The games of November 2011

What a ridiculous, ridiculous month for videogames

November 15 (Continued)

Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii

EU: N/A

Punch Time Explosion began life as a Nintendo 3DS game over the summer, delivering a Super Smash Bros.-like fighting experience featuring numerous cartoon characters, and this console version looks to bulk up the roster and feature set a bit. Starring heroes from the likes of Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and The Powerpuff Girls, Punch Time Explosion XL delivers a very similar array of multi-tiered 2D stages for melee-style brawls, if you know what we mean. The 3DS version notched mixed reviews, but maybe the console release will expand the concept enough to warrant a look.

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics

Platform: Wii

EU: November 18

Hey, do you know when the London 2012 Olympics are? Next year. And not even early in the year – we're talking nine months from now. So why on earth is Sega's third themed mini-game collection launching this holiday season on Wii? We'd guess it has something to do with the system's dwindling mindshare and market presence, but that shouldn't stop the latest entry from repeating (some of) the success of the past ones. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics includes games like soccer and badminton, as well as upgraded past events and a Party Mode. The 3DS version makes its slightly more reasonable debut in February.

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends

Platform: PS3

EU: November 18

Do we seriously have to talk about Dynasty Warriors 7 again? OK, fine. Originally released in March, Dynasty Warriors 7 continued the series' embarrassing trend of bland, repetitive hack-and-slash calamity, and in classic Tecmo Koei fashion, they're releasing another version with new characters and missions and whatnot. Curiously, this one is only releasing on PlayStation 3, despite DW7 also being on Xbox 360. Beyond that, we can't imagine expending much more of our energy on a series that demonstrates less and less ambition with each near-identical release.

Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest

Platform: PS3

EU: November 18

It's been a remarkably quiet year for original PlayStation Move releases, aside from tacked-on implementation in typically controller-based games, and compared to Kinect, the holiday season appears downright barren. But Medieval Moves seems like a potentially strong option, as the cartoonish action game is developed by the team responsible for launch hit Sports Champions, and even borrows a few mechanics from that mini-game affair. The result is an on-rails action experience that lets you launch arrows and swing swords with ease, and while potentially a bit light for adults, this seems like a solid pick for younger PS3 players.

Jurassic Park: The Game

Platform: Xbox 360, PC, PSN, Mac

EU: N/A

We're admittedly a little confused by Telltale's release plan for Jurassic Park: The Game, but best as we can tell, it'll be available as a full game on day one for Xbox 360 and PC (via the Deluxe Edition), with downloadable episodes coming for PSN, PC, and Mac. What doesn't confuse us is our desire to see a totally rad Jurassic Park game, as the classic Steven Spielberg film and the book that spawned it continue to capture our imagination after all this time. Telltale's Jurassic Park game seems a bit more action-oriented than its typical adventure releases, so we're certainly intrigued to see how the studio pulls it off on various platforms.

Shinobi

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: November 11

It's been nearly a decade since the last side-scrolling Shinobi game – 2002's terrible Revenge of Shinobi on Game Boy Advance – so the prospect of an all-new release on Nintendo 3DS has fans of the classic entries pretty pleased, we'd imagine. And our hands-on preview from E3 was pretty glowing, with plenty of "'HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID' moments," intense challenge, and a robot shark. As such, we're betting this seriously attractive reboot will appear on more than a few 3DS owners' wish lists this holiday season.

Bejeweled 3

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, DS

EU: N/A

Released last year on PC – and last month on Xbox Live Arcade – PopCap's latest take on the color-matching puzzle smash reaches PlayStation 3 and Nintendo DS this month, alongside a retail version for Xbox 360. As described in our PC review, Bejeweled 3 doesn't significantly deviate from the classic gem-swapping approach, but it's definitely the most robust version to date, with four new play modes that help shake things up a bit. If you're burned out on Bejeweled, don't worry: you can safely wait this one out. But if not, take note: this is the same Bejeweled you know and love, albeit bigger and bolder. Be careful out there.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: TBA

We were totally taken aback by the console versions of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, which earned a 9 in large part due to its dogfight mode; we said it turned the experience into "a big screaming rock concert at 30,000 feet instead of just another air combat game." To be quite honest, we haven’t seen enough of this 3DS version to call it at this point, but the stellar console release has us intrigued, as do the fantastic 3D effects in the recent Star Fox 64 3D. If Assault Horizon Legacy can deliver a similar experience with slick 3D support, count us in.

Zumba Fitness 2

Platform: Wii

EU: November 25

Last fall's Zumba Fitness proved a constant best-seller on all three consoles, delivering a dance-based fitness experience that utilized the motion control function of each platform. Zumba Fitness 2 continues the phenomenon this November, but curiously, it's only slated for Wii; a PS3 version is nowhere in sight, while Zumba Fitness Rush isn’t coming to Kinect until next year. Scoff all you want at this casual fitness affair, but Zumba is big business, and it's helped a lot of people along the way. With this game, you can really dance like nobody's watching – and maybe drop a little undesired weight in the process.

Cooking Mama 4: Kitchen Magic

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: November 25

Remember back when Cooking Mama seemed so fresh and pure? The original Nintendo DS release became an underground hit due to its inventive touchscreen actions and Mama's silly pronunciations, but the onslaught of entries that followed – including spin-offs like Crafting Mama and Babysitting Mama – killed our collective buzz. We're hoping that Cooking Mama 4: Kitchen Magic, the first Nintendo 3DS series entry, will recall that simpler time when we were so easily swayed by chopping onions and cracking eggs. But we're not so sure that Mama's the same gal that swept us off our feet way back when.

ABBA: You Can Dance

Platform: Wii

EU: November 25

Did you see our earlier blurb about The Black Eyed Peas Experience? ABBA: You Can Dance is another Ubisoft creation – an adaptation of the Just Dance formula custom-fit to match the music of the successful ‘70s Swedish pop group. It's apparently only slated for Wii at present, and its 26 songs seem pretty slim compared to something like Just Dance 3, yet it carries the same $40 price tag. Chances are you already know whether or not you want to play ABBA: You Can Dance. If you even need to consider it, take that as a sign.

Yoostar on MTV

Platform: Xbox 360

EU: Date Here

Launched earlier this year, Yoostar 2: In the Movies offered the intriguing idea of placing yourself within the scenes of numerous popular films, but muddled execution soured the concept to some extent. But while it's unclear whether follow-up Yoostar on MTV has addressed the camera-related concerns, this Kinect title's subject matter seems better primed to delivery mid-party hilarity. With scenes from shows like The State, Jersey Shore, and Human Giant – as well as popular music videos – Yoostar on MTV uses Kinect to make you feel like a comedian, rapper, or reality television asshole. Don't miss our rad clips starring GR editors in familiar MTV moments.

EyePet and Friends

Platform: PlayStation 3

EU: November 18

The original EyePet delivered a simultaneously cute and creepy PlayStation Move experience in which you'd interact with a fuzzy animal via augmented reality, and sequel EyePet and Friends doesn't look to muck with the formula too much. As indicated by the title, EyePet and Friends adds co-op support with an extra pet on the screen, plus you can customize their looks and the sights seen behind them. We haven't had a chance to check out this sequel yet, but considering this quiet release, we doubt there will be any surprises in the mix.

We recommend