Two games have been incredibly important for the Wii this year, as well as utterly fantastic in their own right: Metroid Prime 3 and Super Mario Galaxy. Aside from their overall quality – Really, if you call yourself a gamer you owe it to yourself to play them – both games have acted as a brilliant manifesto on how to really use the Wii to its strengths.
Shaking off the idea (We’re sorry, these puns really are accidental) that good Wii games have to be non-stop waggle-frenzies, they perfectly exemplify how the machine can genuinely add a lot to the gaming experience when used thoughtfully. Metroid’s carefully refined aiming controls truly set a new standard for FPS on a console and its motion-controlled environmental interactions give such a sense of ‘being there’ that you will be ducking behind the sofa during particularly heavy fire fights. But crucially the Wii’s abilities are never over-used or forced in where they’re unwelcome. They’re used to enhance rather than distract, and if that example is followed as well it should be then the future of Wii FPS – and Wii gaming in general – is going to be filled with genuinely unique and worthwhile experiences.
As for Super Mario Galaxy, well, how can we accurately sum up that game without gurgling like excited and misty-eyed eight year olds on Christmas morning? It’s a truly beautiful game in aesthetic, ambience and design. It’s the most triumphant revitalisation the platform genre could ever have wanted and by all rights will have a massive knock-on effect on the industry next year and beyond. Similarly to Metroid, SMG knows how to use the Wiimote to blow the cobwebs out of old genres without drowning what made them great in the first place, and similarly similarly to Metroid, it’s a massive testament to what the Wii can produce graphically when approached with a bit of knowledge and design flair.