GAME NAME: NintendoLand
DEVELOPER(S): Nintendo EAD Group No. 2
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
GENRE(S): Mini-game Compilation
RELEASE DATE(S): November, 18th 2012
It is no secret that the original Nintendo Wii’s console success was mostly due in part to the system including a packed-in title called Wii Sports. Wii Sports allowed gamers new and experienced, or young and old to be able to play with one another in timeless classics such as bowling or tennis. The game did it’s job so well that the Nintendo Wii went on to become one of the best selling video game consoles of all time and was the first time Nintendo won a generation in hardware sales since the Super Nintendo console system. Nintendo tried this software strategy again with the launch of the Wii U and with the inclusion of NintendoLand. This collection of mini games includes themed worlds, a vain attempt of a digital Nintendo themed park. NintendoLand is much more fleshed out then Wii Sports, but none of the games have the lasting appeal or party-centric feel that Nintendo’s previous pack-in delivered.
The collection of games is broken down into 3 categories: Co-op, Vs. and Single Player. In this review I’ll break down each of the games in a short review of each.
The Co-op Games
The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest
The land of Hyrule is patchwork and you must venture with your friends through waves of enemies. The player with the GamePad controls archer Link and up to four other players can join in the mayhem with swords. The pacing of the levels is well done as is the inclusion of some boss battles. The more players the harder the game becomes though as you all share the hearts. The graphics are a cool take on the world done in a patched up look. It controls as you would expect. I preferred being the archer and this has a learning curve but once you get it down you will be as deadly as Legolis from Lord of the Rings. The swordplay definitely is the weaker of the two control options. This game was one of my favorites in the collection.
Metroid Blast is the most hardcore gaming of this collection. The Gamepad user gets to control Samus’ spaceship, which is difficult to control. Luckly, the other players get to control mii bounty hunters, 3rd-person style. The bounty hunters control tightly with the nunchuck and Wii remote. The game is really fun and unlike the Zelda game, this game gets better with the more players you have. I really enjoyed the hell out of this game. The level design is awesome and the idea of of grappling onto the spaceship and still firing while another player is controlling the ship is awesome.
Pikmin meets the hack-and-slash genre in this game and the results are a fun but easy game. The player with the Gamepad controls Captain Olimar and the players with the wiimotes play as over grown pikmin. The pikmin can level up with honey just as in the Pikmin franchise which will help your speed and power. The game is fun as hell co-op and the boss battles are great. The only negative is the easy difficulty level.
The Vs. Games
Mario Chase is one of the two Vs. games that had lasting appeal for me. When we would have guests over, this would be the party game of choice similar to Wii Sports on the original Wii. The concept is really simple but really fun. The person with the GamePad has an overview map of the other four opponents at any give and must run away from them and not get tagged. The levels will vary in size depending on the amount of opponents and have 3 to choose from. I really wish Nintendo would have made extra levels for this mini-game, even though the 3 will still give you hours of party game fun. The players giving chase are stuck with wiimotes which help add difficulty in catching the gamepad player as the d-pad controls terribly in 3d.
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is the other game that had lasting appeal to me. The player with the GamePad plays as a ghost and gets a full view over the whole map. The only time the players can see the ghost is when the ghosts crosses into light or from the lightning strikes. They “ghostbusters” will also feel their controllers trembling when the ghost is near. The Wii mote players must lock onto the ghost with there flashlights and bring his health to 0 from 100. This may seem like an easy task, but the ghost has invisibility and speed on his side. There are 3 mansion levels to start out with, but unlike Mario, 2 more are unlocked after playing a bunch of sessions. This game is another great party idea.
Animal Crossing Sweet Day
I really wanted to like the Animal Crossing Sweet Day game, but it just didn’t catch on for me. The GamePad player uses both the analog sticks to control two separate town guards, while the wiimote players must run from them and collect as much candy as possible. Some trees require more then one villager to shake the candy out of the tree making teamwork a must. Once you’ve stuffed yourself full of candy your character will be fat and slow as hell. Luckily, you can drop your candy to regain some speed to run for safety and recover the fruit later. The goal is to reach 30-40 fruit depending on how many villagers join up.
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course
In Donkey Kong’s Crash Course you control a kart in a Donkey Kong arcade-esque level. You control the kart by tilting the GamePad and using the R or L trigger to hop. You can also use fans in the level by blowing into the microphone on the GamePad. The level is made up of 10 parts. After you beat the 10 parts, a second set of 10 is unlocked which provide a more difficult challenge. The game isn’t deep, but it is fun and trying to get the stamps and the highest score possible will keep bringing you back.
Yoshi’s Fruit Cart
Yoshi’s Fruit Cart is a cool and unique puzzle game. On the TV screen you will see fruit and a gate door and on the GamePad you see nothing but the start point and the gate. The goal is to draw the shortest path possible on the touch screen, collect all the fruit and make it to the goal in the allotted time. It gets more challenging the further you go and has a total of 40 levels to unlock.
Captain Falcon’s Twister Race
YAY! More F-Zero! Finally! Well kind of anyways. In this mock of F-Zero, you have a top down view of your hovercraft that you must maneuver through turns and obstacles and race to the finish line as fast as possible by twisting and turning the GamePad. That’s really all it is and there isn’t much depth to it besides trying to get the stamps and high score and the view is actually cooler for your friends watching the action unfold on the TV screen.
Balloon Trip Breeze
Balloon Trip Breeze is awesome because it is just like a new age Balloon Trip with better graphics and bigger levels. My complaint is it is easier to play on the GamePad but the view is so zoomed in that it makes it almost impossible to see any obstacles. You will constantly be jerking your head to look at the TV screen to see whats coming up but this feels gimmicky and not innovative. Don’t get me wrong though, despite its flaws it is still fun.
Takamaru’s Ninja Castle
This was the game that had me sold when I saw it on Jimmy Kimmel with Reggie from Nintendo demoing the game. The point is to chuck ninja stars at enemies as they come out to attack you, similar to the gun arcade games like Time Crisis and House of the Dead. The game is pretty awesome. You turn the GamePad sideways and make it rain ninja star. It is pretty accurate too, including where and how fast you toss them. The controls would be perfect in Strip Club Simulator 2012. The game is split up into a few levels and then a showdown with a boss character. The game is really fun but I wouldn’t buy the collection for just this game.
This is the worst game in the collection hands down. You basically mock the dancer on the screen and move the GamePad in rhythm with the music. They throw curveballs at you during the dance routine by speeding up and turning around but overall there are better dance experiences out there.
All of the games can be accessed within a menu or by walking around in the NintendoLand plaza. In the plaza is displayed the prizes you win from spending the coins in a plinko type mini-game. There are some really cool prizes such as a jukebox that you can earn songs for and Nintendo icons such as the Deku Tree and Ridley.
Graphically, the game is gorgeous like we would expect from a high definition Nintendo title. Lots of exaggerated bright colors that really make the worlds burts out and look lively. The soundtrack is spot on as it has selections from across all the Nintendo franchises.
As a pack-in game with the deluxe Wii U model, it is a no-brainer to pay extra to pick this up with the Deluxe package. For a Nintendo fan this game is exactly what you would expect at launch from the Big N. It captures in a tech demo sort of way the different uses of the new GamePad. It also has some great multiplayer experiences and a load of unlockables. No online or DLC definitely hurt this title but it isn’t negative enough to keep me from a solid recommendation. I would love to see Nintendo build on the nostalgia of their franchise and make more titles like this but with a more fully fleshed out experience with online gameplay and DLC options but I do recommend this title. Enjoy the ride in NintendoLand.