Big in Japan Jan 16-22: Mario Kart 7, Rhythm Thief

3DS outsells all other platforms combined; Nintendo's handheld accounts for four of top five best-selling games as mascot racer retakes top spot after a week in second.

If January's sales numbers are any indication, the 3DS is in for a banner year in Japan for 2012. The Media Creates sales update for the week of January 16-22 showed Nintendo's handheld outsold all other systems combined. Meanwhile, Mario Kart 7 proved it still had gas in the tank, retaking the top spot on the software charts after being relegated to second place the previous week.

Rhythm Thief can carry a tune and crack a safe at the same time.

The top new title for the week was Sega's Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure for the 3DS. The publisher sold 31,598 units of the title on its debut week. The game stars a thief-by-trade 18-year old named Ralph in search of his long-lost father. To assist him on that quest, players will need to guide Ralph to steal rare treasures via rhythm minigames. Rhythm Thief will be out in other countries early this year.

The week also marked the first Xbox 360 game to crack the top 10 during 2012: D3's Onechanbara Z Kagura. The latest sequel to the Onechanbara series was at fifth place with 22,013 units sold. The action title pits players in control of half-vampire sisters Kagura and Saaya who are given the order to kill off previous Onechanbara stars Aya and Saki because they caused a zombie uprising.

New handheld titles include Heroes Phantasia from Namco Bandai and Labyrinth no Kanata (Beyond the Labyrinth) from Konami. The former was at sixth place with 15,163 units sold while the latter was at eight place, with 14,176 units sold.

Heroes Phantasia is a role-playing game for the PSP that features anime crossovers from series such as Read or Die, s-CRY-ed, Slayers Revolution, and Blood+. The game's battle system is similar to the PlayStation classic Valkyrie Profile, where each button is mapped to a different party member and attacks can be chained with timed button presses.

Labyrinth no Kanata is a 3DS RPG where players control a party of four escorting a mysterious female guide through the depths of the underworld. The effectiveness of each party member in combat is determined by how well a player protects the guide.

On the hardware side, the sales for the PS Vita dropped slightly. Sony sold 15,219 units of the device; the PS3 and PSP were at second and third place, respectively. The company sold 21,155 units of the former and 17,181 units of the latter. Meanwhile, the 3DS remained on top with 80,960 units sold, while the Wii was at fifth place with 10,173 units sold.

JAPAN GAME SALES WEEK OF JANUARY 16-22

Software
Rank/Title/Publisher/Platform/Unit sales
1. Mario Kart 7 / Nintendo / 3DS / 35,105
2. Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure / Sega / 3DS / 31,598
3. Monster Hunter 3G / Capcom / 3DS / 31,369
4. Super Mario 3D Land / Nintendo / 26,051
5. Onechanbara Z Kagura / D3 / Xbox 360 / 22,013
6. Heroes Phantasia / Namco Bandai / PSP / 15,163
7. Inazuma Eleven Go / Level-5 / 3DS / 14,190
8. Labyrinth no Kanata / Konami / 3DS / 14,176
9. Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Masou Kishin I & II / Namco Bandai / PSP / 11,598
10. Musou Orochi 2 / Tecmo Koei / PS3 / 10,690

Hardware
3DS – 80,960
PS3 – 21,155
PSP – 17,181
PS Vita – 15,219
Wii – 10,173
Xbox 360 – 1,588
DSi XL – 1,200
PS2 – 903
DSi - 822

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