Chances are if you picked up a Wii U over the past week, you'll have come across Nintendo Land – Nintendo's answer to Wii Sports for the next generation. Packed with twelve different games designed to familiarise you with the GamePad and its many, many uses, it's a pretty decent collection of games in its own right (and check back soon for our full review). But with a shiny new console in the house and everyone clamouring for a go, you may not have had chance to try some of the 'single player only' Solo Attractions, if only for fear of hogging the console - but thanks to a hidden feature, there's a way to share the fun around.
Each of these so-called solo attractions can be made into a multiplayer one by pressing the A button on up to four Wii Remotes (bar Captain Falcon's Twister Race, which only supports one) letting the whole group join in with the action. Although it's not quite co-operative in the sense of some of the other attractions, each of the games allows for extra players to work as 'helpers', whose job it is to make things easier for the main player.
Balloon Trip Breeze
In this game, your Mii sets off on a journey through the perilous skies, carried along by a pair of balloons – there's spiky blocks, hungry giant fish and angry enemies to dodge as you try to reach the goal. What makes the game a little bit more challenging is that you don't actually control your character directly; instead swiping with the stylus makes the breeze blow, wafting your balloon-laden Mii through the level, trying to avoid all the obstacles. Extra players can lend a hand by clicking on the spiked blocks to delete them, or popping the enemies' balloons to send them falling into the water below – and given how hectic some of the later levels turn out to be, you'll be glad of the help.
Captain Falcon's Twister RaceHopping aboard Captain Falcon's trademark blue racer, you'll need to steer your way round a windy course, hitting huge jumps and boost pads along the way – whilst avoiding the obligatory obstacles that litter the track. Bouncy bumpers, explosive blocks and what look to be marbles of some sort all threaten to slow you down, or worse take you out and end your game. Which is why an extra player is a god-send, as they can click on the items littering the track and delete them from existence; in fact, so powerful is the feature, Nintendo saw fit to restrict you to just a single helper player, rather than the four you can have in every other attraction.
Donkey Kong's Crash Course
Harking back to the 80s, that pesky ape's gone and captured Pauline again, and it's up to you to save her – but things have taken a bit of a different turn, as your Mii's been transformed into a little rickety cart, which you need to tilt through a huge course filled with all manner of challenging contraptions, trying to make it to the end in one piece. In this game, other players can lend a hand by pointing at the screen to slow down time in a certain area, giving you more time to react, and hopefully less chance of dying – it'll certainly come in handy for the penultimate Area 9 anyway!
Octopus DanceDespite it's lack of hot crustacean bands, Octopus Dance is still a fun little game, in which your Mii must mirror the dance moves performed by the instructor, moving your arms, jumping and tilting in time with the beat. There's a little twist though, as the dancing is much easier to follow when viewing your Mii from behind – a view which switches between the GamePad screen and TV at random points during play. Every mistake you make costs you a life, so it's just as well your friends can help out by popping bubbles in the background to replenish your lost hearts!
Takamaru's Ninja Castle
One of the first Nintendo Land mini-games we were introduced to, Takamaru's Ninja Castle has you playing the part of a noble Ninja on a mission to rescue the princess from a deadly Ninja Castle. Holding the Wii U GamePad landscape, you launch Ninja throwing stars with a swipe of your hand on the Touch Screen, sending them flying towards the enemies. It turns out it's actually a pretty hard game to master, especially as you start to encounter more advanced Ninjas which fight back – but a few extra Wii Remotes can make things a whole lot easier, as other players can grab onto Ninjas and stop them in their tracks, giving you plenty of time to thwack them with a star.
Yoshi's Fruit Cart
In this game, you need to guide a hungry, hungry Yoshi cart around a level, slurping up all the fruit on each stage – which sounds simple enough, but as always there's a bit of a twist. Using the stylus, you need to draw a path for the cart to follow through all the fruit, but the fruit (and various perils) can only be seen on the TV screen and not on the GamePad, meaning you'll need to closely compare the two to sketch out the best route. Miss any piece of fruit and you'll lose a life, but as with all these games, your friends can come to your aid, pointing at and picking up a single piece of skipped over fruit for each Wii Remote playing.
So there you have it – a way of seeing everything Nintendo Land has to offer, and keeping everyone involved at the same time! These sorts of helping out modes may also be the perfect starting point for introducing the new Nintendo console to relatives who don't usually play games and who may be a bit intimidated by the more complex games of Mario Chase, Pikmin Adventure and Animal Crossing: Sweet Day. To find out what we think of the full package, make sure you check back in the coming days, as we'll have a full review up shortly.