Nintendo released a surprise Nintendo Mini Direct video today that was full of information that Nintendo fans will really want to know about. This article is a complete recap of all the new information revealed by Nintendo today, but if you’d just rather watch the video yourself, you can right here:
StreetPass Turns Over A New Leaf
Nintendo kicked off the proceedings with a very comical Animal Crossing live action short. They then touted the success of the recently released Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which was used as the segue into getting into all the new StreetPass related 3DS news they had to bring to us today.
Firstly, the “Image Share” has been added to the “Favorites” section of the 3DS browser. Image Share is used in Animal Crossing as well, as players are able to take pictures of their town instantly and then share it with the Image Share website. Nintendo was also quick to remind us that there are other games that use the feature, such as Spirit Camera, Style Savvy, and the newest Art Academy on 3DS.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf also allows players to share their homes with others in the form of “model homes” that can be found just beyond main street. When you StreetPass with someone, their home can be fully explored in New Leaf. In order to make StreetPass occurrences even more common, Nintendo is beefing up StreetPass and greatly improving its functionality.
Using the Nintendo Zone areas across the country, which include Best Buy stores as well as McDonald’s and other AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, players can take advantage of the new “StreetPass Relay” functionality. What this means is that someone can visit the Nintendo Zone, or walk by it with their 3DS in sleep mode, and then have their StreetPass information stored there. Then someone else can walk by, get that StreetPass, and then leave their StreetPass info for the next person to arrive and so on and so forth. This functionality with Nintendo Zone will be launched in a few weeks time at all the over 29,000 Nintendo Zone locations across the country.
Speaking of StreetPass, Nintendo went into detail explaining the new StreetPass games that have been added to Mii Plaza. The games are called Mii Force, a shoot ‘em up side-scroller in the vein of Ikaruga or other similar games; Mii Garden, a garden simulator with the goal of cross-breeding planets; Warrior’s Way, an action game; and Monster Manor, a puzzle game with the goal of collecting treasure and fighting ghosts.
These games all use StreetPass in different ways. By completing the games, you earn tickets which can be used to purchase new outfits and hats for your Mii character. These new games cost $4.99 a piece, or $14.99 for the lot. The dollar value of StreetPass games is questionable, however, so I’m not sure if that’s exactly worth the purchase.
In the meantime, since this is the Year of Luigi, Nintendo is adding a new Luigi-themed puzzle to Puzzle Swap in the Mii Plaza. This Mii Plaza update has been available for about a week, so if you haven’t downloaded the update yet, do it now.
Hottest Upcoming 3DS Games
Nintendo then turned its focus to what is on the horizon for 3DS over the next few months. The next major 3DS game releases in less than a month’s time on August 11th in the form of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, which featured a new trailer that showed off plenty of the supporting characters that players will meet and interact with throughout the adventure.
It was also revealed that there will be some boss battles where players will have to hold the 3DS in a vertical position. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team releases August 11th simultaneously in retail stores as well as Nintendo’s eShop.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Nintendo just wanted to put out a friendly reminder that Shin Megami Tensei IV just released the other day. I have played the game and I can attest to its quality. They also wanted to remind everyone of the exciting promotion they’re running with Shin Megami Tensei IV and Fire Emblem: Awakening.
First you need to link your 3DS to your Club Nintendo account, which is accomplished in the Settings menu in the eShop. After that’s done with, you need to register both Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV with your Club Nintendo. If you have already registered one or both games BEFORE linking your 3DS to Club Nintendo, then you need to give Nintendo’s customer service a call and they will fix that issue up for you. But what does this get you? Well, it gets you $30 free credit on the eShop! Not a bad deal at all if I do say so myself.
Both the digital and retail versions of the games will count toward the promotion. However, if you purchase the physical version of Shin Megami Tensei IV, you get the Limited Edition content which includes a detailed strategy guide, a CD, a sweet case, as well as the game itself. I highly recommend going the physical route if at all possible.
3DS has a lot of great games out already, but looking forward there’s plenty to see as well. Pokemon X and Y will launch October 12th. In November, two big 3DS games in the form of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario Party 3DS will both release on the platform.
Wii U Heavy Hitters
It’s no secret that Nintendo’s Wii U isn’t doing so hot right now. The company has failed at getting enough high quality exclusives on the platform in a timely manner, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot to get excited about in regards to Wii U in the very near future, something Nintendo was sure to highlight in this latest Nintendo Direct.
In fact, two of Wii U’s biggest exclusive games are releasing over the next couple of months. First of all, Pikmin 3 is right around the corner, with a release date of August 4th, simultaneously releasing on the eShop as well as in retail stores.
Pikmin 3 will feature three different game modes. There will be the story mode, co-op Mission mode, as well as the versus multiplayer Bingo Battle, which will support split-screen, but unfortunately no online functionality.
We learned a bit more about Bingo Battle through the Nintendo Direct. There will be 12 different stages to choose from and each stage will have three variants, which means that there’s really 36 different stages for the Bingo Battle multiplayer.
I said that Pikmin 3 doesn’t have online multiplayer, and it doesn’t, but Nintendo is still including online functionality in another form. Pikmin 3 will use online leaderboards so players can compare and contrast their stats across all three different game modes.
Similarly to their Shin Megami Tensei IV and Fire Emblem: Awakening promotion, Nintendo is doing a promotion for Pikmin 3 to ensure that the title sells well, despite being one of the more obscure of their franchises. Pikmin 3 will be featured at over 200 GameStop stores over this weekend in playable form. If you pre-order the digital version of Pikmin 3 from GameStop, you will be able to download the game a day early on August 3rd.
The other major Wii U game that is just right around the corner with a release date of September 15th is The Wonderful 101. A new trailer was released for that game as well, which revealed more about the game’s story. The heroes use special pendants to activate their suits so they can spring into action and save the day. The Wonderful 101 force was created by the United Nations in order to defend the world from alien invasions, but sometimes they have to use their powers to be heroes in other ways as well, such as saving a bus full of people from crashing off a broken bridge.
A new gameplay mechanic in the game was revealed in the form of the Unite Build special ability. Characters can build onto objects in order to create shapes to save the day. The example used here was creating a ramp at the end of the broken bridge to launch the bus into the air so that they could have more time in saving it.
While all this heroic stuff was going on, two nasty looking alien villains were watching from their ship, planning their attack on Earth. And if you want to check out The Wonderful 101 just like those villains and you happen to be at the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, then you’re in luck because Nintendo plans on using most of its time at Comic-Con to showcase The Wonderful 101, for obvious reasons. Nintendo is also planning to have a new Nintendo Direct “soon” that will focus almost entirely on The Wonderful 101 as well, for those that aren’t lucky enough to be at Comic-Con this weekend.
2013 for Wii U
The rest of the year is not looking too shabby for Wii U. Here are all the games with that are set to release by the end of the year for the system:
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Wii Party U
Sonic: Lost World
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Super Mario 3D World
Games with Exclusive Wii U Features
Just Dance 2014
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Batman: Arkham Origins
Skylanders: Swap Force
Other Games Coming in 2013
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Third Party Games on the eShop
The eShop is also getting some love over the next couple of months, with third party studios planning on new releases for Wii U’s eShop.
The first shown was Cloudberry Kingdom. Announced a while ago, Cloudberry Kingdom is a unique platformer from Ubisoft that features randomly generated levels. The game is releasing on Wii U’s eShop on August 1st.
Secondly is DuckTales Remastered from Capcom, which is releasing in less than a month on August 13th. DuckTales Remastered will feature hand-drawn animations, the original voice acting from the show, and painted backgrounds, all inspired by the DuckTales TV show.
And finally, a quirky game is coming to eShop in the form of Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party. This weird game will be available for download in August. It will allow two to eight players to get in on the, uh, “action”, and will be based on a series of mini-games rather than just spinning the bottle and kissing up on people.
Nintendo closed off this Mini Direct with a surprise. EarthBound, the SNES RPG classic, is NOW available for Wii U’s Virtual Console service! The game is available as of today for $9.99.
Back when the original EarthBound released, there was a large manual guide that was available with the game to help players complete it. Nintendo isn’t reprinting the manual, but they are bringing it back for the digital age. The classic EarthBound manual is going to be made available for viewing through the EarthBound website, and when playing the game on Wii U’s Virtual Console, players will have easy access to the manual on the Wii U GamePad screen while the play the game on their TV screen.
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What did you think of today’s Nintendo Direct? Sound off in the comments below!