By Eli Green
June 25, 2009 - 08:00
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.
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
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
Next came Mario vs.
Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! Having played and reviewed the
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.
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
|Ken Rodney tries to stick to the beat in the Wii Fit Plus marching game.|
|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