Nintendo Land review: The Most Fun You Can Have With a User’s Manual

Nintendo land reviewFor every new piece of hardware that enters the gaming market, there is inevitably a title that is designed to use each and every possible feature of that new hardware. These games are tutorials of sorts, masquerading as a game – usually a collection of mini-games. For the Vita it was Little Deviants, for the Kinect it was Kinect Adventures, for the Wii it was Wii Sports. The list goes on and on, and you can now add one more to it: the Wii U’s Nintendo Land.

Sold separately or included with the Deluxe Wii U bundle, Nintendo Land is a compilation of 12 mini-games that highlight everything the Wii U can do, especially the new GamePad controller. Each of the games is based on an existing Nintendo property, from Zelda and Metroid to the slightly lesser known Takamaru’s Ninja Castle and F-Zero inspired races. The games range from co-op to competitive, as well as a decent selection of single player offerings. On the multiplayer though, be warned: you’ll need the Wii MotionPlus. Standard Wii Remotes need not apply.

These games all exist within the Nintendo Land eco system, which is presented like a theme park. You have a central hub that offers easy access to any of the games, or you can select a quick menu option and choose that way. The hub itself will be populated by AI controlled Miis, as well as the real life Miis of players that are online (or they will be there once the online functionality is released prior to the Wii U’s launch).

Nintendo Land Mario Chase

Each of the mini-games offers something unique, and they all use the GamePad in a slightly different way. In the competitive “Luigi’s Mansion,” the player with the GamePad is the “ghost” and is hunting the other (up to) four players. The ghost can see everything in the square board, while the other players are equipped with flashlights that can hurt the ghost when they hit it, but the players don’t have any way of knowing where it is until it strikes and takes out a player.

Nintendo Land PikminAnother game, the single player “Donkey Kong’s Crash Course” has you steer your avatar through a course using the Wii U’s gyroscope. You tilt it left or right to send your character in that direction, and hit the occasional shoulder button to operate gates. You’ll also have to use the mic, as blowing in it is the only way to operate certain lifts. One game has you use the touch pad to mimic gusts of wind as you try to keep a balloon rider aloft, while another still has you race using the GamePad as a steering wheel.

Of the 12 games, there is certainly a hierarchy involved, and not all games are created equally. Some, like “The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest” (which features co-op Zelda action that needs to become a full thing) are far more engaging and deeper than the mimic-based dance game, “Octopus Dance”. Nintendo Land is a full offering though, especially in a party setting.

For what is essentially a tutorial, the games are generally entertaining and amusing. Some of the competitive modes are slightly unbalanced in favor of the GamePad though. It’s far easier to destroy enemies in the “Metroid Blast’s” Assault Missions with the ship controlled by the GamePad than it is to destroy that ship as a standard player, and the ghost should win most rounds in “Luigi’s Mansion.” The single player games fare far better, and some like “Pikmin Adventure” are respectable-sized games in their own right, relatively speaking.

The GamePad gets a thorough workout, and the different modes offer a good party game mentality. More than anything though, Nintendo Land is a guide for you to learn how to properly take advantage of the Wii U’s GamePad, and more importantly, to show you its potential.

Nintendo Land Zelda

While games like “Metroid Blast” and the tag-like game “Mario Chase” show how the GamePad can be used to set one player apart, others like Zelda – which has four players with Wii Remotes supported by the GamePad user that is shooting arrows – show more possibilities. Things we’ve never even conceived of in gaming before are now being dreamed up by Nintendo, and this game is just a hint of what may be coming.

Conclusion

It is tough to review Nintendo Land as a game, since it is tutorial wrapped around multiple games of differing quality. Some of those games are exceptional, while others are not. It does what it sets out to do though, and it helps that the game features the traditionally fine polish that Nintendo games are known for. The graphics look great, and it is nice to see an HD rendition of titles like Metroid, even if it is only a brief and heavily cartoon-ized version. If nothing else, you have to credit it for its originality as it attempts things that no one else can even begin to mimic.

For the people picking up a Wii U for their family, or those that specifically want a game that can be played with others, Nintendo Land is a solid choice. The games are somewhat shallow, of course, and the explanations on how to play each game that keep popping up get old to the point of being obnoxious, but if you are looking for something to get the most out of your Wii U, Nintendo Land is a must have.

Score: 8 out of 10

nintendo land review the most fun you can have with a users manual wii u reviews banner

(This game was reviewed on the Wii U using a copy provided by the publisher)

Gaming

Nintendo will not offer cross-platform play for its first-party games

Nintendo has confirmed that it has no plans to enable cross-play functionality in any of its first-party games, the majority of which are exclusive to a single system like the Switch or 3DS.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for November 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Gaming

These cheat codes made gaming history

For almost as long as video games have existed, there have been video game cheat codes. Here are some of the most famous cheat codes, including the legendary Konami Code found in dozens of games.
Gaming

The Army wants YOU … to play esports with soldiers

The U.S. Army is creating esports teams for games such as Overwatch, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and League of Legends. The initiative looks to boost recruitment, after missing the mark for the first time since 2005.
Computing

If the speed of AMD’s Radeon RX 590 doesn’t entice you, the game bundle will

AMD's Radeon RX 590 is a new video card that targets 1080p gaming at maximum detail. Starting at $280, it fills a gap between the Radeon RX 580 and the more expensive Radeon RX Vega. AMD says the new RX 590 can beat Nvidia's GTX 1060 Ti.
Gaming

PlayStation 4 celebrates fifth anniversary with ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ bundle

The PlayStation 4 is officially five years old today, November 15, and to celebrate the anniversary, Sony is offering a new console bundle that includes a free copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

‘Hitman 2’ makes a target of the unkillable Sean Bean, but you’d better not miss

Famously mortal actor Sean Bean will be available to kill in Hitman 2 beginning November 20. He'll be in the game as an Elusive Target for two weeks and you'll only get one chance to take him out.
Gaming

Bug is turning ‘Fallout 76’ players into mutants even more terrifying than usual

A bug linked to the Power Armor gear in Fallout 76 appears to be turning players into bizarre naked mutants, complete with extremely long limbs that are more than a little unsettling.
Gaming

Tips for surviving the nuclear wasteland in 'Fallout 76'

Before running into nuclear wasteland with your Pip-Boy, take a moment to consider these Fallout 76 tips. From food and water to maintaining weapons and armor, here are the things all beginners should know.
Gaming

Find a fish and get your boogie on with Fortnite's week 8 challenge

The Fortnite season 6 week 8 challenges have arrived as we near the end of this spooky season. The big free challenge this week is the Fortnite fish trophy challenge where you need to dance with different fishes. Here are all of the…
Gaming

For the first time ever, PlayStation will be a no-show at E3

For the first time in the event's history, E3 2019 will not feature Sony or PlayStation. The massive event almost always features a lengthy press conference from Sony, often after all other major companies give theirs.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…