E3 2014: Hands-on: Project Guard & Project Giant Robot

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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I know a lot of you were up just before the Nintendo Digital Event at E3 2014 and caught that Star Fox leak. In addition to that game, the leak plugged Project Guard and Project Giant Robot–two games I genuinely didn’t expect to see on the show floor. These two games showcase simple ideas more-so than complete experiences, which is why I’m choosing to wrap them into a single write-up. The purpose of these two projects is to showcase experiences that can only be found on Wii U. Both games feature heavy use of the Wii U Gamepad, and rely on the connection between the Gamepad and the TV to test the reflexes and flexibility of the player.

The premise of Project Guard is that you have a set of a dozen security cameras, and you play a game of tower defense seeking out robots that storm your base to shoot ‘em dead by switching from camera to camera before they get too close. The security cameras themselves are controlled with the Gamepad; simply toggle the camera of your choice, then aim/shoot with the control-stick and corresponding button. I immediately had an issue with this because I’m left-handed and the controls were best-suited for righties, but the Nintendo rep assured me that the final game (or even later builds, since this is so early in development) would take left-handed folks into account.

E3 2014 - Project Guard | oprainfall E3 2014 - Project Guard | oprainfall
E3 2014 - Project Guard | oprainfall E3 2014 - Project Guard | oprainfall

 

It’s fascinating. You toggle the camera with the Gamepad, then look up at the TV and snipe out robots before they snipe you. I struggled a bit at first, but I got used to it…and then I found myself wanting more of it. Project Guard is such a simple idea, but it’s one of those concepts that has legs. If you put the right oomph behind it, that idea can flourish into a truly wonderful experience that’s totally unique to the Wii U.

Project Giant Robot… wow. I was abysmal at this game. The premise is simple enough. Customize a robot… to fight other customized robots. You can change just about everything about your robot–give it a flat-paneled arm, make its head so fat that it crushes under its own weight and you fall instantly…it can get pretty crazy. But if you customize right, and you play right, it’s a fun take on the old rock ‘em sock ‘em robots. The goal is to push your robot foes down before they push you.

Project Giant Robot | oprainfall

…I knew I was sunk the second I lost against a wooden robot… that didn’t move. Oops. I won against a live one though! But really, I had no idea how the physics were handled in-game. This is another project with heavy use of the Gamepad/equal reliance between the Gamepad and the television. The concept clicked with me just fine, but the execution went horribly.

This isn’t a fault of the game, though. I think I just don’t do motion controls well. The whole idea is to go forward using the L shoulder button, control your arms with the left trigger to sock (or shove) your foes, and move the Gamepad how you want your robot to stand (or bend or dodge). I got two out of three aspects of the controls down, but man…those motion controls were my undoing.

I was so sure it was me at fault and not the game that I actually stayed and watched the guy behind me play the game. I talked with him for a few minutes about his impressions (he did much better than I did, by the way), and he agreed–it’s all in the momentum, as well as how you customize your robot. I went with the basic model for the sake of trying the demo–but this guy put real effort into his robot, and he totally cleaned up.  Project Giant Robot could be so much… especially with an insane enough premise.

These two new intellectual properties from Miyamoto definitely show some promise. We’ll be sure to keep you posted regarding Project Guard and Project Giant Robot as we learn more at E3 2014 and beyond.




  • Jared Cyhowski

    There was a potential rumor flying around that these games may or may not be included into the new Star Fox title. As in, maybe concepts will blend in somehow. Thoughts?