Typical: you wait all decade for a decent Wii game and three turn up at once. Titles like Little King's Story and Boom Blox: Bash Party are proving it's not just Nintendo who can produce decent games for the console. What's more, they don't all have to revolve around fitness, cooking or mini-games that are less fun than meningitis.
Now Codemasters wants to join the club with Overlord: Dark Legend. Like the original Overlord game, which appeared on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, it blends action and strategy with a fantasy theme and funny jokes. As the titular character you command an army of minions who help you complete quests, fight enemies, collect gold and explore new areas.
In the Wii version you play as a younger Overlord, living out his teenage years in Castle Gromgard. The gameplay is familiar right from the off - you get a horde of five basic brown minions to order about, "sweeping" them towards whatever it is you want them to do. As the game progresses the size of your horde increases, up to a maximum of 50.
Because this is a Wii game, the remote is used for sweeping instead of the right analogue stick. This works well - perhaps even better than the control system in the other Overlord titles. Pointing the reticule at what you want minions to fight, smash, collect or operate is instinctive, and there's never any confusion over what you're aiming at. It's easy to issue commands with the remote while simultaneously moving your character around with the nunchuk.
One unique feature is the ability to grab a minion by the throat, then throttle it by shaking the remote left and right. Release the minion at the right time to send it running off and it'll explode on impact with whatever's in the way. This is useful for logistical tasks like blowing up spiky fences blocking your path, but more to the point, it's great fun.
The minions do an excellent job of responding quickly to your instructions, collecting items automatically and keeping up as you move around. They also act intelligently and independently when it comes to combat. The red minions will stand back and lob their fireballs from a distance, for instance, leaving their brown chums to finish enemies off with melee skills.
There are two other types of minion in Dark Legend. Greens can't take as much damage as browns, but they can cause more and are extra agile. They can also cope with noxious gas and destroy poisonous paths, clearing new pathways for you. Blues aren't much good at combat but they can heal fallen minions and survive in water. Neither of these types were available to experiment with in the preview build, but the reds and browns are simple to command and swift to respond.