When Nintendo Land was first announced during Nintendo's E3 conference, I was under the impression that it was going to be more like a network that would be on the Wii U system itself, rather than a game disc. I thought it would be sort of like the Mii Plaza on the 3DS and allow your friends to play online with you at these attractions. When I got to demo the five games they had on the show floor is when I got to understand exactly what Nintendo Land is.
Nintendo Land is a disc based game that is much like an amusement park that offers a variety of attractions. These attractions are mini games to play alone or with some friends. The game offers a variety, as each attraction plays differently and are based off of some great Nintendo first-party titles that we all know and love. Nintendo Land offers 12 different attractions with some of them offering gameplay for up to five players.
Let's get to the low down of what I played and what I thought about the attractions at Nintendo Land.
The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest
This was the first attraction I visited. There was room for three players and each of us took on a different colored Link, with different weapons. This game allowed for up to four players. The person in control of the Gamepad is an archer and uses the cross bow to shoot arrows. The others used Wii Remote Plus controllers to operate our swords and shields. Together we tread through various enemies and obstacles to work together and get through them.
The screen takes the players in the areas that they need to go as the player does not control where they want to go. The character immediately starts walking by itself at a slow pace and does not allow for player control in this area. As you approach these enemies, you can wield and slash with your sword by using your Wii Remote Plus controller as an actual sword. There were some little enemies that were little metal balls with a black section in the middle of them. Since you couldn't do any damage by hitting the metal parts, you had to slash your sword in the direction of the black section, which I found it very difficult to get both times I played it. I think I would've preferred to have the player operate the characters motions. However, I think it would've been difficult to keep up us together on one screen. This attraction was fun, but I see it more for the younger crowd, or even for a family to play with their little ones.
Takamaru's Ninja Castle
The next attraction that I visited in Nintendo Land was Takamaru's Ninja Castle. The player takes over the Wii U's GamePad and holds it sideways. The screen displays a ninja star in which the player swipes up to the screen to take out the attacking ninjas. The main idea is to rake in points with accuracy and taking out as many ninjas as you can, before they take you out, or go back into hiding.
I had began just swiping them continuously, to make sure that I got all the ninjas, but found out that my points would've been even higher if I had threw one and killed the ninja, rather than a continuous shower of ninja stars. It was comfortable to hold the GamePad sideways at first and found that my accuracy was even better when I rested it against my body, rather than holding it away from myself. After a while, I did find that my wrist was getting sore. But, they did have some large contraption hooked onto the GamePad to make sure that it stayed at the booth.
Overall, the player will find themselves wanting to beat the scores of their friends and even up the ante with raising their own scores.
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day
If there were a time that you could eat all the candy you want, and not have to worry about calories and cavities, there is a time and place in time where you can! That would be in Animal Crossing: Sweet Day's attraction in Nintendo Land. The game allows for up to to five players to join in on the fun and offers up a Pac-Man style of gameplay.
With one player in control of the GamePad, he assumes the role of two guards who needs to attack the animals that are after the candies on the trees in the orchard. Now, how does one player control two guards with one GamePad? It is quite simple, there are two analogue sticks on the GamePad. Each controls a different guard. So with the sticks, the player will maneuver the guards and attack the animals. The guard must attack the animals three times to win; it doesn't matter if it is the same player more than once, or different players, as long as they are attacked three times.
The other players use the Wii Remote Plus controllers and hold them sideways. They need to eat the candy that they find, using the number 2 button upon coming up to them. There will be trees that have drop pads at the base of the trunks. Some have one, two, or even three. To drop candies off the trees requires animals to stand on the pads; if there are three pads, there needs to be three players on the pads around the tree at the same time to have the candies released from the trees. The more candies that your animal eats, the bigger his head gets. To release some candies to move around the map quicker, or to get away from a guard, the player can release candies by using the number 1 button on the controller. The game ends when the animals eat 50 candies combined.
This is an attraction that was a lot of fun. The booth allowed the players to start off with a Wii Remote Plus controller and then move down the line of controllers until they got a chance to play as a guard, using the GamePad. Playing as both an animal and a guard offered a ton of fun and they way it was presented, is a perfect way to play at home, alternating players and giving them the opportunity of playing as both to get the best entertainment out of the attraction.
Luigi's Ghost Mansion
This is another attraction that I really liked. I would have to say this one was my favorite. This played much like a Pac-Man styled game as well. It gave the players the opportunity to assume different roles using both the GamePad and up to four players utilizing a Wii Remote Plus controller, much like Animal Crossing: Sweet Day.
The players using the Wii Remote Plus controllers were little Miis in Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi hats. Equipped with flashlights, their job is to find the ghost haunting the mansion and hit it with their flashlights to reduce the ghost's points to until there is none left, all while watching their backs from the ghost lurking in the shadows. If the ghost attacks one of the players, fellow flashlight wielding friends can run and revive him by shining their flashlight on him long enough to fill up his heart meter. However, shining the flashlight drastically drains the battery, so batteries will pop up on the screen to help nourish the flashlight. When all four players are wounded on the ground, the ghost wins.
The player taking on the ghost's roll plays by watching the screen on the GamePad to plan his attack on the players. The ghost can move around unseen, unless there is lightening striking. When the ghost attacks a player, he is also briefly seen, or if a flashlight is being shone on him. I found that the best strategy was when a battery popped up, you know that the players desperately need to recharge. So, I would go straight to the batteries and attack expecting players as they are running to the battery.
The game was insanely fun and addicting and was my top-liked attraction.
Donkey Kong's Crash CourseThe last attraction I visited at Nintendo Land was Donkey Kong's Crash Course. The minigame featured a level with a Donkey Kong look to it, in which the player has to get a cart (or a frame with wheels that was very easily destructible) from the beginning of the map (which was at the top of the screen), to the end (which was at the bottom). To do so the player would tilt the GamePad in the direction that the cart needed to go. The more slanted the player tilted the GamePad, the faster the cart would roll.
Now, the player cannot just have an easy go at it, or else it wouldn't be fun. There were obstacles placed in the way where I would have to use the ZR and the ZL buttons (which are like the Wii U's GamePad's firing buttons) and the analog buttons to control parts of the obstacle. For example, to lift and lower parts of the level I would use the ZR and the ZL buttons. I really liked a part where I had to get on a part of the level that was circular and to get it to rotate me to my path, I would rotate the right analog button.
Any wrong move, even being smashed by level parts or flipping upside down, results in a strike against the player; three strikes and the demo was over. I almost made it completely through, but was upset with how close I came and I didn't complete it. All I know is that I got much further than the person did in front of me. This shows how competitive players will get with each other and with their own scores.
Of course there were only five attractions out of the twelve that will be available on Nintendo Land. I look forward to more announcements on what we can expect on this game. It will not only be a great family game, but it will make for a fun party game, too. However, it is also a good single-player game as well.