We havenâ€™t seen a great amount of new Virtual Console releases lately. If this weekâ€™s UK eShop schedule is to go by, Nintendo has been busy stashing them away for a quiet spell.
A quiet spell such as this week. This Thursday sees the release of two Wii U indie titles and six new arrivals across the Virtual Console services. Or to be more accurate, five Virtual Console releases and the arrival of 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Â£4.49) on 3DS.
New features for this iteration include local co-op and versus play, plus a stage select option and an easier â€˜Ring Keeper Modeâ€™ in which Sonic only losses half the rings when getting hit. Kids today have it easy. That said, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was always seen as the easiest out of all the 16-bit games.
There are no other 3DS releases out this week, leaving the Wii U with the rest of the retro goodies.
Sports games first. Mario Sports Mix is arriving with a temporary discount, bringing the price down to Â£13.49 until 15th October. After that itâ€™ll set you back Â£17.99. Steep, considering pre-owned copies on Amazon start at around Â£3. The N64â€™s Mario Golf seems a wiser purchase, at a slightly more modest Â£8.99. N64 VC releases donâ€™t come round often and we recall this being pretty good.
We can thank Namco for both Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (Â£5.49) and Dig Dug II (Â£3.49). Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures launched on SNES and Mega Drive back in 1994. Believe it or not, itâ€™s a point â€˜nâ€™ click adventure with a strong emphasis on puzzle solving. Reviews were mixed, with many critics of the era calling it an acquired taste. Dig Dug II meanwhile is the NES version. Unsurprising, considering the NES was the only console to see a home conversion. Unlike the first game, it takes place on an island with an overhead view. Itâ€™s not as well remembered as the original and our eyes thatâ€™s a decent reason to give it a try.
Finally for Virtual Console releases we have the GBAâ€™s top-down shooter Pocky & Rocky with Becky (Â£6.29), courtesy of Natsume. GameSpotâ€™s review of the original version is still up, where it was given a mediocre 5.7. â€œPocky & Rocky with Becky will certainly appeal to shooter fanatics who want a simple and challenging game. Unfortunately, the overall product is so underdeveloped and the quest is so short that most casual players will feel shortchangedâ€ they said back in 2003.
The two aforementioned indie title are the colourful local multiplayer focused STARWHAL (Â£8.99) – in which you can play as a space narwhal wrapped in a burrito, should you never feel that need – and the Oyua conversion Whispering Willows (Â£7.99), a 2D adventure with spirits, spooks and other supernatural beings. STARWHAL was well-received on PS4, gaining a mixture of 7s and 8s. Whispering Willows meanwhile mostly received 5s and 6s due to shortness.
As for the weekâ€™s discounts, just three deals stick out – Citizens of Earth (Â£4.00 – Wii U/3DS), Little Inferno (Â£4.49 – Wii U) and Retro City Rampage: DX (Â£4.49 – 3DS). The rest of the price cuts are for games that seem to be permanently discounted. Funfair Party Games and Real Heroes: Firefighter 3D, weâ€™re looking at you here.