The best thing one can write about a game like the upcoming Wii title Sin & Punishment 2 is that it is busy, maybe hyperactive.
The June Wii game with the bizarre name is a sequel to the only game I've ever played that pits two heroes against a fleet of futuristic aircraft carriers — and makes the player so powerful that the Navy seems mismatched.
Sin and Punishment 2 is a shooter, a successor to ever-bullet-crazier arcade shooter genre of Galaga, Gradius and Ikaruga. (The Sin & Punishment games, like Ikaruga, were developed by esteemed Japanese development studio Treasure.)
The original Sin & Punishment was released on the Nintendo 64 a decade ago in Japan and as a download-only game on the Wii. It seems to have performed well enough to merit a sequel that feels like a faithful upgrade of the original.
S&P 2 features two young human characters who have the wonderful ability to shoot an unending torrent of lasers at clusters of enemies who swarm and rush like holiday shoppers at early-morning store-openings the day after Thanksgiving.
You can control either the boy, Isa, or the girl Kachi. Either character is moved with the left analog stick of the Wii's Nunchuk, flying anywhere on the screen as the action automatically scrolls or holds position in the on-rails experience. The player uses the Wii Remote to aim a targeting reticule and shoot anywhere. Isa's reticule can dance from enemy to enemy or, with an action button held, be used as a charged shot. Kachi, who stands on a flying skateboard, has her reticule lock onto enemies; a held button allows her to select up to eight enemies to shoot at once. Up close, your attacks become melee swipes.
Describing the fun of my 10 minutes with this game would be like describing what was impressive about a fireworks show that erupted over a park on the Fourth of July. Trust me that it was busy and explosive, exciting and colorful. In the game, you are running from giant missiles, fending off swarms of armored soldiers, all at the pace of the game's automatic scroll through its 2D levels (with 3D-deep graphics), experiencing all sorts of other creative insanity.
The goal, as with most shooters of this style, is to attain a big score. Every enemy killed raised a score multiplier by a 10th of a point. Getting hit by an enemy drops it by a few. The first game was such a cacophonous delight to play that I was sold on the sequel before even touching it. The fact that it felt good to play and may be the most visually kinetic games I've seen on the Wii is bonus.
Don't forget this Wii game with a funny name, even as a Mario and a Metroid rumble closer to May and June launch. This game could be the most dazzling thing on the system this spring. It will be out in North America on June 7.