Nintendo had the Wii U on full display at New York Comic Con this year, and one of the most interesting titles there had to be Nintendo Land. We may have written the game off a bit when it was revealed at E3 2012, but one aspect of it that piqued our interest was the Metroid exhibit, one of the game’s twelve. It looked good at the Nintendo conference it was revealed at, so we were excited to give it a spin ourselves.
Glacier928 and I teamed up, brandishing our WiiMotes against our opponent and his Game Pad. After signing in, we found our Miis donning Samus’s Power Suit, while our opponent controlled her ship. We demoed the game’s Ground vs. Air mode, and after a brief training mission to get used to the point-and-shoot controls, we were placed in the arena, a circular, volcanic area with multiple platforms and catwalks to traverse. The map also contained several grapple points which Glacier and I were able to grab onto simply by shooting at them. The controls are extremely inuitive and simple; the analog stick moves the character in the four cardinal directions. Holding the A button lets the player rotate the camera and look around, while holding down the Z button puts the player in morph ball mode, providing a smaller target and slightly faster movement. Shooting is very simple as well, and is somewhat similar to Metroid Prime 3: Corruption’s controls: the WiiMote controls a crosshair on the screen, and the B trigger fires. The B trigger can also be held down to charge up and release an explosive shot, but this attack can hurt friends and foes alike, so it takes more caution to use properly.
Glancing over at our opponent, we saw that things looked a little different from his perspective; the touch screen on the Game Pad showed the ship looking down at the rest of the field, which he could move by tilting the Game Pad in the direction he wants it to go.
All players have a health bar (one above the ship and one on each ground player’s back), and players have a life count as well – after exhausting the life bar, the player loses a life, and once all lives are gone, the player is out. However, their teammate can pick up hearts spread throughout the arean to bring them back into the fight.
The gameplay itself consists mostly of moving around the arena on the ground and by utilizing grapple points, while also firing at the ship in the air. The ship pilot can do the same, but needs to manage two opponents instead of one. However, the pilot has the advantage of becoming momentarily invincible after taking a shot.
Given our experience with the WiiMote and other types of point-and-shoot games, the match was over pretty quickly, but it was a lot of fun and certainly helped to change our minds about Nintendo Land. While the idea of it being a full-featured game at a premium price is still debatable, buyers of the Wii U Deluxe version will have the game bundled and serves as a nice starting point for new owners. Like other games we’ve played, Nintendo Land offers a ton of great split-screen gameplay, something Nintendo has shown to be one of their focal points for the platform.
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