"Nintendo's Latest Revolution?"
Potential. Potential's a word that gets thrown around a lot in gaming, and in most cases, it relates to a game that shows signs of being better than the end product. In the case of Nintendo Land, the potential is evident from the very beginning, when you boot up one of the game's twelve attractions, but the promise has less to do with the game, and more to do with the GamePad. With twelve different games to play for up to five people, Nintendo Land offers plenty of options for new Wii U owners, but is it worth the price of admission? Read on for the full GD review.
The term mini-game collection generally gives off a negative connotation, and owners of the Nintendo Wii certainly saw their fair share of these titles through the console's six-year lifespan. However, Nintendo Land isn't your run-of-the-mill party game, as there's more depth here than gamers have come to expect from the genre. In the same way that Wii Sports became a showcase for the Wii's motion controls, Nintendo is banking on their virtual theme park being the introduction to their new system, and what they believe to be the latest revolution in console gaming.
When the game first boots up, Monita, a female robot who acts as the park's tour guide, will greet your Mii. Monita will give you tips and serve as your coach when entering events for the first time. Of the twelve attractions, nine of them can be played solo. The other three require at least two players, one of which uses the GamePad, while the others join in with Wii Remotes. The twelve attractions are each based off of Nintendo franchises, and while none of them offer the full experience of those worlds, they do give a glimpse of the promise that the GamePad has. As with all mini-game collections, there are a few hits and misses.
Balloon Trip Breeze is the highlight of the six solo attractions. Based off of the wildly underrated Balloon Fight for the NES, your Mii is strapped to a pair of balloons and you use the touchscreen to control the wind, blowing your Mii into balloons and avoiding obstacles along the way.
The best use of the two-screen format in Nintendo Land probably goes to Yoshi's Fruit Cart. Essentially, you draw a path to an exit on the GamePad, picking up fruit and avoiding obstacles before opening the door that takes you to the next level. The trick is that you don't see the items on the GamePad, only on the TV. Throw in moving items in the later levels, and you have a sneakily difficult game.
Takamaru's Ninja Castle has you firing ninja stars off the GamePad and onto the TV in an attempt to destroy your enemies. It's a good introduction to the GamePad, and it is very responsive. Once the enemies start hiding behind objects and coming at you with swords, the difficulty level spikes significantly.
Donkey Kong Crash Course has you controlling a tiny, bouncy vehicle around a classic Donkey Kong level. The game moves fast, and handling the vehicle does present a frustrating challenge at times, but a second player can jump in to slow things down.
Octopus Dance is your standard rhythm game that provides very little in the way of depth, and Captain Falcon's Twister Race challenges the player to navigate areas by tilting the GamePad. The latter two almost seem like throw-ins, made to artificially bump up the number of attractions that the game boasts. There isn't much in the way of redeeming qualities in these two, but there's plenty to do in the other four.
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A lifelong Nintendo fan and sports junkie, Adam is from Toronto and a proud Canadian. If he's not writing or playing games, you can probably find him on the golf course.
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