WiiWare live in North America

Nintendo flips the switch on its new downloadable-game service; new Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles headlines initial slate of half a dozen games.

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
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Nintendo announced the North American launch of its WiiWare downloadable-game service for the Wii months ago, but has played coy about specific details on games and prices. Today the service goes live, and Nintendo finally detailed a slate of six launch games that range in price from 500 Wii points ($5) to 1,500 Wii points ($15).

Bask in overwhelming gratitude in My Life as a King.
Bask in overwhelming gratitude in My Life as a King.

Nintendo has said that there are more than 100 WiiWare games in the works, and as with Virtual Console additions, new games will be added to the service on Mondays. Gamers can find video clips of the games on the Nintendo Channel, and download the actual games in the WiiWare section of the system's Wii Shop Channel.

The initial wave of games is headlined by Square Enix's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, a management-sim twist on the seminal role-playing game franchise. Unlike previous multiplayer-focused installments in the Crystal Chronicles spin-off series, the WiiWare entry is a single-player game. My Life as a King sells for 1,500 Wii points ($15). Downloadable content including new buildings, dungeons, and costumes is also available for Square's WiiWare debut, ranging in price from 100 to 800 Wii points ($1-$8).

That's the high end of the WiiWare price spectrum so far, with XGen Studios' Defend Your Castle (500 Wii points, or $5) currently residing at the low end. A remake of a free browser-based game, Defend Your Castle has players using the Wii Remote to exterminate onrushing enemies by grabbing them and tossing them to great heights. The game also includes four-player cooperative gameplay.

Defend Your Castle got a makeover for the Wii.
Defend Your Castle got a makeover for the Wii.

Defend Your Castle isn't the only WiiWare game to support up to four players. Nnooo's Pop lets up to four gamers do just that, popping a field full of bubbles to earn points and string together combos. Pop sells for 700 Wii points ($7). Two more four-player games include V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack, High Voltage Software's Vegas-themed card game (700 Wii points, or $7), and TV Show King, a Gameloft-developed quiz game featuring more than 3,000 questions across six categories (1,000 Wii points, or $10).

Finally, Frontier Development is offering LostWinds, a side-scrolling platform game that uses the Wii Remote's pointing abilities to control the direction of the wind, helping boost players over chasms or solve puzzles. Designed for one or two players, LostWinds sells for 1,000 Wii points ($10).

With the exception of the T-for-Teen-rated V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack, all of the WiiWare launch games are rated E for Everyone.

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