OK. It’s not perfect. Right now Nintendo’s servers are overrun so update and purchase download times are atrocious. There is no Hulu Plus. There is no Youtube. There is no Amazon Video. Your Nintendo Network ID is tied to your system and your system only until Nintendo liberates it at an unspecified time in the future. The Nintendo TVii service is tentatively scheduled to start in December instead of launch. And some people have reported sporadic freezing in some games (I have not experienced this). But there is a lot going right for the Wii U at launch.
As everyone predicted, the GamePad second screen is very compelling. And other than HD graphics, defines the Wii U. It’s an amazing piece of tech with no noticeable lag. Games have been using it to mixed effect, but overall it’s a great innovation.
A surprise star for me is MiiVerse. I didn’t expect much from this service. I thought it was far too simple and restrictive to be interesting. I thought it was a lame attempt from Nintendo to somehow make the Wii U social without Facebook. I was totally wrong.
MiiVerse is extremely addictive and well built into Nintendo’s first party launch games. It can be a bit jarring and slow to be pulled out of your game to be brought to a website to “yeah” or comment on a MiiVerse posting, but the experience of chatting, celebrating, and lamenting with fellow gamers using the same game system and playing the same games is fantastic. I’ve learned that some gamers should go into art professionally, because some of the hand drawn art posted to MiiVerse is gorgeous. And for the most part, the community has been very positive and seems to be policing itself well.
NintendoLand is a great mesh of old and new wrapped in a very fun package. You’ll experience everything from 8-bit music tracks and faux NES minigames to cutting edge touchpad/motion-controlled goodness. Plus with the MiiVerse controlled Miis milling about your central plaza, or better yet a few friends to play locally with you, there is a great sense of community. I’m personally kind of fond of Yoshi’s Fruit Cart, but I have to say that ALL of the minigames are quite fun and challenging in their own ways. So far, the only complaints I’ve seen in MiiVerse for the game is the occasional difficulty spike, no online multiplayer, and *Put your favorite Nintendo franchise here* is not featured in the game.
New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Mario Bros. U is… ummm… an NSMB game. But with the added touch of HD graphics, Challenge Mode, a couple imaginative levels, and MiiVerse integration. But boy, is it fun!
Zombie U Review Backlash
I haven’t purchased Zombi U, but there was quite the uproar on MiiVerse about IGN’s review. Several Miis in my Wara Wara Plaza were huddled around the Zombi U icon shouting the praises of Zombi U and the stupidity of Greg Miller. The only thing I could tell those poor Miis in MiiVerse was that Greg is obsessed with Lego games and PS3… so take his opinion with a grain of salt.