Nintendo’s recent announcement that Legend of Zelda wouldn’t be coming out until 2016 bummed out quite a number of people, myself included. As such, I watched the Nintendo Direct yesterday hoping for some good news. Unfortunately, I found myself wishing it was a bad April Fool’s joke. That’s not to say all the announcements were bad though, read on as I attempt to sift through all the hype and see what Nintendo has in store for us all.
The first batch of announcements all involve Smash Brothers which is no surprise, the franchise is Nintendo’s largest and most successful title besides Mario Kart. So what’s new? Lots and lots of DLC. Nintendo seems to have finally caught up to other publishers and is beginning to dole out content in increments. If you didn’t shell out $90 for both the 3DS and Wii U version of Smash Brothers you can purchase Mewtwo as a character for the low low price of 3.99 on one system (he’s a dollar extra if you want him on both 3DS and Wii U). Those that did purchase and register both games before March 31st will receive him for free on April 15th. The other character announced was Lucas which I found terribly ironic. You see, Lucas is from the GBA game Mother 3 which was NEVER released in the US despite fans begging Nintendo to do so for years. The coolest Smash announcement however was Nintendo setting up a site where players can request which Characters they’d like to see in the game, I’m voting for Crash Bandicoot!
Amiibo, Amiibo, and MORE Amiibo
Moving on, I think we can all agree that Amiibo has turned out to be a tremendous success for Nintendo. So successful that now Amiibo’s are going to be created for EVERYTHING. Not only were a new batch of figurines announced for Smash but for Yoshi’s Wholly World (I’ll admit this one looked cute!) and Splatoon. I want you all to understand that these will never ever stop now. Nintendo is going to shove Amiibo’s down everyone’s throat until you’re long past sick and tired of seeing them. Meanwhile, it’s clear that Nintendo still doesn’t really know what to do with them as evidenced by what they are calling, “Tap:Nintendo’s Greatest Bits”. They are basically 3 minute demos from random NES/SNES games. Each amiibo gives you 9 demos or “scenes” for a total of 27 minutes of gameplay. However, there’s absolutely no correlation between which figure you use and which “bits” you get to experience. So yay for 27 minutes of disjointed gameplay! It’s clear that Nintendo expects that you’ll want to pay for the full experience after playing a 3 minute demo, but I would be very surprised if that turns out to be the case.
Nintendo 64 and DS Games on the Virtual Console
Nintendo highlighted the fact that DS and N64 emulated games will be coming to Wii U but I think it’s quite silly. Why would anyone want to play these games on their Wii U? The DS games you can easily play on a 3DS. They weren’t made to play on a huge screen. As for N64, these games NOT being upscaled (to my knowledge) as such they are also going to look terrible on your 50’ screen. If you want to play N64 games that bad, get them from ebay. Trust me, they are going to be cheaper.
There were also quite a number of trailers for various games. Most of them are forgettable and many of the 3rd party games have already been released elsewhere on other platforms as early as early as 2013 for cellphones. Why is Nintendo touting cellphone games being ported to their system?? There are a few games I do want to highlight though:
Mario Maker: I REALLY hope this game is cheap. After all, it’s just a series of tools to make your own Mario levels to share with others. Other games focused on level creation like Little Big Planet at least come with some pre-made levels but to my knowledge that’s not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool idea and I’m sure creating the levels will be intuitive but I personally think Nintendo should release this one for free as part of Mario’s 30th anniversary.
Boxboy: This game doesn’t have fancy graphics or even color but it just looks plain fun! It’s a puzzle platformer from Hal Laboratories (makers of Kirby) based on making boxes in different configurations and using them to traverse rooms. I’ll probably be picking this one up!
Puzzle and Dragons Z: I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you this game is fun. How do I know? This is a port of a cellphone game. You can play it and about 50 of it’s clones right now for free. Having said that, many of them are free because of microtransactions so if you hate those, you can always pick this one up.
Don’t Starve: The indie roguelike has been popular on Steam for a while. What’s nice about the Wii U release is that it will come with a 2nd download code so that you can play with a friend.
Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem: This game looks gorgeous and blew me away. Nintendo shut up and take my money!
Pokemon Rumble World: Another free to play title from Nintendo that is combined with the addictive nature of Pokemon. It will be fluffy and microtransaction heavy, don’t believe me? Check out my Pokemon Shuffle review here().
Fire Emblem: This one looks just as good if not better than Awakening! Seems like there will be 2 different storylines to play through this time as well. Picking this one up will be a no-brainer for fans of tactical RPGs.
Easily one of the strangest moments of the Nintendo Direct came when announcements were made for the Streetpass Mii Plaza. Two new games are being added, one about fishing and the other about surviving a zombie riddled town. The Streetpass games tend to be fun because you manage to make a little bit of progress in them every day as you encounter people on the street. However, the announcement of a “Premium” edition of the plaza had me seeing red. For $5 you get to see people’s birthdays, store up to a hundred Mii’s in a “VIP” room (does ANYONE care where their Mii is? Anyone??) and…. that’s it? Seriously? Nintendo is going to charge me $5 to see people’s Birthdays!? Nintendo, it’s these kinds of announcements that cause me to worry about your future.
Of course Nintendo wanted to save their best annoucements for last. So what did they have in store for us, announcements about the NX console? Perhaps information about the program that will be replacing the now shuttered Club Nintendo? Nope! Animal Crossing, lots of Animal Crossing! Did you ever want to play an animal crossing that was all about decorating a house? No? Me either! But wait, it gets better, you can buy cards that act like Amiibos. These cards allow you to bring various Animal Crossing characters into the house you designed which allow crazy hijinks to ensue like standing around! But that’s not all! You can also take a picture of all these characters standing around! Amazing! I’m sure lines will be around the block for this landmark simulation of what having friends come over to your house feels like! Again, it’s these kinds of game announcements that make me worry about Nintendo’s future.
All sarcasm aside, the new dlc for Mario Kart based on around Animal Crossing did seem fun and well made. The changing aesthetic of the seasons is a nice touch. Also the introduction of a 200cc class for the game will breathe some new life and extra challenge into the game, the best part is that this particular upgrade is free! I also wanted to highlight that nintendo will be releasing an NFC reader/writer accessory so that people with an older model 3DS will still be able to use Amiibo (if they want to fall down that particular rabbit hole). Overall, this Nintendo Direct did not fill me with excitement. With the exception of the SMT x FE trailer, there was nothing I saw that made me truly excited about owning a Nintendo system. You’re going to need to do a lot better if you hope to make me forget about the lack of a Zelda game guys! Good luck to you!