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E3 Impressions - Nintendo's Wii line-up
Editorial by 
June 13, 2011, 09:54:18
In this article, I will be talking about my brief time with a lot of the demos on display at Nintendo's booth, but if you are looking for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword impressions, I have posted some more in-depth thoughts here.

But enough with Zelda hogging the spotlight! You wouldn't know it if you only watched Nintendo's press conference at E3, but they did show off a few Wii games in their corner of the conference center. Perhaps not enough for your liking or mine, but thankfully the few games shown seem to be of high quality.

Rhythm Heaven

Back when Rhythm Heaven was announced for the Wii, there was much worrying about the controls. After all, many believe that the touch screen controls of the DS game are a step down from the accuracy of the GBA's Rhythm Tengoku (never released outside of Japan). Not only that, but the games being shown off seemed to be begging for motion control, as they all features things like rackets, swords and clubs, somehow. Well, you can stop worrying now, as Nintendo as confirmed that the games in the game use buttons, not motion. Some may lament that the game has no place on the Wii, then, a console built on motion controls, but those people probably have never played Rhythm Heaven...

Perhaps it was the 2D, but it was one of the better-looking Wii games on the TVs Nintendo was using. The game would have been impossible to play if headphones hadn't been provided, thanks Nintendo! The music was quite catchy, and the situations, funny. Because I could not record the music, the videos I shot ended up being pretty pointless, so watch the official trailer instead.

I played a stage in which a Samurai had to cut in half demons jumping out of a portal. Simply press A to the rhythm as the red-eyed demons come out one by one or two in a row. Occasionally, a bunch of green eyes would appear in the portal, and you had to press A and B at the same time to slice them all up. The timing was tricky! As you play, paintings of the Samurai's deeds appear and start obscuring the action. I kind of wanted to pay attention to the story they told but that would have spelled disaster...

I saw someone play a level in which two cats in airplanes above the clouds playing badminton. As the level goes on, dusk sets in and you see only silhouettes. Additionally, at a certain point they start to descend through the clouds and you really cannot rely on your eyes anymore.

Is the game as hard as the other iterations? This is something I cannot judge from a mere demo. I am sure they did not through the toughest games at E3 attendees. That said, the game seemed somewhat forgiving, and the different mini-games seemed to go on a tad longer than in the DS version.

Kirby™ Wii
Official trailer

Another 2D platformer enhanced by being 4 players co-op. In this case, however, everyone has different powers. And forget about what they told you: not everyone is born equal: Kirby matters the most. He's got the best powers all for himself, and he's the only one who shouldn't die or else you have to start over from the last checkpoint. Everyone else is expendable, it seems.

Also, I did not get to play as Kirby. But King Dedede is still cool to play as. With his trusty mallet, he packs quite a punch. He plays much as he does in Super Smash Bros Brawl, with different moves depending on whether you're dashing, crouching, etc. Unlike NSMBW, you don't interfere with the others unless you attack. It looked really good and colorful despite the terrible TVs Nintendo is using which seem to amplify the aliasing somehow.

There are many things in the levels that only Kirby can affect. Sometimes he is required to inhale something, sometimes a mega power-up (which only he can get) is necessary to open an alternate path or to just get some more stars. Tons of fun and very frantic! I am just unsure about the in-game cutscenes that occur whenever Kirby gets a major power up. Fewer and shorter interruptions in my 2D platformers, please!

Fortune Street
Official trailer

I had the chance to play this game with the guys at Brawl in the Family It is basically Monopoly without being called Monopoly, and with Mario and Dragon Quest characters. You roll the dice and then either buy the property you landed on or pay the owner his due. Buy several properties touching each other, and their value is multiplied. Fall on one of your own properties, and you can choose to upgrade any "shop" on any tile you own, by the amount you desire. It will increase the amount people need to give you, but be careful as you can screw yourself over as I did: I spent too much and had to auction off my only other property.

At any time you can try to offer another player an amount for one of his titles, and he can accept, refuse, or make a counteroffer. If you have the means, you can also buy the "enemy" tile you landed on by paying 5 times its actual value, and the current owner will be unable to refuse. The official trailer shows off a bunch of Mario Party-like mini games, but don't be fooled, they are not the meat of the game. I did not get to play any of them during the round that we completed.

There are other subtleties... I had a fun time even if I lost (because of my own stupid early mistake, mind you), but it does seem like solo players should abstain, this is strictly for people who regularly play board games, I believe. Basically, if watching the above gameplay footage made your heart race, by all means, get excited.

Wii Play Motion
Official trailer

I tried three of the games in this compilation which will come packed with a Wii Motion Plus controller. The first one worked the best of the bunch, but it was also the simplest: you had to keep an increasing stack of ice cream scoops in equilibrium by holding the remote like an ice cream cone and tilting it accordingly. I made it to 60 scoops, but the record at the time I played was 90. Fun but simple, who knows how long it can hold one's interest.

The mini game I was most eager to try out was also the most disappointing: your Mii has strong wind in his back, an umbrella in his hands, and a course in front of him. You have to use the umbrella to get around the track. In the trailer, this game looks fast-paced and fun, but when I tried it, the controls were less than satisfying. I suspect the remote needed calibration. I pressed down on the D-pad the same way you would in Wii Sports Resort in order to re-center the controller, but that did not work, so I gave up.

Another game had me swinging the Wii remote like a mallet to whack some moles on the head, so to speak. Again, perhaps it was calibration problems, but I found the remote to be imprecise.

And this wraps up my impressions of the Wii games at Nintendo's E3 booth this year. There were some other games, such as Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident, Go Vacation, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Just Dance 3, but lack of interest made me pass on them.

Still, Rhythm Heaven, Skyward Sword and Kirby Wii became definite buys this year for me, and I am still cautiously optimistic about playing Wii Play Motion in a better environment.

What Wii games do you look forward to this year?

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Posted: 06/13/11, 09:54:18  - Edited by 
 on: 06/13/11, 10:33:20    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
I don't think Kirby Wii makes Epic Yarn obsolete. They seem to play differently, for example Epic Yarn is more slow-paced and with different mechanics and level goals. And Prince Fluff! Here's hoping for him to make a cameo in Kirby Wii.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 07:18:04
@anon_mastermind I meant in my particular case where the only people playing my copy of Epic Yarn right now are my nieces and nephews when they come over, and honestly, I'll probably never really get around to playing through it myself (though I play it with them sometimes.) And there are 3 of them that play games, so it would make more sense to just have them play the new Kirby, when it arrives.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 07:22:08
Thank you for the impressions, but unfortunately they didn't do much to my likely hood of buying any of those games between now and WiiU's launch next year. Thanks so much Reggie.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 21:56:30
I'm so happy that Rhythm Heaven Wii is coming out over here. I don't think the DS version lit the sales charts on fire, Beyonce notwithstanding. Good ol', random ol' NOA. Still, I looooove this franchise. I just love crazy shit, in general. Crazy musical shit is even better. And crazy musical shit from Nintendo is the best thing ever. I hope RH Wii has some neat multiplayer functionality. Like timing-based pong, or somesuch.

Kirby has gotten a really weird reception. It seems that game journalists are totally meh about it, but you guys enjoyed it. I think I'll believe you guys. Kirby is kind of an acquired taste, anyway. Although I think a home console is a much better fit for the multiplayer Kirbys. I mean, how often are you gonna link four GBAs together? I like that the different characters have different abilities. More multiplayer games should do that. Asymmetry FTW!

Itadaki Street is yet ANOTHER local multiplay game. My buddy got me Itadaki Street DS from Japan. I haven't really dug into it yet. He thought it was new, but it's actually used. But it looks new, even with a 100%'d save file!! Japan truly is a different world.

Too bad to hear about your Wii Play Motion issues. Did you find out which games were by whom?

Mario & Sonic (another multiplayer-focused title) could be fun, too. I don't have any of the games, but I have a certain respect for the franchise. I just remember playing the first and getting EXHAUSTED, which impressed me.

Four-player split-screen exploration sounds crazy. What a crazy game.

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/11, 22:01:57  - Edited by 
 on: 06/21/11, 22:02:23
The move to a home console really let them increase the production value, and that production value seemed to go exactly where it's needed: more wackiness and better, longer tunes.

It IS two-player, eh? Too bad they weren't showing that off.

The booth girl wouldn't have known who did what Wii Play Motion game, I didn't ask. Wasn't there an Iwata Asks recently? Hmm...

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/11, 22:37:20
I don't know if it was two-player. I'm just guessing. Plus, it could work so well!

I'm so behind on Iwata Asks. Publish them, Nintendo! Platinum rewaaaaard!

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/11, 22:45:54

Okay, I'm saying: it's two player.

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/11, 22:56:38
I whipped out Rhythm Heaven DS the other day and nailed a few more perfects. I'm happy to see the Wii version looking just as wacky as its predecessors (though I haven't played Tengoku).

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/11, 23:04:08
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