As a video game package with Deluxe bundles of the Nintendo Wii U, mini-game compilation Nintendo Land is attempting to pull off what Wii Sports accomplished with Wii: sell players on life with a second screen.
Nintendo Land executes this strategy quite well, delivering a variety of solo and cooperative challenges that use the GamePad in fun ways, although it's tough to tell whether it packs the "wow" factor of a Wii Sports.
Nintendo Land is a theme park featuring 12 attractions based on popular Nintendo franchises such as Super Mario Bros., Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. Using their Mii avatar, players explore the park's attractions and collect coins.
Each attraction includes mini-games cleverly tailored to use the GamePad, Wii remotes or a combination. In Mario Chase, one person runs around a map as Mario while up to four others hunt him down as Toads. Using the GamePad, players assuming Mario's role have a full view of the map and the location of each Toad, while Toad players view the TV.
In The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, one player wields a bow and arrow with the GamePad while two others grab swords with a Wii remote. Players hold up the GamePad as they aim and fire at oncoming enemies en route to a major boss battle.
While Nintendo Land packs its share of challenges geared toward groups of players, there are some solid games for single-player enjoyment. Donkey Kong's Crash Course features a special cart players guide through a retro Donkey Kong level. They steer by tilting the GamePad left and right, tap the shoulder buttoms to lift ramps, and even blow into the mic to activate fan-powered platforms.
Meanwhile, Captain Falcon's Twister Race includes a high-speed racer and track inspired by F-Zero. Holding the GamePad vertically, players tilt left and right to steer, using a top-down view on the touchscreen. Tunnels require players to check the TV as they find special items or boosters.
After each challenge, players collect coins they can use to decorate the theme park. A giant tower in the center of the park features a simple challenge similar to the Price is Right game Plinko. Players drop coins from the top and watch them hit several pegs before falling into slots. When every slot is filled, players earn gifts ranging from vases to a giant jukebox. It's a nice supplement, but one that doesn't provide a ton of depth.
Overall, Nintendo Land is a versatile package, but doesn't seem to match the high expectations of a Wii Sports. That game helped push millions of Wii consoles into households because of its unique motion-based gameplay, and Nintendo Land doesn't boast that special feature to carry a piece of hardware.
However, Wii U owners will have a great collection of challenges players can enjoy alone or with family or friends.
Platform(s): Wii U
Rating: E for Everyone
Release Date: Nov. 18
Score: 3 stars (out of 4)
- by Mike Snyder, USA Today