Nintendo Land is everything you could want from a mini-game compilation based in a theme park, but it was not the only collection of mini-games on offer at the recent Wii U event in London. There was also the opportunity to grab a Wii U Game Pad and try out Game & Wario. Only requiring a single game pad, I became acquainted with the four games available; Arrow, Ski, Fruit and Shutter. These mini-games comprised of short and fast interaction with the Wii U Gamepad in a variety of different ways.
First up was Arrow, and it was with great excitement that I grasped the Wii U Game Pad in my left hand, while I controlled the high-tech touch screen arrow mechanism with my right. If you look closely at the arrow on the touch screen, you soon recognize it’s not just any ordinary arrow, but actually Wario’s moustache. Holding the game pad vertically and pointing it at the television screen, and pushing down and pulling back the head of the pink arrow, I could catapult it and fire it at the screen filled with menacing yellow and black mechanical Warios. Your objective is to destroy the Warios with your arrow or with the countless mines you can use to blow up a huge horde of them with one blast. After a few minutes of shooting them, they appear on the Wii U Game Pad and you have to use your finger to touch them rapidly in order to eliminate them. On a few occasions I had trouble with the arrows, mainly because you have to remember to pull the arrow head back and not release it too quickly before it’s fully retracted, otherwise you find your hard earned arrows falling on the ground. A red reticule indicates the distance once you’ve targeted the enemy, but navigating the distance could sometimes be a bit hit and miss. I also noticed a slight lag between interactions on the touch screen, whilst trying to catapult my arrows. It takes a little time and patience to master the skills of archery, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to play.
The Shutter mini game will have the player using the Wii U Game Pad as a telephoto camera lens as they become Mona, a criminal journalist who is on the hunt for five villains who are wanted, need to be found and eventually placed into a criminal line-up. The Gamepad acts as your camera as you look through it, and the game gives you a quick indication of who you need to find within the moving environment. Aiming the Gamepad at the television screen, it’s almost like looking through a big magnifying glass, as you scan for your carefully hidden criminals. These criminals hide within the scenery trying to avoid being detected and to be honest; they all look very alike, aside from some facial and hair differences. So it’s quite easy to mistakenly pick the wrong character. Once you’ve found your target in your line of vision, a quick tap on the shoulder button enables you to take a photo within a set square, where you will be scored for your accuracy. Believe me when I say that there will be many headless and blurred photographs. Your snapshots of the criminals are then scored and a tick indicates whether you’ve picked out the right characters or not. Multiplayer interaction can be used with this game, as your friends become the observers watching the television screen, offering helpful advice on where a target is situated. This mini game is played within a set time period, so be prepared to shoot photographs quickly and have a keen eye for detail.
Fruit allows two to five players to join in the fun, with one player will taking on the role of a thief using the Wii U Game Pad, and the other four players in the role of key witnesses who will only have their vision and a keen eye for detail to keep them ahead of the game. The key witnesses, your friends, simply stand and watch as the thief steals a number of apples on the TV screen in streets filled with moving vehicles, walking pedestrians and various pot holes. As the thief, you can use the potholes to go to various points on the screen in a hurry to quickly grab the fruit and avoid being detected. Occasionally the game highlights where the thief is for a small amount of time, which gives you a clear indication of where you should be looking. However, with the increasing number of pedestrians walking quickly around the town and cars getting into your line of vision, spotting the thief will certainly not be easy. Once all the apples have been taken by the thief, and your mission is complete, you then hand the Wii U Game Pad to the witnesses who should have been paying attention as they then have to indicate who the thief was from a character line-up. Again, the characters in the line-up are very alike, so it’s really easy for your judgment to be fooled when pointing the finger at the person with a dodgy nose and weird eyebrow, when it should have been the other way round.
The final mini-game we got to try was called ‘Ski’ and gives the player a top down view of a small blue skier as he heads down the slippery and twisting slopes filled with white snow. The skier is controller by shifting the Wii U Game Pad left and right and tilting to navigate down the slope, without hitting the sides. There are a selection of frozen ice patches and a series of ramps to navigate around and over, and your friends can watch your epic ski-ing performance on the TV screen from a variety of angles in a cartoon style animation. Whilst this was a short, fast, quick-hit game, it offered another innovative way to use the Wii Gamepad.
Game & Wario is another collection of casual mini-games that will be heading for the Wii U. The games I tried were enjoyable and made innovative use of the unique hardware. Much like Nintendo Land, a game of this type would be great if bundled with the actual console, otherwise it will depend entirely on the price point as to how popular this collection will be.