Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WiiWare Demos Overview #7

Nintendo began to allow Demos for WiiWare, and with each week, there has been at least one new demo released alongside the new titles for WiiWare, Virtual Console, and DSiWare.

In order to help those see what the demos contain, we here at 3RM will explain what each demo contains content-wise relative to the actual game. Overviews are made every other week, unless more than one demo is released in a particular week.

Please note that games which have a bronze rating or higher on the Nintendo Channel will keep their demos longer. In order to vote for the games, you must own the full version and have played the full version for longer than an hour in order to recommend it. Once recommended enough, the game will be given a particular rating on the Nintendo Channel.

This update, we bring the bad news that some demos are now being removed from the Wii Shop Channel. Please remember to try the demos (or at least download them) as soon as you can, before they disappear.


Art of Balance

Developer: Shin'en Multimedia
Publisher: Shin'en Multimedia
Original Release: February 15, 2010
Price: 800 Wii Points

What is it?
Art of Balance is a physics-based puzzle game in which players have to stack a set of blocks in such a way that they remain balanced for a set of time. The ground on which these blocks are stacked is not necessarily flat, nor are the blocks themselves basic in shape, neither. Some blocks even vanish after all blocks are stacked, and another set cannot be used until other blocks are stacked up beforehand. The game offers a large, multi-branched single-player mode along with a number of challenges and a multiplayer mode in which two people race to build their balanced stacks first. An easy-going puzzle experience, with challenge for all.

What does the demo have?
The demo provides players with a chunk of the single-player experience. The demo only allows players to play a dozen or so puzzles from World A, including a couple of the challenges strewn throughout the early part of the game. Once a select number of puzzles are completed, players are brought to a screen where they are able to select to replay the demo, go to the Wii Shop Channel, or enter the Wii Menu.

How does it compare with the full version?
Art of Balance has over a hundred levels, so the demo offers more or less a tenth of the experience, and the easiest part of it, at that. The game has four worlds, each with multiple paths and challenge levels scattered throughout the experience. On top of that, there is the multiplayer mode for some extended replay value. Those intrigued by the game's presentation in the demo will not have trouble enjoying the entire game


Developer: Gaijin Games
Publisher: Aksys Games
Original Release: March 16, 2009
Price: 600 Wii Points

What is it?
The first game of the BIT.TRIP series, players rely on rotating the Wii Remote to control a paddle on the left side of the screen. The purpose for the paddle is to knock back beats which come from the right side of the screen and ultimately survive through all three levels of increasing madness. Powerups and challenges arrive along the way which only help to bring a real arcade experience back with a musical and colorful twist.

What does the demo have?
This demo is the same demo which released in November 2009 during Nintendo's original dealings with WiiWare demos. Players will be able to experience a portion of the first level of the game, Transition. This gives players the means to encounter the basic and not-so-basic beats as they run across the screen. Some time into the level, however, the game fades to black, and then the game shows a screen demonstrating the remaining levels in the game, where players can choose to replay the demo, leave the demo, or enter the Wii Shop Channel.

How does it compare to the full version?
The final game has three full levels, each standing at roughly fifteen minutes a piece. Of course, completing those levels will take several tries, and defeating the bosses at the end of each level also takes a number of tries. Not only that, but the game saves scores, offering plenty of replayability for those interested in topping their previous scores. Very accessible for all, but hard to master and perfect.


The Victims


The demo emphasized the game's unique style, but the demo may have deterred casual gamers due to the complex control scheme. Considering it failed to chart on the Top 20 pre or post-demo, the game most likely did not benefit well enough for Nintendo to keep the demo up, and so it was removed.

lilt line

While the game did appear in the Top 20, it may have been the result of the game's release and Gaijin Games's pedigree as a developer more than the demo itself. The demo is short, but it shows off roughly a third of the full game. This could make some believe the game to be too short or easy, even though later levels are much harder. Its appearance on Nintendo Week emphasizes the point that Nintendo wants to get more gamers buying it without trying a misleading demo.


Also demonstrated in this past week's episode of Nintendo Week, Frobot is a game which fumbled in developing hype just prior to its release. The demo showed two levels from the game along with a multiplayer map, but some may have been turned off by the game's simple puzzles or slower pace depicted in the demo early on and chose not to purchase the game after playing the demo. Nintendo's Nintendo Week focus pushes the fact that they want interest on the game and not on the demo.


Previous Games:

11.22.10 - And Yet it Moves / BIT.TRIP FATE / Jett Rocket / ThruSpace
11.29.10 - Cave Story
12.6.10 - Fluidity
12.13.10 - lilt line
12.20.10 - Frobot
12.27.10 - Max and the Magic Marker
1.3.11 - Robox

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