Nintendo Land Review
- On November 30, 2012
Nintendo land is Nintendo’s first theme park game containing many attraction featuring Nintendo’s biggest franchises from Mario, Zelda, Metroid to even less frequently visited franchises like F-Zero. All these mini-games include ways Nintendo believes are ways that take advantage of the gamepad controller.The game starts you off in a plaza filled with entrances to all the attractions in Nintendo Land. You are then meet a helpful robotic guide with a screen for a face called Monita. If connected to the internet Miis from the Miiverse that have played Nintendo Land .
All the mini-games are split into 3 categories:
Solo Attractions, Team Attractions and Competitive Attractions
The solo mini-games include:
Yoshi’s Fruit Cart
Yoshi’s Fruit Cart which makes use of the gamepad’s touch screen to draw one continues path to all the fruit on-screen then to the door with only being able to see the fruit on the TV screen. If a miss drawn path is made you lose a life. Longer paths take away drawing power from the bar you have. Collecting the fruit is the only way to recover the bar. If the whole bar disappears game over. Later levels introduce number ordered fruit, moving fruit and holes. This is one of the most casual attraction in Nintendo Land.
Octopus Dance is the least interesting attraction. Both joysticks are used for following the same rhythmic motions the other dancer makes. Later into the dance new motions require the gamepad to be moved up,down and sideways. Sometimes the background characters move in sync with the motions and distracts from the main dancer. This mini-game would probably worked better with the use of two Wiimotes.
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course
Donkey Kong’s attraction turns you into a transfigured 2 wheeled version of yourself in this full-tilt obstacle course. The gamepad is used to tilt you around the course, any kind of blunt trauma you inflict on yourself like running into a wall or flipping over will cost you a life. This attraction requires you to have a steady and precise hand of a surgeon to complete the course with only 3 lives. Get ready to lose many strands of hair because you will be starting over many times. Sometimes you may get stuck so pressing the Y button will reset you back to the last checkpoint. This game will infuriate you but is also the most addicting.
Takamuru’s Ninja Castle
Takamuru’s Ninja Castle attraction tests your ninja stars throwing skills by constantly having ninjas appear and you the player use the gamepad sideways to throw stars using a finger or stylus. Throughout the levels different colored ninjas appear representing what moves they have like throwing bombs, throwing Shuriken, and Katana wielding ones. Multiple playthroughs will unlock new abilities for you like slow-mo and bombs. This mini-game works very well but at one time the gamepad’s aim become off and I had to adjust my own aim to compensate. I believe shooting the drums is the games way of re-aligning itself. This mini-game provides a lot of action and is one of the most fun solo attractions.
Captain Falcon’s Twister Race
Captain Falcon’s Twister Race is the only racing attraction that uses the gamepad sideways to show a top down view of the track while the TV shows a 3rd person view of the Captain Falcon’s Blue Falcon vehicle. The race track is split into 12 sections that you must race against the time. The later levels throw in more obstacles like wind turbines,other vehicles and red mines. There is also speed boost pads on the floor and rainbow ramps which shoot far forward down the track. If you hit any of the mines game over. There are checkpoints in this race but they don’t actually bring you back if you lose once so you will have to start the whole race over again. This really makes me want a new F-Zero.
Balloon Trip Breeze
Balloon Trip Breeze straps you Mii to two balloons and has you go on a perilous adventure hopping island to island collecting balloons until you arrive days later at your destination. The gamepad becomes your sky and you must stroke the air using the touchscreen to provide gusts for your Mii to fly. The game gives you 3 lives and 2 balloons per each life and if one is popped touching down on islands gives you balloons back. The attraction is easier if you only look at the TV and occasionally look at the gamepad to pop bubbles and break obstacles. Sometimes bubbles will contain items like slow-mo clock and invincibility. The game is constantly pushing the screen right to left so you want to have some good space away from it or you might get trapped by some spikes. Sections of the level are broken up into days which bring new weather conditions and day night cycle. I find no real problem with mini-game except the view on the gamepad’s screen could have shown a little more. Have a second player use the Wiimote while playing this and see what happens.
Team attractions are unique because they support coop with the gamepad and Wiimote. All the team attractions have 2 modes except Metroid Blast which has 3.
The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest
The first of the team mini-games is The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest. The Quest mode has you either play as the archer using the gamepad or as a swordsman using a Wiimote. Movement is prohibited so the game auto moves you when given no input. As an archer you use the gamepad to aim the bow and down on right joystick to shoot arrows. The gyroscope in the gamepad allows you to turn about as if you were in the world. As a swordsman the Wiimote acts as the sword as you slice and dice enemies. All players have the ability to charge up their weapon to provide a stronger blow. The enemies in the game fit the style of this attraction being a sown together world with zippers and seams. The most seen enemy are the pig creatures with different varies holding things like clubs,shields and bows. Playing as the archer you do not want the enemies close to you because you can’t actually defend you defenseless body so when playing coop it’s the swordsman’s job to limit how many get through the front lines. The swordsman protects himself by being the only one with a shield. If one player loses a heart both players suffer because the hearts are shared. The lack of story in most attractions is a little disheartening but the light story progression in Battle Quest keeps the players going.
Time attack mode only has the archer play through the level for the quickest time. The game keeps you in one spot to really focus on aiming and shooting the enemies as quickly as possible.
Pikmin Adventure is a simplified version of the Pikmin games. The gamepad player controls Olimar which controls many Pikmin using the joystick to move around and the touchscreen to throw the Pikmin. Olimar also has a whistle that calls all the Pikmin back to him. The goal of the attraction is to reach Olimar’s rocketship. In the way are many enemies dropped by Evil Monita that hatch from capsules. After defeating an enemy or breaking a ? block will sometimes drop an orange droplet called nectar, this nectar is used to level up your Pikmin. Throughout the level the Pikmin will become stronger and begin to develop their leaves into flowers. Later missions add a hammer item that adds more attack power to the Pikmin and a bigger heart container which adds hearts.
If playing coop the other player uses the Wiimote D-pad to control a bigger Pikmin. The big Pikmin has free roam to go about the small linear sections of the map as long as it’s in the same section as Olimar and uses it’s head to smash enemies with. The Big Pikmin can also level up and use items.
Metroid Blast provides the most hardcore game mechanics then any other attraction in Nintendo Land. Assault Mission mode pits you against groups of Space Pirate enemies in different scenarios while all in the comfort of Samus’s Ship. To control the ship the left stick is for movement while the use of the gamepad’s gyroscope really helps with aiming the reticule as does the right stick. There is also a rise and dive move for when you need to go below and above using with UP/Down on the right stick. If you are the sniper type you can use the ZL button.The first few mission I felt were a little easy with too much over use of the same enemies and maps but it starts to really pick up after beating Mission 10. I understand why the first mission are easy being that Nintendo wants to start off all types of players on the same playing field. While in a map items will appear such as invincibility shield and rapid fire.
While Assault Mode with the gamepad is enjoyable and provides a challenge playing assault mode with the Wiimote + nun-chuck is not quite the same. The nun-chuck is for movement and the Wiimote is for aiming Samus’s arm canon while holding down A button while B button is to fire. The control scheme may sound fine and it is but the problem lies in Samus’s walking motion. Samus is just too slow even with the ball ability, you would think well at least she can roll around fast but no walking and rolling have the same speed. Because of this later levels become very difficult with the huge amount of enemies mobbing you especially in the timed missions. That problem happened on Mission 7, I would constantly get attacked and not have the speed to collect all the coins in time. Another problem is Samus’s head gets in the way of the screen blocking some of the view. A good thing is that Samus does have a grappling beam that targets the floating purple rings which is the only real way to escape danger if mastered.There is also Assault Mode coop which is better than the stand alone Assault using just the Wiimote+nun-chuck. Metroid Blast also contains two competitive modes, Surface-air combat being Samus Ship VS Samus and ground battle being Samus VS Samus.
Onto Competitive Attractions, all competitive attractions can only be played with 2 or more players.
The first is Mario Chase. As the name implies it’s just chasing Mario around. The chasers using the Wiimotes try to capture Mario once within a time limit. Mario uses the gamepad and can see everything going on because the gamepad screen shows all movement. If playing 1 vs 1 the chaser gets two Yoshi bots to help slow Mario down if he gets near them. At times in the middle of the map a star will appear that only Mario can use letting him become invincible and faster for a short period. Everyone in the game run about the same speed normally. This game is simple to understand and the thrill of cat and mouse is very fun.
Second is Animal Crossing Sweet Day.
The gamepad player controls two patrol dogs that chase the other animals. Both thumbstick are used to control the dogs. The other animals must eat candy and carry it to the candy stash hole but if you carry too many candies in the animal’s head it become huge which slows you down making it easier to catch. if the dogs catch you 3 times the dogs win but if the animal collects the required amount the animals win. I find this mini-game a bit more involved with its game mechanic then Mario Chase because it’s not just a chase but also collecting.
The 3rd and last of Luigi’s Ghost Mansion.
Luigi is once again throw into a Haunted mansion with ghosts. The wiimote players are Luigi with flashlights which is used to lower the ghost health down to zero. On the Gamepad The ghost stays invisible to the other players for the most part unless the rush move is used which reveals the ghost. Luigis use the flashlight to lower the ghost health down to zero. The ghost has an invisible cone that makes the wiimote controller vibrate when the player enters closer to the ghost. The ghost also has to sneak around until its close to the player 3 times in order to win. This game and Mario Chase get the most competitive because of the dynamics of team coordination. The constant back and forth of winning and losing really keeps players to continue, who doesn’t like competition between friends.
Throughout playing all the attractions the player will amass a great amount of coins that can be spent on a coin toss mini-game in the middle of Nintendo Land’s plaza. Winning the coin toss give the player prizes that decorate the plaza. The whole look of the plaza really gives an inviting feel with its shiny and bright look. Each individual attraction has a unique look as if it’s not from the actual games but a built together recreation of those worlds.The music and sound effects are very rich and Nintendo really lets loose with the use of their many classic sounds. I like the little touch of nostalgia when entering an attraction entrance, it’s 8 bit music plays. All the music is topnotch and is incredible to listen to especially if you have the sound system for it.
Overall The visuals of Nintendo Land feels clean and sharp, the music is pleasant and wonderful to the ears. Most of the attractions make interesting use of the gamepad except for Octopus Dance just feeling a little lazy. The Guide Monita can also talk a little too much and here dialog is not skip-able. If you skip her tutorial’s she will show it again the next time you play that attraction, she is annoying. This game is a great pack in-game if you do purchase the Deluxe WiiU and if purchasing the game alone is a good companion to the WiiU. Nintendo Land is enjoyable solo and even better with friends. Nintendo Land is an 8 out of 10.