Nintendo Land Review
Nintendo Land is a destination, a hub of all things Wii U. A new playground that highlights the possibilities of the Wii U and Wii U GamePad controller. It’s a centralized gaming paradise that brings a social experience to Wii U gamers, along with some pretty terrific features and mini-games.
Nintendo has created quite the amusement park for online gaming with Nintendo Land. Just like a real amusement park, there’s a little something for everyone. In total, Nintendo offers 12 current attractions that are themed after steadfast Nintendo icons or their smaller fan-favorite cousins. Some of these themes include Zelda and Mario, where others are a little less mainstream like Pikmin. Although each attraction can vary in the target audience or gameplay styling, the amusement park itself is an enthusiastic, wonderland of activity.
Everything starts with your Mii avatar, original Wii players should already be familiar with the concept but for those of you that are new it will be the “virtual you” that you will move around as. The park as a whole could be overwhelming and the urge to run around and explore is calmed at first with a short introduction on how the attractions are set up, taught to you by a friendly guide named Monita. After a quick tour around the “Plaza” you can then set forth to check out the many attractions Nintendo Land has to offer.
Social interaction is part of the fun. If you have Miiverse friends already then you will be able to find them in the park. All of your collectables that you unlock, all of the scores that you obtain, everything is associated with your Mii character. This is a nice touch if you share your console with a sibling or a roommate. Your Mii is what makes all of the games and the Nintendo Land experience feel like one large game. Even though you unlock scores from various games, it’s the progress as a whole that makes the experience. Just like collecting tickets at an old arcade, it doesn’t matter what game you play, it’s the points and prizes that add up. Let’s take a tour of the attractions.
Mini-game fans should have an absolute blast playing in Nintendo Land, the wide-array of mini-games and visual stimuli is entertainment at its best. The whole park radiated with a cheerful spirit, some games had larger groups of strangers to play with, others it seemed more personal. In any case jumping into games was easy and finding out how each game used the Gamepad was enjoyable.
Playing alone is perfectly acceptable at Nintendo Land, but playing with groups makes the experience even better. You may have noticed that in most Wii U games that are coming out, the Gamepad user takes on a special role in the title. This is the same set-up for Nintendo Land. The number of people playing is actually a factor in the gameplay experience. Gameplay changes based on your group. Nintendo has thought of all circumstances it seems, to ensure that you will have the best possible experience. Only have two players? Nintendo will fill in what you need to play with bots for example, for those games that would just be impossible or too difficult with just two.
[quote_right]All games created that fun competitive spirit, the bright colors, the familiar franchises, it just screams fun[/quote_right]I call them mini-games because technically that’s what they are but the term sells some of them short. At the Nintendo Wii U event in New York I got to check out Metroid Blast within the park, now after playing it for an extended period of time, it’s really a terrific game. With three different game modes and what seemed like dozens, if not more, levels it’s a game that I can easily see people getting excited about. It’s the kind of game were you need teamwork but the scoring can be very competitive. Being destroyed because my friends were new to the gameplay mechanics and unfamiliar with controls was a hilarious adventure in learning the game. All games created that fun competitive spirit, the bright colors, the familiar franchises, it just screams fun and not in the “top of the leaderboard or get out” kind of fun, the good kind.
A lot of the game turn the Gamepad user into the “odd man out”. Where the GamePad is used to escape from the other Wii remote wielding chasers. ‘Mario Chase’ for example has the GamePad user as Mario equipped with an overhead map, while the toads are off to catch him. Other games like ‘The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest’ will have the GamePad user as an archer, while the other players are MotionPlus swordsman all fighting swarms of relentless enemies.
Nintendo Land is like the showcase of the Gamepad, if it was a dog this would be the Gamepad’s obstacle course. It’s really the perfect idea for a launch system with such a innovated device. Players have to get accustomed to what the GamePad can do and Nintendo is eager to show off its functions. Instead of waiting for developers to catch on and start making new gameplay elements for the Gamepad, Nintendo created all of these mini-games to get you playing with the possibilities right from the start.
The games are setup to handle all age-ranges and difficulty settings. Some games are much easier and more causal than others but all could be learned fairly quickly and the general good nature of the theme park offers a broad learning curve for younger audiences, while still having a challenging array of games for an older crowd.
Nintendo Land can be played alone but it’s really a terrific party game to play with your friends. Nintendo Land features quick to jump into games that allow you to have fun and start playing right away. There are even game-modes that randomly assign attractions for a set period of time to allow you to keep playing without having to choose or jump around. Though the cartoonish nature and childish themes may seem like Nintendo Land is only for a younger audience, the competitive events can be a lot of fun for friends to compete at a more social, friendlier level.