Winter is the perfect time to bombard gamers with great titles - the freezing cold weather makes them even less likely to go outside, meaning they'll spend even more time gaming. Nintendo seems to agree, as they've just sent us a list of their complete Winter line-up, with confirmed release dates for New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, Wii Fit Plus and much more.
Arguably the biggest title is New Super Mario Bros. Wii, confirmed to launch across Europe on 20th November 2009.
Of course, this is a fully-fledged Mario adventure if played alone, but a million miles more exciting is the ability for up to four players to join in the fun at the same time, playing as Mario, Luigi or either one of the Toads in a mission to save Princess Peach. Like Zelda: Four Swords Adventure on Gamecube, New Super Mario Bros. Wii offers a mix of cooperative and competitive play, meaning players can choose whether to work together to rescue Princess Peach or use their solo skills to battle for the best ranking. Kindly souls will no doubt want to cooperate by saving their friends from danger, but everyone else will probably get rid of the competition by tossing them straight into it!
The game also makes full use of the motion control capabilities of Wii to enhance gameplay – tilting the Wii Remote to control a see-saw platform could let you reach secret areas, for example. There's also a brand new propeller suit, which, by shaking the Wii Remote, allows your character to fly and hover – great for reaching secret areas. You can also use your suit to help your fellow players, taking them as passengers to wherever you want - most likely a death fall in our mind. Of course there's a new penguin suit too which enables you to throw ice balls at your enemy, jump onto your stomach and slide with incredible speed across icy sections of a stage. Players can even ride different Yoshis, using their tongues to swallow enemies – or their fellow players!
A little earlier than all this multiplayer Mario mania is the follow-up to everyone's favourite fitness 'em up in the lithe shape of Wii Fit Plus, due to yoga its way into shops on 30th October. Improvements over last year's title include the ability to personalise your own yoga routines and strength-training exercises to create a continuous exercise plan to suit your individual fitness goals, as well as a new caloriemeter to estimate the amount of oxygen used by the body during physical activity. Helpfully for those chilly times ahead, Wii Fit Plus can even warm your hands and feet to ease tension.
In addition to all the original Wii Fit features, Wii Fit Plus now brings you 50% more content, including 15 new trainings and six new strength training and yoga activities, meaning you can relax and ease away the stresses of daily life from those aching muscles.
For DS fans, the big title is surely The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, due to launch on December 11th. The sequel to the stunning Zelda: Phantom Hourglass features a new mode of transport as you must control a train to navigate Link’s world, charting a course to the end of the line past all manner of obstacles and enemies that will try to thwart your plans.
What’s more, Link has a new companion in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: the Phantom. This giant suit of armour now responds to commands, helping Link by battling enemies and walking through fire and lava. Whether working the tracks on the train or battling through the dungeons, the new Zelda adventure will keep your stylus tapping this winter as you crack its fiendish new storyline.
That's not all - Nintendo all sent through their entire Autumn/Winter line-up, from first-party behemoths to some rather smaller titles. We'll update the relevant games so you'll know exactly when to leave your warm, cosy gaming lair and pick up your most anticipated titles from your favourite gaming retailer.