Carnival Games (WiiWare)
One of the main strengths of the Wii’s controllers over those of other platforms is the pointer, which makes it a natural for shooting games of all kinds. Carnival Games is about as basic as you can get: a collection of 12 carny-style target shooting games divided into 3 groups with each group having its own unique bonus round. The colours are vibrant and the control implementation is excellent. There’s online leaderboards (one for each group, regardless of difficulty), 3 difficulty settings and plenty of challenge on offer so you’ve always got room to improve your score. You’re not going to take hours to explore it, but it’s a nice arcade-style experience you can enjoy if you have a spare 5 minutes. My initials are SRA, so do try to best me! The first game from this developer hasn’t crossed the pond, so it’s not clear if a PAL release is in the cards, sadly.
Grobda (Virtual Console Arcade)
A classic Namco top-down tank game, similar to the tank game from Wii Play. You’re controlling one of the tanks seen in the Xevious arcade game and trying to become the best Tank Battler of them all! At first glance it’s pretty simple: move your tank left and right to fire a barrage of shots that cross the screen almost immediately (no dodging here!), whilst avoiding your opponents. But if you’re going to get the big points you actually don’t want to shoot all the tanks yourself. Instead try to hit tanks when they’re grouped together so the explosion from one gets the other ones. You’ve got an energy shield which will stay on as long as you hold the button – at least until your energy reserve runs out! It’s a nice little game not commonly seen in arcades and only available elsewhere in the original Namco Museum release on the Playstation as well as a resent PSP compilation, so definitely give a look if you have the means.
Tank Force (Virtual Console Arcade)
The sequel to one of Namco’s older arcade games, Tank Battalion, Tank Force offers more colours and more detailed sprites. You need to defend your flag against invading enemies which come in from the top and sides. You can blast buildings to make new passages and so can they, but you’ve got power-ups to give you an edge. After blasting all the invading tanks you go to the next level with a different layout and tougher enemies. If you like maze games or tank games or tank maze games, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Simple Series 5: The Judo (WiiWare)
I was hoping to do a full write-up on this for Nintendo Life, but after spending 30min. with it I simply couldn’t figure out the controls. There’s a couple-dozen characters to choose from with a full tournament mode, vs. CPU or what looks like a 2-player mode. The perspective is 1st-person; moving to 3rd for throws. You thrust the nunchuck forward and press Z to grapple with your left and do the same with remote and B for your right, but how you throw your opponent remains a mystery. I could get thrown plenty, but after much remote flailing and button pressing I could do little more than struggle with my opponent and draw endlessly, never throw them. If anyone who knows Japanese can clue me in on the instructions that would be great, but otherwise I’ll just have to regard this as a casualty of the language barrier – shame there’s no tutorial!
Classic Controller Pro (Hardware)
I got my new CC Pro this week and just had to do a write-up. I was mostly interested in using it with Midway Arcade Treasures 1 on the North American Wii because I like shoulder buttons for firing in Defender and Vindicators and the Gamecube pad’s analogue triggers just don’t work well for that. It’s only available in black in the UK (so far) and was released along with the new black Wii and associated peripherals. It feels lighter than the old Classic Controller, but it’s comfortable and does the job. The logic of using the Z buttons as the big triggers is completely lost on me since the L and R buttons are more commonly supported by Virtual Console titles like Assault (Namco sadly doesn’t allow you to remap Zl and Zr from their function as coin drop and start), but the presence of handles still makes for a great improvement in games requiring both analogue sticks.
If you’re like me and use the CC via a Classic Linker then note that the CC Pro isn’t supported. Instead you’ll need a Classic Linker+ (thankfully I had the foresight to order one of those without realising the difference). Defender works much better, though the increased travel of the CC analogue sticks over my usual PS pad means that I’m using the d-pad for up-down movement due to better response. Vindicators is also much improved, though the fact that the Gamecube only had one Z button means that you’re not able to utilise the other trigger for the special weapon. Overall if you play a lot of VC titles or want to use it with Gamecube games via a CL+ it’s definitely worthwhile picking one up.