Mario, Zelda & Yoshi: was Nintendo’s E3 enough to save the Wii U?

Monday, 16 June 2014 11:58 GMT By Catherine Cai

Hyrule Warriors

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“Legend of Zelda fans should approach Hyrule Warriors with caution, as the core gameplay is a little more shallow than what they’re used to.”

I’ll be honest: the only appeal that Dynasty Warriors ever held for me was the historical aspect of it. I loved tangentially learning about the period of the Three Kingdoms in Chinese history. Hyrule Warriors, a blend between The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors, honestly didn’t hold too much appeal for me, because it lacked this historical aspect.

Though it’s been revealed that Link, Zelda, Impa, and Midna will all be playable characters in Hyrule Warriors, the demo was locked to a choice between Link and Zelda. Since playing as Link is already a far too familiar option, I decided to play as Zelda.

Immediately, as I jump into the game, I’m warned that Impa needs aid. Zelda’s armed with a rapier, and in true Dynasty Warrior fashion, I begin slicing through minions with it without much trouble. Once Zelda’s laid waste to enough enemies, her special move can be unleashed. She conjures up a magical bow and arrow that knocks back enemies.

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Objectives in Hyrule Warriors follow the format of Dynasty Warriors. The general ebb and flow is to act as reinforcements of a friend in need, slice through pawns, and eventually fight a semi-challenging enemy at every base. However, in true Legend of Zelda fashion, I’m rewarded a treasure chest for my efforts. Inside are bombs that make it simple for the player to destroy boulders that block bases.

For those that are a fan of Dynasty Warrior’s format, Hyrule Warriors is more of the same vein. Legend of Zelda fans should approach Hyrule Warriors with caution, as the core gameplay is a little more shallow than what Legend of Zelda fans are used to. There is no puzzle-solving element here.

Yoshi’s Wooly World

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“Yoshi’s Wooly World is absolutely adorable. Other than the aesthetic, however, it plays exactly like any other Yoshi platforming game.”

Yoshi’s Wooly World does exactly what Nintendo’s best at – charm the heck out of players until they’re left with dumb, goofy grins on their faces.

The entire aesthetic of Yoshi’s Wooly World is exactly as the title suggests. The world is made of yarn – there are even small “gift” boxes tied up with pieces of yarn that Yoshi can pry apart with his tongue. Inside usually lies yarn balls that Yoshi can collect. These function in the same way as eggs do in other Yoshi games. Players can also gobble up enemies in order for Yoshi to convert them into yarn balls. These yarn balls can then be fired at targets in order to open up the level.

Yoshi’s Wooly World is absolutely adorable. Other than the aesthetic, however, it plays exactly like any other Yoshi platforming game. Eat things? Check. Lay eggs? Check. Jump around? Check. Yoshi’s Wooly World is definitely more of the same Yoshi, for those hoping to have that itch scratched. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much substance to Yoshi’s Wooly World other than it’s amazing aesthetics.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

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At last, Toad is finally getting his own, full-fledged spin-off and it’s a puzzle game. It’s something along the lines of Fatshark’s Hamilton’s Great Adventure mixed with Polytron’s Fez. The basic premise revolves around Captain Toad adventuring in search of treasure.

Levels are a little like puzzle boxes. In order to traverse the level, the player must use different perspectives. The camera can be rotated in order to better see where Toad must go in order to nab the treasure.

Unlike most Mario games, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is about strategy and patience. Toad doesn’t have the ability to jump and many of the puzzles involve rotating pieces, so playing the game efficiently without dying means rotating the camera thrice over to solve the puzzle box levels.

Bayonetta 2

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“Platinum has done a fantastic job tuning everything to the gamepad, to the point that players can control Bayonetta with only touch controls.”

Bayonetta 2 was the only third-person Wii U game that was on the E3 showfloor, and it’s not hard to see why. Platinum Games has done a fantastic job fine tuning the Bayonetta sequel. With games like Mad World, Revengeance, and Bayonetta under its belt, Platinum Games is known for its good work in tight controls and gorgeous visuals.

Bayonetta 2 isn’t any different in this regard. The environments and character design are absolutely lush. Platinum also didn’t shy away from using particle effects to their max, though I didn’t feel that they distracted from the experience.

Control-wise, Bayonetta 2 is fairly similar to the original. However, Platinum has done a fantastic job tuning everything to the gamepad, to the point that players can control Bayonetta with only touch controls (though I wouldn’t advise it, for the sake of combos.)

Bayonetta 2 is very much more of the same of the original: frenetic gameplay, lush visuals, and tight controls. In that regard, Platinum is very deserving of its spot as the sole third-party title that Nintendo was showing off for the Wii U.

Final Thoughts

Though I left the booth with a smile on my face, I still wonder whether or not I should buy a Wii U. I saw many solid titles that were coming for the Wii U, but without a heavy-hitter like Super Smash Bros, the jury’s still out. Overall, these titles are all, in my opinion, fantastic for keeping the current Wii U user base on hand and interested for when the bigger things do roll around. Regardless, with games like Splatoon and Mario Maker, it’s obvious that Nintendo isn’t afraid of experimenting and pulling out all the stops to pull in sales for its struggling console.

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