Nintendo brings Pikmin 3, LEGO, Wario, and Wii Fit to Wii U in 2013

Wii U 2013 release schedule

In keeping with the company’s new habit of holding informational video events online every couple of months to clue people in on new games, NoA hosted a Nintendo Direct event on Wednesday morning to talk about what games are coming to the Wii U in early 2013. In the past, Wii had to wait for as long as six months between titles made by Nintendo proper. The Wii U won’t suffer a game drought in the New Year, but new apps for the company’s home console were suspiciously absent from the presentation.

On the Wii U, Nintendo provided new gameplay trailers for three previously announced games. A video of Travellers Tales’ LEGO City Undercover elaborated on some of the open world action seen of the game previously. You’ll be able to use the Wii U tablet controller’s to look at police dispatches about current missions without needing to pause, and it can also be used as a scanner to look through the environment for hidden goodies. It looks like an expansion of previous LEGO games, but free of the Star Wars, Harry Potter, and other movie characters that have defined the series.

Next up was Game & Wario. This mini-game collection born of the WarioWare series that began on the Game Boy Advance was initially shown at E3 2012 as a technological demo and it wasn’t decided if it would be a full game. Like Wii Play, though, the tech demo will see release as a full retail game. Goofy little games like one where you play as kids pretending to be asleep when your mother comes into check on you or trying to find a thief stealing fruit in a crowd are well in line with past games in the series. A unique hook is the ability for five people to play together using just the one Wii U GamePad.

Nintendo also announced additional details about Wii Fit U, the latest edition of the company’s exercise game that was a sales phenomenon in 2008. Nintendo promised 77 different activities in the game, but didn’t elaborate how many would be unique to the new game and how many would be recycled from Wii Fit Plus. It also didn’t announce details for digital distribution of Wii Fit U, something it would be wise to push given the number of existing Balance Board owners.

While all three of those games will be out before March, Nintendo also showed a new trailer for a game due between April and June. Its cartoony strategy game Pikmin 3 still looks hot, but far from release.

Nintendo debuted new apps like Panorama View, which lets you look at Google Maps Street View on the Wii U GamePad and actually explore the environment. Demos shown include walkthroughs of cities and beaches. It will be a paid app but Nintendo didn’t disclose a price.

What Nintendo did not announce was a release date for Nintendo TVii, its signature app that unifies Wii U owners’ cable, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video options into a single menu. A Nintendo Direct event in Japan on Wednesday morning confirmed Nintendo TVii for that country on Dec. 8, but still no date for the US, though it was promised for December.