We predicted that 2014 would bring success for Nintendo and the Wii U, but we’re halfway through the year and they’re still failing to turn a profit. The Wii U has a few great games on it, but not enough to foster interest and rival the sales of the 3DS, PS4 or Xbox One.
2014 was to be the year that the Wii U turned itself around and brought out the big guns. As of yet, only one of these guns has packed any punch. Let’s hope that in the next six months, we see Nintendo fans taking out their wallets and plunging into the newest batch of Ninty goodness.
Donkey Kong Country is a great series of games: it’s side-scrolling platforming at its best. The variety in levels, both in gameplay and design is impressive, and what we’ve come to expect from Nintendo.
The game’s difficulty naturally progresses, allowing for a smooth learning curve that constantly expects the player to improve. I tried jumping straight into a mission quite late into the game, and ended up having to drop out before the first checkpoint because I was draining away the stock of extra lives my co-op partner had accrued through the game.
Blair reviewed this back in March, giving it the superb score of 9/10. It’s a great buy, but as with most Wii U games, the sales weren’t very high, even for the already low install base. A pity.
This is the Wii U’s crown jewel. Until Mario Kart 8 came along, the console was steadily sinking deeper into obscurity, but millions of units have already been shifted, and over half a million Wii U consoles since its release.
Mario Kart is the pinnacle of multiplayer racing games. It’s absolutely infuriating, but it keeps you coming back race after race, hour after hour until you’ve got every cup, every star and every stamp it has to offer.
Blair reviewed this one, too. He says it’s more proof that Nintendo ‘are the masters of local multiplayer’. It also scored an impressive 9/10, with its only flaw being the poorly thought out battle mode. If you have a Wii U and don’t have Mario Kart 8 yet, you’re missing out.
That’s this year’s notable releases done and dusted (already), so now let’s take a look at what’s still to come.
It’s only fitting that after two Nintendo multiplayer games, I talk about the next big one to jump into the ring. And if I didn’t make it obvious yesterday, I’ve been swept away in the hype of Super Smash Bros. Wii U. It’s coming this winter, and it’s going to be glorious.
If you’ve played its predecessors, you may have plugged hundreds of hours in like we have here at TSA, but it’s about time our old Wii games get put into retirement. The next generation will have new characters, new arenas, new items and a rehaul of gameplay – including character customization (with the aid of Amiibo) and each arena having multiple forms depending on your playstyle.
Of course, there will still be all your favourite characters (except Ness, which we’re still hoping to hear more on), so you’ll have the chance to adjust your old techniques according to their new attacks. Here’s hoping that the second punch in Nintendo’s multiplayer combo is what the Wii U needs to match its competition.
We discussed another cross-over yesterday, Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright – but this one looks like it could be a more natural combination. Hyrule Warriors will take the gameplay of Dynasty Warrior and gives it the Zelda look, Zelda characters to play as and the usual Zelda twist on fighting larger enemies.
While he was at E3, Blair got a chance for some hands-on experience with Hyrule Warriors. He said it manages to combine the method of play from both games fluidly, with Zelda tricks being easy to perform if you know how, like throwing bombs into enemies mouths, and the swift combos of Dynasty Warriors.
We’re not sure if Hyrule Warriors will sell well, due to the lack of the word “Zelda” in the title, but it will be great fan service to two dedicated groups of people.
The Bayonetta series will be making its debut on Nintendo systems in October. It’s an over-the-top hack and slash game that parodies other games like it, while remaining as good a game as its competitors (games like Devil May Cry and God of War). The original was released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2010, meaning Wii owners had to miss out. Luckily, when Bayonetta 2 releases on the Wii U, Platinum Games are offering a deal that’s almost too good to turn down.
Both Bayonetta 2 and the original Bayonetta will be sold together as a package, at no extra cost. Along with the recent updates on what will be included in the multiplayer mode, Bayonetta looks like it offers a lot of gaming for the price of a standard disc. It’s great to see developers who care about their fanbase as much as they do their income.
The project ‘X’ from Monolith Soft, which has been kept well under wraps until recently, has since been given the full title Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s an indirect sequel to the 2010 Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles.
X is set in a large, open world, science-fiction universe. There hasn’t been a huge amount of additional details released since our last Ones To Watch, with its E3 presentation only giving us a glimpse into gameplay and an idea of the game’s story.
Xenoblade Chronicles was a major success in Japan, and sales around the rest of the world were understandably a little lower, but remained high for a Japanese action-RPG. It’s highly anticipated, and the glimpses we’ve seen so far are promising. Let’s hope the end product is as impressive as the series’ first instalment.
That’s our recap for Nintendo 2014. Come back tomorrow to see how Matt thinks the Xbox One is coming along, and if what we’ve seen in the last 6 months has met expectations.