The lights are on
After an unbelievable last 7 years, the life of the Wii has come and gone, with the Wii U taking its place. With so much already out about the Wii U's software, hardware, specs, and everything else, nothing compares to finally sitting down and playing Nintendo's very first game on it. Nintendo Land certainly does not fail to introduce what will surely be another great console to suck up our cash for the next 6-7 years and provides a great family and single-player experience.
As players are introduced to the wild and wacky amusement park hub of Nintendo Land, they are introduced to a dozen different mini-games, 6 single-player and 6 multi-player, all cleverly themed after the major Nintendo series of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Luigi's Mansion, and Pikmin. These themes are simply excellent and only enhance an already great handling experience. Among these, "Mario Chase" is easily the first to addict players in its tag/hide-and-seek maze style mini-game of players merely running about and frantically trying to tag or avoid being tagged. Like the rest of the mini-games, it has 3 different levels, all exceeding each other in difficulty as you unlock them and a wonderfully colorful Mushroom Kingdom setting, complete with Mushrooms, Warp Pipes (unusable, sadly) and coin blocks. While on paper this could only seem mundane, the intensity and excitement of the chase quickly sets it apart as the most fun you'll have on the system. Other notable games are the Luigi's Mansion levels and Metroid, both of which involve pitting 2-3 players against one designated tagger and utilize their series themes to the fullest. Whether playing or scaring off ghosts in the dark in Luigi's Mansion to Metroid's all-out shooting and rolling, they also capitalize on nearly equal entertainment.
As with every mini-game, the Wii U gamepad is integrated perfectly into the gameplay. The head player, usually serving as the pursuer of his/her competitors, gets to fully experience the subtle advantages of the gamepad's own touch-screen to often wield great advantages, such as being invisible to everywhere except the gamepad's screen. This almost maniacal sense of power, while giving an immense advantage in the Luigi's Mansion mini-game, proves surprisingly equal to the other players control-scheme other times, with his/her competitors retaining their rumble feature to tell the presence of their surrounding enemies. In addition, the touch-screen controls work for a very smooth menu-system and has a relatively good range. Just don't expect it to necessarily reach to the bathroom (not that I tried. . . ).
In every part of the game, the Wii U's noticeably HD graphics have great opportunity to shine, making every bit of the shiny, almost blindingly colorful textures show. Characters animations are pretty superb and the nice look to the Metroid levels can hopefully hint at an excellent Metroid game sometime in the future. The game's frame rate has no problems whatsoever and gamers will most likely have no pesky whirring and rumbling from the new system. The Wii U is practically covered in extra fans, so gamers will also not have to worry themselves with PS3 style overheating mid-game.
The Wii U already proves to be an impressive console and Nintendo Land, no matter how unfortunately short, is a very satisfying introduction to its great controls and the sheer graphic power that the system can push. I deeply wish that Nintendo-Land went farther with its great ideas into more of a full game, but what is there is virtually flawless. It's a huge step-up from the far lower quality of the now ages-old Wii Sports so many eons ago and Nintendo has teased us with a great future ahead for the system.