Nintendo Land ReviewTayo Stalnaker
Nintendo Land is the Wii Sports of the Wii U's launch titles. The game places your Mii inside a theme park filled with attractions. These attractions come in the form of mini-games, most of which can be played with 2 to 4 people. As you take on different games you'll earn coins that can be used to purchase interactive items to display in your theme park. Other Miis show up in your park, too, and you'll able to click on them to check out their owner's profile and send them a message if you so desire. There isn't an online multiplayer element, though, which is pretty disappointing. Regardless, Nintendo Land is a decent enough game to play.
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day
A common type of game in Nintendo Land involves chasing people and Animal Crossing: Sweet Day is no different. How the game works is that while one player goes around as one of the animals collecting candy from various trees. The other player, using the GamePad's analog sticks, controls two guards that are trying to stop the candy thief. Controlling both guards simultaneously works surprisingly well, and it's very satisfying tackling the opponent. Playing as the animal is rather fun, too, as it can take some clever strategy to avoid the guards while you try to collect candy. This is a game you'll see some enjoyment from and might play again when the mood strikes you.
Balloon Trip Breeze
One or two people can play Balloon Trip Breeze. It's kind of a nifty little game where you control your Mii with the GamePad's touchscreen to dodge obstacles and pop balloons while he floats in the sky. The second player can use the Wii Remote to destroy obstacles, as well. While more challenging playing alone, Balloon Trip Breeze makes for a good co-op game. You probably won't revisit this game that much but it's at least worth checking out.
Captain Falcon's Twister Race
I really wanted to like Captain Falcon's Twister Race as F-Zero is one franchise the Nintendo seems to have forgotten about. Truth be told, Twister Race tries to capture the fast-paced racing that made the F-Zero games what they were but ultimately fails. The game is played using the GamePad vertically and turning it left or right to steer. There are obstacles to dodge, including other racers, and some power ups to grab that help you in the process. The major problem, though, is that the gameplay relies on the player having to primarily look at the GamePad in order to effectively steer through each course. Not only that, but the game suffers from not having any sort of multiplayer capabilities. While some people might enjoy it for a bit of challenge, Twister Race falls short of being a fun racing game.
Donkey Kong's Crash Course
Donkey Kong's Crash Course is a deviously challenging game. Using the GamePad, you control a cart through a maze that looks similar to something found in the classic Donkey Kong arcade game. The goal is to get through the maze without crashing. You primarily move the cart with the GamePad's shoulder buttons and analog sticks, but a second person can join in and use the Wii Remote to help by saving the cart from disaster. Crash Course has a good difficulty curve that should keep you interested in trying to beat your high scores. The biggest problem with the game is the lack of variety, but it's still entertaining.
The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest
Battle Quest is one of the best mini-games Nintendo Land has to offer. The game is played similarly to a rail-shooter with the character (dressed as Link) moving forward automatically. The game is playable with two people, with one of them using the GamePad to shoot arrows and the other using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to wield a sword. While the game is fun, the camera can be a bit bothersome at times and the sword is so powerful that the player using the bow takes a back seat to a lot of the action.
Luigi's Ghost Mansion
Luigi's Ghost Mansion is an OK game. One player takes on the role of a ghost chaser while the other plays the ghost. The ghost's objective is to scare the second player three times in order to win the round, while the ghost chaser has to make the ghost disappear using a flashlight. Most of the levels the matches take place in are rather small so sessions tend to end rather quickly. In can be fun for a little while but it's not something you'll be going to back to play often.
Mario Chase is simply a game of tag that takes place in different courses, each one containing different obstacles to either slow down the player or move them faster. Essentially, one player runs away while the second player attempts to catch them. This game is boring, avoid it at all costs.
Metroid Blast is another one of the best Nintendo Land offerings. You can either control a ship with the GamePad or control a character in a Samus suit with the Wii Remote. The object is destroy waves of enemies either by yourself or with a friend. There's even a competitive mode where two players can battle each other. The GamePad controls can be a bit touchy at first but it only takes a few minutes to get used to them. This is a game is definitely worth your time.
Octopus Dance is a Simon Says game where you have to mimic the AI's dance moves by utilizing most of the GamePad's features. While the game does its job in showcasing what the GamePad is capable of doing, that's about it. Octopus Dance is really nothing to write home about.
I really enjoy Pikmin Adventure. The game has you play as Captain Olimar as he uses Pikmin to destroy blocks and defeat bad guys in order to get back to his spaceship. Other players can join in, as well, and take control of Pikmin with the Wii Remote. You can even level up Captain Olimar and the Pikmin by obtaining nectar which in turn enhances their abilities. Included with the game are multiple challenge modes and even a versus mode. Definitely give Pikmin Adventure a shot.
Takamaru's Ninja Castle
For my money, Ninja Castle is the best single-player title on Nintendo Land. The concept is simple: use the GamePad to throw ninja stars at enemies. The goal is to save Princess Monita from some jerk named Murasame. To play, hold the GamePad vertical, move it to aim and then swipe your fingers along the touchscreen to toss ninja stars at the ninjas that pop-up on the screen. This game can actually be rather challenging, not to mention addictive. This is a game worth coming back to, especially for the "surprise" ending.
Yoshi's Fruit Cart
Yoshi's Fruit Cart makes good use of the GamePad. The goal is to draw a path on the GamePad for your Yoshi cart to collect fruit that's on the ground. The twist is that the fruit is invisible on the GamePad and instead is displayed on your TV. There are 50 stages to go through but you only have three lives. Missing a fruit or falling into a trap will cost you a life so you better look carefully. Honestly, this game is pretty fun and is one of the better single player games in Nintendo Land.
Nintendo Land might not be a great Wii U game but it serves its purpose as a tool to showoff the Wii U's capabilities. This game might wind up collecting dust in your collection, but it's something worth experiencing every now and then while you wait for better Wii U games to be released.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.