[email protected]: Natsume’s 2009 lineup

June 26, 2009

At E3, Natsume was showing off an array of titles, including some with a bit more variety than we’ve seen from the company recently. We got some hands-on time with Afrika, Squishy Tank, Cheer We Go, and a suite of Harvest Moon titles: Animal Parade, Sunshine Islands and My Little Shop.

In Afrika, players become nature photographers, shooting assignments in the wild for National Geographic magazine. The game uses Sony cameras, and features full emulation. I’ve used some of these cameras before, and every last detail is captured. The PS3 exclusive uses the system’s power to make the animals as photorealistic as possible, and the photos you can capture are impressive. The email assignment system makes you feel like an actual freelancer. Overall, it’s looking impressive. Afrika will be out in August.

Squishy Tank is a fairly simple DS puzzle game based on a Japanese license. The objective is to match colored blocks. The real charm of this game comes from the title character, as cute cutscenes give you a chuckle between rounds. It’ll be out in September.

Cheer We Go is the spiritual successor to rhythm-tapping game Princess Debut. It plays similarly, though the setting has changed from a royal fantasy to a high school cheerleading team. Nothing more to say about this one. Out in September.

Harvest Moon: Animal Parade and Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands are both incremental upgrades to the previous Wii and DS titles, respectively. More animals are added, and various fixes make the games much more playable. Animal Parade has a picture-taking feature now as well, so you can capture the stranger cow reactions. Both will be out in August or September.

Harvest Moon: My Little Shop, Natsume’s foray onto WiiWare, is a minigame-fest, with egg-painting, juice-making and various other random tasks. The game features characters from many Harvest Moon titles, and the visual style is certainly charming. Additional content will be available for purchase. My Little Shop will be available later this year.

We hope to provide more detailed looks at these games when they release.