Wiiware kicks off with six titles

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - Nintendo has rolled out the red carpet for its long-awaited Wiiware service, which allows users to download "bite-sized" games made exclusively for the Wii.

Six titles are now available through the new Nintendo digital download service, including a new Final Fantasy game from Square Enix and Frontier's LostWinds.

The most notable release is arguably "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King," which also probably holds some sort of ranking for the longest game title.  

Square Enix, known for its epic and ambitious games, made headlines when it confirmed it would be a flagship supporter of Wiiware.  The Nintendo platform has strict file size limits because of the console's limited hard drive.  That's quite a different step for Square Enix, which has a history of going above and beyond size restrictions by putting games on multiple discs.

My Life as a King is a royal kingdom simulation.  The entire game takes place within a regal city, and the player takes the position of the king, in charge of everything from building up the kingdom to halting intruders.  It is the most expensive Wiiware title, priced at 1500 Wii Points ($15).

XGen Studios' "Defend Your Castle" is the least expensive, at 500 Wii Points ($5).  It is a basic arcade-style shooter, as players attack incoming troops to prevent them from getting into the castle.

Next is Frontier's "Lostwinds," a basic platform title that uses the Wii's motion-sensing technology to solve unique puzzles.  That one's 1000 Wii Points ($10).  The other three games are "Pop," ($7) a typical arcade game that involves destroying bubbles on screen to keep the game moving, "VIP Casino: Blackjack," ($7) and "TV Show King," ($10) a multiplayer trivia game.

Sony has offered original game downloads on the Playstation 3 since its debut, and Microsot has been in the game even longer with the Xbox Live Arcade.  The Wii also has had downloadable games but they were previously limited to re-releases of legacy console titles.

Thus, no digital downloads on the Wii have supported the console's main intrigue, motion sensing capabilities.  Wiiware changes all that.  Other Wiiware titles that have been announced include Bomberman, Dr. Mario Online and Everyone's Pokemon Ranch.