Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Third Rate Minion Plays Wii U

Six years ago, we saw the last major console launches in the US with the PlayStation 3 and the Wii.  Since then, we have seen a multitude of new revisions, relaunches, and then some.  The Wii introduced motion control gaming to the masses, and PlayStation Move and Kinect came a few years later.  Digital distribution has become a major selling-point in the gaming industry, and social interaction has become more pivotal than ever.  All-in-all, the generation has gone on for years, but now, it is time to start the next generation of consoles.

Nintendo first announced its next console venture at E3 2011, unveiling both the focus of the system and the name itself: Wii U.  Wii U is said to continue multiplayer experiences from the Wii while emphasizing the togetherness of individual gamers, the "U" as it were.  By E3 2012, Nintendo finally unveiled its major games for the first half-year of the system's life, and there we also learned of its curious social network, Miiverse.  That September, Nintendo unveiled Nintendo TVii, a media-center aggregate system for the US, but as of this article, it has not yet released.

The Wii U finally launched in the US on November 18th, 2012, available with two bundles: Basic and Deluxe.  The Basic Set contains a white, 8GB Wii U, and the Deluxe Set contains a black, 32GB Wii U with extra system stands, GamePad cradles, Nintendo Land, and a Deluxe Digital Promotion which gives back 10% of every digital sale made for the next two years.  The system released in Europe on November 30th, and the Japanese launched on December 8th.  Now a month after the Wii U launch, we here at Third Rate Minion want to show you a walkthrough of the system's setup, the OS, MiiVerse, and anything else we can grab that comes with the system freely.  Check out the videos after the break and enjoy (or follow our Youtube Playlist)!  For our written impressions, check below as well.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kirby's Retrospective Part III

Presenting our latest multi-segment retrospective video series - a look through 20 years of Kirby!

We are presenting this in association with Nintendo World Report.  They are cool guys, and you should all check them out (and if you were sent here by them, great to see you!)

In our final part, Kirby garners gamer attention on the Nintendo DS and reemerges onto consoles in full force.  From the innovative adventure Kirby Canvas Curse to the fabric fable of Kirby's Epic Yarn to the four-player cooperative sojourn Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby has really resurfaced among Nintendo's best these last few years.  Where will he go now?  If these past two decades have told us anything, it should be quite an experience either way.

Hope you enjoyed it!  Give us comments on the series and what you want to see in the future! :D


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kirby's Retrospective Part II

Presenting our latest multi-segment retrospective video series - a look through 20 years of Kirby!

We are presenting this in association with Nintendo World Report.  They are cool guys, and you should all check them out (and if you were sent here by them, great to see you!).  We'll be posting the other two parts in the coming days, so stay tuned!

In this part, Kirby ventures from the Super Nintendo to the wondrous world of 3D, but not without a few hard bumps. We cover games such as Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, all the way through the GameCube oddball racer Kirby Air Ride and the GBA adventure Kirby and the Amazing Mirror.  We witness the creation of WARPSTAR and the departure of Kirby's creator, and we end this part facing the current generation with still much more Kirby to come.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kirby's Retrospective Part I

Presenting our latest multi-segment retrospective video series - a look through 20 years of Kirby!

We are presenting this in association with Nintendo World Report.  They are cool guys, and you should all check them out (and if you were sent here by them, great to see you!).  We'll be posting the other two parts in the coming days, so stay tuned!

In this part, we examine the pink puffball's first five years of existence, complete with such games as Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, and Kirby Super Star.  Can you taste the nostalgia?  Either way, watch and enjoy!  Big thanks to the online Kirby community which helped provide the multitude of artworks and boxarts and information for the games!

Monday, November 12, 2012

3RM @ NYCC 2012: Post-Mortem

So last week we released the last two videos and articles pertaining to October's New York Comic Con 2012, and now here is our post-mortem video, complete with off-the-cuff impressions and commentary on the event itself.

Now that our New York Comic Con coverage has concluded, what is in store?  Well, for one, we will be covering the Wii U and all the things that come with it in the upcoming weeks, and we are continuing our Ocarina of Time playthrough, as well.  We also have a secret project to be released before the year is over, so keep an eye out for that, too!

Until then, stay hyped.  But not too hyped.  That can be unhealthy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3RM @ NYCC 2012: The Wonderful 101


When it was first announced at E3 2012, The Wonderful 101 – then known as Project P-100 – was an enigma to the gaming media.  It was not shown at Nintendo’s press conference, and all we knew was that it was being made by Platinum Games.  Months later, however, the game has crawled up to the top of many lists of anticipated launch window Wii U titles, and from its presence at New York Comic Con this year, I would say Nintendo has noticed.  Placed alongside large screens for ZombiU and Nintendo Land, it seems Nintendo wants this game to be seen, and after having played its demo, I can see where this interest has grown.

The Wonderful 101 is a superhero adventure starring the Wonderful 100, or at least some part of it.  An alien armada has approached Earth with the desire to wipe out humanity, but one hero is not enough to destroy the monstrosities.  Instead, a super hero crew known as the Wonderful 100 are called to defeat them, but only some of the team appears at the onset.  It will be up to the player to ensure the rest of the Wonderful 100 comes together and works to save the Earth from annihilation.

The demo available for play at NYCC happens to be the same as the demos shown before, from E3 and PAX Prime.  In it, players are given a three-segment demo through a neighborhood, across a crumbling city, and on top of a gigantic alien mech.  The game itself plays in short Missions, pitting the heroes against one or a group of alien enemies at a time.  Initially, the group of heroes can only attack as a swarm, rushing forth against the enemies, but as they attack in groups, a gauge fills on-screen, and when there is enough energy, one of the three lead heroes can create a group formation which can cause even more devastating attacks.  In order to use said formation, the player needs to draw a shape on the Wii U GamePad touch screen or via the right analog stick.  A circle creates the Unite Hand, whereas a line and L-shape create the Unite Sword and Unite Gun, respectively.  After a Unite Power has been assigned, Pressing A switches to the assigned power immediately, provided there is enough power to use it.

Attacks are not all the group can do together.  Pressing the triggers can cause the team to either dodge attacks in an arc motion or turn into a protective gel, sending back any massive projectiles in the process.  Outside of battle, members of the team can become ladders or chains on which the lead members climb to reach destinations high and far.  The team can even turn into a hang-glider to traverse over deep chasms in the distance.  Furthermore, more heroes can be recruited into the group by encircling the group around people encountered in the level.  The more heroes you have, the stronger your Unite Powers.

At one point in time, the game shifted its view to the GamePad controller.  Inside a building, the GamePad displays what the hero sees while the television still shows the outside camera angle.  This is helpful in opening doorways and potentially other things later in the game.  It was a brief break from more action-packed areas of the game, and hopefully it will not be used too repetitively.

The game itself felt very smooth, despite all of the action taking place in the game.  I had occasional issues with the buttons, but this may have had more to do with my being new to the Wii U GamePad layout than the game itself.  One issue I did have with the game was bridging a chain between the boss’s arms; I had to resort to using the right stick in order to reach long enough.  Hopefully long stretches like that are not too prevalent in the final game.  Otherwise, the game was a delight all the way through.  Attacking gigantic mechs with a large sword built out of other heroes was rewarding, and there was an especially great feeling when the defensive pose could send gigantic cannon balls straight into the face of the enemy.

The Wonderful 101 comes out sometime during the Wii U's launch window, and there are still many questions left to be answered.  Will there be multiplayer?  How many areas will there be?  Does MiiVerse play a big role in the game at all?  But most importantly, what is the fastest way to get my hands on this game?  I guess we will find out soon enough.

3RM @ NYCC 2012: Game and Wario


Game and Wario, which is a play on Game and Watch, is fairly similar to Wario’s other mini-game-focused franchise, WarioWare. However, instead games in five-second lengths, Game and Wario focuses on longer mini-games which utilize the Wii U GamePad’s various features. Nintendo had the game playable at their NYCC booth so I decided to give it a go.

The demo had at least three different games playable: an arrow-shooting game, a skiing game, and a photography game. While I only played the latter of them, I did watch a number of other players try the other games. In the skiing game, aptly called Ski, the player controls Jimmy as he races down a ski slope filled with obstacles such as snow drifts and ski jumps to hinder his path. Holding the GamePad on its side, the player has to tilt the controller left and right to guide Jimmy safely and quickly to the end. Also, the player had to use the screen to accurately see what was going on, while the TV screen showed outlandish camera angles, making it impossible to know what was on the slope. At the end, the game tallies your score and awards metals. Out of the three games, this one was the weakest, in my opinion, particularly because it was so short.

The second game, Arrow, also has the player hold the GamePad on its side. The GamePad screen shows a bow with nose-pointed arrows along with four strawberries, and the television shows an open field filled with Wario robots trying to get their hands on the fruit. The idea is to aim the GamePad, pull back on the bow, and shoot the arrows at the robots. Sometimes when there are a large group of robots, the player can shoot an arrow at a landmine near them to take them all out at once, racking up points in the process. Even without landmines, there were special pepper-shakers that could power up the arrow. By rubbing the nose on the touch screen, the nose enlarges, and when that large nose-arrow hits its target, it explodes with sneeze-filled power. However, if any robots reach the front of the television screen, they quickly run onto the touch screen and must be squashed before they reached the strawberries. The wave of enemies changed over time, with some Warios wearing armor or flying around, but at the end of the battle, a massive Wario robot emerges to face off against the player.  In this final bout, it takes plenty of precision to take out specific parts of the robot before knocking its teeth in - literally!  This game was much longer than Ski, but I hope there are more levels than just the one shown.

Finally, the game that I played, Shutter, was about taking pictures of criminals in a crowed area within a limited timeframe and with limited film. The television screen shows out the window, showing the streets, buildings, parks, and apartment windows all filled with people. Meanwhile, the GamePad screen shows what is being seen through the camera, which can zoom into the scenery in order to take pictures of people far into the distance. Once the game began, I was shown a number of faces of the supposed criminals of whom I needed to take pictures. My boss also mentioned that there was a strange little creature hidden in town that could earn me extra points if I found it. Around the town, the civilian faces were varied with different head shapes, eyes formations, noses, lips, and hairstyles. It was important to study these faces carefully as some people in the town might share the same hairstyle or head shape. After taking a picture, I had to point the GamePad down to develop the photo, which was then evaluated based on the subject facing the camera, the subject's head fitting the photo, and the subject’s face being the right size. Finding the people through the camera was not easy, so I had to view the whole scene on the television to get a better look, then aim the camera at the person once I found them. As time counted down, my boss gave me some hints of where the people might be; these hints included "so-and-so likes high places" or "this guy likes feeding the ducks." Once everyone was photographed, I was given free time to search the area for Fronk, a strange character from the WarioWare series. Despite his small size, I managed to find him getting extra points and a special article in the game result’s newspaper screen. It was a fun experience, but I hope we are going to see more locales in the final version.

While the graphics and presentation of Game and Wario are updated from past Wario games, it still was simplistic and minimalistic like it predecessors. With the move into HD, the game looked a lot better despite retaining its signature strangeness and limited details. If someone was looking to be blown away with amazing graphics, Game and Wario is not going to be that game

Instead, this game is about various, experimental gameplay styles. However, my concern is that what made the WarioWare games special was their vast amount of fast-paced mircogames that kept things interesting, and Game and Wario instead focuses on large mini-games to play. With other mini-game collections already coming out for the Wii U especially with Nintendo Land coming out at launch, I worry this game will be redundant where the mircogame-design would have kept it fresh. I can only hope the other games in Game and Wario make up for the changes to the series.

Game and Wario is expected to release in the first quarter of next year for Wii U.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

3RM @ NYCC 2012: Nintendo Land

At New York Comic Con, Nintendo demonstrated a collection of games coming out this holiday season for the Wii U, ranging from third party efforts such as ZombiU and Scribblenauts Unlimited to first party releases such as New Super Mario Bros. U.  However, the game that had the most demo units on the showfloor was Nintendo Land, a collection of “attractions” spanning a multitude of Nintendo’s franchises, all focused on pushing out unique gameplay using the Wii U GamePad.

Nintendo Land consists of twelve attractions split up between three gameplay scenarios: three are both single and multiplayer, three are solely multiplayer, and the remaining six are mostly single-player.  At New York Comic Con, six games were playable, and we got to play all of them, split between the headings below.

Metroid Blast

Mission Assault Mode (w/o in-game audio)

Ground vs. Air Mode


Metroid Blast was presented prominently at the booth, running non-stop during the four-day convention. Players played through two different modes: a horde mode and a land verses ship mode. While the other players used the Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck controls to play as Samus Aran characters, I managed to play this game with the Wii U GamePad as Samus’s gunship. There was a definite learning curve for these controls as I not only had to use the two control sticks to move the ship around but I also had to make use of the gamepad’s tilt function in order to aim my ship’s crosshairs. It was definitely not the easiest game to jump into without practice. Starting off with the horde mode, both the Samus players and ship player must work together to destroy waves of monsters invading the area. The area we played was an open, futuristic arena with a tall tower in the middle, and the aliens attacking us were reminiscent to Zoomers from the Metroid series. The way to defeat these enemies was to shoot large power buttons located on their bodies, but players could also charge and shoot bombs which could take out whole clusters of enemies at once.

After the horde mode was the land vs ship battle. Taking place in a level resembling Norfair right down to its soundtrack, the battle had the Samus characters working together to defeat the ship player, in this case me. The controls remained the same from before, but new strategies were needed to face off against human players. One interesting thing I noticed was that when the fight began, my ship started on a launch pad away from the battlefield, which meant I had to fly into the arena where the Samuses were waiting. To balance the all-vs-one match, the ship gets more health than each individual player below, but that did not help me in the long run. While the ship had a rapid-fire attack, it lacked accuracy compared to the ground players’ attacks. Using the ship’s powerful bombs, I defeated one Samus player, leaving him in his Zero Suit. Alas, while taking down the remaining player, the ZSS player found a heart, giving him back his power suit, which he used to surround me and take me down. Along with a ground vs ground battle, I can see this attraction getting used the most.

Presumably the biggest game played at the show, this game was constantly being played on the big screen.  In Metroid Blast, players with Wii Remote Pluses play as bounty hunters on the ground, while the player on the Wii U GamePad controls a gunship, flying through the air with ease.  There were two sub-games attendees got to play: Assault Mission Mode and Ground vs. Air Mode.  In Assault Mission Mode, all players work together to fight off a horde of monsters which fill the stage in waves.  After completing the Assault Mission stage, the attendants led us to a Norfair-esque battlefield to play Ground vs. Air Mode, in which the players on the ground have to fend off the gunship pilot above.

In my time playing the game, I only played on the Wii Remote Plus, and in doing so, I think there could be some issues with the controls here and there.  Because the reticule moves as a result of the Wii Remote Plus, there were moments when the reticule shifted erratically across the screen.  I would like to say this is probably the venue’s fault more than the game’s, but I will not be able to tell fly until the game’s final release.  Also, I found that dodging as a ground unit was pretty difficult, even with the ability to shrink into a morph ball.  Outside of those complaints, the game was quite action-packed.  I liked walking through the battlefield shooting wildly at the enemies in the distance, and I also enjoyed shooting charged grenades to wipe out whole clusters of monsters at once.  I only got to use it once or twice, but the grapple beam was a good evasion tactic and a fun maneuver to use for us bounty hunters.  I just wish the attendants let us play a harder level for the Assault Mission Mode so we could really get a feel of that mode.

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest


The other cooperative game I played was The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, which had four Links fighting their way through Zelda-inspired locales to save Hyrule. The only stage playable was in the Dark Woods on our way to the Forest Temple, which was filled with Chu Chus and Bokoblins. Similar to Metroid Blast, three of the Links used the Wii Remote Plus while the fourth Link used the Wii U GamePad. The Wii Remote Plus Links had swords, which would slash the same way the remotes were swung, and the player with the GamePad had a bow and arrow, which could be aimed by looking around with the GamePad. 

Once again, I had my hands-on with this game using the GamePad as my fellow Links handled the swords. Much like the Swordplay games in Wii Sports Resort, once the mission starts, the Links begin to move on their own toward the nearest enemy, which they then had to slash at in order to move on or else get hit. This was also true with my Link except the bow was not catered for close combat, so it was better to keep my distance. I noticed when I readied an arrow to shoot, my Link stopped moving forward, allowing me to survey the scene and strike enemies at a distance as well as any high-raised, arrow-shooting enemies that my sword-wielding compatriots could not reach. However, I also noticed that sometimes I would ready an arrow while my Link allies continuously moved forward, leaving me behind. It was important for me to know when to move forward with my crew or stay back and attack from the distance. 

There were times when teamwork was needed to solve puzzles such as striking buttons at the same time or shooting an arrow at some rope to open up a pathway. There were also puzzle-like enemies resembling a monster in Four Swords that required the Links to slash a certain way or simply arrow its eye out. Although these puzzle were limited, I would like them to be expanded in the final adventure. At the end of the stage, the four of us had to defeat a large Moblin with a massive club and shield. While the three swords tried to attack the beast head-on, I was able to aim for his head, which peaked over the shield. The boss was tricky, but I really hope there are more classic Zelda bosses that make their way into the game, too. After he was defeated, we all received the Triforce, saving the day. This time, anyway.


The other single-or-multiplayer attraction was The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest.  In this game, the Wii Remote Plus players control heroes with swords to fend off foes, while the Wii U GamePad player uses a bow and arrow to shoot at enemies from afar and activate switches the other players could not.  Unlike Metroid Blast, we only played a single mode, a quest through the Dark Woods into a temple to obtain the fabled Triforce!  Like Metroid Blasts’ cooperative mode, the entire team has collective hit-points, so cooperation is key for survival.

In my scrimmage through Battle Quest, I once again played on the Wii Remote Plus.  If you have ever played Wii Sports Resort’s Swordplay game, you should know how the game feels from the get-go.  The characters move steadily forward through the landscape, and as enemies emerge one way or another, each of the sword-wielders rushes toward the closest one to fight.  Here, enemies can be hit by swinging the Wii Remote Plus (and with it, the sword) into them, but some enemies have shields or other mechanisms blocking certain swings, so aim is just as important as speed when fighting enemies.  In order to block oncoming attacks from nearby or from far-reaching locations, players can pull up a shield to protect themselves.  As for the GamePad user, he or she aims with the movement of the GamePad itself and keeps in the back to shoot at enemies before they overwhelm the rest of the team.  I found fighting the enemies to be quite delightful, even if the level itself was rather simple in the end.  The greatest difficulty came with fighting the boss, who along with two minions fought continually, and we were on the brink of defeat when an arrow struck the head of the massive moblin.  In the end, it was fun to cooperate with other people in the adventure, but I wonder how the experience feels as a single-player game.

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day


The last multiplayer game I got a hands-on with was Animal Crossing: Sweet Day. Much like the other games, the players are divided into two groups: the hungry animals with Wii Remote Pluses and two guard dogs with the Wii U GamePad. Once again, I was the player with Wii U GamePad. The goal of this mini-game is for the greedy animals to eat 50 candies before time runs out or for the guard dogs to catch the animals three times. While the hungry animals start out faster than the dogs, eating candy makes their heads larger, slowing them down in the process. Also, since the candy grows on trees, these animals need to work together to shake the candy out of the trees. While each Wii Remote Plus player controls one animal, I had to control both dogs at the same time with the left control stick and L button used to control one guard and the right control stick and R button used to control the other. Unlike the other players who see the game on the television via a split-screen, I had my own view of the game via the gamepad screen that expanded larger the further away my dogs got from each other, but this also made it harder for them to work together to surround the criminal animals. Despite the complexity of controlling two characters at the same time, I seemed to have the advantage as both matches I played ended relatively quickly with me as the victor. My concern with this game was that it felt too easy for me to win despite being outnumbered. Hopefully other stages in this mode will cater more to the other animals.


Sweet Day was one of two multiplayer-only games at the showfloor, and it was also the game I played the least.  In it, the Wii Remote Plus players assume the role of Animal Crossing characters who want to eat as much fruit as possible from the trees around town, and the Wii U GamePad player controls two guards at the same time.  In this mode, the villagers win if they collectively gather a set number of sweets from the trees, and the guards win if they catch three of the villagers first.

I got to play as a villager in my game, and in that short time, I found this game to be a bit sided toward the guards for a couple reasons.  For one, a number of trees need to be shook in order drop sweets; this can require almost all of the villagers to group together at once.  Secondly, as someone collects sweets, they move slower due to the weight, but they can drop their stash to regain their speed and escape the guards.  The combination of those two factors made it easy for the guards to get all three of us in a manner of a couple minutes.  It was a fun frantic game, yes, but it was really short and felt slightly one-sided.

Luigi’s Ghost Mansion


The second playable multiplayer attraction at NYCC was Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, a game involving hunting ghosts while being hunted by ghosts.  Players with Wii Remote Pluses control Luigi-clones armed only with flashlights, and the player with the Wii U GamePad assumes the role of a mischievous ghost.  The goal of the Luigis is to capture the usually-invisible ghost with flashlights; when the ghost is in the light, its hit-points deplete until it reaches zero.  As for the ghost, its goal is to scare the Luigis into submission, and once all have been scared stiff, the ghost is the winner.

The twist in this game is that the prey is also a predator, capable of taking down the flashlight-bearing characters from behind and pulling them into darkness.  At the same time, however, the ghost has to avoid the light of all of the same people, so approaching them is a strategy in of itself.  Thankfully for the ghost, the Wii U GamePad shows everything for the ghost, allowing for more ideal strategies.  As for me, I took part as one of those ghost hunters, and hunting the ghost proved quite complicated.  Keeping the light on at all times would not work for long, as flashlights have batteries to recharge, dooming players to a ghastly surprise if they do not conserve their flashlights.  On top of this, if the team splits up too much, the ghost will be easily able to take them one by one.  Staying together and helping keep each other conscious is key to winning, but cooperation is needed, lest the ghost get its way.  In my experience, it felt pretty intense, especially when I was caught by a ghost, myself.  Thankfully, the only remaining teammate had shined his light at the ghost, freeing me from its grasp.  In the end, we humans persevered, but only by the skin our teeth and with a lot of teamwork.  It may have been a bit shorter than some of the attractions shown, but it was certainly enough to make me a believer in the game’s multiplayer elements.

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course


Donkey Kong’s Crash Course was one of the single player games available to play at Nintendo’s booth. The point of the game is to guide a kart-like object through a large, complex obstacle course using the Wii U GamePad’s tilt function, though sometimes the game needs some button input to progress, too. At one part of the course, I had to use the R and L buttons to move platforms, ramps, and elevators, and the last obstacle I reached had me rotate one control stick to spin a spiral pathway. On the television screen, I saw a large view of the course to get an idea of my progress or lack thereof, while on the GamePad screen I had a better view of the kart and obstacles, which helped me navigate the massive course. Despite this game looking simple, it was much harder than it looked. Going too fast in some spots had me crash the kart, forcing back to a checkpoint. Going too slow in another spot had me poorly land a jump, again crashing the kart. With only four lives, I did not get very far at all. One interesting detail I noticed was whenever I crashed the kart, a chalk explosion would mark where I failed as a reminder of my progress. This game is a definite challenge, and I only wish I could have gotten further into it.


Donkey Kong’s Crash Course was the only single player specific game I got to demo at New York Comic Con (Tony got to play the other as well), and from what I got to play from it, I feel it will be a fairly infuriating but equally-rewarding experience in its final form.  In Crash Course, players control a contraption, guiding it around an obstacle course in order to reach a virtual Pauline at the end of the level.  Every now and again, players pass a checkered flag to act as a checkpoint, and once some traumatic blow is given to the contraption’s “head,” the player starts back from the last checkpoint with one less life.  This attraction ends when either the life count has run out or when the player has reached Pauline (a feat I have yet to see to this day).

The game controls mostly by tilting the Wii U GamePad in the direction the player wants to move the contraption.  At times, though, other things such as the joysticks and L/R triggers are needed to maneuver specific switches and obstacles around the course.  At first, movement felt odd to me, but once I got the feeling of weight to the vehicle, I was able to maneuver it through a number of areas.  After some time playing, I reached an area of the game I had not seen before, and it would take me a couple deaths before I knew how to approach the area.  In the end, I still did not reach what I assume was close to the end of the course, but I feel that continual replays of the game will eventually make me a master at this game.  It has a learning curve that can bother some, but I think this sort of challenge is worth it.  My only concern is that the GamePad itself does not really offer a unique premise that could not be done on a Wii Remote Plus, unless some factors come into play later on that we do not know; I also hope we see more than one Crash Course in the final release.

Takamaru's Ninja Castle


The final attraction I got to play was another single player game, Takamaru’s Ninja Castle. Based off an old Famicon series, the game’s objective is to defeat a brigade of ninjas using paper ninja stars. The game is played with the Wii U GamePad on its side, facing the television screen. Much like an old arcade shooter, ninjas popped out of the background trying to attack me. However, by sliding my hand across the touch screen I could throw ninja stars at them, but there was more to it than that. Not only did I have to swipe the touch screen but also I had to do it at a certain speed to give my throws strength behind them as well as tilt the gamepad in order to aim where they were being thrown. 

In this adventure, there were a variety of ninjas attacking me constantly: blue ninjas that simply moved about the area, pink ninjas that threw ninja stars, yellow ninjas that carried bombs, and a black ninja with a sword to block my attacks as well as the ability to throw ninja stars. It was this black ninja that finished me off after  tense battle. It was a fun shooter, although it did get tiring to swipe my hand continuously in order to throw the stars. Another issue I had was that at the end of my playtime the GamePad seemed off-sync with the game and needed to be re-synced. I also hope the game has more enemy types throughout the later stages.



All of the attractions were filled with HD visuals and ran smoothly no matter how much action hit the screen. Filled with bloom effects and high-resolution textures, the game looks pleasant, and being filled with nods to Nintendo's franchises also adds to its charm. I really enjoyed that each game mode focused on a particular art style such as Zelda being made out of fabrics and dolls while Takamaru’s game was all origami. I can only imagine what the other games look like in the end.

Nintendo Land is coming around to be an amazing launch title for the Wii U. Having both colorful visuals and creative gameplay for both single player and multiplayer experiences, this game has a lot to offer. My only concerns with the game are the various learning curves needed to learn the new controls for each of the game’s attractions. There is still a lot left to play in Nintendo Land, and I cannot wait to see what Nintendo has in store when this launches alongside the Nintendo Wii U this November.


In the end, Nintendo Land offered me quite a few different viewpoints for its final release, and I was delighted at a number of them, with their own little issues here and there.  I only got to play on the GamePad for one of them, and I enjoyed that one perhaps the most of the attractions there.  I did not really mention the art styles for the attractions, but I found them to be quite colorful and unique.  I do think that there could be some better modeling with some of the environments and the Miis, but there is no doubt this could not be run on a Wii.
Nintendo Land releases on the Wii U’s launch date: November 18th, 2012.  The game will be available by itself or as a pack-in for those who purchase the Wii U Deluxe Bundle.