Bit Boy (WiiWare)
Bplus’ 3rd title for the WiiWare service, Bit Boy attempts to service the retro gaming desires of older gamers, but doesn’t completely succeed. The player is taken on a journey through different gaming eras using the vehicle of a maze game – a genre that is pretty much unheard of in the post-8-bit era.
The different game eras are standalone games in their own right so you can play whichever you like after initially completing all of them. The 2D games work the best, though the challenge may seem unfair to some with items to collect near enemy spawning points and loads of dead-ends. The 3D levels add little to the gameplay – other than making it easier by allowing the player to jump over walls to places enemies cannot reach, but they lack the charm of the retro 2D levels. If you like 8-bit maze games like me you’ll get some enjoyment from it, but I think Bplus would have done better by making a series of more fleshed-out games with each game focusing on a single era.
An original IP from veteran developer High Voltage Software published by Sega, this is a stand-out first-person action title on the Wii. The story unfolds quicker than I would have liked, but the short length makes replay more appealing and will hopefully lead to a more fully fleshed-out sequel. It has great customisable controls and visuals and is quite challenging even on the 2nd of five difficulty levels. The online multiplayer mode is compatible with Wii Speak – a first for shooting games on the Wii. If you have even a passing interest in the first-person action genre it’s definitely worth a look.
Mojipittan Wii Deluxe
Mojipittan is a successful puzzle game series from Namco in Japan where the object is to clear a board of tiles bearing hiragana characters by forming words using tiles from a reserve stock. Like the WiiWare version this also features Wi-Fi play, but adds many more levels. Being able to read hiragana characters and knowing some Japanese words will certainly help, but is by no means necessary to play – though it’s likely you’ll get trounced in online matches with native Japanese speakers if you don’t!
Sky Kid (Virtual Console Arcade)
This classic arcade title from Namco is quite difficult, but has some charm. Pilot your little plane against cute-looking fighters and tanks, then pick up a bomb and try to blow up your primary target. It’s a mission-based alternative to traditional side-scrolling shooters and also unusual in moving from right to left. As with other classic Namco titles you can adjust the starting number of lives and score required for extra lives, as well as the primary button layout on the controller. Currently only available in Japan. It’s probably a good idea to check out a video of the game in action on YouTube if you’re not already familiar with it before buying. Also available on the Namco Museum 50th Anniversary collection for the Gamecube elsewhere.