Saving the best for last, my time with Pikmin 3 was one of the most enjoyable experiences on the showfloor. Pikmin 3 was easily the best looking and the most fun I had throughout my time at the Wii U Experience. The control set-up was fairly simple and those that had time to dabble into the Wii version of Pikmin 1 and 2 will feel right at home. The build I had time with allowed me to fight against a massive insectoid boss with a hardened armored shell. The new type of Pikmin proved very useful here: the rock Pikmin. These hardy little guys would crack the outer shell of the boss as I threw them. Unlike other Pikmin though, they don’t fly as far. As a result I would find myself a little too close to the boss at times.
Once the outer shell is broken I switched to my fire Pikmin that latch on to the soft surface of the exposed body. If I really wanted to deal damage though, I would throw some rock Pikmin in there. However, the short range of the throws prohibited me from doing so often. In order to make things a bit challenging, the boss would fiddle around making you miss your shots or trap you in its pincers to eat you. Luckily, it’s not too hard to escape from its clutches as you just need to bombard the sucker with a huge amount of Pikmin.
The demo at the showfloor didn’t have any Wii U controller capabilities other than the mini-map. It was disappointing as I really wanted to go hands-on with its unique features that were going to be implemented. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for this.
The time I had the Wii U Experience was pretty amazing. There were a lot of games there up for show and I’m a bit sad that I didn’t have the time to check them all out. However, the games I did see and play looked great. If anything, it means that Nintendo is serious about their launch of the console. There are some truly great games to support the system! The controller at this point feels somewhat of a gimmick but the features that come with it are nicely implemented to say the least. We'll just have to wait until this Holiday Season to find out if the Wii U is everything it's cracked up to be.
Simon Chun is a freelance game journalist for GameZone! Follow his twitter @kayos90 and check out his weekly column, Nitpick
Hideki Kamiya is no stranger when it comes to action games and it should come to no one’s surprise that Project P-100 plays great. Using a unique premise of heroes, the player controls a group of random heroes to save a town. Although my time with the game was quite short, I had no shortage of words to describe this unique game.
The player controls a group of heroes and can choose to pull off team moves and unison attacks. While team moves are normal attacks and build battery, unison attacks are stronger and requires battery. It’s a mix of trying to manage how many normal attacks you should use and how often you should use unison attacks. It’s a pretty cool risk and reward idea. Additionally you can dodge and block using your group of heroes. Your group jumps around like a crazy mob and can employ some crazy, neat tricks. While I couldn’t get in-depth into the combat, it has the potential to match the developer’s pedigree.
The visuals are absolutely amazing with a cartoonish 3-D feel. The heroes all have that element of oddity but at the same time looking somewhat heroically outlandish. Think of a more comical Avengers – if that’s even possible. Bosses are even more outrageous as one in particular is the size of a humongous building. Needless to say, this game is pretty rad and one to look out for.
Acting as the party and group game of the bunch, Nintendo Land tries to be a bundle of various mini-games that players can mess with and have fun. While it was impossible to try out all the mini-games available at the time, as it was clear that some of the mini-games were locked out for this build, I was able to get my hands on three.
The first game was a Pacman-like variation of Luigi’s mansion, and the same game which was showed off during the E3 press briefing. Getting a total of five players involved, four with the Wiimote and one with the Wii U controller, it was a pretty unique experience. Four players would roam around the map in an overhead perspective and would have to defeat the fifth player, the ghost, using their flashlight. The kicker is that the ghost is invisible while the fifth player can see everyone on the map using the dedicated screen on the Wii U controller. To keep things fair no one looked over the fifth player’s shoulder to cheat. It was very interesting and difficult as we all struggled to communicate and stick together.
Often times we would get caught by the ghost and once all players are captured, the four players would lose. However, once you’re caught, your teammates can revive you by shining the flashlight on you. But this means that you’re open to attack by the ghost since you’re focused on reviving. Teamwork is essential as it keeps not only you alive, but your teammates as well.
A variation of cat and mouse featuring Animal Crossing was the second game I delved into and it was just as fun as the previous one. The Animal Crossing game also featured five players and the two teams were divided exactly like the Luigi’s Mansion game. There would be numerous trees on the map with button panels. The four players on one team must hold down these panels for a certain amount of time to make candies drop, which they must collect to win the game. However, the trade-off is that the more candies you collect the slower you run. This is critical as the fifth player is hunting you down and the moment he/she catches you, your candy deposit is lost. Additionally you lose one of the three lives that your team has. Thankfully you have the option to drop candy as you run so you can run faster. This gives the player to think whether they should just abandon the candy and run or be greedy and hopefully roam in a way that won’t get him/her caught.
The controls were simple for the four players controlling the Wiimote but the fifth player using the Wii U GamePad doesn't have it as easy. Using the screen on the controller, the fifth player takes control of two hunters, one with each control stick on the controller. It’s a bit hard to manage both in this fashion so it gives leniency and somewhat balance to the game.
The final game was one of the more difficult games of the selection: Zelda. Three players would journey in an on-rails fashion as they make for one of the dungeons. While the premise is pretty boring, the gameplay is solid. Two players would use the Wii remote and control a sword to defeat enemies, very much like Skyward Sword, while the last player would use the Wii U GamePad to handle a bow. The Wii U GamePad’s gyroscope and motion capabilities allows the player to aim their bow by moving the controller. Unlike the other two games I played, this one focuses more on teamwork and co-operating together. The two swordsmen would be in the front protecting the archer with their sword and shield while the archer would give support from the back. This mini-game isn’t a pushover either as the enemies that block your way can definitely give you a bit of a challenge. Just like Skyward Sword, they will block certain areas of their body and mix it up quite often giving you a bit of trouble. It was definitely enjoyable to have something more difficult in Nintendo Land.
I had the opportunity to try out Nintendo's upcoming console at the local Wii U Experience event some time ago. There were many Wii U kiosks set up with various types of games – mostly the prominent ones. While I didn’t try every single game and I couldn’t take an hour with each one, I tried to get my hands on as many as I possibly could.
Possibly one of the most exciting games that will be available at launch, ZombiU immediately caught my attention on the floor. Luckily I was one of the first few people in line so my turn came around quite quickly. The game is atmospheric to say the least as darkness broods around every corner and light is scarce. It really sets that tone of being alone and possibly open to a zombie attack. The mission I had was to search for supplies in a nursery. The stark dichotomy between the unsafe feelings in this nursery versus a real one was exceptionally cool and each open door kept me on my toes as I was afraid of a zombie being on the other side of it.
The gameplay was surprising smooth. ZombiU plays like a survival horror, is one of the first console games in a while to truly capitalize on that idea. Sadly, the shooting doesn’t feel like it makes a difference as bullets fly everywhere. It’s very easy to miss if you make successive shots rather than stopping ever three seconds between each fire. The game discourages run and gun and promotes more of a slow and steady approach. This becomes especially important as zombies run up to you fairly fast and can take you down in mere moments. It’s extremely easy to die, but that's the idea. While it's entirely possible to melee zombies to death, once they’re up in your face, you're pretty much done for. ZombiU is extremely exhilarating and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Of course, the Wii U controller itself is the star in the demo and it was a bit awkward to use. The controller itself is unsurprisingly light as I never felt bogged down by its weight, however, it still is heavier than the 360 or PS3 controller. You can use the controller itself to look around using it as a night vision of sorts with the screen. At the same time the screen acts as a map and inventory. These are cool features although they do feel slightly gimmicky and sort of unneeded. I’m looking forward to ZombiU when it launches with the Wii U holiday season.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge had a playable segment of the game from the original version. The difference is that you had new weapons, Ninpo, and other features available to you. My brief time with the demo however was one of familiarity but at the same time disappointment.
The game itself played virtually the same as the original. The combat remained unchanged and there were tons of enemies thrown at you on the screen. The enemies weren’t rather smart so it was easy to hack and slash your way to victory. I had twin swords at my disposal as well as a Ninpo which was extremely awesome as I used the reticule to aim my fireballs.
The controller for the most part didn’t do anything special. The action was so focused on the television that I had no time to actually look down at the controller screen to see what it was actually doing. For the most part though, controlling Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge on the Wii U controller was the same as using a 360 or PS3 controller, albeit a bit larger.