It’s finally here. After a long wait the much anticipated Wii U went on sale on November 18th in North America, and will be available on November 30th in Europe to millions of adoring Nintendo fans just waiting to once again shout at the little plumber running across their television screens.

Despite the somewhat costly price tag of $300 (€235), the Wii U is Nintendo’s first HD compatible console and avails of the newly developed (and very pretty) Wii U GamePad. The ‘Standard’ console’s storage space amounts to a modest 8GB and all original Wii software is compatible with the new console.

For those who seek a little more though Nintendo have also provided a ‘Deluxe’ edition of the Wii U which comes with an extra 24GB of internal storage space and brand new copy of Nintendo Land.

Now despite the Wii U GamePad being about the size of a brick it does have some smart little features and surprises up its sleeve. Unlike the original Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the GamePad’s main feature lies in its touch screen. Not only can the gamer control the action on their television through either the analogue sticks or the touch screen, he or she can view the action on the controller if it’s required and can fully interact with it via the stylus provided. Admittedly the concept is somewhat reminiscent of an enormous Nintendo DS but assuredly it’s far different. Or, at least, so we hope. Furthermore, the GamePad can be used in conjunction with the original Wii Remote and Nunchuk so whilst the game unfolds on your television screen the GamePad can serve as an interactive map.

On the topic of content, Nintendo have announced a release list of games far longer than that of the Wii’s back in 2006. Of course the usual suspects are present, including Super Mario, Rayman and Pikmin and it is presumed that more classic titles such as The Legend of Zelda and Metroid will be on the way shortly after the console’s release.

Moreover, Nintendo have also included some new and interesting titles on the list in order to fully avail of the new features of the Wii U and Nintendo Land is one such example of this. Nintendo Land utilises all of the capabilities of the new and improved Wii U and features some familiar concepts from previous Nintendo games such as Donkey Kong and Luigi’s Mansion all wrapped up in a colourful theme park style world. It may however be difficult to trump the ‘pick up and play’ style of Wii Play or Wii Sports that was so successful with the original Wii upon its release six years ago.

On an even better note, the Wii U will also benefit from a brand new Virtual Console (VC) system. Nintendo have revealed that it will be possible to transfer your old Wii VC games to your Wii U, which is great news for those who have spent an inheritance on Mega Man games. In conjunction with this, Nintendo have revealed that it will be possible to download and play original GameCube games from the new VC. These titles should range from around 1000-1500 points each (i.e. $10 – $15) while Nintendo Entertainment System games have been speculated to be reduced to a mere 300 points ($3) per game.

There’s no doubt about it, there’s certainly a lot to look forward to with the Wii U. Whether you’re a Mario or Zelda fanatic or an easy going gamer just looking for a pleasant way to spend your time, the Wii U looks like the console to have for this coming year.