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Japan Review Check: Wii Party U, Neptunia Rebirth

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A quick look at the most interesting console games hitting Japan next week, as reviewed in the new issue of Famitsu magazine:

- Wii Party U (9/8/8/9, 34 out of 40 points): Famitsu had the same compliments for this package as they do for most of Nintendo's other party-game collections. "The way this mixes up using the TV screen, GamePad and Wii remote is a real rarity," wrote editor Reona Ebihara. "There are lots of little tweaks and tricks in the game meant to rev up the fun for multiplayer. It's kind of amazing how having to pass the GamePad around, instead of being a hindrance, is used to heighten the party-game excitement here. I like all the variation in the minigames, too."

"You have a bountiful variety of games that let people have fun and get competitive together," added writer Jigoro Ashida. "Apart from the main board games and such, there are minigames to determine turn orders and other little distractions to enjoy. It's well-structured, the rules are easy to follow, and it's simple to get into, making it perfect for gatherings. I like how you get a guide to how much time each game will take, too."

- Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 1 (9/8/8/8, 33 points): This is a PS Vita "version 2.0" of the original PlayStation 3 title, released by NIS America over in the States. "The 3D characters are pretty, and the attacks and so forth seem pretty forceful," Ebihara wrote. "Since it uses the gameplay system from the latest in the series, the game feels a fair bit fresh and different from before. There are numerous improvements to pep up the game's tempo, which I like, and the new 'remake system' is a fun experiment."

Freelance writer Giichi Totsuka wasn't as enthusiastic. "This is a pretty serious game difficulty-wise," he wrote. "You're faced with an increasing number of decisions right from the start, and if you get lazy with powering-up your characters and equipment, you'll get stuck pretty quickly. The game's really meant for people who want to fully customize their experience with it, and for those people, they'll get motivation to continue from all the Neptunia-oriented fan service inserted."

- Gundam Breaker (9/8/8/8, 33 points): Ebihara seemed to really dig the Vita version of this game, a Gundam-themed fighter that treats the robots as their real-life plastic model counterparts. "The gameplay, which takes full advantage of its 'Gundam models' theme, is fun and addictive," he said. "Having these mechs break apart model-style onscreen, and being able to customize individual parts, give this game a lot of original charm. I just wish there was more of a part selection to work with."