Twenty years ago, Nintendo published the first issue of Nintendo Power, filled with previews, reviews, tips, and tons of maps. In celebration, the magazine (now published by Future) joined with the Nintendo World Store in Manhattan to hold a party on Saturday, September 13th, filled with upcoming Wii and DS games.
Arriving at 8 PM, the entire block was filled with Nintendo fans, some of them dressed as their favorite characters for a costume contest. One of the coolest was a Chibi Robo, but other little kid was wearing a white t-shirt with some loose leaf paper taped on to it, which read “NO MORE HEROES” scratched in red pen. A girl that, I assume, was dressed up as some kind of Pokemon, actually asked me what I was dressed up as. I regretted to inform her that I was, rather dully, just Some Guy. The store promised gifts for the first 400 attendees, although this amounted to an issue of Nintendo Power, a Wii Remote keychain, some trading cards, and some sour candies.
Strangely, Nintendo themselves did not show off any new games, rather leaving the third parties to take the spotlight. Ubi Soft had several kiosks set up for the new Raving Rabbids game, which used the Wii Fii board in a few of the games. Electronic Arts was also showing off SimCity Creator and MySims Kingdom, both for the Wii. There were also several DS titles on display, including the strangely named “I Love Geeks!”, which looks to be a spiritual successor to Dynamix’s The Incredible Machine. Most of the titles were definitely skewing a little bit younger.
Konami also had a few titles on display, primarily the new Elebits game for the DS, and Rock Revolution for the Wii. The most intriguing was definitely the controversial fighting game Castlevania Judgment.
By far the standout game of the event was Red Fly Studio’s Mushroom Men, which is seeing two different versions released on the DS and Wii this upcoming season. Both games star tiny little anthropomorphic fungi adventuring through large scaled environments, fighting against insects and crazed jackalopes. The DS version is a 2.5D sidescroller with some damned impressive graphics and a smooth framerate, but some rather clunky gameplay. (The fact that the demo units did not have styluses made the touch screen elements difficult to evaluate.) On the other hand, the Wii game is a first class action-platformer. Similar to the pointer functionality in Super Mario Galaxy, you can use the Wii remote to point at certain objects to grapple on to them and pull yourself to new heights. It’s used for a lot more than just that though – Pax, the hero, has telekinetic abilities, and can use them to pick up, move, or even through certain objects. Additionally, after wailing on bad guys – you attack with waggling the Wii remote – they begin to bleed. If you aim at them and hit the A button, you’ll cause them to spin around and explode, harming all surrounding enemies.
The environments are a bit like a darker version of Nintendo/Skip’s Gamecube adventure Chibi Robo, featuring large scaled environments within the depths of house. Although there are collectathon elements, they’re a bit more downplayed than usual – instead of simply littering the stage with floating doo-dads, you can explore each nook and cranny to find every day household items. When you’ve obtained certain combinations, you can MacGuyver it up and create a new weapon. There are well over two dozen different types of weapons, including buzzsaws, mini light sabers, and even a flamethrower. Some have cool special abilities, like a spear that can be used with mid-air Otogi-style dashes. The controls take a little bit of getting used to, especially since you need to use the directional pad to control, and sometimes the pointer can get a bit fidgety when trying to grab certain objects. But once you get to used to it, it’s an extremely focused platformer with a ton of weapons, lots of skills, numerous mini-games, and even some fairly decent graphics. The Wii needs more hardcore games, and this is definitely one to look out for.
Their publisher, Gamecock, has been promoting the Mushroom Men games rather heavily in the past few months, sometimes in some rather odd ways. One of the handout was an illustrated mini-book filled with Mushroom Men fan fiction.
Photo credit Kurt/Siliconera.