Joindots have brought their up all night, table clearing, ghost silencing, diner waiting experience to the Wii U. For those unfamiliar with the story, you are charged with the role of cleaning up an all night diner while making sure you keep the noise as low as possible. Your reasons for doing this are because an angry Native American spirit Grim Feather will come and get you if you don’t and ruin your night for you.
What doesn’t help matters is that his sworn enemy Laughing Bird, likes nothing more than to use his spiritual telekinesis to switch on as many electrical appliances as he can, thus creating lots and lots of noise. If there is too much noise in the Diner any one time the game is over. So you will have to balance turning off the Noisy electrical appliances while making sure that you’re clearing away all of the mess left by the real diners.
Joe’s Diner is an unusual game to bring to the Wii U because graphically it goes for a realism that you would usually find in a PC game. I wasn’t surprised to find out that Joe’s Diner is also available on PC. You could argue that it was better staying on the PC as the conversion to the Wii U has not been very well carried out.
The first indication of this is the menu screen which seems to only be active by touching the entries on the menu. However it isn’t made clear that you have to touch the screen to progress so you can spend a minute just trying to figure out how to get into the game. You’re then introduced to our brief introduction which explains to you the Feud between Laughing Bird and Grim feather and sets the scene for why you end up in Joe’s diner in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere.
Frustratingly enough no matter how many times you play the game previously, you have to go through the introduction every single time without fail, there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to skip the intro. The other thing that you notice is the loading times on Joe’s Diner are nothing short of ridiculous. I suggest you don’t hold your breath while you are waiting. They were so long that I decided to actually time them on a couple of occasions and the longest I noticed was over 40 seconds. This would have been acceptable potentially if graphically the game was outstanding and there was a lot of environmental information that need to be loaded, however the area in which you playing is relatively quite small.
The other thing to note is that all in all Joe’s Diner runs badly on the Wii U platform. The framerate in some points stutters to a halt and while the graphics are semi realistic they appear to be quite outdated on Nintendo’s console let alone a PS4. I don’t think this is done to the processing power of the Wii U. It leads to the experience being extremely frustrating when you’re trying to navigate around such a small area and you feel you are battling against the game more than the game play as it should be.
The other thing to be noted is that for a game that relies on noise, the Wii U GamePad does not appear to be supported in terms of sound. This is a massive oversight and further confirms my suspicions that Joindots had little experience on the Wii U console. I feel it would really suit playing in the dark with a set of headphones in, listening out for the noises.
It will take a while for you to decipher the various noises around the diner, while you balance putting the waste away, and after a while you’ll automatically find yourself running to the source of the latest noise without too much thought. Though most of the time it will be a choppy saunter and because the noise meter doesn’t seem to be affected by the frame rate issues then you’ll often find you simply move too slow to catch some of the noises in time. This leads to the Game Over screen and another long loading time before you get back into the fray. All of these factors and in the sorry truth that once you are a couple of levels in then Joe’s Diner becomes more of a chore than any real fun and you’ll struggle to justify spending any time on it.
The irony is that if you see this running on a PC, most of the main issues that ruin it for the Wii U seem to be absent and it becomes a chase around the diner to stop Laughing Bird and keep Grim Feather at rest. There are so many technical barriers to enjoying this on the Wii U I unfortunately can’t recommend you playing it on Nintendo’s machine. It’s such a sloppy conversion with so many frustrations, you’re better off letting it rest in peace.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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