Monday, June 13, 2011

Top 10 Wii Games 2011

Conduit 2

Sega | High Voltage Software
Conduit 2 A sequel to an overlooked title that garnered decent acclaim, but not in sales. Still, Sega and High Voltage software wouldn't let that keep them from crafting a sequel that raised a few eyebrows at E3 2010. If there was ever a game that could lend credence to the theory that the Wii could become a multiplayer shooter platform, Conduit 2 will have to be it. It's a lofty expectation, but one we feel can be accomplished by this team and developer.

de Blob 2

THQ | Blue Tongue
de Blob 2 In the wake of the success of de Blob, Melbourne-based studio Blue Tongue Entertainment set out to improve the variety and playability of their title, while preserving much of the game's beloved aspects. The result is de Blob 2 (formerly titled de Blob: The Underground), which presents interesting mix of new and familiar game mechanics. Blob still paints the city and friends in the name of freedom, but now with new abilities and powerups, such as a gravity-warping Graviton Bomb, and a devastating, electronic wrecking ball. Another addition is the suite of over 100 new 2D platforming areas -- accessed by going inside certain buildings. de Blob was a fine platformer, and seeing a new iteration with lots of welcome tweaks and additions pleases us.

Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse

Nintendo | Grasshopper Manufacture Studio
Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Yes, a couple years ago, we were convinced that Grasshopper Manufacture's (the fine fellows behind No More Heroes and Killer 7) take on the Fatal Frame franchise would see an American release. Even though both Tecmo and Nintendo failed to localize it, we held out hope. Another year passed. Yet another year passed. And we're still holding out hope. Maybe someone at Nintendo will dust this off. Maybe Xseed or another third-party publisher can snag the publishing rights. Until that mythical day, we'll suggest looking into the fan translation patch that you can apply to an import copy.

La Mulana

Nicalis | Nigoro
La Mulana Last year we cited La Mulana, the WiiWare update of a cool retro-style PC indie game, as one of our most anticipated releases for 2010 -- an honor the developers at Nigoro took to heart. Unfortunately, they didn't quite make their 2010 deadline, but we don't mind; the game looks so good (despite being developed by a small team) that we're more than happy to wait a few more months to get our 8-bit Indiana Jones on. La Mulana's mix of exploration and relentlessly difficult platforming is a proven success on PC, and the Wii remake looks even better.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Nintendo | Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword The Wii MotionPlus peripheral hasn't gotten a lot of love, even from Nintendo. But with Skyward Sword, Nintendo plans to show just what their improved control system can add to a game. As always, you'll take on the role of a sword-swinging hero named Link, and this time you'll have near one-to-one control over your blade. Skyward's Sword's graphics might end up being a bit divisive though; neither as cartoony as Wind Waker nor as gritty as Twilight Princess, this Zelda title strikes a middle ground that we still think looks pretty good.

Lego Star Wars: The Clone Wars

LucasArts | TT Games
Lego Star Wars: The Clone Wars A consistently enjoyable franchise, the Lego games have managed to carve out a perfect niche of family oriented platformers that are well designed and cater to all types of gamers. While the Star Wars license has been with the Lego franchise since the beginning, this title centers around the budding Clone Wars universe based on the hit television series that is currently airing on Cartoon Network. Could this be the best Lego game to date? We'll see.

Lost in Shadow

Konami | Hudson
Lost in Shadow Already released in Japan and Europe, Lost in Shadow is an inspired take on the dual light world/dark world mechanics of so many games before it. The twist here is that both worlds have been blended into one cohesive whole and you're the one who's been split in two, requiring you swap yourself between light/dark phases to manipulate real world objects and shadows to solve puzzles. This might be a little puzzle game, but it's a fresh and original-looking one.

Mario Sports Mix

Nintendo | Nintendo
Mario Sports Mix When was the last time you were excited for a volleyball game? Or how about a game that not only features volleyball, but basketball, hockey, and soccer, as well? Or, or (get ready for this), one that features all that with your favorite Mario characters? In classic Nintendo form, they've taken some of their most beloved characters and put them in a collection of sports titles that's light on the realism, but heavy on wackiness. Get some friends together in the same room, and Mario Sports Mix should be a fun time when it comes out early in 2011.


Nintendo | Monolith Soft
The Wii has been in need of more RPGs ever since the system's launch. Nintendo and Monolith Soft hope to rectify that next year with Xenoblade, the next entry in the "Xeno" series, though it bears no resemblance to the previous titles. Taking a cue from both JRPGs and first-person shooters, Xenoblade is hybrid of sorts, featuring traditional RPG elements like hit points and skill attributes, but also tosses in shooter elements and first-person gunplay. Slated to release some time in 2011, Xenoblade looks to be a welcome addition to the Wii's library.

The Last Story

Nintendo | Mistwalker
The Last Story
In an internal briefing early this year, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced plans to partner with Mistwalker in creation, "of a new form of RPG by choosing the universal theme of human emotion." The result will be The Last Story, the tale of a young mercenary Elza and his quest to become one of the esteemed Knights of Ruli Island. In addition to gorgeous artwork and animation, as well as a soundtrack by famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, The Last Story features a real-time, fact-paced combat system centered around, in director Hironobu Sakaguchi's words, "controlling chaos and order on the battlefield." The idea of Mistwalker and Nintendo working together is one of the more intriguing ones for 2011.

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