Ma Bo Shi (WiiWare)
At first I was going to skip this, but I had some points lying about and decided to give it a go and I have no regrets. It’s a collection of three simple games that interact with each other on one playfield. Features one of the only games on the Wii you can play with a single button press. Simple and fun — really what the WiiWare service was made for, and no surprise it’s from Nintendo.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
This is my first experience of the Metroid franchise. The graphics are really nice; controls are good as well (I was able to do circle-strafing FPS style and never resorted to Z-targeting). The story is a little clunky with no explanation of who the Space Pirates are or why there’s a Dark Samus, but the gameplay was good enough to compensate.
The major weaknesses for me were having to re-visit areas and the fact that many hard-to-get items turn out to be things you really don’t need. Going through a hellacious amount of platform navigation just to get another 10 missiles really annoyed me, so I think I finished the game with %78 completion. I also didn’t enjoy a lot of the boss fights which could drag on a bit. No enticement to replay it (no I don’t care about the “good” ending), so this is another Nintendo franchise title which ended up getting sold.
Midnight Pool (WiiWare)
Everyone seems to prefer the look of Cue Sports Pool from Hudson, but I bought this first and have no regrets. It might not have the online play (complete with chirping crickets because no one uses it) or snooker mode of Cue Sports, but it does have a very nice, straightforward control scheme lifted from Wii Play 9-ball and “amusing” characters.
This game gets a lot of praise and you can see why: it’s very pretty, but actually playing the game is another matter. Using the wiimote as a brush is great; using wiimote gestures for your attacks is not. Why oh why any developer would choose to do this is beyond me. Even in Zelda: Twilight Princess, Nintendo allowed for basic attacks to be carried out with a button press and added gestures for more major attacks which created a nice variety of moves and minimised fatigue.
The basic attack in Okami works well enough for smashing urns for yen, but against enemies there’s a delay between attacks which at first seems like a motion detection issue and makes combat the low point of the game. That control issue I could live with; what I cannot ignore, and why I left the game unfinished, is the cheap-ass refighting of old bosses that seems to be regarded among some developers as necessary for “earning” the ending and padding the game length out.
Developers, if your game is 10-15 hours long just let it be the best 10-15 hour game you can make. I don’t see a need to have filler to meet some arbitrary notion of how long a game should be in order to justify spending money on a title.
Pikmin: New Play Control!
A modern Nintendo classic. The whole presentation is great. A simple strategy game which is nicely broken up into 30 days that amount to 15 minutes of play each: perfect for the adult gamer with limited play time.
The story and tone are quite charming and encourage you to help Captain Olimar get his spaceship fixed and get home to his family. There is a degree of challenge, but it’s not so difficult that you cannot get all 30 parts in less than 30 days; even better if you do find it tough going there are five optional parts that the ship can do without and still enable you to complete the game. There are challenges I have yet to check out, so more gameplay than just bettering your score involved. A nice diversion from Nintendo’s usual Mario/Zelda fare.