Nintendo has taken quite the bashing over the last year or so, from critics and gamers, and on its balance sheet too. Although the 3DS is doing okay for itself, the firm’s current home console, the Wii U, is seen by many as a disappointment. It’s failed to sell in any decent amounts, third party publishers have steered clear, and even the company’s own big-hitters have failed to make an appearance in any major form. The arrival of the Xbox One and PS4 didn’t help matters either.
However, at E3 things took a surprising turn. Although the Wii U is still far from where it needs to be, a great line up of games was announced and demonstrated at the show, including a brand new Zelda, and confirmation of a new StarFox title. It was all very impressive, and although still a relatively small portion of big titles, Nintendo made a lot of good moves this year, with many saying it’s now time to nip out and buy a Wii U.
So, with that in mind, here’s our pick of the top 10 Wii U exclusives.
10. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Finally getting his own proper game, Toad’s new outing looks like it’ll be a great Mario-style adventure in the same vein as the Toad levels seen in Super Mario 3D World. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a little slower-paced than the plumber’s, but he’s also got a host of different abilities, such as mining through rocks and first person shooting via the gamepad.
It’s a great looking game too, with a variety of themed areas featuring familiar enemies from the series, along with some new additions, as well as some treasure hunting staples like mine cart rides.
9. Kirby And The Rainbow Curse
Kirby is a character that Nintendo is, apparently, very keen to push into ever increasing stardom, and now he’s getting another new game in the form of Kirby And The Rainbow Curse. What’s interesting is that this is a gamepad-centric title that uses the controller’s screen and stylus.
Using the stylus, you can draw rainbow bridges a pathways for Kirby to use. These let him collect various items that would usually be inaccessible, and the dynamic comes into play when fighting enemies and bosses.
Not much else was shown about the game, but it’s interesting nonetheless, and there are a lot of Kirby fans out there who will lap this up.
8. Mario Maker
If you’ve ever wanted to create your very own Mario levels, then this is a dream come true. Mario Maker lets players utilise a range of Mario assets to create their very own levels, which can be viewed in either classic, Super Mario Bros. form, or using the more recent Super Mario Bros. U visual style.
You can place all items and enemies where ever you desire to create as many levels as you like, all using an easy click and drag interface, even if you want to torture Mario and make ridiculously hard, or even impossible levels.
7. Yoshi’s Wooly World
Originally called Yarn Yoshi, but now known as Yoshi’s Wooly World, this is the next game from Kirby’s Epic Yarn developer, Good-Feel Company. Like the Kirby game before it, this is all about the woollen aesthetic, this time with Yoshi as the protagonist.
Yoshi will be able to unravel elements of the world, turning them into new creations, and making platforms he can jump on, and the whole game has a charming wool style, made all the more impressive using the Wii U’s increased power.
There’s also going to be multiplayer co-op included, allowing players to take on the various challenges together, using teamwork to make assailing the various pitfalls and obstacles easier.
A totally new series from Nintendo is worth noting, especially one that looks as good as Splatoon. This competitive multiplayer title sees human/squid hybrids attempt to cover a level with their colour paint, while a competing team does the same. Each character can spray paint as a human, covering the level and eliminating foes, and as a squid they can swim quickly through paint to traverse the level and bypass obstacles.
There’s going to be a host of power ups, such as paint rollers that can cover larger areas and squash opponents, and the game pad will be used in an essential manner, allowing you to see the whole battlefield and paint coverage, as well as allowing you to finely aim your paint blaster.
5. Hyrule Warriors
The Dynasty Warriors franchise is a very long running one, with a loyal fan base, and although the series has changed little over the years, the core formula of slaughtering hundreds of foes as a supremely powered warrior is still fun. Well, what if you changed the setting from ancient China and plonked the series down in Hyrule? This is the result.
Hyrule Warriors fuses the characters of the Zelda series together with the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors, and the end result looks fantastic. All of the core DW play is there, with massive armies of foes, this time Zelda themed, of course, rampaging around locations from the action adventure franchise, with bosses and all sorts of new elements courtesy of the Nintendo license.
Multiple playable characters will be present, including Link, Zelda, Midna and Impa, and all will have their own fighting styles and special moves. There are even stage-specific specials, including a, frankly terrifying, Majora’s Mask moon attack.
4. Star Fox
Fans have been crying out for a new Star Fox game, and Nintendo’s genius developer, Shigeru Miyamoto is going to deliver. Originally leaked prior to the event, but later confirmed by Miyamoto himself, before it was actually shown at the show, the next Star Fox game looks promising.
As it’s a Wii U title, it’ll make use of the gamepad controller dynamic, giving players a cockpit view vis the pad, and a larger, external view using the TV screen. These are used in tandem to aim with accuracy and also survey the overall environment, all at the same time delivering the fast space combat we’ve come to love from the series. And, if anyone can make the gamepad and TV functionality dance, it’s Miyamoto. This should be good.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles X
Now with a proper name, Xenoblade Chronicles X is going to be another epic-scale RPG from Monolith Soft, and this is a sequel to the excellent 2010 Wii release, Xenoblade Chronicles. Like its predecessor it’ll feature a huge world to explore, complex RPG mechanics and character-levelling and giant robots, lots of giant robots.
The trailer we saw during E3 was CG, but it’s good to actually see some story and framing for the new game, which will be a priority purchase for those who liked the original release. Let’s also hope it’s released everywhere this time without fuss, unlike the Wii game.
2. Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. was arguably the biggest draw during the show for the Japanese giant, and rightly so. The mash-up scrapper is once more a superbly crafted title, with great balance and great control. This version looks to embrace the control of Melee, with the features and style of Brawl, which could make for the best yet. And, alongside new characters like Little Mac and Pac-Man comes the chance to fight Nintendo’s great with your very own Mii avatar.
The Mii avatar options come in three different styles, with each having pros and cons, and the game will also make use of the new Amiibo NFC toy system, allowing you to bring characters into the game by placing a figurine on the gamepad during a bout. It’s interesting stuff, but for the hardcore fan base, this will likely be more of a gimmick, and the core game will be the main draw. Thankfully, it’s looking fantastic.
We might not know a great deal about this at the moment, but a new Zelda game is always going to top our list, especially one as promising as this. Details may be scant, but we do know that the game will take place in a far larger, open world, and that the game’s progression will be less linear than previous games.
The footage shown during the show has also been confirmed by Zelda producer, Eiji Aonuma, as being in-game. He confirmed this via the Miiverse saying, “Many people from the media kept asking me if the footage from the new Zelda game for Wii U is just a promotional movie, but that really is actual gameplay on Wii U.”
So, the new Zelda game isn’t only larger in scope and more free-form, but it also looks gorgeous. Sign us up. This could be reason enough to rush out and buy a Wii U on its own.
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