17 Reviews

NintendoLand review: A mixed bag but a clever showcase for GamePad

All the fun of the (un)fair

Page 3 of 4

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day

Players: 2-5

Anyone who has trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time is going to have a torrid time here. It's another maze chase game, this time with the GamePad user playing the role of pursuer.

The extra twist is that the chaser has to navigate two guards around a maze simultaneously, one with each analogue stick. With these two cumbersome tools at your disposal, your task is to lay the smack down on the other players, who work together to gather as many sweets as possible in a single location before the timer hits zero.

It's a big ask, not least because the guards' only form of attack is a clumsy forward dive. Fortunately, as the other players scoop up candy from the floor their heads grow exponentially fatter, weighing them down and making it easier for the guards to corner a struggling lardbucket.

Frequent trips to the sweet deposit box are the way forward then - but this makes the animals' moves predictable, and canny GamePad players will lie in wait and ambush unsuspecting players as they stop off to deliver their sweets. Of the three maze-chase games it's the one which takes the longest to get into - but it's also the one with the greater tactical depth, too.



Takamuru's Ninja Castle

Players: 1

Here, you hold the GamePad sideways and flick the touchscreen towards your television to hurl shurikens at a horde of impossibly cute (but still deadly) chibi-ninjas. It's basically a glorified Operation Wolf clone, but the unusual input mechanism adds a lot to the game, even if it is slightly hard on the wrist.

It's wrapped up in a hilariously po-faced storyline which sees NintendoLand's hostess Monita get kidnapped by the ninja army while she's having a Zen moment. Extra brownie points for that, because that...thing has a voice a serial killer would be proud of.



Octopus Dance

Players: 1

Well, it's about time the cast from 1981 Game & Watch title Octopus got a little love. Your objective here is to mirror the diver's dance moves by shaking and tilting the GamePad on cue. Periodically the diver will spin around to face you, at which point it's best to turn your attention to the other screen (which will now be showing him from behind), since it's easier to copy his moves when his left is also your left.

If you mess things up, the Octopus from the original game will swoop into the picture and gobble you up. If that's not worth a solid 7.0, then we don't know what is.



Luigi's Ghost Mansion

Players: 2-5

The final of the three maze games is arguably the most tense and exciting of the lot. This time everyone gets a clear view of the playing field - up to four Luigis on the TV screen, the ghost on the GamePad. The only difference: the ghost can see the Luigis, but the Luigis have absolutely no idea where the ghost is. Eek!

With four-fifths of the playing field left in the dark, rounds are cagey affairs, with the Luigis tending to cluster together and attempt to cover each other's blindspots with their tiny torches - their only line of defence against the overpowered ghost. Sporadic flashes of lightning reveal the ghost's location, but that aside the only hope Team Luigi has of pinpointing its whereabouts is a slight rumbling of the remote when the ghost draws near.

It's weighted quite heavily in the ghost's favour, but not to the detriment of the game itself - it's a horrible cliché, but the taking part is more important than the winning. If this is typical of the kind of innovative multiplayer experiences we can expect from Wii U, then it's going to prove £300 well spent.


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