Nintendo Land is a multiplayer party game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U. The objective of Nintendo Land boils down to completing mini-games to unlock new stages. There are a wide variety of both cooperative and competitive mini-games to enjoy with friends as well as a good bit of solo play. Nintendo Land serves as the “Wii Sports” of the Wii U in the sense that it provides a great game for both family and friends.
The player has recently arrived at “Nintendo Land,” an amusement park built entirely for the player’s enjoyment. Monita, the park’s curator, guides players through the workings of the park and explains how to interact with the many mini-games. By winning the park’s mini-games, coins are earned which can then be used in a “coin-drop” game in order to earn park decorations. Decorations range from simple decorative pieces to interactive displays. All in all, Nintendo Land does a decent job of giving a fair bit of atmosphere while still fairly quickly letting players jump right into the gameplay.
Variety is what really makes Nintendo Land stand out as a party game with a great range of gameplay styles. Games such as “Mario Chase” (in which up to four players, as Toads, try to catch one another, as Mario) utilize the gamepad on the Wii U to give the Mario player a tactical advantage via an overhead view, while the toad player must use a third-person view on the television.
More simple mini-games such as Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, utilize the gamepad in a tilt-puzzle style in which players must tilt in different directions in order to navigate an obstacle course. Thus, players must pass the gamepad to one another for each attempt. This variety keeps Nintendo Land exciting and different every play session as more players will greatly affect how a mini-game is played.
Multiple toads in “Mario Chase” will give an advantage to the toad side as the player controlling Mario must outwit more human enemies. Meanwhile, Mario gets a vast tactical advantage when going up against one other player (who does get assistance from A.I. controlled helpers). This is also true of the cooperative mini-games such as The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, in which players must fight through a pseudo-rail style series of levels while fighting off enemies to reclaim the Triforce. Having a friend tag along to help fight the hordes greatly helps, but playing solo does offer a far more challenging experience as players can choose to wield either sword/shield or bow/arrow. The only complaint is that this means for some of the mini-games in Nintendo Land, if no friends are to be found, the mini-games cannot be played as they require a player-versus-player competitive element.
Graphics are polished like a china shop and offer a beautiful hub-world to explore as well as a startling variety of locals in the various mini-games. Colors don’t clash or meld together too easily and the art style of the game takes advantage of the “Mii” look in order to provide a friendly and welcoming world for players of all ages. The music and sound effects serve to keep Nintendo Land lively and help with the reminiscent atmosphere of many of the mini-games’ rich character histories, which is an undoubtedly successful endeavor. Rich and quality music that is not overpowering gives Nintendo Land a lively quality while also providing correct atmosphere qualities (the Metroid based mini-game features more robotic tunes, while the Zelda one sports some rich rolling melodies that the series is famous for).
Simply put, this is the perfect party game. Often times Nintendo commercials depict an over-the-top scenario of friends and family members getting heavily engrossed in the competition of games. However, Nintendo Land without a doubt lives up to this hype. The mini-games are fast, fun and very easy to pick up. Some require a little more finesse or may require a bit more of a time commitment, but ultimately the game lives up to the party hype and provides a lot of laughs and quality gaming to be shared with friends and even enemies should the player be desperate for fellow gamers to crush without mercy.
For those curious as to whether or not the Wii U is a true contender in the current console generation, look no further than Nintendo Land. While not a showstopper in terms of plot or concept (party gaming being a well-worn genre), some ground-breaking ideas are implemented.
The only downside of Nintendo Land is the true downside of all party games – lack of other players does mean lack of gameplay. However, rustling up friends with an offer to try out this game shouldn’t prove to be too hard a challenge for the average player. Nintendo Land is a must buy for all gamers; friendly controls with a variety of gameplay styles makes for hours of enjoyment alone or with company.