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Japan Review Check: Kunio-Kun SP

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A quick look at what's coming out in Japan next week, courtesy the review pages of Famitsu magazine. It'll be a slow week, with most people gearing up for the Obon long holiday in mid-August, but there's one title of note if you dig 8-bit-style brawlers.

- Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-Kun SP (8/7/7/8, 30 out of 40 points): Kunio-kun is the fighting series in Japan that has its roots in the NES and spawned titles like Renegade, Super Dodge Ball and the timeless River City Ransom over in the U.S. This is a brand-new 3DS game in the series, and while it offers features like four-player competitive brawling and an insane storyline involving high-schoolers fighting evil extremist yakuza thugs, Famitsu gave it pretty average scores.

"The nostalgic pixel-art atmosphere is still there," wrote editor Reona Ebihara, "but I like how you can get that atmosphere in the form of a brand-new story. I also like how you can change out items and skills not just for yourself, but for your partners as well. It's a pretty retro-oriented game and therefore will appeal to only a certain group of people, but the assorted downloadable multiplayer modes are still pretty neat."

"It retains that retro feel," added Urara Honma, "but also adds some more modern features like giving commands to your friends. I like how you can work side jobs in order to earn the cash for skills and other equipment. However, it's often a little hard to figure out what to do next or where you're supposed to go for the story, which strikes me as a missed opportunity. The dodgeball multiplayer game's fun, though."