Hot on the heels of the recent Pokémon Sun and Moon reveal last week, Nintendo made several big announcements during today’s Nintendo Direct. The presentation served as a reminder that Nintendo still has lots planned for the Wii U and 3DS platforms, so don’t write off 2016 while looking forward to the NX, or you may miss some great games.
Here is a summary of the biggest news to come out of the Nintendo Direct presentation.
Star Fox Zero
The legend himself, Shigeru Miyamoto, presented Star Fox Zero, a game which we hadn’t heard a lot about recently. Miyamoto opened the presentation with an apology for the game’s delays, then dove right in with the updates.
Miyamoto-san referred to Star Fox Zero as an “authentic action game” where “the more you practice, the more fun it gets.” Hopefully, that isn’t another way of saying the game has limited content but bears repeat playthroughs.
He then discussed the plot and structure of the game, which looks very similar to Mario games, complete with branching levels that can open up new paths through the level, and even new boss battles. It should take some exploration to find every route through the many levels and maps.
Miyamoto-san then showcased the two-player co-op mode where one player pilots the Arwing, while the other handles shooting down enemies. That should make for some fun game nights, and serve as a real test of your relationship on game nights with your significant other.
Finally, it was revealed that that use of amiibo would unlock the classic Super Nintendo Arwing model in the game.
Star Fox Zero is confirmed to launch on April 22 alongside the next game shown during the presentation…
Star Fox Guard
This game, formerly shown as a tech demo known as “Project Guard” now takes place in the Star Fox universe, and stars (no pun intended) Slippy Toad’s uncle Grippy Toad. The game plays like a cross between a tower defense game and Five Nights at Freddy’s where you control up to 12 cameras to find and defeat waves of enemies. Star Fox Guard contains around 100 stages, but players can edit enemy placement to create their own stages to upload online and challenge other players.
Star Fox Guard will be released alongside Star Fox Zero on April 22. The two games can be purchased together in a physical bundle. Both can also be purchased separately on the Nintendo eShop, and purchasing one grants a discount for the other.
Nintendo continues to support and improve upon the Splatoon multiplayer experience with the announcement of two new updates. These are meant to address weapon balance and matchmaking. The first will be released March 8, and contains improvements to certain gear abilities, as well as tweaks to matchmaking, Ranked Battles, and Splatfests. The second update will launch in two waves starting in April, and includes lots of weapon balancing fixes, as well as weapon set recommendations called “Sheldon’s Picks.”
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
The opening cinematic was shown, featuring iconic Rio locations and venues modeled after actual Olympic Games venues, as well as your favorite Nintendo and Sega characters. It also showed the all-new rugby sevens and rhythmic gymnastics events, as well as boxing, archery, track and field, volleyball, and soccer.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games launches March 18 on 3DS and June 24 on Wii U.
Super Mario Maker Updates
Since the launch of Super Mario Maker nearly six months ago, over 6.2 million courses have been created and are playable in the game. Many of those courses are difficut enough to classify for the new Super Expert mode in the 100 Mario Challenge, coming as part of a March 9 update. The new mode gives you 100 lives to clear six excruciatingly difficult levels. If you manage to do so you can win one of the 12 new Mystery Mushroom costumes.
The update also brings several level creation tools such as locked doors, keys, and pink coins that you need to collect to receive a key. Keys can also drop from enemies, which effectively opens up the possibility for mandatory boss battles to proceed through a level. All of these should make for some interesting puzzle and challenge opportunities for clever level creators.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
JRPG fans rejoice! The crossover between Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem you never knew you wanted arrives June 24 on Wii U. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (pronounced “sharp F-E”) is being produced in a partnership with Atlus, so expect the combination of deep RPG gameplay and unique settings and characters you have come to expect from games like Persona 4. In this case the game is set at a pop idol concert, and contains tons of fan service for Fire Emblem fans.
When I hear terms like “online free-to-play” and “open beta,” the Nintendo Wii U isn’t the first platform that comes to mind. This co-op action game from Bandai Namco where you team up with other players to face hordes of undead should prove to be an interesting experiment, if nothing else. We won’t have to wait too long to see how it all pans out, since the open beta begins April 14, and the full game is available April 28.
Paper Mario Color Splash
This was a pleasant surprise. In a year where we already got a Paper Mario / Mario & Luigi crossover game back in January with Paper Mario Jam on 3DS, Nintendo announced Paper Mario Color Splash is coming to Wii U sometime later this year. As the name implies, the theme is color and paint, as Paper Mario attempts to use his paint hammer to return color to Prism Island. The game introduces a novel combat system where you paint and then flick cards into battle.
Pokkén Tournament is just around the corner, launching March 18, so Nintendo used this opportunity to showcase the powers of the main battle Pokémon Lucario, Machamp, and Gengar. They also announced that an exclusive Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card is included inside the first production run of boxed copies to incentivize collectors to pre-order or buy the game on day one.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
The game is out this week, so nothing to see here.
My heart is still broken over the loss of Club Nintendo last year, so this segment was just a cruel reminder of what we are missing.
Mini Mario and Friends amiibo Challenge
This free download gives amiibo owners another game with which to use their figures, so they aren’t just collecting dust on the shelf. You can tap amiibo to guide one of 11 minis across over 60 levels. For those with little patience but money to spare, the game is available as a bonus download code with the purchase of any amiibo starting March 25. Otherwise it is available as a free download for both 3DS and Wii U starting April 28.
Animal Crossing amiibo Cards & Isabelle amiibo
The Isabelle amiibo figure in her winter outfit that was originally bundled with Animal Crossing amiibo Festival will be sold separately starting June 10. Just in case you bought that game and think you can save money this time, Nintendo is offering an alternate Isabelle in her summer outfit as well as Series 4 Animal Crossing amiibo cards, all coming out the same day.
New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console – SNES Games
Fans have long been asking for Super Nintendo games to come to the 3DS Virtual Console. Nintendo finally delivered — as long as you have the New Nintendo 3DS system. New 3DS owners now have an exclusive other than Xenoblade Chronicles 3D to justify their purchase.
Super Nintendo classics Pilotwings, Super Mario World, and F-Zero are available now. Super Mario Kart, Earthbound, and Donkey Kong Country come to the eShop March 24, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Donkey Kong Country 2 arrive April 14.
Pocket Card Jockey
If you are in the market for a game that combines solitaire, horse racing, and animal husbandry, the developers at Game Freak have just the game for you. Also, you may want to seek professional help.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2
This follow up to the 2D action game lets you play as Azure’s rival Copen, who can copy the abilities of all seven bosses to use as his own. If you are not familiar with the original game from 2014, Nintendo is offering it at a special promotion price March 20 – June 1.
Fire Emblem Revelations and Fire Emblem Fates DLC
Our recent article about games with alternate versions touched upon the release strategy for the new Fire Emblem game. The third path through the story titled Fire Emblem Revelations reveals secrets from the other two paths, so you may want to play through one or both of those before going back and trying the new one. Both of those games actually offer the option of purchasing the new Revelations path from directly inside the game, and you can choose that path at the Branch of Fate moment in the game.
There are also new DLC maps coming to Fire Emblem. The first two are available now, with additional maps dropping every week from March 17 – April 21.
Hyrule Warriors Legends
The 3DS version of last year’s Zelda/Dynasty Warriors mash-up formula arrives March 25. In addition to featuring the brand-new character Linkle, the new game has quite a robust DLC strategy for a portable title. It will have four DLC packs, all available individually or as part of a Season Pass that also includes an exclusive Ganondorf costume, as well as content that will transfer to the original Wii U version of the game for owners of both. The Wind Waker character Medli will also be available as a free bonus character available for download alongside the first DLC pack. On top of all that, the game also contains a free Zelda 3DS theme. Oh, and pre-orders come with an exclusive art book. Anyone else get the impression that Nintendo is trying to give consumers lots of reasons to buy this game again?
Disney Art Academy
Disney Art Academy is a chance for budding artists to hone their craft by learning to draw their favorite Disney characters, including Mickey, Winnie the Pooh, the various Princesses, a variety of Pixar characters. The edutainment title arrives May 13.
Bravely Second: End Layer
The sequel to the critically-acclaimed Bravely Default arrives on 3DS April 15. In the meantime, starting March 10, a free demo will be available. The demo follows a side story that ties into the main game. It also unlocks bonuses in the full game. Having a 3DS demo is nothing new. Having one that features an original story and unlocks content in the full game is an excellent way to get people to upgrade.
Of course, there are some who don’t need any coaxing to preorder. Those are the type of people that will be interested in the collector’s edition of Bravely Second, which includes a very nice-looking, full-sized art book.
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
Dragon Quest fans in the US don’t always get a lot of love from the Big N. It feels like every few years they realize there is a market for the series over here, then the games don’t meet sales expectations, and go back to being Japan exclusives. That’s why it’s nice to hear that not only is Dragon Quest VII coming to our shores, but that it has completely been remade from the ground up for the 3DS platform, with a new world, new 3D character models, and a reworked localization.
Monster Hunter Generations
The 3DS game known as Monster Hunter X (read “cross”) in Japan is coming to the US this summer under the name Monster Hunter Generations. They showed a trailer that, sure enough, looked like a Monster Hunter game, so your mileage may vary depending on if you were sucked in by any of the previous entries in the series.
If you were a fan of the last game, Monster Hunter 4 save data will grant bonus content in Monster Hunter Generations. As an added incentive and bit of fan service, Capcom is collaborating with Nintendo to include an armor set modeled after Marth from the Fire Emblem series.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
Nintendo started out this segment by stating that their previous showing of Metroid Prime: Federation Force “left fans with questions.” That is an understatement, as long-time Metroid fans were furious after seeing the game, which is inspired by the Metroid universe, but doesn’t feature the main character Samus, nor the exploration-based gameplay people have come to expect from the series.
The producer, Kensuke Tanabe spoke about the game and his history on the series, which dates back to the Gamecube games from 15 years ago. He explained why he felt the new game was a perfect fit for the Metroid brand. While he really does seem passionate about the series, it may just be that the new game’s focus on role-based multiplayer co-op battles is just too far from what fans want in a Metroid game. It is too bad, as the title may have been able to stand on its own without the Metroid brand, since it does look fun in its own way. We will see how this all plays out when the game launches later this spring.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix
This quirky compilation of rhythm-based minigames features over 30 new games, as well as a curated selection of 70 of the best games from previous entries in the series. It also includes a few from the Game Boy Advance original, which was never released in North America, so there is lots of new content for fans of the series to look forward to later this year.
Kirby: Planet Robobot
Nintendo closed out the presentation with the announcement of an all-new Kirby game for the 3DS, coming June 10. The game pits the lovable Kirby against mechanized invaders of Dream Land. He has access to 25 of his signature copy abilities, and additional abilities can be unlocked through the use of amiibo figures.
If all of this sounds like well-trodden ground for Kirby fans, the game includes the new Robobot Armor that can destroy obstacles or employ modified versions of certain copy abilities. The game also includes a new Team Kirby Clash multiplayer mode where up to four players work together and play one of four unique roles to take down a series of bosses.
Of course, a new Kirby game is also the perfect opportunity to introduce an all-new Kirby amiibo series, including Kirby and series favorites Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Waddle Dee. The series launches with the new game on June 10.
That’s all of the news from the latest Nintendo Direct. Be sure to visit the Nintendo wiki for all things related to the Big N.