Nintendo Land preview – Hands-on with Wii U’s franchise hopeful

Takamaru’s Ninja Castle

If this one looks a little familiar, it’s because it got its start as one of the many Wii U demos Nintendo showed off last year. Takamaru was easily the shallowest of what we saw today, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. A ninja-themed shooting gallery, Takamaru takes the same concepts behind Nintendo’s arcade classic Hogan’s Alley and brings it the present via feudal Japan.

Played with the Gamepad pointed at the screen and held sideways, you move your fingers across the touch pad to fling ninja stars at approaching cartoonish ninjas. The faster you move your hand, the more speed and intensity the shurikens have. Even with Nintendo implying hidden depth to these attractions, we’re curious just how Takamaru will add any, as it seems painfully straightforward. We’ll wait and see if the final version can sell us on more than five minutes of this concept.

Luigi’s Ghost Mansion


Yep, it’s like Pac-Man Vs., the 2003 GameCube-to-Game Boy Advance crossover title. There are some riffs on the formula, like a revive feature. But essentially, it’s a simple approach: if you’re toting the Wii U controller, you’ve got a full view of everyone onscreen. As the ghost in play, you can hunt down all of the would-be-Luigis and eliminate them from competition, one by one. As a Wii remote-toting ghostbuster, you’re hunting the ghost, and as the games grow longer, hunting for batteries and trying your best to revive downed teammates.

In action, it’s really fun. In our demo, we juggled between keeping our teammates alive and hunting.  There’s a cost-benefit balance to reviving your teammates, since a ghost can sneak up and take you out while you’re trying to resurrect them. We expect a level of heated passion between you and your friends on this one.


Ultimately this current set of demos plays better than they  showed during the close of Nintendo’s press conference, but we still aren’t sold the same way we were after first seeing Wii Sports. We will say that there are at least seven more minigames to experience, plus we think there’s a lot of potential in how the hub world works and in how the game interacts with MiiVerse. It looks like a novel party game built around Nintendo nostalgia. Still, if this game isn’t a pack-in, we currently have our doubts if it’ll be worth a full retail price.


E3 Nintendo


  • Dadyo238 - June 6, 2012 8:32 p.m.

    I'm most interested in the Luigi's Mansion one, although the Animal Crossing and Zelda minigames look pretty cool. It won't be what sells me on Wii U, but judging games like Pikmin 3 and ZombiU, it won't have to.
  • RonnyLive19881 - June 6, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    I can't wait for the wonderful day I stay up for the midnight release for the Wii U with some friends finally get the console get home and start up Nintendo land, 5 players! I wonder if the final game will be compatible with two pads? AHHH I can't wait! It looks like a more vibrant Mario Sunshine! From what I have read of the Zelda games they will probably be my favorite! I'm going to cast a vote to see which land we go to first!
  • BladedFalcon - June 6, 2012 7:19 a.m.

    Sorry, but even reading about it, I'm not sold on this "game" at all. Sure, it's well presented and it looks pretty. But I honestly can't see myself feeling invested in playing any of the games mentioned for more than 15 minutes. And frankly, "new" as it might feel, the things you can do with the controller still feel more gimmicky than truly necessary to enjoy gaming. No doubt it could prove to be fun as a family game or a party game, I suppose. But this is far from the big deal Nintendo wanted to make it out to be.
  • XD00175 - June 6, 2012 6:26 a.m.

    Looks nice. The Animal Crossing one reminds me of the multiplayer in Phantom Hourglass, which is good. The Zelda game looks awesome, and the ninja one might bot be too bad to kill some time with. All in all, Nintendo's looking good. Now if only they'd announce the new Fire Emblem for North America...
  • Cyberninja - June 6, 2012 4:37 a.m.

    Honestly if its a pack in I will be really happy seeing as I have tons of wii controllers to use the game at full potential if it isn't, the game can wait until I get everything else.
  • shawksta - June 6, 2012 1:28 a.m.

    The graphics really stand out, thats for sure. Donkey kong's minigame looks like Goodfeel came in and gave it the Kirby's Epic Yarn treatment. Yeah, we'll see what the other games have to offer and to see if its worth the experience as Wii Sports.

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