If you read our review of the Wii U hardware, you’ll know what to expect if you buy the system. But a gaming console is only as good as the games available for it. So read on for mini-reviews of several of the most popular launch titles.
New Super Mario Bros. U
A new Mario game is always a cause for celebration, and sure enough, the Wii U version hits it out of the park for pure Mario fun. That said, aside from finally seeing Mario in HD, there’s little here to differentiate this side-scrolling Mario game from the others before it. It’s still great for fans, but we wish Nintendo went further in making the first high-def Mario a technological marvel. The game hardly uses the tablet controller at all– although the ability for one player to add blocks to the screen while another player (or four) plays is great fun. We love playing this new Mario game for what it is, but it’s not quite the advance fans deserve.
ï¿¼Probably the only third party game that really tries to use the new controller in creative ways is ZombiU. This first-person survival horror game is fun, if somewhat shallow, but uses the second screen in engaging ways. Players must use it to scan the TV for targets and objectives, zoom on things, play mini-games, and other interesting diversions. The game doesn’t look great, but it provides a nice diversion from the rest of the launch titles– especially since it’s an exclusive.
FIFA Soccer 13
EA Sports throws out their two mainstays to the Wii U (Madden NFL 13 is the other) and the results are an expectedly great game of football with plenty of lessons learned from their excellent iOS releases. The Wii U version of FIFA lets players flick goal shots, pick plays, and other things with the second screen. It feels a bit more natural here than in most games, and even if you hate using the tablet screen, it’s hard to argue that the soccer isn’t great.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Since this was a remarkably lackluster game to begin with, it’s hard to get excited about the extra content in the Wii U version. The gamepad screen is used for inventory and power upgrades, but otherwise extraneous. The bloody gameplay is repetitive and very old school, and much better handled with the smaller and more familiar arcade pad.
The pack-in game with the deluxe Wii U set is a cute collection of multiplayer-centric mini games. The games usually carry a familiar Nintendo theme, such as Metroid, Pikmin, or Mario. There’s an array of racing, shooting, classic 2D, and obstacle courses here. As far as pack-ins go, it’s fun for families that play together. The game also makes varied and creative use of the second-screen controller, making it worth picking up even if you didn’t get it in the box.