Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wii: Best games of 2008

The Nintendo Wii had an interesting year in terms of games. Nintendo's first-party lineup was pretty lacking, but WiiWare and third parties definitely helped supply quality. The way this article is going to work is that I'll be going through the biggest games of 2008 chronologically, starting with No More Heroes in January and ending with the last big game of the year. I'll be leaving out two games, Runner-up Game of the Year and Game of the Year to be listed at the very end.

All in all, these games aren't ones I'm recommending you borrow or rent. These eleven games are what I think you should go out and purchase, no doubt about it. Since the economy isn't doing too great, some people may not have the resources to do this. That's what the last two games are for. These couple of titles are the two best games of the year and what I recommend over all else. And with a combined price of $65, it shouldn't put you back
too much. So without further ado, the first game of my "Wii: Best games of 2008" feature is the ultra-violent and super-stylized...


No More Heroes
Wii
Ubisoft
January 22, 2008
My Score:
8/10

No More Heroes for the Wii is probably the most mature and badass title on this list. The game is chock full of style and personality. HUDs and menus are made up of pixels and in game graphics are cel-shaded. Killing an enemy results in an almost comical explosion of blood that's in no way realistic. The combat is equally awesome as it's a mixture of button mashing, motion controls, and combos. You play as Travis Touchdown, a typical otaku, who gets a laser sword over an internet auction and sets off to become the number one assassin by killing the top ten assassins. The boss battles are very memorable and will challenge you like none other.

Excerpt from review: "No More Heroes is pretty long game with a whole lot of personality and graphical style. The high points of the game, the awesome boss battles and entertaining combat, more than make up for the game's low points, most notably the lack of graphical polish and poor open world. I'd recommend a buy to almost anyone who loves action, are "allowed" to play M-rated games, and wants a solid twelve to fifteen hour experience." Full review here.



Okami

Wii
Capcom
April 15, 2008
My score: TBD

There have been a number of ports onto the Wii. Generally, they're not all that great. But Capcom breaks the mold by porting over the PS2 game Okami, developed by the now disbanded Clover Studios (who were behind other games such as Vietiful Joe). In short, there's only one way to describe Capcom's Okami: a work of art. The entire game's visuals are vibrant and stunning Japanese watercolor. Graphical impressions aside, what you have in Okami is Capcom's very own Legend of Zelda game. The influences are obvious as you'll traverse huge worlds, explore dangerous dungeons, and solve ingenious puzzles. The biggest innovation is the Celestial Brush, now controlled via the Wii remote IR rather than the PS2's analog stick. Many different moves come with it. Some offensive, like drawing slashes through enemies or creating bombs, while others are more for interacting with the environment, such as creating lily pads to cross deep rivers and blooming trees that were otherwise dead. It's a beautiful game and a huge one at that.

Excerpt from review: Review is coming. Haven't played enough of the game. I will edit this post once my official review is up. -Kyle



Mario Kart Wii
Wii
Nintendo
April 27, 2008
My Score:
8/10

The Mario Kart series is a staple for any Nintendo console. This time around the Wii's unique motion controls make the game even more fun with the plastic Wii Wheel. You'll race all of your favorite Nintendo characters, from Mario and Bowser to Koopa and Birdo, around awesomely fun and unique tracks with crazy items like turtle shells and bananas at your disposal. The online's some of the best on the Wii (because of the connectivity speed, it's lag-free play, and it's addicting nature). Plus the game's accessible to pretty much all ages. Control picky people needn't worry either; a plethora of control options await, including GameCube controller support.

Excerpt from review: "Mario Kart Wii is a great game. And it'll last you a while, especially in the online areas. But it's not for everyone. If you didn't like the other Mario Karts or like more realistic, less random racing like F-Zero, then this isn't for you. But I liked it and what it brought to the Mario Kart table, such as bikes, tricks, Miis, and a great online." Full review here.



Boom Blox
Wii
Electronic Arts
May 6, 2008
My score:
9/10

At a first glance, Boom Blox looks like a kids game. And I don't blame you. But after sinking many hours of gameplay into it like I did, I think you'll say differently. Sure the game's great for kids, at least the early levels. But on the Hard and Master levels, the game really challenges you. But what differs the game from so many others are the excellent controls and great use of the Wii remote. The level of force you put into your throw is accurately represented in the game. The game's great in both the single and multiplayer options. Plus it comes with an awesome and deep "Create" mode that utilizes the remote's IR well.

Excerpt from review: "Boom Blox is a great game. The great single- and multiplayer puzzles are the high points of the game and more than makes up for the average visuals and music. Plus, it's going to last you a long time. Maybe not just trying to beat every puzzles, but also trying to get gold, that's going to take a while." Full review here.



LostWinds
WiiWare
Frontier
May 12, 2008
My score:
9/10

Nintendo WiiWare service launched May 12, 2008. At launch there were six titles, including Defend Your Castle, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, and LostWinds. It may have been a launch title, but LostWinds kicked off Nintendo's new service with a bang. The title showed what downloadable games are: smaller, innovative titles that can be priced lower. All in all the game's around four or so hours. So it's not all that long. But the gameplay's is unlike anything seen on the Wii. Your cursor controls the wind as you move a little boy Teku along. Draw lines to summon gusts of wind. With the controls come some innovative puzzles such as blowing fire into a barrier or carrying water to a plant. LostWinds' presentation is also really great. Even if it was a launch title, LostWinds is still one of the best WiiWare games in my opinion.

Excerpt from review: "I think LostWinds is the best you can get from Nintendo's WiiWare service. It's entertaining and keep you hooked until the credits. It's short, but the graphics and audio really keep the game moving." Full review here.



Wario Land: Shake It!
Wii
Nintendo
September 22, 2008
My score: 8
/10

Most of the time, visuals are what you experience first with a game. And Wario Land: Shake It!'s are fluid and look like an excellent hand drawn cartoon. Aside from the beautiful style, the gameplay is much like the great 2D platformers of old. The controls are precise, what humor there is is "laugh-out-loudable," and the level design is top notch. The shaking (as the sub-title implies) is a bit annoying, but other uses for the motion controls, such as balancing or aiming by tilting is great.

Excerpt from review: "While Wario Land: Shake It! doesn't do much for the genre and its core game isn't all that long, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't have some fun with the game. The motion controls are used nicely, albeit the shaking in some parts. The hidden depth of game, and the flat out amazing visual style make this one heck of a game and definitely worth your purchase." Full review here.



Mega Man 9
WiiWare
Capcom
September 22, 2008
My score:
9/10

After years filled with countless Mega Man spin-offs (most of them sub-par), Capcom has opted to go back to Mega Man's roots with Mega Man 9. With it's 8-bit graphics, 8-bit music (which, by the way, is excellent), and 8-bit difficulty, fans of the original NES titles are sure to be pleased by this one. In some areas, the game may feel unforgiving, but it's just goes to show how lax your reflexes have come in this day and age. The game plays almost identical to the original Mega Man and Mega Man 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It's your job to take down Dr. Wily's eight robots in any order you like. But there's strategy in the order you choose, each Robot Master is vulnerable to another one's weapon, which you obtain after beating said boss.

Excerpt from review: "A truly challenging game. It's fun and goes back to those golden days of gaming. But expect to throw the controller down more than once." Full review here.



de Blob
Wii
THQ
September 22, 2008
My score:
TBD

The Wii is home to some really unique titles. Boom Blox, Wii Sports, and Zack & Wiki are a few of the innovative titles on the Wii. These kinds of games are both a whole lot of fun and a refreshing take on their genres and video games as a whole. de Blob is another of these games. It a new kind of platforming game. The premise is that the city has been drained of color by a the sinister I.N.K.T. corporation. It's your job to color the city. You join up with a band of colorful, painting revolutionaries and the rest is history. The presentation is one of the many high points of the game, as the graphics are some of the more impressive on the Wii. The upbeat music is awesome and changes with every color you obtain. It's one of the few third-party games on Wii that really pushes the system.

Excerpt from review: Once again the review is coming and I'll edit this feature once I've written my full review. -Kyle



Art Style: ORBIENT
WiiWare
Nintendo
September 29, 2008
My score:
8/10

There have been three Art Style games, ORBIENT, CUBELLO, and ROTOHEX, released on Nintendo's WiiWare service. Two were remakes of GBA bit Generations, while the other was a completely new game . Art Style: ORBIENT was the only one I downloaded, therefore it's the only one on this list. But I've read that it's the best of the three, so if there's anywhere to start, it's this one. ORBIENT's a remake of the Japan-only GBA game Orbital. The premise is simple but gets tough later on. You control a little planetoid with the power of controlling the gravity and anti-gravity. You orbit stars trying to absorb certain ones until you meet a certain goal. It's a very addictive and super unique little title.

Excerpt from review: "Art Style: ORBIENT is a simple title that uses it's core concept, gravity, and really expands on it. It's a unique little game overall. The graphics may not break any records, but the strangely enjoyable music and lasting value will make this a definite must to most. Plus with the $6.00 price tag, I'd recommend ORBIENT to almost anyone." Full review here.



Runner-up Wii 2008 Game of the Year


Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Wii
Nintendo
March 9, 2008
My score:
TBD

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the most hyped game for the Wii and possibly this generation of consoles. It's the ultimate Nintendo fan-service game. And if you're a fan of Nintendo and you have yet to pick up this game, you're either short on money or have your priorities way out of whack.
The game is one of the best multiplayer games I've played in a long time. While the online may be seriously lacking and the single player portions average, Brawl more than makes up for these complaints with super entertaining local multiplayer. It's so hectic, so random (yet strategic), and so damn fun that you'll almost never tire of the party aspects. Plus, it's got layers and layers of fan-service with collectibles such as trophies, stickers, and music and unlockables such as stages, characters, and assistants called Assist Trophies. With all the content SSBB has, it'll last you hundreds of hours.

Excerpt from review: My third game on this list still in need of a review. Don't worry, this'll be the one I put out first. Until then, let me just say this: the game rocks. Buy it. -Kyle



Wii 2008 Game of the Year


World of Goo
WiiWare
2D Boy
October 13, 2008
My Score: 10
/10

Even with the monumental game that is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I felt one other game topped the rest of the Wii's 2008 lineup. That game is World of Goo. It may not have an epic, 30+ hours main game. It may not have awesome 32-player online. Yet World of Goo is one of the most fun, innovative, and memorable experiences of 2008. The game is ridden with charm and style. Every level is unique, and the game as a whole is very entertaining. Each level generally has you picking up and attaching goo balls together to build your way up to a pipe. There's so much variation in level design, objectives, and the types of goo balls that no two levels feel the same. If you must download one WiiWare game this year, make it World of Goo. If you must play only one Wii game this year, make it World of Goo. It's that good.

Excerpt from review: "
World of Goo is one of the best games I've played this year and a great WiiWare title overall. With enough content and fun to be priced as a full retail (or slightly lower), World of Goo is a must-have. It tops downloadable favorites of mine in both style and presentation. Though it has very minor flaws, the $15 game is well worth the Wii Points." Full review here.



Other notable games:
These are the games I either didn't get to play, or I didn't feel quite good enough for the main part of this article, but you might want to give a try if you're a fan of the series or genre. (I grouped similar games together to save space.)
  • Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour
  • Wii Fit and Wii Music
  • The other two Art Style games: CUBELLO and ROTOHEX
  • Bully: Scholarship Edition
  • Toki Tori
  • Dr. Mario Online Rx and Tetris Party
  • Blast Works
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People Episodes 1-5
And thus concludes my "Wii: Best games of 2008" article. I hope everyone's having a good holiday, and I hope everyone (who celebrates it) had a Merry Christmas!

Comments or questions? Drop an email to kylehogg@gmail.com or leave a comment below...

5 comments:

  1. My top two games of 2008 are definitely the ones you picked out here. You'll have to wait until I do my awards post to see if I agree with your ordering though ;)

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  2. Really good list, though my surprise find of the year that you didn't mention is the Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection.

    Honestly, I might have blown it off, but I kept reading such high praise about it, so I decided to take a chance on it.

    I've been playing it for days on end now. It was a GREAT find for the end of the year. Easily the best pinball sim I've ever played. No exaggeration.

    But I can't fault either of your top 2 Wii choices. Good list overall.

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  3. I've definitely got to play WoG. Might be getting No More Heros today as a late Christmas Present.

    In any case, nice 2008 list, you can say what you want, but there were some awesome Wii games this year. Hopefully 2009 will be the Golden Year of the Wii.

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  4. No More Heroes is incredible and so is de Blob. I loved every second of both

    ReplyDelete