The games of October 2012

October 22

Style Savvy: Trendsetters

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

The original Style Savvy was a fashion store simulation that had an unexpected bit of crossover appeal beyond the expected young female audience, and Nintendo 3DS sequel Style Savvy: Trendsetters aims to expand the experience to draw in even more wannabe designers and shop owners. Trendsetters maintains the women's fashion from the DS debut, but also folds in men's apparel this time around, letting you pick and even create new clothes for your establishment – plus you can share your creations online. The 3DS game earned a 38/40 from storied Japanese gaming mag, Famitsu, so quit the eye rolling and keep an open mind!

October 23

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
EU: October 26

EA's first attempt to revive the Medal of Honor franchise as a Call of Duty competitor was supposed to result in a more gritty and realistic shooter, but while worthwhile, as our Medal of Honor review (opens in new tab) proved, the release didn't quite dethrone the military shooter king. Warfighter looks like a much more concerted effort, with developer Danger Close handling both the campaign and multiplayer duties this time around. While DICE doesn't have a direct hand in this one, its famed Frostbite 2 engine powers the action, which means brilliantly rendered moments of sheer intensity. And the multiplayer approach, with its worldwide squads based on real Tier-1 forces, looks like an interesting twist on FPS conventions.

Forza Horizon

Platform: Xbox 360
EU: October 26

Just last year, Forza Motorsport 4 served up another tremendous effort for the top-tier racing franchise, but Microsoft isn't content to let the franchise sit around until the next numbered entry. Forza Horizon is a new kind of take on the series, much like DiRT Showdown was for its own namesake, shifting towards a more arcade-like style of driving – in this case, an open-world jaunt complete in which reckless racing is both encouraged and rewarded. It's developed by Playground Games, which has vets from the likes of Burnout, Blur, and Split/Second, so their arcade pedigree is assured – and Horizon looks like a smashing new spin for the series.

Street Fighter X Tekken

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: October 26

If you waited several months to check out this Capcom-developed war of the fighting giants – or simply wanted to tackle it on the go – the Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken offers up several features to justify its tardy debut. Not only does it include the the whole cast of original fighters and run at 60fps, but the Vita version also allows cross-play against PlayStation 3 players (opens in new tab), and the expanded roster adds the dozen additional fighters that were released as DLC on the consoles, with six each from the fighting franchises. Add in optional touch controls, new cinematics, and online play, and it sounds like the Vita game will be the most comprehensive of all.

Zero's Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Platform: PlayStation Vita, 3DS
EU: November 16

Zero's Escape: Virtue's Last Reward might not have a ton of buzz around it, at least compared to some of the massive names on this list, but the same thing happened with its predecessor, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors – and that Nintendo DS original ended up being one of the biggest surprises of 2010. As with the first game, Virtue's Last Reward is something of a visual novel with puzzle elements, this time headed to both PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. The extra horsepower of both is being used to deliver 3D characters and voice acting, for what will hopefully be another gripping handheld tale of deceit and death.

Killzone HD

Platform: PlayStation Network
EU: October 23

Continuing Sony's trend of bringing big-name PlayStation 2 favorites back with a new coat of HD polish, the original Killzone snaps to action on the PlayStation Network later this month for $14.99. Running in widescreen at 720p and at a fixed 30fps, the revamped Killzone HD also features enhanced sound, a set of challenging Trophies, and even reworked controls more akin to those of the later PlayStation 3 sequels. And if you're totally new to the series and want to see what all the fuss is about, Sony's got your back there, too. The entire Killzone Trilogy will debut at retail (opens in new tab) on the same date in North America for $39.99.

Smart As...

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: October 12

We're a couple years past the Brain Age-triggered "brain game" rush, but perhaps Sony's Smart As… for PlayStation Vita can reenergize the genre with a social-tinged series of challenges built around the system's myriad capabilities. You'll solve 3D puzzles and take on augmented reality stages, and the results of the 20 different games can be lined up against those of friends and the world at large to try and determine just how intelligent you really are. Near functionality also lets you leave challenges for pals wherever you are, and at $30, it's a slightly cheaper retail Vita offering.

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013/Cabela's Hunting Expeditions

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii

In the video game world, hunting season matches up perfectly with the holiday shopping rush, as evidenced by Activision's latest round of licensed Cabela's entries. Dangerous Hunts 2013 amps up the action with more intense predators, which utilize group strategies and the environments around them, plus there's a two-player co-op mode and a new Top Shot Fearmaster peripheral that can sense your heart rate (on PS3/360). Hunting Expeditions, on the other hand, is a more realistic simulation that offers up 15 freely explorable settings set across North America and Africa, with vehicle use included along the way.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: October 26

Bumped back several months from an expected launch window release, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz brings the simian-rolling franchise to the PlayStation Vita with some system-exclusive features, such as optionally tilting the handheld to roll and using the touch screen and back touch panel to interact with various mini-games. Both online and local multiplayer modes are included, with a wide away of party games in the mix, such as Monkey Target and Monkey Bingo, plus you can create your own traditional start-to-finish stages. Otherwise, expect a lot more classic Monkey Ball action in a slick new package.

Just Dance: Disney Party

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect), Wii
EU: October 26

Two brand new Just Dance games in the same month? Ubisoft's confident move does have some logic behind it, though, as the regular Just Dance 4 likely contains songs and moves not quite aimed towards younger kids. Just Dance: Disney Party aims to alleviate that concern with a child-focused entry that utilizes live-action dancers and packs in 25 tracks from the Disney universe, including beloved animated film standouts ("Be Our Guest," "Under the Sea") and hits from its more recent Disney Channel sensations, such as High School Musical and Hannah Montana. No PlayStation 3 entry for this iteration, though, curiously.

October 28

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: October 26

We've been well behind the curve on Professor Layton releases for some time, with the last three entries arriving in North America and Europe two years after release in Japan, but this wait's seemed particularly arduous. Miracle Mask debuted with the 3DS at its Japanese launch, yet we're just now getting the first entry for the platform, which is the second release in the prequel trilogy (following The Last Specter for DS). While generally similar to previous releases, Miracle Mask utilizes the 3DS for refreshed visuals, not to mention some motion-sensing puzzles in the mix. And wouldn't you know it, we just played the next Layton game at TGS (opens in new tab).