e3 2014

Giant Robots And Security Camera Defense On Wii U

by Tim Turi on Jun 10, 2014 at 07:00 AM

Today Nintendo announced Fox McCloud is coming out retirement for a new Wii U title. Along with that presentation Nintendo showed off two other Wii U titles that appear to be related to Star Fox. One features giant robots fighting via goofy game physics, while the other tests players micromanagement skills as a security guard in a sci-fi base. Both heavily rely on the unique touchscreen/analog control of the GamePad.

Project Giant Robot puts players in a series of small challenges against other gigantic, skyscraper-sized robots. You can customize the height, length, and general size of each body part. Want a huge head, Popeye arms, and a chicken legs? Go for it, but you're probably going to fall over and lose thanks to the game's physics-based gameplay. Imagine the imbalanced hilarity of games like Sumo Tori combined with a bit more gameplay nuance. Analog sticks control your arms, but moving the GamePad allows you to move the robot's torso and throw your weight into a punch. The right movements will knock down an enemy, while an overzealous blow might make you topple over. Judged by itself, Project Giant Robot is fun, simple, and gets easy laughs thanks to its silly robot-themed physical humor.

Project Guard is an original take on the tower defense genre-style of game. Players arrange a series of security cameras in their base, using the GamePad touchscreen to adjust placement and rotation. Once the game begins, players must simultaneously watch all the cameras' video feeds, keeping an eye out for attacking robots. Stopping incoming robots requires selecting a nearby camera, aiming with the GamePad, and blasting a laser. Stealth robots elude the radar and only show up on camera, while bird robots can dismantle cameras altogether. These various robot types, along with increasing attack frequency, make the game much harder. A friendly spotter or two is a fun and useful addition.

These two titles tie into Star Fox in a roundabout way. Firstly, Star Fox logos appear on the security cameras in Project Guard. Secondly, Nintendo luminary Shigeru Miyamoto noted the similarities between the robots in Project Guard and a helper bot in Star Fox. Miyamoto also stated Star Fox would feature different mission types, and suggested that these projects could be examples.

Evaluated by themselves, Project Guard and Project Giant Robot are fun little diversions that remind me how unique a piece of hardware the Wii U GamePad in. Judging these games as possible tie-ins with a full Star Fox game is a different matter entirely. These quirky titles won't scratch the itch trigger fingers of diehard Star Fox fans, but they may entertain those interested in more unconventional, goofy games. Many questions still swarm around these Project games and Star Fox.