Digital | ON: GAMES

This month's latest games — from play dough to gangsters

by Brian Ashcraft

Nintendo molds a new Kirby

Everybody’s favorite round, pink Nintendo character has been reincarnated out of clay.

In “Kirby and the Rainbow Curse,” players draw colorful clay ropes to move the spinning Kirby around stages that look like they’ve been sculpted in play dough. Since he’s made out of clay, Kirby can morph into a variety of different shapes, including a submarine, tank and rocket.

Nintendo calls “Kirby and the Rainbow Curse” a “touch platformer,” meaning the Wii U game is played entirely via the GamePad’s touch screen. So, you can play the whole game without having to flip on the TV to appreciate the delightful claymation-like graphics.

Priced at ¥3,996, “Kirby and the Rainbow Curse” is available for Wii U.

www.nintendo.co.jp/wiiu/axyj

‘Minecraft’ creeps onto Sony

It’s not often that we see a Microsoft-owned title on a PlayStation platform. “Minecraft,” which was originally published by Swedish game studio Mojang, was purchased by Microsoft last fall for a whopping $2.5 billion. The deal, however, was inked after the PlayStation Vita version was announced, and even though “Minecraft” became a Microsoft franchise, Sony decided to continue with the PS Vita release and is now publishing a handheld version.

In gaming, exclusives are often defined by the hardware. Sony releases the games it owns exclusively on Sony hardware, making the PS Vita “Minecraft” an unusual move, given that it’s now owned by a rival. If you thought the creepers in “Minecraft” were hostile, you should see how rival game companies view exclusives.

“Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition” for the PS Vita will be released on March 19 for ¥2,592 (¥2,057 for the download version).

www.nintendo.co.jp/wiiu/axyj

Get down with Mario

The latest installment of this long-running get-together game has more mini-games and more surprises.

Designed to be played with friends or family, there are more than 70 mini-games in “Mario Party 10,” including 26 new ones, should keep fans of the series entertained. But there’s something else that sets “Mario Party 10” apart from other Mario releases.

“Mario Party 10” features two previously unseen modes: Bowser Party and Amiibo Party. In Bowser Party, Mario’s arch nemesis Bowser gatecrashes the game and tries to catch players. Amiibo Party uses Amiibo figures and features special in-game boards. It sounds like this is something worth partying about.

Mario Party will be released on March 12 for ¥5,616.

www.nintendo.co.jp/wiiu/abaj

‘FFXV’ is no longer a fantasy

Having been years in the making, the eagerly awaited “Final Fantasy XV” (“FFXV”)is finally showing its face as demo alongside the release of “Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.”

“Type-0” was first released on the PSP in 2011. This new HD version is slated for PS4 and Xbox One. To make the title’s release even more attractive, game developer Square Enix is also including a limited-edition download code for the “FFXV” demo.

It’s a clever offer that few fans will pass up. Players have been waiting for “FFXV” since it was originally announced as being “Final Fantasy Versus XIII.” The demo, titled “Episode Duscae,” reveals an early stage of the game, just enough to give players a taste of the exploration and combat styles of “FFXV.”

The limited first edition of “Final Fantasy Type-0 HD” that includes the “FFXV” demo, will be available from March 19. Available on PS4 and Xbox One, it’s priced at ¥7,344.

bit.ly/0228ffxv1

‘Yakuza 0’: the young ones

The “0” of “Yakuza 0” lets you know that this is a prequel. And like all good prequels, there’s all kinds of backstory to Sega’s wildly popular “Yakuza” series. The game sheds light on the characters Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima and provides a nostalgic look at late 1980s Japan.

Set in 1988, seven years before the first “Yakuza” game, “Yakuza 0” captures bubble-era Japan in all its boozy neon excess. From hostess bars to bare-knuckle brawls, the game is not only a hard-hitting and over-the-top depiction of the Japanese underworld, but an entertaining exploration of the series’ characters pasts, which reveal much about how they developed into their roles of other games.

As Sony likes to do with exclusives, a special-edition “Yakuza 0” PlayStation 4 is also being released, and it will be available from March 12, exclusively on the PS4.

ryu-ga-gotoku.com/zero