Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Coming from Project Sora, developers of the Smash Bros. franchise, it shouldn't be too surprising that Kid Icarus: Uprising is designed with hardcore gamers in mind. The upcoming 3DS shooter allows you to adjust the game's "intensity level," letting you customize how difficult you want the game.

But the "Fiend's Cauldron" feature is more than just an adjustable difficulty scale. In addition, you'll be able to bet in-game currency to see if you can survive the challenge. "As the intensity increases, players will be able to earn more Hearts and more powerful weapon drops from defeated enemies," Nintendo notes.

See how the challenge changes in this new video:

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

Indie developer Smudged Cat Games has revealed a new game called Gateways that will be coming soon to PC and Xbox 360. It's a 2D puzzle-platformer that centers around an inventor named Ed who finds himself needing to escape his own lab when some of his creations go haywire. He'll have to use "gateway guns" to fight his way out. One such gun is reminiscent of the tool found in Valve's Portal series, but there appear to be some unique variations at play in Gateways as well.

At first glance, Gateways might just seem like it's taking the the concept of Valve's portal gun, and then moving it into a 2D platformer. Upon closer inspection, however, there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. In addition to being able to make the traditional "A to B"-style of gateways, Ed gains access to a number of other devices that spice things up. For example, one of the gateway guns allows the player to create a large and a small portal. Entering the small portal and emerging from the large one will cause Ed to double in size, but taking the reverse route will shrink him.

There's also a gravity gateway gun that allows the player to step through and walk on the walls and ceilings, and even a time-manipulating gateway gun that allows Ed to traverse the map and go back in time, where he might encounter past versions of himself.

Other power-ups and tools--like a torch or a laser-deflecting mirror--also get added to the mix. As you can tell in the debut trailer below, these gameplay conceits have the potential to create some mind-melting scenarios.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The process of transitioning Halo data management from Bungie to 343 Industries started last summer, and finally has an end date. Bungie announced today that as of March 31, it will be completely out of the franchise it created that helped put Microsoft's consoles on the map.

After that date, all live Halo data will be managed by 343 Industries, according to the Bungie blog. That means Bungie won't be updating game stats, player service records, hosting new user generated content, or operating the Bungie Pro service. The company does plan to keep historical Halo data on its site "for as long as the Internet and Bungie's data storage systems remain functional."

The change will impact currently-supported, Bungie-developed Halo games -- the last of which was Halo: Reach. It's certainly the end of an era, as the developer sets its sights on new initiatives like Bungie Aerospace and its new Activision-published franchise.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Unlike the PSP, every game on the PlayStation Vita can be purchased and downloaded on the PlayStation Store. In Japan, digital versions of Vita games sport a discount over their retail counterparts. But will America follow suit?

Update: The answer is "yes." A Sony representative has confirmed the discount. "I can confirm that there will be a discount on the downloadable PS Vita titles from PSN. Exact details have not yet been revealed, but be on the lookout for an announcement in the very near future."

Original Story: In addition to offering game cartridges, Best Buy will also sell codes that are redeemable on the PlayStation Network. GQman2121 from NeoGAF spotted multiple entries with "DIG-PSV" in the product title. MLB 12 The Show is listed at $35.99, while Reality Fighters is listed at $26.99. Uncharted: Golden Abyss is listed at $44.99.

These prices all represent a 10 percent discount over their boxed copy counterparts.

From the Best Buy database

(via PSN Stores)

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

Looking for a fun and visually-engaging way to kill about fifteen to twenty minutes? A team of four independent developers (Ollie Clarke, Helana Santos, Chris Randle, and Jon Mann) has released a free game for PC and Mac called 'The Cat That Got The Milk.'

It's a reflex-based maze game meant to serve as an abstract representation of the titular cat's night on the town. It's quick, challenging, and looks great, too.

The controls are simple. Each of the game's eighteen levels tasks players with navigating to their respective exits. Once the level begins, the cat--represented by a tiny rectangle--starts moving to the right, automatically. By holding either the up or down arrow keys, the player can alter the cat's course.

Things start out fairly easy, but the mazes get more and more intricate, eventually requiring some pretty quick reactions. Running into a wall or obstacle restarts the level afresh, and there's really no down-time or waiting around to speak of. If you get stuck, the game also gives you the option to skip a level after a number of failed attempts.

The Cat That Got The Milk has some interesting level design and did a great job keeping me engaged, but my favorite part is undoubtedly the striking visuals, which are reminiscent of artists like Wassily Kandinsky and Mark Rothko. Fans of abstract art are in for a treat.

You can download The Cat That Got The Milk for PC or Mac for free from the game's official website, along with a free copy of the soundtrack.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

As the end of the trilogy, Mass Effect 3 will feature many familiar voices, reprising their roles for Shepard's final mission. Of course Martin Sheen, Seth Green, Tricia Helfer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Keith David, and more are coming back for the sequel. But who's new this time around?

Freddie Prinze, Jr. will play James Vega, "a marine who will help Commander Shepard take Earth back." Oddly, G4 reporter Jessica Chobot will also make an appearance, as new reporter Diana Allers (pictured above).

In addition to the expected babbling about how wonderful the game is, a new promotional video released by EA also highlights how the characters have changed for ME3. EDI, an artificial intelligence introduced in Mass Effect 2, sounds like she will grow quite a bit in the finale.

Mass Effect 3 will be available on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 on March 6th.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Two more entertainment apps are available to download off Xbox Live today: the Crackle app from Sony Pictures and CinemaNow from Best Buy.

CinemaNow allows Xbox Live Gold members to buy and rent movies and TV shows. (Why anyone would do this instead of using the Zune Marketplace, we're not entirely sure.) Crackle offers "thousands of full-length movies and TV shows" for free.

Crackle is probably the most significant addition to the Xbox Live ecosystem. Its catalog includes movies, like Groundhog Day and The International, and TV series like Seinfeld and anime.

"In addition to these apps, we will continue to enhance and expand our global entertainment offerings on Xbox Live in 2012," a Microsoft representative told us.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Lightning is coming to Final Fantasy XIII-2 next week, Square Enix has announced. Titled "Lightning and Master Sergeant Amodar," this premium DLC pack pits you in a Coliseum battle against the Final Fantasy XIII heroine and her former officer.

Once you beat the pair, you can recruit Lightning into your party. A price wasn't disclosed with the announcement, but Andriasang reports that the content will cost 240 MSP ($3) in Japan.

Square promises other Coliseum battles to come against adversaries from previous Final Fantasy titles, who can then be recruited into your party. (Here's hoping for Ultros.) The company also reiterated its plans for episodic story content, which will spotlight different characters.

This news comes as word of the game's ending sparks renewed speculation on the Final Fantasy XIII-3 domain registration. You can check out thoughts on the game, including the contentious ending, in our review.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

By now, you must be familiar with the Humble Indie Bundle. However, today's newly launched assortment of indie games has a twist: the games will not only run on Windows, Mac, and Linux--but on Android as well! The pay-what-you-want bundle includes cross-platform versions of Anomaly: Warzone Earth, Osmos, and EDGE.

And if you pay more than the average price of $4.17, you'll also get World of Goo as well.

Unfortunately, downloading the Android games will take a bit of effort. Whereas the PC/Mac versions of the games can be unlocked via Steam keys, the Android versions will require you to play around with your phone/tablet's settings.

First, you'll have to make sure your Android device is set to accept applications from "unknown sources." Then, you'll have to manually download each .apk file by navigating to your download page. It may not be the most seamless experience, but this video should help walk you through the process:

This Android-flavored edition of the Humble Bundle will be available until February 14th.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

PlayStation Plus members are entitled to a number of games as part of their subscription. In February, Plus subscribers will be able to download The Simpsons Arcade Game, PSone classic Final Fantasy V, and Far Cry 2.

However, that's scratching the surface of what is easily the biggest month for Plus subscribers. In addition to the aforementioned games, PS+ members will also get access to the Sega Genesis Bundle, which includes Altered Beast, Comix Zone, Golden Axe, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, and Streets of Rage 2.

Other games included with the membership include Battle Fantasia, Fatal Inertia, Hamsterball, Inferno Pool, Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom, and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars. Two minis, Hungry Giraffe and Gold Medalist, will also be distributed "for free."

Plus members will also get an exclusive demo for House of the Dead III on February 7th.

Rounding out the benefits are the requisite discounts and free issue of Qore. The PlayStation.Blog has a full round-up.