It hasn’t sold like Nintendo may have hoped, but for many folk – and I include myself in this – the Wii U remains under the telly as it fights valiantly against the twin threat of Xbox One and PS4. Although it couldn’t hope to compete with the exceptional slew of 3DS games that dropped in 2013, don’t sleep on some of the Wii U bangers that did show their glorious HD Ninty faces. All-new Mario (with cat suit!) was every bit as magical as we hoped, Pikmin was utterly “Squeeee!”-inducing charming, and The Wonderful 101 appealed to the hardcore, Viewtiful Joe-loving NTSC-J fan in us all.
It is early doors in 2014, but we have seen some highly entertaining stuff hit the GamePad. NES Remix was a cool little bonus curveball, that managed to squeeze hitherto-unknown life out of some crappy old Famicom relics – and I can’t stop playing the hardcore, witty Dungeons & Dragons-vania that is UnEpic.
Moving forward, yeah we know Smash Bros is nearly ready to go, and there is likely to be a Zelda. Samus has been cruelly neglected of late so it wouldn’t surprise me if she popped up and kicked some ass. A Metroid Prime sequel, crafted with the same love and attention as the first two games in the series could be a titanic release – Nintendo’s first ever HD FPS adventure. But what else would we like to see for the Wii U? More importantly, what would I like to see for my go-to current generation hardware?
A good old-fashioned, scary, survival horror game
People often associate Nintendo with family-oriented games with big, bold colours and oodles of smiles. This may sometimes be the case, but during the Gamecube era, Nintendo hardware was host to two of the most underpant-soilingly great horror videogames of all time. Resident Evil 4 began its life as a Gamecube exclusive, and could be purchased with a quite-incredible chainsaw controller. It reinvented a tired series, and remains one of the finest games ever made. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was a triumph of psychological terror and mind-bending innovation. ZombiU was alright, but what Nintendo really needs is another terrifying benchmark to drag an ailing genre back into the eerie, glowing spotlight.
A new Eternal Darkness would be incredible. But there are other possibilities. How about Capcom taking things back to the essence with a modern take on their seminal Sweet Home, the inspiration for O.G Resi? Then you have the spooky Fatal Frame/Project Zero franchise. The Wii remake I played a few years back was rough around the edges but genuinely unsettling. With the camera and AR capabilities of the Gamepad, another look at the Camera Obscura could be a belter.
Domestic Robot Bliss
Chibi Robo was one of those cult Gamecube games that suddenly became really expensive and difficult to get hold of once you realised you had missed out on it first time around. You want to play the Gamecube original now? Expect to pay silly money, as a cursory scan of popular auction sites tells me that the game is now more expensive to buy second-hand than it was when originally released.
Ensuing DS/3DS spinoffs were merely OK – it is the Skip original that is the better game. It may be about a robot, but this is a piece of work with genuine heart and emotion, with deep interpersonal dramas that you wouldn’t expect from the cheery “helpful robot” premise. It is highly unlikely, but if Nintendo let Skip create another charming open-world Chibi-Robo adventure, then I may well be able to die happy. If not, just let Skip have free reign to create something unique and unusual. Anyone bonkers enough to craft quirky fare like Giftpia and Captain Rainbow should be cherished.
Real-time Strategy: I don’t care which
I very seldom speak about it, but Fire Emblem for the 3DS was the best game I played in 2013, hands down. It sparked a passion in me to seek out or revisit some of the RTS greats of past and present, which meant seeking out the blinding new XCOM efforts, and the brilliant Famicom/Advance Wars series. Which led me to start fiending for a spanking Wii U take on one of the classic Intelligent Systems tactics concerns. Just imagine it. On or offscreen play. Online battles with your friends. Sensible downloadable content. Whether we are talking storyline-driven permadeath or super deformed ordnance, I don’t care. Just get it onto the Wii U, and then take all of my monies.
A Decent RPG: Is that too much to ask?
Finding a great RPG for any other Nintendo system is as easy as pie – but we haven’t seen anything for the Wii U. Literally bugger all, like. The chance to play a fully fledged role player with the benefit of an extra screen and lush HD visuals is an exciting one, which is why when someone does produce the goods, it is going to have to be special.
Touch-centric Level 5 creation Wonder Flick sounds interesting but isn’t being developed from the ground up the same way the excellent Xenoblade was for the original Wii. It is a sad day indeed when forthcoming Wii U releases are lined up for terrible fishing, hunting and gameshow tie-in games, yet the closest you can get to an RPG is the lumbering Monster Hunter. Why shouldn’t the Wii U have its own Ni No Kuni, Persona, or Bravely Default? While we are on the subject, Intelligent Systems can also create another Paper Mario RPG, once they are done with producing my tactics-grid Wii U game.
Make use of the GamePad and 3DS in More Interesting Ways
Remember Pac Man Vs? It is another one of those Gamecube games that you wish you still owned. This Pac-Man beauty allowed you to compete with friends thanks to ingenious use of the Gameboy Advance link cable, with the person wielding the GBA controlling Pac-Man, and everyone else in charge of the Ghosts. The linkup worked well, and was employed in other games – most notably the Zelda Four Swords and Wind Waker games (word to my homie Tingle).
It was almost proto-Wii U in its execution. Of course, Nintendo now have the ability to have several peripherally connected devices to their flagship console, and this far into the lifespan of the unit you would expect more exciting use of the Gamepad and 3DS. But other than the admittedly handy off-tv play, and NintendoLand mini-games that don’t really do an awful lot more than the GBA link did, there has been nothing to make your jaw drop. Talk of porting DS fare worries me, as I want to see Nintendo looking forward, not back. And for the record Namco, it hurts that Pac-Man Battle Royale is no longer coming to the Wii U and 3DS.
What about you?
So there’s my list of things I want on my beloved Wii U, but what about you? We’ve had Mario, we’ve got Mario Kart coming (Zelda too, as I mentioned, surely?) – but what’s still missing from my list?