Sweet themes are made of these.
When last we got our mitts on the Wii U “theme park” Nintendo Land, we weren’t particularly impressed with the handful of mini-games out of twelve promised that were available to toy around with at E3. But even then, we could see the value that Nintendo Land adds to the Wii U console as a pack-in title included in the Deluxe bundle.
But to add value to Nintendo Land itself, Nintendo has added in even more mini-games from the range of iconic Nintendo franchises like Metroid and Pikmin. At the Wii U Preview event in New York City, I went hands-on (and stylus-on) with four new mini-games in addition to the others we’ve already seen.
Of the four, Metroid Blast was the stand-out, with both single-player missions and up-to-five-player multiplayer. Using the Wii U Gamepad, one player could man a spaceship akin to Samus’s and take aim to search and destroy the other player’s Miis in Zero suits roaming around the arena. Using a combination of the analog sticks and the built-in gyro, the spaceship can move about, trying to target other players. Meanwhile, the other players would team up to take down the ship using the Nunchuk and Wii-remote combo to aim, point, and shoot.
Simple for sure, yet it offered enough depth and variety to spice things up for Nintendo Land, and it stayed true to the core gameplay of what you’d expect from a Metroid game, sans exploration.
Pikmin Adventure is just like it sounds—a Pikmin-style mini-adventure where up to four players would team up to make their way through some flora-fied levels, whack enemies and objects to reveal coins and nectar, and even battle a boss. There wasn’t anything unique about it, but it’s still yet another opportunity for fun with Nintendo Land.
Using the stylus (did you know that Wii U Gamepad had a stylus?), you must guide a boy floating along holding a bundle of balloons across a number of obstacles in Balloon Trip. This isn’t exactly the best example of Nintendo Land or what the Gamepad can do, but it’s a decent throw-in at least.
Mario Chase requires at least two players, but is better with four or even five. The player with the Gamepad took control of Mario whose sole purpose was to run and hide from the other players, with the Gamepad acting as a map and radar of sorts. The players on-screen using Wii remotes had to search and chase Mario, trying to tackle him to the ground to win. If Mario isn’t caught, he wins. There’s nothing more to it, yet I had a blast playing it.
It’s that simplistic fun among friends and family that will make Nintendo Land a wise chose for the Wii U pack-in, but it’s not going to break ground the same way Wii Sports did, nor will it really display just what the Wii U Gamepad is capable of. It’s not going to win any Game of the Year awards, and it’s probably the last thing a hardcore gamer will want to play. Still, as a dozen mini-games, you’re going to have a good time in Nintendo Land.