Amongst the dozen games that were on display at Nintendo’s E3 2012 booth were a select few that stood out because of their clever use of the Wii U’s tablet controller. One of those titles, Game and Wario, wasn’t a retooling of an already released title, nor did it use iconic Nintendo properties like Zelda to entice the player — this was the Wii U’s version of intuitive gameplay. While experiences like Lego City Undercover focused on the controller as a useful addition, Game and Wario made the controller integral to the experience.

There were three single player experiences, and one multiplayer (more on that later) available, each more engaging than the next. Ski, for example, required the tablet be held vertically and put the player in control of a skier zooming down a mountain, while arrow continued the trend of including bows and arrows in video games, only this arrow had a nose.

Describing each mini-game, at least the single player ones, isn’t going to sell gamers on Game and Wario, in fact, it’s only when each mini-game is played that the real entertainment reveals itself. Just like the console and controller, it must be seen and held to be truly appreciated, or at least to see where Nintendo is coming from, but trust us when we say the mini-games were each a blast to play.

Game and Wario Hands On - Arrow

The biggest standout of the demo was Fruit, a demo that actually could have been achieved without the controller, but was extremely fun because of it. Essentially, one player was selected as the target, and three other players stood around the TV trying to pick them out of a crowded block of Mii-like characters.

Whilst the other players are trying to figure out which Mii the target is controlling, that player must capture three apples, but do so without attracting attention. Essentially it was a moving version of Where’s Waldo, only where Waldo can do more than just stand there to blend in.

After all of the apples are procured, each of the other three players then get to guess which of a select line-up of characters the target was controlling. It was simple, clever, and extremely entertaining for all involved — exactly what makes a great Wii and now Wii U game.

Game and Wario Hands On - Shutter

The experience of playing Game and Wario‘s four demo mini-games can best be compared to that of playing Wii Sports for the first time. Getting to see how a new form of controller can work in a myriad of ways is both surprising and exciting, but it’s after all the real content has been mined (usually an hour or so) that it becomes apparent this was just a way to show off the console’s tech and the developer’s creativity.

Game and Wario might not be a title that sells a ton of Wii U units like Super Mario Bros. U or even Nintendoland, but it was the most impressive use of the controller that was on display. Unfortunately the flippant nature of mini game collection’s appeal should result in the game having a definite shelf life.

What do you think of Game and Wario, a Wii U mini-game collection that uses the tablet controller in a myriad of ways? Do you think the gimmicky nature of the controller will help sell a lot of Wii Us?

Game and Wario should be a launch title for the Wii U, which is set to release this holiday.