When it was initially announced, Nintendo Land was almost a punchline. Billed as a “one more thing” in an unnecessarily-stretched E3 press event, it seemed it was a half-baked stand-in for a proper launch title. This game was supposed to carry a holiday season?
Yeah, maybe. The more we see and play the game’s events, the better it gets.
What it is: Nintendo Land, a launch Wii U title and the pack-in for the $349 Deluxe bundle, is a collection of twelve “attractions” themed on Nintendo properties. Each has a different feel, and at least some contain multiple gametypes within the same basic framework. Six of the games are designed for multiplayer, while six are for solo play only.
Why we’re excited: Metroid Blast may be the star of the collection. It’s a bit simple in mechanics, but it’s a third-person shooter with cooperative, competitive and team play options in a Metroid-themed arena. The gamepad player controls a ship, while others are in Samus-themed suits on the ground. The name makes sense, as it’s a ton of fun to play. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is a spiritual successor to Pac-Man Vs., with four players trying to capture a ghost and survive with flashlights. It also seems like it’d have staying power. Generally, a lot of these games feel less like tech demos than we were anticipating.
What we’re wondering: The single-player games… still feel a bit like tech demos. Donkey Kong’s Crash Course and Balloon Trip Breeze, while fun, don’t really seem to need the GamePad zoom functionality they’re using. Do these have depth we’re not seeing? And other single-player games have remained suspiciously out of the demo rotation.
There’s a lot of game to Nintendo Land. We’ll be sure to give you the final verdict when it releases at the Wii U launch on November 18.