With the Nintendo's new Wii U console launching a week from today, thoughts are no doubt turning to what games you'll be wanting to pick up with your brand new console. And with six of the consoles 24 launch games, or around a fifth coming from Ubisoft, the chances are pretty high that one of the games you pick up will have come from the French monolith. In preparation for the console's launch next Friday, we headed down to London to test out some of the games on offer:
Just Dance 4
A game that needs very little in the way of an introduction, Just Dance 4 will be shuffling its way to the Wii U for launch day, bringing with it the same mix of cheesy dance routines, merry multiplayer and well-known songs we encountered a few months back, when it launched across the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii. Pretty similar to the Wii version of the game, just in a higher resolution, the game's much the same as it's ever been, with a group of friends all holding Wii Remotes in their right hands as they follow the on-screen prompts, and dance to the music – the better and more in time you perform each move, the more points you'll get. And as the saying goes, points mean prizes – which in this case takes the form of bragging rights over your friends, and a bevy of unlockable goodies.
The main addition to the Wii U version of Just Dance 4 is the new 'Puppet Master' mode, in which the player with the Wii U GamePad can alter the dance moves their friends are performing. With the controller in hand, you get four different dance 'styles' to choose from, often taken from other Just Dance games and songs, which let you switch up the choreography on the fly – kind of like creating your own Dance Mash Up for your friends to follow. As if the power wasn't already going to your head, at random points during the song, you'll also be able to get your victims to strike a pose and hold it for a short time, with the option to award points based on how well they performed – or not, if you're feeling particularly uncharitable. From the looks of it, this Puppet Master mode will only available on certain songs, and most likely is an unlockable alternative to the regular choreographies for each track, available as and when you level up by playing the game more. As for the other songs where you're not playing the Puppet Master mode, the GamePad simply shows the lyrics for the song (great for karaoke), and lets you doodle over the TV screen, perhaps adding moustaches, monacles and top hats to your friends' characters to distract them. The Wii U version of the game also comes with three extra exclusive songs – 'Ain't No Other Man' by The Girly Team, Jessie J's 'Domino' and 'Want U Back' from Cher Lloyd and Astro.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013
Fitness games – instrumental in the success of the Wii, it comes as no surprise that they're making a comeback for Nintendo's next console, the Wii U. And while Wii Fit U, the sequel to the mega selling Wii Fit is still a way off, Ubisoft's Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 will be hitting shelves next week alongside the new console, coming jam packed with exercises and routines developed with leading trainers as the perfect solution to all that Christmas excess.
The first thing you need to do is create your profile, snapping a picture of yourself with the GamePad's built-in camera (ours looked dreadful - but it least it made everyone else laugh), keying in your height, weight and activity level (in our case, Couch Potato) using the controller's handy touch screen, which makes navigating menus like this a breeze. From there, you get to choose from a huge list of different activities, ranging from Yoga and Pilates to Cardio and Martial Arts – there's even a Just Dance-style section where you can dance along to a load of pop songs for some light-hearted aerobics. Our routine, designed to target your abs, involved a series of squats and stretches, interspersed with jogging – including one exercise which saw us 'do the monkey with me', Johnny Bravo style. Man, I'm pretty.
While the Wii U's GamePad controller may be handy for navigating menus, letting you pick your routines, check your statistics and interact with friends at a poke of the screen, it's admittedly not all that useful for doing exercises - which is why you'll be using a Wii Remote for that instead. Unlike the upcoming Wii Fit U, Your Shape 2013 doesn't require you to already own a Balance Board peripheral, meaning as long as you have a Wii U, you'll be good to go. With a strong focus on social features, which let you compete against your friends' high scores, post your achievements and take on various online challenges as you exercise away, Your Shape 2013 could be perfect for trimming yourself down as we head into the New Year.
With no Wii Sports game on the cards for the Wii U launch (Nintendo are instead relying on minigame collection Nintendo Land to shift their consoles), it seems Ubisoft have taken it on themselves to fill the sports-mini-game-shaped void in the line-up, with Sports Connection, a compilation of half a dozen mini-games themed around the noble pursuits of baseball, football, American football, tennis and karting – whether you're racing round a track with in five-player multiplayer, returning balls as quickly as possible in a Serving Machine Challenge in tennis or curling a free kick in football using the Touch Screen.
Unlike Just Dance, though, it would appear Sports Connection requires a motion plus add-on, as we initially couldn't get a game of Golf to work, with the screen showing a similar put-the-Wii-Remote-face-down-to-calibrate screen as shown on Wii Sports Resort. Things got better from there on out though, as we tried our hand at a game of tennis, played entirely by flicking the stylus up and down on the GamePad's Touch Screen, followed by a simple kart racing game around a grassy track populated by mammoths, that could be controlled either with the analogue stick or by tilting the Wii U GamePad in a similar way to Mario Kart Wii. As an extra incentive to keep playing, Sports Connection also appears to be packing dozens of achievements, which work as a sort of goals system, to keep you coming back.
Along with the Wii U, all the games featured here will be available next Friday, the 30th of November, alongside some twenty four titles to cater to everyone's tastes. Whether you're after some high-octane racing with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, a board game that's sure to be a hit with the kids in the form of Rabbids Land, or some five player Mario platforming action in New Super Mario Bros. U, there's plenty to choose from – so best get planning now!