Back at E3 2011, Nintendo showed off a tech demo called New Super Mario Bros. Mii, displaying how the original New Super Mario Bros. Wii mechanics would translate onto the Nintendo Wii U console with remote play features and improved textures and resolution. Soon thereafter, New Super Mario Bros. U became a thing, presumably once they realized they might as well just make it an entire game for retail after adding in a slew of new features to better incorporate the GamePad.
Now, at the 2014 Game Developers’ Conference, one of their latest tech demos is one of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series playing on the Wii U. One of the most significant differences is how the GamePad and television work together to give a much more intuitive control scheme for the puzzle/strategy game, showing their Web Framework for general development. The levels shown vary from relatively small to grand, which at any point are shown in their entirety on the television while any zoomed-in portion of the screen is shown on the GamePad, allowing you to place your springs and other objects necessary for victory accordingly. Watching the tech demo, courtesy of GameXplain, the benefit of having a huge screen is once again evident as you are more easily able to coordinate your strategies with the console’s technology.
As with New Super Mario Bros. U, there is a large possibility that this tech demo will wind up as an actual game, either for retail or on the eShop. If or when this Mario vs. Donkey Kong Wii U title is actually confirmed for release, we will be sure to let you know. Regardless, it’s very interesting and a great look at the Wii U’s potential as much more than an oversized Nintendo DS but rather its own unique and innovative console capable of streamlining gameplay in a way no other system can at the moment. Many other games are taking advantage of this feature, such as Affordable Space Adventures, which looks amazing, and Pikmin 3, which is amazing. It’s all something that needs to be shown at much more than a glance, more specifically with better marketing, but that’s another story entirely.
Nintendo boasting their technology at GDC like this may be just what they need to show third-party developers how they can stretch their creative wings. Now they’ll just have to keep it up and go even further with it all and push, push, push.
Indie game support for the Wii U has been very strong lately, and it’s only getting stronger. More developers are realizing how unique features can be implemented beyond the standard controller, as has been the case with Rayman Legends and Need for Speed Most Wanted U. This tech demo of Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a small, but effective, reminder of just what Nintendo is capable of.