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NintendoLand Review

The Wii pretty much reinvented the quick play games compendium with its first title Wii Play, offering a group of mini-games to show off the new control system; well now Nintendo have done it again with NintendoLand, which hosts 12 games plus a few surprises to get you used to the new functions the Wii U has on offer. With a mixture of single and multiplayer games (most fun is to be had with two or more players) across a multitude of different play styles for all to enjoy.

With your newly created or transferred Mii you will be introduced to the main plaza and the host of the whole complex Monita, who explains the ins and outs of NintendoLand and every other aspect. From the main plaza you are able to visit any of the 12 attractions by walking through the surrounding gates, just hang around with the other Mii's wandering around or visit the Central Tower that allows you to play a Coin Game with the NintendoLand Coins you earn by playing in the many attractions. With each successfully completed Coin Game you earn a special bonus prize that litter the main plaza, hidden in question mark boxes ready for you to tap and enjoy the surprise.

The games are split into three main categories, solo attractions, team attractions and competitive attractions, with some covering a couple of categories, splitting the use of the GamePad and Wii Remotes between multiple players.

Though initially perceived as short series of one trick mini-games, a majority of the games offer a lot more depth than your usual mini-games, with many opening up more challenges and levels as you progress.

The single player attractions rely only on the GamePad, allowing for straight out of the box action like the successor to Duck Hunt, Takamaru's Ninja Castle. Holding the gamepad vertically an aiming cursor appears on screen, with you then aiming and then swiping up on the touch screen to throw a ninja star at the enemies. As you progress though levels you start to earn scrolls which act as special powers. These are activated by drawing a specific sign on the touch screen, like a circle to use a limited supply of Clay bombs or a simple horizontal line to slow time down. With enemy ninjas attacking with swords and also throwing weapons at you, fast reflexes are required to progress to the level bosses and rack up those high scores.

Other games include the likes of Yoshi's Fruit Cart which offers more of a puzzle challenge, drawing lines on the GamePad for the Yoshi Cart to gather fruit safely and find an exit, sounds easy but you can't see the fruit and hazards on the GamePad screen, only on the TV, using estimated lines to guide the Yoshi Cart to safety. Elsewhere, Captain Falcon's Twister Race, offers a bird's eye view on the gamepad which sees you twisting the GamePad to make your F-Zero ship navigate a hazard ridden course. Donkey Kong's Crash Course meanwhile is like a giant Screwball Scramble course, with a maze of lifts and girders split into areas for your fragile cart to negotiate, tilting the gamepad to gently move around some perilous designs.

Further standout titles include Balloon Trip Breeze which throws your Mii off a cliff with nothing more than a bunch of balloons and the wind to keep them safe. With simple swipes on the GamePad you act as the wind, moving your Mii around the screen, dodging birds and mines whilst collecting coins and trying to make it to the next island.

Out of all of the attractions available the only one which fails to offer any real depth is Octopus Dance. A dancing version of Simon Says where on the GamePad you will see the back of your Mii and a dummy. The idea is that by moving the control sticks and tilting the pad you copy the dummies jumps and hand movements. To add a little variety the dummy will occasionally spin you around, moving your attention from the GamePad to the TV screen.

The next three offer a mixture of solo and team adventures, though to play any of these you will need to either own a Wii or splash out some extra cash on a new Wii Remote. The extra cash spent is worth it though as it is here that NintendoLand really shines, with a group of you participating in The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, venturing to Hyrule in a quest to gather the Tri-Force, battling with a bow and arrow with the GamePad or sword with a Wii Remote. You can also team up in the Pikmin Adventure, the GamePad player controlling Olimar who can throw and command Pikmin to fight baddies and the other players as special Pikmin who head-butts enemies, helping each other get back to Olimars spaceship or you can battle it out as Samus Arran in Metroid Blast, a series of multiplayer games with the GamePad flying in Samus ship and the rest on the ground fighting waves of enemies or the ground troops trying to defeat the GamePad player. This mode does start to get expensive though as whilst the GamePad player can play as the battleship, all the other players require both a Wii Remote and Nun Chuck.

The final three games are competitive only and offer some really fun alternative ways of playing tag, with Animal Crossing: Sweet Day having Wii Remote players running around a maze collecting sweets and depositing them whilst trying to avoid the village guards played by the GamePad, who has a slight advantage as they control two guards, moving around with the left and right control sticks. Luigi's Ghost Mansion will have the Wii Remote players searching around a haunted house for the invisible GamePad player and their ghost. Using the rumble function to detect when in close proximity and a torch to sap away the ghost's energy, this is ultimately more fun with more players. Finally we have Mario Chase, where the GamePad Mii dresses up as Mario and is charged with trying to avoid up to four other Wii Remote players acting as Toads. Though the Toads have a limited line of sight there are also Yoshi Carts running around the maze who will shout out approximate locations to the other players when they spot Mario.

You can really tell Nintendo have gone all out on the HD presentation, making the most of the new Wii U technology with some lovely visuals, each level presented with a slightly different theme, with Takamaru's Ninja Castle being made of paper or The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest made of stitched cloth, they all look great on the TV whilst still holding onto Nintendo's high standard of quality.

If there is a group of you or a couple that enjoy a little competition then most of these modes will have some replayability like ranking up high scores against each other's Mii; there is nothing worse than going out only to return to see your Takamaru's high score beaten. The real issue with NintendoLand is single players, there is enough but only just and the fact that three of the games are unplayable on your own may be worth taking into consideration.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: Wii U)


- Each attraction looks stunning.
- A lot more depth to the attractions than many other 'mini-game' compilations.
- Lots of surprises to unlock.


- Solo players will not get all out of this game.
- Can get costly when it comes to multiplayer.

Edited On 08 Dec, 2012

( 9 )
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
It speaks volumes of the state of the games this year when I considered this to be one of, if not the best game this year. It's just so simply yet incredibly in depth. The Pikmin, Zelda and Metroid games are worth the price alone due to how fun they are. After playing the Mario, Luigi and Animal Crossing levels...if I'm honest I just didn't mind that I don't have access to them. 1 vs 1 it's kinda pointless since the player can just let the computer do most of the work for them. My gripe is that I woulda preferred to have seen one or two online games. Especially with the co-op ones. Maybe we can see some DLC in the form of Starfox, Mother, Fire Emblem, Ice Climbers and the like?
Solidus 5nake's avatar
Solidus 5nake 4 years ago
Looks like it could be alot of fun to be fair, a proper party game :)
Wey1's avatar
Wey1 4 years ago
yeah, seems like it'd make a good party game. good game to see what the new controller is all about.
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 4 years ago
Won't be long until the U is flooded with this type of game (but of a much lower quality), just like every other game on the Wii seems to be a generic party game.
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
I didn't really give this much of a chance to start with, was too busy with Mario and Zombi U, but I've given it a good go today, and it's really good, lots of fun, and some of the games are really addictive, kept getting loads of guys hitting on me in Miiverse though.
Anonymous user's avatar
"OMG ITZ A GURLL??!!?" Sorry couldnt resist :P think you're in the same boat as most females who game online. This game looks like it could be a great bit of fun, I'm considering getting a Wii U but wanted to know if anybody knew about a potential Mario kart Wii U? Love mario kart so that would be a swaying factor.
tomas 4 years ago
Dead's avatar
To be honest it's a nice change from all the sandwich requests I get on Xbox Live.
Dead 4 years ago
Robichoico's avatar
nothing's been announced yet but considering there's been a Mario Kart on every console thus far you know it's coming. I'm gonna guess for a Christmas 2013 release myself. (I hope Nintendo twig on this time and realise people likely will buy classic courses as DLC)
Robichoico 4 years ago
Dead's avatar
Yep, some franchises are a given, Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros, and most definitely Mario Kart.
Dead 4 years ago

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