Welcome to another installment of Wiikly WiiWare Wiiview. The games this week are Happy Holidays: Christmas, TV Show King 2, Pallurikio, and Eco Shooter: Plant 530. There’s a little bit of something for everyone nice, everyone naughty, and everyone in between. We are particularly excited to bring you our TV Show King 2 review this week, but let’s start off with the download that made me die a little on the inside…
Happy Holidays: Christmas
‘Tis the season to be giving, and to commemorate that, 505 Games has decided to give us a nice big pile of junk. Anyone who was unfortunate to purchase and download Happy Holidays: Halloween will already be familiar with this new offering, as it is nearly identical, aside from having a different theme. For those of you who are not familiar with this series, let me be the one to initiate you. If you are considering Happy Holidays: Christmas, hopefully I will be able to save you a few points. This holiday offering is, without a shadow of a doubt, the epitome of shovelware.
First of all, keep in mind that Happy Holidays is not a game. It is an application for creating painfully boring Christmas e-cards that you can send to your Wii pals. After being subjected to a long mandatory tutorial, you can begin creating cards that may or may not feature a Christmas tree. If you opt to include a tree, you can decorate it with ribbons, lights, and ornaments, which either look awkward or simply float in the air without making contact with the tree. If you want to give yourself a challenge, you can try making a tree that is not hideously gaudy, which would probably entail not decorating it at all.
Once you have decorated the tree (or not) in specific spots assigned by the program, you can then choose between four different backgrounds, including an empty white void. After the excitement has settled, you get to choose between a number of different stickers, some relevant and some not. They’re not terribly interesting, but you can place them wherever you like and can enlarge them by pointing your Wii remote closer to the screen. Finally, you can top the whole thing off with one of three generic tunes that will be heard by the recipient of your card.
At this point, you can finally save the card you have worked so hard to make. There are 100 slots available, but given the lack of options, I can’t imagine why you would need more than 10. Still, it’s nice that they were at least considerate in that aspect. Sadly, if you forgot to connect your Wii to WiiConnect24 prior to starting your card, you will have to go back to the Wii’s main menu and lose all of your progress because the application checks for a connection before saving the card. Assuming you are already connected, you can make more cards or proceed to send one to a friend or two. Choosing to do so will give you the option of three different kinds of stationary, one of which is somewhat holiday-themed. This is where you get to write a personalized message by pointing at letters on the screen because USB keyboards are not supported.
If this were a game or a movie, I would have just spoiled the entire thing for you because that is all there is to this. You make a shoddy little card, pick some music, write a note, and send it. If you have another friend who made the same mistake of purchasing Happy Holidays, they will see the card just as you intended it to be seen: flashing lights, bad music, and a rotating tree. Anyone else will just see a very blurry still image of your creation. In all seriousness, I find this travesty to be incredibly insulting to all Wii owners who support WiiWare. The worst part is that rather than improving upon the previous installment, 505 Games instead opted to simply apply a new Christmas skin. And they expect us to shell out 500 points. Do yourself a favor and take up scrapbooking instead.
TV Show King 2
For Wii owners fiending for a bit of trivia fun, TV Show King 2 just may be the fix you need. Players of the first game will be very familiar with the format: you and three other contestants compete against each other in a trivia free-for-all over a set number of rounds. Between each round, everyone is given a chance to spin a wheel that will either land them big prizes or spell their doom. At the end of the game, the two best players face head-to-head in a lightning round of sorts that will declare the winner. Overall, it’s a fun little game, despite having a few flaws and perhaps being over a bit too quickly. This week, TV Show King has made its return and it is bigger and better than ever.
The core gameplay of this Gameloft trivia challenge is nearly identical to its predecessor. This time, however, some of the questions are somewhat more interesting and challenging. There are even some fun image-descrambling challenges, obviously borrowed from Scene It? and other similar titles. You may also be tasked with finding locations on a map, much like Globe Clicker. Those are only two of the new types of questions. As before, everyone can see each other’s answers, which may be a drawback for some, but I personally think it makes things feel a bit more hectic and fun. Also, there is a new segment between rounds in which the player with the highest score is given an opportunity to increase their score even more by choosing a briefcase in sort of a Deal Or No Deal or Let’s Make A Deal fashion. These small changes alone make the game worth buying. But it gets better…
When loading up TV Show King 2 for the first time, I expected it to be the exact same game with different questions, but I was immediately surprised with a load of new features. If you get tired of playing the same mode over and over, there are three others to choose from. They aren’t strikingly different, but the variety is still appreciated. And for those lonely nights, there is now online playability, which allows you to compete against Wii friends or complete strangers. My favorite new feature is the question editor that gives you the ability to create your own questions and then submit them to Gameloft for approval. If accepted, it will be added to the database made available to all players free of charge. Yes, that’s right: a WiiWare game that actually has free DLC. All you have to do is choose to update your questions and all of the accepted submissions from other players will be added to your game (unless you choose not to via the options).
Another fun change is the addition of achievements and awards, which will unlock cool new podiums for you to use. You can also view each player’s stats or check out the online leaderboards if that happens to catch your fancy. Visually, the game isn’t winning any awards, but it does look a heck of a lot nicer than the blocky graphics from the previous installment. The music and voice acting is also much more tolerable. For the most part, TV Show King 2 is a significantly large improvement over what was already a pretty decent game. It is also 200 points cheaper with a price tag of 800 points. It doesn’t have much longevity, but it is a very fun game that you can play many times, and it is well worth the price. If you liked the first one, you’ll probably love this. And if you weren’t so sure before, you may want to consider giving it a chance now.
WiiWare has been sadly devoid of platformers for quite some time now and Pallurikio takes a stab at filling in the gap. For the most part, it is a fun game, but I don’t really know what to make of it. For starters, it makes absolutely no sense. The writers have absolutely no originality; the game’s introduction is essentially a two-minute version of Jumanji in which the characters find a strange game and are promptly sucked into it. This is told through a series of comic panels, which are drawn quite well, but all of the dialog is delivered through text on the bottom of the screen, which can sometimes make it difficult to know who is talking at any given time. Shortly after the intro, you are thrown into a brief tutorial and are then faced with the fact that the game itself and the storyline seem to have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
From what I gather, one of the boys has morphed into a ball with his dog in order to traverse the 50 levels (plus 5 bonus levels) in Pallurikio. The story was painful to follow, so I am merely assuming that this is how it works. Thankfully, at the point, the game actually becomes decent. While playing as the little red ball, you control his movement by pointing with the Wii remote, holding the A button, and then releasing it to get your desired speed and different. Doing so will launch the character. Starting from a horizontal surface will typically yield the best results. While midair, you can perform an additional weaker jump. If you bump into a surface, more jumps can be performed. It’s a simple concept that can be tricky to execute. Mastering the technique can get you to certain locations and net you a lot of extra points—in the form of stars and swirly candy.
Along the way, you will run into many obstacles that will slow you down or send you back to your last checkpoint. The biggest and most frustrating obstacle is the timer. If you are unable to complete a level before time runs out, you will have to start over from the beginning. It isn’t a particularly hard game, but it can be a challenge at times and the added pressure of the timer will likely be a problem for people who like to play at their own pace. Thankfully, time-boosting clocks tend to be available in abundance, but trying to reach them may sometimes take more time than they are worth.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about Pallurikio. The gameplay is interesting and usually enjoyable, but most other aspects—including graphics and audio—are just average. If the team over at Playstos hadn’t tried as hard, the game might have actually turned out better. Still, it is a fun game that will last you a few hours, especially if you are not particularly skillful with the remote. I can’t recommend purchasing this for 1000 points, but if you are in need of some new platforming action, Pallurikio should hold you over for now, as long as you can look past the storyline. It may not bring a whole lot to the table, but at the very least, the levels are fun to play through.
Eco Shooter: Plant 530
Considering how perfect the Wii is for rail shooters, it is a surprise that we don’t see more of them popping up. Intelligent Systems apparently felt the same way, and as such, we are presented with Eco Shooter. For whatever reason, aliens are invading the planet and using our own trash against us. It is a bit odd, but our hero from Plant #530 doesn’t care. Armed with a special energy gun, he is more than ready to face our out-of-this-world foes. So, what exactly does this mean for you? It means that you’re going to spending the next hour or two shooting at cans.
Probably an attempt to appease Nintendo and their family-friendly attitude (which can be a good thing at times), shooting at can-based creatures isn’t quite as satisfying as blowing away zombies and dinosaurs, but it still provides the same basic enjoyment that many people get out of shooting anything that moves. Unlike many games of the genre, Eco Shooter doesn’t employ a reload system. Instead, defeating enemies will cause them to turn into small balls of energy, which you can then suck up with a push of a button on the nunchuk. It is actually rather handy because it allows you to continually blast at your enemies while simultaneously adding ammunition to your gun. However, you can’t simply hold down the vacuum button or press it too much because doing so will cause it to overheat, so the game will require a bit of strategy.
Aside from the difficult boss battles, the game is fairly simple. Very few of the enemies actually attack you and the few that do are easily disposed of before they get a chance to strike. Sadly, there isn’t really a whole lot to say about this game. The energy component is the only thing that sets it apart from other rail shooters, and unfortunately, it is quite a short adventure. Featuring only three chapters, Eco Shooter can easily be completed in less than two hours and there is little reason to go back for more. The game’s biggest fault is that there is no multiplayer, which is an absolute must for this type of game. Anyone who has played rail shooters at the arcade with a friend will know that two is always better than one.
Eco Shooter isn’t necessarily a bad game. In fact, I found it rather enjoyable. However, when taking all things into consideration, it falls short in many aspects. The game is only enjoyable because rail shooters are fun games that are hard to get wrong. As long as things are coming at you and whizzing by the screen, there is always something to keep you occupied and entertained. The energy aspect is nice, but it is not enough to set the game apart from others. And it doesn’t help that the difficulty level is random at times, the game is terribly short, and there is no multiplayer action. If you are really aching for a new rail shooter, Eco Shooter fits the bill, but it comes with a hefty price of 1000 points. For less, I can grab a pizza and spend a few quarters playing a much longer game. It is a commendable effort, but perhaps Intelligent Systems should stick with Fire Emblem.
Happy Holidays: Christmas was developed and published by 505 Games.
TV Show King 2 was developed and published by Gameloft.
Pallurikio was developed and published by Playstos Entertainment.
Eco Shooter: Plant 530 was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo.
All titles were released for WiiWare in North America on 12/21/2009.