E3 2011: hands on with Wii U tablet

The new Wii U console will debut in 2012. It combines motion control with a touchscreen game controller. Nintendo says "it will change the way we play games".

The new Wii U console will debut in 2012. It combines motion control with a touchscreen game controller. Nintendo says "it will change the way we play games".

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Nintendo has introduced the Wii U, the successor to the Wii. Think of the Wii U as a sort of DS and Wii hybrid, combining touch and motion controls, with an on-screen HD gaming experience.

We were lucky enough to get some hands-on time with a collection of Wii U game demos and time with the tablet controller.

The Wii U tablet's screen is astonishingly bright and detailed, allowing for both stylus and touch inputs. The controller itself is lighter than we thought it would be and the rear Z triggers fit snugly in our hands.

We got a glimpse of the Wii U console too, which appears to be a slightly bulkier but rounded Wii console. It was hidden behind a plastic window, so we can't attest to its actual dimensions.

As mentioned earlier, we had a generous amount of hands-on time with some Wii U games:

Battle Mii: in this sort of hide-and-seek game, the player using the Wii U tablet flies a spacecraft hunting down Mii characters sporting Metroid-inspired armour. The Wii U tablet's tilt capabilities are used to aim and each thumbpad is responsible for moving the aircraft while the Z triggers control zoom and firing. In practice the game was enjoyable, encouraging the Wii remote players to communicate and plan strategies against the tablet player.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Chase Mii: in Chase Mii, up to four players with Wii remote controls must hunt down and tackle the tablet player. Four quadrants divide a maze-inspired map with the tablet player having the advantage of a 15-second start and being able to see the entire map showing all players' locations.

New Super Mario Bros Mii: the first HD Mario Bros game looks fantastic, but played exactly like New Super Mario Bros Wii. Of course, Mii characters can be imported and played in-game. Here, the Wii U tablet simply mirrors the game, showing how easy it is to instantly pick up the game if a TV isn't readily available.

Overall, we're impressed with the innovative uses of the Wii U tablet. The graphics on its screen are sharp and clear, and we were surprised by how much of a separate experience it provides away from the TV screen. The HD graphics are great, but saying the picture "trumps" current-generation consoles is inaccurate.

Via CNET

Tags:
Gaming
About the author

Jeff is a host for CNET video and is regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404, and also writes the site's tech comic, Low Latency. He is CNET's senior gaming editor and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.

 

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