Yoshi’s Wooly World

The Wii U may be underpowered when compared to PS4/X1, but you sure couldn’t tell when playing through Yoshi’s Wooly World. One of the most beautiful games I’ve seen in action, the mix of wooly art direction with a color palette that is joyous beyond belief makes for such a fun experience. Put all that on top of an extremely solid platformer – although rather easy at first (the challenge is not in finishing a level but in completing it fully), it does get a bit more challenging as it moves along – and you’ve got something really special. I love this game to bits, and wouldn’t mind seeing more “wooly” games in the future (and yes, I now do feel the need to go back and play Kirby’s Epic Yarn on Wii).

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Up until this week, I had never played a Kirby game. For some reason it’s just one those series that passed me by, and I’m not quite sure why. I decided to give Kirby and the Rainbow Curse a try – I know it doesn’t really play like a typical Kirby game, but I’d been curious to experience it ever since it got announced, and that’s mostly because I loved the claymation aesthetic they used for it. Having played it, that’s definitely the aspect of the game I dig the most – it’s just such a wonderful way to present a game, and it looks so beautiful and colorful. But at the same time, I feel a bit frustrated because the game needs to be played on the Wii U controller’s screen, and so I can’t really take in the graphics as they look on the TV. I have been having some fun with it, but on top of not really getting why this came out for Wii U instead of 3DS, I just have to say that playing an action game with a stylus is not really my cup of tea. I am going to keep playing it mostly because I want to see what all the levels look like, but the whole time I’m wishing it played more like a traditional Kirby game (since trying this, I’ve also been also playing the original Kirby’s Adventure on NES) but with these same aesthetics.

Star Fox Guard

Along with Star Fox Zero I also tried playing Star Fox Guard, and again, it just wasn’t for me. It’s a neat idea for a game, and it’s fun that it’s set in the Star Fox universe (with those characters), but the game itself was just stressful for me, constantly touching the screens and then trying to aim my gun in time to shoot down the invading robots. I think it might be more fun playing as a pair.

Star Fox Zero

I should start by saying that I’ve never really been that big a fan of Star Fox games, and have only played (and not to completion) the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 releases. But despite the mixed reviews, I was still curious to try this out. I’m afraid I didn’t have a lot of fun playing it. Even though I never really liked them, I was starting to get a bit used to the controls (using the Wii U controller screen and TV screen together), but then already at the 3rd mission (I think) I started getting annoyed in a dog fight mission that just felt frustrating. I’m already not the biggest fan of 3D space shooters (I love 2D shooters to death though), but add what to me felt like awkward controls – in part because I wasn’t drawn into the game long enough to really get good at it – and that was enough for me. Oh well.

Citizens of Earth

I’ll mention one last game I’ve been playing from the Nintendo Bundle, and that’s Citizens of Earth. For some reason, when you get the keys from the bundle, you have to choose whether you want the Wii U or 3DS version of this game, and so I picked Wii U. I must say, I’m having a pretty good time playing it, enjoying the nice crisp illustrated look, and gameplay that reminds me of the Mother/Earthbound games. The story is pretty funny too, and I like how it plays with RPG conventions – my party right now has my brother and mother, and during combat they use abilities like “nagging” and the like. 

Darksiders II

Another game in the Nintendo bundle is Darksiders II, which I had started playing a long time ago on PS3 I think (probably bought it in a sale or got it through PlayStation Plus) but got distracted somehow and never got back to it (and I don’t have a PS3 anymore). I quite liked the first Darksiders – it was an HD Zelda-like game back when Zelda games weren’t yet HD, with really fun combat gameplay – and right now I’m having a good time getting back into the series and playing this game. Sure, the general look of the game is a bit overly “heavy metal aesthetic,” but the gameplay is still really fun. I don’t know if I’ll have the time to really go in and play through all of it, but I definitely want to play more. 

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

I’ve been curious about playing one of these Shantae games for quite a while, and that Nintendo bundle has finally given me the chance. It’s a retro-influenced 2D platformer, and through the bundle you get both Wii U and 3DS versions. I first started playing on the Wii U, but then when I later tried on 3DS, I preferred playing that version – the pixel graphics just look nicer on the smaller 3DS screen, and the 3D effect is nice too. I haven’t played that much yet, but I’m definitely having a fun time with it so far – although the extremely skimpy outfits on all the female characters do feel juvenile (you get large HD views of the characters when they talk). Might just be for people – like me – who still love playing platformers.

Affordable Space Adventures

You still have 1 day to get in on the “Friends of Nintendo” Humble Bundle, and if you haven’t already taken advantage of this ridiculously good deal, I encourage you to do so. I’ve been getting some play time on most of the stuff I got, and one of the games I’ve been enjoying the most is Affordable Space Adventures. Here’s a game that really shows off an interesting Wii U experience, where the Wii U controller screen plays into an important mechanic of the game (controlling the various internal engines/electronics on your ship). At the base, it’s a 2D exploration game where you fly a ship through the inner caves of a planet, which is already really fun, but add in some really great graphics and aesthetics, and like I said, a really neat use of the Wii U controller, and you have an absolute must-play Wii U game.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

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It’s been an absolute joy to revisit this game, and it really does look great with its new HD sheen, and like with Wind Waker HD, I enjoy the handiness of having my map and items on the Wii U controller. Sure, there are occasional frustrations – like anytime you ride Epona, with her clunky controls, or that goddawful puzzle in the Sacred Grove with the two statues – but it doesn’t detract from the otherwise fantastic time I’m having playing it (as I close in on the end). The Death Mountain temple is just so great, with the use of the magnetic boots, and the water temple is so huge and intricate. I’m finding myself much more in love with this game then when I originally played it on GameCube, and it just makes me wish they would give the same HD treatment to Skyward Sword (and if possible, remove the motion controls), which is the only mainline Zelda game I haven’t played. The Legend of Zelda series as a whole remains my favorite series in games, and there’s no game I’m more excited about than the upcoming new Zelda game on Wii U (and possibly NX).

Bayonetta (Super Smash Bros.)

I love Bayonetta so damn much – both the character and her two games, which are some of my favorite gaming experiences – and so I was pretty damn happy when they announced that she’d be joining the Super Smash Bros. roster (and you can bet I’ll be getting her amiibo figure as soon as it gets released). I’m not a huge SSB player – I had a lot of fun playing it on Wii U at the weekly game nights I used to host in Tokyo, but hadn’t really touched the game since leaving Japan. This is the first piece of SBB DLC I get, and I ended up playing a couple of hours with her last night, having an absolute blast learning her moves, and trying out all her color combinations (current favorite is short hair Bayonetta with white costume). That’s it, I’m not ever going to play another character in SBB again, I’m set.