Art Attack Gets a Sneak Peek at the Wii U
Nintendo brought a custom airstream gaming trailer through Houston and asked if I would be interested in playing the upcoming Wii U, scheduled for release on November 18. I of course said yes.
The eighth-generation home console is light-years ahead of the Wii in terms of processing power. It's the first Nintendo console to support HD (In fact, it comes with HDMI cables, which is nice), and has 20 times the memory of the Wii. Graphically, the system is stunning and puts the Wii U on the same level as the PS3 and Xbox.
But the big question on everyone's mind is how will it be playing with a controller the size of a tablet? I got the chance to demo five games, each using the tablet controller in a different way, and it gave me a pretty good idea of what we can expect from future releases.
First up was Nintendo Land, the launch title which comes bundled in with the premium edition. Trust me, drop the $349 for the premium. In addition to coming with Nintendo Land, it also boasts four times the flash memory of the standard release for only $50 more. Plus, it comes in a sleek black finish. Both systems are compatible with Wii peripherals and games (though Gamecube games no longer work) and come with a single tablet controller.
Nintendo Land is an amusement park-based hub of mini-games centered around the various Nintendo worlds like Hyrule and the Mushroom Kingdom. Each one has at least a dozen games, all involving various modes of play.
The one I most enjoyed was set in Luigi's Mansion. The game involved using the screen on the controller to move a ghost in and out of a maze while four other players, who can't see you on the TV screen, try and find you using vibration from their controllers. The experience was incredibly unique and undeniably fun. The idea of having one player serve as a dungeon master against the others using a completely separate manner of play that they couldn't see was both extremely original and fun as all get-out.
One problem did come up fairly quickly. Many of the mini-games are not really that entertaining without at least two other players, something made apparent as it was just me and a rep going against each other. When I asked if Nintendo Land would support online play to allow for people that didn't happen to have an extended family at home to game with, my rep said he didn't know.