And yes, we played a lot of Smash Bros.
YOSHI'S WOOLLY WORLD
In 2015, the Yoshi's Island-themed iteration of Epic Yarn is coming to Wii U in Yoshi's Woolly World. Like Yoshi games before it, you jump on enemies, consume them to create shootable eggs, and exaggeratedly jump across gullies as Mario's goofy green dinosaur. Like Epic Yarn, well, everything's made of yarn. Rather, it's made of "woolly" things this time around. The levels are gorgeous and look like real, living worlds, only everything's made of craft store items. Secrets abound, and the textured cloth effect is hidden everywhere. In the demo we played, there weren't any GamePad-specific features beyond off-screen play.
We're not exactly upset, but the GamePad not being featured was a theme among the demos we played.
CAPTAIN TOAD: TREASURE TRACKER
In 3D World, Toad's worlds were limited. In Captain Toad, they range in size dramatically, from the standard-ish 3D cube to a vertical world inside a volcano. On one puzzle, we had to carefully time our movements based on the attacks of a fire-breathing lava monster. On another, we struggled with deciphering the twists and nooks of a floating world. We're told it's not a digital game, but a full release; Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker arrives this holiday.
Oh, and most importantly, there's a button reserved for making Toad say silly things.Perfect. If we could somehow get a level that involves Toad wearing an astronaut suit on the Moon, that'd be great. Thanks Nintendo.
SUPER SMASH BROS. FOR 3DS / WII U
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS are completely different beasts. The issue isn't so much that they're different games -- they are, but not that different -- but that the control methods for each are so wildly different. Even on a 3DS XL, which we used to play Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, it's really tough and kind of painful. Blocking is a central component to any fighting game, and in Smash Bros. it's handled by the shoulder buttons. In practice, this means discomfort at least and, more likely, frustrating hand cramps.
3DS control issues aside, both games play a lot like you'd expect. Nintendo favorites return and new favorites are added; it's the same raucously fun affair it's always been. We loved Little Mac -- he's fast and brutal -- and Samus -- she's better than ever. Mega Man was seemingly less powerful than we expected, but with only 10 rounds to play, we'll need much more time before leveling any real judgment. Though the 3DS version is noticeably pared down, both games are very pretty and run just as smoothly as we hoped. Both versions of Super Smash Bros. are set to arrive this holiday, with the 3DS version launching a bit sooner in October.
Hyrule Warriors is fine, but nowhere near the grandeur or delivery of a standard Zeldaentry. Sadly, all we have for now is a 2015 window and a brief tease of the actual next series entry from longtime producer Eiji Aonuma.