The Nintendo Experience event at Best Buy stores took place today. For four hours, stores had demos of Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. I went to the Best Buy in Wheaton, Maryland and was able to play two of those titles. I put together a video with some brief thoughts on the demos and the event in general, which you can watch above. Or, read on for more detailed impressions and footage of each of the demos!
I arrived at the Wheaton, MD Best Buy a few minutes before 4 pm, which is when the event started. Already, I was quite late. There were already at least 20 people in line for the demos. We had to sign in and were assigned a time slot. What was mine? I had to wait until around 6 pm, two hours from when I got there. So immediately, it seemed this was such poor planning. The demo station was the usual station that every Best Buy store has, so I don’t know why they didn’t have this at every store. That would’ve alleviated the wait time issues.
They were also giving out some free swag. They gave Luigi hats to the first few people there, and apparently I didn’t get there in time. I heard talk of a special Luigi coin that was given, but I never saw it and of course didn’t receive it. But what I did get was a Wii U lanyard and a Mario Kart flag. Nothing too special, but it was nice to receive something nonetheless.
While I waited, I cleared out the many StreetPass hits I was receiving and talked to a few people there. For those that follow the NintendoFuse Podcast, you may have heard the name imrblankie. He’s been in the chatroom a few times and I met up with him at this event, so we got to talk for a while also. And then as the game demos started, I decided it was time to record some footage for you all.
The first footage I recorded was the demo for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. I have to be honest and say that I never played Wind Waker. I didn’t get into the Zelda series much until a bit later. But Wind Waker HD looked great graphically. I didn’t get to see too much gameplay in action, but I could tell this game was perfect to be remade in HD. I wasn’t able to get up close to record this footage, but you can see the demo above if you’re interested.
The next demo I recorded was Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I’m not too big on the DKC series. I’ve played the first one and it was kind of fun, but I’m not super enthusiastic over it. Tropical Freeze seemed like it continued the DKC formula and it seemed like fans of the series would love this. Graphically it looked great and the HD visuals really helped showcase what the system is capable of. The parts with the changing camera angles were interesting to watch as well. You can see this demo footage above.
A little while later, a group of people (including imrblankie) played some Super Mario 3D World and I was there to record it. In the demo footage you see above, imrblankie is playing as Peach. I did get a chance to play some multiplayer for this game later as well, and it was a lot of fun. What’s interesting to me is that it didn’t feel like a typical 3D Mario title. It very much felt like Super Mario 3D Land crossed with the New Super Mario Bros. series.
What I mean by that comparison is that it felt like 3D Land in its style and visuals, but it definitely had some NSMB influences in the multiplayer aspect of the game. For example, you can bubble up in this game to prevent yourself from dying. The main new attraction of the game was Cat Mario, and this was a lot of fun to play as. Running up walls and clawing enemies felt great and was easy to do. Despite the initial oddity of a cat power-up, it actually felt pretty natural and I am excited to use it more in the full game.
Last but not least, I got some hands-on time with Mario Kart 8. I was most excited to play this, and it did not disappoint. The demo footage you see above is of me playing the game. First of all, this game looks amazing in HD. Very nice lighting too, even the fireballs looked really nice. In terms of controls, there were two options: motion control or analog sticks. For the first course, I used the motion controls. I wasn’t a big fan of the Wii Wheel in Mario Kart Wii, and the motion controls here felt pretty similar. Having said that, I didn’t have much trouble using them as you can see in the video.
As for the analog stick method, that’s the classic Mario Kart style and there’s nothing new to report there. Works great as usual. The new anti-gravity mechanics of the game were great, and it felt nice driving sideways at parts of the course. It changed things up and made it feel fresh. Seeing the gliders from Mario Kart 7 return was also a nice sight. All in all, I was very happy with this demo.
So overall, the Nintendo Experience event was worth it for me. The event itself was terribly planned and the long wait was ridiculous. But the games themselves were fun, especially Mario Kart 8. If you have any specific questions, feel free to post them in the comments section. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the gameplay footage and if you’re interested, head out to a Best Buy holding the event this Saturday to try the games out for yourself!