WiiWare is now available in the US (as of yesterday). If you don’t already know, that means there are now original titles that can be purchased online and downloaded for the Wii. You can see the list here. Last night I purchased Defend your Castle and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, and played a little bit of each.
Defend your Castle is fun, though it made my hand hurt after playing for a while (my daughter said hers hurt also). But I definitely think it’s worth the $5. The style of the graphics and sound effects is just awesome. I love the explosion sounds (someone vocally imitating the sound of an explosion).
FFCC: My Life as a King is cool and fun so far, though decidedly mercenary. It only wants you to think that it’s a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game for $15. First, this is basically a city-management game. Which is cool, I like it so far. But don’t go in thinking you’ll be fighting monsters. Second, it is a gateway for their add-on content packs, of which there are already a few available, and each of which costs real world money. If you buy all of the ones available now it is actually $32 for the entire game, but not everyone will probably want all of them. It’s $1 each for an extra costume for your character or your second-in-command/babysitter, Chime. $3 to add 11 dungeons for your kingdom’s adventurers to explore, $8 to add the other 3 races to your kingdom (if you don’t care about having all three, you can get the ones you want for $3 apiece instead). $2 for a specific dungeon and the ability to build a shrine, which will boost adventurers for a while, and another $1 each for a castle update [edit: apparently this one isn’t available yet] and the ability to build big houses. Presumably more content will entice away your cash before long.
I haven’t bought any of this extra stuff… yet. First I’m trying to see what I can get out of it without it, but the extra dungeons and other 3 races seem like they will probably be fairly essential. The bigger houses will probably be nice and according to Wikipedia, two new $2 add-ons will be available next month, both of which sound interesting. So… not a $15 game, but that isn’t to say it isn’t worth it.
So in this game you are the child monarch of a kingdom (which you get to name–mine is Awesomeland) that has been destroyed and it is your job to rebuild the city and send out adventurers to clear the dungeons of monsters. You issue “behests” which are quests for adventurers to do certain things; you can decide to make them change jobs, attempt to take out dungeon bosses, explore, gain experience, etc. You get to form the adventuring parties, see all their stats and in the reports of their adventures you can go as far as to look at combat logs to see round-by-round how their battles went. I’m only on Day 4 or so, which is to say I probably haven’t even finished learning how to do everything yet, but so far it seems very fun and really I am impressed so far with the graphical style and just the quality of the game considering the size limitations.
I’m looking forward to playing some more of it. It probably depends greatly on your mindset whether the downloadable content is worth the price. I think the prices are high for this sort of thing, but with just the most essential ones this still costs less than a normal Wii or FFCC game. I have a feeling there won’t be any more $8 add-ons, though I could be wrong. When the prices are directly compared to, for example, the prices for Oblivion downloadable content, I think they are higher for what you get. But the entry price for Oblivion is also higher by $35 to $45 depending on the platform. I think I will probably end up picking up some of the add-ons, but we’ll see.