As with all mini game collections, Nintendo Land is just the sum of its parts. 12 parts, to be precise. And as with all mini game collections, some are more fun than others. Here I break down each attraction and give an individual fun factor rating for each one.
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Most people reading this would know what the attractions entail by now, if you don’t I suggest you look at this video, it’s a good one.
1. Octopus Dance is pretty awful. It’s the weakest of the twelve, and I question why it was even included. It’s a rhythm/memory game that offers nothing new, and does’t use the gamepad in any interesting ways. It’s also the only attraction that lacks any graphical style or charm. Fun Factor: 1/10
2. Yoshi’s Fruit Cart is innovative and accessible. Draw a path on the gamepad, guiding Yoshi to the goal by analysing different information on the TV. It’s the kind of stuff the Wii U was made for. It gets tricky pretty quickly and as soon as you play it, you’ll be hooked. This is one even the iPad gaming crowd could handle and have fun with. Fun Factor: 7/10
3. Captain Falcon’s Twister Race. Guide an F-Zero ship around a course by holding the gamepad lengthways and tilting. This is the second weak attraction. Why Nintendo opted for this control scheme and made it single player is completely beyond me. The game is perfect for four of five player split screen. The gyro controls are sure responsive but it just feels awkward. Fun Factor: 4/10
4. Balloon Trip Breeze is the only attraction that you really need the stylus to play. Guide your Mii around a dangerous but beautiful sky using strokes and taps on the gamepad’s screen. Not as easy as it sounds and just like Yoshi’s Fruit Cart, it’s seems like it was made for the iPad crowd. Fun but repetitive. Fun Factor: 6/10
5. Takamaru’s Ninja Castle uses the only franchise I had never heard of. Call myself a Nintendo fan? Anyway, hold the gamepad length ways and use a flicking motion to send a ninja star hurtling off the gamepad and into the TV. You’re aiming at ninjas made of cardboard, naturally. It’s as fun and satisfying as it sounds, and the fact you can just throw fifty stars before reloading makes the action fast and frantic. Your arm can get sore after a while with this one. Fun Factor: 7/10
6. Donkey Kong’s Crash Course. Guide a weird springy two wheeled platform with a picture of your Mii’s face as it’s chassis down (or up) a ridiculously complicated and challenging obstacle course. You need to tilt the gamepad, use the shoulder buttons to activate levers, and the analogue sticks to move platforms. It’s very hard, very addictive, and extremely frustrating. Everything you could ask for. I still wish you could save the game and not have to restart EVERY time. Take off half a point for that. It’s my favourite single player attraction by a long way. Fun Factor: 9/10
7. Animal Crossing Sweet Day. Well this is my personal favourite of all the “chase” attractions. It’s just a shame that with two players it’s the “drop rule” where one player picks up the lollies and carries them to a location to score. With more players it’s the “hold” rule where everyone needs to be carrying a certain amount of lollies between them before getting caught. The drop rule is waaay more fun and should be available no matter how many players. Take off one point. Also, there are only 2 courses. There should be more. Take off another point. Fun Factor: 7/10
8. Mario Chase is has the potential to be amazing. It is already fun and funny, as well as nerve wracking at times, especially if you’re the runner. The inclusion of the slippery slide level with the same slide music from Mario 64 is awesome, and easily the best course. The problem is the d-pad controls. They hurt your thumb and a lot of the time you can’t see where you’re going properly due to no camera control. And there’s only three courses. That’s a shame. Take a point off for not being able to use the nunchuck. Fun Factor: 8/10
9. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is unanimously my local multiplayer friends’ favourite attraction. It’s also easily the most interesting example of that “asymmetric gameplay” Nintendo have been spruiking ever since Wii U was announced. Being the ghost on the gamepad is really good fun, but being the ghost hunter is really let down by the controls. You can’t turn around to zap the ghost even though you know where it is. Again, nunchuck support would have not only solved this, but made it the perfect 10/10 party game. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is still, however, a very tense and very entertaining experience no matter what side you’re on. Fun Factor: 9/10
10. Metroid Blast is another great example of asymmetric gameplay, and best played with friends. Controlling the ship is just as much fun as controlling the player on the ground. AND! you get to use the nunchuck for perfect control. It might be a bit on the easy side but that doesn’t detract from how thoroughly satisfying and entertaining it is to play. When people say the attractions in Nintendo aren’t mini games, but fully fleshed out experiences- they’re exaggerating. But Metroid Blast is pretty close to being one. Add a point for the fact that either control method is equally absorbing. Fun Factor: 8/10
11. Zelda Battle Quest is the next closest example of a fully fleshed out experience in Nintendo Land. The single player campaign as the archer is excellent fun, and quite challenging at times. Four others can join in with Motion Plus, and while the gamepad player will be the envy of the sword wielders, it’s still quite satisfying to slash the bad guys with Wii remotes. And because everyone’s sharing damage hits, it’s fun to blame everyone else (mostly the archer) when things go wrong. Fun Factor: 7/10
12. Pikmin Adventure sees you play dress ups (as all attractions do, but these outfits are the cutest) as Olimar or a Pikmin. I found the co-operative mode more fun, but I didn’t like how the gamepad player gets to “round you up” like he can the computer controlled Pikmin. Don’t tell me what to do. This is the only attraction where it’s more fun to use the Wii remotes, because if you’ve got the gamepad it feels like all you’re doing is tapping on the screen.
I’m left handed, and while Nintendo made allowances for this, (I was particularly impressed by the way they mapped the whistle to the ZR button for lefties so your hand didn’t cover up the entire screen) tapping with the stylus is too awkward. I did like the challenge the game put up, but it can get a bit confusing with heaps going on at once. That’s the main problem with the single-screen competitive mode. It’s too busy to really be anything more than a button masher. Fun Factor: 7/10
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I have already posted a review of Nintendo Land as a package, you can read it here.
What’s your favourite Nintendo Land attraction? Let me know by leaving a comment! You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell or Miiverse: zinger_AU
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