I had a chance to check out the Wii U at the Discover Wii U Tour in Toronto, Canada today. I went down to my local Best Buy and was able to play a few games, and get some hands on with the new Wii U Gamepad. Nintendo reps were on hand to answer questions, and the games available to play were: Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Sing Party, and Just Dance 4.
I was only able to try Scribblenauts Unlimited and New Super Mario Bros. U due to the other games being occupied, and my own limited lunch break time. Here are a few of my impressions of the Wii U hardware, and some comments about the games I played.
Firstly, the Wii U Gamepad is wider than I expected. It's not unwieldy, just wider than I thought. That said, its weight in your hand is pretty great. The Gamepads that we were able to use were tethered with a cable, but even so they felt quite good in my hands. I used both a stylus and fingers on the screen, and I didn't experience any issues whatsoever, it just worked, which is what you want. Technology that just gets out of the way. As I held it to play Scribblenauts for about 10 minutes, most of the time I was holding it with my left hand while inputting text with my right hand, and it never felt tiring to hold. It's light enough that it won't strain, but it's not so light that it feels cheap. It has a good heft to it, and feels solid.
The screen itself is sharp, and glossy. I didn't have any issues with reflections or brightness, and gameplay looked fine on the screen. The analog sticks felt good, perhaps a little stiffer than the ones on a Classic Controller Pro.
I was also surpsised at the depth of the Wii U unit iself, as you can see from the photo it's a fair bit deeper than a Wii. You'll be needing a little more depth on your shelf for the Wii U. Still I wouldn't call it big by any means, it's just bigger than the Wii.
It's hard to tell anything about graphical ability from looking at Scribblenauts and New Super Mario, but what I did see looked fine. There wasn't anything there that I could really look at and "pixel peep" so I'll just say that gameplay was responsive, things looked sharp, and it was fun. That about sums it up.
The Discover Wii U Tour is happening in Canada right now, and you can check out the link to find out exactly when and where it will be going. Also don't forget that retailers should have their Wii U displays shortly, so you can check out the Wii U and the Gamepad for yourself!
Also, check out a short video of the Discover Wii U Tour trailer!