Nintendo Land is a launch title for Wii U which is available in stores now as a stand alone game and is also included in the deluxe package. Generally a bundled game needs to have a few particular attributes It should have a broad appeal, be very approachable to even new or casual gamers and have replay-ability.
So how does Nintendo Land score on these 3 criteria? Lets break it down:
1) Broad appeal:
You can’t please everybody but a game like this will appeal to the largest number of people. The 12 Mini-games in Nintendo Land are theme based, and the themes include previous Nintendo Hits like Pikmin, Metroid, Mario and even Donkey Kong. You can see that Nintendo fans new and old will be pleased. Family friendly game play means parents and small kids can cooperate or compete. Young children (4+) and lower skill levels are accommodated with easy to learn games and great tutorials.
Absolutely. With the touch screen controller Nintendo has introduced us to a new way of playing games. Nintendo Land is being used to showcase the new gaming possibilities with a set of simple mini-games and being able to walk around in a plaza which acts as a game lobby and way to connect to the Miiverse. Easy to understand game mechanics like chase games and target shooters is sure to attract most video game players at any skill level. Where Nintendo Land excels is in its wide appeal, attracting even some non-gamers who might have been intimidated by more complicated games.
There is some variety here in the selection of mini-games and collecting and high score challenges will hold interest for the obsessive or competitive, but overall this set of games lacks the addictive quality that compels us to keep coming back. Most games are too simple for long term play and can become repetitive. I can see this as the perfect party game for up to 5 players and it could serve well as the go-to game for family nights or entertaining guests.
So the strengths of Nintendo Land are mostly in the social aspect of some of its mini-games. There are some chase games in which up to 4 players using standard wii controllers need to navigate a maze to tackle the player with the touchscreen controller. The frantic communication that arises as the hunters try to corner the chased is a source of great fun. The asymmetrical nature of game-play that the new Wii U touch screen controller can provide adds a new wrinkle to otherwise familiar territory. (think in terms of the hunted being the only one with access to the level map showing the location of the hunters).
For those who have the previous Wii system I can summarize this way:
Nintend Land is to Wii U as Wii Play was to Wii. With Nintendo Land, we are being shown a glimpse of what is possible with their new game system and unique controller interface. With it, there is a lot of fun here as players experience new ways to play old games.
Lets hope developers are taking notes too – the new controller, and what it can do to make games better should not be ignored!