This year at E3, Nintendo threw open their doors and showed everyone exactly what they were about: Games. At the Nintendo post-E3 event in London, I was lucky enough to sample all of new games that will be coming soon to the Wii U and the 3DS.
The event showcased some of the biggest games that will be coming to Nintendo’s consoles whilst also giving us a glimpse of the capabilities of the Wii U GamePad. The GamePad is something that I have always found interesting, but up until now I didn’t believe that it was going to sell the Wii U. This changed when I sampled a GamePad focused title; Project Giant Robot. An incredibly fun game that, like many Nintendo exclusives, doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows for a good laugh to be had.
The player builds and takes control of a giant robot with the aim of causing as much havoc as possible on a town. Although this sounds a lot like Godzilla with robots, there is a lot of fun to be had as you must use the motion sensor on the GamePad to move your robot around, with a first person view being had on the GamePad screen whilst a third person view is on your television. Project Giant Robot is by no means finished, but it was great to see how the GamePad can be easily utilised to make games more enjoyable and have a more unique feel.
Using the motion sensor on the Wii U GamePad has become something quite normal it seems, as nearly all of the games that I sampled required use of the GamePad to look around with your character or to alter the view on the smaller screen to give you a tactical advantage. This worked especially well with the wacky game Splatoon. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Splatoon, a game in which you must work in a team to cover as much of the map with squid ink, whilst stopping the opposing team from doing the same. The GamePad acts as your ability to swing the camera around and also acts as a map where you can see the percentage cover of ink in real-time. The full version of Splatoon will have more modes as well as a single-player campaign but Nintendo have not digressed this far yet; I would like to see how far Splatoon can be taken, even though it was great fun I cannot see that lasting for too long without a lot more for players to do.
One of my favourite games for the DS was Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, a game in which you had to manipulate things on the screen so that your Mario wind-up toys would make it to the next arena. I was thrilled then, to see this coming to the Wii U, using the GamePad and stylus just as you would the bottom screen of the DS. Testing out a few levels showed that it was better than the DS version, little Marios could collect parts that you could use to build bridges for them to cross over to avoid breaking on the spikes. I can see this title being a great Nintendo e-shop title and to be used with the GamePad when not using the television; one of the key concepts of the Wii U GamePad.
Continuing with Mario, with the new Mario Maker I finally got to live the dream of making a Mario World. This was actually much easier than expected and had great results, my short level was easy to play and worked well enough to be enjoyable. I am expecting that the finished version of Mario Maker will have longer levels and the possibility of creating whole worlds for Mario to travel through with castles and many intricacies.
My favourite use of the Wii U GamePad however must be Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, which usesthe GamePad in a number of ways. From spinning round the screen so you get the best view of the arena in which you must find the star, to being used in the first person to fire turnips at enemies and hidden items.
A difficult puzzler that requires a cool, steady hand throughout every mission, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker looks to be an incredibly enjoyable game for anyone who loved his missions in Super Mario 3D World and we can all hope to see some cameos from the Mario Brothers themselves.
The game that stole the show however, must be Super Smash Bros. As soon as I arrived to the event I made a beeline straight to the Wii U version where I picked up the hallowed GameCube controller with glee and began to duel with other like-minded individuals. Super Smash Bros. Wii U looks better than ever, with upgrade character models and graphics, whilst sticking to the core Smash Bros ideology that has made every game in the series a work of art. New characters like Greninja add more depth to an already huge roster of fighters and the gameplay is slick, fast and easy to pick up even if you are an amateur. Even though it was just a demo of one type of battle for Super Smash Bros., I was instantly hooked and struggled to move away from the station with the other games on show becoming nothing more than a memory.
Moving on to the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. I was a bit disappointed at first with the tempo of the games being much slower and the difficulty of landing solid hits increasing by a large amount. However, the 3DS release did grow on me and it is surprisingly easy to adapt and change game-style for each edition. Using the circle pad on the 3DS is a real challenge as it is not raised like GameCube controllers and doesn’t have as good a range of movement for characters.
Overall the Nintendo Post E3 event was a real eye opener to the power and capabilities of the Wii U and the Wii U GamePad. Focusing on what the GamePad can do for players was a solid idea from Nintendo as it made sceptics (like myself) realise the importance of the GamePad and how it can affect how we play games. With the flurry of GamePad-centric titles arriving to the Wii U soon and the discussion of using more than one GamePad per Wii U, I can see this console really increasing sales and creating its own niche market.