Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Wii games you should have played, but probably didn't

Unlike the DS, there's still a smidge of life left in the ol' Wii--thanks to 2012 releases like Mario Party 9, Rhythm Heaven Fever and Xenoblade Chronicles. That trio of titles is about all that's worth picking up for Nintendo's little white wonder next year, though, which means it'll be all but dead by the time the Wii U hits store shelves later this year.

As such, this is a good time for new and old Wii owners alike to pick up a few of the system's should-have-been-classics (in my opinion, of course)--like the ones included on the following list--before they become impossible to find or impossible to afford:

1. Art Style: Cubello--This often-frenetic puzzler (called Cubeleo in Japan, for some strange reason) was one of the first WiiWare titles, yet it's still among the very best the service has to offer. All you really need to know about this pleasingly and colorfully 3D release: It was made by the folks at skip Ltd.--aka the same folks responsible for the Chibi-Robo! series as well as wackadoodle titles like Captain Rainbow and GiFTPiA.

2. Endless Ocean--Here's another game, like Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, that I've mentioned so many times that half of you (if not more) probably let out a huge sigh when you saw I was going to talk about it again. Sorry about that. It's just that this "scuba simulator" was all but ignored in every region, as far as I'm aware. Curiously, this game's sequel, Endless Ocean: Blue World, is cheaper at the moment, so you may want to pick up that version instead. Just be warned that I've yet to play it, so I can't say if it's better or worse than developer Arika's original effort.

3. Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon--This recommendation comes with a disclaimer: If you're not at all interested in or at least curious about roguelikes and/or dungeon-crawling RPGs, you're probably not going to get much enjoyment out of this game. To everyone else: Go into this one (order it here) with an open mind and expect to grind, old-school style. Oh, and don't be afraid to say "awww" whenever the titular Chocobo does something cute (which will be often).

4. Ivy the Kiwi?--Speaking of cute, the protagonist of this Prope-developed platformer is about as cute as you can get. I mean, the little bugger (sorry, I'm not sure if it's a he or a she) is a baby bird that has yet to break free of its polka-dotted shell. Thankfully, though, that's not all this game has to offer. A few of its other positives: An appealing art style--which makes the game look as though it was made using colored pencils--and a unique control scheme that has players utilize the Wii remote's pointer function to create vines that serve to guide--a la Kirby: Canvas Curse--the precious Ivy from the start of each stage to its end.

5. Order Up!--I have a feeling this one has been given the cold shoulder by most gamers because they think it looks like shovelware. That's an understandable assessment, especially given its publisher (Zoo Games, responsible for such "classics" as Kevin VanDam: Big Bass Challenge and Shawn Johnson Gymnastics), but in my experience and opinion it's also an incorrect one, as this cooking-focused title is as fun as it is well-made. (Case in point: Its mini-games are both more intuitive and accurate than those found in, say, the Cooking Mama releases).

Honorable mentions: Art Syle: Orbient, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Little King's Story, LostWinds and Muramasa: The Demon Blade.

See also: 'Five DS games you should have played, but probably didn't'


Viewtiful_Justin said...

My local library has Wii games to check out, and Blue World is one of them...I've been eying it.

Bryan Ochalla said...

It's interesting that you bring up Blue World, Justin. Anne (apricotsushi) and I have been e-mailing back and forth over the last few days, and she told me she wasn't as keen on the game as she thought she'd be after reading my posts about the original Endless Ocean. I really can't imagine the sequel is worse than the original, but maybe I'm wrong? Also, it may just be that neither game will click with Anne like the original has with me. Anyway, I just thought I should tell you that.

Actually, getting Blue World from your library may be the best thing for you to do, as it would allow you to try one of the Endless OCean games without potentially wasting your money on them.

BTW, I know you bought FF Fable: Chocobo's Dungeon at one point thanks to my constant blathering about it. Did you eventually like it, or did it never really trip your trigger, so to speak?

David said...

Nice to see some praise for Order Up! I thought I was the only one who played and really enjoyed it - casual gaming at its best! I see a 3DS version is on the way. I don't know if that was necessary, but I'm somewhat curious to check out the final product.

I'm sure I'll think of some more obscure Wii games later, to add to the list. How about Tornado Attack? A fun, reasonably challenging, casual game. A great ten-buck buy (I'll pretty much try any weird Wii or DS games if I can find them dirt cheap, and I've surprsingly found many gems at that price point).

Oh, and a heftier gaming experience than Tornado Attack that didn't get the attention it deserved: A Boy And His Blob.

Bryan Ochalla said...

David: Oh, yes, I looooooved Order Up! Possibly the best $20 I spent on a Wii game thus far. Sure, you're not going to play it forever, but it'll keep you busy -- and happy -- for a good long while if you're anything like me.

I've mentioned it here on quite a few occasions, to tell you the truth. Actually, I've mentioned pretty much every game in this post on a number of occasions -- except, perhaps, for Cubello, which really is a great game. Honestly, I'm amazed Nintendo never put out a disc that contained all of their WiiWare Art Style games. They're too good to be ignored by the masses, if you ask me.

As for the 3DS version of Order Up! (sorry to back up like that): I'm curious about it, too, but for now I'm passing on it. I just can't imagine what new it'll bring to the table, for starters. Also, seemingly all of the action will be taking place on the lower touch screen. Given that, what's the point of having it on the 3DS? Hopefully the reviews will be glowing and will show me how my thinking is wrong...

Thanks for the recommendation of Tornado Attack, BTW. I've never heard of it before now. Off to consult with YouTube, I guess.

Oh, and A Boy and His Blob: Although I've heard loads of good things about it, I've yet to play it -- in any form (yes, including the NES original). Maybe I'll have to pick up a cheap copy of this one later this year...

Kaze said...

OMG the Chocobo Dungeon game looks socute!! My Wii sadly gets put on the back burner most of the time for my PS3 so I forget about all the great games out for it.

Also the first Endless Ocean is actually out of print so that's probably why its more expensive.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Kaze! Yes, Chocobo's Dungeon is impossibly cute. I just love the little guy, I've got to say. This game isn't exactly a walk in the park, though, just to warn you!

As for Endless Ocean: Ah, yes, that makes sense. Glad I bought it when it first came out. Still have to pick up the sequel, but I doubt it's going to happen anytime soon. Too much else to play!

Unknown said...

A brilliant list, as always! Order Up and Chocobo's Tales are at the very top of my list of Wii games to buy ASAP. As for Ivy the Kiwi – did you prefer the Wii version over the DS one, or have you not played it on the DS yet?

I see your spreading rumors about my "dislike" for Endless Ocean! I didn't mean to say I don't like the game, but I guess I was a little bit disappointed by the horrible dialogue and graphics above water, which has been combined with some pretty silly mini-game like tasks that ask you to waggle the Wiimote to save a girl from a shark, etc... But the actual scuba diving, where you look at all the fish, is great fun! I think I need to play it again when my husband isn't watching me... He was constantly going "Did you get that one yet? What about that one??" haha

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Anne! In regards to Ivy the Kiwi: I've only played the Wii version. Justin (above) has played the DS version and wasn't too fond of it, if I'm remembering correctly. I think he didn't quite like the touch-screen controls? Anyway, I've been very happy with the Wii version's controls. It takes a bit getting used to, but once you get to that point it becomes a fun and unique platformer, IMO.

As for me spreading rumors about your dislike of Endless Ocean 2: Sorry about that! I definitely didn't mean to throw you under the bus or anything like that. I just haven't played the sequel, and since you're the only person who I know who *has* played it, I thought I'd pass along your feelings on it.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I remember someone else commenting here (on the blog) about not liking Endless Ocean 2 and preferring the original. I think it may be in a comment that was posted alongside my Great Gaymathon review of the original? Anyway, as far as I can remember, that person really disliked a few things about the sequel and much preferred that the original pretty much allows people to swim around at will.

Now I'm going to have to check up on that, because I don't want to be spreading even MORE misinformation...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah! I was right. Here's what another reader (Baloonfighter) had to say about Endless Ocean 2 in the comments section of my Great Gaymathon review of the first Endless Ocean, Anne:

"It's a shame though that Endless Ocean 2 was kind of crappy. You could run out of oxygen, there were some clear missions and worst of all: you had to shoot sharks."

And when I mentioned that I had heard that many people prefer Endless Ocean 2 to the first one, he responded:

"It's still pretty fun to be honest but I guess most people prefer it because it has a more video gamey approach, but what I loved about the first game was that it was almost like an interactive screen saver. It made me calm. :)"

Not sure that'll help anyone, but since I haven't played Endless Ocean 2 yet, this is all I can go on.