Six Overlooked Wii Games That Could Be Killer Apps
A games post by matt, posted on May 8, 2007 at 2:48 pm
When it comes to the next year of gaming, most people tend to focus on the ‘big’ sequel and franchise releases. As a result, we hear a whole hell of a lot about games like Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Super Smash Brothers Brawl and other much-anticipated titles.
And it’s not unwarranted — those games are destined to be great, and I’m eagerly clinging to the hope that they all make it out this year — but, still, beneath the gloss, sheen and hype of those flagship titles the Wii actually boasts a surprisingly deep library of upcoming games.
Below are six of the less-hyped games that I’m looking forward to. Coincidentally, all of them make innovative use of the Wii controller in ways that should, hopefully, finally put an end to cries of ‘gimmick waggle’ from e-critics.
Not all of these games are destined to be great, but they all show a certain promise that’s unique to Nintendo’s next-gen system.
6. No More Heroes
A game from the same mind that brought us the incredibly weird but still fun Gamecube title Killer 7, No More Heroes is poised to help fill out the mostly-empty action-adventure void on the Wii. The weirdness has been turned up even further since Killer 7, as now we’re playing as a character named Travis Touchdown who wins a beam sword in an online auction and so, logically, decides to become a professional killer. You use the Wii controller to manipulate the beam sword in 3D space. Where the story goes from there is anyone’s guess.
For it: An action game that doesn’t involve zombies or space marines? Sign me up. Director Goichi Suda has proven himself as one of the most innovative minds in gaming when it comes to premise and unique gameplay mechanics.
Against it: But that doesn’t always equal fun. In addition, there’s no indication of a North American release date at this point.
Scheduled Release: Summer 2007 in Japan. Unknown elsewhere.
Leave it to the Polish to break down borders. This title from Crakow-based NIBRIS was one of the first ‘mature’ titles announced for Nintendo’s new console. A lot of is still veiled in secrecy — the best we’ve got so far is this youtube trailer — but this black and white title focused on dark, supernatural horror looks to be one of the spookiest and most atmospheric titles coming for the Wii.
For it: From the video, it looks like it boasts some of the coolest uses of the Wii controller yet. And, like No More Heroes, this is a genre that hasn’t been very strongly represented yet on the Wii console.
Against it: If there was ever a title to face continuous delays and setbacks and then never see release, this is it. It’s not that I don’t have faith in the Polish — because I do, I love their sausage — but rather that so much about this game still smells like vaporware.
Scheduled Release: Currently “TBA 2007″ which means, probably, 2008.
4. Wii Music
Nintendo’s prefixed Wii titles are, in my estimation, poised to become one of their most profitable franchises over the next few years. The situation kind of reminds me of the NES days, when they just released simple titles like “Tennis”, “Baseball”, “Ice Hockey” and “Wrestling.” At that time, you didn’t need fancy real-life rosters or season modes because people were still having their minds blown by virtual representations of real-life sports and games.
With the Wii controller, they’re able to do this again. And people will buy into it. Wii Music is poised to be the next big title after Wii Sports. And, like its big brother (and its retarded little brother, Wii Play), it’ll be little more than a collection of music-based minigames. Sure to be derided by a bunch of jerks on message board as little more than a ‘tech demo’ upon its release, don’t be surprised if it sells over two million copies worldwide.
For it: Have you seen how much people love Wii Sports? There’s a whole audience of Wii owners out there just waiting for the next game that lets them use their Mii and wave their controller around. We’ve seen bits of pieces of some of the potential musical mini-games (conducting, drumming) but there really is limitless potential to what could be included here.
Against it: But, then, there is the possibility that these games could just be too shallow. There’s no way this game won’t sell, but whether it’ll be more like Wii Sports or Wii Play depends entirely on how much effort Nintendo puts into it.
Scheduled Release: TBA 2007 (But probably actually 2007 [At least in Japan], given it was included in Nintendo’s shareholder report)
3. Disaster: Day of Crisis
Nintendo recently bought Monolith Soft, developers of this title, which is either a really good sign or a really bad one. In any case, there’s a lot of potential behind the premise of this game, which seems to be a sandbox-style action game taking place in a city dealing with several natural disasters all at once. Kind of like Grand Theft Auto if Grand Theft Auto had a Sim City-style disasters menu. It’s the kind of high concept idea that’s so good I can’t believe no one’s done it before.
For it: A great high-concept title that now a Nintendo first-party game. Its release will do a lot to round out the Wii’s library.
Against it: Monolith Soft’s history is with RPGs, not action games. And while I’ve never played their RPGs (The Xenosaga series) I haven’t exactly heard great things. Could Nintendo’s purchase be driven by a need by EAD to interfere and make this title better?
Scheduled Release: Summer 2007 in Japan. TBA 2007 everywhere else.
2. Forever Blue
I know so little about this title that I may end up regretting putting it on this list, but just read this short preview from IGN: “Go to the ocean and use the Wiimote to perform a variety of diving maneuvers. Then use your Wi-Fi connection to meet up with your friends and swim under wanter together.” In my eyes, this is a game that’s committed to the new principles of gaming. It’s about exploration, it’s appropriate for all ages (and all genders) and it’s about cooperation, not competition. If Nintendo can really pull off a sort of small-scale MMORPG where gamers scuba dive through shared environments together and compete for various diving achievements (perhaps in teams?), then we might actually have the first-ever mass-market online game on a console.
For it: A strong concept buoyed by the promise of online play. Scuba Diving is one of those activities that crosses gender and age lines but is still rare enough that a virtual edition is appealing.
Against it: Those lines from the IGN preview I quoted? That’s the whole preview. There’s no telling if this game will actually see a release at this point, especially given the rather sorry state of Nintendo’s online efforts at the moment. Still, though, it continues to make appearances in Nintendo’s Wii Highlight reels, so there is still hope.
Scheduled Release: Listed as TBA 2007 only for Japan currently.
1. Wii Health Pack (Wii Fit)
You can see above for my comments on Nintendo’s Wii-prefixed titles, but this game is poised to be the granddaddy of them all. Set to combine the world’s current fitness and diet craze with the already-strong Wii craze, everything seems ready for this title to be at the centre of the perfect storm of buying frenzy. The very idea of a video game that could help people lose weight and exercise is definite fodder for any manner of mainstream news article, magazine feature or daytime talk show appearance. If your mom’s never played a video game before, this might be the one to get her to pick up the controller.
For it: Diet and Exercise books are a multi-billion dollar industry. Imagine the potential of a diet and exercise game that not only directed you through various Wii controller using exercises, but also tracked your progress and let you maintain online high score lists with your friends. This game could be one of the best selling games of all time.
Against it: Unless, that is, it sucks. If Nintendo doesn’t polish the hell out of this title the story could easily go from “Video game helps you lose weight!” to “Fatties think they can lose weight playing video games!”
Scheduled Release: TBA 2007 Everywhere in the World.
Are there Wii games you’re looking forward to that have been underrepresented by the gaming media? Share them here!