A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nintendo Land is a collection of mini-games designed to acquaint players new to the Nintendo Wii U with the system's innovative play possibilities. Most of these activities are very family friendly and promote a spirit of teamwork and healthy competition among players. Some include a bit of mild cartoonish violence, but there is no implication that characters struck by the lasers or swords players wield in these activities are seriously injured. Parents should keep in mind that while this game connects to Nintendo's online Miiverse community when the Wii U is connected to the Internet, it does not facilitate communication between players. Also note that multiplayer functionality requires between one and four Nintendo Wii U Remote Plus controllers (old Wii controllers with the Plus attachment work, too), which don't come with the Wii U system.
What's it about?
NINTENDO LAND is a collection of 12 theme park mini-games meant to help acquaint new Wii U owners with Nintendo's console. Each activity is designed to show players different ways they can interact with their games. For example, kids will need to work with different images presented on their TV and the Wii U GamePad as they draw paths for Yoshi to follow and collect fruit in Yoshi's Fruit Cart. They'll flip the GamePad on its side and tilt it left and right to steer a racing machine in Captain Falcon's Twister Race. And they'll swipe the screen to throw shuriken and create balloon-pushing breezes in Takamaru's Ninja Castle and Balloon Trip Breeze, respectively. Other games introduce players to the notion of asymmetric play; the idea that multiple players can play the same game in very different ways. Mario Chase, for example, has one player looking at the GamePad screen, searching for and chasing others who are viewing the action presented from a different angle on their TV screens. The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest shows how one member of a team can use the GamePad's motion sensors to target enemies with a bow while others can use Wii remotes to fight with swords. As players work through these games -- individually or in multi-game tournaments accessed via the Nintendo Land train -- they'll earn coins that they can spend in a Peggle-style game that outputs prizes used to decorate the park.
Is it any good?
Nintendo Land serves the same purpose as the original Wii's Wii Sports, introducing players to the sort of experiences enabled by the system's innovative touch-screen-equipped Wii U GamePad. The concept of players having very different play experiences with the same game is unusual and perhaps in need of some hands-on examples, which is exactly what this game provides.
What's more, the games are surprisingly fun and often quite challenging. No one is likely to zoom through any of the single-player games in their first, second, or even third go. And loads of unlockable extras give players good reason to keep playing and perfecting their skills. It's not the sort of game that will satisfy a traditional gamer looking for deep, lengthy experiences, but it is the kind of game that will repeatedly be brought out to show friends how the system works while delivering some all-ages fun and no shortage of laughs for the family that owns it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork. Do you prefer playing alone against your friends, or do you like working as a team and communicating with your friends to create strategies?
Families can also discuss consumerism. How do you feel when you see the Nintendo logo or pictures of characters that appear in its games? Do you think a company might use this feeling to try to get you to buy more of its products? How do you decide which ones are worth your money and which ones aren't?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
Arts: dance, music
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, group projects, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Communication: friendship building
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: November 18, 2012
- Genre: Mini-games
- Topics: Friendship
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.