To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t looking forward to trying out Mario Chase very much. The game was a further developed version of Chase Mii from E3 2011, and it didn’t look that great back then. In a pleasant surprise, Mario Chase wound up as my favorite of the games I got to play at Nintendo’s Wii U debut event. Mario Chase is one of those games that has to be played to be understood.
The concept of Mario Chase is similar to Pac-Man VS, one of Nintendo’s early flirtations with a two screen experience. One player takes the role of Mario who is being chased by 2-4 toads. The Toads use Wii-motes and they all share a screen, and each only has a partial view of the action. The Mario player has two different views on his Gamepad. One view shows a minimap with the location of all Toads, and the other shows a view of Mario’s immediate surroundings. Mario must hide from the Toads for two minutes. To do so, he’ll need to use his additional information to hide.
Mario Chase is all about teamwork. The Toad characters must communicate effectively to corner Mario. In my first game of Mario Chase, I played as Mario against two Nintendo representatives who had been demoing the game all day. The two were totally in sync, and cornered me in less than thirty seconds in what was a humiliating defeat. Later on, I played as Mario against four random strangers. Despite their superior numbers, the four players lacked teamwork and I managed to evade them for the whole round.
One of the coolest things about Mario Chase is how simple it is to play. The game uses only the control stick for Mario, and the d-pad and 2 button for Toads. I saw many players who struggled with Zombi U and Assassin’s Creed having a blast with Mario Chase.
Of all the games on display, Mario Chase easily elicited the most laughter and energy. The nature of the game forces players to communicate, and as players got into the game, they began excitedly shouting directions to each other and plotting traps for Mario. Mario Chase is an incredibly social experience, and it looks perfect for families, dorm rooms, or drunken gatherings. It’s amazing how such a simple concept can be so engaging.