News Article

Reaction: On First Glance, Nintendo Land is No Wii Sports

Posted by Mike Mason

System seller?

Nintendo made claims that it had a Wii U title that matches Wii Sports in appeal; a title that sells their new console, both conceptually and literally, just as well as the motion sports game did for Wii. At E3 it presented the proposed title: Nintendo Land, a virtual theme park which incorporates Miis, Miiverse and mini games featuring several Nintendo franchises in deformed chibi form.

It seems like an appealing, friendly title that is probably a good deal of fun. Split between single and multiplayer distractions, it attempts to put across Wii U's ethos that it is a system for everybody and also shows off the potential of asynchronous multiplayer. Each game uses either the Wii U GamePad alone or a mixture of the GamePad and Wii Remotes.

Luigi's Ghost Mansion bears resemblance to Pac-Man VS., pitting one player as ghost and others as torch-wielding ghost hunters. Animal Crossing: Sweet Day follows the path started by Wii U E3 2011 concept Chase Mii as several players try to sneak around the ever-vigilant Booker and Copper, controlled with the GamePad, to steal fruit.

Elsewhere The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest hands the holder of Wii GamePad an arrow and three Wii Remote users MotionPlus-controlled swords, throwing them together to take down enemies in a cloth-like world. Donkey Kong's Crash Course is a single player throwback to DK's original headlining role in which Wii U GamePad's gyroscopes guide a fragile cart through an obstacle course. A further single player game, Takamaru's Ninja Castle, uses the GamePad to flick shurikens at enemies.

Seven more games are yet to be revealed, but on first glance at the ones revealed it's tough to see how Nintendo Land could hope to achieve the same effect as Wii Sports. While it might communicate the point of Wii U to some degree, it doesn't hold the same instant appeal as motion controlled bowling, tennis or boxing in your living room. It so far comes across more like a new attempt at Wii Play: an eclectic collection of games that, somewhat enjoyable as it was, was not necessarily a system seller.

Part of the problem was displayed obviously in the press conference. It took Katsuya Eguchi a solid few minutes to explain Luigi's Ghost Mansion, a game that is supposed to be as easy to pick up as any of the Wii Sports, a game that is part of a package intended to explain Wii U. It looks decent, but it's not streamlined enough to be what Nintendo intends. Wii Sports worked not only because it was a game that immediately showed what Wii was all about; it was also because it required no explanation. Pick up Wii Remote, take a swing, understand instantly. The necessary immediacy is not present in what we have seen of Nintendo Land so far.

Then there's the split between single and multiplayer games. It's something for everybody, the single player games presumably aimed towards the 'core' gamer and the multiplayer games shooting to capture that Wii Sports demographic. But this structure in itself could end up being confusing – some games use one control method, others a completely different one. Surely the effect would be better to keep a single control scheme and concept mapped across each, perhaps even releasing two entirely separate compilations? Keeping Nintendo Land all in one will provide value for money for sure, but splitting the focus between two ideas and set ups could cost it and prevent it from achieving its intended goal.

Finally, whereas Wii Sports felt open to all thanks to the one-two punch of an enticing fresh controller and being able to slot yourself in the game through a Mii, there is the possibility that Nintendo Land's extensive use of existing Nintendo IPs could dent its appeal to the new gamer. Would newcomers prefer to play with cartoonish versions of themselves or with Samus and company? We'll see.

On the other hand, the last few years have taught us never to underestimate Nintendo, never to misjudge the general public. Perhaps this variety is just what people need to keep them interesting nowadays. There is a chance that the rich worlds of Nintendo franchises, reformed into something more stylised and light, could have the opposite effect. Maybe new players will embrace them and Nintendo Land ends up being the greatest bridge game of them all, opening the doors of several Nintendo franchises to a whole new audience of players that would previously have never looked at them twice. We've not seen enough yet to convince us that this is a Wii Sports equivalent, but our ears remain open.

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User Comments (57)

grumblebuzzz

#2

grumblebuzzz said:

Yeah, this is definitely no Wii Sports. I hope this comes packaged with the system. Not all that impressed.

SMW

#4

SMW said:

Very nice article. I too feel that this is more like Wii Play, but looking a lot better.

rjejr

#6

rjejr said:

"It so far comes across more like a new attempt at Wii Play: an eclectic collection of games that, somewhat enjoyable as it was, was not necessarily a system seller."

Exactly. "WiiU Play Nintendo".

Also, whereas the Wiimote was really revolutionary for a home console, this looks like it could be done on an iPad. Or the 3DS. Or Vita and PS3. Plus Wii Sports was kind of cool w/ the Miis. But since then we've had Disney Universe and Free Realms and PS Home Midway 1, 2 and 3 and Carnival Island. I just don't see how ANY of this is new or revolutionary. Not that everything has to be new or revolutionary, but if you are spending half of your E3 presentation on it, then it should be a system seller. And this isn't. I've bought Wii Play and Wii Play Motion and Wii Party and Wii Sports Resort and will probably buy this someday, but just b/c it may be good doesn't make it anything special.

ShadJV

#7

ShadJV said:

No, this isn't Wii Sports... which is good. The Wii Sports audience moved on. They're not going to pay for ANOTHER game system, they're happy with their free (or cheap) phone apps. I think Nintendo Land is meant to recapture the charm Nintendo originally was known for. It's showing Miis can mingle with Nintendo's IPs while maintaining the interest of the core audience. As a stand alone game, I doubt this would do well, which is why I'm hoping it's a pack-in, like Wii Sports was. This has something for everyone, allowing the players to get a taste of the Wii U before they try the real games. This isn't Wii Sports because it's not aimed at that audience.

Like I said, I hope it's a pack-in. I want to play this, but I'm not all that interested in paying money for it.

warioswoods

#8

warioswoods said:

I think it makes sense as a logical progression. Wii Sports introduced the Miis and was of course very successful, but over time the "Wii" line of family / multiplayer games has sold less and less as the established franchises (NSMB, etc) have sold more. Look at Wii Party--an attempt to shift the Mario Party games into a Mii theme without any remaining Mario elements--and notice that they've reverted it to Mario again with the 9th entry, because that's more popular on the box.

NintendoLand seems like a reasonable middle point. They are still using Miis, but now your Miis will be dressing up as the popular Nintendo characters and engaging in various themed activities from the familiar franchises. It allows them to unify the Mii branding with the popularity of Mario / Zelda / etc.

And it looks far more polished, content-filled, and original than Wii Play. I like Wii Play, but this game looks to be on another level.

SonyFACE

#9

SonyFACE said:

Even if this turns out well, I will never forgive this game for taking TWENTY FREAKING MINUTES of the already-horrible conference.

TrueWiiMaster

#12

TrueWiiMaster said:

I'm definitely interested in Nintendo Land. It looks pretty fun and I love the Nintendo themes. That said, I think they need to bundle this AND a Wii U Sports with the system at launch. That would give just about everyone plenty to do with the system at launch, whether or not they can afford to buy additional games.

MaikoRULES

#13

MaikoRULES said:

what is the online functionality? i could have sworn I heard that there was some but no one seems to mention it

DestinyMan

#15

DestinyMan said:

Nintendo Land looks cute and fun and I will get it. I also hope that it comes bundled with the Wii U. This game is appealing to fans just as much it is to new folks, so we'll see how well it bridges the gap.

GreenDream

#18

GreenDream said:

This article sums up my thoughts nicely. For the NintendoLife team attending E3, I would be interested in learning the tactile sensation of these games, moreso than the visual or aural aspects.

C-Olimar

#19

C-Olimar said:

This is a Wii Play/Mario Party -esque title, Wii U Sports could still be confirmed.

Fuzzy

#20

Fuzzy said:

Had so much fun with Tennis on Wii Sports and Tanks on Wii Play, so this has a lot to live up to. Looks promising though.

Yellowtails

#21

Yellowtails said:

I was not expecting this, but I hope this game will be interesting enough to last a while.

JohnPhilipSousa

#22

JohnPhilipSousa said:

I love the idea. I'm under the impression it'll use Miiverse in a way similar to an MMO, but if not, it still sounds awesome. Don't get me wrong, I'm a hardcore gamer, but I know a good game when I see it, whether it's hardcore or casual.

Burning_Spear

#23

Burning_Spear said:

Zero interest. If I want to play hide-and-seek, I can grab four kids from the neighborhood ... though I'd properly get arrested.

Scary_Old_Lady

#24

Scary_Old_Lady said:

Iwata Asks says this is what Wii Sports to Wii is to Wii U.
Maybe, (hopefully) it comes with the system either virtually or discy, or free off of the eShop for some time.

C-Olimar

#25

C-Olimar said:

Thinking about it, this really isn't going to get non-gaming adults and pensioners to buy a Wii U, like Sports did for Wii. Maybe Wii Fit U, as well as media such as On Demand TV, ebooks and films could bring some of that crowd over?

shake_zula

#26

shake_zula said:

Great article. I'm pretty sure this is aimed at the same crowd Wii Sports went for. Who else could it be aimed at? It's not going to be a system seller for people like us, nor for MS/Sony gamers. Like Mike says, it's not intuitive enough. Could cost a lot of sales.

Burning_Spear

#27

Burning_Spear said:

@ C-Olimar:

I don't know who they think they're going to attract with this title. And if they wanted it to be a system seller, they had to do a hell of a lot more than that totally cumbersome, prolonged demonstration of the Luigi mini game. I was sitting there watching that and asking WTF?

RevolverLink

#28

RevolverLink said:

It looks like good, if shallow, fun; something I'd never pay full retail for it, but I'd be perfectly fine if this were included as a pack-in.

pntjr

#29

pntjr said:

I'm not gonna pay $50 for this garbage! If it was bundled, I'd be okay.

WesCash

#30

WesCash said:

Wii Sports is vastly overrated. It was shallow and the fun did not last very long. It wasn't really even a game, more like a demo. This seems far more interesting and at least I could see it being bundled with a controller for $20-$30 (assuming it isn't included with the console). I wouldn't even pay $5 for the original Wii Sports.

Pokefanmum82

#31

Pokefanmum82 said:

i think it seems like fun. and something that my kids could get into. that being said I hope this is a pack-in because I wouldn't pay money for this though. But it looks interesting, I'd have to see more of it.

WolfRamHeart

#32

WolfRamHeart said:

If it comes bundled with the Wii U system then I'll play it otherwise I don't see myself buying this.

warioswoods

#33

warioswoods said:

Said this in the chat earlier, but to reiterate: "Nintendo Land" sounds like a Game Boy game. Evidently they've forgotten that ancient land / world naming conventions.

Ernest_The_Crab

#34

Ernest_The_Crab said:

I doubt they are going to sell the console to people without something bundled with it. This will most likely come with the console, as it'll help promote a bunch of Nintendo IPs while giving people an idea of ways the controller can be used.

Of course, Japan will most likely have it sold as a separate item (just like Wii Sports).

TimboBaggins

#35

TimboBaggins said:

I don't think they should have focused so extensively on this. Presentation started with a bang, but this slowed the momentum down. I think the game is cool, but damn nintendo, its not the next great IP, its a bastardization of all your current IPs. This will be fun, but its not going to attract core gamers. I will be thrilled if this comes for free with the system, but if it costs extra I will seriously have to think about whether or not to buy it.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#38

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

@Wesker. just because I'm being genuinely positive and ethusiastic about a product? There is something you can get for your headache (which looks like is causing you confusion) but maybe not your bad mood. Anyway, some of the hardcore gamers of yesteryear have grown up, "moved on" and had families. One of my kids is a controlled gamer. Nintendo provides generally interesting and fun gaming for gaming families. Another step in the right direction. What else could they have done in the current gaming climate really? They kind of had to enter the tablet world in some form.

GCNSean

#39

GCNSean said:

People are way too quick to judge games these days after seeing 5-10 minutes of it and without even playing it... I am actually looking forward to this game. They showed off a F-Zero at the after-hours E3 showcase... There is also a Metroid game for it that has yet to be seen... Lets all wait and see what the full game offers before crucifying it...

TwilightV

#40

TwilightV said:

I want to know if it'll have online multiplayer in addition to the Miiverse feature. Being able to play these games with others around the world would be awesome.

ThreadShadow

#41

ThreadShadow said:

I like how DK's crash course is a homage to both original arcade DK and Rare's best addition to the franchise-the mine cart.

I hope Pac-man VS gets a WiiU release. Very fun game.

Wesker

#42

Wesker said:

@LEGEND_MARIOID I'm only asking because you are positive about everything, even when the general consensus is disappointment. You wouldn't be the first guy, with a vested interest in the product, posting on this website in a similar way. But please carry on, if you are genuinely happy with the direction Nintendo is going in. Don't mind me, I was just checking.

gingerbeardman

#43

gingerbeardman said:

Really looking forward to this myself. I still think that we'll see a new, improved, standalone Wii U Sports game.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#45

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Oh right! Hahaha! It was a serious question. No problem. TBH, I can see where it can go family gaming wise for me with the majority of products

JayceJa

#47

JayceJa said:

are you kidding

the original wii sports was terrible, the only good game on it was tennis...

the donkey kong game and the shuriken one dont seem that great, but the other 3 already beat sports by leagues

DashChargedShot

#48

DashChargedShot said:

Took too long at the conference, and I probably won't get it unless there's something really good that's in it. I'll probably play if it's bundled with the system, which would be nice.

hailsanta

#49

hailsanta said:

if it doesn't come bundled, that would be a total rip off game. its just no replacement for a real deal game. its 12 minigames that look boring

hillbill26

#52

hillbill26 said:

interesting.....i've always wanted a "miiverse" type of game! finally my dreams have come true! i can't wait for this!

janettocrossing

#53

janettocrossing said:

Is it just me or does this game seem a little bit too rainbowish? Games like these are the ones that make other people think that Nintendo is for kids ... I like the idea of a Nintendo theme park but, they should've made the setting different...
t(-.-)t

Trikeboy

#54

Trikeboy said:

I like it, it is a good way to introduce new gamers to the franchises Nintendo produces. It will make them aware of what they can buy. Also, it makes full use of the machine and shows what users can do as a group or by themselves. Just like what Wii Sports did for the Wii. If it is not bundled, I'm not sure I will buy it but it would make a great bundled game.

Mahe

#55

Mahe said:

@ShadJV No they didn't. We're still here, waiting for a broadening of the Wii Sports concept. And if Nintendo can't deliver, that's a shame for the Wii U.

Yellowgerbil

#56

Yellowgerbil said:

I think that the metroid one might be battle mii. The mario one could possibly be chase mii. But I do not no what the rest will be.

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