpful messages or images to Tingle Bottles that wash up on the shore in another player’s game. The game also includes the Swift Sail, which increases the speed of the player’s boat.

Skylanders Swap Force Continues the Franchise’s Reputation

This week, The Toy Book got a chance to preview Activision Publishing Inc.’s upcoming Skylanders Swap Force video game and toys at an after-school event in New York City. The original entry in the series, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, pioneered the idea of video games that interact with real-world toys. Now comes Skylanders Swap Force, in which special action figures can be disassembled into top and bottom halves and then reassembled into new characters that are playable within the game.

Skylanders SWAP Force, Stink ChargeThe game itself is as visually rich and immersing as previous entries in the series (although Playstation 4 (PS4) version takes the experience to a whole new level, but more on that later). At the demo, kids and their parents got to preview the levels, “Rampant Ruins,” a creepy jungle graveyard, and, “Winter Keep,” in which the Skylanders heroes have to retrieve a special device called the Illuminator—all while dodging huge flying snowballs. Each level features mini-games that vary in play style, keeping things from ever getting too repetitive. At one point during “Winter Keep,” the game switches from more traditional combat to a race through the sky along “rainbow rails.” [Read more...]

The Wonderful 101 Launches for Wii U Console

wonderful101The Wonderful 101 has launched on September 15 for the Wii U console. It is filled with characters, led by Wonder-Red. Players can meet other heroes that will join the team, such as the Wonder-Blue and Wonder-Pink.

By drawing certain symbols on the screen or with the right control stick, players combine multiple heroes in a Unite Morph. Players can recruit citizens to become heroes in battle. The more citizens players recruit, the more powerful their Unite Morph attacks become. Players can also track and recruit the rest of the Wonderful 100 such as Wonder-Guitar, Wonder-Locomotive, Wonder-Signal, and Wonder-Toilet.

The in-game Wonderful Mart lets players spend O-Parts acquired during battles to unlock additional Unite Morphs, as well as new abilities and upgrades.

In addition to the single-player mode, The Wonderful 101 offers a co-op multiplayer mode for up to five players. The Wonderful 101 can also be purchased and downloaded in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U.