So far, between the balloon trips and Pikmin slashing, my daytime trip to Nintendo Land via the Wii U Preview Event managed to entertain me quite a bit more than I had anticipated. I had a bit of energy left in me though, and I felt like having a virtual jog around the park. I stumbled upon Nintendo Land‘s next big attraction, Mario Chase, and it seemed like that would be the perfect time to go for that virtual jog.
I’m sure most of us have played hide and seek at some point in our lives. Well, it seems like Nintendo wanted to make an attraction of it, and have it labeled under their most famous mascot, Mario. Up to five players can get in on the action. The one with the Gamepad will play the role of Mario (or basically a Mii dressed up as Mario, but for brevity’s sake, will be called Mario from here on out) as they try and hide from the other players. They are focused entirely on the Gamepad screen as it’s divided into two sections: one being the in-game display that everyone else sees, and the other is a map of the stage everyone is in, so that the Gamepad player can keep tabs of where each of the players are, and try to plan accordingly. Movement is done with the left analog stick with no other options outside of that, so the Gamepad player will more or less be aided by their own split screen display that no one else can see.
The other four players all work off their own section of a split screen. Directional movement is done with the Wiimote’s dpad, while the 1 button on the remote enables that player to dash out and attempt to grab the fleeing Mario. Mistiming that dashing grab will leave that player incapacitated for a couple of seconds as they slowly get back to their feet, so you have to time it accordingly. There are several different stages that can be played on, though for the demo I was only able to see two of them. One was the standard fare – nothing flashy, just the standard kind of stage with a couple of elevated areas. The other stage that I was able to try out was one that was divided into several color coded areas, with a bridge that separates each side. If Mario runs over the bridge, it disappears, leaving the chasing players to wade through waist high mud before they reach the other side. This adversely affects Mario too, if he needs to double back over to evade the others. At the end of each game, a replay is down on the television in the form of the map layout from the Gamepad and the icons showing the routes taken to finally catch Mario.
Graphically, it looks like a high res Wii game, but in the end it’s quite the silly fun I thought it would be before sitting down with it. In a multiplayer setting, I can easily see people arguing over who would play as Mario and who would be chasing him, but they are both simple romps that are easy to pick up and play. Of the demos all around Nintendo Land, this one does a good job of having the Gamepad’s screen work as a multipurpose display, both for gameplay and for a map-like display for finding other players. I think the only problem I would have with Mario Chase would be that a game like this needs lots of physical players to really have a good time with. It’s hard to envision a two player session holding anyone’s interest for that long, nor capturing as much entertainment as a full five player chase. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed my virtual jog, both chasing after Mario, and acting as Mario.