When a new system is introduced into the wild it needs something to show what it can do. When it introduces a new game mechanic you need it even more. This is what Nintendo Land is for the Wii U. Nintendo Land is going to be a series of 12 games that are situated in an amusement park setting. The majority of these are party games meant for a 3 to 5 people, but there are some single player games for those of us that don't have the time to gather a ton if people around (otherwise know as an adult).
At the E3 2012 Nintendo booth they had 5 of the games available for a test drive. Two of them were single player and the other three were multiplayer. The first of the single player games was Donkey Kong’s Crash Course. In it you watched the TV screen while tilting the Wii Pad to move a small cart that had a fragile bubble with your Mii’s head in it. The goal was to get to the end of the maze without destroying the bubble. This was much harder then it sounds as you have to move fast enough to make a jump without flipping over while not going so fast that you crash when you hit a wall. It got more difficult when you had to use the L and R buttons to lift and lower walls and platforms. Next in the single player category was Takamaru’s Ninja Castle. In this game you used the Wii Pad to aim and swiped your finger across it to throw a ninja star at enemy ninjas. Consecutive hits meant more points. If you had to get the star through a small window you could do so by tilting the Wii Pad to change the orientation of your projectile. You could also hit projectiles out of the air that were meant to take your precious life. Both of these games were entertaining and can be nice a filler during the party lull when no one else wants to play or if you are killing time before heading out / getting ready to call it a day.
Now for the stars of the game, the multiplayer titles. First up is The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest. This on rails game was made for three players. Two gamers would use Wii Motes to swing their sword and guard with their shield while the third would use the Wii Pad to aim and fire a bow. The use of a shared health bar forced team work to get through the game, which I was not present for. IrishPride and I made it to the boss, but that was it before we died. Next was Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. This five player game had four gamers with Wii Motes moving around a maze like room looking for the ghostly fifth player. The fifth player used the Wii Pad, and while he was invisible on the TV unless light was shown on to him, he could be plainly seen on the Wii Pad. The only way the hunters would know were he was is that their Wii Motes would start to shake. If the ghost got caught in a flash light they would start to lose health until they escaped. If a hunter was caught by the ghost they would be knocked out until a fellow hunter brought them back to life with their flash light, which had limited battery. The victory ratio seemed to be 50/50, so it was pretty well balanced. Finally we played Animal Crossing Sweet Day. Again a five player game, four on Wii Motes and one on the Wii Pad, again sharing a life bar. The goal was for the four players to gather 50 pieces of candy collectively before they get tackled by the gate keepers three times. What made this hard was collecting candy made you very slow. So the key was to get small amounts of candy, drop it in one spot, and once you had enough in one spot you could gather it all together. This game tended to end in favor of the player controlling the gate keepers unless the other four could actually work together, something hard to do after standing in line for 20+ minutes.
So there you have it, a quick preview of five of the attractions you can find in Nintendo Land. Expect to get your hands on it when it comes out with the Wii U this fall (hopefully bundled with the system as Wii Sports was).