Welcome to the first edition of the Joystiq Weekly Wrap-up, where we present some of the best stories and biggest news from our beloved sister-publication. After the break you'll find, among other things, Pokémon, the Big Bad Wolf and the final word on Titanfall's ongoing multiplayer examination. Our brothers and sisters in arms are on the ground in Boston this weekend for PAX East too, and you can find all of that coverage right here. Pour a frosty beverage and join us for the week's gaming news, won't you?

News

Arguably the biggest news this week came from Nintendo's Super Smash Bros-themed Nintendo Direct broadcast. The franchise hits the 3DS this summer and the Wii U this fall with two online modes (For Fun and For Glory) and a unique spin on series-staple Adventure mode, Smash Run. Perhaps the biggest news, though, is the addition of all around bad-ass Charizard to the game's roster.

One of the more intriguing games shown at Microsoft's E3 press event last year was indie-puzzler Below. It's being developed by Capybara Games (Super Brothers Swords and Sworcery EP) and news hit this week that if you don't feel like shelling out $500 for an Xbox One -- it was previously announced as a platform-exclusive -- that the game is coming to Steam, too.

In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel you'll travel to the moon when it releases this fall for PS3, PC and Xbox 360. The last-gen title takes place between the first two games, and you'll be fighting for antagonist Handsome Jack this time around.

If you've beaten Bastion countless times while waiting for developer Supergiant Games' follow-up Transistor to hit, it's almost time to let The Kid rest. The action-RPG releases on the PS4 and PC for $20 on May 20th.

Reviews

This week Joystiq reviewed Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals and episode three of Telltale Games' The Wolf Among Us. Critic Jessica Condit lamented Rivals is another instance of Kinect's crippled functionality.

The Xbox One Kinect is more responsive than its predecessor, but it still doesn't seem ready for this level of gameplay. My set-up meets the requirements – a clear, open floor and seven feet of playable space from Kinect to the front of my couch. Still, Kinect had trouble deciphering who was playing if anything moved in the background or just off to the sides, and it tracked motions inconsistently.

Joystiq's managing editor Susan Arendt was much more positive in her look at Biggby Wolf's latest chapter. Although The Crooked Mile narratively occupies the middle of Telltale's Fables yarn, that shouldn't be held against it she says.

Taken by itself, it's unsatisfying and half-missing, but of course it's not meant to be taken by itself. It's the centerpiece of a larger whole, the lock that will let everything eventually make sense.

Original stories

Road-trip season will be here before you know it, but with the price of gas still pretty high, getting out and exploring the open road can be an expensive proposition. If you'd still like to see some of the US though, Ubisoft's The Crew will let you do just that, virtually. The constantly-connected racer lets you and three buddies drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and other cities (including Detroit), completing challenges and collecting cars. Joystiq's video preview gives an overview of the game's look and feel.

As part of its ongoing look at crowdfunded game development, Joystiq notes that the month of March continued the space's continued slump. What's more, March was the second-worst month of pledges in the prior 10 (when Joystiq started the series).

PC gamers are a proud people: they tend to invest heavily in their rigs and expect the best possible experience from their games as a result. For them, playing a console game that's been ported can be a crap shoot in terms of performance. With the brutally difficult Dark Souls 2, however, that isn't the case. The PC version is prettier than its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts, and is the best version of the game that's available.

In the wake of games like Battlefield 4 and its still-rocky performance, Joystiq has started an ongoing look at how a game's multiplayer fares in the first month after launch. With Titanfall, the outlet says that despite a few brief outages, the experience remains solid, dubbing the game's state of service "good."

That's it! Be sure to check back next Sunday for another recap, or if you're impatient, click over to Joystiq and catch the news as it happens.

[Image credit: Miguel Angel Garrido / Flickr]

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Joystiq weekly wrap-up: Fire-breathing lizards, big bad wolves and giant robots