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E3: Hands-on with Nintendo Land: Zelda: Battle Quest

10:35 AM on 06.07.2012 // Chad Concelmo

Nintendo Land: The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is one of the twelve Nintendo character-themed minigames that will appear in Nintendo Land for the Wii U. Five of these minigames were playable on the show floor. The other seven (or more?) will be revealed over time, with the final game seeing a likely holiday 2012 release.

If I had to put money on it, I would bet Nintendo Land will be packed in with the Wii U. It makes sense, and Nintendo Land is to the Wii U as Wii Sports was to the Wii. Solid, fun, minigame collections that really show off the capabilities of the console.

Since these "minigames" in Nintendo Land feel much more elaborate than normal minigames -- seriously, they are robust enough to feel like small standalone games -- I am going to write previews for each of them separately. Check them all out throughout the day!

Let's start with The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest.

During the Nintendo press conference, the main message about the Wii U was "together." And after playing all the minigames in Nintendo Land, this message is  most definitely clear.

The games in Nintendo Land are meant to played together with a group of people. They are designed around cooperation and friendly, fun competition. As a guy who has a lot of friends who don't play videogames very often, this is very appealing to me, as I know my friends will look forward to diving into a minigame compilation like this ... and having a blast in the process.

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest has an interesting look -- one I didn't expect. It looks a lot like Kirby's Epic Yarn and shares the same fabric aesthetic.

In this minigame (I am remiss to even call them "minigames" as they feel like more), three players have to work together to make it through a series of dungeons.

The game is "on-rails," meaning you don't control the forward movement of your character at all. That part is controlled for you. This is not a huge deal, though, as the game is not about exploring. It's about working together, fighting monsters, and solving puzzles.

Two players control with the Wii Motion Plus controller and one plays with the Wii U GamePad.

The players with the Wiimotes have swords and swing the Wii Motion Plus to attack. Just like in Skyward Sword, the angle you strike is key, as the one-to-one movement will help you make sure you are attacking the enemies in the right spot. Also like Skyward Sword, your shield can be activated by holding down the trigger to block incoming attacks.

The player with the GamePad is the archer, and this is admittedly the most fun part.

By holding the GamePad upright, players can actually look through it like looking through a sight and move the entire controller around to aim. A cross-hair appears on the GamePad and players can use it to shoot arrows at enemies. Holding down the trigger button longer to fire will result in a much more powerful and long-reaching shot.

While shooting and/or stabbing, the players move slower through the world. By not doing anything, the on-screen Mii Links (Liinks?) move much faster. This can be used to get through the dungeons quicker if needed.

In addition to battling enemies, puzzles can also be solved. The only ones I saw in the demo were simple "switch" puzzles, but there were fun and provided some much-needed variety to the action. By hitting switches (some at the same time), locked doors can be opened to move on. Some switches are high up, requiring the use of the archer to access.

In addition to all this, a health meter is shared between the players, meaning they have to work together to make sure the life is not depleted. If all hearts are gone, everyone perishes.

From what I played, I had fun with The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. It wasn't the deepest thing in the world, but the variety in play made it interesting. I am not sure how repetitive this will get, but if the dungeons have a large variety of enemies and puzzles, this could be really fun!

Check out my hands-on with the other four Nintendo Land games, coming later today!

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Chad Concelmo,
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