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Mashing it up.

The fine folks at XSeed held a little get-together over at San Francisco’s Bubble lounge for a few drinks and to check out some of their upcoming titles for the fall and winter seasons. It turned out to be quite an eclectic mix of titles running through a large gamut of genres, and adding a few new ones along the way. Below is what I can recall seeing after several Stellas and an impressive hangover.

Half Minute Hero

Normally, finishing in 30 seconds or less ends in a lot of crying and apologizing (I swear, this has never happened to me, I’m all man, ladies), but in this case it’s the only way to save the world. The upcoming RPG/Puzzle hybrid Half-Minute Hero looks to combine elements of Final Fantasy, Adventure Island, and various shooters with the intense pressure of a deadline more serious than anything you’d ever face like, say, that of a writer for a popular videogame review site.

You’ll have to fight your way through 8-bit retro-inspired levels as you face random encounters and solve your way to each level’s boss. If you can’t get it done in under 30 seconds, then my pizza’s free the world will be destroyed, but no pressure or anything… okay, lots of pressure. HMH is looking to bend genres in a unique and interesting way.

Ju-On The Grudge

As a game based off a movie based off another movie coming out several years after the fact, Ju-On: The Grudge is pretty much obligated to offer something original. In what is being pegged by XSEED’s PR team as a “Haunted House Simulator”, you play through each level as a different member of a family haunted by dead children who have upside-down heads and walk on walls like Spider-Man.

Controls look to be very restrictive, limiting your ability to do three things: open doors, look inside desk drawers, and look around with your flashlight using your Wii-mote, which also aims which direction you’ll walk in. Although it is simple to say the least, it lends itself well to the puzzle-centric levels and allows for plenty of chances to have the crap scared out of you, as you open a door and are ambushed by a spooky girl, or escape from blood-covered warehouses.

Probably the most interesting feature is the two-player mode. One player controls the main character while the other player psychologically messes with you by causing crazy stuff to jump out at you and hopefully messing with your head with taunts and name-calling to your face.

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

Apparently, this title is based on a very popular animé series. Hoping to serve as a sequel, Sky Crawlers puts you in the cockpit of an alternate WWII reality in which child soldiers are manufactured by corporations to carry on pointless wars. As the newest recruit “Lynx”, you’ll dogfight your way through a cut-scene-heavy plot as you try to unravel just exactly what’s going on.

Made by the same team behind the hugely popular Ace Combat series, Sky Crawlers is looking to take the same frantic air combat and bring it to the Wii. You’ll be able to perform fancy maneuvers to escape from danger or use timed loops and barrel rolls to get the drop on targets of your own.

It may also be the only time where the Wii controls have the advantage too. You’ll be able to control your futuristic plane (especially for a World War II setting) using the Wii-Mote for the throttle in tandem with the nunchuck to maneuver and blow your enemy out of the sky. It’s a nice alternative to the expensive flight sticks from the last Ace Combat game that are essentially useless once you’re done playing the game.

Valhalla Knights: Eldars Saga

Eldars Saga is looking to be a Wii-flavored fix for all you dungeon-crawling fiends out there. You start off as a human looking to reunite divided factions of Elves, Dwarves, and other such Tolkien-inspired fantasy creatures, and are eventually given the chance to play as them. Along with all the different creeds, colors, and hairy midgets to choose from, you’ll also have five selectable RPG classes that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever spent a Saturday night rollin D20s in their basement: fighter, mage, priest, thief, and bard.

The real-time combat will seem familiar to fans of the Monster Hunter series: the same blend of real-time action mixed with a bit of strategy for the more advanced players. NPC characters will also lend a hand in the battlefields and, if killed in a most horrendous way, will revive after a set amount of time. This may just be the RPG that folks who are stuck with a Wii are waiting for.

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