So, interested in how the WiiWare service was going to work, I plonked down 1500 Wii points for Square Enix's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (stupid name).
The experience started out quite badly, as purchasing points through the Wii is about as elegant as any of their other online offerings - that is, it's total garbage. Having to input a credit card number, security code, city, state, county and more to get the points is idiotic. It's even dumber that on the last screen where you actually say you want to get the points, they switch the position of the "yes" and "no" buttons, but don't give you any confirmation that you're about to quit and have to reenter all that information again, from scratch.
I honestly almost didn't get past this point, just because the experience was such a pain. What's worse is that the game is taking up 250+ blocks of the Wii's memory, which actually puts it to the point where it's no longer 999+ blocks free - now there are only 700 some odd blocks free. From the sound of it, this would imply that I've essentially only less than three games worth of space left before I have to start juggling them around on an SD card. Given that there are no free trials of WiiWare games, I can guarantee you that it'll make me very, very gunshy about future purchases, as that memory (and the convenience thereof) is extremely valuable.
I honestly don't know how Nintendo's failed so badly at their online implementation - every aspect of it is horrible.
But then, finally, I was able to (without background downloading, naturally) grab the game and play. It's interesting. It's almost like the anti-Dungeon Keeper. You apparently have to manage a small town, commissioning adventurers to do all the assorted crap you'd do in your standard Final Fantasy games while you stay at home and make sure your town's developing based on the revenue you're taking in from taxes and looting the nearby dungeons.
It looks like FF:CC, which is to say that it looks ludicrous. Your characters are semi-SuperDeformed, they wear a traditional excess of nonsensical accessories, and your avatar, the King... well, the term "androgynous" doesn't really do him any favors. Effete? Maybe. Still, it's all saccharine-sweet and still strangely sort of charming, and the process of seeing a town grow still has a nice positive effect, just like you had in old-school Sim City games.
As you post adventures, the people who take the tasks level up and grow stronger. I haven't yet pushed a low-level adventurer into something that's sure to kill them, so I have no idea what'll happen there. I'm only an hour or so into the game, but so far, it's been fun - it's a nice twist on the FF franchise - something that shows the world from a genuinely novel perspective. I'm looking forward to building the city, leveling up the adventurers, and seeing where this all goes.
Definitely good counter-programming to GTA, but good grief, I wish Nintendo's online had been even marginally competent. The whole purchasing experience is terrible, and if Live Marketplace or the PSN store was this bad, Sony and MS would have been torn to shreds. Still, if the quality of the game is any indication, WiiWare does hold some promise. I'm looking forward to World of Goo, and possibly picking up LostWinds.