Nintendo Land is a virtual theme park whose many attractions are loosely based on popular Nintendo games. Every theme park attraction is designed to show off some aspect of the capabilities of the Nintendo Wii U. Depending on the choice of attraction solo, competition and team modes are available.
Some of the games featured are taken form Zelda: Batle Quest, Mario Chase, Donkey Kong and many others.
As far as games designed solely for the purpose of flexing a new console's muscles go, Nintendo Land by and large accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. Just as Wii Sports demonstrated the capabilities inherent within Nintendo's immensely popular Wii console (capabilities later enhanced by the Wii Motion Plus), Nintendo Land can be seen as a sort of "starter package" for the Wii U. Designed primarily to familiarize players with the possibilities of the Wii U's innovative, tablet-esque gamepad interface, Nintendo Land nicely showcases the strengths of the system. The fact that it's pre-packaged with the premium edition of the system helps, too.
One thing needs to be made abundantly clear, if it wasn't obvious already - by no means is Nintendo Land a full-fledged "game". What you have here is a collection of very entertaining mini-games bundled together with a few added features. While major Nintendo franchises are indeed incorporated into the package (it is set in a Nintendo-based theme park, after all), don't expect a product on par with any fully fleshed-out title in one of Nintendo's major IPs. Instead, what Nintendo Land provides is a fun, light package suited more for bouts of casual gaming with friends or family.
And just as Wii Sports was best experienced with others, the same can be said of Nintendo Land. The best of these mini-games are clearly designed with multiplayer in mind. Six of the twelve available attractions are aimed towards a single player, and while they all have something to offer, more or less, the game shines brightest when played with people. Playing alone just doesn't feel as satisfying, although you're still likely to have a fun time tinkering around in Nintendo's whimsical theme park. Just not as much fun as you would be having playing the game with others.
Most importantly, Nintendo Land, for many, will provide the first glimpse of the potential of Nintendo's brand new system. It manages to do a nice job of whetting the gamer's appetite in this regard, for the most part. The technological wizardry of the impressive new gamepad is quite compelling, yet the package as a whole varies in quality. Some of the attractions, such as Mario Chase, are simple joys to play, while others (namely Octopus Dance) aren't implemented nearly as well.
The graphics are an interesting blend, coupling Nintendo's trademark of bright, cheery visuals with high definition (a domain Nintendo's just now venturing into), providing a rather unique style. At times, it can be too much. The colors are explosive and bright, and while they're nice to look at for a time, the lighting and sheer vibrancy can come across as too sugary. It's not a bad-looking title by any means, but it's not likely to really impress the multitude of gamers already condition to high definition gaming. The gamepad is excellently implemented in most of the attractions, and if you go into Nintendo Land expecting to have fun, you won't be disappointed.
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