Wii U Rocks the Indy Scene

23 January 2013
By Paul DeMarte

I, personally, am not the biggest fan of epic games. Not that I wasn’t at some point here and there, but it seems there is never enough time to scrape together to dedicate 80 hours of my life to complete one game—even more if I want to unlock extras and complete side quests. I appreciate games with intense graphics, amazing soundtracks, and countless varieties of gameplay, but in the end I want to play something that is fun and somewhat direct.

With this, I thank the heavens that Nintendo is truly rocking out some gems for their Wii U system.

The Wii U is a strange beast. Upon opening it, I felt a bit conflicted. On one hand, I was like a child opening a package that would unlock numerous adventures and stimulate my imagination and provide some serious fun. On the other hand, I felt as if I was about to connect a system that should have been released ages ago. In addition, my heart sank as a mandatory system update forced me to wait two hours before firing up my first game.

When everything was finally locked and loaded, I was delighted to find that it was all worth the wait.

Nintendo, you glorious son of a gun! I feel, over time, I get angered with you and yet I continuously return to you baring roses in my soul.

What makes the Wii U unique, for me, is Nintendo’s grand display of games upon launch. Yes, clearly there are Mario games and more to come, and a Zelda game that I long for, but Nintendo has really improved their indie gaming selection. There aren’t many titles available for download just yet, but what is there is fantastic!

Little Inferno quickly caught my attention. The previews are a bit vague about actual gameplay, but taking a chance paid off. Little Inferno is a puzzle game, but imagine a puzzle game that is a mix of Squee and Ren and Stimpy comics that meets Tim Burton somewhere in the middle. There is a story—a fun story at that and a lot of dark humor. I love it! I watched my girlfriend’s eyes grow wide as she laughed and had a great time as she went through the entire game. It was fun playing together and thinking up combos to advance in the game. Then, in the end, we wanted to play even more.

But Puzzle games aren’t for everyone, so try your hand at Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Edition might be right for you; it is for me. It is a skill/puzzle game of sorts, mixed in with strong graphics, fun characters, and gameplay similar to Mega Man. It reminds me of a retro game with a 2013 update. Super cool stuff!

For most indie players, Trine 2: Director’s Cut will probably blow your mind. Starting with the obvious, the graphics are awesome! The hues and tones are bright and attractive. The fighting is unique, and this is a great game to play with friends. Honestly, this was a hard one for me to put down. I had to force a mini break during gameplay because my hands were cramping. This game truly makes the player think to advance, and that—coupled with fun adventure—is a solid win.

The magic in these games is the quick downloads and affordable prices. Some titles have even been on sale. This might not be new to most gamers, but for a Nintendo fan, this is revolutionary. Yes, we've had classic retro games on the Virtual Console, but having a multitude of new high-end indie games is great! And these games are clearly created with the retro gamer in mind. I think back to my younger self, and I would have loved these games much like I still love many from my childhood.

With the release of The Cave and other ambition indie games on the horizon, I can't wait to try them. I'm so glad that Nintendo has embraced this style of gaming, and playing with the Wii U gamepad (on a television or the gamepad alone) adds to that experience.

Nintendo, you had me at the NES with Mario and Duck Hunt and my classic gray zapper (or orange depending on your age), and you still have me now. We’ve gone through a lot over the years, but I’m still appreciating you.