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Nintendo Land preview Hands-on with Wii Us 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.