No Challenging Games in Nintendo’s Casual Market?

By: Noah Glaser

Nintendo is not exactly known for creating challenging games. As the company moved towards the casual market, things got even easier. Their long standing franchises were watered down and subjected to a new level of ease.
Party games galore filled the Nintendo Wii’s life cycle and because of their approach towards the market, many of their games suffered. Kirby Epic Yarn is a great example of this phenomenon. Once a legitimate gaming experience, Kirby was simplified and brought to an extreme level of ease. In fact, it was made to be so easy that it is physically impossible to die in the game.
However, not all of Nintendo’s latest games ended up facing this fate. This article will take a look at three of the hardest and most involved Nintendo franchises that made it to the Wii.


Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong’s return to the country was one that fans had been waiting years for. And despite the fact that the game was not actually made by Nintendo, it is still a great example of a challenging title. Donkey Kong Country Returns brought Donkey Kong back to the jungle in a game that was as hard as it was filled with controversy. Gone were all remnants of Rare’s great trilogies and all that remained was the two iconic Kong characters.
Donkey Kong Country Returns however, was one of the hardest games on the Wii. New gameplay elements were introduced that led to high levels of challenge to the side-scrolling franchise.

Skyward Sword

Zelda fans had to wait many years for a chance to play Zelda on the Wii. Skyward Sword, released last year, was the first Wii title to fully take advantage of the Motion Plus controller. The game took Hyrule’s hero back to its roots through the story, but launched the series far into the future with masterful motion controls.
These new 1:1 controls allowed gamers to play as if they were actually in control of Link’s sword. This concept brought forth new engaging and highly challenging combat. Never before had sword play been so involved. The level of precision needed to defeat enemies and to solve puzzles was escalated to create one of the Wii’s most difficult outings. The addition of the Hero mode made for an even harder quest with an absence of healing hearts and more damage from enemies.
This game was so hard that I admittedly had to use a Zelda Skyward Sword Walkthrough.

Metroid Prime 3

While not as solid as Metroid Prime 1 or 2, the third game still managed to bring a level of difficulty to Nintendo’s Wii console. This game, developed by Retro Studios (the people who made DKCR), brought Samus’ epic trilogy to a shattering end against an evil look-alike.
Motion controls were added to the game, the first time for the series. For an extra challenge, I suggest investing in the remade Metroid Prime trilogy, which brought all three games into motion controls.

3 thoughts on “No Challenging Games in Nintendo’s Casual Market?

  1. Problem with difficulty is balancing it. One huge problem with this balance is previous experience. A lot of Nintendo games are from long running series and while certain elements can very a lot between them there are long running elements within the series as well. In other words the more experience with a series you have the easier you will find the next game unless they drastically change it like games you have mentioned above. This leads to problem with newcomers. No one likes to be thrown into the deep end right form the start. Good and bad news is that games are now much more balanced and better designed. In others words you might not notice the difficulty increase because you are gently led into it. All of this makes it really difficult to say how difficult a game actually is. While could argue it’s amount of times you die that in itself could be due to bad game design. Such as lack of health/defence, bad level layout, bad controls or over powered enemies. While these elements could be added on purpose this is rarely the case. A difficult game is a bigger put off then an easier one. Although many would argue otherwise it would be interesting to hear about which games they didn’t complete because they found it frustrating.

    I would agree Kirby’s Epic Yarn is easy but it was aimed at much yuonger audience then normal. It was made with that target audience in mind. Nintendo do cater for a larger variety of gamers which does effect how easy the start and how gentle the learning curves of their games are.

  2. Difficult isn’t the word I would use for these games. Challenging, maybe.

    Here’s the thing: the definition of a difficult game is evolving. Sure, the aforementioned games are ‘challenging’ but they aren’t difficult, at least by the definition of ‘difficult’ that myself, and the various people I’ve discussed this with, use. Sure, I haven’t played any of these games, but that’s a moot point. I still wouldn’t say these games are difficult. I watched a Let’s Play of Skyward Sword, and, while I noticed points of the game that I could considering challenging, these games are filled with scenarios that require varying degrees of ability to successfully complete the objectives, but I would necessarily classify that as difficult.

    A difficult game, to me, would be something that requires in-depth mechanical knowledge, incredible reaction time, and the ability to make snap choices on the fly. Starcraft 2, League of Legends, Rift, World of Warcraft, these games are games that I could consider difficult (Well, not WoW.)

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