Other Wii U exclusive features are more, ahem, striking. As a launch title, FIFA 13 is keen to impress, and to that end EA Canada has experimented with a host of alternative control systems. The ones that have made the cut can be used in conjunction with the traditional controls by selecting the main tab on the touchscreen display.
Some met with more success than others. The only one we found ourselves using on a regular basis was the 'Shake to Shoot' function. When you're in sight of goal, you can give the GamePad a quick jolt to turn the touchscreen into a depiction of your opponent's 'onion bag'. From there, you simply tap the area of the net you wish to shoot into, and in it goes (maybe).
If shaking the pad to wind up a shot sounds horrendously unintuitive, that's because it is, but the good news is the motion can be substituted by a quick click on the left thumbstick. Once you discover the thumbstick fix, you'll find 'Shake to Shoot' to be a powerful offensive aid. It lets you place your shots delicately rather than the hit-and-hope approach that served us so poorly on traditional controllers. The trade-off is that it takes an extra half-second of mental bandwidth to execute when you're through on goal - extra time that could allow a defender to slide into your feet like a runaway penguin. It's a rewarding control scheme that will be best exploited by composed players. Once we got our heads round it, the nets were rippling left, right and centre.
Wii U does set pieces a little differently...
Considerably less rippled were the goalmouths that faced our dismal free-kick attempts. Wii U does direct set-pieces a little differently: the idea is to hold the GamePad up into the air as if it were a video camera, and aim at the area of goal you wish to shoot at. Crossbars were rattled and keepers' hands stung, but none of our shots quite managed to sneak in during our hands-on time in EA Canada's studio. By kicking-out time our technique had definitely improved however. At the current rate of improvement, we estimate that by Christmas we'll be as good as two David Beckham's and a baker's dozen of David Bentleys. Penalties work along the same lines (for the forward, at least) - although we see this being problematic in local multiplayer sessions. Aiming your penalty by directing a slab of plastic the size of a giant tortoise isn't exactly discreet, is it?
Elsewhere, the 'tap to pass' function as seen in the PS Vita version of FIFA 12 returns, and you can also 'draw' runs for off-the-ball players, in a manner similar to Pro Evo on the Wii.