What is it? Why, it's a Wii U game that uses what's special about the Wii U to its advantage. We don't get enough of those.
Could you be more descriptive? Affordable Space Adventures is 2D game about flying a spaceship through enemy-filled environments — really pretty enemy-filled environments!
How is that using the Wii U to its fullest? It's not, but the graphics are lovely, yes? The Wii U part of this is that the Wii U GamePad serves as a tappable engineering control panel for you ship. You don't just use control sticks and buttons to fly around. You're tapping around on engineering touch panels, Star Trek-style. You're switching from the fuel engine to the electric engine, giving the ship a little more thrust but dropping the antigravity a notch. You're opening the heat shutters!
Even cooler, this scheme lets up to three people in one room play together to pilot the craft. One person can be the pilot — they use a Wii Remote or Classic Controller to steer the ship; one person can be the science officer — they use a Remote or Classic Controller to scan or illuminate things; one person can be the engineer — they use the Wii U GamePad to alter the ship's functions.
This might help:
Who is making it? The indies Nifflas (that's one person) and Knapknok (that's a small Danish studio)
Here's a trailer:
Did we play it? Yes, back at a San Francisco showcase for indie games coming to Nintendo platforms. I played as the pilot, then as the science officer. Playing as a pilot is pretty straightforward. You're largely at the mercy of the science officer who is constantly re-adjusting how much power you're getting, which power sources you're using, how well-shielded you are and so forth. Different enemies sniff out different power sources, so it's important for the science officer to not turn the ship into bait. You can play solo, by the way. You just have to do everything yourself.
Got a fun detail? One of the developers told me that implementing co-op for the game required 10 lines of code.
Platforms: Wii U (download-only)
Release date: April 9.