A Cavalcade of Games
Nintendo, in a big showcase presentation Tuesday at the E3 video game trade show, opted to show off many of the titles that will hit its Wii U game console and the Nintendo 3DS handheld in the coming year. We didn't get any solid release dates for many of the Wii U titles, but we did get a closer look at how games would employ the Wii U's unique new controller.
The conference started off strong, as Shigeru Miyamoto introduced Pikmin 3 for the Wii U. Pikmin 3, much like the previous two Pikmin games, is a real-time strategy game where you control small creatures called "Pikmin" to complete a set of goals.
Pikmin 3 uses an enhanced graphics and physics engine to make certain actions (such as destroying a wall) look much more realistic. It also has new types of Pikmin and several new modes of play that include a challenge mode that times you on how fast you can complete certain goals.
One of the few Wii U functions mentioned at Nintendo's keynote, Mii Universe is similar to Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live. You'll be able to see what others are playing based on the games that they are grouped under. You'll also be able to see what your friends are saying about those games, either from the Mii Plaza or from your PC, smartphone, tablet, or any other Web-enabled device.
New Super Mario Bros U
It wouldn't be a Nintendo event without Mario, and this year's E3 was no exception. If you've ever played New Super Mario Bros on the Wii, then New Super Mario Bros U should look very familiar. While not exactly identical, the games do feature much of the same gameplay mechanics, and you'll still be able to stomp your way across the Mushroom Kingdom with up to three other friends. Besides 4-player co-op, New Super Mario Bros U also has new Yoshis and power-ups to aid you in defeating your foes.
Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition
The hit title from 2012 has been ported over to the Wii U, with some exciting extras that take advantage of Nintendo's new hardware. You'll be able to control Batman's remote control batarangs by moving the Wii U gamepad, and the second screen can display your inventory so that you can quickly swap out your gadgets without having to pause the game. The Wii U version of Arkham City will also gain a "Bat Mode" that charges up as you defeat enemies and can be activated by tapping the gamepad's touchscreen to give Batman a boost in power.
The game that lets you create anything just got a whole lot better with Scribblenauts Unlimited on the Wii U. This is the first HD Scribblenauts game, and it will also be the first in the series to feature a multiplayer mode where you can team up with friends to create basically anything you can imagine.
While you can still create objects by typing in their names, Unlimited allows you to create entirely new entities by combining different items. For instance, you can attach wheels to a dog, or create a chimera of different animals and share your creations with friends. Unlimited will also be coming to the 3DS, probably around the same time that the Wii U version hits store shelves.
While we saw this game only briefly during the conference (as it flashed onscreen during a montage of other Wii U games), we can only assume that the Wii U version of Darksiders 2 will be similar to the one being released on other consoles--but with added Wii U features. Darksiders 2 has you taking on the role of Death, the fourth horseman of the apocalypse. Not much is known about the story, other than that you'll be fighting the legions of heaven and hell, and solving basic puzzles along the way. Stay tuned to our E3 coverage to find out more about this game and perhaps get a release date for the Wii U version.
Mass Effect 3
One of the best RPGs of all time, Mass Effect 3 will be heading to the Wii U, as a port of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. You'll be playing as Commander Shepard as you rally various alien races in order defeat the Reapers and save all life in the universe. We don't know much about what will be different in the Wii U version of the game, but hopefully it comes with a better ending.
Wii Fit U
Dust off that Balance Board, because you're going to need it for Wii Fit U. Much like the first Wii Fit game, Wii Fit U is all about getting active in order to live a healthier lifestyle. Wii Fit U includes new exercises and games designed to get you in shape, and (using the Balance Board) it can track your weight and BMI so you can keep track of your health as you play the game.
Nintendo is also releasing a Fit Meter that you can wear to track your activities and workouts throughout the day. The meter tracks how many calories you've burned, how many steps you've walked, and the types of exercises you've completed, and it syncs all that data with Wii Fit U wirelessly.
Lego City Undercover
In Lego City Undercover, you play as a Lego cop solving the various crimes that happen in the brick-based world you inhabit. You'll be able to pilot various vehicles in your quest for justice, and you can put on different disguises in order to gain various powers to help with you catch your perp. A portable version for the 3DS will also be available, though the story and gameplay will vary from the one being released for the Wii U.
Just Dance 4
Even though Nintendo didn't have a celebrity introduce it, it still looks like a great party game. Just Dance 4 is the latest game in the Just Dance series, featuring new songs and dance moves to get people moving to the beat.
The Wii U version of the game allows up to five people to play at once, with the player on the Wii U gamepad controlling the types of dance moves the other four players are required to do. The game has dozens of different dance moves and types to choose from, and, if you're feeling especially devious, you can have the dancers strike a pose that they must hold for as long as you want them to.
Definitely the most action-packed demo we saw out of the Nintendo keynote, Zombi U is a survival horror first-person shooter that puts you in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Unlike other zombie games we've seen, in Zombi U, if you get bitten by a zombie, then you'll die. So you'll need to keep your wits about you if you want to make it out alive. The Wii U gamepad is used for everything from accessing your inventory to hacking doors, and the trailers we saw gave us the impression that the game would be very fast-paced.
Imagine a theme park designed exclusively around Nintendo games, and you have Nintendo Land. More of a tech demo than a real game, Nintendo Land has 12 different sections, each with its own theme. You'll play as your Mii, and each section of the park you visit will have your character don a costumed based on that section's theme. For instance, in the Animal Crossing segment of the park, you'll wear an animal costume as you play through that section's mini-game.
Nintendo Land will launch with the Wii U, and the company hopes that the game will help people adjust to the new way of playing games on the console.
New Super Mario Bros 2
Even though the keynote was largely focused on Wii U games, Nintendo made some time for its 3D-enabled handheld. New Super Mario Bros 2 is a 3D side-scrolling Mario game that looks similar to the original New Super Mario Bros that premiered on the Nintendo DS six years go. The big thing about the game will be a new power that lets Mario turn enemies gold and generate tons of new coins, plus the addition of the Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros 3. You'll be able to get your hands on this game on August 19.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Another 3DS game and one we've been waiting a long time for, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is the latest game in the Kingdom Hearts series. You play as Sora and run through several Disney-themed worlds, helping out their inhabitants and banishing whatever enemies you come across. What's new in this game is that you'll be able to capture and use certain enemies (called "Dream Eaters") to aid you in combat. Dream Drop Distance ships at the end of July and looks to be a must-have for any fans of the series.
Paper Mario Sticker Star
Nintendo showed off Paper Mario Sticker Star during the 3DS launch, but we hadn't heard much about the game since. At its keynote today, Nintendo gave us more details about the title, as well as a window for when it would be released. Similar to the Paper Mario games for the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo Gamecube, Paper Mario Sticker Star is an RPG where you'll explore a papercraft world and fight off an array of flat fiends. Throughout your journey, you'll collect stickers that can aid you in battle or reveal secret areas for you in the world map. The game is coming to the 3DS this holiday season.
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Mario's often forgotten brother is back in his own 3DS game. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon will have you exploring multiple mansions, all of which are heavily infested by poltergeists and other supernatural entities. Luckily, with your trusty vacuum and flashlight, you'll be able to suck up and trap those tricky spirits and explore the secrets that each mansion holds. The game is set to be released in Q4 of this year, so gear up your vacuum and get ready to catch some ghosts.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow-Mirror of Fate
If you'd much rather destroy your supernatural enemies than capture them, then Castlevania: Lords of Shadow-Mirror of Fate will be more up your alley. We don't know much about this game other than that Dracula will in some way be involved with the story. We'll let you know more about the game once we find out more ourselves.