I know that it's too soon to consider elements for the next Super Smash Bros. title, but based on my experiences with Nintendo's new FlingSmash from Artoon for the Wii, I'd say that game's protagonist, Zip, has earned himself a place as an Assist Trophy. He has all of the right characteristics and qualifications for the part: he's hyper, kinetic, and charismatic. Oh, and he also pinballs around environments with more gleeful energy than you'll see in other ball-shaped characters his size. See, Zip is a legendary hero tasked with defeating the evil Omminus who has... well, that's really not important. The story is really just window dressing. What is important is that players use the Wii remote equipped with a MotionPlus add-on to fling Zip into smashable blocks in order to clear a path to the goal (don't have a MotionPlus? Not a problem; the game comes packed with Nintendo's new iteration of the Wii remote, the Wii Remote Plus, which includes the MotionPlus tech inside the standard remote. Remember how well Nintendo's Wii Play sold based on the standard remote packed into the box? Nintendo seems to hope that history will repeat itself with this pack-in.). Along the way Zip must collect medals which allow him to acquire pearls that are used to open a path to each world's boss. It's probably just easier to show you how it all works, come to think of it.
Seems simple enough, right? It's not exactly a deep experience, but yet it's also good fun. Each stage only takes a few minutes to complete, although later of the game's eight worlds throw in a few interesting variables. For instance, Zip may be turned into metal, making him much heavier and impacting his fling distance and velocity. He may be shrunk, allowing him to fit into smaller spaces, but unable to smash larger blocks. Power-ups scattered about levels allow Zip to do things such as temporarily split into three Zips (multiball!) or become supersized. These kinds of gimmicks add some variety and fresh air to what could otherwise have become a monotonous experience. Some of these alterations and power-ups turn up again in minigames that provide an extra challenge for those who like to control Zip's many forms. Best of all, a second player can join in the fun in the role of Zip's friend Pip in both the main story mode, the minigames, and special extra levels for some co-operative flinging and smashing.
FlingSmash is one of those games that is more than the sum of it parts. There isn't much to it, but I can't stop playing it. Perhaps it's the MotionPlus novelty factor at work here (this is my first game that requires MotionPlus), but I continue to press on with it and attempt to best my top scores even though I need to move on to other games that are stacked up and waiting for review. That has to mean something. Whether the game has any overall longevity remains to be seen, however. FlingSmash is recommended, although you'll probably get more use out of the included Wii Remote Plus than you will the game itself in the long run.
Thanks to Nintendo for supplying the game and a Wii Remote Plus