E3 2012 Preview: Nintendo Land

June 16, 2012

Since Nintendo’s new Wii U console was announced last year, gamers and non-gamers alike wondered how it would work. Given the addition of the new touchscreen-based controller, there were many possibilities. Rocket Chainsaw, along with the others at the event, had the opportunity to try out the new console with a first-party launch title: Nintendo Land. Nintendo Land is a party game, featuring twelve minigames based on various franchises. The game will support both the Wii Remote and Nunchuck peripherals, as well as the new Gamepad, which allows gamers to play differently depending on the minigame.

We played two minigames which both featured this asynchronous gameplay. One was Sweet Day, based on Animal Crossing, which involved four players using the Wii Remotes to control characters who have to collect candy from trees as a team. It gets a bit more complex as they get fatter and slower as they eat more candy, making them prime picking for the one player with the Wii U Gamepad. You see, using the Gamepad’s analogue sticks, this player has control over two guards on the map who have to chase the other players down.

The other minigame we played was Luigi’s Ghost Mansion (no prizes for guessing which game this is based off). In this one, players use their Wii Remotes while creeping around a maze, looking for a ghost who is trying to take each of them out, who is controlled by the player with the Gamepad. The ghost is invisible, save for when a player shines his or her flashlight at it, or when lightning illuminates it. This makes the task quite tricky, although the players’ controllers will vibrate if the ghost is near. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is a great example of how these new play styles can be used for teamwork.

Overall, both Sweet Day and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion were really fun party games, and did a great job of showing how the Wii U can bring a whole new dimension to multiplayer interaction. Even if you aren’t a fan of party games, this will be one to look out for, even if it’s only for the technical capabilities. We’ll just have to wait and see how the full game turns out, when the Wii U is released.