Nintendo Land Review
Nintendo Land's varied attractions offer plenty of family-friendly fun and make great use of the Wii U's capabilities.
- Fun single-player attractions make good use of the Wii U tablet
- Plenty of enjoyable ways to play with friends cooperatively and competitively
- Mario Chase is a terrific twist on hide-and-seek
- Nintendo themes give the attractions some charm.
- A few attractions are too difficult or too shallow.
Nintendo knows a thing or two about crafting worlds that have memorable, immediately recognizable characteristics. Perhaps, for you, the five-note theme that often accompanies Samus' appearance in Metroid games always conjures memories of many happy hours spent exploring alien landscapes. Maybe a glimpse of the Triforce is enough to stir the heart of the legendary hero residing in you. In Nintendo Land, the storied developer leverages the fondness many players feel for some of its most enduring series, while also employing some properties you probably haven't thought about in decades, or you never even knew existed. But while the window dressing at this amusement park of Nintendo-based attractions lends the game a good deal of personality, the real attraction is the gameplay.
There are 12 attractions accessible from the plaza that serves as Nintendo Land's hub. Six of them are for one player, three allow for both solo players or groups, and three are multiplayer only. The most serene attraction is the single-player Yoshi's Fruit Cart. Here, your Mii is placed in a cart modeled on the titular lovable dinosaur. The screen on the tablet and the screen on the television both show a green environment from a top-down view. On the TV, however, you can see fruits to collect and sometimes hazards to avoid, while the screen on the tablet shows only your starting position, the exits, and any patterns or shadows that might be on the stage's surface. You must draw a line on the tablet that takes the cart from its starting point to the exit, eating all the available fruit and winding your way around hazards.
It's a pleasantly absorbing exercise, trying to draw a safe path on the tablet using the information on the TV, sometimes relying on the shadows of clouds or other environmental features for reference. Completing stages is quite easy at first, but the challenge ramps up steadily as fruit starts to move in circular patterns and pitfalls become more prevalent. On these harder stages, it's a bit nerve-racking to hit the Go! button after drawing your line, and then watch the cart follow your path and hope it safely navigates its way through the hazards surrounding it.
The solo attraction Octopus Dance picks up the pace a bit. (Who is Octopus, you ask? Why, he's the star of the Game and Watch game Octopus, of course!) In this attraction, your Mii becomes a deep-sea-diving dancer who tries to keep up with the moves demonstrated by an instructor. (Octopus is content to watch from the background, and occasionally squirt some ink that obscures your view on the tablet but leaves the TV unaffected.) The left and right thumbsticks on the tablet move your left and right arms; you can tilt the tablet to lean, and shake it to jump. That's all you need to do to perform all of the dance moves.
The moves come in sets of three and sometimes come at you very quickly, so just taking note of what you need to do and then doing it along with the rhythm gets tricky. Making matters trickier still is the fact that your Mii sometimes gets spun around by the dance instructor, which encourages you to shift your gaze between the tablet and the TV. It's easier to mimic dance moves when you're viewing your Mii from behind; if he or she is facing you, you have to flip everything around in your brain, which is difficult when things are moving quickly. Octopus Dance is rather simple, but it's nonetheless a fast-paced and fun test of skill that makes interesting use of the Wii U's capacity to show you different things on the tablet and the television.
In Donkey Kong's Crash Course, your Mii is creepily morphed into a roller (a vehicle with springy wheels and the face of your Mii) and placed into an obstacle course whose color scheme and chalk artwork recall the original Donkey Kong. The object is to get your roller safely to the end of each obstacle course by tilting the tablet to roll left or right. Navigating the courses is quite difficult and requires finesse. It's satisfying to guide the roller safely to the goal at the end of the course, but the extreme fragility of the roller, as well as the bothersome need to blow on the microphone occasionally to move platforms, makes Crash Course one of the lesser attractions at Nintendo Land.
Takamaru's Ninja Castle takes its name from a 1986 Famicom game that never saw release outside of Japan. In this first-person on-rails attraction, you infiltrate a ninja fortress to rescue a kidnapped princess. You hold the tablet with the screen pointed at the television lengthwise, and slide your finger along the screen to toss throwing stars at the cute cardboard ninjas who stand in your way. The action is fast, the star-throwing motion feels natural, and the environments have an endearing handcrafted look.
Captain Falcon's Twister Race tosses you into the futuristic purple racer of Captain Falcon. The television displays a traditional behind-the-vehicle view common to many racing games, which is great for any spectating friends. In the driver's seat, however, you're usually better served by the top-down perspective provided on the tablet, which gives you a much better view of upcoming turns, speed-boosting arrows, and obstacles. Your racer always heads straight up on the tablet; tilting the tablet to steer, you try to find the speediest route along the twisty track. The controls are terrifically responsive; if you go careening off the track or speed straight into a hazard, it's your fault, not the game's. The course starts out simple but gets progressively more treacherous, and it's fun to return to Twister Race to improve your best times and compete with those established by other players.
Balloon Trip Breeze is a side-scrolling attraction in which you watch the television while moving the stylus on the tablet, which creates breezes that carry your balloon-wearing Mii along. The indirect control method makes avoiding floating spikes and avian adversaries pleasantly tricky, and the presentation, in which curtains of various colors hang in the background to suggest different times of day, is charming.
Is this really a review? About 95% of the review is just a description of all the mini-games that this game has to offer, which can be gleaned from previous articles. The whole point of a review is for the reviewer to actually share their opinion about the game... The only semblance of any sort of an opinion came from the last paragraph.
What a disappointing review!
Seems Nintendo has turned all those "Wii U experinces" from E3 2011 into a full game. Chase mii became Mario Chase, The Ninja throwing star experince became a full Ninja game from the Japanese NES. Takamaru's Ninja castle. Battle mii became Metriod blast. Luigi's Ghost mansion was also an E3 2011 Wii U experience. Only the Pirate Wii U experience didn't make it into a Nintendoland attaction mini game. Shield Pose. But Nintendo did manage to turn those Experiences from E3 2011 into a "pack in game" whose purpose is to introduce the Gamepad functions.
If it wasn't included with the Wii U deluxe set. I personally wouldn't have bought this game separately. For a extra $50.00 this is alright for a throw in. Along with all of the Wii U deluxe extras.
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@IsaacClarke1 Once again, Nintendo is threading in casual gaming. In party games and etc...
A Launch title should be a new Zelda, Mario Metroid or anything like that, beggining the console with this kind of game is just... Wrong.
@Raxyman @King9999 @IsaacClarke1 That's exactly what Nintendo have done by releasing a party game along with another title upon release. Nintendo Land shows that the Wii U can be for casual and fun gaming with friends and family, Mario U shows they can get a bit more serious and will do so, and then AC3, ME3, Batman, zombiU etc. all show that the Wii U will also cater to the more hardcore gamers. Wii U launched with great and perfectly varied games, all of which have received high ratings that the 3DS and VITA's launch titles. I really don't see what you should be complaining about.
@IsaacClarke1 Repetition is funny....oh wait, no it isn't. Fool.
@IsaacClarke1 Bad troll is bad.
Unlike Gametrailers.com's review, GameSpot's is more positive and fitting for a game that is better than what people think it is.
Please use 8.0 as a judgment to cast for NEW GEN. Not verse current gen
That's the only thing I can take here, because as a NEW GEN I think 8.0 is acceptable, but compared to current gen this is like a 9.5 in my SHORT LIVED LIVE Stream viewing of this game. Really impressed.
I wasn't expecting anything but an upgrade or Wii 1.5 to Wii with Wii U BUT
I think Wii U looks Next Gen so far.
Gamespot = just hatin' OR creating a new scale for next gen (which is sort of getting out of hand, and there just needs to be one, not Xbox vs xbox and 3ds vs 3ds)
but eventually this could be something really great soon.
** This game seems like a demo to future games.
Expensive but great! XD
@iwoof did you watch the "gaintbomb- live stream" earlier, wii-u lagged horribly on epic mickey 2, and that game isn't graphically intense, this isn't a Next Gen Console. Plain and simple... Next gen should be pushing boundaries, not trying to catch up to current ones.
So does anyone think that the crown guy for Nintendo Land looks like the Lord of Games from Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts?
Well this sounds good only because of the violence-driven elements, the Hyrule mock-up specifically. I especially appreciate the implementation of a not-so-augmented reality that the tablet becomes...Here finally the technology is being put to good use and the Wii U shows some particular promise.
I have to stop watching reviews. Next thing I know 300 dollars is gone and I'm sleeping on the couch.
@rushiosan Difficulty shouldn't be a factor in a review, since some games are tailored towards more experienced people, take Dark Souls for instance
@rushiosan The game can be mediocre and have no bad points or good points, from your logic it would still get a 10...
@rushiosan What the hell did you expect, a 9.5? There's no direct correlation between how much content is under the "good" and "bad" sections to the score the game gets. Maybe if you read the review you would know why it got an 8, which by the way is a great score, especially for such a casual game.
@rushiosan then don't come on the site man -,-
This actually looks pretty great. Looks fun, and has some pretty graphics too. I know it's not fantastic, but think about it, how great did the PS3's and Xbox 360's launch titles look compared to the games now? Exactly.
Nintendo Land looks fun for a free game you get with the 32GB console.
What other system offers a free game with their console?
Go Nintendo, cant wait to get one!
played this when it was called Warioware and Mario Party... NintendoLand should have been the the better Xbox Live.
What a sexy looking game. Get some friends, some snacks, and a night off, and we'll all have a good time. Can't wait to check out the Metroid Blast and Zelda Battle Quest portions. :D