MadWorld (Wii) – Review

cover The folks behind MadWorld, Platinum Games, have a lot of previously impressive games under their belt: Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and GodHand, to name a few, so it should be no surprise that MadWorld aims to keep up that trend, falling back to the developers’ more fighting-game style approach.  Thankfully, this assumption proves correct, as MadWorld delivers what exactly is promised with an awesome presentation.  While the gameplay does somewhat flatline in the latter part of the game, and there’s some aspect to its shortness, the rest of the game is really well done.

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de Blob (Wii) – Review

de Blob, developed by Blue Tongue and distributed by THQ, is an interesting title – there’s similarities to Katamari Damacy throughout, but though it is not as quirky as that title, there’s still little touchs that remind me of why I enjoyed that game.  de Blob is a very good effort for a third party Wii game; it’s fun though can be tedious near the end, but does have a lot of collection items that will interest those types of games.  The presentation is very well done, particularly in the sound department.  It’s definitely the type of game that will appeal to those that like ones that go off the beaten path.

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Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii) – Initial Impressions

I played through about the first hour of this yesterday (that is, up though the first boss); the trouble with those Wii games that actively engage both hands that if you’re not used to it, it’s hard to jump in and do long doses at the start (had the same problem with Zelda for example).

However, I have to say that the word about the control scheme being near perfect holds true – yes, I’m still at the stages of trying to get used to all the controls, but they feel tons more natural than Red Steel’s version.  The lock-on with side aiming is a very nice feature.  My only nit is that the “pull-twist-push” actions for door seals seem difficult to pull off, the same issue I had with Elebits’ door handles, because of the in/out motion with the remote seeming to not be registering well.  I believe there’s a setting on the Wii main menu that might help that, so I’ll check that again.  The only nit is the scan visor activation process which requires a bit more finger movement to hit the “-” key, then to select the visor, THEN to aim and target the scan area.  Again, haven’t gotten far enough to determine if this could have been mapped any differently.

I’m trying to figure out if the graphics look any better than the GC Prime games — certainly after playing lots of 360 games at 1080i and coming back to 480p, jaggies are very notable, but ignoring that, it doesn’t seem like the engine pushing too much beyond what Prime was doing before on the GC — not that this wasn’t bad or the like.

Boogie (Wii) – Initial Impressions

This is definitely a weird game.  A first blush, it’s a combination of Karaoke Revolution and something like a free-form DDR – fortunately you don’t do both at the same time.  The KR part is pretty much as you expect, though the game feels quite generous in what it counts as correct.  You do get a nice free USB-based hand mic with the game, I don’t know how it works on a PC yet.   The DDR part is the most interesting side and feels almost like an SSX game.

And I expect you’re wondering how I can connect a dancing game to a snowboarding game?  First, most of the interface (game menus) feel like it’s borrowed heavily from SSX Blur (the last non-sports title EA put out for the Wii), not only in animations and bg music choice but how it’s very…non-rectangular and retro feeling.   More closely, while you dance, which is done by swing the Wii mote to the sides in time with the music, you score more by avoiding repeating a series of moves  much like you don’t score as many points for repeating tricks in SSX.  Also, as you get a lot of points in a row, you can attempt to active special moves by holding down a button and swinging the remote as indicated — not quite the same approach to starting Ubertricks in SSX, but the same idea.  Of course, you’re not trying to avoid obstacles or other skiers at the same time – – this is more a party game, but the same SSX approach is there.

Song list is ok — there’s a special place for any game that uses “Groove is the Heart” among other songs that have both good beats and lyrics (“Virtual Insanity”, “Celebration”, “Karma Chameleon” , etc..  It’s not EBA or Guitar Hero, but I can see how this game is probably better suited to a party environment than as a single player game.

Mario Party 8 (Wii) – Review

Mario Party 8 - CoverWith the controls of the Wii at its disposal, Mario Party 8 seemed to be an excellent title to help further demonstrate the controls of the Wii along with the improved graphical output from the system. Unfortunately, it seems like the developer, Hudson Soft, took a lot of shortcuts with this, borrowing heavily from Mario Party 7 in the graphics department, to churn out just Yet Another Mario Party instead of something that could have been more inspired. Outside of using the Wii remote in ways that, by now, we’re very used to from games like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, there’s really nothing new in Mario Party 8 to make a “buy” unless you are the type commonly playing with friends and need another game for additional variety.

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Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (Wii) – Review

Wii Degree - CoverWhen the Nintendo DS gained both Brain Age and Big Brain Academy last year as alternative games – ones that aimed to improve the player’s mind, it launched numerous copies and sequels. It comes as no surprise that with the unique Wii control, such games could easily be taken onto the Wii. Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, created and published by Nintendo, is just that; while it compromises different activities as its DS predecessor, the aim of the goal is pretty much the same. The game does provide some unique multiplayer modes that allow you to virtually play against friends, but for the most part, the game feels much like a rehash of the DS version without too much focus on making the game a more unique Wii experience.

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Mario Party 8 (Wii) – Initial Impressions

I know what I should be expecting of this (I only played MP7 before, but from what I’ve read, the approach the game takes hasn’t changed too drastically over the series), but you know, I still found it disappointing, and I’m glad to see I’m not wrong as several gaming mags are panning this as an average title.

I don’t think it’s the gameplay – at least, as noted, there’s a certain expectation of what you’re getting with this game.  The minigames of what I’ve played are suited to the Wii remote, and feel like expanding WarioWare minigames.

It’s the presentation that’s mediocre, and I’m usually the last one to slam a game for bad graphics.  The in-game graphics look just a bit of this side of klunky – better than the N64, but not seeming to be much better than Gamecube ones.   Sure, the levels are large, and I can understand keeping polycounts low to keep the frame redraws high, but there’s just something poor about this.  I’ve seen Mario Strikers for the Wii, (heck and for the Cube) and there’s a lot more detail and a lot more action to possibly slow the game down, and there’s no excuse for backing off the graphics on this one.

There’s also the fact that while the game is presented in widescreen (if you are running your Wii that way), it will have blank borders down the sides to force the game effectively to a 4×3 display.  This is a really bad design decision and makes no sense for why it was done that way.

And then there’s the fact that doing some actions seem to take one extra button press or toggle to complete, like starting a minigame or rolling the dice.  I understand that, particularly for Wii remote use, that it’s helpful to have an explanation screen of what the controls are, but I would think that if other games can make it obvious during the game what motions to use on the control (WarioWare, Cooking Mama, or Raving Rabbids), it could have been done here.

It’s definitely not as impressive a title as I was expecting – there seems to be a lot more they could have done with this game just simply because of the better power the Wii has on the GC.

Super Paper Mario (Wii) – Review

Super Paper Mario - CoverSuper Paper Mario published by Intelligent Systems and distributed by Nintendo, is an effort to combine classic 2D platforming gameplay with RGP elements from the past Paper Mario series, with a few additional twists to make the game interesting. While overall the game is very good, those coming into the game expected to find platforming-type gameplay as from New Super Mario Bros. will likely be disappointed due to how tedious and disjointed it ends up being. Regardless, the game is still a top-notch title, and continues the excellent Paper Mario series quite well.

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Super Paper Mario (Wii) – Mid-Game Thoughts (~50%)

Just completed the 4th world today, so I know I’m at 50% for the game.

First of all, this is a great game.  However…

I think this is a game that came with expectations, and while it’s meeting those in spades, there’s just something… different about the game.

It’s definitely not a pure platformer.  Those hoping for such will be disappointed.  There’s not a lot of challenging platforming elements in the form of jumps over bottomless pits, masses of foes, or the like.

It’s also not an RPG.  This isn’t “1000-yr door” either.

It truly is a .. “meeting” of both.  “Mix” isn’t the right word, as the resulting game is very hard to separate the line from platformer and RPG, and as such, I have a feeling people expecting one or the other are going to be disappointed, to some degree.  The resulting genre is still good, but basically has the problem of trying to be what seems to be a fast paced action game burdened with a lot of dialog-heavy scenes.  “1000-yr door” being more an RPG, worked fine as I expected that much.

If you can get over that, the game has some very nice mechanics.   The whole 2D/3D thing is both implemented well in terms of controls (basically which only use the remote as a classic NES controller with a few motion moves at times), and in terms of gameplay elements, with the need to switch dimension modes a lot to proceed.   Basically, if you think you’re stuck, you just switch to 3D and there’s usually a hint, at worst, of what to do next.  Mind you, a few areas are a bit mazelike, so switching back and forth to find the next place may take some time (4 worlds took me about 6 hrs, so you get an idea of that).  As you also can switch who you control in your party as well as what special power you get via companions called Pixls, there’s a lot of possible ways to approach some puzzles.  Of course, my biggest annoyance here is that you have to bring up the menu every time to switch, when it would have been nice to have at least one of these on a control if possible.

Dialog and other additions are pretty good (3rd world is a geek’s fantasy, for example), but again, it is very talk heavy for what’s really hard to call an RPG.

So it’s definitely a good game, but, I think it’s very different than I anticipated, and while I’m not disappointed, I know there were those hoping for a lot more platformer action than this game really allows.

Cooking Mama Cook Off (Wii) – Review

Cooking Mama Cook Off - CoverThe first Cooking Mama game for the Nintendo DS was a nice short little stint that used the DS touchscreen well to simulate cooking; it wasn’t a must-have game, but after the intensity of games like Warioware, it was a nice chance of pace. The transition of the game to the Wii was pretty much a no-brainer; the Wii Remote would allow a wider range of actions than just what the DS would be able to provide while still sticking to the core gameplay. Unfortunately, Cooking Mama: Cook Off for the Wii, developed by Majesco and distributed by Taito, suffers from several problems in the transition from portable to console, and with the rather hefty price tag for the limited amount of game, it’s definitely a game to rent instead of to rush out and buy.

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