Yet more hands-on time with Nintendo’s Wii U, as Lee takes a look at some huge first party titles.
Next up in our super-gigantic-awesome look at Nintendo’s next-gen juggernaut, is a gander at some of the First Party titles that Ninty are hoping to wow us with, when the Wii U is eventually released.
I’ve written so much about the Wii U, but it would be a shame if I didn’t mention Nintendo’s own contributions to their new system. We’ve already looked at Nintendoland, but what else is coming from the oldest video games company on the block?
It’s been a long time coming, but Nintendo have finally made a lot of gamers very happy by bringing out a brand new Pikmin title for the Wii U. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I’ve never really spent any length of time with either of the previous games, but the game is so intuitive that no experience is required. There is no better time to get acquainted with Pikmin, than with this new release.
This third title in the series features the same action-strategy gameplay as the original games, and the demo I played offered a Wii Remote & Nunchuk only (similar to the original Wii ports of both previous games , only with added MotionPlus benefits). Once again you play Captain Olimar, who must recruit the hardworking Pikmin and lead them into collecting salvageable items and taking them to his ship. Different coloured Pikmin have different abilities, and the brand new Rock Pikmin are suitable for throwing items at any obstacle in Olimar’s path (living or not).
Those Rock Pikmin were also pretty handy in dealing with the Boss Battle section of the demo. A cute-looking mixture of beetle/caterpillar, this giant boss has a tough armour plating and is split up in sections with only the Rock Pikmin being hard enough to break open the armour, revealing the creature’s fleshy bits for your standard red Pikmin to damage.
Pikmin 3 looks absolutely great in its HD incarnation, with beautiful water effects and gorgeous use of textures and special effects (such as a pretty impressive blurring effect that occurs when objects are out of focus). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see what features the Wii U GamePad will bring to the game (other than a standard top-down map), but I’m sure Nintendo will come up with something. This is definitely one for fans of the series, but also a good opportunity for Pikmin newbies (like me) to see what they have been missing.
Wii Fit U
Look, you know as well as I do, that for all the millions of units the Wii Balance Board has sold, very few of them are still in use; which is why it’s great to see that Nintendo haven’t abandoned the ailing peripheral, and instead have given it a new lease of life on their new console.
The five games revealed so far in Wii Fit U, use a combination of Balance Board, Wii U GamePad and Wii Remote to provide a much tougher workout than the previous titles (at least to my flabbily unfit body, at the very least).
The mini-game I played (Trampoline Target) was a worthy indication of how unfit I am. Standing on the Balance Board, with the Wii U GamePad on the floor in front of you, the game requires you to squat and stand in time with your onscreen character’s trampoline jumps; all while shifting your weight to ensure you stay firmly in the middle of the trampoline for maximum points.
Core Luge is no less gruelling. Completely removing the Wii U GamePad out of the equation, this basic luge sim requires you to sit on the Balance Board and then lie down as flat as possible, shifting your weight on each arse-cheek to move left and right through a series of twists and turns down a track. Tougher than it sounds.
Dessert Course was a surprisingly fun game, wherein you must stand on the Balance Board, holding your Wii U GamePad like a tray. You are a waiter, and must walk on the spot to deliver items of food to paying customers, all while balancing the GamePad to ensure that the floor isn’t covered in fallen Swiss rolls and ice cream sundaes.
Hose Down is another good workout, where you are wielding a water cannon and must point the GamePad at a target, and press your foot down on the Balance Board to spray a jet of water. The harder you press, the more water you spray. Manic and, dare I say it, rather fun (but tiring).
The final demo I played, was probably the most tiring of the lot; Rowing Crew. Sitting on the Balance Board, holding a Wii Remote as an oar to row as hard as you can, and looking at your progress on the GamePad. Definitely a good workout, as you try and beat the opposing team to the finishing line.
So essentially, this is more Wii Fit, but it does it have enough to keep the dust from accumulating on your Balance Board?
New Super Mario Bros. U
Now we come to an essential for any new Nintendo system; a brand new Mario title. New Super Mario Bros. U is the chubby plumber’s first official foray into High Definition gaming, and he’s never looked better. Nintendo’s simple and vibrant art style looks amazing at a higher resolution, but there honestly isn’t too much I can say about this game, that you already couldn’t have figured out for yourself.
Yes, this plays like any standard 2D Mario title. For most of us, that is not a bad thing; but I can see how the cynical people out there might see this as such. Truthfully, it plays fantastically well; the levels are well designed, and the game holds all the charm and fun that a Mario game should.
New to this latest instalment, are two abilities – Collecting an acorn will turn you into the super-cute Squirrel Mario, with a suit that allows for gliding (although sadly, no Mario World Cape-style flying to be seen). Yoshi also returns, although so far he appears to be in baby form, as Mario carries him around (and occasionally inflates him to float into the sky).
It’s Mario in HD and it’s as brilliant as always, but so far I haven’t seen anything original or creative enough to get me truly excited about the game yet.