Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Critter Round-Up

By: Shawn

Service: WiiWare
Developer: Epicenter Studios/Konami
Cost: 1000 Wii Points
Title: Critter Round-Up
Players: 1 - 4 (Wiimote Only)
Genre: Puzzle

Critter Round-Up is one of the six initial WiiWare titles available thru Nintendo’s Wii Shop.  Developed by Epicenter Studios and Konami; the game’s central premise is that you control a lil’ farmer dude who has to build fences to separate the varying animal species from each other.

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This sounds simple and quite frankly it is.  The Wiimote is held sideways, NES-style, using only the -, 1, and 2 buttons.  Movement is controlled via the directional pad and shaking the Wiimote will destroy any premade fence. The only odd gripe is not being able to stop building a fence after you’ve started. 

The challenge comes from several areas.  You receive a score based on time, critters left alive (predatory carnivorous jackass hyenas will eat everything), and other criteria.  The game itself has a 50 some odd level Adventure mode, as well as a few mini-games.  There’s a co-op challenge, and a marathon mode which supports 4 players.

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Unfortunately Critter Round-Up has no online support of any type.  No leaderboards to track marathon scores or online multiplayer are to be found here.  This could be looked at more of an issue with Nintendo and their fledging online support.

Critter Round-Up is yet another excellent example of why these virtual stores work so well in the next generation. A game like this simply wouldn’t survive in a retail environment but services like the XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade), the PSN Store (Playstation Network Store), as well as this continue to provide an outlet for creative original titles.

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