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Posted on Jan 5th 2014 at 08:48:25 PM by (slackur)
Posted under Wii U, New Super Mario Bros U, Luigi U, Nintendoland, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Zombi U, Zelda Wind Waker HD

Finally, the Wii U is unwrapped, opened, connected, and already has a sticker or two on it.  Our Christmas and New Year vacation is over, and our family had a ton of fun.

The actual video gaming didn't begin until near the end of Christmas day proper, as I had to construct the Mario Kart K'Nex sets for the older kids.  The sets were pretty easy to build, and fairly nifty to boot.  For the curious:


So that bought me and my Beloved some food-prep and relax time.  The later evening was filled with Wii U game-time, and it did not disappoint in the slightest.  I recall reading a 'not yet' purchase recommendation for the system from Kotaku, and I just couldn't disagree more.  The Wii U will very likely compete with our PS4 for game-time in the years to come.  Here's our impressions of the half-dozen titles we have so far:

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD:
I'm glad this art style survives the ravages of age much better than its contemporaries.  Pacing issues aside, I still think this is a marvelous (and gorgeous!) Zelda game.  The revisions and gamepad make a great game excellent.

New Super Mario Bros. U
The second most played thus far.  Just a fun, fun Mario platformer that becomes a co-op riot with five people playing together.  The addition of a gamepad player's ability to add platforms and mess with baddies gives much needed balance to the added challenge of extra players, and the experience just comes together wonderfully.  I purposefully pushed off getting 3D World until we finish Mario Wii U and Luigi Wii U, and I'm glad I did so because I think these games deserve their own play-through time.

New Super Luigi U:
A perfect example of an expansion pack done right.  Remixed challenges to a superb game.  Definitely worth it if you're as big a fan of Mario Wii U as we are.

I had not really heard a single positive thing about this one, but we picked it up on sale and I'm so glad we did.  I suppose as a single player experience it's not worth full price, but as a multiplayer game it's a blast.  The Luigi's Mansion mini-game and Find Mii were reminiscent of our Pac-man Versus nights in the best way.  I'm a Balloon Fight fan as it is, and the Nintendoland version was a neat addition.  We blazed through the Zelda game and enjoyed it, and then stayed up way too late challenging Kraid and a few tough stages on the Metroid game.  Even the F-Zero game got passed around a bit.  All in all, Nintendoland was a great party game with a few fun single player experiences I intend on returning to.  Nice to pick up on sale if you have the social atmosphere to support it.

Scribblenauts Unlimited:
Here it is, my favorite experience on the Wii U by far.  I've championed the series since the clunky but inspired first title, and they've just gotten better with each iteration.  (I've yet to grab Unmasked, for the same reasons we have yet to pick up 3D World.)  We load this up, the whole family sits on the couch, and we just take turns with the quirky puzzle-solving this game provides.  The interesting, creative input young kids offer for solutions is priceless, and even helps us synapse-hardened adults sometimes.  Everything about this title is great, from the story to the art to the execution.  We've laughed, thought hard, and thoroughly enjoyed this game so far.  I see myself going back through this myself on the 3DS version later and coming up with different solutions, it's just so much fun.

Zombi U:
I'll admit I haven't put much time into this, only because I can't play it around the kids.  But I have been impressed thus far with the production and tension.  I'll have to update about it later, but it definitely interests me because of the use of system exclusive features (particularly the gamepad) and that's exactly what I want to see on the Wii U: games built around the unique features of the system.

Overall, I have to say I'm very happy to own a Wii U.  There are still several exclusives out now that I'm excited about, not to mention announced games on the horizon like a new Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Zelda.  Even features that may seem like a gimmick, such as playing only on the gamepad, come in handy; my middle child is actually playing on the gamepad, curled up next to me as I type!  Perhaps the best part overall is that I definitely feel as though our family is on the same wavelength as Nintendo for this system and it's games.

Most of what's new on the Xbox One, even including the changed policy features, are at best throwaway clutter we won't use, and at worse outright antagonistic toward our entertainment preferences.  The PS4 is a great system, but mostly because it is a straight-forward upgrade from the PS3.  Nothing wrong with that, and I've already had fun with games that were basically upgrades from the last generation.  But with the Wii U, right out of the gate, we're playing interesting twists on old classics or outright new experiences.  It feels more fresh.  That will fade, no doubt, but the emphasis on couch-co-op and family friendly games are foundationally evident.  Sure, I'll play some great new games on what some would coin the 'real' next-gen systems.  But it'll already be hard to match the Wii U on outright fun.

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I really enjoy the Wii U also, also think its great that you can play some Zelda HD or some VC games on the gamepad when others are watching TV.
Yup, when the wife fires up her soaps, I fire up some off screen gaming time!
Waiting for the prices to drop a bit, then getting myself a Windwaker/WiiU combo

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