Sound like the next Mega Man title? Guess again. This is a brand new franchise from Nintendo. Developed by NST (Nintendo of America's studio) in Redmond, Washington, Project H.A.M.M.E.R. is about precisely what its title implies: you're given a giant hammer and you bash things with it. And by things, I mean a bunch of robots hell-bent on taking over the United States.

It sounds crazy, I know. It sounds generic, I'm well aware. But it also shows some real promise and uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk attachment in some interesting new ways.

Project H.A.M.M.E.R. is a third-person action game, pure and simple. The playable demo Nintendo showcased at E3 has you playing as a half-man, half-machine cyborg named M-09. (The name is likely just his assembly line number -- I'm not sure if he has a real name or not. Whether he is the sole protagonist in the game is also unknown, but he was the only playable character at E3.) In any case, as M-09, you must destroy the hoards of robots attacking the city. Your main weapon against evil is a giant hammer, which you flail around with ease (likely because you're a super strong cyborg!).

Controlling Yourself

On the surface, the game controls much like a lot of third-person action games. You use the analog control stick on the Nunchuk attachment to move around and press the A button on the remote to do a basic hammer attack. Pressing A a few times in a row will unleash a small combo of attacks. The A button won't get you far though. To start having some real fun and send robots flying, you don't need any buttons at all.

Moving the Wii Remote around in a few different ways allows you to perform much more powerful maneuvers. In the demo at E3, there were three different Wii Remote moves available.

The first, and most obvious, is the Power (Charge) Slam. By lifting the front end of the remote and dropping it back down -- much like how you'd use an actual hammer if you were nailing something -- your character bashes the hammer straight down against the ground and creates a shockwave when it hits. You can charge the attack by holding the remote in the "up" position. Though this leaves you vulnerable to attack, the resulting attack is much more powerful. Overall, the Power Slam is very useful for damaging a group of robots that may have ganged up on you.

The second attack is called the Power Swing. By simply moving the front end of the remote from side to side, you unleash a sideways swing that can take out a group of robots in almost a full 180 degree radius in front of you. The attack is performed similarly to Mario's spin maneuver in Super Mario Galaxy, though your movement has to be a bit more defined. The motion of the Power Swing also sends a plasma wave out a few feet in front of your character, extending the range and usefulness of the attack.

The third attack is called the Spin Attack. I was never informed of or used this attack during my time with the demo, but from what I've gathered and seen, it might be used very similarly to Link's Spin Attack in Twilight Princess. By moving the Wii Remote around in a small circle your character lifts his hammer over his head and begins spinning it around, knocking down or destroying all robots within range. It appears like this attack might be able to be done indefinitely, as in as long as you keep spinning the remote; you keep spinning your hammer. However, I can't really confirm this. Regardless, it is a very useful move.

Though only these three moves were available, I can only assume that the final game will have at least a few more unique attacks derived from Wii Remote movements. It took a moment to get learn each of the moves, but once I got used to them, executing the attacks quickly became like second nature and a lot of fun. Swinging it around was a lot like how I imagined the Megaton Hammer in a Zelda game controlling with the Wii Remote. I definitely felt like I was wielding a very powerful weapon. It was a lot of fun.

In addition, there were two more notable button attacks. The two buttons on the Nunchuk controller (C and Z) make your character perform a dash attack. C makes you dash forward and Z (the lower button) makes you dash backward. These attacks do some damage and are also useful for escaping particularly tense situations. I never really used them too much, but can see them being useful for dodging projectile attacks and during boss battles.