Hands-On: Nintendo Land

Friday, June 8th, 2012

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Nintendo Land Logo

Don’t talk crap about Nintendo Land.  Throughout E3 I’ve seen a lot of chatter about how Nintendo Land sucks and is just another bad mini game compilation, but most of those people haven’t actually played it.  Nintendo Land was probably one of the more fun games on the show floor of E3.

On the show floor, Nintendo Land was split up into five parts representing five different games and had what reminded me of Disney World music playing on repeat which admittedly drove me nuts.  But, that wasn’t part of the game, that was the show floor, each game was a blast to play.

Nintendo Land Animal Crossing Sweet Days

Nintendo Land is a game compilation in which the games within it are based on a Nintendo franchise new or old. First up was Animal Crossing Sweet Days. This game is a 4 versus 1 game in which the 4 players are collecting candy that is scattered around the ground across the map while the one player with the gamepad is controlling two guards trying to prevent the other players from winning.  In order to get the candy on the ground you need to stand on a button for it to fall of the tree nearby.  Some trees only require one person, while others will require 2 or 3.  The player with the gamepad uses both analog sticks to control each guard independently with each trigger button being used to tackle.  The further you spread out each guard the more of the map you will be able to see.  This sounds a lot more complicated than it is when actually playing it.  It only took me a couple seconds to get adjusted to the controls, then I was out trying to corner each player.  This game involves strategy on both ends of the spectrum as it’s vital for the 4 players to communicate to know if they need more players to access the candy or simply where the guards are currently.  And as for the player controlling the guards, simply trying to chase each player will result in a loss, so tactics are vital if you want to win.

Nintendo Land Takamaru's Ninja Castle

The next game over was Takamaru’s Ninja Castle.  This game is based on an older Nintendo franchise that includes Nintendo’s very first Samurai character.  This game is more or less a 1 player gallery shooter.  You use the gamepad to throw ninja stars at the other ninja’s and rack up points.  The more accurate you are, the more bonus points you receive.  The ninja stars speed is determined on how fast you flick the screen.

The notable thing with this title is that Nintendo is reaching into their back catalog of franchises. Is this a sign of things to come? We’re not entirely sure on that, but just knowing that Nintendo included a mini game based on an old Famicom Disk System game that never left Japan in their upcoming franchise-fest is comforting.

Nintendo Land The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest

Next up is The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest.  This game is a 4 player on-rails Zelda game, 1 player with the gamepad, the other with just Wii Motion+ remotes.  The player with the gamepad shoots arrows at enemies by aiming at the screen by holding up the gamepad and looking through the controllers display.  The arrows eventually become depleted in which all you have to do is lower the gamepad so the screen is facing up to replenish your supply.  The other players with the remotes basically play what feels kind of like an on-rails Skyward Sword.  I can’t wait to see the kinds of injuries this game will cause!

Nintendo Land Donkey Kong's Crash Course

On to Donkey Kong’s Crash Course!  This game is a one-player puzzle game which has you navigating what looks like a cart through a maze that is reminiscent of the original Donkey Kong’s construction site level (the first level of Donkey Kong).  To control the game you use the gamepad by tilting it in the direction you want the cart to go.  The more you tilt it, the faster you go.  If you go too fast you can wind up crashing, but if you go too slow, part of the cart may wind up hanging off the level you’re trying to jump off of which will eventually have you right back at the start of the last check point.

Nintendo Land Luigi's Ghost Mansion

The last game to available was Luigi’s Ghost Mansion.  Like Sweet Days, this game is a 4 versus 1 game.  This game is what a hide and seek game should be like in a video game.  The 4 players with the Wii remotes control characters with flash lights, their objective is to find the ghost who is being played by the person with the gamepad.  The closer you are to the ghost the more your controller will rumble and if you’re facing the right direction, you can shine your flash light to damage the ghost.  You cannot keep the flashlights on indefinitely however, as the “battery” will run out.  The player playing as the ghost has the objective of grabbing each player one by one, knocking each one out.  The 3 other players have a chance to revive each other with the flash lights, but without good teamwork, you’re all bound to lose.

Nintendo Land was a pleasant surprise.  Yes it’s a mini-game compilation, but it’s a well done one that’s deeper and more fun than anything Carnival Games has ever had to offer.  I know it’s hard to understand a game without playing it, but if you’re willing to give Nintendo Land a chance, you’ll have one hell of a time.

Press Release:

“Nintendo Land is a fun and lively theme park filled with 12 different attractions, each withits own take on a Nintendo franchise. Each attraction features unique and innovativegame-play experiences made possible by the Wii U GamePad controller. Depending onthe attraction, players can compete solo or against other players, or even team up to playcooperatively. Up to five players can participate in dynamic multiplayer modes in selectattractions.* The experiences change every time, depending on whether players areusing the GamePad, holding a Wii Remote or just watching others play on the TV screen.”




  • Kai

    I really don’t understand all the hate for Nintendo Land. It’s the Wii U equivalent of Wii Sports, and will most likely be bundled with the console upon it’s release. Nintendo don’t expect people to go out and buy this game. Instead, they’re using it show off how they think asymmetric gaming, and the GamePad’s various methods of control, should work. It’s about generating ideas, and helping people to understand the Wii U. I think it works pretty well, particularly on the Luigi’s Mansion and Animal Crossing mini-games.

    • Richard Ross

      It would be an injustice to write this game off.

  • I don’t really take issue with the game itself; I just think highlighting this more than any of their other games was a big mistake.  Yes, it could very well be a fun experience (or 12, as the case may be), but this is not the type of thing Nintendo needs to communicate to its fans, in my opinion.  It came as a huge disappointment when I was expecting something a little more…I don’t know, epic, maybe?  Or more of an in-depth experience (something I feel they didn’t truly address during the show).  I’m disappointed that they’re flaunting this as their killer first-party app, frankly.  Here’s hoping they do pack it in with the system.

  • DunbansBiggestFanForever

    I think Nintendo Land looks awesome. Its just like Wii Sports. They just spend too much dang time on it during E3 lol.

  • Hopefully, Nintendo will do the right thing and bundle this game with the Wii U. I really don’t want to spend $50-60 to purchase a minigame compilation. Besides, I’m slightly more interested in Game & Wario because I friggin’ love the WarioWare series.

    • Kai

      WarioWare is one series that ALWAYS works on a new Nintendo console.

    • Truth!

  • John Ellis

    Sorry but this game looks awful, launch games are supposed to make you want to buy the console, all this does is cheapen the new controller.