Nintendo has succeeded in making their Nintendo Direct presentations feel like an event. Even though many people wind up disappointed by them from having their hopes way too high, Nintendo has made each Nintendo Direct important, revealing new information about major upcoming releases, announcing new titles, and always having a few surprises up their sleeve every single time.
The latest Nintendo Direct is no different. Highly anticipated games for Nintendo systems had new information revealed on them, brand new and very interesting titles were announced, and the 3DS and Wii U both were given a big spotlight, though the 3DS was given a bit more spotlight than the Wii U. As a Wii U owner that really wants Nintendo to succeed, I was disappointed at the lack of Wii U coverage when compared to the 3DS coverage.
But regardless, it was a pretty great Nintendo Direct that revealed new information about some games that I am personally anticipating and many others are as well. So without further adieu, let’s dive right in to find out all the latest when it comes to Nintendo’s upcoming games.
Little Mac in Smash
Nintendo kicked things off on the right foot, with a brand new trailer for the newest Super Smash Bros. Little Mac, the main character of Punch-Out!!, has made minor appearances in the series in the past, but he is now a fully playable character in the newest games.
Using a gorgeous, cel-shaded comic book style trailer to introduce him, playing as Little Mac looks fun as hell. With his confirmation as a playable character, it seems that the boxing ring stage revealed at E3 is Little Mac’s character specific stage.
Seeing Little Mac in action was great fun, but no release date was given for Smash. Super Smash Bros. is one of Nintendo’s biggest weapons, and I think if they nailed down a release date for it that people would make sure to have a Wii U system by that day, certainly.
So no release confirmed for Smash, but we learned of a new playable character at least. The new Super Smash Bros. will release at some point in 2014. There will be both a 3DS and a Wii U version of the game.
Big guns for the 3DS
Nintendo then shifted gears to focus on the 3DS, showing more footage on three highly anticipated upcoming 3DS titles. First off was Mario Golf: World Tour. The game was revealed to feature Mii integration. Players can earn money in-game and use that cash to purchase new items for their Mii. By customizing their Mii with these items, their stats on the course can be improved. The items, of course, are inspired by various Nintendo characters.
Besides the main game mode that will see players master and unlock course after course, there will be other game modes in Mario Golf: World Tour as well. Highlighted during this presentation was a new Training mode. This mode resembles mini-games and the like from the golf element in Wii Sports titles and are designed to help players get better at the game.
Up next was Kirby Triple Deluxe. This is promising to be the deepest Kirby yet, as Nintendo showed that one of the new power-ups, an ability that allows Kirby to have a horn on his head, actually has eight different functions to it by itself. This means that not only does Kirby have access to an entire roster of special abilities that he can utilize, but those special abilities themselves all have a multitude of functions. This is potentially the deepest combat system in a Kirby game to date.
The various collectibles that will be included in the game were also highlighted. In Kirby Triple Deluxe, players will be able to collect keychains based on 8 bit Kirby items as well as Sun Stones. The Sun Stones are used to unlock a “special bonus” if you collect all of them at the end of the game.
The keychains can be used as a weapon, but they can also be used to unlock special doors in the levels. Keychains also come into play when the StreetPass functionality is taken into account. StreetPass allows players to share items with others as well as unlock StreetPass exclusive keychains for use in the game.
Both Mario Golf: World Tour and Kirby Triple Deluxe have release dates. Players will be able to get their hands on the games on May 2nd of this year.
The third major game shown for 3DS was Yoshi’s New Island. The footage I saw of the game has me more excited to play it than ever before, and I don’t even consider myself a fan of the Yoshi’s Island style of gameplay. Numerous new features are being added to make Yoshi’s New Island truly feel like a fresh evolution of the same old Yoshi’s Island gameplay.
There are new types of eggs, for example. Giant eggs can be used to destroy structures such as pipes. Metal enemies can be consumed to create metal eggs. These large metal eggs are too heavy to throw, but they can be rolled along the ground and Yoshi can also take them with him underwater, unlike the other egg types in the game.
Yoshi can also take different forms that will allow him to use new abilities in this game. He can transform into a jackhammer and a submarine, with optional motion controls attached to both forms. He can become Super Yoshi by collecting a star in the level, which will enable him to run on walls and soar across the stages. Furthermore, a “Flutter Wings” power-up allows Yoshi to fly behind his usual kicks.
Yoshi’s New Island is looking to completely change the way Yoshi games play. Players don’t have to wait long to get their hands on the game, as Yoshi’s New Island is releasing exclusively on Nintendo 3DS starting March 14th.
Nintendo has traditionally stayed away from the free-to-play market, but with an ever evolving gaming landscape, it has become necessary for the Big N to evolve along with the industry. Two new free to play titles, both very intriguing I might add, were announced during the Nintendo Direct broadcast. One of them is a sequel to a game that 3DS gamers should be fairly familiar with as it was a launch title for the system, and the other is a brand new IP that does free-to-play in a way we’ve never seen before.
First up is Steel Diver: Sub Wars. This sequel to the 3DS launch title is set in the same Steel Diver universe, but the gameplay is radically different. The game is now a first-person shooter title using submarines, and it is an online multiplayer game. There will be a free version as well as a premium version that allows for much more customization options for the subs and other naval vessels used for battle in the game.
Players are able to fully customize their subs with the premium version, changing the color and objects on the ship. Steel Diver: Sub Wars will also feature a single player mode for those that are not interested in the online multiplayer battles.
As a nice surprise, Steel Diver: Sub Wars was made available immediately after the Nintendo Direct presentation concluded.
The other free to play title is completely changing the way we think about “free to play”. The game is Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. In this game, players use their Mii to interact with a retired baseball player that owns his own shop. The titular Rusty sells baseball mini-games that are designed to improve one’s abilities playing the sport.
This is where the microtransactions come in. Players can try out demo versions of the mini-games for free, but to access the full mini-games, they need to pay. All of the mini-games start at $4.00, but players can haggle the price down by negotiating with Rusty.
Nintendo has said that the theme of Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball is “good feelings”. They want to create these “good feelings” through the feel of the mini-games. Among the games available are Bat & Switch, which is basically a home run derby where players hit the ball in a rhythmic fashion in order to do things such as knock UFOs out of the air and simply see how many balls they can hit in a row.
Cage Match features a more traditional baseball hitting setting, as players hit the balls in a batting cage using a pitching machine. There’s also Feel the Glove, which is centered around catching baseballs instead of hitting them, and finally, there’s Make the Call. This very unique game mode actually puts players in the shoes of the umpire so that they have to make the calls to determine if it’s a ball or strike, if players are safe or out, etc.
Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball will be available at some point in April, exclusively on Nintendo 3DS through the eShop.
Two major franchises return for 3DS
Nintendo kept the Nintendo Direct presentation going hot by announcing a new entry in a major game series and by providing an updated trailer for the latest entry in another major game series. First of all, a brand new Pokemon title was announced, and while it certainly isn’t another traditional Pokemon RPG game so soon, it is definitely worth a look.
Pokemon Battle Trozei is described as an action puzzle game that is coming exclusively to the 3DS eShop. Players will have to match the faces of the same Pokemon together, kind of like Bejeweled or other similar puzzle games. They do this to attack the Pokemon that they are fighting at the top of the screen.
By defeating the Pokemon at the top of the screen, players will then be able to catch them and use them in their future battles. Nintendo has said that ever single Pokemon created to date will be featured in the game. Series tropes such as type advantages having a major influence on the outcome of battles will return in this game as well.
The more powerful Pokemon, such as the Legendary Pokemon, will be tougher to take down. Because of this, Pokemon Battle Trozei also supports a four player co-op mode where four players can all work together to simultaneously take down a single Legendary Pokemon.
Pokemon Battle Trozei will be available on March 20th. In the meantime, Nintendo also released a new trailer for Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. This game is coming out even sooner, with a release date of February 28th. Here’s the newest trailer for Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy:
As you can tell, the trailer mostly focuses on the character of Emmy.
Japan always gets the good stuff first. Nintendo of America has been notorious these last few years for withholding major Japanese games that North American gamers desperately wanted to play, hence the Operation Rainfall project that fans started to try to get major games such as The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles localized for the Nintendo Wii. For the eighth generation so far, Nintendo seems to be listening to their fans a lot more as more and more games appear to be announced for localization each and every day.
Announced for North American localization today was Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate for Nintendo 3DS. Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate is the latest entry in the series, and it retains the core gameplay that fans love such as the trademark online co-op while adding a multitude of improvements to the basic formula. Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate will be released in early 2015.
Another game announced for localization was Weapon Shop de Omasse. The last game in the Guild 01 series, Weapon Shop is developed by the very talented Level-5 in conjunction with a famous Japanese comedian. The game takes RPG conventions and flips them right on the head.
Most of the time, players control the heroes going on the grand adventures. In Weapon Shop, players control the blacksmith that makes the armor and weapons for the heroes that come in to purchase them from the shop. This is accomplished through rhythmic gameplay that involves tapping the touchscreen. Weapon Shop de Omasse is scheduled to release on February 20th.
Finally, another localization was announced in the form of Inazuma Eleven for 3DS. Inazuma Eleven for 3DS marks the first time that the series has been released in North America. The game is being released exclusively through the 3DS eShop, and is described as a “tactical sports game”.
Off the soccer field, players play the game like a traditional RPG. They can level up their teammates and train them to be better in the matches. The touchscreen is mainly used for control input, with players drawing paths for the in-game soccer players. Special anime/manga inspired moves add a lot of flair to the proceedings as well.
Inazuma Eleven, like Steel Diver: Sub Wars is available already. The game was made available immediately after the Nintendo Direct presentation concluded.
Taking a cue from Sony, Nintendo put a bigger spotlight on upcoming indie titles coming out for 3DS and Wii U than they ever did in the past. First of all, they showcased Renegade Kid and two titles that are coming out for 3DS from them. The first is Treasurenauts, a side-scrolling action game that is, obviously, all about collecting treasure. Treasurenauts has the main gameplay hook of allowing up to two players play the game.
The other game coming from Renegade Kid is Moon Chronicles. This is being hailed as the first FPS game available on 3DS. It is a retelling of the original Moon game that came out on DS and is being released in episodic format.
Yacht Club Games is putting out the Kickstarter funded Shovel Knight on Wii U. Shovel Knight is made in the tradition of 8 bit style games, as were many of the indie games that Nintendo showed off during the presentation. 1001 Spikes and the 3DS port of Retro City Rampage are both made in the same style, and they are both coming to Nintendo systems soon.
Nintendo will continue to support indie games on their systems more aggressively. They will start a new YouTube web series highlighting and showcasing individual indie games moving forward. There are many other indie games releasing on both 3DS and Wii U in the coming months.
Child of Light
Speaking of downloadable games, not just the indie guys are putting those out there. Ubisoft’s Child of Light is coming to Wii U and it looks fantastic. Child of Light is a sidescrolling RPG. Players control a princess that is on a quest to stop an evil queen, and along the way they will solve puzzles and fight monsters.
The player is accompanied by a firefly companion. This firefly can write game tips on the wall, heal the party, and assist in other manners as well. The cool thing about the firefly is that a second player can take control of it if they want to do so.
Child of Light is releasing on the Wii U eShop on April 30th.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Yet another new trailer was released for the upcoming Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze that is releasing exclusively on Wii U. Check out the trailer here:
The trailer showcases a big owl dude that came across to me as the primary antagonist of the game. Overall, the game looks absolutely incredible, with a ton of gorgeous visuals and level variety. Based on that trailer, the high level of difficulty from Donkey Kong Country Returns will be making a comeback in this sequel.
Nintendo revealed during the presentation that the game will also be supporting online leaderboards. An interesting little tidbit as we edge so very much closer to the launch of the game.
Wii U fans can look forward to Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on February 21st.
NES Remix 2
NES Remix 1 was revealed during the last Nintendo Direct presentation as a nice surprise. NES Remix 2 being announced so soon after the first one was also a pretty nice surprise, though it wasn’t made available immediately after the end of the presentation like the original game.
NES Remix 2 is basically the same as the first game, except it takes its cues from games that were released later on in the NES system’s lifespan. The challenges and remixed levels will be based on games like Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, Metroid, Kirby’s Adventure, and more.
However, NES Remix 2 will have much more content thanks to a brand new game mode. Called Super Luigi Bros., this is a mirrored version of the original Super Mario Bros. game, where players control Luigi, complete with his high jump that was added in later releases.
NES Remix 2 is launching April 25th.
And now for the Wii U owners out there…
The end of the presentation was very Wii U heavy, what with the focus on Donkey Kong and NES Remix 2. Nintendo kept the Wii U ball rolling by announcing that the Game Boy Advance Virtual Console support that they announced for Wii U last year will be starting in April. The first batch of titles released through the service will be fan favorite GBA games, such as Metroid Fusion, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3.
A new trailer was then shown for Mario Kart 8 which revealed some new characters that are going to be in the game. All of the Koopalings from Super Mario Bros. 3 will be returning and they will be playable racers. The Mario Kart 8 trailer was very visually impressive, with a lot of variety in the tracks and the vehicles being used. You can watch the newest trailer for Mario Kart 8 right here:
Mario Kart 8 will release May 30th, exclusively for Wii U.
Nintendo then finally gave us more information about X, the exciting new RPG from the creators of Xenoblade Chronicles. X is styled a lot like Xenoblade Chronicles when it comes to the combat in the game. Players will be switching between swords and guns during the battles, which look fast-paced and fun.
The mechs that were shown in the reveal footage many moons ago seamlessly transition into the battle. Players can enter them at any time and use them for exploration and for fighting. In addition, AI controlled allies will have their own mechs to use in battle as well.
An ability bar at the bottom of the screen was also revealed, showing how X will borrow some elements from MMORPG games. Basically, X is a spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles, offering a more polished an HD adventure in the same spirit of the original Wii game.
X didn’t get a release date nailed down, and neither did the game that Nintendo chose to close their presentation with, but at least we know that Bayonetta 2 will be coming in 2014 at some point.
Yes, Nintendo closed their show with Bayonetta 2. This time the focus was more on the game’s story than anything else, showing characters from the original Bayonetta that will be returning for the sequel, a Wii U exclusive. The game will be about Bayonetta and some mysterious child making their way to a mountain that is said to house the gates to “Inferno”, which is basically Hell.
Overall, Bayonetta 2 looks fantastic. There are giant boss battles, battles between huge monsters with Bayonetta controlling one of the monsters, “surfboarding” segments on a giant wave while simultaneously battling a huge serpent creature, and more. Simply put, Bayonetta 2 is gorgeous.
The game will have the Witch Time mechanic from the original returning. In addition, a new gameplay mechanic called Umbran Climax will allow users to unleash a devastating ultimate attack when they are at full power. Players will also be able to control the mysterious child at some points during the game, as evidenced by the new trailer. Check out the trailer below:
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What did you think of the latest Nintendo Direct presentation? Did it live up to your expectations? Sound off in the comments below!