The Wonderful World of WiiWare

Case study 3: Defend Your Castle
Developer: Xgen Studios
Out: Q2 2008

Believe it or not, but there’s a whole genre of internet flash games dedicated to the protection of castles. Placing turrets, aiming your archers, micromanaging the peasants to scrape off body parts seared to the ramparts by hot tar - the genre is as varied as any other and it all started with XGen’s Defend Your Castle. Wait a second. Are we telling you that we’re being fobbed off with WiiWare we can get online for free? No, not at all.

Where the original Defend Your Castle was clearly drawn in Microsoft paint and revolved around scooping up hordes with your mouse and bloodily splattering them against the ground, this is far more shaped and structured. As a godlike force, you have to protect the blue button-headed citizens of your castle from a hoard of vicious white buttons. With a pointer you can drop impressive firework-esque bombs, grab the whites and convert them into blues, or use an eraser to wipe away their pencil-drawn bodies. This handcrafted style is particularly nice - enemies come at you with broken ice-lolly sticks and the castle is paper thin. Charming stuff, for a sweet 500 points.

Above: We hope that's a battering ram that googly-eyed bottle cap is using against the castle tower

Case study 4: Plattchen Twist ‘n’ Paint
Developer: Bplus
Out: Q2 2008

“Puzzle-shooter,” is how Bplus art director Bernd Geiblinger describes the first third-party game ever announced for WiiWare. “In a shooter, fast aiming and pinpoint shooting are required; in a puzzle game you have to put on the thinking cap and make up some good tactics. Combining both of them, Plattchen is a completely new and unseen challenge.” A panel-based puzzler, the game offers you “the freedom and the ability to change the colour of every Plattchen [panel] on the field,” and as such “you can live out your creativity while mastering the levels by shooting everything bad.”

Creative freedom is also key to the 12 (count ’em) person multiplayer. “The cool thing is that not everyone has to do the same things in the game. You can use four remotes plus four Nunchuks plus four DK Bongos for the ultimate party fun.” DK Bongos? Bernd explains: “If you own one or up to four Nintendo GameCube DK Bongos, you can control the evil black shadow Plattchen against your friends. If they lose all their lives, the dark side wins the war. There are also special features if you use the Zapper.” The 1,500 price tag - same as Crystal Chronicles - is not an exercise in money-grabbing but a sign of Bplus’ faith in Plattchen as a WiiWare title “offering a little more in terms of depth and complexity.” Hear, hear!

Apr 1, 2008