The games of November 2012

Franchise frenzy and the Wii U launch barrage – hello, holidays!

November 18 (continued)

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Platform: Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii
EU: November 23 (Wii U: 11/30)

Much as we loved the original Wii-exclusive Epic Mickey, the wider response was decidedly mixed, as the stunning aesthetics failed to compensate for camera and control issues for many players. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two aims to address such annoyances while spreading the love to all sorts of platforms (including the Wii U), with a game that brings the Disney world to life in HD on most systems while adding in the teased-by-the-title cooperative play with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. And in addition to the HD bump, the platformer also now includes full voice acting and musical numbers, which should make for an even stronger Disney sensation.

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: November 23

The Nintendo 3DS might be left out of the Power of Two party, but it's got its own thing going on later this month with Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. Inspired by the classic Mickey Mouse side-scrollers of yore (notably Castle of Illusion), the platformer offers fantastic hand-drawn visuals with a variety of stages inspired by a wide array of Disney properties, from Aladdin to Peter Pan. We've had a couple cracks at the game already, and we've been hugely impressed by the balance of old-school mechanics with modern tech. Is it any wonder that many folks are actually more excited about Power of Illusion than Epic Mickey 2?

Transformers: Prime – The Game

Platform: Wii U
EU: November 30

Just couple months back, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC owners were treated to the quite good Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, which continued the winning formula of the previous War for Cybertron. Nintendo platforms, on the other hand, play host to Transformers Prime: The Game, a tie-in to the current animated series that looks to blend beat-'em-up style action with a bevy of vehicle sequences. Already out on Nintendo 3DS, DS, and Wii, the Wii U version is expected on day one, though we're not too sure what to expect in terms of exclusive features. Overall, though, it seems like a pretty straightforward take on the cartoon, albeit with multiplayer.

Wipeout 3

Platform: Wii U

We haven't really seen anything yet on how Wipeout 3 – based on the wacky ABC obstacle course series, not the classic anti-gravity racer – will take advantage of the Wii U GamePad. In fact, we haven't heard a ton about the other console versions of the game, which quietly dropped more than a month back with zero reviews listed at Metacritic as of this writing. But having played earlier versions, we can expect another exhausting motion-based affair in which you'll run in place to navigate the goofy courses, and Activision claims this latest version features a new camera perspective, along with split-screen and team-based multiplayer modes.

Funky Barn

Platform: Wii U
EU: November 30

505 Games' Funky Barn might not seem like a system seller amidst this Wii U launch lineup, but for those in desperate need of a two-screen farming simulation on day one, it certainly seems primed to deliver in that regard. An updated version of an existing Nintendo 3DS title, Funky Barn brings a silly and vibrant take on livestock and crop management, letting you guide animals and vegetables alike from tiny beginnings to something more significant as you unlock additional options. The Wii U version adds the ability to interact with individual creatures, seemingly bringing a little taste of virtual pet sims into the experience.

Game Party Champions

Platform: Wii U

Game Party Champions rounds up motion-centric takes on eight familiar sports, ranging from playing table tennis or mini-golf to shooting hoops and swinging for the virtual fences in batting cages. And this latest entry features a board game-like approach for party play. But while we always aim to keep an open mind about new releases, we can't help but spot trends when they occur, and Champions is the fifth such entry in this series. The earlier Wii and Kinect titles have been more or less eviscerated by critics; so just keep your expectations in check, is all.