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Desert Island Downloads - Jack's Picks

10th May 2011; By Jack

If you knew in advance that you would be stranded on a desert island, what games would you take to keep yourself entertained while you awaited rescue? Throughout this week, some of us will be answering that very question. Instead of a set number of games, each team member has been given 5000 Wii Points to spend on any combination of titles from the Wii Shop Channel, as well as the chance to nominate one game they just couldn't quite fit into their budget. What games will we choose to help pass the days, weeks and months isolated from civilization? Read on to find out!

Today, I take you through what I would spend my 5000 Wii Points on. I'm using a European Wii for my choices and spent 4800 of the allotted 5000 Wii Points.

Tetris Party
1200 Wii Points / WiiWare / Tetris Online, Inc. 

I had a tough time deciding whether or not Tetris Party should make it on my list of games to take with me. It's one of the most expensive games on the service at a whopping 1,200 Points and those points could be used to pick up two gems instead. But at the end of the day, Tetris continues to deliver one of the most fun and appealing active puzzlers ever and brings along a bunch of incredibly fun extra modes with it too.

Along with the classic Tetris we all know and love the game offers some interesting new additions. Perhaps my two favourite modes, though, are Beginners Tetris and Duel Spaces. Beginners Tetris is played in a much smaller matrix than the regular game and offer two and three block tetrominoes as well as the standard four block variants. While the smaller grid and new pieces does make the game simpler, it also delivers a fast and fun variant of the game that's great for getting your puzzling mind flowing. It can even be played with the Wii Balance Board for even more variety. Duel Spaces on the other hand takes place on an extended matrix between two players. Rather than trying to complete lines, your aim is to try and capture as much of the playing field as possible by using your tetrominoes to completely block off gaps of empty space (this gap would be completely surrounded by tetrominoes and/or the sides of the matrix). Any space captured is filled with blocks of your colour and whoever has the most of the playing field in their colour at the end of the game wins. It's a nice twist which makes you think about pieces in a completely different way while keeping that Tetris vibe.

With the classic game and plenty of variety, I could quite honestly survive on my island with just this one game. It may be pricey, but the game is very much worth every point.

Bomberman '94

700 Wii Points / TurboGrafx / Hudson Soft

When it comes to great multiplayer games, Bomberman will always be high up on my list. Whether alone or with friends, the series offers a brilliant combination of strategic thinking and flat out destructive mayhem. With each multiplayer map offering new tricks and gimmicks to learn, as well as a wide range of power-ups changing battle to battle, the games offer a lot of variety and it manages to feel like your never playing the same match twice. 

So with the games staple multiplayer mayhem so appealing to me, why did I choose one of the older titles rather than the newer Bomberman Blast for WiiWare? Well, if I'm going to be stuck on my own I want to be able to experience Bomberman's excellent single player mode as well. While the multiplayer focuses more on the destructive chaos of five people dropping far too many bombs for such a small arena, the larger more maze-like levels of the single player mode bring a more strategic element. With various enemies patrolling the mazes, each with their own movement and attack patterns, blasting everything you see to bits can make it incredibly tricky to pin down down where they can't escape. Therefore you need to plan ahead, leaving blocks in place to help corner a tricky opponent.

While I haven’t had the chance to play Bomberman ‘94 yet (I’m still enjoying Bomberman ‘93, which was my very first Virtual Console purchase) it looks to offer the best of both single-player & multiplayer and provide something fresh to sink my teeth into while providing that classic Bomberman brilliance.

Chew Man Fu

600 Wii Points / TurboGrafx / HUDSON SOFT

Games like
Chew Man Fu are the reason I’m glad that Nintendo released the Virtual Console service. It’s a game I had never heard before (along with most of the excellent TurboGrafx catalogue) and has quickly become one of my favourite games I’ve downloaded.

The game sees you trying to roll balls around a very compact maze, placing each ball on it’s corresponding coloured tile, while avoiding the numerous enemies that also inhabit the maze. The mix of strategy needed to navigate your way through each maze without trapping yourself along with the quick-paced action of avoiding or squashing enemies really mix well together. They also provide a lot of different gameplay strategies while still keeping the game fun and frantic. For example, you can try and get your balls to their tiles as fast as possible, or strategically leave them blocking off certain paths to force enemies to take a longer route, or block them in completely. You can try and navigate the maze, finding the quickest and safest route to your destination, or simply smash own the walls around you, opening up a clearer path, but also taking up time that lets your opponents close in on you.

It’s a game where I’ve played the same levels nearly a hundred times, yet is still as fresh and exciting as when I first picked it up and I reckon it could easily keep me entertained for years while stranded on my desert island.

Super Mario Bros. 2

500 Wii Points / NES / Nintendo

Having grown up with the Gameboy and NES, platformers have always played a big part in my gaming preferences, so it wouldn’t be right not to include one in my selection. Thankfully, the Virtual Console service is chockful of excellent platformers from a variety of consoles. While many would argue there are far superior platformers available on the service, for me
Super Mario Bros. 2 offers the perfect package for a Desert Island Download due to it’s gameplay mechanics offering a lot of variety and replayability.

It offers four different characters to play as each with their own different abilities and weaknesses, from Princess Toadstool’s magical skirt of levitation to Luigi’s extra high jumps at the cost of slippery stops. Each ability brings about new tactics for playing through the game and open up different paths for progression, offering very different experiences within the same framework, essentially giving me four different games in one fun package.

I also really enjoy the throwing mechanic that replaced Mario’s usual head stomping ability, as it once again opens up new ways to play. Do you dig up every vegatable in hope of finding secrets or be more selective, hoping to find a potion which will let you cash in any remaining shrubs for precious coins? Do you knock out an enemy ahead, or try and avoid their attacks so you can pick them up and use them as a weapon themselves? Do you attack every enemy, or save your projectiles in case of an even tougher foe ahead? While I may not think through all of these choices consciously while playing, I find them affecting me in different ways with each playthrough, offering a fresh different experience with every play.

With so many different ways to play and experiment with the world this little gem of a platformer could happily keep me going for hours on end, making the time fly by while I await my rescue.


1000 Wii Points / WiiWare / SEGA

At first glance, Let’s CATCH may seem like a strange concept for a game, perhaps you may even see it as a little unnecessary. But once you dive into the main game, it offers a wonderfully unique charm not found in many other games.

The main premise of the game, as you may have guessed from the title, is throwing and catching a ball across several gameplay variations. There is a pass-the-bomb variation, knock down the targets and even a speed-catching mode, which all add some enjoyable quick fun. But where the game truly shines is in the story mode. This sees your Mii head down to the local park and play a relaxing game of catch with one of the worlds many residents. It’s a soothing affair as you can just let your worries fade away and enjoy it’s simplicity. As you continue to play catch the residents of the world open up to you, sharing a glimpse into their lives as they discuss their dreams, relationships and problems. As you meet more and more people their tales become intertwined, sharing a rich tapestry of the world around you. As you meet up with people again you hear how their story has moved on, having been affected by yourself and the other characters you have met, creating an engrossing world and story from something so simple and relaxing.

Although it is virtual, I feel that being able to hear these peoples tales and interact with them would help starve off the loneliness of being isolated on my island while the soothing music and green fields would help me relax and remind me of home, providing a pleasant way to end a hard day of surviving.

chick chick BOOM

800 Wii Points / WiiWare / tons of bits

While chick chick BOOM may be primarily aimed towards a multiplayer experience (something which may not seem that ideal when trapped on a desert island by yourself), I believe it still deserves a place on my picks for all the crazy fun you can have against the computer.

The game offers a lot of crazy fast-paced action as you try to draw in your attacks as quickly and accurately as possible while drawing onto the battlefield in order to try and defend your army of chicks or even sabotage your opponents plans. This may seem frantic already, but once you add in bonus pinatas, special attacks you have to race against your opponent to use and a giant walking talking corn on the cob, you are left with something very fun indeed. While there may only be five attacks at your disposal in any round, the freeform drawing ability really offers a lot of creativity and replayability to matches as you discover new tricks and tactics to give yourself an advantage. The game also offers a Pro mode, which sees you fight against an endless army of enemy chicks as you try and survive as long as possible, offering a nice challenge and the drive to go back and try and beat your current winning streak.

chick chick BOOM
may not be a game I would play on my own for hours at a time, its frantic fast-paced fun makes for great 10-15 minute blasts between other games, helping offer a dose of chaos, charm and ever-changing gameplay to refresh myself and put a smile on my face.

The One That Got Away

Art Style: ORBIENT

600 Wii Points / WiiWare / Nintendo

If I had the chance to squeeze one more game into the above collection it would have to be Art Style: ORBIENT. I originally came across the game, not on the WiiWare service, but instead as part of the Japan-only Gameboy Advance series known as Bit Generations. The premise is a simple yet strange thing, but one that is utterly hypnotic once you get the hang of things. The A Button attracts your miniature planet towards other planets, while the B button repels you away from them. Despite having no direct control over your planet, harnessing these two forces opens up a very fluid, relaxing and entertaining way to soar through the solar systems as you carefully nudge your drift using the nearby planets, or harness a larger planets gravitational pull to catapult yourself around it and into a smaller planet that you can absorb.

The whole thing is a very unique and satisfying experience and one you should definitely try. The only reason it missed out a place on my list is due to the fact that some of the levels don’t have quite the replayability as the other games I have chosen. Plus, my interest waned with the WiiWare remake after getting stuck on a single level for a long time. It definitely one of the more unique experiences on the service though and remains one of my favourites.

Read what BillyPatrick, and KS8 would pick if they were stranded on a desert island!

Feature by Jack
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