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IGN Reviews - Nintendo Land

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Initial post: Nov 15, 2012, 10:24:50 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 10:26:57 AM PST
Zen Kaizoku says:
Following the example of Wii Sports (the Wii pack-in that introduced the world to motion controls while cementing the console as a must-have party accessory), Nintendo Land is being propped up as the Second Coming of mini-games. It remains to be seen whether Land will have the same effect for Wii U that Sports did for Wii. What really matters, though, is that the game is exceptionally fun, and a fitting show of what tablet gaming on a home console is all about.

A premiere example of a mini-game collection, what Nintendo Land achieves in terms of depth and variety is quite exceptional. It presents 12 different attractions, each with its own unique stages or modes and each anchored around a particular Nintendo franchise - from mainstays like Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong to more niche offerings like Balloon Fight, Pikmin and F-Zero. What brings all these quite varied franchises and distinct gameplay designs into one cohesive whole is the theme park motif that ties it all together, which serves as the crux of the entire experience.

Using your Mii, you'll spend your time exploring the main hub area (called the Plaza) and sampling the various games scattered throughout - all in the company of a hilarious robot named Monita who acts as your impassive guide. From the Plaza you can access the attractions, behold the various park decorations you've won in the supplementary Coin Game and run circles around your park guests (ranging from generic Miis to your Miiverse friends). The theme is effective, and so much more personal and interactive than just having a mini-game menu to scroll through. The Miis also add a ton of personality and a sense of continuity often lacking in mini-game collections. Since progress is tied to whatever Mii you're playing with, even people who are sharing a system don't have to worry about losing their high scores or having their stats messed with. All this lends to the feeling that you really are continuing your little adventure every time you turn the game on.

Nintendo Land is a fun and lively theme park filled with 12 different attractions, each with its own take on a Nintendo franchise. Each attraction features unique and innovative game-play experiences made possible by the Wii U GamePad controller.

and good times. The remarkable thing is that Nintendo Land is riotously fun whether you're playing alone, with a partner or with a group. This is a huge achievement, especially since most mini-game collections are basically worthless unless you have friends over. Nine of the 12 attractions can be played all by yourself, six can be played with up to five players, and all of them can be played competitively via the Attraction Tour (which allows you to play a random selection of games for a set amount of time).

The multiplayer-centric attractions all essentially hinge on the idea of one GamePad user interacting with the game in a different way than the other players (all using Wii remotes). This asymmetric gameplay offers a clever way to shakeup the normal multiplayer routine. Combining the ease of using a touch tablet with gyroscope controls and an additional screen feels really fresh, and is something that's simply never been done before. It's also quite impressive how Nintendo Land alters the gameplay of certain attractions depending on how many players are present, ensuring a fun and reasonably fair time for all. Mario Chase, for example, adjusts for two player games by giving the pursuer a couple of Yoshi robots and Monita's assistance to track down their GamePad-wielding friend. This makes what would otherwise be an unfair and probably frustrating experience much more balanced. It's refreshing to see a mini-game collection go to such lengths to ensure the game can be enjoyed no matter the size of the party, and this is definitely one of Land's greatest strengths.

Each attraction shows off the GamePad's potential in a different way, and several are shockingly deep experiences. Metroid Blast, for example, has three modes and dozens of levels where you shoot down enemies and your friends alike, and Pikmin Adventure is a self-contained, cooperative strategy game where you maneuver a team of Pikmin through multiple chapters and several boss fights. The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest has you fighting your way through different areas of Hyrule, with the GamePad user acting as an archer and the Wii remote players wielding motion-controlled swords. All three of these games can be played cooperatively or alone, and have far more depth than you have any right to expect from a mini-game collection.

Those games alone offer hours of content, but they only represent a third of what Nintendo Land has to offer. There are also the "chase" games - Mario Chase, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day and Luigi's Ghost Mansion - which all essentially have one or more people being chased by one or more other people. They're similar, but subtly different enough to still feel like distinct experiences. Other games, like Yoshi's Fruit Cart, challenge you with reconciling what you see on the GamePad with what's pictured on the television, trying to draw out a course for Yoshi to follow to collect all of his fruit. Donkey Kong's Crash Course uses the Pad's gyro to let you control a fragile cart through a long and winding level. Balloon Trip Breeze has your consulting both the GamePad and the television screen to collect balloons and dodge obstacles for as long as you can. Each uses the GamePad differently, but all are addicting in their own way and offer some insight into what the system and its tablet controller are capable of.

While the look of Nintendo Land is intentionally simple, everything is remarkably crisp thanks to the HD graphics. The world is all smooth edges and shiny finishes, and while graphics don't make much of a difference in a mini-game collection to begin with, having such a sharp and colorful hub world to run around is still much appreciated. The music is also delightful, featuring a mix of new tunes and remixed tracks from the various franchises represented.

The Verdict

Nintendo Land is a brilliant show of what Nintendo's new console and tablet controller are capable of, and has far more depth and content then you'd expect from a mini-game collection. The attractions are ridiculously fun and offer plenty of variety, whether you're flying solo or entertaining a group. Throw in high scores to best, gold trophies to earn, stamp achievements to collect and tons of Plaza decorations to unlock, and what you've got is an experience that must not be missed, and probably the best show of Wii U available at launch.
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Nintendo Land on Wii U

Nintendo Land is the cream of the mini-game crop, with enough depth to keep you partying for the foreseeable future.

Score: 8.7 - Great


+Fun alone or with friends
+Lots of variety and content
+Great introduction to Wii U


- Grandma might not understand.

Looks like I won't be selling or trading in this game just as soon as I thought. Where reviews are concerned it actually exceeded my expectations.

What do you think?

Sound off below.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:26:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 10:26:32 AM PST
StriderNeo15 says:
8.7 backwards is 7 8, and everyone knows(especially 6) that 7 8 9GN.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:29:48 AM PST
I think IGN gives out scores easily. I will wait to see what others think, plus try it out for myself. I am still leaning towards trade in value.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:31:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 10:33:47 AM PST
Kirksplosion says:
Not surprised. Looks like a really fun mini-game compilation from Ninty showing off some of what the GamePad can do. One of the main reasons I'll go for the Deluxe version whenever I get it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 10:33:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 11:54:31 AM PST
No sale.

I had planned on getting this exclusively for grandma and I to play.....I think I'll go with a nice new crochet kit now.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:37:38 AM PST
You know what would be a cool service for Nintendo to offer? A VC pass that you pay a monthly sub for that lets you play any Virtual Console games that you want without buying them. Kind of like a PS+ for Nintendo.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 10:40:29 AM PST
Zen Kaizoku says:
Elect this man for president! +1

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:43:02 AM PST
That's one of the weirdest cons ever. Not really surprised by the good review, NL looks really fun.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 10:55:57 AM PST
Zen Kaizoku says:
You should see the "con" on NSMBU's review.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:58:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 10:58:56 AM PST
klopas says:
Nana loves her Wii Bowling. There will be a geriatric uprising without any bowling mini-games, Nintendo. Just you wait and see.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 10:59:35 AM PST
Benpachi says:
Wow, I'm susprised by this. IGN has done nothing but bash Nintendo Land until this.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 11:04:24 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
Well if I've learned anything from the VGF, it's that IGN is paid to give 9's, so Nintendo must have finally ponied up the cash. It's the only logical explanation.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 11:18:11 AM PST
The Drizzle says:
8.7 rounds up to 9gn

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 11:18:28 AM PST
Benpachi says:
Sounds legit!

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 11:22:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012, 11:22:35 AM PST
S. Brown says:
I don't think anyone is expecting this game to be a console-mover or the next Final Fantasy 7, but I'll be happy to try it out Sunday afternoon with my new system.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 11:24:54 AM PST
I don't think it will be a console mover but I think it is going to be a great way to change some minds about the Wii-U. I remember when I first got the Wii and a bunch of people I knew weren't really to into the idea of motion controls. Then I let them play Wii Sports and minds quickly changed about how much fun they could be. I'm guessing we'll see something similar here where people are going to see how the new Gamepad can be used and just how creative gameplay can get with it.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 11:25:41 AM PST
R. Greer says:
I glad to here that you can play most of the games alone and still be fun.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 11:33:00 AM PST
That Emu Kid says:
But that was because Wii Sports was so simple Gramma could understand it. 9GN says that's not true about this game.


Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 11:42:51 AM PST
link64dx says:
Can someone post the New super mario bros U review?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 11:50:57 AM PST
What if I don't have a relationship with either of have Grandmas and haven't spoken to them since... I don't even remember.

Am I still going to be able to have fun? D=

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 12:02:48 PM PST
GarionOrb says:
Good review...still not convinced that I'll actually enjoy it for very long.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 12:03:34 PM PST
MrFoxhound says:
Awesome. I'm glad that it's not just a forgettable pack in. Sounds like it has some substance to it.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012, 12:11:02 PM PST
This game looks kinda awesome.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012, 5:39:07 PM PST
Zen Kaizoku says:
From all accounts many say that they may not play it for very long. Yet when they actually get into it they find it more interesting than they originally thought. Seems like a "hands on" sort of thing.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  24
Initial post:  Nov 15, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 15, 2012

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