After receiving some good news from work, I ran out and nabbed myself a Wii U. While I was looking to get the Wind Waker bundled Wii, they were sold out everywhere nearby and Target (local store) was have a sale on the regular ol' Wii U for $25 off. So I bought that. It comes with New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U. While I was there, they were also having a buy 2 get 1 free sale on games, so I grabbed Super Mario World 3d, Mario Kart 8, and Zelda: Wind Waker. All together, I walked out paying slightly less than $400 and had 4 games (5 if you count Super Luigi Bros). I was delighted to find out that I get ANOTHER free game for registering Mario Kart 8, so I grabbed Pikmin 3.
The Wii U is a solid machine. After a 30 minute update to the system and registering all my accounts (this was a bit annoying, you need two different 'Nintendo' accounts?!?) I was ready to settle in. The massive controller that you see in all the commercials is surprisingly awesome. The touch screen is nice, and for some games, it gives you additional screen space. Ex: In Wind Waker, you can use it as a map, or inventory. Plus, if somebody else wants to watch TV, you can just turn on the controller and use the screen as a TV. Plus, it can power on and off my tv, switch the input settings, and power down and up the Wii. The only negative is the range on it is only about 20 feet, and any walls seem to disrupt the signal. I was happy to see that my old Wii controllers worked flawlessly with the Wii U, so I didn't have to drop an extra $30 to get a second controller.
Mario Kart 8:
This is the main reason I bought this system. My wife and I LOVE Mario Kart. Unfortunately, this game is just not good. Sure, the kart racing is decent, but there are only 32 maps and most are just remakes of previous. I have two big gripes with the game. The first is that a lot of the tracks split off, so you aren't really racing against anybody for good portions of them. So if you are in a heated race with another player, there are limited times when they are even on the same damned track as you to be able to hit them with shells. The second one, and this is by far the reason why we won't be playing this game often, is that battle mode absolutely SUCKS. The only type of battle is: you load a track, one team goes one way around the track and the other team goes the opposite. What results is about 2 seconds of 'action' per lap. Further, when you lose your three balloons you are done. Finito. Might as well put down the controller for the remaining time. I give this game a solid C-. If you want to play a Mario Kart on the Wii U, get the one for the Wii.
New Super Mario U:
Same old game. We haven't played this one completely through, but from what we've played, its just an HD version of any mario platformer you've played. Is it good? Heck yes. Is it novel? Heck no. The one cool thing with this is the multiplayer 'boost' mode. With this, you have one person controlling Mario on a Wii controller and the other person has the 'screen controller'. The one with the screen controller has the gamefeed live on their screen and can click monsters to stun or kill them. And you can lay platforms down for Mario to jump on. While it is completely cheating, its a lot of fun and gives a cool way to play multiplayer. With my wife sometimes not able to complete levels, I can jump on the screen and give her some help. I'm sure with kids or... less skilled players, this is amazing.
I give this game a B+. Not game changing, but hell, its Mario.
Zelda Wind Waker:
This is an HD remake of the 2003 game. There's not much different from the old game, though they have updated a few things. I never played the original, so I'm having a blast with it. I'm only on the third dungeon so far, but the puzzles are fun, the graphics are neat and the fighting feels good. I'll wait to give this one a score until I've beaten it.
I haven't played the other games yet.
My verdict for the Wii U? Meh. I'm not a console player at all. Paying the crazy prices for the playstation 4 or the Xbox one doesn't sit well with me. 6 games for $400 isn't bad at all, plus I can play Netflix and Amazon Prime from my living room TV. I think that the price I paid is good, though the games haven't really floored me. I'm sure with the release of Super Smash Bros and the new Zelda game coming out I'll get my money's worth.