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Wii game reviews

Wii video game reviews

Super Paper Mario - 82%
Release Date: April 9th, 2007
Review Date: July 18th, 2007
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform(s): Wii
Completed: No

Super paper mario game review

The latest iteration of the Super Mario franchise is Super Paper Mario—a game that blends facets of both RPG and platforming into one coherent, yet light-hearted, gaming experience. I immediately noticed that this game captures the innovation that is so uniquely Nintendo—they have consistently found new ways to keep Mario fresh since his debut in late 1985.

In this episode, you are responsible for preventing the evil Count Bleck (huh?) from destroying all the surrounding worlds. In fact, in addition to being able to play as Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, you will be able to use Bowser! Yes, these are crazy times we are living in. But, where’s Toad? The game centers around a hub city named Flipside—this is the peaceful access point to all eight worlds, as well as a locale for purchasing items, going on mini side-quests, and getting the scoop on the progressing plot.

Along the journey, you gain the use of Pixls—small floating characters who have very specific abilities, some of which are needed to continue progressing through the game. For example, one lays bombs for you, another grabs enemies so you can throw them, the list goes on. In addition to this, you can level up (based on your point score) which increases one of two things: your maximum hit points, or the power of your attacks. You rely primarily on the time-tested jump-attack, but using Pixls, and even Bowser’s flame, adds a certain spice to the game. One of the items you can collect on severeal occasions (the invincibility star) will transform you into a giant pixilated retro Mario (or whichever character you’re using at the time) which can bash through any obstacle or enemy (similar to New Super Mario Bros on the DS), while another will create several mini versions of your character which then group around you and mimic your moves, thus expanding the scope of your jump-attacks.

The graphics are difficult to pigeonhole—while very colorful, they certainly could have been sharper, and I find myself wondering how this game could have looked. One complaint I have revolves around the copious amounts of dialogue (well, on-screen text I should say—there are no spoken words). Heck, before I could even start playing I had to sit through what seemed like an eternity's worth of back-and-forth text and chirps. Then, when you complete a level, you have to sit through tedious amounts of text conversations again. I personally found it incredibly annoying—there should have been an option to skip it altogether, despite missing some plot elements (when did Mario games become plot-heavy?).

The controls are simple, and holding the Wii controller sideways (like the NES controller) works flawlessly and feels really natural. Another innovative aspect of this game is the ability to switch to 3-D mode. This behind-Mario perspective allows you to run around certain enemies, and becomes critical for passing certain obstructions—it also keeps you thinking. Yet another seamless innovation is the ability to point the Wii controller at characters or items on the screen for tips on how to advance. Some of the bosses are interesting (including one that is perhaps the largest I have ever battled), although rarely prove difficult to overcome. While not what I would call a classic, it will keep Mario fans busy until the next major franchise release.

Bottom-line: Despite a couple very minor gripes (graphics and extensive text conversations) and maybe being a bit heavy on the RPG elements, I think this game is going to be very well received due to its inherent innovation, humor, and enjoyable gameplay. Nintendo manages to successfully breath new life into an established franchise, thus warranting a revisit for anyone who remotely enjoys the ongoing series starring the world-renowned Italian plummer and his pals.

Rampage: Total Destruction - 38%
Release Date: November 14th, 2006
Review Date: February 14th, 2007
Developer: Pipeworks Software
Publisher: Midway
Platform(s): PS2, Gamecube
Completed: No

Rampage game review

Every so often developers will revisit a past franchise and do a fantastic job giving it new life—Ninja Gaiden and Metroid come to mind. Ya, that didn’t happen with this game. As a kid, I loved playing Rampage on the NES and in the arcade—I can’t pinpoint what exactly was so appealing to me, but I loved it nonetheless. In this next gen butchering, Midway took a classic game, and implemented “improvements”—for the sake of the gamer, of course. You would think that, after 20 or so years, the original could have been translated into a worthy successor—refined, tweaked, or even expanded. In a nutshell, Midway added nicer graphics and a wider array of monsters, while simultaneously including difficult controls and mind-numbing repetitiveness.

Oh, don’t get me started on the controls—they are unresponsive and absolutely infuriating! If I didn’t shut the Wii off when I did, I would have thrown the controller through the wall. Trying to get your monster to climb a building is undeniably annoying, let alone directing it around the screen…and you can forget trying to grab a car or person on the ground. The fact that you can upgrade your abilities was an ok idea, but too little too late. Would you like to know what the best (and saddest) part of this game is? The inclusion of both Rampage (NES) and Rampage: World Tour (arcade). It’s so hilarious to me that they are both more fun than the Wii version. There is a multiplayer option, but in my opinion, why multiply the frustration factor? There are so many games worth playing—Rampage: Total Destruction is not one of them.

Bottom-line: Infuriatingly difficult controls send this title to the bottom-of-the-barrel. But, better controls alone wouldn't transform this game into something worth playing. More monsters and upgradeability are nice features, but in the end the only remotely saving grace is the inclusion of Rampage (NES) and Rampage: World Tour titles.

Wii Sports - 81%
Release Date: November 19th, 2006
Review Date: March 10th, 2007
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform(s): Wii
Completed: No

Wii sports game review

Wii sports is a modern day anachronism. I applaud Nintendo for reverting to the days when a console actually came with a pack-in game—what an amazing concept! It was a brilliant marketing move, as the included games (bowling, baseball, boxing, tennis, and golf) really show-off the Wii’s motion-sensing capabilities right out of the box. In each game, you imitate the action you would like your player to make—and it works surprisingly well. The graphics in Wii Sports are fairly rudimentary, consisting of simple arenas and players reminiscent of lego figures—but with no arms or legs. They just sort of float. It’s a bit grating initially, but the gameplay eventually draws you in and graphics become less significant.

Bowling looks and feels authentic, with realistic sounds and pin movement. Heck, you can even put english on the ball. This game requires the most space to feel genuine.

Golf includes nine holes of various par, while the course itself is fairly humdrum. Putting is at times difficult, but who really plays a golf game to putt? Swinging is what makes golf games great fun, and while the Wii version is very responsive, it's almost too responsive. In its current form, the power bar will max out if you swing even moderately fast. Come on!

In Baseball, you alternate between batting and pitching—the fielding is controlled by the Wii. The crack of the bat sounds terrific and the swing responsiveness is excellent—but pitching is fun too. You can throw fastballs, breaking balls, curve balls, and even screwballs. It really adds a bit of strategy to the three-inning games, because balls can be tough to hit—especially the breaking balls. Getting your buddy to chase a ball in the dirt is pretty easy, and ultimately satisfying.

Boxing seems to be the least responsive game, but also the most stylish. Using both hands (the Wii controller and the nunchuck), you can land a variety of powerful punches including body shots, hooks, and uppercuts—not to mention the ability to maneuver your body left and right to dodge incoming punches. When you really connect, it’s dramatic (time slows for maximum aggrandizement). At the same time, punch attempts are not always recognized by the Wii, which serves as a reminder that this is still a developing technology.

Tennis is one of the standout titles within the package (and my personal favorite), not only because it feels so authentic, but also because the multiplayer mode is outstanding. Hard or soft serves, spin, forehand or backhand, lob shots, you name it and this game has it. Your player moves across the court automatically, but swinging the racquet is your responsibility. Master the fast serve and you're golden against all but seasoned players.

Together, these five games appeal to a wide audience and, as is the case with most sports titles, offer replayability to the nth degree. There are also brief fitness and training modes included—essentially mini-games—that you may want to try out as well (evocative of Wario games). In the end, Wii Sports offers an unprecedented gameplay experience that transcends the arguably outdated graphics. Nintendo’s risk-laden foray into motion-sensing seems to be paying off.

Bottom-line: This game is more about displaying the Wii’s potential than providing lasting single-player enjoyment—but it’s free, so why complain? Plus, this is a no-brainer if you’re hosting a party—the multiplayer mode is a
blast, especially for non-gamers.