If there’s one name that is synonymous with creative ideas in the games industry, it’s Shigeru Miyamoto. It’s little wonder then that Nintendo are turning to him in a bid to save their ailing console, looking for fresh ideas with a focus on the GamePad. While E3 gave us a tantalising glimpse of a new Star Fox game, two playable ideas from the mind of Miyamoto were shown; Project Guard and Project Giant Robot.
While both of these are in a playable form, they clearly remain at a tech demo stage, and showcase ideas that could be implemented on the GamePad. As to whether they’ll ever see a retail release, it really is anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, I got a chance to play them, and a rare glimpse at the tech demo process within Nintendo.
Project Guard is Nintendo’s crack at the tower defence genre. Besieged by robots of varying design, your job is to man one of 12 defensive towers to defeat the oncoming horde. It’s a simple principle, but one that is greatly enhanced through use of the GamePad.
While the TV shows video footage from all 12 cameras at once, with focus on a controllable one in the middle, selection of your currently armed camera is done entirely through the GamePad. The result is a split focus – do you focus on the overhead map on the GamePad to select targets, or do you attempt to utilise the displays of all 12 on the TV? It’s a delightful mix of tower defence and tactical thinking, and one that is enhanced with a group of friends helping you to analyse the TV screen.
The gameplay boils down to selecting a camera on the GamePad, bringing it up on the TV, and then taking manual control to defeat in-coming robots. There are a variety of robots to defeat, be it birds that steal the cameras or ball bots that need to be pushed away before they explode, leading to a high level of tactical planning, especially when placing cameras before the match starts. Read more…
In Nintendo’s continued quest to find a genuine gameplay purpose for the GamePad, it is surprising how little they’ve revisited the early DS era for ideas. Back when touch screens were a new idea in gaming, the DS played host to all manner of curiosities; some worked, some didn’t, but one that proved to be popular was Kirby’s entry – Kirby and the Canvas Curse.
Controlled by drawing paths for Kirby to follow, it plays very much like a more action orientated Mario vs Donkey Kong. Canvas Curse had its fair share of issues, but Nintendo have finally found an opening to revisit the concept. The result is Kirby and the Rainbow Curse for Wii U.
Whether this is a sequel or a spiritual successor remains to be seen, but as Kirby plotting has never been the franchise’s strongest point, we’ll take it as being just another game in the same vein. Rainbow Curse plays very similarly to the original DS game – Kirby himself rolls around uncontrollably, and it’s up to you to plot paths using a limited amount of Rainbow Ink. Tapping Kirby himself spins him up to speed, and that’s really all there is to it. Simple concept, but challenging gameplay. Read more…
Of all the Mario spin-offs, the Mario vs Donkey Kong series appears to be the least beloved. While the likes of Mario Pinball Land have fallen by the wayside, Mario vs Donkey Kong continues to march on, just like the miniature toys that the game is based around. With its latest incarnation in development for Wii U, could this be the series’ breakout hit?
As any long-time player of the series will know, each Mario vs Donkey Kong game comes with its own quirk, and this one is no exception. The aim of the game is still to direct your “minis”, be it Mario, Donkey Kong, Peach or Toad, to their designated door, but this time gaps are traversed using moving platforms. With each stage being filled with hazards, and with the minis never stopping, you must use these moving platforms to navigate them out of harm’s way. A simple premise, but a challenging puzzle to solve.
In my short demo, I trialled a few of the game’s earlier levels, and some of the later ones, which showcased the complexity that moving floors can add to the gameplay. While the World 1 levels offered little challenge, the later levels had me managing groups of “minis” on either side of the map, creating a huge tactical challenge. It’s puzzle gameplay at its purest, and should complement the relaxed pace of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker nicely. Read more…
I cannot tell you how long I have been waiting to yell at Pikachu. Well, I guess I could tell you… like right now… or, you could just watch this video. I will tell you one thing. Something seems fishy about Professor Oak.
While the rest of the world seems obsessed with the shooter genre, Nintendo has constantly stuck by its family-friendly image – something of a relief to many of us. But with children being exposed to violent games at such a young age, it falls to Nintendo to offer them something comparable on the Wii U. The answer? An ink-based shooter starring squid people. Welcome to Splatoon.
The biggest surprise from Nintendo’s E3 ensemble, and one of the biggest hits on the show floor, Splatoon is Nintendo’s answer to the shooter genre. An 8-player online, team-based shooter that doesn’t promote gritty realistic violence. And it is absolutely brilliant.
Controlled with the GamePad, Splatoon is instantly accessible, and instantly entirely new. While the standard analogue controls remain, with triggers being used for shooting and grenades, the fine tuning of your aim is taken away from the right trigger, and replaced by motion controls. While many shooter fans may cry foul, the option to turn off these motion controls is available, but one I would not recommend. Splatoon is very much a rapid, reaction based shooter, and the ability to aim using your controller adds a huge amount of precision.
The aim of the game is to douse the map in as much of your team’s ink as possible, while stopping the opposition from doing likewise. This causes a huge change in how you approach the game. While points are scored for kills, it is far more beneficial to get out of danger and start inking the opposition’s colour away, rather than getting into a drawn out battle. And this is where Splatoon’s master stroke comes in – squidding.
Each of the Inklings (the squid characters you play as) have the ability to transform into a squid, and with it, hide in your team’s ink. It is this mechanic that transforms Splatoon from a simple inky shooter, into a tactical game of skill. With the ability to hide in your ink, battles can changed, with once invisible enemies popping out of the opposition’s ink at a moment’s notice. It makes for a hugely challenging mechanic, and one, as the demo progressed, that I began to see the ingenuity of. Read more…
Nintendo hosted a Nintendo Direct presentation last night focused on information all about the upcoming action title Hyrule Warriors. The video showed off new items, details on Adventure Mode, more details about existing characters, details about DLC and even one new playable character, Ganondorf.
For starters new items that were shown off bring more familiar Zelda game play to the stage. Items like bombs allow you to blow up elements of the environment to uncover rupees, hidden passages and take out large swathes of enemy soldiers in one blow. Chain chomp acts like a large flail allowing you to swing it around your head or even use it to create an area of effect shockwave. The hookshot, a Zelda staple, gives you incredible range for your attacks and allows you to reach areas that would otherwise be unreachable. Bombchus are no longer mouse-sized but are huge and capable of some pretty sizeable destruction. Cuccoos are both a hazard and a help as they will attack players that harm them. You can use this as an advantage though as you can also have them attack enemy characters. Gold Skulltulas are also hidden throughout the environment just like they were in previous Zelda games.