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This week: Kirby’s now triple the fun and brands release some monster collectibles

by Brian Ashcraft

Dealing out some monsters

No, these are not the Pocket Monster trading cards that made the game an international sensation. But they are still Pokémon cards — just a different kind.

Pokémon Trump are “Pokémon X”- and “Pokémon Y”-branded playing cards from Nintendo, a company that actually started out as a card-game maker.

The decks feature Pokémon as the Jokers and are stacked with Pocket Monsters from both the X and Y games. “Pokémon X” and “Pokémon Y” were released in January last year and Nintendo often prints special-edition playing cards to mark the release of new games, which makes decks like these collectibles.

Pokémon Trump cards were released last month and are priced at ¥525 a pack.

www.nintendo.co.jp/n09/chara_t

Pretty cool in pink

Kirby is back! And he’s ready to inhale everything in sight. In “Kirby: Triple Deluxe,” the latest enrty in the series, a beanstalk carries Dream Land into the sky and it’s up to our hero to save the day.

The game looks like a classic sidescroller, but it has a twist: As the first 3DS version, Kirby can now move between the background and the foreground. He retains his special abilities, so can wield weapons, shoot flaming arrows and turn into a stag beetle to impale enemies with his horn. And he has a new Hypernova ability that will let him inhale even larger objects.

“Triple Deluxe” also comes with two mini-games: a brawler called “Kirby Fighters” that supports up to four players and “Daiou no Dedede de Den,” a rhythm-action game starring Kirby’s nemesis King Dedede.

“Kirby: Triple Deluxe” was released on the Nintendo 3DS on Jan. 11 for ¥4,800.

www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/balj/index.html

Bravely admiring the art of games

The “Bravely Default” role-playing games feature some truly beautiful illustrations. Artist Akihiko Yoshida’s painterly style has helped develop courageous characters and settings. Fans of his artwork will be pleased to hear that a new art book featuring his images has just been published.

“Bravely Default Design Works: The Art of Bravely 2010-2013″ offers a detailed and extensive overview of Bravely’s world and its creation process. The book made news last month when it was released in Japan just as Yoshida announced that he was leaving Square Enix after nearly two decades of working there.

Thankfully, though, Yoshida will still continue to work on the Bravely games, such as the forthcoming “Bravely Second.”

Priced at ¥3,150, “Bravely Default Design Works: The Art of Bravely 2010-2013″ was published on Dec. 5.

store.jp.square-enix.com/detail/9784757541177

“Final Fantasy” obsession? Go figure.

Last month, Square Enix released an HD remaster of its classic role-playing game “Final Fantasy X.” This month, the Tokyo-based game company is following that up with fully painted posable figures of the game’s protagonists Tidus and Yuna.

Each measuring around 23 cm tall, the figures are part of Square Enix’s highly collectible “Play Arts Kai” line and come with weapons, extra hands and alternative faces that you can swap out for different expressions.

Priced at ¥8,800 each, both the Yuna and Tidus figures will be released on Jan. 31.

www.square-enix-shop.com/jp/index.html

Revamping for 3DS

The “new” Dragon Quest Monsters game actually isn’t really new. “Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru and Luca’s Marvelous Mysterious Key” is a 3DS remake of the 2001 Game Boy Color game, “Dragon Quest Monsters 2: The Mysterious Key to Malta.”

There were two versions of that game, both of which have been remade into a single 3DS game that includes various 3DS-specific features — and those are new. The game is also getting a special “Dragon Quest Monsters”-themed 3DS XL console with a white casing covered in a pattern of gray monsters and blue slimes.

The game will be released Feb. 6, and bundled with the 3DS XL it’s priced at ¥24,390.

Nintendo: www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/software/bdmj/index.html Square Enix: store.jp.square-enix.com/detail/SPR-S-WUCF