Everyone loves to talk about great games that NEED sequels, so in two parts, I’m offering up 5 Nintendo-platform games that beg to be sequel-ized. Please leave me your feedback and thoughts!
#5 Metroid Prime Pinball (DS)
Released to US audiences in 2005, this is not a title I played at launch. Honestly, I fell into that category of people (probably a fairly large group) who thought, “Metroid . . . and pinball. Really?” The concept struck me as yet another goofy “oh those crazy Nintendo developers” moments. Having zero skill at pinball in real life (and thus no interest in virtual recreations), I happily overlooked this gem of a game for several years. When I spotted it on discount at an indie 2ndhand shop ($11.99), I figured I’d give it a test run.
In spite of my initial reservations, MPP turned out to be one of my favorite games on the DS system. Though the title includes only 6 pinball tables, I managed to wring several weeks of entertainment out of this solid little Metroid-offshoot. Difficult without being impossible, even I, as a gamer who SUCKS at pinball, was able to gradually build up the necessary skills to finish the game. Each board in MPP is themed after an area from the cannon Metroid series, complete with boss fights and a final confrontation that takes a lot of practice and skill to complete. Gameplay cleverly spans the two screens of the DS, a visual device that works very well (in spite of occasional lost-balls that occur when Samus crosses between screens). I can imagine some players becoming frustrated with the nature of the game–if you lose all your balls, you’re going back to the beginning, no continues allowed–but the challenge and score-based achievement system grew on me, deftly combining an old-school score-attack with the sensibilities of a modern adventure game. The player must complete certain pinball-style tasks to open new levels, and your score matters in terms of both bragging rights and extra lives.
To my entire surprise, MPP constantly left me itching for “just one more game”. Unfortunately, a quick google search turned up ZERO information regarding any future sequel. Anyone with information on this item, PLEASE pass it along via comments–I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d be willing to pay for an Echoes-themed followup.
#4 Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure (Wii)
With a title like that, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the first ZaW was a sequel itself–but you’d be wrong. Frankly, I’ve often wondered if the convoluted title and semi-childish box art caused this title to suffer at the sales counter. Furthermore, the game could easily be mistaken for a commercial tie-in to some kiddie cartoon (and not one you’ve even heard of)–leading mature gamers to skip it without a second thought. Regrettably, I think a lot of Wii owners missed out on this awesome, unique title. The good news is that with a long wait between Skyward Sword and the debut of Wii U, players can pick this one up in the used bin for practically nothing, and get a really great game experience on the cheap.
Zach and Wiki is most like classic point-and-click adventure games (think Lucasarts-style games like Maniac Mansion or The Secret of Monkey Island), but uses a unique “single screen” puzzle layout. Rather than adventuring through a large sandbox world to complete fetch-quests and dialog trees, Zach and Wiki’s puzzles are typically contained within a self-contained level. You’ll face a single area at a time (though most areas are bigger than a television screen, requiring some scrolling and character movement), with a standard solution usually requiring the manipulation of a handful of moveable items, clues, and creatures.
And yes–this game is one of the few to successfully incorporate Wii motion controls. Though some of the waggles/twists/points are a little flaky and difficult to control (this game debuted long before MotionPlus was around), the problems are not significant enough to hamper the game’s overall fun. Most of a player’s time will be spent working on the puzzles themselves, trying to figure out how to manipulate strange and comical items into a workable solution. The game’s scoring system rewards ingenuity and speed, so ZaW actually has decent replay value for those who want to earn the highest marks.
According to a 1998 comment, Capcom appears disinterested in the possibility of a sequel. A quick google search turned up the predictable petitions, messsage-board discussions, and a “Zack and Wiki 2 Has To Be Made” facebook group, but no hints that Capcom has reconsidered. While we give them time to change their mind, in the meantime, let’s keep the flame alive by remembering this excellent, unique Wii-only title that definitely deserves a second installment.
And that’s all for now. MORE TO COME… #3, #2, and #1 coming soon!