I’ve counted no less than 30 games releasing alongside the Wii U in North America tomorrow (or today, depending on when this goes live). So let’s not waste any time going over all the games you might be playing if you’re not waiting two more weeks for the console to come out like I am…
Most of Nintendo’s marketing for the Wii U has been focused on the GamePad’s use in local multiplayer, so this seems like a good place to start. Probably the most prominently featured game in the lead up to the console’s launch is Nintendo Land – a collection of several smaller games based on various Nintendo properties. While reviews of the individual games have been mixed, the overall verdict seems to be that it’s a nice collection of minigames that’s worth trying if only to show off the capabilities of the console. But then I doubt that matters if you’re getting the Deluxe Set of the Wii U, which comes bundled with a copy of the game. Nintendo’s other big launch-day game is New Super Mario Bros. U. It sure doesn’t seem as “innovative” as Nintendo Land, but I don’t mind that it’s taking more than a few cues from Super Mario World with its sprawling world map and hidden exits. If you didn’t think New Super Mario Bros. Wii’s multiplayer was chaotic enough, an additional player can use the GamePad to place blocks to help Mario, Luigi and the Toads (die faster).
There are also plenty of third-party games with a multiplayer focus that will be available at launch. I’ve spent all weekend playing Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and while I can’t exactly vouch for how well the Wii U version will play, it’s definitely a solid arcade-style racing game. Though the focus on vehicles that transform into land, sea and air forms invites plenty of comparisons to Mario Kart 7, I thought Sumo’s new game felt much faster and the items aren’t nearly as unbalanced as the Mario Kart series (a heap of Sega nostalgia also helps). If it’s a fighting game you’re after, Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition seems to be your only option. Personally I’ve never cared for the Tekken series, but those who played the original version when it released earlier this year seemed to enjoy it. The “Wii U Edition” will come with exclusive Nintendo-themed costumes and the triumphant return of Tekken Ball. Hori have an arcade stick for the game in the works, but it’s Japan-only for the moment and won’t be out for a few weeks. Also from Namco-Bandai is TANK! TANK! TANK! a port of a game that had previously only been released in arcades. Just like the arcade game, the focus is on chaotic multiplayer modes where players are pitted against each other in tank battles or have to face off against bigger foes (including another player using the GamePad). This really doesn’t look the kind of game you’ll play for a deep single-player campaign.
Nintendo are also publishing SiNG Party, which will come bundled with a microphone. I’d imagine it won’t be for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a karaoke game it has a nice setlist of about (?) songs, with more to come through DLC. If you can’t get enough of Carly Rae Jepsen, the Ubisoft-published Just Dance 4 is also out on launch day. Ubisoft are also publishing Rabbids Land, yet another collection of mini-games starring those deranged rabbit things. According to the press release, “the experience of the game will be lived differently from a player to another” – whatever that means.
The Wii U will also launch alongside more than a couple of ports. It’s tough to recommend most of them when they’ve already available on other consoles for a lower price, but if you were holding out for a version that will hopefully use the Wii U’s functionality in interesting ways or just refuse to buy a non-Nintendo console, you might want to check these games out. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge will be available on launch day as part of collaboration between Tecmo and Nintendo. The original was utterly destroyed by critics when it released earlier this year, but maybe a few more months and Nintendo’s guidance ended up resulting in a much better game (early reviews say no). Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition was one of the first Wii U games announced, and it’s finally being released over a year after the original came out. It doesn’t look like the game will be using the GamePad for much outside of easier navigation and equipment selection, but Arkham City was apparently Metacritic’s highest rated game of last year so I guess the developers are taking a “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” approach. The PAL version will come with additional content such as a “u” in the title.
There might not be a Zelda game available on launch day this time around (let’s overlook Nintendo Land for now), but Darksiders II sure sounds a lot like a darker and grittier version of Nintendo’s series. Shame that the first game isn’t available on the console, though. Another port available at launch is Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, the third crossover between the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series. People seem to either love or hate these games, so if you’re the kind of person who really enjoys hacking and possibly also slashing, this game might be worth checking out. For what it’s worth, the “Hyper” version includes a new multiplayer “Duel” mode and a few extra characters like Momiji from Ninja Gaiden.
Oh, we’re not even close to done yet. Read on for even more launch games sorted by publisher