Other companies had larger presence at PAX this year, but Nintendo still had a few things to show everyone including a new WiiWare title.
Release date: TBA
ESRB Rating: RP
Announced just before PAX for WiiWare, Fluidity came straight out of left field and surprised me by its presence. Even with that, it turned out to be a relaxing game reminiscent of a labyrinth.
If you’ve ever tinkered with one of those wooden mazes that have holes through the path that you guide a marble through, Fluidity will seem familiar. Although the artwork and view is not at all similar, the feel of guiding an object through various obstacles is there. In the game, you’re presented with what seems to be various underground mazes and a pool of water. The objective is to get as much water to the end without it all evaporating. To combat the evaporation is the concept of pooling, or making sure all the water stays in an area together.
Standing in your way besides walls are vacuums that can pump the liquid backward, impeding progress. It also has the side effect of drying up a small percentage of the water. I found when guiding the water through the various stages, it’s best to use patience as a tool. To ignore it means more time wasted.
At first I thought the game would heavily rely on the gyroscope in the Wii Remote, but as it turns out, you don’t want to tilt the controller greatly to one side or the other. Instead, you just gradually tilt the controller and that puts the level at an angle. Not much tilting is required and I found that over-tilting doesn’t yield better or worse results, but does tire your wrists.
This game is shaping up to be one great puzzle game, though I was told when I said that, that they weren’t trying to bill it as such. Well, regardless of what genre the game is officially, it’s still a fun relaxing title that I’m eagerly awaiting the final version for.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)
Developer: Good Feel
Release date: October 17, 2010
ESRB Rating: RP
I was excited when I was able to play Kirby yet again since the last time I had touched the game was back during E3. Nothing had changed it seemed to me from the previous build of the game, leading me to believe that it was the exact version. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the colorful environment and peppy platforming however.
As with the last time I played, I was playing co-op with another person. This time though I was fated to play with someone who seemed to actually play a platforming game previous to this one. I was also able to be Kirby this time and not his companion. At first we both used each other, though mostly on accident on my part, to combat various enemies. Eventually we became a team that gelled together quite nicely. When we finished the first level, we snagged all the secret items and had stupid grins on our faces.
Eventually we got to the portion of the demo that showed off the Kirby tank and we pulverized the level. One amusing touch I noticed this time was the fact that Kirby had his angry eyes on every time you’d launch a rock from his mouth. It had me wondering if Nintendo is aware that many are aware of the Japanese to US “angrification” of Kirby and decided to make it an in-joke.
When we made it to the dragon at the end, I tried to help at first, but once again ended up being more of a detriment to my teammate. So instead of being a nuisance, I took a back seat to his yarn dragon-slaying ways. It was all over so quick, but like the person playing with me, I had a good time.
It goes without saying that Kirby’s Epic Yarn has one of the most unique art styles to date. The screenshots only go so far to show you how neat the effect is, but to truly appreciate it, you’ll need to see it in person.
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
Developer: Retro Studios, Inc.
Release date: November 21, 2010
ESRB Rating: RP
This was a game I nearly wrote off after playing it at E3 strangely. I had never been a huge fan of the franchise, mostly because during that era I owned a SEGA Genesis. However, since I got to play co-op with another person, I was able to take another view of the game.
I was handed the first player controller which meant Donkey Kong was in my hands while my partner at the time was given Diddy. Being polite I asked him what level he’d like to try and he didn’t have a preference except for the jungle. Off to the first level we went and instantly it felt faster than the single player mode. In reality it probably isn’t, but since I had a quick moving friend whom I had to keep up with, my perception was altered.
We grabbed bananas and the secret letters quickly while bounding and jumping through the levels. I noticed that it threw me off on occasion to not have a sprint button, but instead I had to rely on DK to speed up as I pushed him onward. It isn’t a big deal on the level that I tried, but I see this becoming problematic later on.
Once again, I was inept it seemed while my partner was fantastic. Many times I would land just off of where I meant and get hurt. Eventually though my springy partner would jump on my back and help me rocket across the evil obstacles that stood in my way as I clumsily blazed a path. At the end of the game time, I thanked him for putting up with my horrid playing and handed the controls back.
I did completely discount the game after E3 and was hesitant to try it again. I’m glad I did however since I had a great time with the cooperative mode. Not only does this help you in the game, it can serve to highlight your weaknesses when playing. Mine happened to be that I was too busy watching the other player do things I was hoping to do with my own character in my mind.