By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun, family-friendly mini-games open the door to Wii U.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about cooperation and teamwork in this highly social game that lets up to five players play together in the same room. Some activities encourage kids to speak with one another, communicating vital information while formulating strategies with their friends. Others are more competitive, and have kids working toward similar goals but competing for coins or points. There's also a rhythm-based, single-player virtual dancing game that will get kids feeling a beat and could help spur an interest in music and movement. Nintendo Land creates an engaging environment in which to try cooperative gaming strategies.
This game encourages kids to play with family and friends, engaging in positive competitive and cooperative gaming experiences that create memorable social experiences. A rhythm game may help grow kids' interest in music and dance.
Positive Role Models
There are several secondary characters in the game, but the primary ones are the players' avatars. Kids are likely to cue off their friends' behavior while playing, working together with or ganging up on other players, depending on what others are doing.
Ease of Play
Most of the games are pretty basic, and pre-game interactive tutorials explain controls in quick, simple terms. That said, none of the activities are easily mastered. Plus, it will take some players a while to get used to switching their attention between GamePad and TV screen as required. What's more, a couple of games -- like the Metroid spin-off -- involve more complex controls that give veteran gamers an advantage over rookies.
Violence & Scariness
A Metroid-themed game sees player avatars dressed as sci-fi warriors and shooting each other with lasers. Characters disappear in a flash of light when struck. An activity modeled after The Legend of Zelda games has players shooting arrows and swinging swords at fantasy creatures with pig-like heads. The game based on Luigi's Mansion involves avoiding a ghost in the dark and can be a bit intense. There's also a game that has kids flicking throwing stars with the touch screen, but targets are limited to wooden ninja cutouts.
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Products & Purchases
Several of Nintendo's best loved commercial properties -- including Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Animal Crossing and others -- feature prominently.
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.
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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?
- Platform: 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
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release date: November 18, 2012
- Genre: Mini-games
- Topics: Friendship
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor
- Last updated: August 26, 2016
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