It's a sad but true fact that 3rd party publishers and developers have all but abandoned the Wii U. Sure, we're getting a small handful of 3rd party games here and there, but nothing of note. It's a dry and barren wasteland and there is nothing to look forward to now or in the near future.
That was a damnable lie.
Sure, it is sort of true when applied to Wii U retail games. But the eShop is a different story. I really think that 2014 has been the best year for the Wii U eShop, with the release of several key titles like Shovel Knight, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, SteamWorld Dig, Child of Light and more. And many of the most exciting Wii U eShop games have been brought over by a single company, British publisher / developer Curve Studios.
But we're talking about the Wii U, right? What have they done for the Wii U? Let's take a look at what Curve has released just in the last few months, as well as some of their upcoming titles.
In mid October we saw Curve publish Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut, a 2D survival horror game influenced heavily by Silent Hill, which was pretty well reviewed. To be frank, this is one of my favorite indie games in recent years.
In late October Curve published a self-developed title Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones, which was also well received. This is a neat little 2D action / puzzle / stealth game that actually manages to do fast-paced stealth, a bit of a rarity in the stealth genre.
Finally, just about a week ago, Curve released indie darling Thomas Was Alone, a 2D puzzle platformer with a touching story and amazing soundtrack. Reviewers liked this game too.
So that is four pretty big indie games right there, all brought over to the Wii U by Curve Studios. What comes next? Well, just today Curve announced that they would be bringing the much loved 2D skateboarding game OlliOlli to the Wii U and 3DS in early 2015.
After that, who knows? After this literal barrage of big indie games over the last few months, I have to imagine that Curve Studios have even more planned for the near future.
The big 3rd parties may be failing the Wii U miserably, but hey, at least someone is publishing some great stuff. You just have to be willing to consider the eShop / indie games. And consider them you should, because a lot of them are pretty awesome!
Technically only Stealth Inc 2 is "their" game, the rest are other developers games which they have published / are going to publish. They're becoming a pretty prolific indie game publisher on the Wii U. I'm a bit curious as to whether it was their idea or Nintendo put them up to it in some fashion...
Love me some Curve. I'm a fan of the Fluidity games, and Stealth Inc. 2 might even be a game of the year contender for me. I just hope their efforts on the Wii U end up successful enough for them to keep it up.
I think I read in an interview somewhere that their next in-house game is some kind of 3D open world project. They kinda got tired of 2D after the first Stealth Bastard (or Inc. or whatever) and Fluidity. Looking forward to how that turns out.
PSA: all of their games are available for 2-3 bucks on Wii U eShop right now. I think I'll grab them all. Lone Survivor comes highly recommended by none other than Secret_Tunnel, the indie game aficionado.
Curve Digital was acquired by the company that owns Kuju Entertainment (Battalion Wars series, Wii versions of Geometry Wars Galaxy and House of the Dead: Overkill, among others) and will be merged with Kuju to become Curve Digital Entertainment.
I'm optimistic that this will mean more good stuff coming to Nintendo consoles through Curve, and not less.