Top five Asia-only Wii U games Nintendo should release in the PAL region

The Wii U is drying up now. We all know that. Any games in development won’t ever see the light of day on this system, more likely just receiving an enhancement and being put out on the Nintendo Switch next year.

There’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which will launch in a shadow form of the Switch version next March. This is only really being put out to appease people who bought into the Wii U on release date and have been waiting for its full release ever since. There isn’t anything else left to shout about.

However, the following five games are available in Asia now and have never been released outside that area. If Nintendo could pull themselves together they could find themselves cashing in on some still-hungry Wii U gamers that have a good console and nothing to play on it.

ぷよぷよテトリス / Puyo Puyo Tetris

It may be the case that this game is unavailable in PAL and NTSU regions due to rights issues, but many have been able to import the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game and thoroughly enjoyed them. These games are universally appealing. Everyone loves Tetris, Puyo Puyo gives the game life and it’s a huge shame that the game can’t simply be imported due to region locking of Wii Us.

太鼓の達人 特盛り! /  Taiko No Tatsujin: Tokumori!

If you’ve ever played any of the games in the Taiko No Tatsujin series will know how much fun can be had. It’s a simple musical rhythm game, and is possibly one of the most Japanese things you’ll ever see. It’s a wonderful thing to get involved with. Sadly, only Japan has been able to enjoy this or the other Wii U-exclusive release. It seems a no brainer to issue it on the Virtual Console. All it would need is some menu screen tranlations and an adaptation so we could use existing controllers to play it.

ドラゴンクエストX オールインワンパッケージ / Dragon Quest X

Okay, this is a pipe dream. The effort required to translate this for such a small audience would really not stand up to scrutiny under a business case. It’s a truly beautiful game that I just really want to play and will never be able to. Add to this the fact it would need serious take-up to justify releasing a MMORPG in a new region, and you begin to realise why it probably won’t ever happen. Here’s hoping though.

ARC STYLE: 野球!!SP / Arc Style: Baseball

Releasing this would be comparitavely easy. It’s already on the Japanese Wii U virtual console and would be easy to translate. It looks familiar to the old Wii Sports baseball game. Okay, it looks a bit terrible and didn’t get great reviews, but would still garner interest as a new title that is yet to be localised.

三國志12 / Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12

It’s a historical strategy game that would go down massively well with anyone with an interest in the Han Dynasty and Japanese and Chinese history. All it would need is a translation of the menus and some subtitles.

Nintendo announce new console

Nintendo have launched the first trailer for their upcoming console Switch. Previously known as the NX, on Thursday afternoon they announced the official name, provided a release date of March 2017 and gave a glimpse of several new games.

Here’s the console in action.

What games will be available?

The games we saw were as follows.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Untitled Super Mario Title
  • Splatoon 2
  • Untitled Mario Kart Title
  • NBA 2K17
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

There were be precise confirmations on the dates of release of these, so I’m not assuming that they will be release day titles.

The inclusion of Skyrim is an interesting point. Whilst it’s a relatively ancient game – it will be over five years old by the time the Switch hits the shelves – there is a clear statement here that the console can handle much more advanced graphics than anything Nintendo has on the market right now.

When will it be released?

March 2017 is as much information as we are given at the moment.

Is it worth getting excited about?

Certainly for owners of the Wii U, it’s worth starting to get interested in now. It’s more powerful, it blends both the DS range and the home console market, and it basically realises the potential of the Wii U.

Unfortunately, the backdrop of the industry is based on powerful technology as Sony and Microsoft release updated versions of their consoles before Christmas. There is also the VR factor, with Sony putting out their PlayStation VR shortly and Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive already on the market.

There’s a risk that the Switch will get caught between mobile gaming – which around 100% of its potential userbase already own a platform for – and a hardcore gaming console. There is also an assumption that the Wii U owners will come back for more potential punishment after four years of negligence. This will only be solved with a decent list of launch titles and keeping to promises on releases, something that Nintendo has sought to combat by releasing a list of partnering developers, and it looks very positive indeed.

It clearly won’t be a cheap piece of kit either, but probably needs to drop in lower than both the Xbox One S (currently £239.99 for a basic model) and the PS4 (£249.99 for the basic model). The Switch needs to be in line with that.

Nintendo NX trailer set to land today!

At 3pm today (BST), Nintendo will launch a trailer for the new console, currently going under the name of NX.

There is scant information on how much will be revealed, but I’d guess they’d need at least a console name and a final release date.

If we’re lucky, we might even get a few launch games and a glimpse at the console and controller, though to be honest it’s unlikely given their recent form.

The worst case scenario will be that we are just told there has been a delay to the release and they then give a non-specific new release of Q3 FY2018.

I guess we’ll find out at 3pm.

Why Super Mario Run will be great for Nintendo

In case you missed it earlier this week, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto made a surprise appearance at the Apple Special Event at San Fransisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. He was there to announce the first Super Mario game to be playable on smart phones. Indeed, it will launch as an iPhone exclusive, coming to Android at a later date.

Watch the trailer here.

The game looks simple enough. Mario runs from left to right, jumping depending on when the player presses the screen. The jumps vary in height depending on how long the screen is pressed for. This gives you a free hand with which you can do whatever you fancy, including eating an apple! Well played Miyamoto…

A familiar sight for fans of Super Mario

The news has had mixed reactions across the Internet, with many happy that the gaming giant is branching out whilst others bemoan the devaluing of the IP.

With the Wii U writhing to its gruesome end within the next six months and a serious slowdown in sales of the DS and 3DS families of consoles in recent times, Nintendo had to do something to experiment with the market and this is the perfect time to do something.

The much-discussed Nintendo NX will arrive in Spring 2017 and there hasn’t been much to get excited about on the Nintendo front this year, outside of the Pokémon Go phenomenon that Nintendo barely had anything to do with. Releasing a simple game that reminds players of the fun that can be had with the character without really going into the deep gameplay seen on the more advanced console-based games seems like the perfect move.

The game looks to have six worlds with four levels in each. Anyone familiar with the recent New Super Mario Bros. games – the visuals on which this game is sourced – will know that there are undoubtedly rewards in the form of bonus stages awaiting those completists amongst us. Miyamoto also indicated in his talk that the game will have a one-off charge but won’t have in-app payments. This is music to the ears of players around the world, tiring of necessary additional charges to get the most out of the games they enjoy.

Super Mario Run can be accessed on the App Store, though all you can do right now is set a notification for its release (currently expected for December).

Game review – Star Fox Zero (Nintendo, 2016)

Star Fox Zero may seem like it has the potential to be a great game, but it certainly doesn’t deliver. Unfortunately for Nintendo, a disappointing release does nothing but expose the cracks on a project that has been doomed for many months.

As previously discussed in my post “Where is the Nintendo’s Wii U console right now?”, the struggling console is caught somewhere between a failed experiment and a disaster threatening the gaming behemoth’s position and reputation. There are so few games left on the horizon for Wii U owners, owners are left wondering how many more hours we’ll get to spend on it. I suspect that figure has now dropped into double figures, with the next console – provisionally titled NX – slated for a Spring 2017 release.

One thing that Nintendo had left up its sleeve to appease Wii U owners – and the word appease is spot on given they’ve semi-abandoned the previously exclusive Zelda game by announcing it will launch on the current and next-gen console simultaneously – is release an updated version of one of their biggest franchises to date, Star Fox.

This was met with excitement by the many fans of the series. It meant there was a reason to hang onto the console for a few more months and get a great exclusive title that an increasingly smaller but dedicated community would be able to enjoy.

Unfortunately for fans of the series, this isn’t really a revolutionary HD reboot to the franchise, but rather a remake of Star Fox 64 (despite supervising director Shigeru Miyamoto’s protestations to the contrary). Indeed, it is a hugely disappointing remake, plagued with controller issues and a criminally short total game time.

I decided to hold back from posting this for a few months and hope that giving it a chance to grow on me would change my mind. Unfortunately, the dreadful controls are something that simply can’t be ignored. Yes, they are very much integral throughout (who’d have thought?). The crafts are slow, their turning circles are the size of a small moon and the agility required to complete levels is far beyond their abilities. The worst thing is the inability to lock on to enemy crafts, made infuriatingly difficult by the gyro controls that can’t be fully turned off. It’s what happens when you try to shoehorn a controller that doesn’t work onto a game that doesn’t need it.

Additionally, the graphics are stuck in a rut somewhere between faithful reproduction of N64 graphics and a full HD realisation. What we’re left with is some clunky polygons with neatly drawn skins. This is a combination that has never looked good.

The one saving grace is that the familiar story mode is done and dusted in about ten hours of gameplay. Sure, they added in some frivolous reasons to replay the levels but the game is such a huge letdown I can’t bring myself to do it. So whilst it’s frustrating, disappointing and repetitive, at least you won’t have to suffer for very long.

Star Fox Zero was an instant failure and giving it time to grow on me just didn’t help at all. 

Funnily enough, I recommend buying a new copy of this and keeping it sealed. So few copies will ship that they will be collectors’ items in years to come.

Game review – Miitomo (Nintendo, 2016)

Around three months ago I was on holiday in Japan. Whilst over there, I was excited because it meant, completely by chance, I’d be given early access to Miitomo, Nintendo’s first foray into the smartphone apps. 

I was fairly excited about this, even if I couldn’t share that with anyone I knew in the real world. Or, for that matter, online. I suppose the news hadn’t made its way to Britain yet, but I was certain it would come out in the wash when it was released.

So it’s three months down the line now and I can’t help but wonder what exactly this app is supposed to do. I diligently logged in every day throughout March and April to make sure I got my daily prizes, which ranged from in-app coins to in-app game tokens. These could be spent in the shop on new clothing items or in the arcade on the various versions of Miitomo Drop – a game where you hold your Mii in a crane and drop it over a pinball-type area and hope it lands in a prize that isn’t the totally redundant bag of sweets.

The app itself isn’t awful. It functions well, with a few minor bugs (if I collect all my prizes I get an erroneous error saying I can’t collect them all, even though I have done). The main issue is the lack of people using the app. I’ve synced up Twitter because I don’t mind it posting on my behalf on Twitter. Usually nobody reads my tweets and if something was posted I’d just delete it. I’d never synchronise Facebook because I know it would post something on there that I’m either not keen on sharing or that none of my friends would care about.

So since I can’t search for friends I know, my app consists entirely of someone I follow on Twitter that I don’t know. We log in occasionally and ask each other questions. Sometimes we answer, sometimes we don’t. He hasn’t been online for a while. I don’t know who he is and the Miitomo name doesn’t match his Twitter name, so I’ve genuinely got no idea how to work out who he is. I sent a friend request to someone else I know but they never accepted, presumably because they aren’t using the app.

That’s pretty much it. I’ve got a cool Link outfit on and loads of Miitomo coins in the bank. I take a Miifoto every day. And that’s it.

A big disappointment.

Miitomo is the first of many smartphone apps developed by Nintendo, the next two of which will be respectively based on Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem. I truly hope they offer more than this.

Where is Nintendo’s Wii U console right now?

Last week, Nintendo excitedly announced plans of their next console. Temporarily named Nintendo NX, the console is due to hit the shelves in March 2017.

The news is a bittersweet result for owners of the Wii U, a group to which I am a member. On the one hand, Nintendo’s innovative consoles are always something that reinvigorates the gaming industry, in a time where Sony and Microsoft are happy to simply enhance the power of their machines and add different numbers to the console names and their biggest franchise. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – clearly the popularity of the PS4 shows they are doing something right, with some 40 millions units sold so far.

The Wii U, on the other hand, is generally considered to have been a failure. With only 12.8 millions units sold, it is clear it has performed far below expectations. Whilst this is more than the Xbox One, unfortunately the sales have all but stopped, sharply declining in Q4 of 2015-16.

It isn’t like Nintendo gave up on it years ago, despite it clearly being a losing battle. There have been some of the genuinely impressive Nintendo games released, including the unexpectedly user-friendly Mario Maker, arguably the best Mario Kart game of all time, arguably the best game on the console in Super Smash Bros., the most enjoyable multiplayer platformer I’ve ever played in Super Mario 3D World. 

How do you solve a problem like Zelda?

Unfortunately, there are some massive holes in the release cycle too. The biggest failure is the lack of 3rd party support. Other than Bayonetta 2, a console exclusive, there hasn’t been much to shout home about. Rayman Legends, originally announced as an exclusive, was delayed and then released as a multi-console game. 

This wasn’t the biggest let down of the promises made before release. One of the reasons it was able to stir up a lot of interest prior to its release was a tech demo of a new HD Legend of Zelda game, which first appeared at E3 in 2011. The console was release with no Zelda launch title, but two months later a release date was unveiled, positioning the game for a 2015 release. 

The year came and went with no game, leaving Wii U owners hanging on for more information. More recently, it was announced that the game would release simultaneously on both the Wii U and NX. Essentially, if a Wii U owner wants the best Zelda experience going, they will have to invest in the next console.

So where does that leave Wii U?

Unfortunately for Wii U owners, the situation is looking largely precarious. The console has had some brilliant games, but more recently the releases have slowed down and don’t really feel like new releases at all. Only surprise hit Xenoblade Chronicles X has shown itself to be a success with fans and critics as a new release. All the other big releases have either been terribly received (Amiibo Crossing and Mini Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge) or simple re-hashes of older games (two Zelda HD remasters and a Star Fox remaster that was packaged as a brand new game). 

These are simple sticky plasters for a console that is beginning to show cracks, but looking ahead the future looks even more bleak. The multi-platform Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens might ignite some interest for owners with only a Wii U at their disposal. The Mario and Sonic at the Olympics series has never really been popular. 

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was popular in Japan when it was released last year, and the Western release is likely an experiment from Nintendo to test the water with Asia-specific releases. If it’s popular then the floodgates might open to allow more games that are currently Asia-exclusives to see releases in the Western markets.

It is likely that another Mario Party will be announced at E3, as they appear to be very easy to create and utilise the still-popular amiibo toys. Given the lethargy about the last release, it will be a simple cost analysis to see if they’ll make a profit on it. If so, it will be green-lit.

The one glimmer of hope comes in the form of Paper Mario: Colour Splash, set for a 2016 release. The exact details of this release are yet to be announced, but this one standalone release has an air of “I’ve started so I’ll finish” about it.

Why should Nintendo bother?

Unfortunately for Wii U owners, that’s not an easy question to answer. Realistically, the console cannot be revived and the small ownership isn’t worth targeting with a massive new game that might as well be delayed and released as a launch title for the NX. 

The only purpose of announcing a new and exciting game on the Wii U at this stage would be to thank the fans for their patience and keep them happy ahead of the release in a year’s time.

Whether this will happen remains to be seen.

The current Humble Bundle is a real treat for Nintendo fans

I don’t usually post about this kind of thing, but this week’s Humble Bundle is fantastic if you own either a Wii U or 3DS.

Humble Bundle allows you to decide how much you pay for a bundle of download codes for games. The minimum payment is $1, paying more than the average gets you the next tier of games, whilst anything over $13 allows you to secure the whole lot.

The games included this week are as follows.

$1 or more
Retro City Rampage (3DS)
Affordable Space Adventure (Wii U)
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (3DS or Wii U)

Above the average amount 
Freedom Planet (Wii U)
Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure (3DS)
Citizens of Earth (3DS or Wii U)

Pay $13 or more
Super Street Fighter IV: 3DS Edition (3DS)
Darksider II (Wii U)

This is an excellent offer and one that should be taken up if you have these consoles. Shantae on Wii U is certainly worth 70p or whatever it works out at!

I have some spare codes for the 3DS games that are valid in Europe. If you want them just leave a comment below and I’ll forward them on to you.