If you've read our New Game Of The Week interviews, you'll know that Nintendo is really supporting indie developers in their quest to bring their games to the Wii U eShop.
Indeed, in a recent Nintendo Direct, the company showcased some of the games that will be availabls to download before Christmas. Here, we're going to tell you about the 20 games which we're most excited about.
1. A.N.N.E. (Gamesbymo)Mo has made a game, hence his spot-on studio name: Gamesbymo. Why should you care about Mo and his game, though? Well, because it's a ripping retro throwback to 16-bit gaming, Metroid meets Gradius in an expansive, pixel-art world. Players pilot their bulky ship, The Great Whale, through hectic physics puzzles and bullet-hell dogfights, but can hop out seamlessly to explore interiors without a single load screen in between. On the ground, things get more role-play-ey: you'll kill enemies for Energy Crystals (very Cave Story), and these act as XP for moves such as Shockwaves and Bullet Shields, as well as currency for purchasing Ice Rifles or Fire Shotguns. You can even upgrade your ship itself. Good on you, Mo.
2. The Unlikely Legend Of Rusty Pup (Gory Details)
The creator of Conker's Bad Fur Day has a similarly deranged project set to be released on Wii U in 2014. It stars the head of a puppy attached to a wheel. Despite the studio's unsavoury heritage (farting cows, Great Mighty Poos), The Unlikely Legend Of Rusty Pup is a more lighthearted adventure, a 2D platformer given an edge by a touch of black comedy. We're told that Rusty Pup will play like a Lemmings game infused with a touch of virtual pet sim.
3. Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)
According to the biography in its ultra-successful Kickstarter campaign, the titular Shovel Knight is a shining example of the ancient code of Shovelry. To wit, to slash mercilessly and dig tirelessly. Seriously, Lancelot, Galahad and the rest of that Round Table shower had nothing on these guys. Wielding the powerful ShovelBlade, which can be used to jump on heads like Scrooge McDuck, it falls on him to save his beloved damsel. But between him and her lies the evil Enchantress and her cadre of unspeakably villainous paladins, The Order of No Quarter. Each of The Order's eight bosses are themed: there's Polar Knight (a hulking Viking with a snow shovel and an annoying laugh), Propeller Knight (an arrogant fencer with a grating accent) and Plague Knight (a dastardly mage who's shy at parties). Is this the shovel-based game we've always dreamed of? Yep.