I’ve spoken many times about digital downloads and today we’re going to talk about digital downloads again, but this time we’re going to do it a little different. I’m not going to talk about how much I am looking forward to the digital future, but I am going to talk about games you can get digitally. We’re more than six months into 2010 and I’m going to take a look at the 10 best games available on WiiWare so far this year. Keep in mind that this list is my list of personal favorites that have been released so far this year and does not reflect the opinions of the site as a whole. All games on this list were released before July 1st.
Arcade shooters come in many forms. This one happens to be a sort of position defense games. You occupy the area at the bottom of the screen and you stay there fighting off hordes of incoming zombies. These zombies have different attributes, some are just shambling bodies, others are more acrobatic and some are larger and can absorb more damage. The game features cameos by characters from a number of different children’s stories like Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Zombie Panic also features a number of different weapon types and completely destructible environments that can be used to destroy the hordes of walking dead.
While Rage of the Gladiator is near the top of my pile of shame, it’s also one of the best games I’ve played on WiiWare to date. It’s a Punch-Out!! style game that has you facing off against a variety of opponents. In order to win you need to figure out the different tells and patterns that they use to attack you, dodge them and counter attack. It features beautiful animations, lighting effects and is fully voice acted. If you are a fan of Punch-Out!! and you want more of that style of game then you should check out Rage of the Gladiator.
This is one of the few games that we’ve followed from the very beginning. We’ve had multiple interviews with the developers and even were able to do a hands-on preview of the game before it came out. It’s a 2D platformer where you, as Max, are able to use a magic marker that you receive in the mail to draw new platforms, stairs or boulders to gain access to different parts of the environment. The marker is even used as a weapon that you can use to dispatch the different goo monsters you’ll encounter along the way. There are loads of things to collect and a number of different modes to play the game in so there’s plenty of reason to keep coming back for more.
I missed out on the original Blaster Master, which is now available on the Virtual Console. Sunsoft is making a come back and this is the game they chose to start it off. It features many of the elements that made the original game popular. The mix of platforming combined with a top down shooter makes for a great mix of gameplay styles that keep the game somewhat fresh. Multiple save points mean that if you die along the way you won’t have to retrace your steps very far to continue the adventure.
This is a WiiWare port of a DS game that was originally a GBA game so it could have been very easy for this game to lose any charm it might have had. Thankfully that’s not the case and instead what you have is a great twist on a traditional platformer. You control a character that is in both the present and the past at the same time and you must coordinate your efforts in both time periods in order to defeat an enemy who seems almost indestructible due to her ability to survive in both periods simultaneously. While it takes some getting used to paying attention to both periods at the same time, but when you do you’ll realize just how much fun the game can be.
This game was released at the end of June and has proven to be one of the hidden gems of the WiiWare service. It’s a 3D platformer that borrows very heavily from games like Super Mario Galaxy and Rachet & Clank. The game’s visuals are some of the best on the service to date, and while the game is a bit on the short side you won’t really care because the joy of platforming is alive and well with this game. In game achievements and tons of collectables add to the replayability and increase the difficulty of the game somewhat.
The Art Style games have proven that sometimes simpler is better. These games are all re-workings of a series of Japanese only released for the GBA called bit.generations. They’re games that have simple concepts and visuals, but hide a lot of depth underneath the lowly façade. light trax is a top down racer that has you, as a beam of light, racing around insanely shaped courses trying to avoid walls, speed traps and moveable obstacles to finish each race in first place. The game is constantly moving forward and the only way to gain speed is by sticking close to the other racers. There is some strategy to be employed because two racers can’t occupy the same lane at the same time so you can use that to your advantage to force opponents into walls that will cause them to lose life. It’s a simple game that takes a while to master and there are a couple different modes of play to keep you coming back. If you prefer a more laid back experience I suggest traveling down the highway in order to see how far you can get before time runs out.
These top three games could all be contenders for not only WiiWare game of the year, but game of the year for Wii in general. If only the retail releases hadn’t been so solid this year. Mega Man 10 brings all the difficulty of classic Mega Man games and combines it with many elements that make it a more modern release. After you’ve defeated Dr. Wily you can then download new stages and characters that add a new twist to the game. For the first time in a long time you now have the ability to play as someone other than Mega Man to begin the game as Proto Man is a playable character from the start. The new robot masters are some of the more unique and the game improves on everything that Capcom got right with 2008’s release of Mega Man 9.
Cave Story is a re-release of a freeware PC game from 2004. Many people were wondering if there would be enough to justify paying $12 for a free game and I can tell with you 100% certainty that there is. This Metroid-vania style game has you exploring the world of a race of creatures known as Mimigas after you wake up in a mysterious cave. You quickly become part of a plot that has seen one of their members kidnapped. The game features upgradeable weapons that will get better or worse depending on how much damage you’ve taken and how many items you’ve collected. Some parts of the world won’t be accessible until you’ve acquired the appropriate item. The platforming is extremely solid and the game received both a graphical and audio upgrade over the original. Nostalgic fans can, however, toggle the settings to play the game as it was originally released. There are also new modes that let you play through the story as another character and even time attack boss battles that have you facing off against every boss in the game.
Choosing my favorite WiiWare game of the first half of 2010 has proven to be difficult. There have been a lot of solid releases so far on the service, but I’ve enjoyed playing Bit.Trip Runner as much or more than any of the games on this list. The Bit.Trip series has evolved from a simple, abstract Pong style game to a platformer based around music. It’s similar in style to PC games like Canabalt where your character, in this case Commander Video, moves automatically and you control when you performs other actions. You can jump over things, slide under things, karate kick things and block objects with a shield, but you have to do all of this in time to the game’s musical score. It’s an extremely difficult game to master, but it’s also extremely satisfying when you complete areas that are giving you trouble. You never feel like the game is cheating you and you’ll find yourself saying, “One more time” twenty or thirty times before you quit.
So there you have my top 10 games on WiiWare for the first half of the year. The second half of the year is already shaping up solidly with games like Pearl Harbor Trilogy out now and games like Sonic 4, La-Mulana and even more Bit.Trip on the way. Before we leave there are two honorable mentions that I want to give shout outs to; Tales of Monkey Island – Chapter 5 and WarioWare D.I.Y. showcase, both of which could have made this list, but were just wiggled out of the top 10. Do you have any games you think deserved to make this list? What games are you most looking forward to for WiiWare in the second half of 2010? Let us know.
Bass first appeared as a mini-boss in Mega Man 7 for the Super Nintendo, and was fully playable for the first time in Mega Man & Bass (aka Rockman & Forte) for the Super Famicom in Japan. He’s been one of the more prominent anti-heroes of the Mega Man franchise, fighting to prove he is the most powerful robot ever created, and the best way to do that is to best Mega Man. It was announced a short time ago that Bass would be a playable character in Mega Man 10 and he is the first piece of DLC that is available for the game. A mere 200 Wii points will purchase this new character for the franchise, but the question really is whether or not he’s worth picking up and adding to the title.
Bass is definitely quite a bit different from Mega Man and Proto Man in a number of ways. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses. Bass, for instance, can fire up to four shots at a time without having to let go of the button. In addition to that he can fire in up to seven different directions. The only direction he can’t shoot is directly below him. He also has a slide move that allows him to cover ground very quickly and the ability to use that slide to jump long distances.
No strengths would be complete without some weaknesses and in an effort to balance the power that it seems Bass has he has some weaknesses as well. Those rapid fire shots he produces are about half the strength of Mega Man’s slower shot. This means that for every four shots from Bass that hits it would only take two from Mega Man. This is of course offset by the fact that Bass can fire very quickly. He also cannot move while he is shooting. He must remain stationary. This can be a bit discomforting if you’ve never played a game starring Bass and can take a bit of getting used to. Once you learn this little hindrance you will quickly see just how he can best be used to traverse levels.
Bass does not have access to the Coil and Jet features that Mega Man and Proto Man have. Rather he has an animal companion known as Treble, who takes the form of a large purple wolf. Treble can convert into a jet pack that will allow Bass to fly in any direction he wants and even hover in place. This is an ability that will come in handy in the levels like Pump Man as it can be used to very easily negate the effects of waterfalls. While Mega Man and Proto Man can do this with the coil they are more limited in that they can’t reach platforms as high as Bass. He can also use Treble’s jet pack to collect items that have fallen onto areas of spikes. Another very cool feature of Bass is he ability to shoot the shields off of enemies that are carrying them. Many times this is accompanied by a silly reaction shot of the character realizing they are no longer protected.
Bass does take some getting used to as his powers vary quite a bit from traditional Mega Man characters. Losing the ability to move and shoot is probably the most jarring aspect of this new character. The only feature that he is missing from previous games is the ability to double jump, but this is somewhat compensated for with the ability to jump long distances, if you can master the technique. His ability to shoot in nearly every direction will make some of the more frustrating areas of the game, just a little bit easier. If you’re looking for an experience that really differs from that of Mega Man and Proto Man you should check out Bass. He doesn’t cost very much and he’s looking for a good home. He’s quickly becoming my character of choice, at least temporarily.
For those of you that have downloaded Mega Man 10 the first batch of DLC will be available for the game today. For those of you that haven’t downloaded the game, what are you waiting for? It’s awesome. Stop reading right now and go download it.
The first batch of DLC that will be made available to download includes a new playable character, Bass that will be available for 200 Wii Points. This new character, which debuted as a villain was first playable in Mega Man & Bass for the Super Famicom. He differs from the playable characters Mega Man & Proto Man in that he can fire shots in 7 directions, down being the only direction not available. He will stand in place while firing and he fires more rapidly than the other two heroes. He also has the ability to dash forward in quick bursts. Like Mega Man he has an “animal” companion in the form of Treble, a large purple wolf.
Also available today will be the first Special Stage which will be available for 100 Wii Points. This stage will culminate in a boss fight with the first new boss to be included in Mega Man 10, Enker. This robot master was originally featured in Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge for the Game Boy and was equipped with the Mirror Buster. This allowed him to absorb Mega Man’s Mega Buster and fire it back at him with his javelin.
- Classic Mega Man game play is intact
- Unique designs for the Robot Masters
- Lots of fun to be had
- Level design with branching paths
- Can be mind numbingly hard
- Music lacks charm of the past
- Not very long
There are few games that inspire frustration in their fans more than the Mega Man games. There is also no game where the fans welcome that frustration like Mega Man. Mega Man 10 is the latest game in the 8 bit revival of Mega Man following 2008′s Mega Man 9. The one thing that you need to know, if you don’t know by now, is that Mega Man is hard. It will inspire controller throwing anger and at the same time you’ll keep coming back for more. It’s never unfair in its difficulty, with one exception in my opinion. I’m looking at you Dr. Wily Stage 3.
In this latest entry in the series the world’s robots have come down with a case of Roboenza, think Swine Flu, and Dr. Wily knows how to cure them. His medicine machine has been stolen and broken apart and Mega Man has to go and retrieve all the pieces. There are, as usual, eight robot masters that must be defeated. While they’re not the most unique of the robot enemies in the series there are some that will become memorable. Strike Man, while a bit odd is one of my favorites in this new game and has one of the more interesting stages I’ve seen in a while. Sheep Man was the first boss revealed and I’ll let you in on a secret. Start there. His stage doesn’t seem to make much sense as you appear to be trapped inside a computer. I’m not quite sure what that has to do with sheep, but it’s still interesting. There are platforms that once you step on them you have a small amount of time to traverse them before they disappear and they use color in a way I don’t think has been seen in the franchise before. You have many of the elements that you would expect the series to have. Things like disappearing blocks, enemies blocking small platforms and blind jumps are all here and you must learn where all the enemies are if you want to be successful.
The levels themselves are some of the more interesting that I’ve seen in the franchise. The use of colored platforms mentioned earlier add a twist that hasn’t been explored in the franchise. Some of the more frustrating elements like the disappearing blocks are used, but they’re not very frequent and don’t last long. They keep the feel of Mega Man without having to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out one small section of a level. Pump Man is another stage I remember well. The falling water makes jumps you would normally not think about treacherous areas that require extreme precision. There are also branching paths on many of the levels that will have you choose between an easier time with more enemies or very difficult paths that reward you with power ups, money and extra lives. Your fight with Commando Man takes place in a desert that will have occasional sandstorms that will attempt to push you backwards into bottomless pits or walls of spikes and it’s very reminiscent of the desert areas of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Many of the enemies that you’ve seen in previous games have had their abilities changed up slightly to make them a bit more fresh. There are very few times where you see an enemy and you know exactly what they’re going to do and there are even fewer enemies who are just re-skins of past foes. Enemies like the little Met construction robot now fires purple globs of goo that stick to Mega Man and cause him to slide around until they dissipate and there are flying versions of these guys now. Blade Man has flying axes that remind me a little bit of Chain Chomps that have gotten loose. The music of the game is a bit of a hit or miss prospect. There are no titles that just jump out and scream instant classic in the Mega Man series, but none of them are so forgettable that you’ll lose interest in them.
The one thing that has caused a bit of a split in the Mega Man community is the inclusion of Easy Mode. Mega Man is supposed to be hard and many people feel that this waters down the franchise and it shouldn’t be included in a game like this. I think ti’s a great addition to the franchise and I admit to playing through the game on Easy mode to see the difference between the two difficulties. If you choose to play on Easy mode then you’ll see that many platforms appear over areas normally covered with spikes. There are fewer enemies on the screen and Mega Man himself takes less damage when attacked. It’s a great introduction to the game for people who’ve never played one of these games before or if you really like Mega Man, but you feel the franchise is too hard. It took me just over an hour to play through the entire game on Easy mode and even the newest Mega Man fan will finally be able to see what happens after defeating Dr. Wily.
Another new feature for this game is the ability to play as either Mega Man or Proto Man from the beginning. Proto Man changes up the game play enough that it feels almost like a different game compared to playing as Mega Man. He fires fewer shots, takes more damage, and has the ability to charge up more powerful shots and slide under low flying bullets. there is also a third character, Bass, that will be playable through downloadable content at a later date that will make the game worth another play through. You also have the return of the shop and it’s a bit easier to get around and purchase things. There is a new item, the Weapon Tank, that you can use to replenish one weapon.
There’s enough new content to justify another complete downloadable game. There is enough left that makes it feel like a classic Mega Man game for long time fans. The inclusion of Easy mode means more people will now be able to see the end of the game. Memorable robot masters, fun music and interesting level design make this one of the Mega Man games that will be remembered as one of the better games in the franchise.
Final Score: 5/5 Excellent
- Review copy of the game purchased in the Wii Shop Channel.
- Played through entire game on Easy Mode. Played up to Wily Stage 3 on Normal.
- Total Play Time: 5 Hours
I, like many of you, will be downloading and beginning my playthrough of Mega Man 10 tonight. I would really like to be at home right now playing it, but alas, it’s just not possible. Well, the game came out today and the DLC for Mega Man 10 has been released. It confirms that Bass is indeed the third playable character, though we don’t have any confirmation as to what his abilities will be just yet. Chances are they’ll be similar to what Mega Man vets are used to with him.
Here is the list of DLC, which is coming beginning April 5th.
- Bass Mode Released on 4/5/10 for 200 Points
- Special Stage 1 Released on 4/5/10 for 100 Points
- Endless Attack Mode Released on 4/26/10 for 300 Points
- Special Stage 2 Released on 4/26/10 for 100 Points
- Special Stage 3 Released on 4/26/10 for 100 Points.
I will have some game play footage posted here and on the Youtube Channel tomorrow for all to see my most amazing Mega Man skills. I’ll try to get some footage of Easy Mode as well so you can see that. I’ll be diving deep into the game tonight and you can expect my reactions and review very soon. I’m excited for this latest entry into the franchise and I would like to see your reactions to the game as well, so leave us a comment and let us know what you’re thinking of your time with the game.
I’ve been looking over the past couple of days at my gaming habits lately. The first thing I realized was that I was playing way too many games. That’s not what I’m here to talk about today though. The other thing I realized was I don’t have to spend $60 to get a good game. I can spend $60 and get a larger number of great games. Not all of these games come from Nintendo platforms, but some of them do. That’s what I’m going to talk about today. Why do we spend $60 to get one game on a system that might not be that good when you can spend the same amount of money and get a large number of great games?
The first answer to that is that it’s just what it costs to get a game these days on the major consoles. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have sort of set those prices at $50 and $60 respectively for most retail releases. The biggest reason for this is that budgets have sky rocketed for games. Games that used to cost $500,000 now cost upwords of $14,000,000. Most of that, they’ll tell you comes from high definition graphics of this generation of gaming. I’m here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case.
Let’s look at what I’ve bought in the last few weeks. The first was a PC game on Steam, Torchlight. This is a game brought to you by some of the minds behind the original Diablo and Diablo II for the PC. It’s a dungeon crawling, loot-fest that will take a large number of hours to complete for one character. There are three different characters to choose from that vary the style of play between them so you have different experiences each time you play. The game’s graphical style borrows heavily from World of Warcraft and looks gorgeous on my laptop. It will run on just about anything and that makes it a great value for anyone looking for a great RPG. The game cost me $20.
The next one, an XBLA game, The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom cost me $10 to download. It’s a puzzle game where you play as a man obsessed with pie and you have to solve different puzzles using time warping, cloning and ingenuity to obtain the pastries you so desire. It uses an early 20th century silent movie visual style and was designed originally as a college thesis.
I also repurchased Plants Vs. Zombies on PC for $10 because I had the game originally through a subscription service that ran out, but I wanted to play the game. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played through the adventure mode of that game and the numerous mini-games that come packaged with it. For $10 I’ve lost countless days and weeks of actual time since it was released planting pea shooters and defending my house from the undead hordes.
On WiiWare I’ve spent $20 to purchase Blaster Master Overdrive and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The first is the re-imagining of an NES game that takes about 8 hours to play through. Chances are I’ll play it again, because that’s what you do with NES games. They’re simple and fun and you just like playing them over again. Phoenix Wright is just a port of the DS version, but it’s a faithful port that’s fun to play and will take a good amount of time to finish. Both of these games, while not gorgeous to look at are very well done in the graphical department.
For $60 I was able to purchase four games, that will ultimately take me more time to play through that most retail releases. They’re all great games that will make their developers a lot of money, if they haven’t already. Then we have upcoming releases like Mega Man 10 that will get more of my money and will be another time sink because Mega Man does that to people. The challenge alone will be enough to last 5-6 hours the first play through and then just learning the different ways to defeat the different Robot Masters will add even more time, not to mention the challenges, speed runs and fun that will just keep piling on time.
I’m the type of gamer that lives on a very tight budget. I don’t have money to go out and get new games every week, or sometimes every month. I purchase less than 10 new retail games every year and many of my games are gifts from family members. I do however have the cash to spend $20 on a new title every once in a while and $10 are very justifiable purchases. I would love to see the game industry go more this direction of releasing smaller games for smaller dollar amounts that still give a lot of enjoyment. Why not every once in a while release an RPG that is similar to what we saw on the Super Nintendo? Square did it not long ago with Final Fantasy IV: the After Years and in a way that made the purchase much more bearable and quite frankly easy to do. I’m sure there are a lot of gamers out there like me that would be interested in seeing this.
Microsoft has done something similar to Final Fantasy IV with Fable II. With that game you download an initial hour or so of the game and everything after that you pay for in chunks. You may end up spending the same amount of money, but broken up over time it makes it a much more worthwhile and easier purchase to make. That also gives gamers the ability to really give a game a try and if they don’t like it they’re not out very much money. If they do they can purchase the game in their own time frame. The developers still get the money and the player has made a purchase they might not have made in the past.
With the economy the way it is many gamers are becoming more frugal and you’re starting to see there are more gamers out there like me who are looking for the best value for their money. If I can get Diablo for $20 by playing Torchlight or Diablo for $60 when Diablo III releases I’m going to choose the $20 option. There are a number of ways out there that companies are trying to make purchases more palatable for players and it’s just a matter of time before one of them really sticks and you see that model becoming more and more successful. Personally, I like the digital method of getting high value, replayable games for $10 over getting an experience like Modern Warfare that I’ll play through once or twice for $60 and getting less time with the game.
Well, the wait will soon be over. Capcom today has announced the release dates for Mega Man 10 on all available platforms, and as proper, Nintendo gets it first. The game will be available on WiiWare for 1000 Wii Points on March 1st. In addition to that they also revealed details for all the Robot Master weapons that Mega Man will receive upon defeating them, and here they are for your enjoyment.
After launching the Commando Bomb, press up or down on the + Control Pad to make it turn at a 90 degree angle. The blast spreads horizontally (or vertically) and follows the contours of the landscape. This can be used to break through certain walls to get hidden items!
Press the Attack Button once to attach the Wheel Cutter to your arm, and press the Attack Button again to launch it (it follows the contours of the landscape). You can launch it 3 times and it’s effective to attack enemies at a distance. You can attach the Wheel Cutter to your arm and dart at enemies!
The “Mega Man Challenges” mode from MM9 has been upgraded! The Mega Man Challenges allows you to practice in stages by clearing various challenges and gives novice players a chance to master the basic controls before attempting the main story mode! Whether you are a novice or an expert, you can brush up on your game and polish it to perfection!
Comparison between Easy Mode and Normal Mode!
Easy Mode is featured for people who gave up on MM9 or have not played an action game for a while. In addition, this would be a perfect mode for people who aren’t used to traditional Mega Man difficulty and need a little assistance.
Earlier we told you the names of the new Robot Masters in Mega Man 10. Well now we have actual shots of what they will look like when you face them this March, and here they are in all their pixelated glory.
In order from top left to bottom right: Strike Man, Chill Man, Commando Man, Nitro Man, Pump Man, Sheep Man, Solar Man, Blade Man
Well, in case you were curious, that is a picture featuring some of the new robot masters in Mega Man 10. That picture was featured in the Japanese monthy known as CoroCoro Comic. In case you’re also curious, here’s a full list of the Robot Masters that will make an appearance in the game.
Commando Man: Attacks with a powerful explosive wave.
Blade Man: Attacks with three swords.
Nitro Man: Can transform into a motorcycle. (Perhaps Turbo Man’s little bro?)
Sheep Man: Splits up and creates lightning strikes.
Solar Man: Absorbs attacks and attacks with solar energy from his head.
Chill Man: Fires an icy shot. (Curiously, he seems to be called Chilled Man in here.)
Pump Man: Has a water-themed shield weapon.
Strike Man: Throws a powerful fastball
There you go. Get excited for the game, even if you play on easy, because chances are it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to it and we’ll give you more information as it comes along.