It's typical. With the launch of any new system nowadays, you get a slew of downloadable online game titles to help expand the game library. For instance, when you first got access to Xbox Live Arcade through your Xbox 360, the first thing you probably downloaded was the truly addictive Bizarre Creations shooter Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, which stood out from the Project Gotham Racing series it initially launched on.
Now we come to the Wii U, and along with a wide assortment of retail releases that are available for digital purchase (and take up anywhere from 2 GB to 17 GB in space, depending on the game), there are five spanking new downloadable games, each with something special to offer. Now, the main question is, which ones should you pick up?
The games range in price from $9.99-$19.99, and they don't take up too much space, save for Trine 2: Director's Cut, which logs in at just under 2 GB. But here's the lowdown on each individual title, and whether they're worth your time.
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation, $14.99)
Tomorrow Corporation consists of a number of team members that previously worked on World of Goo for both the original Wii and PC, and just like that game, Little Inferno delves into a creative pool of strategic fun. This time around, you're a young kid sitting in front of a fireplace, egged on to throw objects in there to keep the fire going. This includes a number of toys and other items, ones that can burn longer or shorter than others, depending on their weak points. You need to strategically set them up and keep the fire going, at all costs.
Some of these items are a little bizarre – ranging from credit cards to small unstable nuclear devices (where does a kid get those?!) – but the game does grow on you over time. It's a matter of finding those key items that will burn long enough for you to fill your bag back up with things that are ready to burn.
This may not be the most encouraging game when it comes to teaching kids not to play with fire, but if you were a fan of World of Goo, this puzzle game will definitely keep you warm.
Chasing Aurora (Broken Rules, $14.99)
This interesting flying game kind of harkens back to the classic 2D side-scrolling days of gaming, where most flight simulators instead delve into 3D. Chasing Aurora is built on simpler principles, where you guide around a series of birds through races and challenging puzzles, either working alone or with a team in the game's set-aside Tournament mode.
Featuring a simple yet unique art style, the ability to play with up to five others in multiplayer (one with the GamePad, the remaining four with Wii remotes) and easy-to-get-into gameplay, Chasing Aurora is surprisingly stable when it comes to offering longevity, especially with its multiple events.
It might bore solo players, however, as they're stuck with meeting race lap times and other small needs. But if you have friends over and want to try something different, it's definitely worth a look.
Nano Assault Neo (Shin'en, $9.99)
The original Nano Assault launched last year for the Nintendo 3DS, effectively bringing shooter developer Shin'en (who previously worked on the Nanostray games) into the spotlight with a quirky organic shooter. On the Wii U, it feels even more at home, thanks to the concept of using twin sticks for action – one for movement, one for shooting.
You'll work your way across each organically shaped stage, shooting enough enemies to meet a quota while snagging power-ups and points. From there, you'll have to make a truly mad scramble for the exit before time runs out, then get to a boss encounter that's a lot trickier than it appears.
With outstanding graphics (which you can view on the TV or GamePad), great classic controls, a mounting challenge level and online leaderboards, Nano Assault Neo is one of the best downloadable games for the Wii U. It's right up there with Geometry Wars and Super Stardust HD in sheer addictiveness.
Trine 2: Director's Cut (Frozenbyte, $19.99)
The original Trine 2 worked its magic on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network for the past year, and it continues to shine on the Wii U. Utilizing great GamePad controls and some of the finest visuals to be cranked out of Nintendo's system to date, this side-scrolling adventure puts you in the shoes of three alternate adventurers as they defeat enemies and solve puzzles while attempting to help out a mysterious Trine.
Along with the main quest – which features hours of gameplay and plenty of hidden content – the Director's Cut also comes with some bonus content, including Goblin Menace, which introduces six new levels as well as returning DLC from previous versions. You can also work with up to two friends in local multiplayer, if you wish to share the journey.
Though it's a bit pricey and takes a while to download, Trine 2: Director's Cut is most certainly worth the purchase.
Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition (WayForward Technologies)
Finally, we have another game that makes a solid transition from the Nintendo 3DS, with better high-definition visuals and a whopping amount of new levels to play through. In Mighty Switch Force, peace officer Patricia Wagon is called in to chase after a group of cute, blonde Space Hooligans, who have escaped prison and are wreaking havoc with space creatures.
This game looks like another typical side-scrolling effort, but WayForward has actually added some strategic elements to the game, as you have to switch back and forth between alternate platforms and launch pads, hitting them at just the right time to keep moving forward. The earlier levels are easy, but the game picks up rather quickly when it comes to difficulty. Be prepared for some brain benders here.
With the same level of quality action as the 3DS version, along with some additional content, Mighty Switch Force shines on the Wii U.
Which games will you be getting?