Myself and Costello were invited to the Micromania Game Show 2006, in Paris, France in what ended up being a near 750 mile trip! More... Arriving in Paris very late on a very busy Friday night we looked forward to the morning where we took the train and subway into the centre of Paris. We made our way to Parc Des Expositions de Paris - Hall 8 out of 9. There was a huge crowd forming outside, and we joined it. After several minutes waiting, the doors opened and we entered the show. The Wii and PS3 were fully playable at the show, but we dedicated our time to playing the Wii! The Wii is a tiny little console, it looks incredibly small and sleek when you compare it to the PS3 and Xbox 360. More... The Wii remote is much smaller than I imagined, but if fits in your hand really comfortably and is just the right weight. The buttons are nice to press and the B button underneath is easy to press and sits on your finger. The remote can be held in any number of ways, depending on the game, and is still comfortable when holding it sideways for driving games. More... The Wii remote does have rumble, but it's quite weak. It can be turned on and off via the remote options screen, where you can also adjust the volume coming from the speaker and "reconnect" the remote to the Wii in case it loses sync. More... The nunchuk as it's called is also comfortable, and the cord between it and the remote is just the right length. The buttons and analogue stick are placed very well and fit in your hand and meet your fingers just right. Here are my impressions on several Wii games I managed to play over the weekend: Elebits In Elebits, the task is simple. Find as many of the little creatures - Elebits, as you can. To do this you need to use your anti-gravity type gun that allows you to search through the level (I played through a house level), and the nunchuk to move about. You can move almost everything, from kettles, to dishwashers to cars. Just point the remote, click and drag. You can even open doors by clicking on the door handle and moving the remote in a clockwise circular motion. When you find an Elebit, you just point and click at them to collect the critter. The remote is very sensitive in the game and works well. It glides around the screen with no real lag, and aiming at a specific object can be done easily after a small bit of practice. The graphics in the game are surprisingly good and have a nice feel to them. There seems to be some kind of heavy anti-aliasing and lighting because every edge seems to have a nice white smooth glowy look to it. More... I only played this game briefly so I can't really say much more about it, but it seemed like a fun game. But I'm not sure how long you can go around moving objects and collecting Elebits before it gets boring. I guess it will all come down to how enjoyable and varied the environments throughout the game are. Elebits Elebits Kororinpa Kororinpa is a new-age Marble Madness come Super Monkey Ball. You have a floating play field that you can tilt using the Wii remote (held normally), and you must roll a marble around the maze to the goal. The game controls incredibly well, and using the remote to control tilt the play field in ANY direction is incredibly easy and works really well. The graphics are quite nice and do the job. More... The first level I played was quite easy, mostly because there were walls on one side of the path that you could roll against. But it's only the first level so I'm sure the game gets challenging later on. Both myself and Costello really enjoyed this game, and we were able to play it straight away. There's no real learning curve. Good game. Kororinpa Rayman Raving Rabbids Those rabbits... er, I mean rabbids. Rabbids? Er wtf? ..Are hilarious. More... I got a brief hands-on with this game, as the queue was about an hours wait. I only played one mini game myself which was pretty hilarious. In the mini game you seem to be sat behind a bar on the beach, you can see the coastline in front of you. The rabbids come out of the ocean and across the beach towards you, they're wearing rubber rings and goggles. To play the game you need to stop the rabbids from getting up close to you. You're armed with a water gun that sprays orange juice. To control it you have to constantly pump using the nunchuk in a pumping motion and aim your cursor which aims the direction in which your juice is spraying into the rabbids goggles. The masks will slowly fill up with juice, and when completely filled up the rabbid retreats. Rinse and repeat this method for all rabbids. The mini game gets progressively harder the more the time goes on, and I managed to reach approx 1 minute and 20 seconds before I was defeated. The record was 1 minute 50 seconds! It's harder than it sounds to keep pumping the juice using the nunchuk whilst aiming the remote, but the game is incredibly fun yet completely stupid. Just like most of the other mini games in Rayman Raving Rabbids. We joined a conference in which a Ubisoft representative was showing off more of the game. The games story is simple. Rayman is captured by the rabbids overlord, an enormous and fat metal wearing bunny. Rayman is sent to prison, and can enter a coliseum to play mini games, the better he does, the better his chances of escape. More... The game has more than 70 mini games included, some of which are short, like the one I described above, and some are longer like a game where you travel around a wild west, shooting plungers into the faces of the rabbids. Here are some of the mini games we watched the guy demonstrate... One game puts Rayman on one of those see-saw railway karts, with a bunny on the other side. You must shake the remote and nunchuk up and down like a mad man to make the kart go faster. You'll eventually hit the edge of the cliff and the bunny will go flying through the air. And depending on how fast you were going when you hit the edge, the further the bunny will fly. Much like that old Penguin Swing flash game. Another game puts a plunger shooting gun in your hand, and you travel around different levels shooting the bunnies in the face with the plungers to take them down. We saw a beach and wild west levels. More... Another game has 4 outhouses and 4 bunnies. The bunnies sit in the outhouses, doing their business, but the doors aren't locked. The doors slowly open, and you have to close them by pointing with the remote and shaking the nunchuk, and the game gets progressively harder. If the bunnies spot you then they'll come running and throw a big plunger in your face and it's game over. More... A game that got a hell of a lot of laughs was a game where you're watching a group of bunnies dressed as school kids with nice center partings. They're all singing in sync, but you have to watch out for a bunny that starts screaming and then slap their face with the remote to get them singing in sync again! One mini game was rhythm based, and required you to flick each hand to each beat, which is indicated by bunnies twirling next to Rayman on stage, the bunnies when you flick at the right time would then disappear into the spotlight. Other games see you playing jump rope over a chain, swinging a cow over your head, milking cows and other crazy stuff. More... The game got a lot of laughs out of the crowd at the conference and it looks like a lot of fun to show off some of the controllers capabilities. Rayman Raving Rabbids Rayman Raving Rabbids Rayman Raving Rabids - video #3 Rayman Raving Rabids - video #4 Red Steel This was the first game I played and only got a 5 minutes hands on with it. They had a "when you die, the next person plays" policy going or something. To control the game, you just aim your crosshair with the remote, pushing against the side of the screen will rotate your character. You can move the character by using the analogue stick on the nunchuk. You can push doors by "pushing" the nunchuk forward, I only got to play a small section of the game so I didn't really uncover many controls. The graphics in the game are so-so. They are quite good in some places (definitely better than Gamecube) but can be pretty poor in others, for example some textures are very low res. The enemy AI is fairly good, they duck for cover and hide around corners when you get close, the character models look quite good too (at least from a distance). More... I found the game quite easy to pick up and play. The crosshair aiming is very sensitive and when you move the remote away from the sensor bar, the character on screen starts moving erratically and looks like the game is bugging out. This game could be improved, perhaps by tweaking the controls a bit more, and ironing out some of the "bugs". Perhaps I may have been playing an old build of the game but I can't be sure! I couldn't ask the girl that was demonstrating the game as she didn't speak English.. Overall the game was quite good - it's definitely a unique experience. It's a lot of fun to aim your gun with the remote, and even stupid things like opening a door by pushing your nunchuk forward or holding the gun sideways add to the fun. That being said, I really want to try more of this game, and am going to be picking it up at launch. It looks like it could be a lot of fun when you get used to the controls. Red Steel Red Steel - video #2 Red Steel - video #3 Sonic & The Secret Rings I was quite looking forward to playing this game, to see whether or not it's a disappointment. I enjoyed Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 but the buggy camera didn't help, and I tried to enjoy Sonic Heroes but it was just really bad. The constant pit falls and buggy controls just made the game a bastard chore. Sonic & The Secret Rings takes a new approach to the 3D Sonic titles. It gives you a set almost-linear path that you must follow. This increases the speed in the game, but takes away the chance for exploration. More... To control; just hold the Wii remote sideways and tilt to move left and right, tilt forward to move forward and back to slow down. Jumping is performed by pressing the 2 button, which you can press quickly for a normal jump and hold for a bigger jump. Whilst in mid air, if you flick the remote forward you can home into enemies and perform damage. The game controls strangely, perhaps I needed more time to get used to it, but Sonic seemed to almost slide around the level left and right without barely tilting the remote. He would slip from side to side clipping around obstacles and walls etc.. He accelerates quickly, and slows down quickly too, making the game go a bit mad if you mis-handle the remote. The path you have to follow is lined with rings and other items, so you normally know where to go. Once you get going the game can control fairly well until you reach large corners or obstacles you have to avoid, but when you come up to a wall you need to jump over or a large vase with wings you have to jump in and shake to fly upwards, the games controls can seem a bit overwhelming. Maybe the demo I was playing was quite early. It was the same desert level that's been shown for quite some time. So hopefully they've tweaked the game a lot since then. I've heard more than positive impressions from others so we'll see. Super Swing Golf Pangya I had a quick hands on with Pangya, and managed to get a few swings towards the tee, but didn't get to putt. Pangya is a full on golf game with huge courses and a lot of options. In game you line up your shot left and right using the d-pad, then you use the remote to control a cursor on screen to select your option, ie. Shot or Power Shot and tap A. Then raise your Wii remote behind you like you would a real club to the desired height, hold and press the A button, then swing to hit the golf ball! The faster you swing, the farther your shot, the slower, the worse... It's just like using a real club. I don't think I was swinging fast enough, there was a wall behind me which made it a bit awkward, my ball didn't really travel very far, and kept landing in the sand! The graphics in the game were nice and had a real cutesy anime look to it, and the courses were large and had lots going on in them. Castles, buildings, statues, trees... More... If you're a fan of golf games then you might enjoy this game, they seem to have everything done right. But if you're like me and find golf video games get boring quickly then you might not want get this game... Pangya Pangya The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Twilight Princess will be launching with the Wii, and we'll definitely be getting it at launch. The game is controlled using the remote and nunchuk. The remote controls a small fairy on screen that works like a cursor. You move Link using the stick on the nunchuk, and can reset the camera so it's facing forward by pressing C on the nunchuk. Link walks and runs just like he does on any past game and still automatically jumps off edges. He actually controls really well. More... The real joy of the controller though comes from combat. Using the remote you can jab forward and slash sideways and Link will copy your actions on-screen. There is a slight delay between your action and Link's, but only because you're probably going to have performed the actions before his first attack has finished. You can perform the classic spin-attack by shaking the nunchuk, perform a shield attack by pushing your nunchuk forward, and can "finish off" enemies that have been knocked to the floor by getting close to them and pressing A. More... The remote is also used to control the boomerang and bow etc... (items are mapped to the d-pad). Just select an item, point where you want to aim and press B, you can use the Z button to lock on to several targets at once. The whole control scheme does sound quite difficult, but apparently when you get used to it, it's a real breeze to use. We joined a conference where a guy was demoing the game. He played through the entire first level and boss and he seemed to control the game extremely well. He didn't even embarrass himself by dying or falling off a ledge. More... Your personal guide in this game is a little character called Midina who appears to be Link's shadow. Link's shadow will crawl up into the air from underneath him and form Midina, who will give you a bit of help now and again. Once he's done chatting he'll crawl back underneath you and you'll regain your shadow. The boss battles in this game look epic. In the conference, we watched the guy demoing defeat the first boss - Pyrus (Twilit Igniter) - a huge black creature that decides to light himself on fire and attack you. The battle looked great, though easy being the first boss, and looked like the controls didn't prove a problem. More... Zelda Twilight Princess looks really fantastic and incredibly polished, which isn't surprising as this is one of Nintendo's biggest games in years and they have delayed it several times. The unique use of the Wii controllers looks like great fun. The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess - video #2 Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam I only got to play Tony Hawk's for a few minutes so here are my brief impressions. To control the game, you hold the Wii remote sideways. You steer quite obviously by tilting the remote left and right, accelerate by tilting the whole controller forward or by holding down the ollie button to crouch, and brake by tilting back towards yourself. You can ollie by pressing the 2 button, grind by pressing 1 and perform kick tricks by pressing 1 and any direction on the d-pad much like any other Tony Hawk's game. The 2 button also performs grab tricks in mid-air. You can press and hold the A button to boost around corners. More... You can also knock down opponents in the game by pressing a direction on the d-pad, which adds a bit more fun to the game. The graphics in the game were quite good, though the build I was playing seemed quite buggy (for example when you finish the track your character sinks up to their waist into the ground below them). The controls in the game work really well and are very easy to learn if you've played a Tony Hawk's game before. The tilt detection may be a bit too sensitive as I found myself crashing left and right into the walls. Hopefully they'll include a sensitivity option in the full game. The game is extremely fast paced compared to other Tony Hawk's games due to its new racing approach. The game is quite fun, but doesn't really offer much new apart from a new control scheme and racing theme. But it's a lot of fun to control. Wario Ware: Smooth Moves There had to be a Wario Ware game on the Wii... The controllers are just designed for it. I managed to play through several mini games on Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Wario Ware Smooth Moves is played using the Wii remote only. No nunchuk. (At least in the demo we played! Perhaps there are bosses in the game that make use of the nunchuk too). This game is great, it's really crazy just like all the other Wario Ware games. There are so many things you can do with the remote, the possibilities seem endless. The game throws mini-games in your face one after the other, you are told just before each mini game how to hold the Wii remote by a name and picture. More... There are many different mini games that I'm sure you've all already seen, such as holding the remote like a paint brush and inserting some dentures into a lovely looking grandma; holding it like an umbrella and shaking flies off a banana; holding it like a handle bar and shredding some paper by making forward circular motions with your arm; and my favourite where you open your hand flat and rest the remote on your palm and then you have to move your arm in any direction to stop a broom you're balancing on-screen. The remote is incredibly responsive in this game and it's really just a joy to play - Anyone can play this game. More... Wario Ware Smooth Moves might just be the best Wario Ware game yet, it really shows off what the Wii is capable of control wise. I just hope they manage to pack enough variety and mini games into the game! Wii Sports: Tennis Wii Sports Tennis is a 2 on 2 match for 2 or 4 players. You can use the Mii stored in your remote to customise the character on screen. The characters on screen move automatically, so you don't need to move them left and right... Which seems like a bad thing because it makes the game incredibly easy. All you need to do is swing the remote to hit the ball, just like a real racket. The graphics in the game, like the other Wii Sports titles are very simplistic as they use the Mii characters in the games. The plain graphics aren't a bad thing, because sometimes simple is nice. More... Wii Sports Tennis is quite easy once you get used to swinging the remote, and the game can last a long time as your characters move automatically. So unless you don't swing properly then you're always going to hit the ball. Though the game is easy and simplistic, and will probably get boring quite quick. It's still a lot of fun to have 2 players swinging their remotes like rackets so it should be a good party game like the rest of the Wii Sports titles. Wii Sports Tennis Wii Sports: Bowling Wii Sports Bowling is another simplistic title. Players take turn to bowl and compete against each other. The controls are incredibly easy to pick up. Move your character left and right to line up your shot, then hold the B trigger on the remote, raise your arm backwards behind you, still holding B, then bowl and release B as you would let go of a bowling ball in real life. The speed, angle, height and curve of your bowl will all be taken into account. I found myself being able to roll a very fast ball, while others trying to get the hang of the game would have a very slow ball. The graphics are quite nice and do the job. The camera follows your ball as it rolls towards the pins and you get a nice angled replay of your bowl after. More... I wasn't able to get a strike myself, but saw others that did. The game seems really nice, and could be a very fun multiplayer game but could get boring after several games depending on how much you like to bowl! Wii Sports Bowling Wii Sports Bowling - video #2 Wii Sports Bowling - video #3 Wii Horse Racing I'm not sure where this game come from, or even the real name. Perhaps it's part of the Wii Play package, I think it might be, the graphics and controls were very simple. The game is a simple split screen horse racing game and myself and Costello played a versus match. The controls are incredibly simple. Hold the remote sideways and tilt sideways to move left and right, tilt forward to gallop, and tilt back to slowdown. To jump, you just make a quick jumping motion with the remote by flicking it into the air. That's all there is to it. There's not even any buttons to press (that I'm aware of). More... The aim of the game we played was to reach the goal first. On the the track are several obstacles including scare crows that you get points for if you knock over, and fences you must jump over or you'll slow down. The game was actually insane fun, and really easy and fun to control. It was fast paced, and gave a good laugh. It should be a fun party title. Hopefully it is part of Wii Play or a downloadable freebie, as the graphics were incredibly simple which leads me to believe it's not a full game. Wing Island I played one level on Wing Island. The game appears to be mission based and set around several different islands. There are characters in the game (talking animals - kind of Starfox like). The mission I played required you to control 5 planes simultaneously, flying side by side, each carrying their own cargo box underneath the plane. Using the on screen rotating map, you need to fly to your destinations and drop the cargo from the plane (in mid-air) into the large yellow ring on the ground. To control the 5 planes in this game you simply hold the remote normally pointing the screen, and your motion affects the planes. Simple. Just pull the remote upward to fly upward, side to side to move, and down to fly downwards! You drop the cargo by pressing the B button. There may have been more to the controls, but in the brief level I played I didn't get to discover too much. More... In the game, the graphics are quite nice. The art style has a simplistic toy-like design, but it works and everything is bright, colourful and cheerful. You can fly around the sky, or go low and fly across the ocean or fly dangerously through tight caverns. The game is really fun and the controls work really well and are very responsive. Could be a fun game if the missions are varied enough and there's enough content to keep the idea fresh. ---------- We really enjoyed playing the Wii, and were lucky enough to be able to play one before its launch. The Wii's new controllers are an impressive and radical change from the norm, and some of the games use them very well. We've only seen the first wave of Wii games so far, so I look forward to the next wave to see what else those crazy devs can come up with. Now we have to wait until December 8th to get our own Wii and continue playing Zelda Twilight Princess.