Nintendo did not unveil a new Zelda, Animal Crossing, or Donkey Kong at this year’s E3 press conference, but all those franchises are making an appearance within the company’s just announced title for the WIi U, Nintendo Land. Described as a social hub set in an amusement park with 12 different “attractions,” Nintendo Land presents players with the ability to play their Miis within established universes through an eclectic collection of mini-games.
Of the twelve advertised, only five have been revealed through Nintendo’s E3 event and press release. These include a few familiar faces from the Nintendo world. Up to five players – in some combination of two potential Wii U controllers, Wii Remotes, or GamePads – can participate in each game.
Rather than bore you with my summations, here’s the list with full descriptions straight from Nintendo:
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course: Using the GamePad’s motion control, players tilt the controller to guide a fragile rolling cart through an obstacle course that resembles the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This single-player game lets other spectators watch the action on the TV and offer advice about how to pass the next obstacle.
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion: The player with the GamePad is a ghost (invisible to others) who is trying to capture up to four humans armed with flashlights. The ghost must sneak around the environment by staying in the shadows and try to catch them one by one. The humans can work together to revive fallen comrades before the ghost catches everyone. If all four humans are caught before they are revived, the ghost wins. But if they are successful at shining their flashlights on the ghost long enough to reduce its hit points to zero, the humans win.
Animal Crossing™: Sweet Day: The player holding the Wii U GamePad controls two guards who are in charge of safeguarding a candy orchard from a group of candy-loving animals. Up to four other players, using the Wii Remote controllers to control these animals, must work together to outwit – and outrun – the guards. The game ends when a combined total of 50 pieces of candy are collected, or when the guards catch any one of the animals three times.
The Legend of Zelda™: Battle Quest: The player with the GamePad is an archer who can aim and shoot arrows using the screen as a view finder. That player is joined by up to three others who wield Wii Remote Plus controllers like swords. Players work together to take on a variety of enemies in a world that looks like a cloth version of a game from The Legend of Zelda series.
Takamaru’s Ninja Castle: Based on an early Famicom game available only in Japan, this single-player game turns the GamePad into a launcher for ninja stars. Players swipe the controller’s touch screen to take out an ever-growing army of ninja attackers, earning more points for consecutive hits. Moving the GamePad around at different angles enables the player to take aim in an intuitive fashion.
Luigi’s Mansion was the only game shown in action during the press event. It’s a shame too, because the idea of asymmetrical gameplay is an extremely interesting avenue. I don’t think I’m alone in saying we didn’t see enough of what Nintendo Land was capable of at the press conference. But, the playable demos on the show floor should answer all our questions. Stay tuned.