Hands-on / Prince of Persia, MadWorld, Wario Land: Shake It!

Wait a minute, these games have nothing to do with each other! Or do they? Bum bum buuuummm!!!!!! Yes, yes they do. But what is it, why would I select these three seemingly random games from E3 that I got to spend some time with and put them into a single post? The answer lies within each games phenomenal artistic style. These three games really stuck out to me as artistically visionary; a look at what games can do not only with gameplay but with style and artistry. So I’ve decided to group them together as the top three artistically stunning games of E3.

3. Wario Land: Shake It! I know this might come out of left field for plenty of people and I’m sure many would argue that there were plenty of other artistically stunning games at E3 that might deserve this spot (Ninjatown; LittleBigPlanet; anything at IndieCade, which we’ll have more on later), but let me tell you, the screenshots and condensed video do not do the hand drawn animation of this game justice at all. Neither does the fact that Nintendo hasn’t made the game wide screen, opting instead to put bars on either side of the picture, but I digress. The thing runs like a Saturday morning cartoon from top to bottom. Wario’s movements and actions and beautifully animated and the background and enemies around him seem to have gotten the same attention. Best of all though is that all this gorgeous animation is stuck in an old school 2D platformer style that seems to be so jam packed full of retro style gameplay that it might rival Mega Man 9 for retro game of the year.

Actually, that is a bit extreme. But still, you get my drift. The game plays like the platformers of old with jumping challenges, wandering bad guys and mini-puzzles. Throughout the introductory level I played, I felt like Nintendo had gone back and constructed a game that looked modern but played old school, and that is no small task. One wonders why they didn’t make a bigger deal out of this game at their press conference, since just from the small glimpse I got of it I’m more excited by this than any other Nintendo game entering the scene.

Of course, it isn’t entirely old school stuff flowing out of Wario Land: Shake It!. As the title suggests, players will be using the controller to shake things up a bit. Wario will shake money bags to get loot out of them, bad guys to kill them and pound the ground to destroy floors or launch items into the air. All this is of course done by shaking the Wii remote up and down. In the first level it wasn’t used too much and if they keep it at the same level throughout the gameplay, it will actually be an interesting game mechanic and not a gimmick. But we all know how easily a feature like this can tip into tedium. Even if it does though, I could simply watch Wario run and run the screen – the animation just looks so good. If this sparks a future of beautifully animated side-scrolling platformers on home consoles, please sign me up.

[See also: Wario Land: Shake It! gallery]

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