Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Wii Games Look Promising

Just as news hit that the Nintendo Wii has become the first of the big three gaming consoles in Canada to sell one-million units, I had the opportunity to check out some of the latest games for the console.

Guys will love the new Star Wars game, where players can duel one another with lightsabers by waving the Wii Remote about. The game reminds me of the look and feel of the old Streetfighter and Mortal Kombat games. Rather than just pushing buttons, however, players need to physically move their hands about to take a swipe at their opponents in battle.

Wario Land: Shake It!, featuring Super Mario's Mr. Hyde-ish alter-ego, includes lots of jumping, brick-breaking, and money grabbing. A neat feature in this game is the ability to shake the actual Wii remote to accomplish tasks, like jiggling an enemy until money bags come out of him! Signs throughout the game hint at what buttons to press on the Wii Remote to accomplish certain moves: such as hitting "2" and the "right" navigation button to built momentum and break a massive brick.

Rayman Raving Rabids TV Party is apparently the third installment of the game for the Wii console (already!?) What sets this one apart, however, is its use of the Wii Balance Board, available and used with Wii Fit. One function includes sitting on the Balance Board, with the Wii Remote in one hand and the Nunchuk in the other. Then, move side to side to manuevre your Rabbid Rabbit around poles while he rides an upside-down cow (yes, a cow!), and tilt back to go faster. The concept is similar to Wii skiing or snowboarding, but it adds a neat dimension to the experience by actually getting you off your feet and onto your butt!

The most family friendly of the new games, however, is Wii Music, which is actually nothing like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, despite prior beliefs. Select from a number of popular songs or nursery rhymes (Matt from Nintendo says that the game will include about 50 tunes upon launch), then select the instrument of your choice from more than 60 selections. Use the term "instrument" lightly, though: along with the standard piano, electric guitar, and violin, you can also sing, play to the tune of dog barks, and even beat-box! Practice the desired instrument for a bit, then jam with your friends as each of you takes a desired portion of the tune (melody and harmony are great starters, followed by more difficult background parts, like percussion). While you can push a button to see the proper musical notes appear on the screen, it's still difficult to determine exactly how you should strum your Wii Remote as a guitar, or manipulate the violin with the Nunchuk and Remote. Any wind-based instrument requires that you simply place the edge of the Remote up to your mouth, then move your head up and down to control volume, and press buttons in tune with the song. Whether you're a musician or a young child, the results upon the first try are hilarious, and it'll bring some laughs to parties. Parents beware, though. If you think baby rattles can cause a racket, wait until you get 4 kids together in a Wii Music jam session!

While these games will satisfy Wii gamers during the holiday season, many are likely on the edge of their seats for the upcoming MotionPlus controller attachment that provides 3D-like motion simulation that sees your on-screen character responding to real-time to wrist or arm movements; not just general body movements. The first game to be compatible with it is the highly-anticipated Wii Sports Resort, which is scheduled for availability next spring.

Aforementioned games that aren't yet on store shelves (with the exception of Wii Sports Resort) should be hitting stores in time for this holiday season.

While it's not for the Wii, I was thoroughly impressed with an upcoming recipe "game" for the Nintendo DS. It has about 250 recipes, combined with detailed written, video, and verbal instructions. Once you select a recipe that you'd like to make, step-by-step instructions are provided on screen and dictated by a virtual chef. If you're told to perform a task that you aren't certain how to do (e.g. deveining shrimp), just hit the "more details" button and you'll receive detailed written instructions, or in some cases a video, that demonstrates what you need to do. You can input ingredients to get dish ideas, alter the serving amount, and even create digital shopping lists so that you know what's needed for the desired recipe. If you decide to make substitutions to recipes, you can log them in a notepad. For someone like me that often cooks with a laptop and recipe Website page on the kitchen counter, I find this to be a really neat idea!
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QKatie said...

I predict that Wii music will be a huge hit for the holidays. I have seen all ages play the games, esp. Bowling, and we all had so much fun. I hope I can get Wii someday.

Barbara said...

I agree with QKatie, wii music will be a huge hit. I saw the Star Wars wii ad on tv - it looks neat with the light sabers, I am sure my son might even want that one. The wii is great fun, my daughter REALLY REALLY wants one for Christmas, and wii fit,too. lol