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Elebits and Warioware - Bad Wii and Good Wii 366

Posted by Zonk
from the two-headed-nickel dept.
The anecdotal evidence that's been going around, now that the Wii is an established fixture in American living rooms, is that Nintendo's new console still has room for improvement. We all had fun over the holidays, sharing Wii Sports with our relatives and watching our aunts laugh themselves stupid. Now, though, it's a new year and it's time for the Wii to step up as a gaming platform. It needs to be more than a Zelda player, and the console needs to prove that this 'new gen' style of play is sustainable over the long term. The post-launch round of games has started to trickle out, and the results are definitely mixed. Today I have for you impressions of Elebits and WarioWare: Smooth Moves. These are two games that show quite a bit of promise, but only one of which actually delivers. Read on for my views, and a return to a numeric grading scale.
  • Title: Elebits
  • Developer/Publisher: Konami
  • System: Wii
  • Score: 3/5 - This game is flawed, but will appeal to genre fans. Any gamer might enjoy renting it, but this won't ever be a classic.
The creativity, the wackiness, the control scheme - the essence of the Wii is present in spades in Elebits. One of the very first titles released here in the states after the console's launch, it shares with Wario Ware the distinction of having been a launch title for the Japanese market. There, alongside Zelda and Rayman, the imperfections that mark Elebits could have been glossed over in the frenzy of sword-slashing and cow-throwing. In the harsh light of day the game's lack of depth and vapid multiplayer makes it obvious that this was intended to be a launch title; a competent demonstration of the Wii technology and little more.

That's not to say it's unlikable. Quite to the contrary, the game wraps itself in an incredibly appealing package. Hung loosely on the hook of telling stories to a kid, each stage pits you against the wilds of a suburban Japanese home. Your goal is to use the electricity gun developed by the protagonist's parents to capture a certain wattage in Elebits. The miniature creatures literally *are* electricity, and snapping them up with your weapon powers up household gadgets left and right. The key is that you need to find the little buggers first, which requires a great deal of rooting around in closets and checking under beds.

The fun comes from the fact that you're interacting with the environment through the extremely smooth Wiimote controls. Your controller is represented in-game by the electricity gun, which can lift objects via a sort of energy field; think Syndrome's zero-point energy from the movie The Incredibles. When you start off a level your power is somewhat weak. Moving small objects is all you can manage. As you collect more Elebits, the weapon grows in power and larger objects can be manipulated. Later levels feature you lifting entire buildings in an effort to locate the wily creatures.

The core game mechanic is thus essentially a modified form of hide and seek. The first time you play the game, it will be sure to cause a smile. Subsequent play is equally entertaining, but there's never a real sense of a challenge. Elebits is a very easy game, and the duration of the main story mode only highlights that ease of play. It's quite possible to play through the entire game in one five hour session.

That would be fine if the basic elements of the game were ever switched up, or if multiplayer offered something substantially different. That's not the case. Simple variations on 'lift things, find Elebits' exist in later stages; some require you to avoid breaking certain objects, while others have some of the little creatures actively attacking you. The core mechanic stays the same, though, and by the end of the game you'll be quite ready to stop playing. Multiplayer, likewise, is more of the same. Up to four players can lift things and shoot Elebits, competing to see who has the most wattage. Additionally, and confusingly, only the first player is allowed to move the camera. This makes it exceedingly hard to tell what's going on, and has a lot of potential for abuse.

Graphical presentation on the Wii is not something I'm going to harp on very often, but I think a more thoughtful look could have given this game a little extra oomph. While the Elebits themselves are cutely designed, the game world is very boxy and uninspired. My hope is that Wii game-makers will take into account the limitations of the console they're working on when planning art design. Why fight the console's low power when you can make a statement? A more stylized art form would have made Elebits pop off the screen more, and would have alleviated some of the sameyness of later levels.

If you're looking for a quite weekend rental, Elebits isn't a bad call. It's very Wiimote-centric, and is another title you can use to show friends and family the potential of Nintendo's console. Just the same, don't put down hard-earned money for it. The long-term playability of the game is very low, and a few months from now it will end up as grist in Gamestop's maw as you purchase more worthy 2007 titles.

  • Title: WarioWare: Smooth Moves
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Intelligent Systems
  • System: Wii
  • Score: 4/5 - This game is above average, and excels in the genre it supports. A classic for the genre, likely to be a part of a genre fan's collection, and well worth a look for every gamer.
Like Elebits, WarioWare was a Japanese launch title. Unlike Elebits, however, this latest in the crazy-go-nuts series of Wario titles easily stands on its own in the post-launch days of the Wii. On the surface the title is little more than a series of simplistic mini-games wrapped in an attractive package, with no more replay value than Elebits or Red Steel. The key differences are the enthusiasm with which those games were executed, the clean attractive graphical package surrounding the games, and and endlessly entertaining multiplayer component. These elements combine to form not only Voltron, but a great party game that is certain to be a Wii staple all year long.

Just as in past WarioWare titles, the single-player story is the means by which all of the on-offer minigames are unlocked. The multiplayer, too, is closed up until you 'beat' the single-player game. In Smooth Moves, games are identified by the 'move' that is used to complete them. These moves translate to specific ways to hold the Wiimote, and specific actions you can take with it. Games are clustered by move, and introduced over the course of the single-player game as part of an entertaining narrative for a the Wario-related characters. The cute witch Ashley, for example, introduces the moves 'The Thumb Wrestler' (a vertically held position), 'The Big Cheese' (holding the Wiimote at your hip), and 'The Discard' (lying the remote down on a surface and then picking it up or rolling it). Each move is introduced with a short instruction text, which is far more entertaining than game instructions have any right to be.

The games themselves are, as always with a WarioWare title, crack-addled. Only a few seconds long, each minigame allows you only a moment to understand how you are supposed to use the specified form to complete the vague command associated with the game. It seemed to me that things were a bit less insane than the offerings from WarioWare:Touched, the DS title, but the games were still plenty strange. Some examples include : picking a nose, putting a old woman's false teeth into her mouth, drinking a glass of water, hula-hooping, driving a car, balancing a broom with one hand, fighting a samurai, and roasting a piece of mutton.

There are 13 character stories in Smooth Moves (two of them revolving around Wario), and in total there are about 19 different controller forms to master. Only one of these, 'The Diner', uses the Nunchuck; most of the game is playable with just the Wiimote. Playing through all of the stories and learning all of the moves won't take most gamers very long. A determined player could almost certainly play through the entire game in one sitting of about four hours.

That brevity may seem like a problem, but what is a problem for so many other titles is a strength for this series. WarioWare titles are endlessly replayable, even in a single-player state of mind. There's always a drive to refine your skill at the various games, to see how far you can make it through the endless series of games before succumbing to a missed cue or a slow hand. The Muliplayer component of Smooth Moves is especially well constructed, and allows for up to an astounding twelve players to compete against each other using one Wiimote. There are about six modes for multiplayer mania, with multiplayer-specific games joining the minigames playable in the single-player mode. My favorite is the nose-shaped rocketship piloting course.

The insanity of the minigames would not be complete without the distinctive 'look' of WarioWare offerings. While the character art has a crisp '2D/3D' style to it that looks amazing on an HD screen, the minigames themselves are all over the map. Crude pencil drawings walk side-by-side with what looks like clip art, crayola colorings, college-level 3D renderings, and actual-in-game assets from Nintendo titles. These last make for some of the most memorable games, as you bounce Mario off of coin blocks with a waggle of the Wiimote, or flick the device upward to catch a fish in five seconds of Animal Crossing. The dizzying array of visual styles is one of the game series' signature elements, and Smooth Moves delivers in spades. The games' audio is just as entertaining, with each stage having a characteristic jaunty tune to accompany your gaming. I recall enjoying these offerings a bit more on the DS title, but I may just be thinking of Ashley's music. Her simultaneously funereal and bouncy theme was a highlight of that game for me.

WarioWare: Smooth Moves is exactly the kind of game the Wii needs in these post-launch days. It's a ridiculous amount of fun, contains an endless amount of multiplayer, and (most importantly) shows off the Wii control scheme in a way few other titles can match. The only thing holding this game back from perfection is the incredibly short single-player component, and even then it's hard to argue with the developers choices. If you ever plan to have friends over to your home again, this title deserves a spot on your shelf alongside Zelda. The game's multiplayer element is as close to perfect as you can ask for, sure to elicit laughter and invite play by any and all interested parties. Smooth Moves is a title that deserves a look from every gamer who enjoys the act of playing games.
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Elebits and Warioware - Bad Wii and Good Wii

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    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xenolith (538304)
      Now that there is a windows driver for the wiimote, no need to port Portal to the wii. I think I'll say that again, cuz it was fun. Port Portal!
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:05PM (#17756196) Homepage Journal
    The dizzying array of visual styles is one of the game series' signature elements, and Smooth Moves delivers in spades.

    Besides, who wouldn't be charmed out of their socks by a giant R.O.B. the Robot waving a Nintendo Zapper at your Starfox Arwing fighter? I mean, can you get any geekier? ;)

    BTW, it's worth noting that the Wii does have a few non-minigame games. Call of Duty, for example, is apparently a well liked FPS even if the graphics aren't quite as nice as the 360 version. Also, by the time that most people get their Wiis, Metroid Prime 3 will be blasting on the scene, ready to kick some Space Pirate booty!
    • by William_Lee (834197) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:09PM (#17756248)
      BTW, it's worth noting that the Wii does have a few non-minigame games.

      Including Madden...which I've rented and is IMO a great version. It really uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in ways that often approximate actual football motions.

      The graphics and commentary are pretty good, and the gameplay itself seems fresh and fun versus more of the same from EA.
    • Zonk's bias (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @04:47PM (#17757934)
      The anecdotal evidence that's been going around, now that the Wii is an established fixture in American living rooms, is that Nintendo's new console still has room for improvement.


      I thought the anecdotal evidence was that it's hugely successful and so in-demand that you still can't find it any in stores. Everything in the world has "room for improvement;" what a totally meaningless statement.
    • by Cheapy (809643)
      That's exactly what I saw. It seemed like all the big games were just a lot of minigames thrown together. I was quite disappointed by that. I hear that Red Steel is NOT a good game from everyone who's ever played it (that I talk to obviously). And Call of Duty 3 apparently has no multiplayer on the Wii. What's up with that?

      The Wii is fun. Wii sports (boxing and bowling are the only ones I play, the others are meh) can be quite fun and Zelda was well done. But I can't say I'm impressed with the rest of the g
  • by COMON$ (806135) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:07PM (#17756212) Journal
    I bought a Wii just a little while ago and I love it for short bursts of fun. My wife loves the tennis and a good time is had by my non-gamer friends.

    However I need to ask the question, What is going to keep X-Box and PS3 from stealing the Wii thunder? They simply need to make a remote to match their systems and Nintendo will be off the board, perhaps for good. I guess Nintendo will still have the low price but that is about it other than fanboys.

    • by webrunner (108849) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:08PM (#17756244) Homepage Journal
      If they made it on the other systems, then it would be an EXTRA peripheral. Only the Dual Shock, and to a lesser extent the Dance Pad, were ever successful as after-release add ons.
      • by Thansal (999464) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:38PM (#17756776)
        Exactly, if you want a list of FAILED perifs here:
        R.O.B.
        Trackmeet pad
        Power Glove
        U-Force
        Eye Toy
        Sega CD

        If you can find me a list of ones that have worked I will be impressed, the only ones I can add to webrunner's list would be the Nintendo Zapper (admitedly, only 2 games I can remember), and the Guitar Hero controllers (Again, only for a specific game).
        • There were probably a dozen titles in all that had Zapper support, but even though the device was packed in with some versions of the console, that most people can't remember any of them beyond Duck Hunt and Hogan's Alley shows that it really was a failure.
        • the only ones I can add to webrunner's list would be the Nintendo Zapper (admitedly, only 2 games I can remember)

          Wikipedia lists 17 games that work with the NES Zapper [wikipedia.org]. Compare to the list of Justifier (PS1), GunCon (PS1), and GunCon 2 (PS2) games [wikipedia.org]. Over the next year, Wii will see a lot more of this style of game.

          If you count the PlayStation dance pad as "successful" and the NES dance pad (Power Pad, which you call "Trackmeet pad") as "failed", then you may have to count the Xbox dance pad as "successful" and the GameCube dance pad as "failed".

      • by ivan256 (17499)
        Only the Dual Shock, [...] were ever successful as after-release add ons.

        Doesn't that refute your entire argument right there? One of the most successful devices ever was an add on. The trick with an add-on's success is that the functionality has to be easily incorporated in every game. That happened with analog control, so the dual-shock was wildly successful. There were probably more of them sold than the original d-pad.

        Why couldn't a pointing device enjoy similar success?

        Also, light guns (for every syste
        • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @04:20PM (#17757480) Homepage Journal
          Firstly, I'd like some statistics on the lightgun/PS2 ratio. In my circle of friends there were probably 2 dozen PS2s and one lightgun.

          Secondly, there's a lot to prevent the PS3 and 360 from stealing Nintendo's thunder.

          1. R&D. In order for this to work they need to put time and money into it. If they don't, the quality of their work will suffer and not come close to what Nintendo offers.

          2. Copycatting. Sony came under enough fire for their SIXAXIS being a cheap knock off aimed at stealing the Wii's thunder. Imagine the jeers at an outright, blatant copy.

          3. Difficulty. The Dual-Shock was extremely easy to incorporate into existing games because they were basically mini-joysticks. Joysticks had already been around for years, so there were plenty of people already experienced with them. However, the Wii's remote has no predecessor in the gaming medium.

          4. Cost. With the Wii, you're spending $250 for the whole package. Because any other console would require such an addon to be bought separately, you're looking at $60 extra minimum for a single remote and sensor combo, which is in addition to however many of the $50 regular controllers you bought. All of that is on top of $300 minimum for the cheap Xbox 360, or $500 for the PS3. The Wii is obviously the cheapest option.

          5. Development. As neither Sony nor Microsoft has announced an add-on, it is highly unlikely any titles currently in developement would use such a tool. Given the development time on AAA titles, chances are we wouldn't see one completed using this system on the PS3 or 360 until past the midpoint this generation.

          6. Default. The Dual-Shock did well when it was introduced with the PS1, but it did not come unto its own until it was made the default controller for the PS2. The importance of being the default control mechanism for a system can not be stressed enough, as developers tend to target the lowest common denominator. It's safe, and keep them out of the red and get bought by EA.

          It is entirely possible that the remote will never have a game that truly shows what it can do. It's also possible that Sony and Microsoft will successfully release their own copy-cat controllers to combat Nintendo. However, their success isn't guaranteed and will require more than a rushed R&D job to be a serious threat to Nintendo.
          • by jchenx (267053) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @04:58PM (#17758120) Journal
            2. Copycatting. Sony came under enough fire for their SIXAXIS being a cheap knock off aimed at stealing the Wii's thunder. Imagine the jeers at an outright, blatant copy.
            I completely agree. Copycatting is a very reactive thing to do, and for all the reasons you've mentioned, not a very good idea.

            This generation, it appears that all the major players have their own strengths that they can focus on, to try to distinguish them apart from everyone else. Nintendo, obviously, has the Wii-mote and everything that new interface can bring. MS is focusing a lot on all of the software/services of the 360, especially with Xbox Live. Sony, well, it's hard to say, but I imagine they would have to build their strength on just the raw power of the PS3, and really prove to gamers that their system is far more sophisticated than the others. Oh, and that Blu-ray thing too I suppose.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I'll definately second the point about strengths, with some more comments about Sony.

              I don't have much doubt that eventually the graphical differences between the 360 and the PS3 will become clear. In a year or two (or three) there won't be much question that the PS3 has the greater horsepower. The Cell simply has that potential, however excruciatingly difficult it may be to access.

              Which is why Microsoft definately needs to either kill Sony now (unlikely, despite the bad press Sony seems to attract) or buil
        • Almost everybody with a PS2 has at least one light-gun.

          [citation needed]

          Also, did E-rated games tend to use the GunCon 2, or was it for the more violent games only?

          • by Thraxen (455388)
            I'm pretty sure he is way off with that statement. I don't personally know anyone that had a lightgun for the PS2... including myself.

            Anyway, people are naming several exceptions to that did succeed to a degree, but you could easily find 5 that failed for everyone that succeeded. That's the risk with add-ons.
        • Almost everybody with a PS2 has at least one light-gun.

          Huh? I used to have a ps2 and know 5-6 people with ps2s and have never seen a light gun. Until I read your post I didn't even know a lightgun existed for the ps2. Admittedly I'm not a gaming fanatic, but I bet my attitude toward games falls more to the norm than the everybody you're talking about.
      • by Bastian (66383)
        I'd take that a step further and argue that the Dual Shock and the Dance Pad barely count, if at all.

        Dual Shock was just the same old controller except that it vibrated, which meant that game designers could build in support without doing a thing to alienate people who didn't own a Dual Shock, and consumers could buy one instead of (rather than in addition to) a regular Playstation controller for just a few more bucks. Later on, Dual Shock got another boost when Sony started bundling one as the standard co
        • by tepples (727027)

          Dual Shock was just the same old controller except that it vibrated

          Most PS1 owners never saw the original PlayStation dual analog controller [wikipedia.org], so to them, the upgrade from a pack-in digital controller to a DualShock added both analog control and vibration.

          Quite a few Dance Pads have been sold, but it is only useful for one game franchise

          Not just DDR and its clones used the Konami dance pad. Aerobics Revolution also used the Konami dance pad, and Pump It Up Exceed used the Andamiro dance pad.

      • Guitar Hero, Hello? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mongoose (8480)
        I don't care if their is a great game behind an add-on it will sell. The Guitar Hero series is all the proof you need, and now more add-ons are being planned for release due to its sucess. I know of a drum master game coming for PS2/PS3 right now. Also there are rumers of 'drum hero' and the like too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by William_Lee (834197)
      However I need to ask the question, What is going to keep X-Box and PS3 from stealing the Wii thunder?

      Sony has already made a half assed attempt to do this with their new stock controller, but all reports point to it as a tacked on mess versus the Wii Remote and Nunchuck.

      If history is a guide, console developers are very unwilling to design gameplay around optional controllers. It is a lot of extra work to come up with gameplay that works well on the Wii remote and really takes advantage of the
    • by tuffy (10202)

      What is going to keep X-Box and PS3 from stealing the Wii thunder? They simply need to make a remote to match their systems and Nintendo will be off the board, perhaps for good.

      If developers can't count on this hypothetical controller to be on every system, like the Wiimote, it's always going to be a secondary peripheral. That's why it's too late for Microsoft and Sony to try and copy it completely this time around, since their systems are launched and established.

      Perhaps their next consoles will be

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      One word - PRICE. The WII is affordable and reasonably priced. The games are fun playing games and stuff for non-gamers. PS3 and Xbox are gamers game machines and are not practical for non games and casual players. I, for one, have never been able to master the illogical and impractical coordination of controls to games. The WII elimnates that problem for a reasonable price.
    • by sinnergy (4787)
      "I bought a Wii just a little while ago and I love it for short bursts of fun... However I need to ask the question, What is going to keep X-Box and PS3 from stealing the Wii thunder?"

      You answered your own question. Some of us don't want to spend hours upon hours playing video games and investing thousands of dollars into consoles, systems, software, etc. Some people just want to pick up a game, relax for an hour or two, then get on to something else. The Wii will essentially be *the* system for casual
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      What is going to keep X-Box and PS3 from stealing the Wii thunder?

      Maybe patents? I don't really know if Nintendo has anything significant patented, but it's possible that there's something key to the Wii remote.

      Either way, it'd take Sony/Microsoft a while to bring anything to market, and even then it might take some sort of firmware upgrade to make it work (not that I really know about such things). Not that it's impossible, given that all of these consoles are internet-connected computers, and can be u

    • They simply need to make a remote to match their systems and Nintendo will be off the board

      If either Microsoft or Sony attempts to make a motion-sensitive, remote-control-style input device for their game console, Nintendo is going to be rich. Either from patent licensing fees, or from damages awarded for patent violations.

  • But putting down the Wii lineup as Zelda only is a little bit far off. Rayman Raving Rabbits, is an absolute must have gem, overlooked by many in the Zelda rush, it is definitely along the lines of Wario Ware quality wise and also has nice graphics. The rest of the original Launch lineup is sort of hit and miss depending on the tastes. But definitely way more and has a higher variety than the other consoles launch lineup. I cannot comment to the other games released so far.
  • by Zaurus (674150) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:10PM (#17756268)
    How can the Wii be an "established fixture" when most of us who want one haven't even been able to see one in person yet? [slashdot.org]
    • by saintory (944644) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:34PM (#17756730)

      I was fortunate to get one last Sunday. Here's my recipe for success:

      • Can't advertise what you don't have - If the Wii is advertised in a store weekly chances are extremely high they will have it Sunday morning. The new advert comes out in the Sunday edition of major papers but it ALSO comes out online between 3:00am and 4:00am.
      • Experience - Most stores now have experience dealing with a demand they cannot handle. The best way to deal with it is the simplest: Print out numbered tickets and as people arrive before opening hand them out on a first-come-first-serve until you have no more. This takes care of loitering and keeps the lines non-existent, so you won't have to call for backup when a fight over line position breaks out.
      • Target opens first - Unless you're a 24-hour superstore Target beats the others with an 8:00am opening. Bestbuy and Circuit City? 10:00am.
      • Accessibility and weather have an effect - If the store isn't near mass transit or easy to walk to less people are going to try to get to it. Furthermore, if it's REALLY COLD or WET when you go down Sunday morning, don't sit in your car. Chances are the person that wants a Wii and is dressed for the current weather will not mind standing right at the door and will be able to walk right up to it. For example, I dressed for the 20F weather that day. I walked right up to the store door and saw 1/2-dozen cars running in the lot. I turned to look inside the store and when I turned around again there were 1/2-dozen people BEHIND me at the door. Guess who got ticket 23/24 for a new Wii ;-)
      • Be polite to the retail workers - They are ultimately making a decision to let you hang out or not before the store actually opens. If you're rude chances are they'll sabotage any chance you had of getting one. Even though the customer is always right, it's their word vs. yours when the police/security are called. Being overly polite won't hurt just don't be rude.

      Hope this helps even the playing field for the Wii competition. Now if I could just find another Wii-mote...

      • Hope this helps even the playing field for the Wii competition. Now if I could just find another Wii-mote...

        Argh, when did getting a console become a game itself? I know it's by no means a new trend. There were massive shortages with the PS2, the 360, again with the PS3 (albeit that was somewhat short), and once more with the Wii.

        Now, I work in games, so I know the difficulty involved. MS got a lot of flack last year regarding the 360, which wasn't readily available until March. I was hoping that it wouldn'

      • by RyoShin (610051)
        This man, you should listen to him. He knows that of which he speaks.

        I did a similar thing, but after Thanksgiving. I waited in line to pre-order one, so I was able to walk into the store and get it. I took it home for Thanksgiving, and my parents were absolutely enthralled with it, so my mom asked me to help her get one for Christmas. Doing some research, I found out when Target would be selling more, and went to stand in line. This was in 30 or 40F weather, but it was also raining. I went to a 24 hour sto
    • by ivan256 (17499)
      Since when are you "most of us"?

      Even places where thye are out of stock have a demo unit on display. The Target near me has had between 3 and 6 in stock the last three times I've been in there. They've sold four million of the damned things. You can even get them on eBay for less than the cost of an Xbox 360. If you don't have one yet, you are very unlucky or you aren't trying very hard to get one.
  • One of the biggest reasons why I won't be picking up a Wii any time soon is Nintendo's reliance on Mario/Wario spinoff titles. I realize that they made their fortune on Mario's back, but it's been a long time. Hell, I remember when Mario brothers was just another game in the arcade. I humbly suggest that a new mascot is needed, to get Nintendo's creative juices flowing again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *

      One of the biggest reasons why I won't be picking up a Wii any time soon is Nintendo's reliance on Mario/Wario spinoff titles

      You forgot Metroid, Starfox, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Kirby, and a half-dozen other characters/franchises I'm probably forgetting about. All of which are available for the Wii NOW as Gamecube games. (See if you can pick up the $10 DK: Jungle Beat from Gamestop. The bongos make the game a blast to play!) If you wait a few months, they'll also be available as Wii games.

      While you're understan

    • Yes, because we all know Nintendo hasn't been creative or innovative in regards to any games Mario, Donkey Kong, Wario, or any other franchise characters has been in. And they sure haven't created any new franchises at all. Oh wait...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrchaotica (681592) *
      I humbly suggest that a new mascot is needed, to get Nintendo's creative juices flowing again.

      Donkey Kong? Yoshi? Link? Star Fox? Kirby? Captain Falcon? What are they, chopped liver?

      I "humbly suggest" that the last thing Nintendo needs is yet another mascot! What Nintendo really needs is to make games without a mascot (i.e., where the character is "you" or where there isn't a character at all).

      • by Prien715 (251944)
        Where the character is Mii?

        In many of Nintendo's Wii games (Sports, Warioware, Play), you create the character you play. The nice thing is unlike other games, you don't need to recreate your character per game, it exists on the console and is used between games.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Cinder6 (894572)
      I agree completely with this. It seems like Nintendo relies solely on their cash cows to make money instead of going for new franchises (a generalization, I know).

      One trend I've noticed with the Wii is that the majority of games are simply collections of mini-games. That doesn't inspire confidence to me, and TFA's claim that Warioware is "exactly the type of game the Wii needs" really makes me think that the Wii will become nothing but that: a mini-game console with little in the way of traditional (long
      • Actually I do not think the Wii needs another bunch of mini game titles, with Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbits and Wario Ware are 4 excellent ones on the market, add to that the mediocre Wii games and you have five of them. It needs adventure games, it needs more epic games along the lines of Zelda, and it needs some RPGs besides Zelda.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644)
      Have you tried a Wii? Have you heard anything about the controller that it comes with? Creativity is the least of Nintendo's problems.

      I really don't get this whining about Nintendo and their franchises. They aren't just churning out incremental sequels as fast as possible just to make a quick buck. Nintendo takes good care of their franchises, and almost always creates high quality games. They might make 100 different games that take place in the mario universe, but there will be at least 80 different types
    • You do realize that the gameplay for these games are completely different, right? Aside from Mario Party (a brilliant concept -- episodic board games -- but not one that I'm a fan of), the various Mario games are extremely different. If you turn away from something just because of the main character, you might be missing out.
    • Despite the origins of wario, warioware has nothing at all to do with any of the Mario Games; it contains 12 characters who have never showed up in a mario game, has no common gameplay, and has a completely different art/music style.

      There's nothing wrong with having a popular franchise and a well-known mascot, it's good marketing. People recognise the name "Mario" and associate it with both "Nintendo" and "fun", making it an excellent marketing decision to keep him around. If you don't like the mario bra
    • by Omestes (471991)
      I wouldn't say being stuck on the same old franchises makes them uninnovative, look at how much the franchises have changed, morphed, etc... Yes, Twilight Princess was pretty much like playing OoT with updated graphics, but I'm not complaining. Compare Metroid Prime to the earlier Metroid games, it basically is the same franchise in name only. Like compare Wario Ware to the original Mario games (yes, its part of the same franchise), are there any similarities besides one character?

      Compare this to other f
    • by Miseph (979059) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @04:31PM (#17757660) Journal
      I agree, they should be hocking games like GTA: Ethnic Rampage, The Sims Do the same Things Again, Need For Speed Underground Hot Pursuit 12, Tony Hawk's Segway Rebel, Star Wars: Make George Lucas Even Richer Through Ludicrous Amounts of Licensed Merchandise, and Final Fantasy XXVIII: 3. You know, the kinds of games that HAVEN'T been franchised to death.
  • If you're looking for a quite weekend rental, Elebits isn't a bad call.

    Sometimes spellcheck isn't enough!
  • by captnitro (160231) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:25PM (#17756572)
    I have to respectfully disagree with the critique of Elebits' gameplay. I found it fun and incredibly challenging -- there are time limits, limits on breakability of objects (don't smash too many plates) as well as limits on making too much noise (dB). On some levels these limits were fun, on others, they were annoying. While the graphical polish could have been better, it was a refreshing game that didn't once harp on the same old genre formulas. I appreciate the smooth gameplay and consistent framerates in most levels as opposed to focusing on graphical prowess.

    Those that are observant/patient enough to explore into the levels a little more will realize that there are hundreds of little, unrevealed puzzles. For example, find a basketball in the drawer and put it through a hoop in the next room, and Elebits pop out. The same of putting books in order on the shelf, or finding a disc to put in a CD-ROM drive. The time limits are probably the most challenging/frustrating aspect of the game -- these are relatively massive levels with tons to do and explore, so it sucks when your time runs out at the expense of finding enough Elebits to turn on various appliances and tools that allow you to solve puzzles and turn on further appliances and tools. I truly envy those that have scored high enough to unlock Eternal Mode on a good number of their levels.

    The control method (drag the wiimote to the edge of the screen to rotate) sounds a lot like the same Red Steel catastrophe, but it was more responsive and easier. Unlike other games (like COD3), you have smoother, more gradient speeds of rotation as your wiimote approaches the edge. Controlling your character is incredibly simple and fun -- I'd play more FPSs on the Wii if they were all like this.

    My one beef with the entirely gameplay aspect was the Capture Gun power-up method. In Elebits, you have both regular elebits that increase your wattage (turning on appliances and such), and special elebits that power up your Capture Gun to lift heavier objects and thus find more Elebits in general. Unforuntately, they chose to make the gun reset to its lowest power at the beginning of each level, so if you want to get into the more challenging puzzles, you're doing it in the last two minutes of the level because you have to power up your gun the same way every time. I think I would have liked having fewer powerup elebits in conjunction with the "leveling" method a little bit more, so I could go back and use the newfound power to discover secrets in older levels I had already played. As it is now, I'm forced to unlock Eternal mode for a level if I want to power up my gun with few restrictions. I suppose the level they have now is more challenging, but I think another system might have been more fun and had more replay value.

    4/5.
    • by jspectre (102549) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:58PM (#17757106) Journal
      i'm with you. the OP dismissed elebits far too quickly imho. i find the gameplay to be something fresh and interesting among all the other standard games. i think the controller use is by far the best among any game i have so far (8 and counting). yes, wario (which i also have) uses the controller in creative ways but elebits uses it in what should be standard ways for manipulating a 3d environment with the wii controller (pulling open a drawer is more than just click on the handle, you have to pull the controller towards you).

      i agree the time limit is probably the worst part of the game, but maybe someone will find a cheat/hack that stops the timer. i'd love to take my time to explore every stage.
    • by kinglink (195330) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @04:40PM (#17757800)
      I have to agree, for two games, they dismiss elebits, which is a pretty lengthy game if someone is going to fully complete it (similar to Katamari damacy where you can beat the game with 50 percent of the items found or complete the game with everything found). There's also some very unique nest puzzles that you meantioned. A good physics engine. (not perfect but any physics engine is crucial for this game)

      Yet at the same time he gives Wario ware accolades even though it ignores it's predecessors and instead of allowing people to play a single game for a best score gives extremely limited modes. Even the multiplayer is a mixed bag.

      Both games are good but Elebits is the second best game I have for the system, Warioware was good for the 2 hours it took to unlock it all and now is just an ok addition.

      Perhaps Zonk doesn't like the katamari damacy style games but Elebits is far from a mediocre game in the same way katamari wasn't a mediocre game.
  • by DJ-Dodger (169589) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:26PM (#17756600) Homepage

    Additionally, and confusingly, only the first player is allowed to move the camera. This makes it exceedingly hard to tell what's going on, and has a lot of potential for abuse.
    You know this is a setting you can change right? It's pretty clearly labeled. You can set it to a particular person or have it rotate randomly every X seconds.
    • by kisrael (134664)
      It sucks.

      It's just not fun to have someone else in control of your camera.

      What they could have used is a co-op mode.... one person on camera, the other w/ the zapper.

      A "rails" vesion might have worked as well. But a human controled camera, when you're not the human...bleh.
  • I got my Wii on launch, and got Elebits as soon as it was available. There seems to be a lot of hate for the game, but I think that it's pretty good. The game reminds me in a lot of ways of Katamari Damacy. It's a pretty simple premis, and the gameplay doesn't change much, but it's ok, because the game is really all about scale and interacting with the world, and the just plain bizzare at times. Even the graphics in Elebits remind me heavily of the style in Katamari Damacy.
    Wario Ware never really appea
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:32PM (#17756694) Homepage Journal

    Now, though, it's a new year and it's time for the Wii to step up as a gaming platform.

    Maybe it would be more useful to look at the Wii this way: Do people who bought a Wii enjoy it three months, six months, a year after purchase? The target audience is broader, and the games are different than those for PS2, XBox 360, et al. I'm reminded of all the early analysis of how the iPod was going to go down in flames. The analysts didn't understand that the target audience wasn't technophiles, but regular average everyday people.

    • by powerlord (28156)
      Exactly. The comparison to the iPod is very apropos considering the glossy white finish both share.

      It seems at this point, that popular perception is that the Wii is a cultural phenomenon. This alone will probably drive sales ("everyone loves it, everyone wants one" stories keep showing up on-line vs. the XBox or PS3 which are aiming more at the traditional gaming market)
    • Maybe it would be more useful to look at the Wii this way: Do people who bought a Wii enjoy it three months, six months, a year after purchase? The target audience is broader, and the games are different than those for PS2, XBox 360, et al. I'm reminded of all the early analysis of how the iPod was going to go down in flames. The analysts didn't understand that the target audience wasn't technophiles, but regular average everyday people.

      The way I see it, there are two major audiences involved here. You've g

  • Future Lineup (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    At the moment there is a lack of really quality games. Rayman, WarioWare, Wii Sports and so on are really fun (x10 with friends) but only Zelda stands out as great 'proper' game. (Red Steel and CoD3 just don't cut the mustard IMO)

    By the end of 2007 we'll have
    - Super Mario Galaxy
    - Super Smash Bros. Brawl
    - Metroid Prime 3
    - Sonic and the Secret Rings
    - Project H.A.M.M.E.R. (maybe?)

    that stand out as really great games (plus one or two more probably) that aren't simply based on the novelty of the wiimote. Sounds
    • The XBox had only one quality title before christmas, but the situation seems to be chaning currently a little bit with a bunch of combined PC XBOX titles hitting the scene. The second and third year usually are the best years for a console. So I expect a lot from end of 2007 and 2008, bear in mind that many publishers started to take the Wii seriously at the last E3 and some even started later when the PS3 fiasco happened. (Which means the last four weeks)
  • We all.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by nixkuroi (569546) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:42PM (#17756842)
    We all had fun over the holidays, sharing Wii Sports with our relatives and...

    No we all didn't motherfucker...no...we all didn't.

    *sobs quietly to himself as he waits for some store...any store in Washington State to get another Wii*
  • by Turken (139591) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:49PM (#17756952)
    First, I don't think that Zonk has actually played all the way through the game. His estimation of 5 hours to get through the story is a bit on the short side. Most of the later missions will take 15-20 minutes each to complete. And then there are a couple missions that you WILL fail on the first try, thus requiring more time. For me, it probably took closer to 10-12 hours to complete the basic story mode.

    Then, once the basic story is finished, there is a LOT or replayability in the form of finding special items/elebits to unlock additional modes, and then trying to beat the challenge missions. Taking the entire game into consideration, there is easily 30-40 hours of gameplay.

    Of course, you also have to factor fatigue into the equation. Frantically clicking the zap buttons for 20-30 minutes straight will actually wear out your hand, so while it may be possible to "beat" the game in a theoretical five hours, few individuals will be able to actually do it that quickly without stopping to rest the hands.

    Also, Zonk's description of multiplayer is not entirely accurate. The camera control is not always attached to player one. Player one is the default camera control, but during the multiplayer game setup, you have the ability to chooose another player to control, or you can choose for the control to randomly switch between players every 10/30/60 seconds. This switching of camera during play can be a little confusing at first, but once you get used to it yields a more balanced and ultimately more fun multiplayer arrangement.

    I'll agree that the game isn't necessarily the best that we will ever see on the Wii, but is is a good solid launch title and should be rated more like 4 out of 5. Definitely worth a rental, especially if you're a fan of the Katamari games.
    • Of course, you also have to factor fatigue into the equation. Frantically clicking the zap buttons for 20-30 minutes straight will actually wear out your hand, so while it may be possible to "beat" the game in a theoretical five hours, few individuals will be able to actually do it that quickly without stopping to rest the hands.

      On the other hand, this is Slashdot, after all. A lot of people here are probably accustomed to lots of grabbing and jerking movements with their right hands while playing with a

  • It is quite interesting that you can tell by the posts who has and does not have a Wii.
  • by C. Alan (623148) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @04:32PM (#17757674)

    I picked up Elebits last week, and I am finding that it is one of the few Wii games I can play with my 3 year old son. It took him a couple of games to figure out the targeting system, but after that, he had a blast throwing around the furniture, and generally making a mess, and concentrating very hard to line up a shot to capture elebits.

    The fact that the camera control can be restricted to one player is a plus for us. My son does not get how to control the camera yet, so we have fun with me controlling the camera, and him blasting away at furniture.

  • by Xoltri (1052470)
    I wanted to comment on the 'crispness' on WarioWare that is mentioned in this article. I have a LG 42 inch HD LCD (1080i) and you can see some compression artifacts in the short movies that introduce each character in WarioWare. So it is not perfect, but I will admit it is nitpicking to notice something like that.

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