Giant Bomb Review

69 Comments

Nintendo Land Review

4

If you want to find out exactly what that big new Wii U controller is good for, Nintendo Land is your best bet right now.

The four-versus-one games here are a total riot.

Nintendo Land is the Wii U's Wii Sports, in both form--it's a collection of minigames--and focus, which is to show you how the system's fancy new second-screen gimmick can enhance traditional styles of gameplay, and make entirely new ones possible. Like most party games, a good portion of Nintendo Land's short, simplistic games don't stay interesting for long when you're playing by yourself. But if you can get five like-minded people into a room, and you've made the admittedly hefty investment in controllers to get all of them playing together, Nintendo Land can make for a pretty riotous good time.

As minigame collections go, this one begins with grander ambitions than Wii Sports' simple menu-driven list of activities. Nintendo Land isn't just the title on the game box, but also a vibrant theme park that acts as an interactive hub where you run your Mii around, walking right up to the attractions and hopping into them when you want to play them. Coins that you earn by playing each game can be cashed into a centrally located Plinko-like game that earns you all kinds of little Nintendo-themed trinkets that decorate the park grounds, and the whole package is just wallpapered with retro-styled Nintendo artwork and bursting with 8-bit-sounding classic music. I also couldn't help being charmed by the droll humor of your monotone computer-screen guide, Monita. As a longtime Nintendo fan, Nintendo Land is easy to love right out of the gate, though if a game called "Nintendo Land" weren't immediately lovable, there would be a real problem.

Some of the games are more successful than others. Pikmin's OK.

Anyway, the meat of the package is obviously in the minigames, and while a couple of them wear thin pretty quickly, the majority of the dozen games on offer here collectively add up to a unique experience that makes it feel like there might be something to this whole Wii U thing. The absolute best of the games are, unsurprisingly, the three that pit the most people against each other in head-to-head competition. These are themed with Mario, Luigi's Mansion, and Animal Crossing, and each is essentially some variation on Pac-Man, where the four players on the TV have limited information but the benefit of numbers, while the sole opposing player on the gamepad has greater awareness of the playing field but has to stare down four-to-one odds. Each game features a unique twist--Luigi incorporates stealth while Animal Crossing demands the gamepad player control two characters independently with the two analog sticks--and these three games in particular gave rise to the sort of heated competitive yelling that I thought this office full of jaded old games writers had lost their capacity to produce.

I expected to write off all the single-player minigames in Nintendo Land after trying them each once, but several of them really stuck with me, primarily the ones that make the smartest use of the Wii U's unique two-screen setup. My favorite, called simply Yoshi's Fruit Cart, has you trying to move Yoshi around a basic field on the television to pick up a bunch of fruit. You see everything on the touchscreen that you see on the TV, minus the fruit, and you have to draw a path from fruit to fruit without actually being able to see any of it. As you start running into fruit that moves or that you have to pick up in a specific order, this mode gets devilishly tricky, despite its initial simplicity. Another game styled after Balloon Fight has you blowing gusts of wind by swiping the touchscreen, and a Donkey Kong-themed race course makes you tilt the Wii U's GamePad back and forth to roll a little two-wheeled contraption from level to level without turning it over and spilling the egg it's carrying. These games have a grounded, tactile feel that makes them great fun to play, and their adherence to a less-is-more design sensibility makes them fun to come back to repeatedly.

He always does.

Ironically, the games that try the hardest to recreate some of Nintendo's biggest, most complex franchises, like Metroid and Zelda, were the ones I felt the least urge to spend extra time with. The Metroid game lets you fly around in Samus' ship or run around on foot to shoot at classic enemies, but that sort of gameplay doesn't make particularly engaging use of the gamepad's unique capabilities. Zelda likewise sends you against multiple waves of enemies in some hack-and-slashy combat (albeit with up to five people), and although the encounters do get a little more complex as you go, the whole thing still tends to feel a bit mindless. Though, the version of Pikmin that's in here feels surprisingly similar to the real thing, and lets players with Wii remotes take control of oversized Pikmin that the main player on the GamePad can pick up and throw along with the smaller minions. Just about every one of the minigames in Nintendo Land comes with one or more variants that focus on specific challenges or one-off versus modes, which gives you some reason to dig a little deeper even when you've had your fill of the primary mode. And performing well in each of them will earn you more of those sweet, sweet coins you can drop into the Plinko machine to fill your park with.

There's a good possibility that if you're interested in getting a Wii U at all, you'll end up with Nintendo Land anyway, since the game is bundled with the deluxe package that includes the black version of the console, four times as much internal storage, and a two-year discount on eShop games. That whole package is $10 less than buying the basic white Wii U model and Nintendo Land separately, and the good news is, Nintendo Land provides enough rousing minigames--provided you've got the players and the hardware--and a convincing enough case for the new control scheme to make it a worthwhile companion piece alongside your new Wii U.

69 Comments
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Posted by MikeGosot

Worth it just for the sick beats.

Posted by Imsorrymsjackson

Gimmicky waste of time.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot said:

Worth it just for the sick beats.

@Imsorrymsjackson said:

Gimmicky waste of time.

Both of your guesses are wrong. The correct answer was "Mario wins".

Posted by zombie2011

This looks like such a better pack in then Wii Sports. This seems like something i would play more than once unlike Sports.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King: Does Mario wins against your ego?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

Of course not. My ego is not compatible with the concept of loss.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King: The Mario does not win. You have lied.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

The Mario cannot compete against my ego, so he, therefore, does not. Therefore, he does not enter into a situation where he can lose, preserving his status as always winning. Check, set, mate.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

The Mario cannot compete against my ego, so he, therefore, does not. Therefore, he does not enter into a situation where he can lose, preserving his status as always winning. Check, set, mate.

Why your ego can't compete against Mario? What's stopping him?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot said:

Why your ego can't compete against Mario?

You reverse my words, good sir, and that is not how one wins a debate such as this.

Posted by Enigma777

CHECKMATE, ATHEISTS!

Online
Posted by Phatmac

Shortest review ever.

Posted by noautomobilesgo

Looks to be a very solid launch title. It seems like it's a good amount of fun. But other than this, ZombiU and maybe Scribblenauts, these launch titles seem a bit lackluster.

Posted by coribald

Miis are so freaking ugly.

Posted by Fokma

From my experience with Nintendo Land this afternoon. Each game is fun exactly 3 games, then everyone quickly gets bored and moves on until you change games. It's such a sharp swing to, I would give the game a 4/5 like brad on my first play, and by the third i'd be giving the games a 2/5.

Posted by MattyD

I'd take this over WiiSports any day of the week. I despised that game.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

Why your ego can't compete against Mario?

You reverse my words, good sir, and that is not how one wins a debate such as this.

Then why Mario can't compete against your ego?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

Because my ego...is a renegade.

Posted by super2j

"what that big new Wii U controller is good for", absolutely nothing, say it again!

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

Because my ego...is a renegade.

And...?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

Mario doesn't fight renegades. It's just not his style.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

Mario doesn't fight renegades. It's just not his style.

I need proof of that. Speaking of proofs, can you prove to me, that your ego is a renegade?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot said:

Speaking of proofs, can you prove to me, that your ego is a renegade?
There's your proof.
Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King: This doesn't prove nothing. If i create a blog called "Rich and Full of Guns", that doesn't make me rich and full of guns. Also, prove to me that Mario doesn't fight renegades.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot said:

This doesn't prove nothing.

Therefore, it proves everything, including Mario's stance on not fighting renegades. YOU ADMIT IT, AND I HAVE WITNESSES!!!

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

This doesn't prove nothing.

Therefore, it proves everything, including Mario's stance on not fighting renegades. YOU ADMIT IT, AND I HAVE WITNESSES!!!

My typo won't save you. The rest of my argument stands, and you need to show me the proof that Mario doesn't fight renegades. Also, why the Caps? Is the King feeling desperate?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

Caps are evidence of me getting in the mood.

Anywho, Mario cannot fight renegades because he is a renegade. The first Mario? Clearly, an allegory for the drug wars that ravaged 1980s Central America. Also, Donkey Kong represents Tsar Nicholas II. Why do you think Mario loved that hammer so much?

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

Caps are evidence of me getting in the mood.

Anywho, Mario cannot fight renegades because he is a renegade. The first Mario? Clearly, an allegory for the drug wars that ravaged 1980s Central America. Also, Donkey Kong represents Tsar Nicholas II. Why do you think Mario loved that hammer so much?

This does not prove he's a renegade, he could be undercover for all i know. Besides, if Mario never loses, how do you explain this?
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot said:

Besides, if Mario never loses, how do you explain this?

Others lost them; he found them.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King: What about Peach? He loses her every game.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

He doesn't lose her. It's just that you can't show him winning in an E rated game. Hell, not even an M would cut it.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King: Well, for a period of time, he lost her.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

Are you suggesting that Princess Peach is his property? WOMEN CAN VOTE NOW, GOOD SIR!

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

Are you suggesting that Princess Peach is his property? WOMEN CAN VOTE NOW, GOOD SIR!

Even if you deny that Mario lost Peach, he still loses his power-up when people touch him.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot:

I'm confused. Are we still on sex?

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

I'm confused. Are we still on sex?

No.
Posted by Metric_Outlaw

The green toad in the last picture looks like Brad. I hope that's his Mii.

Posted by Behonkiss

Just have to say looking at the front page image that seeing Miis in HD is so bizarre.

Posted by sear

Gotta keep those review copies and hardware rolling in, am I right?

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

I'm confused. Are we still on sex?

So, you... Stopped? That's it? Damn.
Posted by Video_Game_King
Edited by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

You broke one of the rules of improv. What was I supposed to do?

Well, i thought your ego was unstoppable. I'm disappointed.
Posted by Video_Game_King
Posted by HellBound

When watching the quicklook all I ever heard was "This is dumb".

Good game for kids I guess.

Posted by fakedaniel

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Posted by dropabombonit

Best thing about this gmae is the loading screen music. For how long some other load times are the WiiU, it would be good if that one lasted longer

Posted by MormonWarrior

I have no idea what's going on in this comment section.

Posted by evanbower

@Imsorrymsjackson said:

Gimmicky waste of time.

Unlike carving down a sick hill. Yeah, I'm pretty into snowboarding. Better post some pics of myself in my goggs.

Posted by Imsorrymsjackson

@evanbower said:

@Imsorrymsjackson said:

Gimmicky waste of time.

Unlike carving down a sick hill. Yeah, I'm pretty into snowboarding. Better post some pics of myself in my goggs.

What does that have to do with anything? Was I having a go at you personally? No, i was voicing my opinion on Nintendoland and you decide to personally attack me. One day you will grow up and realise that people are entitled to their own opinions and that yours count more than anyones but there is no need to get personal with me, yes I love snowboarding and I love that picture and it takes me back to a good time in my life, I hope one day you will get to realise the beauty of the mountains too. Have a nice day.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King: The conversation stopped because your ego has stopped.
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