Euro WiiWare launches

Nintendo's answer to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store launches in Europe with six games.

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WiiWare, a new downloadable game service for the Wii, is now live in Europe. Launched May 12 in the US, the service also launched in Australia today.

The initial games lineup is slightly different in each region. According to Nintendo, in the next 30 days Europeans will be getting the six Aussie games, plus two extra games. These are Pop and Pirates: The Key of Dreams--although neither are currently available to download. However, PAL regions are getting neither Defend Your Castle nor V.I.P. Casino Blackjack, both of which have been released in the US.

Of the eight games confirmed for Europe, perhaps the most highly publicised is Square Enix's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. The management sim has players step into the shoes of a king, rebuilding a town by listening to requests from adventurers. The game's high profile is reflected in the price, with the Square Enix spin-off selling for 1,500 Wii points (approx £10.50).

Next up is side-scrolling platform game LostWinds, from the UK's Frontier Developments, for 1,000 points (£7). This game uses the Wii Remote to control the direction of the wind, letting players jump and glide across the terrain. Nintendo puzzle game Dr. Mario & Germ Buster will also be going for 1,000 points (£7) and will feature a new Germ Buster mode and online play. Gamers must destroy all the viruses by slotting capsules into a grid to create lines of matching colours.

Star Soldier R from Hudson Soft is a shooter that challenges players to score the highest they can within a time limit of either two or five minutes. Puzzle platformer Toki Tori from Dutch developer Two Tribes has the game's titular namesake collecting eggs and using power-ups including TeleWarp, InstantRock, and Slug Sucker to strategically get around the gameworld. Star Soldier R will set cadets back 800 points (£5.60), whereas Toki Tori is slightly more at 900 points (£6.30).

Finally, TV Show King, a quiz game developed by Gameloft, boasts more than 3,000 questions across six categories of TV trivia and sells for 1,000 points (£7).

The first of the two games slated for release in the next month is Pirates: The Key of Dreams from Oxygen Interactive. The nautical shoot-'em-up has players sailing across the Caribbean rescuing castaways to add to the ship's crew and investing in saw blades, rockets, and mines to face off against the notorious pirate Blackbeard.

Last but not least, Nintendo fans can also expect to see (at some point) Pop, from Australian developers Nnooo. Pop is all about bursting bubbles--and those wanting high points should chain together bubbles of the same colour and pop them all at once to score big.

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