As one of my favorite DSiWare games, I was excited to learn of Abyss arriving on the Wii U eShop.  With all new missions, a two-player mode, HD visuals, etc.,  I anticipated a great sequel.  The low $1.99 price tag (matching its predecessors cost) only sweetened the deal!  Having played through it however, I must admit Abyss isn’t as great as it should’ve been.  While still enjoyable, it falls short in some ways.

To sum up the plot– In the future, new energy sources must be found to ensure survival of the human race.  Taking control of an extreme withstanding robot (looking a lot like a squid/angler fish hybrid) you’ll be searching for energy stones while exploring the depths of the Abyss.

With HD visuals, Abyss is an obvious step up from humble DSiWare.  It’s a more colorful affair too, with vivid hues improving upon the DSi’s duller lighting shades. Surprisingly though I noticed a loss in some background details.  The atmospheric music of Abyss is terrific!  I did recognize many of the tunes, but they’re freshly remixed.  The overall audio package is stronger on Wii U.

There’s the new two-player mode (competitive only) and it takes advantage of the Wii U GamePad as players can separate from each other while still having their own screen.  Curiously, while this mode uses the Wiimote, it can’t be used playing solo – the game doesn’t offer classic controller support either.  A harder Dark Mode is available as an unlockable, and has you finding even more energy stones across brand new levels with even more obstacles.

One of my biggest surprises with Abyss was discovering the ship can now withstand multiple hits.  In the first game it was one and done, but here you can crash near indefinitely as long as you allow recovery time before advancing.  It’s different, but not a bad idea in itself.  However, I have a sneaking suspicion why it was done – to compensate for weaker control!  Abyss has (no pun intended) floaty control.  A Nintendo example to compare it to might be Balloon fight, but worse.  In fairness, the controls are functional and improve with practice.  That said they’re indeed a sizable step backwards.  While Abyss had tight controls prior, here they’re simply  too sensitive, ergo the allowance for multiple hits.  If you bump a wall while navigating tight corridors your craft may go sailing like a deflating balloon.  It’s challenging, but I think (ironically) the less forgiving debut actually offered a fairer degree of difficulty.

Announcements for Abyss advertised “12 original missions”.  However they’re the same ones found in the first release.  Apparently EnjoyUp meant original as in the original DSiWare levels and not original as in different, fresh, new, or unique.

Abyss on Wii U offers a couple new modes in HD, but suffers from weaker controls, some missing effects, and a shortage of genuinely new content.  I still enjoy the game, but its move from DSiWare to Wii U is undeniably mixed.