Let's catch up on what we know about Nintendo Land's 12 attractions before this Thursday's press event.
As of today, we know about eight of the 12 attractions that Nintendo Land will feature when it comes out at the launch of Wii U. So, in preparation for Thursday's Wii U launch extravaganza, let's take a closer look at Nintendo's theme park game.
First off, we know the game will take place in a hub world, where players can run around and interact with their theme park. You can spend coins on bits of Nintendo memorabilia that will fill up your park, and you can also ride trains to different attractions. Oddly enough, this is the first game where you have full-on control of a Mii.
Of the 12 attractions, Producer Katsuya Eguchi commented that half of them are being developed for single-player, and the other half for multiplayer. By our count, of the eight revealed, four of them seems focused on multiplayer, three seem focused on single-player, and one we have no idea about. That means, of the four yet-to-be-announced, they might be more likely single-player experiences.
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day
Beginning life as the Chase Mii demo at E3 2011, Animal Crossing's Nintendo Land debut is one of the Pac-Man Vs.-inspired games. The GamePad wielder uses the controller's two analog sticks to control two utensil-bearing guards who have to track down the other players and catch them three times. It's packed with strategy, because you control the two characters simultaneously, one with each analog stick. Also, the farther apart the characters are, the more of the map you can see on the GamePad.
The other players, of which there can be up to four, have to collect 50 pieces of candy before the guards catch them three times. However, the more candy your character has, the slower he moves, meaning that you might have to dump candy to outrun the guards. It is a nice, easy way to ratchet up the stakes for the game, offering up a great risk/reward scenario for both the Wii Remote users and the GamePad user.
Luigi's Ghost Mansion
Luigi's Ghost Mansion is the other Pac-Man Vs.-esque game (that we know of) in the compilation. The GamePad-wielding player controls a ghost that can only be seen by other players during occasional flashes of lightning, and from the vibration of their Wii Remote. The ghost has to slyly move around and capture each player, while avoiding the other player's flashlight beams.
The other players control regular old Miis with flashlights. Each flashlight has a battery though, so you can't just keep it on at all times. The Wii Remote vibrates whenever the ghost is near you, warning you if he's about to jump you from behind. If you get caught, you need to wait for a teammate to use their flashlight to revive you. There are a few power-ups that show up periodically, including flashlight batteries and a more powerful beam of light.
Like the Animal Crossing game, Luigi's Ghost Mansion does a fantastic job of giving each side a sense of risk/reward while they compete.
Takamaru's Ninja Castle
The demo for this game makes it the easiest to describe. Holding the GamePad sideways, you point it at the TV and flick the touch screen to throw shurikens at ninjas on screen. Depending on the time and speed you flick the screen, the throwing stars will follow different trajectories. The presented demo seemed level-based, offering varied enemy types and locales.
Most people will likely be baffled as to what the hell Takamaru's Ninja Castle is based on. Just so you know, it comes from a Japan-only Famicom game roughly translated to The Mysterious Murasame Castle. It was featured in the E3 2010 3DS Classic Games demo reel, and the star of the game, Takamaru, even worked his way into a cameo role in Samurai Warriors 3.
Donkey Kong's Crash Course
Presented in single-player format, the Donkey Kong-inspired game puts you in control of a cart that is moved by tilting the GamePad and using its buttons to activate levers and pulleys. The GamePad's screen shows a zoomed-in view of the action, while the TV shows a large portion of the level. It's devilishly hard, but the art style and appealing aesthetic make it fun to come back to.
This is a game that could benefit from Miiverse integration, as high scores seem to be a driving factor into encouraging replays of stages.
The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest
The action-based game calls to mind The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and the Swordplay section of Wii Sports Resort. The GamePad user plays the role of the archer, firing arrows at incoming enemies. That player assists the other players, who use Wii Remotes to control sword-wielding heroes. Using Wii MotionPlus, the sword controls much like Skyward Sword, including a Skyward Strike attack.
As far as we can tell, there are many levels included with a variety of Zelda-themed bosses.
Untitled F-Zero Attraction
The F-Zero game was briefly teased during Nintendo's E3 2012 Developer Roundtable, when Nintendo Land Producer Katsuya Eguchi showed off a brief video showing a wind-up F-Zero vehicle zooming around with a Mii at the helm. The only action that shown was of the TV, so there is no word on how the GamePad will be used in this game.
Unveiled by Game Informer last week, Metroid Blast is based off of the E3 2011 demo called Battle Mii. The GamePad player controls Samus' ship, likely in a similar way to how it was controlled in the Battle Mii demo, which involved tilting the GamePad to control it. That player's objective is to destroy the other players, who are all wearing Miis wearing Samus' armor.
Those players, of which there can be up to four, use Wii Remote Pluses and Nunchuks to try to shoot down the ship. There are a variety of maps based off of Metroid locations, including one that looks a lot like Norfair. There is also a mechanical Kraid lingering in the environment.
There are also two other modes we know of in addition to the deathmatch. One includes shooting tokens, and the other is a co-op mode that seems to have a lot in common with the popular horde multiplayer modes in other games, as players team up to defeat legions of enemies.
Balloon Trip Breeze
Also revealed by Game Informer last week, Balloon Trip Breeze is a game that is very much like its source material. Players float through side-scrolling levels and use the GamePad (and the stylus, if they wish) to draw wind to control the character. The GamePad shows a zoomed-in view of the player character, while the TV shows a bigger area of the level. This looks to be the sequel to Balloon Kid in some ways, as you complete levels, have lives, and have to avoid a wide variety of obstacles.
This could really go in several different directions. It might show off how a platformer could be really cool on the Wii U, but with New Super Mario Bros. U, that seems unlikely. It might be one of the last multiplayer-focused titles, as Chase Mii, which many thought evolved into Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, did have a Mario aesthetic at E3 2011. I'd hope/imagine that there would be some tweak to the formula that would make the game stand out among the other two Pac-Man Vs.-styled games.
Who knows? Maybe this will just be Pikmin 3.
But seriously, the Pikmin attraction could be some sort of Lemmings-with-Miis sort of game. It could highlight cool ways that the GamePad could bolster real-time strategy games.
This seems like a perfect spot to put in a new version of Yoshi Touch & Go. The GamePad could make that game a great high score-chasing game. If Miiverse provides the level of interaction it promises, a game in that style could be very addicting.
Game & Watch
The Game & Watch icon shows off the octopus from aptly titled Octopus Game & Watch game. Looking back at that, I feel this game makes itself. The Wii Remote players could play scuba divers trying to steal treasure, and the GamePad player controls the menacing octopus who tries to stop them. It's clear that the TV view would be like the original game, but I'm at a loss for what the GamePad player would see. Unless maybe it is swapped, and the GamePad player controls the scuba diver, while the other players use Wii Remotes to control individual tentacles of the octopus.