The March 2009 NPD numbers came out last week and showed that for the first time in six months, US retail game industry sales shrank year over year. It might be two down months in a row, as April 2008 saw Take-Two Interactive launch its hugely anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
While this month has seen the release of new hardware on the DSi, it has also seen weeks like this one, where the biggest game of the month falls along the lines of Nintendo's lightly hyped Excitebots: Trick Racing. A follow-up to the Wii launch game Excite Truck and a distant relative to the original Excitebike, Excitebots features animal-themed vehicles racing around ever-shifting courses.
Excitebike isn't the only series to be infiltrated by robots recently. Namco Bandai's sci-fi anime Gundam franchise inserted itself into the historical action of Koei's Dynasty Warriors in 2007, and the crossover proved so nice that the two companies decided to try it twice. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 arrives in stores this week with even more mobile suits and a new mission mode that lets players pick a Gundam pilot and take them through a career's worth of storylines.
There's another eyebrow-raising crossover landing in stores this week in the form of Mezmer Games' PC real-time strategy game Stalin vs. Martians. True to its title, Stalin vs. Martians puts players in the moustache of the notorious Communist leader as he fends off an extraterrestrial invasion in 1942. PC gaming history buffs can also keep an eye out for Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason, 1C's first-person shooter set in a Russian nuclear station at the North Pole in 1968.
[UPDATE 4/20]: Mezmer Games today announced that Stalin vs. Martians has been delayed until "later this month."
For further details on the week's games, visit GameSpot's New Release page. Downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and the Wii Shop Channel will be revealed later this week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and subject to change.
NEW RELEASES: APRIL 19-25
Stalin vs. Martians--PC--Strategy--Mezmer Games
Excitebots: Trick Racing--Wii--Driving--Nintendo
Adventure: Collector's Edition (Volume 1)--PC--Adventure--Got Game Entertainment
Cryostasis: The Sleep of Reason--PC--Action--1C
101-in-1 Explosive Megamix--DS--Puzzle--Atlus Co.
Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans--Wii, PS2, DS--Puzzle--Zoo Games
I Love Horses--DS--Puzzle--Destineer
Pennzoil Build-N-Race: Speed Demons--Wii--Driving--Zoo Games
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2--360, PS3, PS2--Action--Namco Bandai Games America
Zeno Clash --PC--Action--ACE
Dream Day Wedding: Viva Las Vegas--PC--Strategy--ValuSoft