DSiWare: Pre-release Roundup

For us here at WiiWare World, April can't get here soon enough. The Nintendo DSi will launch on April 2 in Australia, April 3 in Europe and April 5 in North America. That makes for a pretty exciting few days!

The new DSi (for those intending to buy one) offers several intriguing new features, perhaps the most substantial being DSiWare.

And with under a month to go, and expectations high, what better time to take a look at the handful of DSiWare games that have been announced so far? Three of them have been rated by the Australian OFLC (as indicated below). The others have been revealed by the EU trailer, viewable all the way down at the bottom of this article.

Here's what we think are likely candidates for the DSiWare launch:

Paper Plane (Nintendo) - An expanded version of a WarioWare microgame (and the subject of a few interesting Flash games as well), Paper Plane sees you controlling the titular sheet of folded paper as it maneuvers its way through a tall tower, avoiding obstacles and hazards. Time Attack and Battle Mode (though the latter seems to be a bit misleadingly named) are also available, as is a two-player mode--without the need for a second DSi! (OFLC rated)

Pyoro (Nintendo) - Another WarioWare microgame, enhanced for this new stand-alone version. In the first game, Pyoro is a little bird who must catch falling seedlings with his nightmarishly-long tongue. The seedlings he misses will reduce his field of play, making the game progressively more difficult. In the second mode Pyoro is less hungry and more destructive: he fires projectiles at the falling seedlings instead. It will be interesting to see how much this concept gets expanded upon for solo release. (OFLC rated)

Solitaire DSi (Nintendo) - Solitaire is one of the most exciting first-person shooters you will ever play. Action-packed, gory, filled to the brim with challenging enemies and...oh. No. No, wait; it's just that card game you get free with Windows. Sorry to get your hopes up. Still, we'd all be lying to ourselves if we claimed not to enjoy a good time-killing game of Solitaire every now and again. It's a simple concept (descending card values alternating between red and black), but it's just involved enough to keep from getting boring. Hopefully the DSi version will feature some interesting modes to extend its playability, but even if it doesn't, you can't go wrong with a proven classic.

Clubhouse Games Express: Classic Cards (Nintendo) - selection of 5 card games from the larger Clubhouse Games retail release. This slimmer package includes I Doubt It, Memory, Old Maid, Sevens, and Spit (aka: Speed). A potential wealth of online competitors could make this a much more exciting time-waster than Solitaire, but, obviously, you already know whether you're interested in buying this or not. (OFLC rated)

Art Style: Aquario (Nintendo) - The "Art Style" name is synonymous now with "simple genius," so both announced Art Style titles are promising by default. Aquario sounds, so far, like a basic sliding tile puzzle: match a line of colors and the line disappears. But somehow I'd bank on this being more complex than it seems. The Art Style games have so far done excellent jobs of turning simple concepts into unique and memorable experiences, so count on this one to continue the trend.

Art Style: Decode (Nintendo) - Now this looks fascinating. Your goal in Decode is to select numbers from a floating mass so that they add up to 10. Simple, right? Well, in Decode, the shape of the numbers matter as much as the values, meaning that you can flip certain numbers horizontally or vertically to turn them into other numbers. From the screen shots it appears as though we're getting several different modes with variations on the basic mechanic, so this is well worth keeping an eye on.

WarioWare Snapped! (Nintendo) - One of two major Nintendo franchises to be coming to DSiWare in the near future, WarioWare Snapped! is, as I'm sure you can guess, a series of microgames. This time, however, they will mostly focus around the DSi's new internal camera. The games will likely involve silly faces and poses and, for that reason, WarioWare Snapped! will probably not be suitable for playing in public places. It should certainly appeal to younger gamers, as well, and will have plenty of that patented WarioWare humor.

Dr. Mario DSi (Nintendo) The classic puzzler Dr. Mario comes to DSiWare with what is guaranteed to be one of its best-selling releases. It also, unfortunately, represents our first crushing disappointment as there is no planned multi-player feature. Oh well. Dr. Mario is lots of fun and very addictive in single-player mode, but we can't help but feel a little sadness at the inability to compete against others. At least it's evidence that we can expect more big Nintendo names to arrive on DSiWare down the line.

Well, that's it for now! Doubtless we'll start to hear more announcements and rumors come April and beyond, and we here at WiiWare World will be here to keep you abreast of them, helping to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the meantime, start saving up your money for a DSi. (Heck, if you save enough, you can buy one for me, too!)

Check out the EU trailer for yourself:
[youtube:Hx3MLTUOcm0]

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