The Wii U has been suffering, for months now, under a kind of gaming drought that's left some questioning the viability of the system in the long term. There's just not much out there for Nintendo's big new system, though the upcoming releases pipeline suggests a note of hope for the future. However, that doesn't address the question of right now...at least, not nearly as well as the existence of PlayBoxie does, which is poised to add a bunch of new games to Wii U thanks to HTML5.
The PlayBoxie app allows for a fairly wide array of HTML5 games to be brought into the fold, including fairly simple games like “Cut the Rope,” “Gravity Maze,” “Pac Man” and others. PlayBoxie works with the Wii U's Web browser to access said array of games, giving the Wii U a variety of new titles to work with while the developers get the larger console titles together. But perhaps even more interestingly, the PlayBoxie app doesn't just work with the Wii U browser; it also works with those offered by the PS4 and the Xbox One, as well as with Windows. Reports note, however, that Xbox One users will, not surprisingly, need an Xbox Live Gold account in order to access and play the games in question. The PlayBoxie system will automatically detect the platform in use should it be accessed from a console, at last report, so use should proceed smoothly indeed.
The games in question aren't particularly complex, but there are plenty—around 59 so far, at last report—so users should be able to keep occupied. Trying out a quick game of “Bejeweled” on a Windows machine, meanwhile, proved to work well overall as the game even offered up standard and high-definition modes to help ensure the best experience. Controls were easy enough to work with and the end result should be some great new value for console gamers who want a casual gaming experience.
Of course, this isn't likely to endear Nintendo users who are still waiting for the major A-list releases to hit, and based on some current reports from IGN's release list, that should be at least somewhat fixed soon with 11 separate releases set for the first quarter of this year. But Nintendo's going to need more than Web-based games to really drive its console back into the forefront. It needs some serious development; the bad news about those 11 games set for release is that only one--”Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze”--is set for release from Nintendo itself. The next one won't be until spring with the release of “Mario Kart 8.”
Any system needs games in order to truly prosper, and though the addition of the PlayBoxie lineup will likely prove to be at least some help in the matter, it's certainly not as good as major A-list releases with plenty of levels and tons of replay value. Still though, it's a step in the right direction, anyway, and may prove to be just that little bit of gap filler necessary to let Nintendo make its gains. HTML5 gaming can be a powerful thing, especially as expressed by PlayBoxie. Whether or not it can prove sufficiently powerful to give Nintendo its metaphorical groove back, well, only time will tell.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker