What Not to WiiWare - Aya and the Cubes of Light & Fish Tank
Another week has come and gone, and the Wii Shop Channel is host to yet another WiiWare game. Though only one title launched on Nintendo's digital download market this week, I thought I'd go back a couple of weeks and share my experiences with a previous WiiWare game, as well. So let's get right down to it, shall we?
Aya and the Cubes of Light
Almost a month ago, an intriguing little title by the name of Aya and the Cubes of Light landed on WiiWare. I wouldn't say I had incredibly high hopes for the game, but it certainly looked like it could be fun. After all, it offered puzzle gameplay and rotating worlds not too unlike those found in Super Mario Galaxy. Unfortunately, I was met with nothing but utter disappointment from beginning to end.
The funny thing is that Aya and the Cubes of Light poses a number of great ideas. The puzzles are interesting, the levels are pretty decent, and the collection of key items to progress is potentially engaging. Sadly, Aya and the Cubes of Light fails to deliver on every single one of these promising elements. Nothing in the game lives up to any sort of standard, and it's a shame, because this could have been an awesome little gem.
What drags Aya and the Cubes of Light down the most is the abysmal control. For starters, Aya is sluggish in her movements, and her jumps are absolutely hideous. You'll often miss a platform due to her lack of jumping prowess and meet your demise, only to be returned to a checkpoint. Don't get too stoked about the checkpoint system, though. Due to the long distance between them, dying and respawning at a checkpoint often means you'll have to tread back all the way around a level.
Another issue I had with the controls was the reliance on Wii Remote waggle. In order to jump, you have to give your wrist a flick. No, Aya and the Cubes of Light doesn't let you jump with the A button like any other normal game. Instead, it forces you to shake your hand like a goof. The main issue here is that the waggle isn't even responsive. Turning your wrist to put key items in doors is also a pain, and it's far too tiresome to be enjoyable at all.
The flaws in Aya and the Cubes of Light don't end with the gameplay and mechanics, though. No, the game's presentation is just as bad. Though I can handle rough graphics, the visuals in this title are far too plain; there's no variety and no art direction. As for the game's soundtrack, you're treated to a handful of generic themes that repeat too often and loop ad nauseam. It's a good thing the game allows you to turn the music off. It's kind of fitting, too, because the lack of music meshes well with the bland graphical design.
I really wanted to like Aya and the Cubes of Light. After seeing the potential in each of the game's stages and seeing a few flashes of brilliance here and there, I really would have liked this downloadable title to deliver a quality puzzle platformer experience. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed the entire time. At about eight hours, you'd think the $10 price tag would be justified. Unfortunately, due to just how poorly the game controls and how that aspect of the game affects the rest of the experience, I would highly suggest you spend your digital bucks elsewhere.
My family used to have a fish tank when I was a kid. Staring at the fish in it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than Fish Tank the game, that's for sure. Admittedly, I was expecting a failure when I first saw the game's name. I thought it would be some sort of marine life simulator. After having played the game, I think that would have been more entertaining.
At its core, Fish Tank is yet another falling block game where you need to connect four of the same color. Instead of blocks, though, you get multi-colored fish. You can speed up the rate at which the fish are swimming, and there are even a few power-ups to make things interesting. Sadly, these power-ups fail to do their job.
As the fish swim into the grid from left to right, you must hold the Wii Remote sideways and tilt it up or down to select where you want the fish to go. The controls are fairly simple to get the hang of, but it goes wihtout saying that they feel incredibly tacked on. Also, they're not always accurate, and they certainly don't beat a D-pad or analog stick.
Aside from the main game, you can take on a collection of challenges, play with friends, and unlock in-game achievements. Though Fish Tank certainly attempts to provide an inviting experience to return to repeatedly, I found that it's much too lackluster to warrant any sort of replay value. I was bored out of my mind while playing, and every time I started a new game, I hoped it would end soon.
Visually, Fish Tank is nothing special. It uses bright colors, but there's hardly anything worth getting excited over as far as the game's aesthetic goes. I have to admit the game's music is pretty decent. It's jolly and catchy, but it does tend to repeat a bit too much. That said, the soundtrack is probably the only OK thing Fish Tank has going for it.
It may only cost $5, but I would hardly recommend downloading Fish Tank. Even if you have kids and you want them to get distracted with something, there are countless other options out there. Fish Tank is too basic of a game, and as a result, it's far too boring to provide any worthwhile entertainment.