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Year Walk on WiiU

There is still a general malaise towards mobile gaming among the 'hardcore' audience - and who can blame them? The mobile market is filled to the brim with unfiltered garbage meant to cheat you out of a buck through deceptive branding or to slowly bleed you dry by capitalizing on the same instincts as gambling.

It's a predatory marketplace, but there is hope.

Handfuls of fulfilling, well-designed experiences dot the crowded space and one tiny, two-man outfit from Sweden has tapped into what makes mobile so fascinating. And one of their most critically-acclaimed and accessible experiments is making it's way onto the Wii U.

Year Walk on the Wii U is a landmark release for Simogo - it marks their first foray into home consoles. It also signifies that Nintendo's indie initiative is willing to branch into some less-than-mainstream avenues. And with Year Walk's gameplay a perfect match for Nintendo's hardware it almost makes you wonder what took so long.

Developers often have a hard time justifying the existence of the Wii U Gamepad. Touted as being tablet-like in initial marketing pushes, it never really found that sweet spot. It only makes sense then that a team like Simogo, with their love of iOS and Android and unconventional control, would find the perfect way to blend the mobile and console worlds with the Gamepad as their medium.

Year Walk is an adventure game that displays the world from a first person perspective, but as a sort of two-dimensional storybook. It not only gives the game unique visuals but it provides a necessary control alternative to dual analog - something that mobile games can have a hard time working around, especially ports.

Everything about Year Walk feels fresh - the controls, the graphics, and especially the story.

The central idea of Year Walk is that you are embarking on the titular 'year walk', a real-world ritual taken from Swedish folklore. Particularly interesting is that not a whole lot is known about year walking outside of Sweden. Any information Google can glean on the subject is about the game itself to the point where It's not impossible to imagine that Simogo will be used as a resource for year walk information more than just about anything else.

Promoting, preserving and enriching lesser known culture like this isn't new for the Wii U eShop. 2014's Never Alone appeared on the service earlier this summer and centres around the legends of the indigenous people of Alaska.

With bold independent games like these finding their way onto home console and into the mindshare of new markets, indie games are establishing themselves as vehicles for more than just retro-inspired platforming - they have interesting stories to tell that might not have been told otherwise. And any space that can facilitate that is going to be important for games in the coming years. It's wonderful to see Nintendo embracing it.