WiiWare Launch & Reviews

Today, Nintendo launched the WiiWare service in North America. This is of particular interest to me as I am personally working on a WiiWare title.

I’m actually lucky to play though all of the WiiWare games today (except My Life as a King) today. Checking the competition, I realize that we don’t have competition. Not in the perspective of quality judgments, but for the fact that each of the titles released on WiiWare are very different from each other. There is something different for a lot of different people, which is about what one would hope from a service launch.

The Wired Game|Life Blog does a good job outlining all the launch titles, now with impressions of each title. But if you insist, here’s my quick review of the titles:

FFCC: My Life As a King
I abstain since this was the one title I did not play today.

I feel kinda torn with this title as I don’t hate it, but don’t think it’s worth $7. You pop bubbles, and it gets fun for a time being. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but with Defend Your Castle at $5, Pop just seems too much for little return.

Defend Your Castle
While I hate to admit cost as a factor, the value of this title is tied to it’s price. The group play and pure loony of the title makes this a rewarding game. When set to normal, it starts out VERY slow just to make sure you have the mechanics and you rank up on points to spend. But once it gets insane… it’s fun. Well worth the $5 and great for one-player and multiplayer. It’s also very easy to add on players while you’re playing; The difficulty will adjust as more players join/leave.

This is simply a must-buy in my book. It looks and sounds beautiful, plays great with the wind mechanic, and leaves you feeling fully rewarded when playing. Don’t be put off by people saying it’s too short; This is a quality game and worth the $10. Frontier Developments, great job!

V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack

It’s Blackjack and that’s about it. Of all the launch titles, this is the simplest title (yes, more so than Pop). You play blackjack and that’s about it. If you really love blackjack and like to play it on your Wii, then by all means. It’s not worth $7 to me, but others may see it differently. I hope this was just the first step in seeing more WiiWare titles from High Voltage Studios. Considering that their website doesn’t even mention it on their games list, I’m thinking this was just a first-run WiiWare title with more in the future. At least I hope.

TV Show King

I agree with Chris Kohler of Wired that the Wii is surprisingly devoid of trivia titles, so it’s great to see Gameloft make the first attempt. If you have friends that come over and play with you on your Wii, this is a good game to get. While the game mechanics of the Wheel could have been better, the rest of the game is great with groups. It is $10, but if you plan on having friends over, it’s worth the purchase.

As an aside to TV Show King: There are people asking the questions about expansion packs to questions beyond the initial 3,000. I have no idea or any inside information at all, but I will say that Nintendo requires titles selling DLC content to notify up-front, which this title doesn’t. Assume you get only what you paid for now.

PS: I hope Jellyvision realizes they need to partner with a studio to make You Don’t Know Jack on WiiWare. Unless they have already and it’s too early to talk about it.