Japan - Wii Shop point balance refunds beginning Feb. 2019

Nintendo continues to wind things down for the Wii Shop Channel, and now they've detailed the plans for point refunds for those in Japan. Refunds will kick off in Japan sometime in February 2019 and end on August 31, 2019. Users will have to fill out an online form to get their refunds.

There will be three different ways to get a refund. You can exchange credit for the Switch/3DS/Wii U Nintendo eShop, get a refund through a convenience store like Lawson, or have the funds put right back into your bank account. To get a refund in the first place, you'll need a Wii or Wii U with unspent points that is connected to the Internet. You can also get a refund on an unused Wii Points card.

This week's North American downloads - August 9 (Okami HD, Minit and more)

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
OKAMI HD – Take the role of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess who inhabits the form of a legendary white wolf Shiranui. Use magical abilities, attacks, and Celestial Brush techniques to restore the land of Nippon to its previous glory full of life and color.

Minit – Minit is a peculiar little adventure played 60 seconds at a time. Journey outside the comfort of your home to help unusual folk, uncover countless secrets and overcome dangerous foes, all in the hope of lifting a rather unfortunate curse that ends each day after just one minute.

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL – When Turing, the world’s first sapient machine, teams up with a struggling journalist, the unlikely duo find themselves drawn into the shadows behind the dazzling lights of Neo-San Francisco. The secrets they uncover could shake the very foundations of society. 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL fuses a classic-style adventure game with lush pixel art and a catchy electronic soundtrack that explores modern-day issues of individuality, freedom and identity. The 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL game will be available on Aug. 14.

DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ – Open Beta – Go head to head in VS Online* with no fewer than 23 characters and 13 stages. Don’t forget to also stop by the Battle Tutorial to sharpen your skills and master all kinds of devastating techniques. The Open Beta servers are scheduled to be on between 9 p.m. PT on Aug. 9 and 11:59 p.m. PT on Aug. 11.

Nintendo eShop sales:

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U
Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals.


Calling All Nintendo Labo Fans! – In less than two weeks, the latest Nintendo Labo Creators Contest No. 2 ends! Have you started on your entry? A team of Nintendo Labo judges will select four winners in two categories: Best Toy-Con Musical Instrument and Best Gaming Experience using Toy-Con Garage. The contest ends at 10:59 a.m. PT on Aug. 20. You can also check out other submissions here – and don’t forget to give a “like” to your favorites! The prizes include a specially designed, collectible cardboard-inspired Nintendo Switch system, Nintendo Labo Creators jackets and more. For more info, please visit the official contest site at https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/.

Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec), ages 13+. Nintendo Switch system and Nintendo Labo kit required. Contest begins 11AM PT on 7/19/18 and ends at 10:59AM PT on 8/20/18. To enter, upload a video of your Toy-Con creation or invention as detailed in the Official Rules. 2 Grand Prize winners will each receive one (1) collectible Nintendo Switch system (ARV: $ $1,000 USD), one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). 8 Runner-Up winners will each receive one (1) collectible pair of Joy-Con controllers, one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). Total ARV of all prizes: $3,640 USD. Chances of winning a prize depend on eligibility and quality of entries received, and how well each meets the judging criteria. Details and restrictions apply. For Official Rules, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest-rules/. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc.

Also new this week:
ACA NEOGEO PREHISTORIC ISLE 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
BlobCat (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Catch ‘Em! Goldfish Scooping (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Cosmic Star Heroine (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 14
EARTHLOCK – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
GREEN (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Megaton Rainfall (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 10
Pixel Action Heroes – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Shut Eye (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
State of Mind (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 15
SubaraCity (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
TETRA’s Escape (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 10
The Amazing Shinsengumi: Heroes in Love (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Toki Tori 2+ – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Unexplored (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
Valkyria Chronicles 4 – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)

GameSpot Versus - Okami vs. Zelda: Twilight Princess

With Okami launching on Nintendo Switch, we thought we'd square Capcom's classic against another lupine adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Ubisoft details Gamescom 2018 plans

The Ubisoft gamescom booth will include 10 demos and 360 pods. The confirmed lineup includes:

Anno 1800
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The Division 2
For Honor: Marching Fire
Rainbow Six Siege
Skull & Bones
Space Junkies
Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Trials Rising

Ubisoft also has a plan for when it takes the stage for its gamescom 2018 press conference. It will highlight the newest update to The Crew 2, Gator Rush. Of course, Ubisoft mainstay Just Dance will be making an appearance with its 2019 incarnation.

Ubisoft also promises in-game rewards for those who check out its demos through the Ubisoft Club. As an extra treat to those super-passionate Ubisoft fans, the publisher is sending 25 Star Players to Cologne.

There will also be a Family and Friends section of the booth focusing on all-ages titles. You’ll be able to learn about Egyptian history in Assassin’s Creed: Discovery Tour. There will also be the Just Dance World Cup 2019 Qualifications for all you dancers out there.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was originally going to star Link, Nintendo talks about potential for DLC/sequel

Turns out Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker started life as Link: Treasure Tracker. Nintendo was originally planning to use Link from The Legend of Zelda as the main character, but they eventually moved away from that idea and pivoted to Captain Toad.
You can hear a lot more on the topic from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker director Shinya Hiratake, who spoke to Polygon.

“We always think about how we can introduce 3D games to more people. We thought that Captain Toad in Super Mario 3D World was perfect because it brought in the element of searching to [Mario’s] world. We wanted to build a sandbox: a small, contained world that has a linear path, and someone that could not jump. By having a main character that couldn’t jump, we thought it would be easier for the player to explore the 3D world. Also, we would be able to contain the world and not make it too big.

But at the same time, perhaps the experience of controlling the camera would also be a fun thing to try. We thought about how we could have players that are beginners control the camera and control the game. We thought that putting the whole stage in one screen and changing the camera angle could be a fun [way to play]. That way it’s ... easy to approach. We wanted to explore that as a core mechanic of Captain Toad, and that’s how we ended up with those miniature worlds.

We thought Link would be a little too courageous and he would want to fight enemies with his weapons. Captain Toad is still courageous, but maybe a little bit weaker, and by having a character like that we thought we could have the player focus on the geography and turning the camera, that kind of gameplay. In the end I think it worked out really well.”

Could there be even more Captain Toad in the future, perhaps through a sequel or DLC levels? Here's what Hiratake had to say.

“Is that something you’d want? It really kind of depends on how people respond.”

Hex Gambit - Blitz Royale mode detailed, Switch release date info

The Hex Gambit team is still toiling away on their game, and today they've announced a new single-player mode called Blitz Royale. You can get the breakdown of this new mode below.

For those of you who’ve wished for a way to play Hex Gambit while waiting for your turns to come back, the Blitz Royale has arrived! This new single player survival challenge was devised by Abbacus himself. Your minion army is persistent across six grueling battles, with reinforcements shuffled and doled out randomly before each match. Every minion you lose is gone for good, so tread carefully! In all, you’ll get a little more than 2 matches’ worth of minions to survive. Here’s a rundown of our three difficulties:

Easy: You’ll get an extra AP every turn, and start each match with a full Captain charge. You’ll benefit from a bonus that helps you recharge your Captain’s Ult faster, and your opponents won’t trigger their Ults as often.

Normal: You’ll get the same AP as your opponents, and start each match with an empty Captain’s charge. You’ll also receive a bonus charge to help you fill your Captain’s Ult faster.

Hard: Your enemy gets an extra AP each turn, and will trigger their Captain’s Ult more frequently. You gain no special charge bonuses for your Captain.

The team also shared a small update on when we can expect Hex Gambit to hit Switch.

Our latest release estimate for Switch backers is still Q1 2019, while the Early Access PC version of the game is currently available on Steam with most of the game's features working.

EVO 2018 - Lima and Leffen win Smash Bros. Wii U and Smash Bros. Melee tournaments

Your Smash Bros. Wii U and Smash Bros. Melee tournament winners have been decided. Leffen took home the win in Melee, while Lima was victorious in Wii U. Let's hope next year's EVO gives us a Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament!

Minecraft movie delayed as it loses its director and co-writer

The Minecraft movie just suffered a major setback, causing a delay. Director and co-writer Rob McElhenney has left the project, meaning there's no way the film can make its originally-planned May 2019 release. Warner Bros. has already picked a replacement, bringing on the writer/director duo of Aaron and Adam Nee to write a new script.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero - More footage of Jammies Mode

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has received another new update in the form of Jammies Mode! We check it out along with her special Sophia-III transformation from Blaster Master Zero in our latest Game & Watch!

Minecraft - Super Cute Texture Pack and Skin Pack 2 now available

Why is Minecraft.net's least-cute writer the one writing about the Super Cute Texture Pack? A question for another time, perhaps. Today, let's celebrate Minecraft getting it's cutest makeover ever!

Yes, our talented artists have 'cuted up' (scientific term) Minecraft to shockingly adorable new levels. Rosy-cheeked Creepers! Cakes with faces! Rainbows, smiles everywhere and joy pouring out of every pixel! Even the zombies look cuter than ever as they munch on your brains. D'awwwww!

Have a look through the gallery below to see just how cute Minecraft can be.

The Super Cute Texture pack is available now in the Minecraft Marketplace. It's got bouncing bunnies, ultra-adorable unicorns, brilliant bumblebees and, er, burgers? Yes, burgers! Even the squid will make you Squeee! This texture pack comes with 15 skins to make your game cuter than ever.

PLUS - Skin Pack 2 one of our classic Xbox skin packs is now available for Minecraft on Xbox One, Windows 10, VR, mobile devices and Nintendo Switch. You can find that in the Marketplace today too – and it's free to download if you already own it on Xbox.

Both these packs will be rolling out today - keep checking the Minecraft Marketplace!

I'm off to look into cuteness surgery. Enjoy the packs!