Clu Clu Land (NES)

Game Review

Clu Clu Land Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Clu Clu Bland

Back in the NES days, Nintendo had a lot of experimental, arcade-like games, many of which never quite made it into the big leagues in order to get sequels and the like. Perhaps one of the most often forgotten of these games is Clu Clu Land.

Similarly to Kuru Kuru Kururin, you need to know a bit of Japanese in order to understand the game's title. "Kuru kuru" is an onomatopoeia for the sound of something spinning, and, rest assured, that's something you'll be doing a lot of in this game.

You take control of Bubbles - a strange fish creature with arms - and move around a large maze dotted with pegs. The goal is to navigate the whole level, trying to uncover all the hidden gold bars which a bunch of evil sea urchins called the Unira have stolen. There is no indication as to where the blighters are, so you'll either have to search the entire level, or do some guesswork. Also dotted around the levels are some nasty black holes which will instantly kill you if you fly into them. Steer clear!

Bubbles' special technique is to, erm, well, stick her hand out, allowing her to grab onto one of the many pegs and spin around it in order to change direction. There is no other way to do this, except by slamming into a wall which simply makes you turn around. It's also possible for Bubbles to shoot sound waves which can stun the Unira, allowing you to then push them into a wall to defeat them. Quite handy, if the buggers can stay straight ahead of you for long enough!

The game sounds simple enough, but don't be fooled; Bubbles moves quite fast, and with the Unira roaming around erratically, it can often be quite hard to dodge them due to all the different things you need to pay attention to. It becomes even more difficult in later stages, where finding gold becomes much more challenging; not only will you have to pass through a gold location twice for it to be uncovered, but you must also avoid going back over it afterwards, as doing so will rebury it!

In terms of presentation, the game is similar to many other titles of its time, with simple graphics and a single piece of music that loops during every stage. In this case, the simplistic graphics are a bit of a blessing, as it means the screen isn't all cluttered up - it's hard enough to keep track of things as it is!


As one of Nintendo's earliest NES games, there's still a decent amount of fun to be had out of Clu Clu Land, but, unfortunately, the finicky controls and steep difficulty curve result in a game that can only be recommended to the most skilled of retro gamers.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (21)



bahooney said:

Never understood the hate for this game. The controls aren't actually difficult once you can wrap your head around the fact that you're moving the character's arms to change your trajectory, not it's body.

It's really fun! Don't listen to this guy! And I don't even have nostalgia for this game since this is my first time playing!



ikki5 said:

wow... but generous on the rating..... i would have given it a 2



StarBoy91 said:

Yeah, I'll concede that Clu Clu Land is not for everyone, and it is by no means flawless. Personally I find it fun to play once in awhile, plus I've still got a huge fondness for it since my younger years. I think it's harmless but good (not great), but to each their own.

And hey, look on the bright side: this game did introduce us to the Rupees in The Legend of Zelda



Ryno said:

Of all my friends that owned a NES in the early days, not once did I know someone who had this game. Still to this day I don't know anyone who owns this physically or digitally.



SKTTR said:

If I had to rate the NES games on Animal Crossing, Clu Clu Land is definately right up there with the best (Wario's Woods, Punch-Out!!) because it just has tons of levels, unique spot on controls, a well made co-op mode, cool music playing instead of silence, and fresh, fastpaced, addicting, challenging gameplay. I put in in higher regard than all the early NES Donkey Kong and sports games. Imo it's even silghtly better than other early NES games that stood the test of time (Balloon Fight, Pinball, Excitebike). To put it short: still fun today.

The one thing to pay attention is definately the controls. While being fairly simple and working great, they need some practice. It's not the pickup&play arcade most would think.




I loved this game as a kid. Swinging is the way to go! =)
But I liked several games that had this style like 'Devil's world' and 'Pac-man'. I will buy all of those if they are available for download.



Giygas_95 said:

I had this on e-reader, and I actually really liked it. Not enough to re-buy it though.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@VoiceOfReason: Because SOME of us like this game, and Nintendo wants to sell to us. Granted, I think it'd be even better if ALL of the good games were released, but we take what we can get. I was truly happy to see we were getting Clu Clu Land, and I can see I'm not alone.

"It becomes even more difficult in later stages, where finding gold becomes much more challenging; not only will you have to pass through a gold location twice for it to be uncovered, but you must also avoid going back over it afterwards, as doing so will rebury it!"

Dang, I've never gotten far enough to see all that happen!



JustinH said:

I think a 5 is really fair. This game is by no means bad, but you have to ask yourself how much you'd actually play it. The controls are tough, the game is repetitive and there's only so much this game can do to draw you in.

If you've never played it, though, I'd say it's at least worth a try.



sinalefa said:

This is one of the first NES games that I have never played. Things like Ice Climbers or Balloon Fight I played back in the day, but this one always passed me by.



VoiceOfReason said:

I've got nothing against them releasing this game, but if they want to make the Wii U virtual console more appealing, they should release their classics first, and then games like this. Nintendo must get their priorities straight (especially when Playstation's similar service has all or most of their "classics") if Nintendo wants to stay in this race.



Big_Boy_Chubs said:

@VoiceOfReason Clu clu land is like a forgotten gem. The release of MK on the wii u VC is inevitable. Just be patient. Games like Clu Clu Land NEED to be released first, or they'll never get any attention.



Lobster said:

This was my first NES game I unlocked in Animal Crossing and I loved it. That said I wouldn't buy it again.



grumblegrumble said:

Bland? For kids who are addicted to modern games and who compare everything else to them, of course this is bland. To me, it's a little treasure from my childhood. And Nintendo needs to release this in the U.S. on 3DS VC. Great little gem!



SwerdMurd said:

I suck at this game terribly. While the controls are pretty bizarre these days, it is important to realize that there was very little to compare it to upon release and overhead 2d games were still in their relative infancy.

But yeah. 5/10 is more than fair. It becomes less of a game and more of a chore pretty quickly.



DaveGX said:

Ahh, this game takes me back to my retro childhood..... the controls really aren't that hard at all once you get the idea, and though the video above didn't show all th levels; Died just short of the following and the bonus stage. I coulda swore,though, you get bonuses if you don't touch the rubber things or maybe it's the unrchins, unless that's only I 2 player mode? Either way, hope this hits 3DS eShop soon. Seems some of these games from Nintendo hitting Wii U eshop could use it

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