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E3 2012: Is Game and Wario the Next Wii Sports?

Posted on June 6, 2012 AT 10:38am

The Big Question: Is Nintendo trying too hard to recapture the pick-and-play appeal of Wii Sports with Game & Wario?

When Nintendo unveiled the long-awaited new Wii U titles at their press conference yesterday, it’s not a stretch to say that fans were expecting to be blown away by new franchise titles with “real” gameplay. The Big N didn’t quite deliver on that (although honestly there’s no way they could bring out new top-tier series installments every year), instead focusing on the Wii U’s other features—namely various interactions with the console’s more gimmicky features, like gyroscope controls and touchscreen functionality.

This was mostly confined to the “Nintendo theme park” motif of the aptly named NintendoLand, another collection of Mii-based mini-games. Based on their showing today, Nintendo really wants another Wii Sports. It isn’t just with NintendoLand, either—in the media area at N’s booth I stumbled on Game & Wario, which doesn’t seem to be related much to either Mr. Game & Watch or Wario, at least outside of background appearances from the Warioware gang.

Basically from what I played of it Game & Wario it feels like Nintendo’s answer to Sony’s Little Deviants, and just as Wii Sports and Sports Resort were showcases for varying degrees of Wii motion controls, Game & Wario feels like it’s little than a handful of distractions that use the Wii U’s touchscreen controller.

The three scenarios I played made distinct use of the gamepad’s features: a Pokémon Snap-esque photography game turned the gamepad into a camera that you pointed at the screen, and a simple top-down skiing game was controlled by tilting the gamepad left or right while held vertically to slalom your way down a mountain. There was also an archery target practice scenario had you holding the gamepad flat towards the screen and using your finger to pull back on arrows, targeting with the gyroscope; only one of these was fun. (Guess which one.)

The bigger issue here is how many mini-game collections does the Wii U need? Didn’t we get enough of those this generation? Game & Wario dresses up the pretense of these mini-games with Warioware charm, if only to a small degree, but their still just mini-games (and have nothing to do with Warioware’s actual microgames, as far as I can tell). For all the hype Nintendo seems to want use to have over their new system, I feel like that, so far at least, the party-casual approach isn’t helping their case.

What do you think about Nintendo’s minigame-centric approach to the Wii U? Is it enough to get you excited, or do you just want more classic games? Let us know in the comments.

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