Nintendo Toronto E3 Review 2009

By Eli Green
June 25, 2009 - 08:00

What better way to spend a perfect summer day in Toronto, if not at the beach or somewhere else enjoying the heat and sun, than in the cool indoors at Nintendo's PR headquarters, playing some of the video games the company is preparing to launch between now and the holiday season? That's where I took the time yesterday, to check out Nintendo's first party lineup of games scheduled to release between now and the holiday season, at the company's E3 review event.


For Wii, Nintendo was showcasing Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit Plus and New Super Mario Bros. Wii., while it had The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box and Style Savvy on display for Nintendo DS. There were also demos of its upcoming DSiWare exclusive software and game, Flipnote Studio and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!

Aside from the Nintendo DS and DSi titles, I'm going to keep my comments in this article short, keeping things to a bit of an overview of how things felt overall. I've got enough to say about each of the titles on their own.

I started off by taking a look at Wii Sports Resort. This is the first Nintendo game to use the new Wii MotionPlus accessory. Other games, like EA SPORTS' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, have already released with the accessory packaged inside. I tried out a number of the various sports available to be played, including archery, table tennis, canoeing, skydiving and basketball. I also tried a couple of these sports in their competitive and cooperative modes, with members of Nintendo's PR team and some of the other journalists there. It's a pretty fun experience alone, but with a lot more fun with friends.


Overall, Wii Sports Resort feels a lot like the original Wii Sports – a fun way to get introduced to a new system, which, in this case, is the Wii MotionPlus – but it feels a lot more like a full featured game. While the graphics are still very basic, sticking completely to the style of the world of Miis, there is a lot more in terms of gameplay. There are more sports to play, and more ways to play those sports. Best of all, it does what it's supposed to do – give you a proper introduction to the use and power of Wii MotionPlus. I'll have more on this in the separate article on Wii Sports Resort.

I then tried my hand at New Super Mario Bros. I'm happy to say that it's nowhere near as boring play, or even watch, as the folks from Nintendo of America made it look at E3. It's very competitive and a lot of fun, especially when playing with all four players at once. You never quite know what's going to happen when four players take to the screen, because even if you're working cooperatively, you may still end up causing your friend to lose a life or two, even when you're just trying to get to a platform or grab an item.


I took a short break from Wii titles to try my hand at the Nintendo DS and DSi showings. First, I gave Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box a shot. Embarrassingly, I couldn't even complete one of the simplest puzzles. Worse yet, when

I thought I had finally finished it correctly and submitted it for completion, it turned out there was a part I had missed! Aside from my own inability to complete a single puzzle correctly, I did enjoy the look of the game and its style. It looks great and, if you enjoy challenging games, should be quite a lot of fun.

Next came Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! Having played and reviewed the last Mario vs. Donkey Kong game, I was expecting very similar controls and style. I got style, but the controls felt a little bit lacking. I don't know why they couldn't keep the last game's control structure and simply made it more sensitive. It's rather difficult controlling the Minis when you can only activate them and let them go on their way. Aside from that, the puzzles are still quite interesting and entertaining, and it was enjoyable. I'm not sure why Nintendo is only making it available as DSiWare.

Next, I picked up Style Savvy. And then I put it down. Nuff said.

I gave Flipnot Studio a shot. I'll be honest. I suck at drawing and animation. Like the name suggests, you can make your own little flip book animations using the stylus, and play them back or send them to friends. You can also change between brush, pencil or eraser, or change the playback speed. I can see it being a fun toy for artists, but I can't see it being a very big draw – sorry – for anyone else.

I also tried out The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. I'm glad it was just a demo version, otherwise I might have sat there playing it for hours. The graphics are basically straight out of Phantom Hourglass, which are essentially straight out of Windwaker but toned down for the DS, but there's nothing wrong with that. If anything, I applaud Nintendo for keeping the style. I think it works for the handheld versions quite well. The dungeon gameplay demo was a lot of fun. Link gets help from a Phantom, who you can control and direct. The Phantom can also help you fight, protect you from fire and carry you to regularly inaccessible places.

You've also got a new way of traversing the overworld in this game, a train. The controls are pretty simple. All you need to do is head forward on the track and, if something gets in your way, there's a cannon you can use to protect yourself.

Ken Rodney tries to stick to the beat in the Wii Fit Plus marching game.
Finally, once I was done with all of the DS software, I headed over to check out Wii Fit Plus. I've got the original Wii Fit at home and know that it works quite well, if, like any exercise program, you stick to it. There aren't many differences between the actual exercises in Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, except for the ability to better customize your workout, but there are fresh balance games, which is specifically what they were showing off. I immediately went to check out the Obstacle Course challenge – think of it as your chance to live out some of Super Mario's own platforming exploits. It's great active fun, except for one serious problem. If you “jump” during the challenge, you lose and get sent back to the beginning the entire challenge! Talk about frustrating. There were a number of other balance games available for play, including rhythmic marching, Rhythm Kung Fu, bumper math and more. Of course, like the original Wii Fit, there are some balance games that are more fun to watch someone else play, like the new flapping game, in which your Mii gets dressed up in a chicken suit, and you have to flap your way from platform to platform before time runs out. I'll let The Fan 590's Got Game host, Zack Cooper, demonstrate.

Got Game's Zack Cooper becomes the chicken, playing Wii Fit Plus.

After all this gameplay, I took some time to interview Nintendo of Canada's Matt Ryan about the event. You can see the interview below.

All in all, this day of gaming more than made up for the overall lackluster E3 2009 Nintendo Media Briefing. Talking stats doesn't do much good when you're trying to sell entertainment. It's all about the playing. And I certainly enjoyed that.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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