Coming soon to Wii U: Zelda, Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong, F-Zero and more! Just not in the format you would've hoped for before the conference...
Nintendo Land is the theme park of your dreams -- if your dreams were sugary sweet and fuelled by pure Nintendo nostalgia. 12 mini-games with throwbacks to various Big N franchises are available providing demonstrations of everything the Wii U GamePad can do for you and your fellow players.
It's clearly designed to be the local multiplayer system-seller that Wii Sports and Wii Play were for the preceding platform six years ago, but whether it comes bundled with the system or an additional GamePad controller is unknown at the moment. My view? They'd be foolish not to choose at least one of those options.
So, what are the games? Well, we know of five and I'll go into those a little later. As for the other seven? Well, these teaser logos should give us some idea:
Cryptic, but the confirmed games are Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest (1), Luigi's Ghost Mansion (5) Animal Crossing Sweet Days (6), Donkey Kong Crash Course (9), and Takamaru's Ninja Castle (10), the last one being an obscure Japan-only Famicom title. To me, the other logos tease Pikmin (2), Metroid )3), Mario (4), Yoshi (7), Game and Watch (8), F-Zero (11) and Balloon Fighter (12).LoZ: Battle Quest
Supporting up to four players (one archer on the GamePad, three swordsmen with the Remotes), this mini-game reminds me of the Showdown swordplay game in Wii Sports Resort. Your heroes, seemingly freshly cut from cloth, navigate a 3D maze, picking off enemies with their chosen weapon. More footage: Kotaku.comLuigi's Ghost Mansion
It's Pacman Vs! And we all remember how well that was received
. One of the first ever teasers of handheld/console functionality shown in 2003 was Pacman Vs. One player plays Pacman with the GameBoy Advance, up to three others played ghosts with the GameCube controllers. In Luigi's Ghost Mansion, the roles are reversed. The single player with the GamePad is the ghost, the Remote players are hunters with flashlights. The ghost must pick off the players, the players must shine their flashlights on the ghost enough to whittle his HP down to nothing. More footage: GameXplainAnimal Crossing Sweet Days
Supporting up to five players, the GamePad player controls two "candy orchard" guards while four Remote players attempt to stuff their little faces with said candy. The more candy you eat, the harder it is to escape the guards. The game ends when 50 candy pieces are consumed or the guards catch any one animal three times. More footage: GameXplainDonkey Kong Crash Course
Okay, this one feels like a bit of a stretch for tying in the franchise to the tech demo to me, but there's a good action/puzzle concept behind it so I can forgive it. Tilting the GamePad and using a variety of the available buttons, you must navigate a barrel cart through a wildly twisting, contoured maze. Oh, and you collect bananas. It's a single-player game, but with the gameplay being available on the TV screen as well, family members can scream advice at you. Such fun! More footage: NintendeominationTakamaru's Ninja Castle
And finally, the single-player obscure Famicom throwback. Use the touchscreen and the motion controls to flick throwing stars at ninjas on-screen. Not screaming system-seller, but it's one of 12 games and they can't all be winners. More footage: Gamerlive
I think Nintendo Land was really unlucky to be chosen as the closing segment of Nintendo's conference. It's not a terrible concept and it has that right mix of technical teasers and Nintendo charm. If Nintendo had confirmed that these franchises were also coming in fully-fledged form then I think it would've been better remembered.
So, those are the confirmed games and the likely franchises involved. What mini-game appeals to you most? Do you see Nintendo Land as a perfect pack-in game for the system? What do you want from the other franchises' appearances? Or do you just want mini-game compilations to die in a fire?