Nintendo Land - Review
Much like what Wii Sports did for the Wii back in 2006 when the console released, Nintendo Land helps showcase the innovative features of Nintendo’s latest home console. Does this Nintendo-themed minigame collection offer enough to satisfy early adopters, or does it lack the depth to make it a worthy purchase?
8 / 10
Nintendo Land is a game that takes the general idea of Wii Sports and attempts to push it further. It doesn’t have that ‘must-experience’ quality to it that Wii Sports had, but it’s a more refined piece of software that shows to the world the unique innovations that are packed into Nintendo’s latest home console
Nintendo Land’s gameplay is best broken down into three major attraction categories. Team Attractions, Competitive Attractions and Solo Attractions.
There are three team-based attractions in Nintendo Land that focus on players working together (and for the lone player, these attractions can also be played single-player). In each attraction, there’s a precise distinction between the player using the GamePad, and the others using traditional Wii controls. What the game attempts to do is invoke communication between the players so that they can work together to accomplish a shared goal. These attractions are perfect for all types of players, be it veterans or casuals, because they allow both of these to share a gaming experience, which can often be difficult to implement because of a certain difference in skill level.
For example, The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest takes you and your team mates on a journey where you become the heroes of Hyrule as you battle hordes of enemies in different locations. The person with the GamePad controls the hero using a bow, sliding the right stick to shoot arrows, and the other players use their swords and shields to help cause havoc to the evil denizens scattered about. Swinging your sword is almost identical to how it works in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, although you won’t be controlling where your character moves around the stage. This simplifies the formula which allows for those less skilled players to enjoy the fun, yet there are these little aspects in each game that appeal to the hardcore player and because of this, a joint experience becomes exceedingly fun for all.
The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest
However, one of the major downsides to both The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest and Metroid Blast, another Team Attraction, is that they will require you to have a Wii Remote Plus, or Wii Motion Plus accessory for each player not using the GamePad. If you’re looking to play these with a full party of five people, you may need to invest in these, unless of course, you already have a full set.
Similar to Team Attractions, Competitive Attractions allow multiplayer action for up to five people, but cannot be played solo. These attractions feel similar to the ‘3 vs 1’ mini games found in the Mario Party series, as the person with the GamePad competes with the remaining players. The GamePad player usually has an advantage that helps balance out the gameplay, making sure these competitive games never offer a clear advantage to one side.
Every Competitive Attraction creates a gaming experience that simply cannot be replicated without the innovative GamePad. Both Luigi’s Ghost Mansion and Animal Crossing: Sweet Day are entirely creative and unique, and to a degree, Mario Chase is also. The only downside is that Mario Chase follows a relatively similar formula to Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, however it doesn’t quite execute it as well.
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion
Apart from the multiplayer attractions mentioned above, there are a total of six Solo Attractions that complete the Nintendo Land experience, allowing the game to have a strong single player presence, as well as a strong multiplayer one. Many of these single player games are actually very challenging and it’s a relief to those longtime fans that Nintendo has truly created a well-rounded game that appeals and pleases both casual and hardcore gamers.
Special mention needs to be made for Donkey Kong’s Crash Course. It’s easily the most addictive and creative Solo Attraction of the bunch and the concept itself could be developed into an entire game. With the major focus on gyro controls, a 3DS release would certainly work.
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course
One more important element to the overall package of Nintendo Land is its inclusion of an achievement-like system in the form of ‘Stamps’ that has some devilishly tricky challenges for you to test your skill with. Each game has a set number of Stamps to collect which can be unlocked by performing certain tasks such as ‘Collect 100 Rupees’ in The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest or ‘Collect Every Balloon’ in Balloon Trip Breeze. The system works really well, and since the Wii U itself doesn’t have an inbuilt achievement system, this truly is the next best thing.
With Miiverse integration, stamps, prizes and coins to collect, a Pachinko-like mini game and hours upon hours of enjoyable fun, Nintendo Land is how you show off the capabilities of a new system, while providing players with a downright enjoyable gaming experience at the same time. It’s just a shame that there aren’t more attractions for us to partake in.
8 / 10
Nintendo Land has a unique and colourful art style that blends all the featured Nintendo franchises into a unified visual style. The folks over at Nintendo are experts at using colours in creative and mind-blowing ways, as we’ve seen in the past from games such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Super Mario Galaxy.
Take the attraction Animal Crossing: Sweet Day for example. The minigame has a very simple premise, but there’s such a high level of detail in terms of its overall visual presentation that, to a degree, makes it feel more complete and refined. There’s bright imagery that helps to compliment the stages nature, as well as a bubbly characteristic that ensures the attraction feels like it was directly inspired by the Animal Crossing series.
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day
The overall navigation of the game is very appealing, allowing you to explore your own little Nintendo Land area if you wish. With the push of a button however, you can bring up a traditional menu for you to navigate through so that you can jump straight into the minigame action, without having to guide your Mii to the entrance of each attraction.
There are certain attractions that don’t impress as much as others. This isn’t a real problem as each attraction is engineered to feel unique, but there are definitely visual opportunities that could have been taken to truly impress on a grander scale, considering Nintendo Land is the flagship launch title for the Wii U. However, the Wii U is Nintendo’s first foray into HD gaming and the games will only continue to look better as time goes on. If what we have seen in Nintendo Land is any indication of what’s to come in the future then we sure are in for a treat.
8.5 / 10
When you think of Nintendo games, one of the aspects that stick out the most about them is their music. Because Nintendo Land features a wide range of Nintendo franchises from its entire history, you can bet that the soundtrack is going to feature some of the most memorable tunes known to gaming.
From the moment you initiate Nintendo Land from the Wii U’s dashboard, you’ll instantly hear the references to the 8-bit era of Nintendo. The game features tons of original music from classic games, such as the main theme from 1986’s Balloon Fight, featured in the attraction Balloon Trip Breeze and the title screen theme from the SNES game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
The music unique to Nintendo Land is nostalgia-filled, redefining certain musical elements from past Nintendo games. The theme song to Pikmin Adventure is extremely impressive to say the least and it goes to show that Nintendo’s constant attention to music ensures that the complete game experience focuses on the most important element of video games. Fun.
The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest
- You’ll have hours of fun with friends or alone.
- There’s an attraction for every kind of gamer.
- Surprisingly, Nintendo Land really is the perfect launch title.
- Some of the attractions lack depth.
- No online multiplayer.
- No Star Fox, Earthbound or Kirby themed attractions.
Overall - 8 / 10
The overall score is not necessarily an average
Nintendo Land was released for Wii U on November 30 in Australia.
Written by Michael Villalon for ‘The VG Island’.