Tagged "Wii"

Nov 30

There’s always a duff title or two in any launch line-up. The reasons are simple – it’s either down to the developer’s inexperience with the system, or the publisher pushing to get the game out on launch day. Retailers always tend to overstock on launch titles, you see, and that’s very good news for publishers. We’re sure that new copies of likes of Asphalt 3D and Street Fighter IV will still be on shop shelves when the 3DS is on its deathbed.

With the Wii U launching in Europe this week, we’re looking at the worst Nintendo launch titles of all time. Pity the person who took one of these home instead of something plumber-related.

FIFA 64 – Nintendo 64

For the first four or five months of the N64’s life there were only ten games available, and three of those were sports games. FIFA 64 more than likely sold well due to the fact that there were very few other games out for N64 owners to buy, rather than the fact that it was a FIFA game. Rubbish animation, bizarre camera angles, slowdown and repetitive commentary – FIFA 64 was a bit of an embarrassment. A £59.99 embarrassment.

Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure – GameCube

A game featuring segments from Back to the Future, ET, Waterworld, Jurassic Park, Jaws and Backdraft sounds quite the appealing package on paper. Shame Kemco managed to screw it up superbly. Most of your time in Universal Studios was spent aimlessly walking around the crudely rendered theme park picking up litter and talking to Woody Woodpecker – the most annoying cartoon character on earth. Why make players pick up litter when they’re in a place built for fun?

GT Pro Series – Wii

One of Ubisoft’s Wii shovelware games, GT Pro Series was not an entirely new game but a vague remake of a GameCube racer with some tacked on motion controls. We’d imagine that a fair few gamers were duped into buying it simply because it came with a free steering wheel. Fellow launch game Monster 4X4 World Circuit was also a conversion of an older game (originally on Xbox) but it didn’t fail on every level like GT Pro Series did.

Far Cry Vengeance – Wii

Here’s another wonky effort from Ubisoft. NGamer put this on their front cover – something which they no doubt regretted once they had the full game in their own hands. Their review is still up online – a resounding 23%. “Turns your living room into some kind of talent vacuum,” was their final verdict. Perhaps Ubisoft purposely made it poor to make Red Steel look good? We joke, of course.

Super Fruit Fall – Wii

There’s a little bit of history behind this 2D rotating maze puzzler – it started out as a £9.99 budget PlayStation 2 game from the purveyors of filth, Phoenix Games. It was then snapped up by System 3 for a Wii release… as a £19.99 budget game. Seeing as it eventually ended up on DS and PSP with bad scores all round, it’s clear to us that they thought they could make a quick buck on it rather than develop it into something great.

Army Men Advance – Game Boy Advance

Contrary to popular belief, not all of the Army Men games were bad. Army Men RTS was a more than sufficient real-time strategy game. There’s a reason for this though: it wasn’t made by 3DO – a company that released so many bad games in such a short space of time that their reputation was the punch line of many jokes back in the day. You would have had more fun putting plastic Army Men in a microwave then playing this shoddy shooter.

Asphalt Urban GT – Nintendo DS

The 1/5 from NGC Magazine that Asphalt Urban GT received was perhaps a little harsh but there’s no doubting it was a bad game – launch your vehicle off a ramp and it would often bounce back off an invisible ceiling. It was painfully apparent that it had a rushed development, making little use of the DS’s then-fancy touch-screen.

Ping Pals – Nintendo DS

If Ping Pals had more than a couple of weeks of development time, we’d be very surprised. It wasn’t even a game as such – more like a glorified version of Pictochat, the DS’s built-in (and free) chat software. “With PictoChat coming as standard, this is a bit like paying money to breathe air,” said the Official Nintendo Magazine. Off it trotted with a 9% review score.

Sprung! The Dating Game – Nintendo DS

Known as Crush during its development period, you can’t deny that Ubisoft didn’t understand the Nintendo DS’s demographic right from the start. It seemed odd at the time that Ubisoft were releasing a dating game, but nowadays we wouldn’t even bat an eyelid – stuff like this is the DS’s bread and butter. “The game is essentially just a bunch of conversations that take place during two characters’ stay at the Ski Lodge, so anyone actually expecting to hit the slopes for some skiing will be very, very disappointed,” said IGN.

Asphalt 3D – 3DS

Proving that history does repeat itself, Asphalt 3D suffered from all the faults of the DS original – glitches, slowdown and horrid visuals. Vehicles appear to be merely floating on top of the track, and when crashing into an opponent the screen simply judders and shakes, almost as if the crash animations were cut at the last minute. Ass-felt, is more like it.

The Sims 3 – 3DS

“It’s almost an achievement that EA has made a 3DS version of a game that’s not only worse than the Wii version, but the DS version too,” began the Official Nintendo Magazine’s review. “For some reason, the 3DS version of The Sims 3 has removed the mood bars that tell you how hungry, clean, tired and so forth your Sim is. No big deal, you know, it’s only the WHOLE POINT of the entire game,” they continued. Score? A miserable 20%.

Half of the games on this list are from Ubisoft but they do thankfully seemed to have bucked their ideas up for the Wii U – none of their games look truly awful. They even passed the buck on Funky Barn, a game which they published on 3DS but are letting 505 Games instead publish on Wii U. It must be flipping terrible.

Apr 11

Rayman Origins

It’s remarkable that Rayman Origins won the BAFTA for Artistic Achievement. Not because it isn’t a thing of beauty – it is, even on the distinctly standard definition Wii – but because of what it is. It’s a 2D platformer, with levels based around fire, ice, water, desert and so on. In the 16-bit heyday, it would have been unremarkable in the extreme. But now it stands out as a refreshing change, and wins a BAFTA for its trouble. Funny how things change.

Rayman Origins

While it looks lovely – and sounds just as good, with a dangerously high risk of earworms – the real genius lies in how it deals with death. The levels are split into short sections, separated by doors – which, incidentally, you pass through by punching an oversized eye – which act as checkpoints, and restarting after dying is admirably instantaneous. There’s no fuss around dying. Try. Die. Try again. No worries.

What this means is that individual sections of levels can become fiendishly exacting without crossing over into frustration. The game pushes its luck towards the end – the long last level in particular – but when you’ve got no time to mope around between deaths, it’s impossible to give up.

It’s a gentle difficulty curve though, and for the first half or so, it’s just a joy to play a game which seems to want only to delight you. The elements are familiar – jumping, swinging, floating, hitting – but unusual in execution – for example the long blue chap with a big hand who acts as a rope – and combined absolutely expertly. Rayman feels weighty, flopping around the place in his limbless way most satisfyingly.

Rayman Origins

The game is littered with clever little set pieces, involving defeating enemies to release the little creatures you’re trying to rescue; some are a neat test of skill, but often one hit triggers a very pleasing chain reaction. There are also very competent scrolling shooter sections, and bonus chase levels requiring pixel-perfect precision. The latter are hellishly demanding, but get away with it because they’re not crucial to progress. And they’re fun, in a masochistic kind of way.

The addition of bosses in the second half of the game is not terribly welcome. They’re not unimaginative in design, necessarily, but their mechanics are tediously clockwork. There’s little skill involved, since it’s virtually impossible to react to a lot of their attacks – you just need to keep dying until you memorise the pattern, then make sure you’re in the right part of the screen at the right time.

But that’s soon forgotten once the brain-rottingly catchy end of level jingle kicks in, and it’s on to the next slice of retro platforming goodness.

Sep 13

Nintendo Points

When Nintendo finally made demos a permanent reality on WiiWare, I was optimistic. But that seems to have petered out with, at the time of writing, only one demo available, that being of 2009′s NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits. WiiWare in general is hardly flying high, too, with three or four releases a month of late – not all of which you’d strictly describe as games.

(Incidentally, it’s interesting to read the thoughts of a developer releasing a title on WiiWare later this month.)

Where's Wally? Fantastic Journey 1

So, faced with 500 Nintendo Points sitting in my account, what to do? It doesn’t buy much: a NES game on the Virtual Console; a few scraps on WiiWare. But one game stood out: Where’s Wally? Fantastic Journey 1. It’s cheap because it’s episodic – and because, you know, it’s only Where’s Wally.

Perhaps I was swayed in that direction because I kept seeing a group of lads all dressed as Wally at Reading Festival recently. Ironically, they were a helpful landmark for navigating through the crowd, such was the ease of finding them.

I digress. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but Wally’s natural home is on the pages of a book. Scrolling around the screen with a timer counting down misses the point somewhat: it doesn’t encourage quiet enjoyment of the scene as a whole, taking in the little details; you have to find what you’re told to and get on with it.

Not that there isn’t entertainment in that. Also, repeatedly being told, “You’ve got the magic!” is a lot of fun. The spot the difference games are a welcome addition too, if you like that sort of thing. Which apparently I do.

In any case, it kept me occupied for a good hour and a bit. Which, to be fair, is more than the Wii has managed in a while.

Aug 17


Presumably to get some extra mileage out of the Wii and keep it in the public’s eye until the Wii U is released, Nintendo has shown off a new slimmer model. It’s due out for Christmas and comes bundled with two games – Wii Sports and Wii Party – along with a Wii Remote Plus with nunchuk.

Much like the new PSP E-1000 that Sony showed off yesterday, it doesn’t look that much different from the original model. The only notable differences are the blue bezel around the disk drive and the fact that it’s designed to sit horizontally rather than vertically. In order to cut costs, it won’t be compatible with GameCube games or accessories either.

This decision caused mild upset during the Nintendo community, and some might say that upset is unwarranted – people have had five long years to go out and buy the original backwards compatible Wii. Also: this ‘Family Edition’ (as Nintendo themselves call it) isn’t going to be aimed at those who want to play Doshin the Giant and Chibi Robo between Mario Kart Wii sessions.

Ranting about losing the GameCube joypad ports, however, is just about justified – playing Smash Bros. Brawl with the GameCube joypad is the pro’s choice, after all.

No price has been announced, but Nintendo has confirmed that it’ll replace all existing models once stocks run out in Europe.

In related news, JRPGs The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower have also been confirmed for Europe, making the Wii’s 2012 line-up look a whole lot rosier than it did, well, any time prior to this news breaking.

Aug 11

You don’t need me to tell you that Pheasants Forever is a hunting game. And as you may have guessed, it’s for Wii. But what a strange name to call a game – if people hunted pheasants forever then there will be none left. I suppose though they couldn’t have called it Pheasant Slaughter Sim. If it’s any better than Duck Hunt on the NES I will be very surprised, and if review copies have been sent to press I’d be even more so.

If you feel that fruit needs to be punished rather than pheasants, there’s Fruit Ninja Kinect on Xbox Live Arcade. It got an 8/10 in 360 Gamer magazine – “It is what it is” they said. A simple game done well, in other words. It’s a greatly improved version, or rather a totally new version, of the popular iOS game. If you can wait a while it’s also going to be bundled on the same disk as The Gunstringer, which was once due on Xbox Live Arcade but is now a retail release.

As per the usual, there are a couple of seemingly random DS games out this week too. Mystery Tales Part 2 and 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven, to be precise. We all remember the classic that was the original Mystery Tales, don’t we? Yep. 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven appears to be the sequel to 7 Wonders II but by going by the boxart and product descriptions the differences between the two sound rather minimal.

Next week: Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii), Toy Soldiers: Cold War (XBLA), Arcana Heart 3 (PS3, 360), Country Dance (Wii), Farm Frenzy 3 (DS), Timmy Time (DS) and Youda Legend: Amsterdam Diamond (DS).

Jun 14

There’s always a sense of excitement when one of the big three console manufacturers release a list of what’s due out on their consoles from now until the next six months or so. Part of this excitement comes from the fact that often there are games mentioned that haven’t been officially announced, or haven’t been previously reported as being released outside of Japan or whatnot.

This time round it’s Nintendo, with a list of what’s being released in US this year.

For Wii and DS owners it isn’t very good news. Nintendo’s own titles aside, the majority of games for both platforms are either licensed or child friendly. In fact, every DS and Wii game from Activision, Disney, Sega, Konami, D3, THQ, Ubisoft, Take-2 and Warner Bros has a license attached.

Incidentally, WB lists LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 for release on DS and 3DS but not on Wii. A mistake, surely?

EA’s Wii line-up makes for even more depressing reading – four titles based on board games and this year’s Madden and Need for Speed updates. Looks like they aren’t even going to bother releasing FIFA 12 in the US.

There are of course a few exceptions: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 on DS should be worth an import. Two new WiiWare games are on the list too: La-Mulana and MotoHeroz. On DSiWare meanwhile there’s the excellent sounding Pro Jumper! Chimaki’s Hot Spring Tour Guilty Gear Tangent.

More exciting is the list of titles for the 3DS’s eShop – five GameGear games from Sega, Let’s Golf 3D from Gameloft, something called Picture Lives! and confirmation that The Rolling Western – shown at E3 – is an eShop title. That’ll explain why it looks so barren in the screenshots.

After a few months of silence, Nintendo are unleashing three big titles on 3DS – Kid Icarus: Unrising, Mario Kart and Super Mario are all due in time for Christmas while Starfox 64 3D is out in September. Paper Mario and Animal Crossing still have ‘TBA’ next to them. It’s not long until Kirby Mass Attack on DS though – that’s due in September as well.

Anything else? Ubisoft are stinking up the 3DS with no less than four virtual pet games – Petz Fantasy 3D, Cute Puppies, Horses 3D and Imagine Babyz. Shudder. It would also seem that Sega are holding back Thor on 3DS to tie-in with the DVD/Blu-ray release – it’s not due out until “Fall”. The DS version gained some favorable reviews; this could turn out alright too with the extra development time behind it.

To only see one DS game from Ubisoft is a bit of a suprise and it looks like THQ aren’t releasing any more uDraw games now that the uDraw for Xbox 360 and PS3 has been announced. Odd.

The US Nintendo release list in full: (more…)

May 13

Art of Balance - Wii

I was over a year late to the Art of Balance party, and for that I blame only Nintendo. Had they given the green light to WiiWare demos earlier – as they clearly and obviously should have – then I would have played the demo earlier, and realised how ridiculously brilliant it is earlier.

The couple of months it took me to download the full game after playing the demo, and the couple of months it took me to play it after that… that’s all Nintendo’s fault too. It is! DO NOT QUESTION ME.

Art of Balance - Wii

Actually, I blame Shin’en too, for giving the game an awful name. Awful because it sounds for all the world like a balance board game. But it isn’t: your task is to build a stack, using all the pieces you’re given, that doesn’t fall into the ever-threatening bowl of water below for at least a count of three.

It starts with nice simple geometric shapes, which fit together nicely with a steady hand. But, as these things inevitably do, it soon gets more complicated: pieces with curved corners or pointy bits; pieces that smash when other pieces are stacked on top; pieces becoming usable in an unhelpful order; less uniform bases for you to build on. There are challenge stages too: a time limit; a required height to achieve with your stack; or a floating, unstable base to build on.

Art of Balance - Wii

There’s some really clever level design, and when repeated attempts are required – which they definitely are later in the game – it’s not always for the same reason. On more puzzling levels, the solution may only become clear after a bit of trial and error; some levels just takes practice, either to perfect the balancing act, or to do it quickly enough. It makes for a surprisingly varied game.

It has the hallmarks of a good physics-based puzzler: that delighted satisfaction that comes when a solution materialises from nowhere, and a desire to pursue more ‘interesting’ solutions, just because they’re fun.

Only twice, by my reckoning, does the game overstep the mark into frustration. Most of the time evil levels give the most satisfaction, but those two… still evil, even afterwards.

If, like me, Art of Balance passed you by when it was released over a year ago, then dust off your Wii and give it a go. DO IT.

Apr 30

If any of these faux Wii 2 rumours – fresh from my very own brain – turn out to be true, my uncle will be a monkey. Or however that phrase goes. Behold:

  • Nintendo’s top boffins are currently creating a new colour that only the Wii 2 will be able to display.

  • The Wii 2 will be shaped like Abraham Lincoln’s hat.

  • The Wii 2 will examine your face and give out make-up tips while booting up.

  • If you have an honest looking face the Wii 2 will let you download games before paying for them.

  • The Wii 2 will monitor how many violent games you play and then send a ‘Psychopath Rating’ to the local police.

  • Unlike other videogame consoles, the Wii 2 will only need an oil change every 18 months.

  • The Wii 2 will take photos of you while you play and send them back to Reggie for his own ‘personal collection’.

  • If a Wii 2 breaks it’ll automatically request a visit from a fully trained electrician. It’ll also eject a rubber dingy.

  • The current design of the Wii 2 infringes on no less than sixteen of Dyson’s patents.

  • To justify the high price tag the Wii 2 will have built-in parking sensors.

  • If you’re bald the Wii 2 will offer sympathy and make games easier so you don’t feel inadequate.

  • You won’t be able to download software onto the Wii 2 without purchasing the chip and pin machine accessory.

  • Wii 2′s friend codes will be formed of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

  • You won’t be able to eject disks from your Wii 2 unless you regularly charge up the Soda-Stream style gas canister located underneath.

  • Valve wanted to make Portal 2 a Wii 2 exclusive but Nintendo turned it down saying it looked “too white”.

  • If you buy a pre-owned game the Wii 2 will send your name and address to the developers so they can send you hate mail.

  • The Wii 2 will emit a pheromone to attract kittens.

  • To deter hackers the Wii 2 will simply give out your credit card details to anybody who asks nicely.

  • The Wii 2 will switch itself off the moment somebody with a beard enters the room.

  • The Wii 2 is, in actual fact, a board game.

And here are some of our favourites from our Twitter followers:

  • Wii 2 will be sold with a magazine that gives away a new piece each week for 97 weeks starting with the first at £1.99. – @Treesmurf11

  • Wii 2′s home screen will constantly display “We are making Pikmin 3″ as a reassurance. But it will never come out. – @jellyscare

  • To stop theft Wii 2 sprays skunk essence at anyone wearing Black and White stripes and carrying a bag marked ‘swag’. – @Treesmurf11

  • A new PSN style trophy system will be incorporated into the Wii 2, called NintenRophies. – @RicDixon

  • Instead of Miis, the Wii 2 will have a built-in Tingle who will invade every game you play at the most annoying times. – @jellyscare

  • Wii 2 will have hair like Donald Trump. – @painstick

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