Nintendo was criticized for their paltry showing at VGX, but in their defense, VGX was terrible. They probably realized that VGX would be awful going in, so it’s hard to blame them for wanting to waste their efforts on a show that was bound to be garbage. That was a very good call on their part; in the meantime, Nintendo hosted a new Nintendo Direct that allowed them to announce some new Wii U and 3DS information focused mainly on the spring 2014 time frame, though some of these games aren’t coming until later in 2014.
Nintendo kicked off the Nintendo Direct the right way: NEW ZELDA! While this Zelda game isn’t the main series release that Nintendo has promised to reveal at E3 2014 next summer, this is nonetheless an extremely exciting venture aimed squarely at all those super hardcore gaming fans that deride the Wii U. Well, now Nintendo is offering a virtual dream game that hugely appeals to both fans of Zelda as well as fans of Tecmo Koei’s Dynasty Warriors series. It’s time to put up or shut up.
Tentatively entitled Hyrule Warriors, the game takes the basic gameplay as seen in the Dynasty Warriors franchise and gives it a distinctly Zelda flavor. From the art style to the enemies that will be countered, Hyrule Warriors is Zelda through and through. Link wields a variety of weapons and tools to help him defeat the mass amounts of enemies encountered.
Since this is a cross between Zelda and the “Warriors” series, this leaves a ton of possibilities open. Those games are known for their large roster of characters; it would be nice to see characters like Ganondorf, Zelda, Sheik, and more as playable characters in the game. Hell, seeing some appearances from characters of the Dynasty Warriors series would be pretty neat as well.
Developed as a join venture between Tecmo Koei and Nintendo, Hyrule Warriors marks the second major Wii U game announced as a crossover between two huge Japanese franchises. We are still waiting on gameplay footage of Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, but Hyrule Warriors will have to do for now.
The game looks like a lot of fun and like it could breathe new life into both franchises (not that Zelda necessarily needs that, but we’ll get traditional Zelda later). See for yourself with the trailer:
Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Nintendo then kept the pacing going nicely by showing more of the 3DS Kirby title revealed at the last Nintendo Direct. The game now has a title, Kirby: Triple Deluxe and a planned release window of 2014.
The game will combine new elements with gameplay that has become a staple of the series. Kirby will be able to move from the background to the front of the screen for puzzle solving purposes, and while he will still have his new ability to have a super-charged “suck” to breathe and absorb gigantic objects, his traditional sucking power returns as well.
There will be 20 abilities for Kirby to obtain in the game. 16 of them we’ve seen before, but there are four brand new abilities for Kirby. These include a rhino horn, bells that he can use to hit enemies, a ball that he balances on, and a bow and arrow.
The Kirby franchise is known for providing a variety of game modes to go along with the core platforming experience at the heart of the game. Kirby: Triple Deluxe is no different in that regard. The game will provide at least two new game modes that both look like a lot of fun and both look like they could add a ton of replayability to the experience.
The first mode shown is called Kirby Fighters. Fittingly Smash Bros in style, this mode allows up to four players to each choose one of the 10 Kirby abilities and fight each other across different stages.
The other mode is called Dedede’s Strong Dash. This is a rhythm game in which players control Kirby antagonist King Dedede while he collects coins. This mode will use tunes pulled from a bunch of different games throughout Kirby’s storied history.
Yoshi X Sonic
During the Nintendo Direct, there were two bits of Yoshi related information that Nintendo revealed. The first was in regards to the upcoming Yoshi’s New Island for 3DS. Nintendo announced that the man that directed the SNES original will return to direct this new 3DS entry of the game.
Meanwhile, we saw some different aspects of the game previously unknown. Yoshi will be able to turn into a giant egg that operates much like the giant Mario ability in the various Mario titles, plus there will be more traditional Mario enemies to battle in this game than we’ve seen in previous installments of the Yoshi series. Yoshi’s New Island is releasing in spring 2014.
The second bit of Yoshi news is very surprising. Sonic: Lost World is getting two DLC packs (both of which will be free) that are going to be based on Nintendo franchises. The first is, of course, based on Yoshi.
The DLC combines the Sonic and Yoshi gameplay. Entitled Yoshi’s Island Zone, in the DLC Sonic is able to do some Yoshi centric things such as collect eggs. Visually, the game combines the art styles of Sonic: Lost World and Yoshi’s Story for Nintendo 64. Instead of the usual batch of Sonic baddies, the DLC uses enemies traditional for Yoshi such as Shy Guys.
Not only is this available for free, but it is also available RIGHT NOW! Nintendo was good during this Nintendo Direct at announcing things that will be immediately available to players, which I think made the Nintendo Direct much more exciting than usual. More info on the second DLC pack will come in a future Nintendo Direct, and early next year, players that have their 3DS and Wii U eShop accounts linked will be able to download a version of Yoshi’s Island Zone for their 3DS copy of Sonic: Lost World free of charge.
Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder
Another shock from Nintendo came in the surprise announcement that Chibi-Robo! is returning. This series debuted on the GameCube and became a cult classic, but since then, Chibi-Robo! has seemingly been forgotten by the big N…until now.
Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder is releasing on the 3DS eShop. In the game, the titular robot is tasked by a museum curator to help him collect objects to get his museum on the ground. This game is set at some point in our future, as the items the curator wants are items that are natural to our everyday surroundings.
These items can include toilet paper, power outlets, and more. Using the 3DS camera, players are given a silhouette on their screen that they need to match up with real world objects around their house. Then all that’s left is snapping a picture and Chibi-Robo! will carry the item to the museum.
A variety of new characters are being introduced in this game and they are there to give Chibi-Robo! side missions and mini-games to play, all of which looked pretty fun. During all of this time, though, Chibi-Robo! has a battery life and will need to be charged now and again, though Nintendo didn’t go into specifics regarding this mechanic.
Nintendo has already announced how they plan on supporting Chibi-Robo! post-release. The game will have something called NostalJunk Challenges. These are online events that, if completed by players, will unlock special costumes and items for the game.
These NostalJunk Challenges will be available shortly after the game launches and they will be available to everyone. Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder will release on the 3DS eShop on January 9th. A demo will be available on the day and date of the release of the main game.
Want a Celebi? Here you go!
Pokemon Bank and Poke Transporter are services that basically allow players to store their Pokemon and transport them to the new X & Y games on 3DS. The services have been successful, but now Nintendo is hoping to expand it significantly with a new push to convince people to start using them.
First of all, a 30 day free trial period will begin in January for the service. Anyone (including those that simply used the free trial) that has the service by September 30th, 2014 will be given a free Celebi to download into their Pokemon X & Y game.
Reggie Fils-Aime: Flying Fairy
Iwata then handed the reigns over to Reggie-Fils Aime of Nintendo of America to talk about Bravely Default, a highly anticipated upcoming RPG exclusive to Nintendo 3DS. Reggie talked about the Sleep Points, or SP, that will be used in the game.
Players can accumulate SP for every hour they don’t play the game (but have the system in sleep mode) for eight hours straight. In addition, the option to purchase SP Potions from the eShop is available, though it is promised that these are completely optional to complete the game and provide no benefit that can’t be achieved simply by playing the game in a traditional fashion.
Sleep Points sound extremely useful for a number of reasons. They allow you to heal, revive fallen teammates, use stronger attacks, get better equipment, and more. Sleep Points will encourage players to use StreetPass since they will have their 3DS in sleep mode, and StreetPass will allow players to collect Miis to summon into battle as well.
Nintendo is changing the way that we think about demos with their various free trials for games such as Wii Fit U and Wii Sports Club. Bravely Default carries that tradition with an extensive demo releasing next month that is much more than just a demo.
The Bravely Default demo is actually its very own side mission that will not be included in the main game. This side story is about the central characters helping to rebuild a village and defeating the monsters that are terrorizing it. During their time with the demo, players can collect items that will transfer to the main game, and they can accumulate up to 20 StreetPass Mii summons as well.
The full Bravely Default game will release February 7th.
DK, Donkey Kong
A new trailer was shown for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze that I will post at the end of this section. That being said, Nintendo reiterated some information we already know about the upcoming game. In the game, Donkey Kong battles invading Viking forces called the Snowmites across multiple islands.
As revealed at VGX, Cranky Kong will be a playable character. We got a look at a bunch of new levels in this new Nintendo Direct trailer that included some truly gorgeous scenery. The levels are packed with visual variety, and Donkey Kong has honestly never looked better than he has on Wii U.
There will be new enemies, hazards, and powers. The banana powers turn every on-screen enemy into an item, for example. This new trailer really sold me on the game. Hell, even the water levels look incredible. And to top it all off, there was a freaking awesome polar bear boss with a mallet! It doesn’t get better than that.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will launch on February 21st, exclusively for Nintendo Wii U. Check out the new trailer below:
Wii Sports Club: Golf
Over a month ago, Nintendo released Wii Sports Club complete with two of the most iconic sports in the series, tennis and bowling as well as a 24 hour free trial.
Starting TODAY (ahh!) golf is also available for Wii Sports Club. Golf will be a little different in Wii Sports Club, with players able to look at the TV screen for wind direction and terrain information, and look at the GamePad screen (the GamePad is placed on the ground) to look at the ball.
The nine-hole course from the original Wii Sports will be included in this game. It looks pretty good in HD, but there will be a brand new course as well. This new course is based on the one from Golf US Course, a game for NES that Iwata himself helped develop.
Even if you already used a 24 hour free trial for Wii Sports Club when playing bowling and tennis, Nintendo is giving EVERYONE another 24 hour free trial for Wii Sports Club, allowing access to bowling, tennis, and golf.
Another big surprise from the Nintendo Direct was NES Remix for Wii U. This eShop title (available now!) uses scenes from classic NES games, takes the gameplay from them, and then re-imagines them with new twists and challenges. A bunch of different NES games are being redone, including all the classics.
One example given showed the classic Donkey Kong gameplay, except with Link as the main character instead of Mario. Nintendo said the classic gameplay from the games will be available as well.
NES Remix will use Miiverse. The stamps that were made popular in Super Mario 3D World return for NES Remix. The stamps can be used on your Miiverse posts, which will also contain your rank and your best time on each level.
Year of Luigi continues…
Throughout all of 2013, we’ve had to hear about the Year of Luigi. Nintendo has made true on their promises to make 2013 the Year of Luigi by releasing numerous titles and merchandise featuring Mario’s lesser appreciated brother. 2013 isn’t over yet, and Nintendo wants to squeeze at least one more game out of the green plumber before giving him a chance to rest.
Dr. Luigi was announced for the Wii U eShop for release on December 31st of this year. Dr. Luigi’s main game mode is called Operation L, and for the most part, it plays exactly like Dr. Mario. However, the main difference is that the capsules that Luigi drops are L-shaped, which makes the game faster and easier than Dr. Mario.
Of course, there are three different speed levels for players that are looking for more of a challenge if they are already well-versed in the arts of Dr. Mario. There is also a multiplayer vs mode for offline and online called Online Battle. Online Battle ditches the “L” shapes for more traditional Dr. Mario gameplay.
Virus Buster mode that originated in the Brain Age series will be in Dr. Luigi as a full-fledged game mode of itself. This mode is playable using only the GamePad screen.
Besides Dr. Luigi, Luigi will also be honored in the Year of Luigi with new Luigi-themed items from Club Nintendo.
Mario Kart 8?!…No! Smash Bros!
Nintendo was really tricky in this presentation, as they tricked us that they were showing footage for Mario Kart 8, when in reality they were showing footage from the new Smash Bros.! At first I thought they were announcing Kirby as a racer for Mario Kart 8, but instead he was just confirmed for Smash Bros. along with with a new character entering the fray.
Rosalina & Luma from Super Mario Galaxy are in Smash Bros. as a pair. Rosalina has been making quite the rounds lately, hasn’t she? At any rate, this may or may not also confirm a Rainbow Road level for the game as well.
Mario Kart 8?!…Yes! For real this time!
Nintendo also showed off some real Mario Kart 8 gameplay footage. They showed off new tracks, including tracks themed after dinosaurs (reminded me of Diddy Kong Racing), giant desserts, and agent temples. There was also a giant beanstalk stage that took the racers above the clouds.
My favorite new level shown was the Sunshine Airport stage. This stage looks absolutely gorgeous, taking place both inside of an airport and on the tarmac.
As for new playable characters in Mario Kart 8, we were shown that the typical brand of babies are returning, and I may or may not have spied some new baby variations on existing characters. Rosalina will also be in Mario Kart 8 as a playable racer, so I guess we’re fully welcoming her into the Mario family as a series mainstay.
New powerups and more new information is still on the way for Mario Kart 8, but this tease is all we got today. I’ll post the trailer below. In the meantime, Mario Kart 8 is planned for release in spring 2014 and is shaping up to be Wii U’s biggest release yet.
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This was by far one of the best Nintendo Directs they’ve ever released. Not only did we get information on brand new games, but we also learned very interesting things about existing ones, got free trials, and more!
Nintendo is on a roll lately…let’s just hope all this good news translates into good sales for them as well.