The Black and White - The Nintendo Wii U (MCM Expo Demo)
[size=+2]The WiiU - MCM October 27th Thoughts[/size]
The WiiU. Many are undecided in their thoughts on it, but I know exactly how I feel about it. I was lucky enough to get to play and experience some of the games at the MCM Expo in London on the 27th of October, and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on the games that I played and watched while there. Without further ado, this is my first thoughts on the WiiU in black and white.
Before I get into the games, one of the big things about the console was the pad controller. I was pleasantly surprised to find how light it was in my hands. I had expected it to be heavier, but it definitely had a nice weight to it. The ergonomics on the controller aren't bad either, with it being easy to hold and control even with one hand, which for some games I played was quite important as I was busy using my other hand to keep my jaw off the ground.
Easily my favourite part of the controller is the touch screen and how it interacts with each game. I found it very responsive in its uses and particularly enjoyed the ways in which it was used for each of the games I viewed. I'll go into more detail for each of the games uses of it when I talk about the games, but overall it was as fluid as a glass of cold cream soda, and as satisfying too.
I've not mentioned anything wrong with the controller because I can't really think of any problems with it yet. The MCM people managed to use it for 3 days without needing to calibrate it as far as I'm aware, it seamlessly interacts with the games and it's not particularly cumbersome. I definitely think that as long as it's used properly this is a powerful tool for the WiiU console, and if it's not then it makes a rather good table for placing your real controllers on. But enough about what you're going to use, let's have fun talking about what you're going to use it on!
New Super Mario Bros WiiU
We all knew this was coming first. If you didn't then clearly you don't know Nintendo. In the demo I played, there were three levels you could play. One as an autumn themed level which let you get the flying squirrel suit that allowed you to glide and have a single swoop upwards in place of your spin jump. It took a little getting used to, but when I got used to the angle and height, I was quite happy to run, jump and surge up to glide down a row of coins. Also, this made getting on top of the flagpole so easy that Poetic would take notes.
The scond level was one of those mushroom in the sky levels that mario seems to enjoy. It's almost as if mushrooms taking mario high meant something. The feature for this level was the baby yoshi. These ones you had to carry with you, rather than them carrying you (like the baby yoshi's in Super Mario World), but the one you got in this level would inflate and carry you up slightly before descending slowly as it drifted along where you guide it. The mechanic was quickly mastered and the only issue I had was making sure I didn't drop the thing like a youtube romhack player needing an extra jump.
The third levels mechanic was simple. There are these large stars in the level that rotate when you stand on one of the points, meaning you had to be quick and jumpy to not fall into the pits often below them as you traverse a level that would fit an opening sequence of Mario Galaxy 3.
All in all the standard mario game with something different to set it aside from the rest. But how does the wii pad change anything? Well, that depends on if you're playing it single player or not. In single player, the pad does little to change the gameplay, except that you can either play it on the big screen or on the pad-screen. It was pretty cool using the pad to see the gameplay rather than the big screen, reminding me of the days I spent playing mario on my various gameboys. I also found having to tap a button a lot easier to do than shake the wii remote to do the spin jump, but that's just me.
But in multiplayer, it adds a whole new element into a mix of chaos that Discord would adore. You see, the player with the pad can tap the screen to make blocks appear for the other players. This is excellent for helping your team, saving them from falls or giving them the extra boost to get to secret areas.... it also means you can hinder their jumps, block their path and otherwise do your best to make sure they truly earn their victory through the level... but that's the fun part, isn't it?
First of all, one thing; if you don't like Rayman Origins you probably won't like this. From what I saw, the gameplay is almost unchanged. But really, Origins was a damn good game, and Legends is set to build on this. Rather than saving the Electoons, you're saving Teensies from cages, and there are a lot more in the levels it seems as I recall saving about 9 and I missed a few. But the added challenge in this game is the WiiU game pad and the player it controls, the grinning flying frog Murphy.
If you haven't seen the gameplay or trailers, Murphy is controlled using the touchscreen on the game pad. Murphy makes Lum's pink which add to their value, reveals chains of lums and can interact with the environment by cutting ropes, pulling platforms and revealing hidden areas. I got to play as Murphy and one of the most entertaining parts of the game is the 'running section'. In this, the player is simply set to run as fast and smooth as they can. Murphy has to time taps carefully to make lums appear for the player to collect and hint to where they should be. The best part is that if performed close to perfectly, it seamlessly adds to the already amazing music that's playing during the section. But don't count on hearing it first time. Just like Origins, Legends is not easing up on the difficulty and requires a fair bit of practice. Brace your TV screens and insure that vase you've perched precariously next to you for some reason, because things are going to get frustrating. But you love it really.
Ah Nintendo Land. I was skeptical at first, this seemed like the average Nintendo attempt at making a party game which in the past has been as hit and miss as the 3D Sonic series. Having played a few of the games in the selection I'm happy to say I'm definitely looking forward to getting this. I played three of the games myself so I'll report on them in order that I enjoyed them from least to most.
The first is a game based on the Legend of Zelda and fairly fun. The players with the wii remoteweild swords and shields and have to walk a path, cutting down anything in the way by swinging the wii remote and defend themsleves with the shield using the B button. The player with the wii pad is an archer who attacks enemies from afar as well as hitting switches to solve small puzzles. All players have 5 lives to share. Not getting the chance to be a archer, it seemed to control fairly well for the ones I saw who did use it.
The second game, set in animal crossing, is quite fun. Players are tasked with stealing 50 pieces of candy from the trees around the area. The more they steal, the bigger their head gets the slower they move. The player with the wii pad controls the guards. The two guards have to catch the thieves three times by using the two thumbsticks and trigger buttons to pounce on the players. The players have to run from the guards making sure they're not too slow from having too much candy. Players are able to drop the candy they're holding to speed up and evade capture. It's not a bad game and can be quite exciting, though I was as good at guarding the candy as the toads are at protecting Peach.
The final game I played, and easily the most fun of the Nintendo Land games I've seen is the game based on Luigi's mansion. The premise is simple. Four players are armed with torches and have to wander a floor of a small mansion. The person with the wii pad is a ghost and have to catch the four players while avoiding having the players shine the torch on them. When a player is caught, they 'faint' and have to be revived by having someone shine their torch on them. Torches don't last forever either. They have to be recharged by picking up batteries that show up when someones torch is in the red battery. The player's controllers vibrate when the ghost is near, getting more intense the closer the ghost gets. Playing this game as either side is truly exciting and while I can see many a fight for who gets to play as the ghost, I'd take my chances with the torch. Being the ghost is pretty difficult against a good group of people, though it's definitely fun to see someone panic as you get near to them and grab them, and catching them in the game is fun too.
Other Nintendo Stuff
I didn't get to play all the games there, so here's a brief summary of everything else I saw.
One nintendo land game I didn't play involved twisting the wii pad to drive a small car along a gauntlet of physics puzzles, trying not to get your balloon destroyed. It looked fun and challenging, certainly worth a look.
Pikmin 3 looks set to build and improve on a number of things from Pikmin two, with a number of different kinds of Pikmin and new enemies. The controls look solid and the visuals excellent.
One thing I saw that looked quite interesting is Panoramic View. Simply put, you're shown a scenario on the screen, for example a london open top bus tour. The screen shows the straight ahead view of what one would see sitting in the seat. Using the wii pad however allowed you to look around in full 360 view. You can have Big Ben on the TV screen while you look at the boats on the river by pointing the wii pad towards the river. A very interesting demonstration.
ZombieU's line was too long for me to try going in, but it looked quite cool from the footage I saw from across the barrier.
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