A new way to play Nintendo's upcoming Wii U is another first of its kind — a slender game system linked wirelessly to an enlarged touchscreen-equipped GamePad. To provide a better idea of what the Wii U can do, Nintendo recently let us go hands-on with a number of games that it and other companies are developing.
"New Super Mario Bros. U"
This multiplayer-powered side-scrolling adventure allows up to five players to take part in classic platforming fun, with four of them controlling on-screen characters and a fifth using the GamePad to knock enemies out of harm's way. The involvement of a new player with the GamePad mixes things up a bit. Still, we would have appreciated more new stuff.
In this fun micro-management game, you guide cute little garden creatures around, attacking enemies as a group and solving puzzles. A lot of the gameplay elements from previous "Pikmin" games are here, but combined with gorgeous high-definition graphics. It's as enjoyable as the previous Pikmin games, and newcomers will catch on quickly. But we're waiting for a multiplayer option.
"Nintendoland" A series of mini-games revolves around a universe of classic Nintendo titles. We played a pair of them, including "Luigi's Mansion," in which players chase ghosts around. It's enjoyable for casual players of all ages — a potential winner at parties or family get-togethers. Dedicated fans will probably want more substance, though.
"Wii Fit U" Like previous "Wii Fit" exercise titles title gets you in shape by performing fun activities with an interactive floor mat, such as slalom racing and bouncing on trampolines. It's Ideal for getting fit, but general players may be exhausted by it.
"Sing" Ever felt like singing along to your favorites, but can't stand the embarrassment of karaoke? This game is an ideal answer, letting you sing and dance to everything from 50's classics, like "The Shoop Shoop Song" to current party hits (such as LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem").
"Project P-100" Bound to be a sleeper hit, this quirky adventure game puts you in control of 50 superheroes — it's like your own Justice League. You battle robots and traverse a number of thrilling stages, trying to save the city while you do it. The game is a bit confusing at first with so much happening on screen and so many folks to manage, but it's a lot of fun once you get used to the controls.
"Just Dance 4" The latest in Ubisoft's dance series, "Just Dance" uses the Wii U GamePad and coordinating remote controllers to track your dance movements and match them with on-screen counterparts. With a number of popular radio hits, including Flo Rida's "I Got a Feeling," this nicely complements "Sing." The new "Puppet Master" mode, where players pick dance routines with the GamePad, should keep expert steppers literally on their toes.
"Rayman Legends" A thrilling side-scrolling adventure has you controlling the limbless yet noble Rayman and his friends as they battle enemies, using jump attacks (to hit someone in the head) and fists to defeat them. The game features tons of collectible glowing Lum buddies throughout, and also features a great level of interaction, with on-screen players controlled by regular Wii remotes and one GamePad wielder interacting with the environment — opening gates and setting up safe passage over traps.
"Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition" A revamped version of last year's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hit, "Arkham City" features wonderful new elements that take advantage of the Wii U GamePad. For example, you can look around for clues in a "Detective Mode," using analyzers and other tools to find your way around. You can also custom aim your Batarang after throwing it. The new high-definition graphics are quite startling — especially compared to what we first saw of the title at E3 in June.
"ZombiU" Ubisoft's first-person action/adventure game should be a big hit for those seeking a more "mature" Wii U experience. In this game, you have only one life to fight for as zombies come at you from all directions. Featuring dark, harrowing visuals and plenty of bloodshed, "ZombiU" is one of the best Wii U games we've seen. But it's definitely not for the kids.
"Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge" Another Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 touched-up, "Ninja Gaiden 3" features plenty of suave moves, including acrobatics and over-the-top fighting, along with a heaping portion of bloodshed — you can chop enemies to pieces here. Great new touch-screen features include selecting weapons and activating huge ninpo attacks, like a fiery dragon that destroys, well, everyone.