When we did this list last year, one of the best Wii games of 2009 (New Super Mario Bros. Wii) hadn't even been announced yet. That was just one of the surprises that Wii owners had in the last 12 months. A Dead Space on-rails shooter? A new-wave Pong shmup/music game? Metroid Prime being declared the Citizen Kane of gaming? A hand-drawn remake/sequel to A Boy and His Blob? New, exclusive, 16-bit-looking Gradius, Contra, and Castlevania games? What a weird year in Wii games it was.
There is a good chance that 2010 will be even weirder for the Wii. There's an even better chance that it will be the best year yet for the little dynamo. We're getting sequels no one thought we'd ever see, third-party games that they said couldn't be made, and WiiWare titles that look and play better than many full-priced retail games.
The Wii has every genre covered in 2010, from ultra-violent 3D action titles, to 2D fighting games, to indie-crossover supergames, to dolphin petting simulators. Chad Concelmo and I practically ran out of space when trying to put this list together. Hit the jump to see what we came up with (and the first look at one of our selected games, something you won't see anywhere else).
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle:
Suda51, creator of No More Heroes and many other bat-shit insane videogames, has a reputation for not caring about what people think. Some people think that he actually makes aspects of his games "bad on purpose." I don't think that's true. Based on what Suda has said about No More Heroes 2, I think he wants nothing more than to please his fans. Problem is, up until now, none of his games have sold very well. How do you try and please fans that you're not certain even exist?
Now that No More Heroes has become Suda's first bona fide hit, that's all changed. His goal with No More Heroes 2 is to fill it with everything that fans loved about the first game, and cut out all the crap. The situation reminds me of that time that President Bush Jr. finally won the popular vote. Unlike the first time he was elected president, his second term in office was earned by gathering the popular vote of the American people. In his mind, that gave Bush the "capital" to do whatever he wanted for the next four years.
The same goes for Suda with No More Heroes 2. He's never had this kind of "capital" to work with before. I can't wait to see what he does with it.
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars:
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom was one of my favorite games of 2008, garnering a 9/10 on the Destructoid review scale. Now that online functionality is in the game,along with Frank West, Mega Man Zero, and God knows what else, TvC may be a perfect ten, not to mention my favorite fighting game of 2010. As much as I'm looking forward to Super Street Fighter IV, there is just no denying that TvC is a newer game. I've been fighting most of the characters from SF4 since the '90s. TvC, on the other hand, is practically 100% new. Other than a few Street Fighter characters, Batsu from Rival Schools and Morrigan from Darkstalkers, these characters have never been in a fighting game before. That's something that Capcom puts together very rarely, and it needs to be cherished like a precious newborn child.
If you like Capcom games at all, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars has something for you. Every major era in Capcom's history, from old-school Mega Man-lady Roll, to Viewtiful Joe to (spoilers) Okami's last boss, no character is too mainstream or too obscure. Plug that kind of roster into one of the most exciting, easy-to-learn, hard-to-master fighting engines that Capcom has ever come up with, and you have a game that no Capcom fan can do without.
Super Meat Boy:
Speaking of crossover genius, Super Meat Boy may have one of the most unlikely, most exciting casts of playable characters ever collected in one game. Alien Hominid from Alien Hominid, Tim from Braid, Gish from Gish, Bit.Trip's Commander Video, and God knows how many other indie icons, all under one roof. It's enough to make a dyed-in-the-wool indie fan cry.
Not only is the game an indie mash-up like the world has never seen before, it's also a kick-ass platformer. The level design and the controls are fantastic, which makes for a very addictive experience. Everything about the game is incredibly responsive and smooth. Moving the super-fast, constantly bleeding Meat Boy around the game's 300 or so levels is a pleasure in and of itself. Stuff like retro levels, awesome cut scenes, multiple characters, multiplayer modes, and giant chainsaw bosses are just the icing on the meat-flavored cake.
The Conduit was good, but The Grinder looks fucking awesome. From the limited time I had with the game at E3 09, I can tell you that the game looks great, plays great, and maybe most importantly, nails the mix of action, surprise, and horror that makes games like this work. Have you ever fought off twenty teleporting vampires at the mouth of a cave, and come out the other side to find a Jason-style machete-wielding slasher with a death wish, only to have your ass kicked by a giant werewolf after it's all over?
Yeah, me neither, but that's because I didn't get to actually play the game at E3. I saw all that stuff happen, and it was awesome. Now imagining doing all that with 4-player online co-op to boot, and you'll know why I'm so psyched for The Grinder.
I love the Trauma Center games. Their mix of arcade-style, intensive hand/eye coordination-based gameplay and ridiculous anime surgery scenarios just works for me. I'm also just a sucker for games that I can't believe are real. That's Trauma Center. There is no logical reason for these games to have come into existence, yet here they are, in all their awesome glory.
This is the third game in the series for the Wii that the God of videogames has seen fit to put onto this Earth, and it looks like it's going to give you anything you could ever want in a home surgery simulator: six playable characters with their own specialties, more story, and more ruby-swallowing maniacs who need their stomachs cut open. Only on the Wii, folks. Only on the Wii.
This photo was taken in secret, off screen, and on an iPhone camera. It may not be indicative of how the final version of the game looks, but hey, it's an exclusive. Thanks, evil spies!
As for the game itself, there is a lot I want to tell you about Bit.Trip RUNNER, but I can't. Instead I'll just tell you this: out of all the games on this list, this is the one I have the most confidence in. I believe in all these games, but honestly, I'm never totally sure that a game will deliver until I've played it from beginning to end.
That's is, unless the game we're talking about is called Bit.Trip RUNNER. I know this game will be amazing. Just how amazing... that I don't know. Hopefully we'll find out ourselves in a few months.
Random Japanese games:
There are a few other games I can't help but write a few lines about. On WiiWare, we have the Holy Trinity of Japanese absurdist comedy games: Tomena Sanner, Muscle March, and Let's Hitchhike. The fact that these games are being localized at all is nothing short of a miracle.
At retail, we have a slew of other miracles that I never thought I'd play in English: Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces, and Fragile (and Fatal Frame IV, if that patch ever gets finished). Then there are the big Japanese hits like Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes, Samurai Warriors 3, Tales of Graces, and Monster Hunter Tri. I want to play them all pretty badly, if not just to see what all the fuss is about (and hitting a giant dinosaur in the face with an axe while underwater still looks awesome).
OK, enough out of me. Hit it, Concelmo!
Super Mario Galaxy 2:
Miyamoto has promised that Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be feature all new planets and galaxies, will include even more varied gameplay (including some awesome power-ups for Yoshi), and, most exciting, will be a much more challenging game. Also, it will be the first direct sequel to a Mario game since the Japan-only Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels on the original NES. That is reason enough to be excited.