When I bought the Wii U on its launch day, I made it a point to get the deluxe model that included Nintendo Land. And it’s a good thing too because Nintendo Land is a game that I would never buy by itself. If I had gone with the basic model, I would have missed out on what is a pretty solid collection of Nintendo mini-games.
I’ve really only bothered with the single player games, though I have played the multiplayer ones too. It’s not as good as Wii Sports was for the Wii, but all things considered Nintendo Land is a good showcase of the kind of gameplay possible on the Wii U with its GamePad controller.
The solo games are Yoshi’s Fruit Cart (a simple, yet fun, path drawing game), Takamaru’s Ninja Castle (throwing ninja stars), Octopus Dance (a rhythm game), Captain Falcon’s Twister Race (racing), Donkey Kong’s Crash Course (puzzle platform obstacle course), and Balloon Trip Breeze (a pretty cool platformer). There are single player/co-op versions of The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest and Metroid Blast, and both of these are quite fun. There’s a multiplayer Pikmin game too for you Pikmin fans.
Then there’s multiplayer only games Mario Chase, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, and Animal Crossing: Sweet Day. Each multiplayer game requires Wiimotes, with up to four people using the Wiimotes and one person getting a unique experience using the GamePad. I particularly enjoy Mario Chase and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. Both are very fun regardless of how you’re playing, but I do enjoy using the GamePad more than I do playing with the Wiimotes. There is no online multiplayer though, it’s all local. The only online connectivity the game has is through the Miiverse social feature.
As far as the single player games are concerned, my favorite is easily Donkey Kong’s Crash Course. I put a decent amount of time into that as it’s quite challenging and highly addictive. After that, I like Balloon Trip Breeze a lot as it actually feels like it could be a real standalone digital title (with a little more work). My least favorite is Captain Falcon’s Twister Race, and well that’s just because that one is no fun. I never would have thought the silly Octopus Dance game would have been more fun than Captain Falcon’s Twister Race, but it is and by quite a bit at that. The dancing game has a feature that utilizes the GamePad’s camera to show your face on a little flying machine and warps it to make it look like your shaking your head to the music, which is pretty cool.
If you don’t have a Wii U yet or didn’t get the Deluxe version, I really can’t say that Nintendo Land is worth spending almost $50 on. It’s a good pack-in, but I just can’t see it being worth that kind of money. It’s fun, no question, but it isn’t that fun. If you have small kids, you might get more enjoyment out of the game through the multiplayer games than I have. For someone who was going to buy the Deluxe anyway (the black matches my entertainment center; the white would have stuck out like a sore thumb), it’s a nice extra to have. It’s just not worth buying by itself though.
Nintendo Land gets a two out of five: DECENT.