Games bit Generations = Art Style
posted by September 30 at 15:54 PMon
I’ve gone Microsoft-heavy with my gaming lately, and for good reason: the Wii’s release calendar for the foreseeable future is a motion-controlled mess. Other than this fall’s Mushroom Men—a decent-looking Mario clone, but still not that original—it’s looking like another year of cheaply made family games that mimic the best of Wii 2006.
The exception, I suppose, is the online Wii Ware store, where the past few weeks have seen fanboy fare like a new Mega Man and some Homestar Runner point-and-click adventures. Fine on both of those—and their respective fanbases have been served solid, authentic fare at a nice price, based on my playtime—but it’s hard to get excited about yet another Trogdor joke.
Then yesterday, the Art Style series landed with no advance notice or hype. Not sure why they were so silent; I would’ve piled on the hype. Nintendo called it bit Generations in Japan, and I fucking loved it. It’s as if Nintendo hired some garage developers to make stylish, thoughtful games that could hold their own without having Mario awkwardly slapped on the box—incredibly refined Flash games that even Mom could dig.
From the sound of Nintendo’s press blast, they’re releasing three of the seven bG titles on Wii Ware by the end of October. No word on the final two yet, but first up yesterday was Orbient, in which you use only two buttons—attract and repel—to pilot a little star around a bunch of other stars, each with their own orbit. The push-pull system becomes imprecise as the game chugs along, but with zillions of easy retry chances and a relaxing, spacey presentation, there’s charm in floating around in this one—like a cosmic version of the PS3’s flOw. And at $6, it’s a steal compared to the older—and simpler—import version. The loving care given to this Wii update bodes well for the rest of these bG-into-AS titles; fingers are crossed for a 2-player version of the bizarre Digidrive.
Up next either this week or early next: Rock Band 2. The game and the updated “instruments” showed up earlier today, and I’ll wear ‘em out to learn whether or not pretending to be in a band has gotten any better this year.