E3 2012: Hands-On Nintendo Land

Nintendo Land

At the Nintendo booth at E3 2012, we were able to get a hands-on preview of all the games available to play in Nintendo Land. Nintendo Land is an upcoming Wii U launch title set to release late this year. The games menu is set in a theme park type of setting where each game is an attraction. Wii U gamepad, Wii remote, and Nun chuck accessory can all be used in this game. There are 12 mini games in all, five of which were displayed on the showroom floor at the expo. We were able to get a hands- on preview of all five of these games that were available to try including Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Takamaru’s Ninja Castle and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. Nintendo was even generous enough to give you a collectable pin for each mini game played at the convention.

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day

Nintendo Land Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day is a mini game in Nintendo Land based upon the highly popular GameCube title, Animal Crossing. This is a five on one game; four players use the Wii remote and one player uses the Wii U game pad. The players using the Wii Remotes play as little animals trying to collect as much candy as possible. The more candy you collect the slower it is to move. The player using the Wii U gamepad plays as candy guards. The goal is to try to trap the animals and stop them from getting the candy. If the animals collect 50 pieces of candy before being caught by the guards, they win. If the guards stop the animals before 50 pieces, the guard wins. The controls on the Wii remote are very simple, the Wii remote is held sideways. To walk you use the D-pad and pick up candy with 1. The player may also drop candy to speed up, using 2. The Wii U game pad may be more of a challenge because you are playing as two guards; one with the right stick and one with the left. You can hit the animals using the right trigger. The game has the classic Animal Crossing feel but with a new twist.

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course

Nintendo Land Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course was by far the most challenging mini game playable at E3. It is based on the original Donkey Kong arcade game released in 1981. It maintains the classic Donkey Kong feel but with new and added technology. This is a one player game using only the Wii U game pad. Unlike the original Donkey Kong arcade, the player starts at the top of the screen and works the way down. You are placed inside of a cart and must tilt the Wii U game pad to move the cart. The goal is to reach to bottom for the screen and save the Princess. The player looks at the Wii U gamepad while others can watch on the TV screen. The Wii U gamepad shows a closer view, making it easier for the player to see every detail. This is timed and you are given three lives to make it to the bottom. Donkey Kong’s Crash Course is the most fun and challenging of the Nintendo Land games displayed at E3.

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest

Nintendo Land Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is based on the Legend of Zelda series. It is a 4 player mini game in Nintendo Land. One player uses the Wii U gamepad while the other three use the standard Wii Remote. In the mini game your created Mii character is dressed as Link to cooperatively battle with the player using the Wii U gamepad. The Wii remote players just swing there arm to beat off the bad guys as the other player takes out enemies using a bow and arrow. The character is controlled for you, no need to make the character walk, just simply block and damage the enemies that are attacking you. This mini game is fun however there is no real Zelda feel to it other than the Miis wearing a Link outfit.

Takamaru’s Ninja Castle

Nintendo Land Ninja

Takamaru’s Ninja Castle was also playable at E3 2012. This is one of the simplest Nintendo Land titles being shown at E3. You basically flick your finger on the Wii U gamepad to shoot Ninjas with Ninja Stars, while aiming with the Wii U gamepad. Each Ninja is worth a certain amount of points depending on the color. This game does not require you to look at the screen on the game pad, just the regular TV screen. The more accurate you are the bigger the combo you will receive; making your score higher. The objective of this mini game is to get as high of a score as possible. The use of the Wii U touch screen game pad in this mini game was well executed. While in most other Wii U titles shown at this year’s E3 forced the player to almost disregard their television set this game was more focused on the TV then the controller in your hands. The way this control was integrated into this game felt like a console game more than a handheld like some of the other titles being shown.

Luigi’s Ghost Mansion

Nintendo Land Luigis Ghost Mansion

Nintendo Land’s Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is based on the Luigi’s Mansion series. Up to 4 players on Wii remotes play against the ghost playing on the Wii U gamepad. The setting is in a ghostly mansion maze, similar to the mansions seen on Luigi’s Mansion games. The goal is for the players on the Wii remote to take down the ghost by shining their flash light on it. The goal for the Ghost is to eliminate all Mii characters dressed as Luigi. The ghost is invisible to the players on the TV screen and can only be seen on the Wii U gamepad’s screen. The Wii remote rumbles when the ghost is near. Players are supposed to communicate and take down the ghost together. When a player using the Wii remote goes down another Wii remote player can shine their light on them to review them. This game can be very enjoyable especially with people you know. The involvement of communication is a necessity when it comes down to taking out the ghost. This makes this game feel personal to those playing against the Wii U touch screen player and provides a fun integrate atmosphere to play with friends in.

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Avatar of Sarah Spears
Author: Sarah Spears View all posts by
Sarah Spears is a video game journalist, model and actress.

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