Nintendo Land Wii U
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Released on 30-Nov-2012
Wii U Features All-New Attractions in Nintendo Land
Nintendo Land is a fun and lively theme park filled with 12 different attractions, each with its own take on a Nintendo franchise. Each attraction features unique and innovative game-play experiences made possible by the Wii U GamePad controller. Depending on the attraction, players can compete solo or against other players, or even team up to play cooperatively. Up to five players can participate in dynamic multiplayer modes in select attractions.* The experiences change every time, depending on whether players are using the GamePad, holding a Wii Remote or just watching others play on the TV screen.
Nintendo Land Features:
Donkey Kong's Crash Course: Using the GamePad's motion control, players tilt the controller to guide a fragile rolling cart through an obstacle course that resembles the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This single-player game lets other spectators watch the action on the TV and offer advice about how to pass the next obstacle.
Luigi's Ghost Mansion: The player with the GamePad is a ghost (invisible to others) who is trying to capture up to four humans armed with flashlights. The ghost must sneak around the environment by staying in the shadows and try to catch them one by one. The humans can work together to revive fallen comrades before the ghost catches everyone. If all four humans are caught before they are revived, the ghost wins. But if they are successful at shining their flashlights on the ghost long enough to reduce its hit points to zero, the humans win.
Animal Crossing™: Sweet Day: The player holding the Wii U GamePad controls two guards who are in charge of safeguarding a candy orchard from a group of candy-loving animals. Up to four other players, using the Wii Remote controllers to control these animals, must work together to outwit – and outrun – the guards. The game ends when a combined total of 50 pieces of candy are collected, or when the guards catch any one of the animals three times.
The Legend of Zelda™: Battle Quest: The player with the GamePad is an archer who can aim and shoot arrows using the screen as a view finder. That player is joined by up to three others who wield Wii Remote Plus controllers like swords. Players work together to take on a variety of enemies in a world that looks like a cloth version of a game from The Legend of Zelda series.
Takamaru's Ninja Castle: Based on an early Famicom game available only in Japan, this single-player game turns the GamePad into a launcher for ninja stars. Players swipe the controller's touch screen to take out an ever-growing army of ninja attackers, earning more points for consecutive hits. Moving the GamePad around at different angles enables the player to take aim in an intuitive fashion.
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Nintendo has rolled out details on the games planned for its upcoming Wii U console, and it seems there'll be something for everyone when the machine launches later this year.
With comparable graphics and power to the current Xbox and PlayStation models, and with an iPad-style tablet controller, the Wii U has attracted a lot of interest from developers who avoided its less muscular predecessor. That'll be why Mass Effect 3 will debut on the system when it launches, alongside other hardcore treats such as a new "Armoured Edition" of Batman: Arkham City. Cult Japanese developer Platinum, responsible for games like Bayonetta and Vanquish, is working on an action-packed cartoon strategy game called P-100.
The Nintendo faithful will be well served by the return of many beloved franchises, including the long awaited Pikmin 3, in which players control a crowd of cute miniature aliens in a puzzle-based adventure. There'll also be New Super Mario Bros U as well as Paper Mario: Sticker Star, which promises an innovative sticker-based combat system. There's also Game & Wario, a minigame compilation in the style of the awesome WarioWare.
Nintendo Land, which has been dubbed the Wii U equivalent of Wii Sports, features numerous solo and multiplayer challenges based on classic Nintendo series. The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Luigi's Ghost Mansion, Animal Crossing: Sweet Days, Donkey Kong's Crash Course and Takamaru's Ninja Castle are just some of the titles revealed.
The Wii U is scheduled for launch at the end of 2012, with the aim of getting it on UK shelves in time for Christmas.
Wii U - Best of E3 2012
More details were revealed at this year's E3 about the innovative Wii U package - that revised GamePad, those, err, 'asymmetric gameplay' opportunities - but really all we wanted to know was were its games looking any good?
In a word (well, two) - yes actually...
Just when you thought the zombie genre was ready for a rusty shovel through its maggot-infested brains, Ubisoft unveiled its fascinating first-person take on said shuffling man-munchers with this Wii U exclusive. Set in London after an outbreak of flesh-eating freaks, head off on missions to help you make it through another day, harvesting vital supplies from a variety of locations ("Oh look, it's Big Ben! And oh look there, it's a Queen's Guard here to make a right royal Jubilee out of my internal organs..."). Using the Wii U'sGamePad screen as a 'Bug-Out Bag' containing maps, med kits and more, the focus is on a refreshingly hardcore survival experience with some genuine multiplayer innovations lurking, slobbering, in the shadows...
When's It Out? TBA 2012
Noted for its exceptional graphics (best-in-show for the Wii U, we reckon), this charming sequel to the hit real-time strategy series will make its exclusive debut on the HD-powered console. As before, head out into an alien garden and make like an astronautical Alan Titchmarsh, dishing out orders to your band of cute critters, the plant-like Pikmin, and collecting fruit, bashing garden grizzlies and building bridges to explore a mysterious planet. With lush scenery, reassuringly familiar gameplay and some all-new characters, this is already shaping up to be a potential classic.
When's It Out? TBA 2012
Hoping to emulate the astonishing success of the all-conquering Wii Sports on Wii, NintendoLand moves out of the sports arena and into the theme park by packing in 12 mini-games that show off the diverse and eclectic skills of the GamePad and its screen. Five out of the mini-games were previewed at E3; for simple delights, Takamaru's Ninja Castle sees players hurling shurikens at onscreen ninjas by 'flicking' them virtually off the GamePad's screen. For multiplayer mayhem, Luigi's Ghost Mansion lets up to four Mii-sporting players armed with Wii Remotes, hunt (and be hunted by) a ghost in an overhead maze; said ghost being operated by a GamePad-wielding gamer.
The catch? The ghost is invisible to the other players who can only 'feel' its presence through the rumble of their controllers. And the predictable result? Yep, panicked, hysterical gameplay as gamers wildly wield their torches about, trying to destroy the ghost with their lights - or more often than not, ending up fainting onscreen when the spectre spooks them from behind. A perfect example then of that 'asymmetric gameplay' Nintendo has been so busy banging on about - where the same game is a different experience for each player, see? We're sold on it and so will you be.
When's It Out? TBA 2012
At this week's GAME Conference, the publishers were out to show off the big titles coming in the run up to Christmas and into 2013. One of the real highlights of the show was our first chance to get truly hands on with Nintendo's new Wii U. There were plenty of games to show it off, and we managed to get stuck in to the title being bundled with the Premium Wii U console, Nintendo Land.
We tried out a couple of very fun games from this mini-game marathon, Luigi's Ghost Mansion and The Legend Of Zelda: Battle Quest, ideal games to test out the new Game Pad controller and Nintendo's first steps into HD gameplay. It's safe to say, we were not disappointed!
Luigi's Ghost Mansion
Luigi's Ghost Mansion is a five player game, with one person using the GamePad to control a ghost, while Luigi and friends are controlled using Wii Remotes. Playing as Luigi and friends on the screen, players have to manoeuvre about a darkened room trying to find the ghost and capture him in the light of their torches. The ghost is seen on the Game Pad, which is used to move around to capture the other players.
Luigi and friends have to capture the ghost before the time runs out - or before they run out by being captured themselves. What follows is a fun mixture of Pac Man and hide and seek. Players on the TV screen can see the ghost for brief moments, when the lights flash on or the torch falls on his path, and so quick reactions to capture-or-be-captured are a must!
Luigi's Ghost Mansion makes great use of both the Game Pad and the asymmetrical gameplay that it offers, and was a truly fun multiplayer experience. This is the kind of game you can play with friends and family again and again.
The Legend Of Zelda Battle Quest
Zelda's mini-game is a mini-adventure for three players. Dressing your Mii as Link, complete with sword (or arrow), the characters battle their way through Zelda inspired environments, working as a team to advance through the levels.
Choose to play with the Wii remote, your Mii wields the sword to fend off oncoming enemies. Working together onscreen, the players chop and slice their way through the level to make the advance. Playing on to the Game Pad, your Mii now is a 'back-up' for the swordsmen, taking out as many enemies as possible with bow and arrow. Using the gyroscopic control, you move the pad around to aim, and the right analogue stick fires the arrow. Good aim is crucial as the archer is required to shoot at small shapes from afar, not just to tackle enemies, but to unlock the doors onto the next level. No pressure, then!
This game makes great use of the Game Pad's unique features and brings a modern, quirky gameplay style to a 'legend'-ary gaming series!
From these two tasters, it's clear that Nintendo Land offers a great multiplayer Wii U experience. Cleverly integrating the Game Pad into gameplay in countless ways, it's a great introduction to what the Wii U can offer and will definitely be a top family game for Christmas.
Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, launches in the UK from November 30th and you can secure yours now from GAME from just £259.
The console comes in two different packages. The basic edition comes with the 8Gb White Wii U console and the new touchscreen gamepad controller. It'll work with existing Wii remotes as well as the Wii sensor bar. If you don't have those, you can buy them separately in a starter pack.
Alternatively you can opt for the premium black console, for £309.99. This comes with a 32Gb console and gamepad, plus a sensor bar, HDMI cable and membership of Nintendo's Premium Network which will allow you to earn points every time you buy Wii U software. The premium bundle also includes a copy of Nintendo Land, a cool minigame compilation featuring dozens of classic Nintendo stars.
What else can you pick up on launch day? Seven games will be on the shelves, with loads more to follow in the following months. NintendoLand and ZombiU will be available as standalone games, of course, and no Nintendo console would be complete without a Mario game, so make room for New Super Mario Bros U. Platform fans can also look forward to the fantastic Rayman Legends, the sequel to the wonderful Rayman Origins and a Wii U exclusive. Those with a more hardcore mindset, meanwhile, will be able to take home Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, FIFA 13 and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition on launch day.
If, for some reason, that doesn't keep you busy then the coming months will bring dozens more titles, including Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition, Transformers Prime, 007 Legends, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Assassin's Creed III, Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition and Darksiders II.
The Magic Kingdom
Perhaps Nintendo couldn't decide which of its much-loved franchises to launch Wii U with, because the answer it's come up with is "all of them". Sure, there's also your regulation Mario platformer in the form of New Super Mario Bros. U, but Nintendo Land crams a panoply of the company's most famous characters and series into a dozen mini-games designed to show off Wii U's unique features.
The idea is that this game is a virtual theme park for Nintendo, where your Miis - your little in-game avatars - can participate in "attractions" based on all your favourite Nintendo games. Metroid, Zelda and Mario are all represented, along with Pikmin, F-Zero, Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong, Luigi's Mansion and more.
It's a mini-game compilation, then, but not as you know it. The games are extremely varied and some of them are pretty unusual. They all find novel ways to use the Wii U's Game Pad in gameplay. Like Wii Sports and Wii Play before it, this is a game designed, as much as anything else, to demonstrate the potential of Nintendo's odd new console.
There are 12 games: three "team" attractions, three competitive attractions and six solo attractions. The team games are basically co-operative, although some of them also have competitive modes, and they can all be played to some extent by one player. The competitive games need at least two players and work better with more. The maximum number of players is five - one on the Game Pad and up to four more using Wii remotes (sometimes, MotionPlus remotes and/or Nunchucks are required).
The six multiplayer games are designed around the idea of what Nintendo calls "asymmetrical" multiplayer; that is, multiplayer where not all players have the same abilities or goals. The trick is that the Game Pad player will often have a different control scheme, or a different view of the playing field via the Game Pad screen, to those playing on Wii remotes.
The three competitive games, Mario Chase, Animal Crossing Sweet Day and Luigi's Ghost Mansion, are all variations on a game of tag. In Mario Chase, a team of Toads chase one Mario (who can see where the others are on the Game Pad screen); in Animal Crossing, one Game Pad player controls two characters chasing the others while they try to collect sweets. Ghost Mansion is the best of these three, with a team of Luigis hunting one ghost who's hunting them in return. They're all a brilliant laugh in company.
The co-op games have the most substantial content, which each presenting 16 or so levels of adventure to work through as well as leaderboard or multiplayer modes. Metroid Blast is a slightly fussy arena shooter where the Game Pad player flies a ship and Wii remote players use Samus' iconic power suit. Zelda: Battle Quest is an on-rails combat game with some players swinging remotes like swords while another aims a bow and arrow using the Game Pad's wonderfully sensitive motion controls. The best game of the whole package is Pikmin Adventure, which plays out like a top-down dungeon-crawling game as Captain Olimar and a team of Pikmin smash crates and enemies and level up together.
The six solo games are a varied bunch, and of pretty varied quality too. You've got traditional score-attack arcade games, like Takamaru's Ninja Castle, a shooting gallery where you flick shuriken off the Game Pad screen at Ninjas on the TV. You've got a couple of obstacle courses and a time trial racer and rhythm action game and a puzzle game.
While some of these are a lot more fun than others, one thing they have in common is that they can be quite difficult. That's true of some of the multiplayer games too, Zelda in particular. Nintendo Land may look like a fun game for all the family (and it is), but it's also a serious challenge in places, which makes the leaderboard competition in the solo games and progress through the co-op games more meaningful.
As a showcase for the Wii U, it works, but it's fair to say that it's not as immediately engaging as Wii Sports was. There are lots of different ideas going on here and the game is falling over itself to explain them all the time, which can get in the way of the fun, initially - especially when the explanations come in the creepy, droning voice of Monita, your robot guide.
But the Game Pad is always great fun to use, there are lots of neat touches - like the way the Game Pad player's face is captured by its camera and beamed to the TV screen in some games - and the Nintendo themes are charmingly executed with sweet, colourful and beautifully detailed graphics. Fans will love the Plaza, where you can collect statues of Nintendo characters and listen to classic tunes on the jukebox.
Unlike most mini-game compilations, there's genuine challenge and even a bit of depth to Nintendo Land, and it has a generous amount of content, too. It's far better when you have friends or family to play with than played solo - and it's true that maybe only half the dozen games are truly great. But Nintendo fans will get a kick out of it and if you're buying Wii U for a family home or a shared house, it's essential that you get Nintendo Land with it.
- Beautifully executed Nintendo themes with all your favourite characters.
- A great variety of games that explore all the crazy possibilities of the Wii U's Game Pad.
- Compared to most mini-game compilations, it's amazingly polished and complete.
- Some games aren't up to the general standard (we're looking at you, Octopus Dance).
- The three competitive games are essentially pretty similar.
- All the explaining can get tedious and Monita gives us the creeps.
Go on, admit it - we've all been sitting here drumming our fingers impatiently, waiting for the eighth generation of consoles to arrive. Both SONY and Microsoft have been biding their time, though, enjoying an extended run of six years for their current gen instead of the usual 3-4.
It's fallen on Nintendo then to step up and release the 'latest spangly must-have', the Wii U that features some serious horsepower, HD capabilities and most intriguing of all, the innovative Game Pad, a tablet-like controller rich with potential for intriguing new gameplay possibilities. If you're lucky enough to snare a Wii U on its launch, the killer question is - what games should you actually get for it? Here are our recommendations:
The Wii had Wii Sports; the Wii U has Nintendo Land, a collection of 12 mini-games featuring an eclectic bunch of attractions. From multiplayer ghost hunts through to a Metroid-flavoured shooter, the package offers up the perfect showcase for the Game Pad's mass of features; its touchscreen, camera, gyroscope, microphone, joysticks and buttons all coming into play at some point. Think of Nintendo Land as a crash course in what makes the Wii U, well, the Wii U. In other words, a mandatory purchase and one best played with a bunch of friends.
It's a new Nintendo console so that's means the portly plumber is back, but this time in HD. No, there's none of the 3D awesomeness of Super Mario Galaxy, but what gamers do get is a refreshed and reinvigorated 2D extravaganza featuring classic Mario action mated to truly gorgeous graphics. Best of all, if the rest of the family insist on watching B-list celebs dancing or eating a kangaroo's private parts on telly, you can keep on playing via the Game Pad's screen itself.
We reckon ZombiU is the most intriguing of all the Wii U's launch titles mainly because it's so 'unNintendo'; a hardcore survival horror FPS, there's no candy-floss game worlds or cute 'ickle ghosts. No, just the living dead that want to suck the intestines out of your body like spaghetti out of a bowl. Set in London after a plague that... well, you can guess the basic plot... you must survive, heading out on missions to amass all-important supplies while fending off zombie attacks. The Game Pad adds a colon-quaking twist, acting as a second screen featuring the contents of your onscreen character's holdall; something that you must 'rummage' through live while zombies close in all around you up on the main screen. Clever, unique and scary stuff.
Now Nintendo's brought out a console with HD graphics and some serious hardware packed inside its diminutive shell, players are able to indulge in the kind of processor-hungry triple-A action that would have left the original Wii clutching at its chest, begging for heart surgery. Head out as the Caped Crusader (with Robin and Catwoman in tow) swinging through Arkham City on the trail of iconic villains including the brilliantly-realised Penguin and the perfectly-voiced Joker. One of the decade's best releases, this version features all the extra DLC plus Game Pad-specific gameplay additions (Holy earpiece, Batman!). A-bat-solutely essential! [You're fired - Ed]
It wasn't so long ago that suggesting the family gather around the TV to play a video game together would have been greeted with grunts of confusion, if not howls of dismay. That all changed when the Wii came along, and suddenly mums and dads, grannies and grandpas all understood what the fuss was about. Today, putting on a game to pass the time before the turkey is done is just another part of the festivities, so with that in mind here's our pick of the five best party games of 2012.
If you want to be at the cutting edge of communal gaming, then Nintendo's Wii U is the must-have hardware of the season. Its touch-screen tablet controller, combined with the traditional Wii remotes (you can use the ones you already have) mean that multiplayer games can venture into areas never seen before. For the perfect illustration, pick up Nintendo Land, which offers twelve mini-games ranging from competitive action to cooperative puzzling. Luigi's Ghost Mansion, for example, has one player playing as a ghost, using the tablet controller to escape from up to four other players who are chasing them around a maze. With racing games, shooting games and rhythm music games, it's a brilliant showcase of what can be done when one player has their own screen, and it'll keep you playing together well into 2013.
Maybe you're not quite ready to take the leap into Wii U? Don't worry - there's plenty of life left in the original Wii, as Mario Party 9 proved earlier this year. Reinventing the evergreen virtual board game series, you'll travel with the other players across various zones in dinky vehicles, rolling a dice to see how far you'll go. There are multiple routes through each area, cooperative boss fights at the end, and with eighty mini-games to try no two games will ever play the same way. Of course, you can play any of the challenges separately if you want to practice, or if you just don't have time for a full game. Bright, breezy and effortlessly entertaining, it's a game that everyone can enjoy.
Perhaps your family and friends are a little more game savvy, and prefer a more focused experience? In that case, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PS Vita) should keep everyone happy. Played one-on-one, it's a thunderingly good fighting game (as you'd expect with former Street Fighter man Seth Killian in charge), but with more players it becomes a manic and hilarious romp as characters from SONY's biggest and coolest franchises run, jump and duke it out in wild interactive arenas. If you ever wondered what it would look like if Nathan Drake and Kratos had a fight with Sackboy and Parappa the Rapper, here's your chance.
All that fighting might go against the spirit of the season, so why not try a competition that's a little less in-your-face? Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita, PC) is another massive character crossover game, but this time you'll be battling in cool vehicles that shapeshift from cars to boats to planes depending on the environment. There are weapons, but it'll take more than crazed aggression to win these races around the glorious arcade-bright tracks. No matter who's playing, there'll be a character you'll love - whether it's Sonic himself, Shinobi's ninja hero Joe Musashi or movie star Wreck-It Ralph.
Finally, dancing games are still the default party game and with good reason. From sprightly kids to game-for-a-laugh grannies, everyone can have a laugh with Just Dance 4 (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3). There's a dance battle mode for those who want to prove their moves, a deep "Dance Quest" system for those who want a solid gameplay structure, and a track list that offers something for all tastes. The kids can get down to Justin Bieber, Jessie J and Carly Rae Jepsen, while mums can wiggle their posteriors to timeless hits from Rocky Horror Picture Show and Dirty Dancing, as well as pop classics from Rick Astley and Britney Spears. There's even pomp-rock classic The Final Countdown, which might tempt brandy-sozzled dads off the sofa for a quick shimmy.
Whichever game you choose, you're guaranteed a great time and great memories. Just remember to share the embarrassing pics on Facebook, OK?
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