After many years of development, an indie developer finally releases its take on Reversi for Nintendo’s previous console generation.
Despite being nearly a decade old and considered a commercial failure in its time, Nintendo’s Wii U system is still receiving occasional new games from third-party developers. One such game, Reversi 32, is finally released on the platform after a remarkably long development time.
In the initial reveal trailer for the Wii U system, an adaptation of the classic board game Reversi was showcased, featuring a function where the board could be tilted to slide the pieces off. This concept never saw an official release, but an indie developer decided to take on fulfilling this idea.
Independent developer Cragworks first announced Reversi 32 seven years ago as an adaptation of the classic board game Reversi. The game is played entirely on the Wii U gamepad and functions identically to the board game version, except with 3D animated cutscenes and a function for the player to build custom boards. The cutscenes feature Bigley, a character that first appeared as a parody when Ridley was announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and became a mildly popular meme among Nintendo fans.
Surprisingly, Reversi 32 is not the only Wii U game launching within a year of the eShop’s upcoming closure. The Wii U’s similarities to the Nintendo Switch have resulted in a small number of cross-releases like Pad of Time, developed in parallel for multiple platforms. Even though it was a commercial failure, the console still has some support, entirely from independent developers, as triple-A publishers have moved on to the current generation despite the unique control methods the Wii U offers. Unfortunately, even in the Wii U’s more popular times, few titles used the unique control and display methods to their fullest.
Reversi 32 launched at an interesting time, considering the Wii U eShop will shut down in March 2023, so there will be less than a year to even download it before the entire service is shut down. Releasing a game on the Wii U as the much more successful Nintendo Switch enters its fifth year is an undeniably bold move but also leaves it very little opportunity to gain traction.
Nintendo’s move to shut down the Wii U and 3DS eShops is not without controversy, as the company has not changed plans despite the decision being a catalyst for accusations of destructive attitudes towards video game history. Nintendo’s preservation methods for its game libraries are often maligned for being lacking if not outright nonexistent, and shutting down the Wii U’s eShop will also kill more recent games’ chances to thrive with the system’s remaining playerbase.
Reversi 32 is available on Wii U.