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Nintendo Land: All the big names in really small games

Hands-on: Nintendo busts out its big franchises for a Wii U tech demo

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Donkey Kong's Crash Course


This was the only 2D game showcased, and the most challenging. A single-player experience, you control a little car that you must navigate through a 2D obstacle course contracted with the familiar red girders of the classic Donkey Kong games.

You tilt the controller left and right to move, which is simple enough until you get to user-operated shifting platforms. These are silver girders, blockages and platforms that move in response to player input - pressing the L or R triggers or rotating the left analogue stick.

It starts off simple. A few walls block your path until you press a trigger button to rotate all the interactive girders in the level, dropping the blockade and opening up your path.

But your brain soon starts to struggle with multi-tasking multiple mechanics as more complex obstacles for you to twist, tilt and rotate in unison. Definitely one for the hardcore.

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day


One Wii U tablet player uses the all-seeing tablet screen to chase four Wii Remote players who are playing on the telly. Are you having Déjà vu yet?

So Nintendo has already made this point in Luigi's Ghost Mansion (and Chase Mii last year), but this Animal Crossing mini game has one difference - the players are rushing to amass a collection of 50 pieces of fruit.

As players collect fruit their character's running speed slows making it harder to escape the stalker. To help with frantic escapes, players can drop fruit, which they do frantically as they realise they're about to be caught.

The stalker wins if he catches all four runners, and the runners win when they collectively collect 50 bits of fruit.

Hearing Animal crossing music coming out of the Wii U was a treat, but of the cat-and-mouse games, we preferred Luigi's Ghost Mansion.

Takamaru's Ninja Castle


Based on a Japan-only Famicom Disk System title, Nazo no Murasame-jō, this game was by far the simplest game, and an experience ripped straight out of Nintendo's original Wii U concept trailer. You hold the Wii U controller flat in one hand, and swipe your finder over the touch screen with the other hand to flick ninja stars forwards onto the screen.

Cardboard ninjas dodge in and out of your first-person view, waiting to get a ninja star in the face. Take too long and they hit you with a projectile, depleting your health.

It's an interesting concept that could be incorporated into a bigger game (look for ninja stars in the next Zelda), but was otherwise a relatively shallow lightgun-style shooter.


We've seen the complaints on the forums. A mini game collection was not what people wanted to hear from Nintendo's press conference. It may also demonstrate some of what the Wii U controller can do, but it doesn't demonstrate a Nintendo with any real ambition - this is not the game that will make a splash in the next-generation era.

But, on the positive side, Nintendo Land isn't as bad as disappointed Metroid fans may be making out. Yes, it's another mini game compilation, but it tugs on the fanboy strings with each game being based on franchises (rather than the faceless, sterile world of Wii Sports), and games like Luigi's Ghost Mansion and Donkey Kong's Crash Course were a good laugh.

Hopefully, with all 12 in the final offering, that appeal will last beyond the first hour.

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