The WiiU is without a doubt unlike anything you've ever seen, held, or experienced. With its large touch-screen controller, you may feel at first like you're holding a tablet computer or a small tv screen. Luckily, the large device is as light as it is big; in our thirty minutes or so with the various demos, the controller never felt heavy or overbearing in the least.
All Nintendo had to show at this stage were tech demos, rather than actual full-concept games. In that regard, it was a bit strange to have the new console be playable at all. In this case it was likely the idea of making sure people knew this was the real deal. Also, generally speaking, folks are more likely to talk about something they've had their hands on than something just demoed on a theater screen.
The demos ranged from pretty pictures to show what the system is capable of in that regard – and yes, they were quite pretty – to games with more basic graphics to show off the different controls using the new device. While the obligatory Mario game was okay (the coolest feature being able to play the game entirely on the mirrored screen of the controller), the standout was an interesting take on a tank shooter. One player uses the WiiU controller (that's what I got to do!) and controls an aerial attack vehicle, trying to bomb the other players, who are driving around using traditional Wii controllers. The aerial player's view is top-down, displayed on the controller itself, to give that little extra bit of challenge. It played as an action game, but really shows the potential for strategy games, break-out sequences in shooters, and more. A neat display of new technology, the WiiU should have a bright future ahead of it.
Super Mario 3DS
Another system, another Mario. While early, this hands-on time did nothing but turn me off of the very idea of playing any Mario game for awhile. The use of 3D was dizzying and confusing, the controls were twitchy, even distance and depth just seemed off. Ultimately, this game is going to sell no matter what. It was disappointing to feel like that fact was being taken advantage of a bit here. Unless there are major changes and tweaks before this one hits, I'd stick to New Super Mario Bros.
Kid Icarus Uprising
Pit is back! Finally in his own adventure, Pit flies, melees, and shoots his way through huge levels with lots of open spaces in a very cool action-adventure/dogfight hybrid. The 3D here looked incredible, making it easy to gauge your arrow shots and feel the speed as you fly through the air. There's a surprisingly large array of weapons and attacks, so different style players can find their own ways to rock this adventure. Bosses are gigantic, colors are vibrant, and gamely is fast and loose. It's great to see a revival show so much promise, and Kid Icarus Uprising looks like it will soar to great heights.