BY: IGN STAFF
JUNE 24, 2014
At E3 2014, Nintendo's Wii U GamePad earned an extra life. After months of failing to validate Wii U's tablet-style controller -- a device that uses a combination of dual analog sticks, standard buttons, and a 6.2-inch touch screen for input -- Nintendo unveiled seven new game projects that it hopes will harness its unique device between now and 2015. Bundled with the recent sales success of Mario Kart 8, this stream of unique games could become an opportunity for Nintendo to finally communicate its message behind Wii U, as the company strives to help consumers understand what makes the GamePad so special.
Using a combination of the television and GamePad, legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto hopes to build a better Star Fox game. The TV displays a traditional behind-the-ship view found in previous Star Fox games, but the camera is farther away. This simple change made it easier to spot enemies tailing Fox McCloud's Arwing. The left analog stick pilots the ship, while the right stick functions as a primary input for barrel rolls and U-turns.
The GamePad screen displays a cockpit view and supports motion controls as a means to line up strafing shots. As the Arwing sweeps past a target, I could fire shots independently up to 180 degrees of the ships forward facing momentum using the GamePad. This opens up some cool opportunities against stationary enemies. The brief demo showcases an open valley similar to Star Fox's All-Range Mode, and it even includes transformations into the familiar Landmaster Tank. Another portion of this demo focuses on a new hovercraft ship that can deploy a tethered robot to gather item pickups during a mission.
Project Giant Robot
Project Giant Robot showed us a wacky take on combat between colossal robot titans. Players customize wacky robo-creations and take them into battle against kid-friendly, robot enemies. Similar to Star Fox, this game puts a third-person perspective on the TV and an internal cockpit view on the GamePad. The shoulder buttons trigger the robot’s forward and backward movements. The built-in motion sensor operates its torso. Finally, the analog sticks control the left and right arms respectively.
Miyamoto uses the Wii U GamePad's motion sensor to topple giant enemies in Project Giant Robot.
While the control layout sounds somewhat straightforward, gameplay in Project Giant Robot often produced hilarious results. Similar to the potentially chaotic setup of Octodad -- a game where you performed trivial actions as a bumbling octopus posing as a human -- the combat here unfolds in an equally chaotic fashion. The core concept is based around sumo wrestling, but robots can easily loose their balance during a fight. Most rookie pilots awkwardly shuffle forward with one arm extended, as they try their best to tilt and shove the opposing enemies to the ground. The easiest visual I can give you comes from the finale of Aliens. Remember when Ripley used the slow moving Cargo Loader to battle a ferocious queen. Picture that style of movement, but with funny-looking robots and you’re halfway there.
When artists create digital art, they don't use a mouse -- they use a trackpad. Similarly, when you create levels Super Mario Bros. levels, in Mario Maker, the GamePad is your trackpad. A variation of Mario Maker was actually used to design New Super Mario Bros. U levels, so it's quite powerful.
Unlike many powerful level creators, Mario Maker's GamePad screen tools are refreshingly intuitive: You touch the screen to paint swaths of bricks, peppering in impossible stacks of Hammer Bros., Koopas and Goombas, and other Mushroom Kingdom staples. After you're done creating, you can tap the Play button, stash your stylus, and attempt to guide Mario through your freshly-minted gauntlet on the GamePad's D-pad and buttons. It's the perfect blend of the GamePad's best qualities.
Read more detailed impressions for Mario Maker here.
Project Guard takes the idea of camera-based security and turns it into an intense game of tower defense. The TV displays 12 cameras around the edges of the screen. The center section is reserved for the view from a single active camera. A map with the layout of the stage and the locations of the cameras is displayed on the GamePad. The map also has a helpful motion tracker, but some enemies can go stealth and avoid detection.
Friends pitch in and help you protect the base in Project Guard.
Before a round of Project Guard begins, players can adjust the positions of all 12 individual cameras – each one has a mounted laser. Robot enemies will teleport outside of the base, and the player has to shuffle between cameras and eliminate the individual threats. The game is over if any of the enemy robots reaches the power source at the center of the base.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Anyone who’s already played the adorable Captain Toad missions in Super Mario 3D World recognizes both the hardships and fun puzzles faced by this intrepid member of the Mushroom Kingdom. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker expands on the original concept with new items, enemies, and abilities. Captain Toad can now pull turnips and coins out of the ground. He can use a pickaxe item that’s reminiscent of the hammer from 1981’s Donkey Kong. Treasure Tracker also adds minecart levels where players can use a first person perspective on the GamePad to toss turnips at enemies.
Read more impressions about Captain Toad’s adventures in this preview.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
From its first unveiling, we all realized that the GamePad's touch screen could make DS and 3DS-style games possible on the big screen. While we're still waiting on eShop DS games (in the US -- Brain Age for DS Virtual Console is available in other territories), Kirby and the Rainbow Curse reinvents a classic DS game, Kirby: Canvas Curse, by preserving its unique control scheme.
In Rainbow Curse, you use the touch screen exclusively to move Kirby, who is tucked into a rolling ball form. If you tap Kirby, he boosts forward. You must draw rainbow trails with the stylus to keep Kirby rolling past obstacles and through collectibles. While Rainbow Curse plays almost identically to its DS predecessor, but the HD graphical upgrade will make you want to look up from your GamePad -- the entire game appears to be rendered in clay, like the very best 80s Nintendo Power covers.
Splatoon is the third-person action game that pits humanoid squids in ink-filled territory battles. The objective is to paint as much territory as possible with friendly colored ink at the end of a timed round. Splatoon uses the GamePad’s motion sensor to make fine adjustments on aiming. Players can also see a full overhead map on the GamePad at all times, which clearly helps communicate if your team is winning the war to ink everything in sight.
SOURCED VIA IGN