December 12, 2012 by solomonlutze
Every theme park has the top rides to hit. Lucky for most park goers, word has already spread about the Space Mountains and the Goliaths. GamerCheese’s recent Nintendo Land review makes the case for the game as a whole, but the individual minigames are so well-crafted that we have to point you in the right direction here. Let’s take a look at our favorite 5 Nintendo Land minigames, and what makes them so appealing:
This is one of several “chase” games in Nintendo Land. The player controlling the GamePad has to catch the other players while they attempt to collect candy scattered around the map. The GamePad player’s main handicap is controlling two characters at the same time; the left analog stick moves one character and the right stick moves the second. As the GamePad controller, learning how to manage both characters is an incredibly fun challenge. As a candy runner, there’s almost nothing funnier than when the player chasing you is inches away and loses all motor function as they run into a wall. The game is charming, and stays challenging even for skilled gamers. Sweet Day is easily one of the stronger multiplayer games the park has to offer.
Despite preferring the Metroid and Zelda franchises to Pikmin, I found Pikmin Adventure to be my favorite of the three “Team” games. The character with the GamePad controls Olimar and a gaggle of Pikmin, and any additional players play as a single Pikmin. You’ll fight mechanical versions of the monsters from the Pikmin games, and collect nectar to level up, becoming stronger and faster along the way. Olimar has some strategic choices, since he can call all the Pikmin — including other players — directly to him to throw at a particularly large enemy (though players can ignore the call by shaking their Wii Remote). This is one of many games in Nintendo Land that keep things interesting for new players and veterans alike; more skilled gamers enjoy the strategy of controlling Olimar, while newer players can appreciate the simplicity of beating up monsters and grabbing nectar. A friend of mine, who almost never plays video games and isn’t familiar with the idea of leveling up, quickly found herself pushing the rest of us out of the way so she could grab a cache of nectar. Pikmin Adventure receives a bunch of bonus points for helping non-gamers appreciate game-specific concepts like experience and leveling, and a few extra points for being cute, lively, and fast-paced.
The other games on this list are all multiplayer because that’s where Nintendo Land is at its strongest. Takamaru’s Ninja Castle stands out as the best single-player attraction. It plays out a little like those old light gun arcade games. Throw a shuriken at ninjas that pop out from behind scenery and knock projectiles out of the air to stop them from hitting you. A few other abilities surface along the way to mix things up: like the ability to throw clay bombs and even slow time. The best thing about this game is the lush artwork. Everything has an origami style about it, and the ninjas explode in a shower of confetti when you hit them. It’s a very satisfying play, and it’s one of the prettiest games to spectate, which means if you decide to sit one out and let someone else have a solo round, this is almost certainly the most fun to watch. Ninja Castle is definitely one of the best Nintendo Land attractions.
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is a really simple implementation of the GamePad, but still one of my favorites. Up to four players play as ghost hunters, with the GamePad user as a ghost. The ghost hunters see a top-down layout of a mansion on the TV; the ghost sees the same thing on the GamePad, but can see their own position as well. The ghost has to grab the players to make them faint, and the players have to shine their lights on the ghost to drain its health. Players can revive each other, but a player trying to restore an ally is a prime target for the ghost. It’s very tense for the hunters, and a very cool use of asymmetrical information. It’s great how simple it is to pick up, but it gives a great sense of the kinds of multiplayer experiences the GamePad makes possible. Wii U-sers will hopefully see this concept in other games soon.
Mario Chase is hide-and-seek, pure and simple. One player is Mario, and the others are Toad clones who chase and catch Mario. If they don’t catch him before the timer runs out, Mario wins. The player controlling Mario has the GamePad, and gets a map showing the location of each player and the direction they’re facing. Seekers are running around shouting out where they think Mario is, and Mario has to try to stay out of sight by making strategic moves to escape his pursuers. The games are a couple of minutes each (varies with number of players), and at the end you get a replay showing the top-down map that Mario gets to see throughout, showing the narrow escapes and close calls on all sides that make the game so much fun. The great thing about this game is that it’s almost as fun to lose as it is to win, and with enough players to keep a constant conversation going, it almost never gets old. This is the game we always want to play first, and last, whenever we turn on the console. Once again, Mario takes the spotlight.