Friday, November 16, 2012

Attractive Attractions: My Most Anticipated Nintendo Land Mini-Games

The Wii U finally launches in North America on Sunday with the rest of the world following suit soon after. As someone who isn't able to get a Wii U until later on down the road, I am still enamored with the launch lineup. One of the games that excites me the most is none other than Nintendo Land. While not the real world Nintendo theme park that fans of the big N have wanted and wished for for years, Nintendo Land looks to be an extremely entertaining title.

I'm using this opportunity before the Wii U and Nintendo Land launches to write up a list of my most anticipated attractions from the compilation from least interested to most interested. Think of it as Rank Up! but without the official segment title.

12) Octopus Dance

The mini-game I am least excited for is based off of one of Nintendo's oldest properties, the Game & Watch. The Octopus Dance game has players essentially partaking in Simon Says as the AI does various poses which the player has to memorize, and then they have to repeat the computer's actions via the control sticks or gyro controls. This is all while doing it in rhythm. It seems like Octopus Dance is rather light on content and depth, so this game doesn't really appeal to me so much.

11) Yoshi's Fruit Cart

Don't let the simplistic presentation fool you-- there is a lot to like about Yoshi's Fruit Cart. By drawing a line on the GamePad's touch screen, players lead Yoshi through a level to gather all of the fruit and make it to the goal. The caveat here-- and the thing that makes the game something that could only be done on the Wii U-- is that players need to look at the TV screen to see where the location of the fruits are, as the GamePad screen does not show it to them. The dozens upon dozens of different levels interest me greatly.

10) Takamaru's Ninja Castle

The mini-game showcased in the North American general Wii U television advertisement, Takamaru's Ninja Castle is based off a Japanese-only Famicom Disk System game. By sliding his or her finger across the GamePad longways, players can launch shuriken at multiple waves of ninja. Alongside the normal ninja enemies, there are boss characters to battle. These sections has the player using a sword instead of shuriken. I enjoy shooting gallery-style games, and Takamaru's Ninja Castle looks to scratch that itch for me.

9) Donkey Kong's Crash Course

Get a crash course on using the GamePad to tilt a fragile vehicle through a hazard-laden, platform-filled obstacle course. Go too fast, and your vehicle might topple over. Go too slow, and time will expire. Ample checkpoints promise that repeated attempts don't get overly frustrating. The TV screen shows the entirety of a given level while the GamePad screen shows a zoomed in view of your vehicle. With multiple levels to ride through, Donkey Kong's Crash Course may seem intimidating to beginning players, but it appears to be a solid challenge regardless.

8) Captain Falcon's Twister Race

Not even using the F-Zero name in its title, Captain Falcon's Twister Race has the player's Mii riding in a windup Blue Falcon as they tilt the Wii U GamePad to steer through a windy track full of obstacles, boosts, and ramps. Perhaps my thirst for a new F-Zero is making me more enthused for this particular mini-game than I should be, but I could always use a good and not-so-complex racing game for the Wii U launch.

7) Balloon Trip Breeze

It's pertinent to note that only the single-player mini-games have been listed thus far. The final of these solo mini-games is Balloon Trip Breeze, based off of Balloon Fight. Creating wind gusts to blow the player's Mii around the auto-scrolling levels, the player collects balloons and dodges air mines that will pop one of their three balloons. Pop all three, and it's game over. Similar to Donkey Kong's Crash Course, the GamePad screen shows a zoomed in view while the TV screen displays a larger portion of the level. Each level ends with the player landing on an island.

6) Animal Crossing: Sweet Day

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day features the asymmetrical gameplay that Nintendo has been touting so much since the Wii U's initial unveiling two E3s ago. One player controls two guards with both analog sticks, one for the left stick and one for the right stick. That player's job is to capture all of the other players who are trying to collect candy and take it back to a drop off point. The more candy one has on them, the slower they move. The game ends in one of two ways: 1) The GamePad player captures every animal, or 2) The players collecting candy drop off enough.

5) Luigi's Ghost Mansion

Dressing one's Mii up as Mario, Luigi, Wario, or Waluigi?! Where do I sign up for that? Luigi's Ghost Mansion has a promising premise. Like Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, this game also uses asymmetric gameplay. The four players dressed up as the four plumbers attempt to find the location of a ghost controlled by the player with the Wii U GamePad. The ghost is completely invisible, but can be seen occasionally when a player's flashlight gleams on it or when lightning brightens the room. The players searching for the ghost have their controllers rumble when they are nearby the ghost. If the ghost player grabs and sucks the life force out of all players, that person wins. If the ghost gets sucked up by the other players, they win. I think Luigi's Ghost Mansion is a remarkably clever little game, and I am excited to try it out for myself.

4) Pikmin Adventure

Since Pikmin 3 isn't getting a release until next year, Nintendo Land's Pikmin Adventure mini-game will have to do for now. This is a cooperative-based game. The GamePad player controls Olimar. Meanwhile, up to four players with Wii Remotes control little Pikmin. Working together to bash baddies and break through obstacles, the players pass through colorful levels as they head to the end where Olimar's ship awaits. Before they can reach the Dolphin, however, they must deal with a powerful boss. The cooperative aspects of Pikmin Adventure seem enjoyable enough to me, making this mini-game my four most anticipated.

3) Mario Chase

We first saw this game under a different guise as Chase Mii at E3 2011. Now it has been given a Mario aesthetic as up to four Miis dressed as Toads try to capture the Mii dressed as Mario. The Mario Mii player can see where the Toads are on the Wii U GamePad screen. The fun comes from the players chasing after the Mii in the Mario costume communicating with one another. "No, over there!" "Not here! THERE!" If time runs out, the Mario player wins. If he or she is tagged by a Toad, then obviously the Toad brigade wins. It's an intriguing and seemingly entertaining take on tag, for sure.

2) The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest

Set in a patchwork Hyrule, The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest can be played alone or with some buds. It's an on-rails game where the GamePad player shoots bows and arrows at foes from afar while the other players utilize Wii MotionPlus to attack nearby baddies. The whole team shares a handful of hearts, so it is pertinent to play nicely and work together. With a fair amount of levels included, The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest excites me as someone who 1) Loves The Legend of Zelda, 2) Enjoys teamwork, and 3) Likes on-rails experiences.

1) Metroid Blast

Unquestionably the Nintendo Land mini-game that I want to play the most (like right NOW), Metroid Blast takes third-person shooting to the Wii U. The game was originally known as Battle Mii, an E3 2011 tech demo. There are three modes in Metroid Blast. One has the GamePad player utilizing Samus's Gunship to destroy the opposing ground force Mii players and vice versa. Another has players scrambling to collect credits while the last is akin to the Gears of War series's Horde mode, where players work together to defeat wave after wave of enemies. Hearing reviews that the third-person controls are some of the most fun to use definitely has me excited. Another reviewer stated that Metroid Blast was one of the few Nintendo games in a long while to have him "feel like a bad ass." Mighty strong words, and ones that cannot stop me from feeling hype.


I have ranked the Nintendo Land attractions from least hyped to most anticipated. Which attractions excite you the most, or do you not even plan on playing Nintendo Land at all? Why or why not? Spark up the conversation in the comments section below.

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