In addition to revealing the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Special Edition, Nintendo today assigned dates to two upcoming handheld games. 3DS owners (and it’s a good week to be an early adopter) can look forward to a shiny new version of a sturdy old warhorse when Tetris: Axis releases October 2nd. Players restricted to the old-fashioned, two-dimensional DS can take solace in the October 17th release of Professor Layton and the Last Specter.

Tetris: Axis, developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo, updates the venerable classic with (wait for it) three dimensional graphics. Perhaps more meaningfully, the game sports twenty variations on the basic Tetris gameplay, including a number of online and local multiplayer modes. Thankfully, download play is supported, so not every player will need his or her own copy of the game.

Serving as a prequel to the existing games, Professor Layton and the Last Specter begins a new trilogy of puzzle-solving adventures for the titular Professor. Of particular note this time around is Professor Layton’s London Life, a bonus RPG reported to feature over one hundred hours of gameplay.

Curiously, London Life will be absent from the European release of Last Specter, despite having been present in the original Japanese release of the game. In any case, Animal Crossing fans may want to pay attention to Layton’s latest, as the promise of letting players “customize their characters with special clothing that will help them enter certain areas of the city or perform certain tasks help out the townspeople,” sounds right in line with what Nintendo’s town-sim offers.

Nintendo points out that Tetris: Axis joins a 3DS holiday lineup that includes Star Fox 64 3D, Pokemon Rumble Blast, Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7. Potentially troubling is that Kid Icarus: Uprising goes unmentioned in the press release. Has the game slipped outside its projected holiday 11 window?

That would be unfortunate. The one thing 3DS most desperately needs is quality original software. Tetris is endlessly re-playable (and, it should be pointed out, a version is available from the Nintendo eShop for those 3DS owners who don’t absolutely need 3D elements in their puzzle games), but is it a suitable replacement for Kid Icarus? What do you think?

Professor Layton and the Last Specter, on the other hand, is Nintendo’s DS holiday lineup. One wonders whether the final two games in this new trilogy will ever make it to North America, though let’s hope they do — more Professor Layton is almost always a good thing.

Any plans to buy Tetris: Axis or Professor Layton and the Last Specter? How strong is Nintendo’s 3DS holiday lineup if Kid Icarus: Uprising doesn’t make it out?

Tetris: Axis is due October 2, 2011, for the Nintendo 3DS.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter
is due October 17, 2011, for the Nintendo DS.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken

Source: Nintendo, Eurogamer

tags: 3DS, DS, Hudson, Nintendo

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