After a couple of shaky years, the Wii U has stopped treading water and started fighting back hard, reminding gamers that it already boasts a fantastic lineup of great games. This trend is set to continue throughout the rest of the year, resulting in a slate that's relatively slim on quality but utterly sensational in terms of potential quality.
So without further ado, here are the Wii U's exclusive highlights with release dates and links to our on-site coverage where possible!
Bringing Zelda characters into Dynasty Warriors is risky business, but Nintendo are rigorously putting the incredibly inconsistent Omega Force through their paces and watching their every move. What we've seen so far looks like simple satisfying fun, and what Matt played cemented our opinion.
"If Hyrule Warriors can manage to borrow as much from Hyrule as it can from the Warriors series, then we might just see a Warriors game that proves to be something a bit special here, rather than a novelty paint job," he wrote. "I had fun, though; I can say that." Fingers crossed.Click here to read more...
The price for Nintendo's budget handheld continues to fall, with this latest offer from Tesco being the best one we've seen. By adding the voucher code above you can snag a 2DS in the colours of your choice for under £70. Admittedly this deal doesn't come with any games, but even so this is quite the bargain. Please note that you'll need to pay an extra £3.00 for home delivery if you're unable to click & collect. Thanks to goonertillidie @ HUKD!
One of the undeniable highlights of Nintendo's E3 showing was Splatoon -- a new take on the third-person multiplayer shooter that coated the genre in a fresh lick of paint.
Or rather ink.
Nintendo have never struck us a company that'd jump into the saturated online shooter market, you wouldn't find them crafting a COD killer or taking the field against the likes of Halo or, indeed, Battlefield. But Nintendo are all about innovative twists on well-worn themes, and in Splatoon they've not just handed a roster of their beloved mascots Quasar rifles or paintball guns, they've gone and greenlit a brand new IP. Nintendo EAD making a new IP and a multiplayer shooter? Don't be alarmed, hell hasn't frozen over just yet.
The excellently named Splatoon features two teams of four players vying for control of a level, marking territory by splattering everything in sight with ink to match the teams' respective colours. You essentially run about the place, covering as much of the map as you possibly can in the colours of your team, splattering any miscreant foes you come across, and transforming into a squid every so often to refill your paint gauge, traverse the place a little faster, and just because it's cool.Click here to read more...
If you own a Wii U but haven't picked up Mario Kart 8 yet, now's the time. £29.99 is the cheapest price we've ever seen for the superb racer, and better yet, you've still got a couple of weeks to claim your free downloadable game. Don't forget, because missing the opportunity to grab the likes of Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD or The Wonderful 101 gratis should not be missed. There may indeed never be a better time to get involved. Do it.
Deal expires at midnight tonight. Thanks to 5rivers59 @ HUKD!
We'll be able to make secret bases, transform Metagross into a powerful new form and dress Pikachu up in adorable outfits in this year's Pokemon remake. As a grown man, perhaps I ought to make some sort of dismissive comment here, but you know as well as I do that we can't bloody wait.Click here to read more...
Nintendo have unveiled three new characters who'll be starring in Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS later this year.Click here to read more...
Pikmin 3 is absolutely superb, a stressful yet seriously enjoyable strategy game that works perfectly on the Wii U (and looks the business too). Though available in the Mario Kart 8 free game promotion, which runs until the end of this month, GAME's £20 price is a steal. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII@ HUKD!
The Nintendo 2DS may lack the hinge, stereo sound and, erm, 3D of its 3DS forebears, but this adorable little sort-of-slate still has access to the massive library of superb games on the platform and costs hardly anything. Tesco Direct will part with one for £74.00 if you plug in voucher code TDX-PFW6, though you'll need to pay an extra £3.00 for home delivery if you're unable to click & collect. Thanks to petetate @ HUKD!
I've lost count of the number of times I've heard the Wii U GamePad referred to as a "gimmick," whether by gamers, pundits and even a few developers, and it's hard to argue with the logic at face value. Expensive to manufacture, difficult to market and nowhere near as disruptive as a WiiMote and Nunchuck, the Wii U's headline peripheral often looks like a hard sell on paper, especially when so few games use it to any great extent beyond off-TV play. Even Nintendo seems to be aware of this argument, as they've tasked none other than Shigeru Miyamoto with a swathe of imaginative new games designed around new ways to use the device, not to mention the new Amiibo NFC initiative, in an effort to demonstrate the GamePad's worth to third-party studios.
And yet, having owned a Wii U and its chunky plastic slate for the best part of two years, I'm not convinced by this logic at all. The problem isn't that the GamePad is somehow a useless gimmick, it's that any number of studios and publishers just aren't using their common sense when it comes to touchscreen applications. Whether overthinking the whole situation, pressed for time or just plain lazy, it's a crying shame, because the GamePad can greatly improve the user experience and add meaningful value to a game with a bare minimum of effort.
I'm not for a moment suggesting that every Wii U game needs to purpose-built around the GamePad in radical and innovative ways. I love it when they are, examples being ZombiU's inventory system, Project Giant Robot and some of Nintendo Land's better minigames, but the fact is that player convenience is an oft-overlooked yet unbelievably simple and effective use of the GamePad. No matter the genre, no matter the port or premise, using the GamePad effectively is child's play.Click here to read more...
This anarchic RPG/platformer hybrid may be heavy on the tutorials, but it's also heavy on non-sequitur gags and some seriously neat mechanics. It's also plain heavy, clocking in at roughly 40 hours of gameplay. Which translates to approximately 35p/hour of gaming at £14.70, or in other words, a bargain. Thanks to ElectroDragon8 @ HUKD!
Nintendo are desperate for that GamePad to seem relevant. Far from giving up on the Wii U, the Big N are doubling down on their console, having delivered one of the finest E3 showings in their recent history (albeit with a few too many instances of "coming 2015" for our liking), and a number of works in progress. In a move that seemed entirely un-Nintendo-esque, the Nintendo Treehouse channel unveiled two very early game prototypes in the form of Project Big Robot and Project Guard.
Project Giant Robot is what five-year-old me might have envisaged back when cereal packets could be used to transform oneself from a human boy into an Autobot. The demo began with robo-construction. You get to pick the base units for your robot's head, arms, torso, and legs from a plethora of increasingly weird items. I decided to make a robot made up entirely of Megazord heads. You can stretch and squish each module too, so if you want to create a robot with guns bigger than The Incredible Hulk's you can.
You can make your robot thinner than a rake or fatter than than Jabba, you can give it supersized shoulders or a pea-sized head. But whatever the physical appearance, players need to be aware that it'll affect how the robot in question handles. Make it too top-heavy, and your robot will be susceptible to toppling over. Bigger mechanoids will make for heavier hitters, but they'll also be slow and lumbering. Tall robots will suffer balance issues as the tradeoff for power, but while smaller robots might stand their ground better, they'll sacrifice something in terms of punching weight.
What followed was a series of battles against robots of increasing size in amongst a blocky urban landscape that proved ripe for destruction.Click here to read more...
If you own a Wii U but haven't picked up Mario Kart 8 yet, now's the time. £29.99 is the cheapest price we've ever seen for the superb racer, and better yet, you've still got three weeks to claim your free game, which includes Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD and The Wonderful 101. There may indeed never be a better time to get involved. Do it.
Thanks to thehappiestpanda @ HUKD!
Why is Sonic wearing a sodding scarf? Seriously. Can someone please explain why Sonic is trying to evoke the rugged heroism of Nathan Drake? Has it really come to this? And while we're at it... why is Knuckles a triangle with legs now? He looks like he's been freebasing creatine.
Despite vomiting heavily into a bag upon witnessing the hideous visual transformations of Sonic and co. for this new venture, excused of course by chants of TV and transmedia, I foolishly thought that there could be some merit in really shaking up the Sonic formula, getting some proper co-op gameplay involved, and busting out some awesome action-platforming. But, though it might be easy to suggest a revamp for a series that's been inconsistent over the last decade, Sonic Boom is not the answer.
I actually liked Lost World in parts. It was flawed, sure, but I had fun with it in places. Sonic Boom, however, exists to remind you of the very worst PS2-era platforming tie-ins. Simple movement is incredibly imprecise and twitchy. Sonic constantly overshoots areas, and Knuckles appears to handle like a lead brick mired in treacle. Enemies pop up for you to smack down by spamming the face buttons for normal and special attacks -- Sonic does a spin-dash, and Knuckles, well, Knuckles can climb walls.Click here to read more...
2DS/3DS/DSi power adaptor | Base | £5.99 (save £1 vs Amazon)
This isn't the most glamorous or exciting deal we've ever posted, but a console is just a paperweight without power. Doubly so for the 3DS and 3DS XL, the latter of which doesn't even ship with an AC adaptor as standard. Luckily Base are on hand with the official version for a competitive £5.99, saving you a quid on a replacement or spare. Households with multiple 3DS/2DS units may also want a backup.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
We've been going Wii U-crazy these last few months, due to some outstanding games hitting the system and some tremendously exciting titles on the slate. If you want to join us, The Game Collection are currently selling a premium bundle with Nintendo Land, Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition and Assassin's Creed III for £189.95.
If you go for it, I'd suggest also grabbing Mario Kart 8 ASAP and taking advantage of the free game offer, perhaps netting either Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3 or The Wonderful 101 gratis. How cheap does it have to get? Thanks to darioredkin@ HUKD!
After several years of being shown up by Sony's PS Vita/PS3 'cross-buy' initiative, Nintendo are finally ready to follow suit on their own hardware. From tomorrow, buying SQUIDS Odyssey on 3DS will instantly unlock the Wii U version for free.
As we noted in our 7/10 review, it's a solid, lighthearted and seriously enjoyable tactical hybrid, though Nintendo still hasn't quite grasped the cross-buy concept yet.Click here to read more...
Super Mario 3D World's "Captain Toad" stages were absolutely brilliant. They were wonderful puzzle-platforming vignettes that varied the pace a little and gave players something fresh and new to do. Now everyone's favourite, useless little mushroom fellow has his own marquee game, and it's shaping up to be something truly delightful.
Much of the appeal comes from the fact that Toad is fundamentally useless. His only real ability is to plant a smile on your face -- he can't jump or attack or do much for that matter -- and that makes for a game that looks like it might be Super Mario 3D World replica with a new avatar, much like Nintendo did with New Super Mario Bros U and Luigi, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Captain Toad is no Goomba-stomping moustachioed maverick. He's a toddling mushroom with a benevolent god rocking a GamePad and a camera.
That's us. The players.
Our job is to steer Toad through a number of increasingly complex levels that can be spun around, their perspectives played with, to ferret out secret gems and hidden coins, and eventually guide Toad to the star at the end of each stage. It's a mechanism that evokes memories of games such as Echochrome (though Nintendo eschew Escherian temptations) and Fez, where the systems of stages are fixed, and the player progresses through manipulation of the camera angle and the stage itself as a whole.Click here to read more...
Every reviewer has one game, possibly one game a year, that we look back on and perhaps feel that the review we gave didn't quite do that game justice. It could be a wildly over-inflated score for a game that proved to be a pile of poo in the long run -- a title perhaps over-hyped at the time, arriving with a groundswell of excitement that proved too loud to ignore. We're human, it happens. Or maybe it was a game that we grew to love over replays, unable to see its qualities in the midst of a hectic release period with deadlines on all sides at the time, but something that made us kick ourselves upon return.
For whatever reason, I gave the original Bayonetta an 8 out of 10. I've gone back and tried to crawl into the headspace of my younger self time and time again to ascertain exactly why that score wasn't higher. The review even reads like a 9 or a 10.
Mind you, maybe it's because I foresaw room for improvement on some level. Maybe it's because somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I had an inkling of what was to come: that there'd be a sequel, that it would be even more fantastically overblown, that it'd be an exclusive on the Wii's successor. Hahahaha! Sorry...no one could have predicted that last one.
I came staggering out of the Nintendo post-E3 showcase drunk with happiness, a massive grin plastered to my face, and with a burning desire to buy Nintendo's latest console. Every game I played slapped a smile on my face, but none dropped my jaw so utterly and so consistently as Bayonetta 2.Click here to read more...
I love The Legend of Zelda games. To me they represent some of the finest examples of game design we've been blessed to enjoy over the years. The adventures of Link have proven time and time again to be some of the most innovative, ambitious, and polished games to have graced this industry. Dynasty Warriors, on the other hand, is a series that's barely changed at all over the years, staying true to its formula of a button-mashing frenzy of smashing up enormous swathes of mindless, characterless AI fodder, punctuated occasionally by the odd absurdly-overpowered mini-boss.
Still, I do have something of a soft spot for Dynasty Warriors.
Hyrule Warriors is not your typical Zelda game at all. It's very much something of a Zelda reskin of traditional Dynasty Warriors gameplay at first glance. I went hands-on with the game at the recent Nintendo E3 showcase and was merrily massacring multitudes of Bokoblins within seconds. The scale is fantastic, and the sense of cathartic empowerment is glorious, helped along by a better draw distance than we've typically seen in the past. One of Dynasty Warriors' foibles over the years has always been an alarming amount of pop-in, but Hyrule Warriors seems to have managed to mitigate that slightly. It's still there, but it's not so offensive to the eyes this time around.
Visually, at least, Hyrule Warriors manages to engage the player to a far greater degree than its spiritual predecessors, eschewing the drab, washed-out palette of previous Warriors games in favour of a brighter, more vibrant colour set and art style that breathes a little more life into proceedings and firmly roots you in Hyrule. There's a distinct lack of detail -- this game won't win any prizes for astonishing beauty -- but generally the game appears to do a decent job of selling the setting. It's actually a little thrilling to feel part of some sort of grand battle for Hyrule, wading into war with Gorons and Hylian guards by your side, as Lizalfos and Moblin generals marshal their troops.
Of course, it wears thin rather quickly, and even over the course of my initial fifteen-minute demo the combat became repetitive. The Warriors games have always been titles that, for me at least, are best enjoyed with a friend by your side, drinking beers, and chatting absolute rubbish. They're the sort of games that you don't really have to focus too much attention on because all you're really doing is mashing the same buttons over and over again. They're a catalyst for conversation, something to be doing in background while you catch-up with a mate you've not seen in some time. Sometimes I don't really want to think when I'm playing a game, and Warriors games are great for that. Hyrule being no exception it would seem.Click here to read more...
Gaming has gone to the dogs. It's all DLC now, all third-party accounts, all DRM, all overhyped overpriced sexist racist recycled toxic annualised buggy broken timewasting rubbish. And all the best games are out next year anyway. What's the point? Why bother?
Have you ever caught yourself thinking like this from time to time? Hopefully not considering the great games we're enjoying and have yet to look forward to, but it's small wonder that some of us feel a little down and deflated halfway through the year. Especially when genuine news about quality games tends to take a back seat to sensationalist doomslinging. Misery and scandal make great headlines, I admit.
But with so many shoddy business practices, flops, delays and venomous punditry making front pages every day, you'd be forgiven for feeling just a bit jaded about your favourite hobby, even as it demands more and more of our hard-earned cash while making us jump through increasingly aggravating hoops just to keep up.
Because it's all about the games. We don't care about scandals, sales figures, marketing and services. We want to play games, great games, games that inspire us and are made with painstaking hand-crafted quality -- without all the hassle, the extra accounts, money-grubbing, restrictions and subscriptions. If only there was a console that embraced that philosophy right now, along with a friendly community built directly into the user experience.
Oh wait. There is. Not only is the Wii U the feel-good hit of the summer, but there's never been a better time to buy one.Click here to read more...