Notable Announcements from Last Night’s Nintendo Direct

Nintendo launched the first big Nintendo Direct presentation last night to highlight titles releasing up through the Summer of 2016. Let me start by stating that neither the NX nor Zelda U was shown (to my absolute frustration) but rather a bunch of updates to already existing or previously announced titles with a couple of new ones sprinkled in. I’ll cover the most notable announcements.

  1. New Game Announcements

Nintendo showed off a brand new Paper Mario game titled Paper Mario: Color Splash for the Wii U coming later this year. The game’s story revolves around a world losing its color and it’s up to Mario and his crew to use a special hammer that paints the color back into the world. The game basically looks like your typical Paper Mario game with an Epic Mickey painting aspect added in. Color Splash looks good but lets hope it ends up better than Sticker Star on the 3DS. *shutter*

Rhythm Heaven Megamix is the latest edition in Nintendo’s Rhythm Heaven series that consists of a collection of rhythm-based mini games. Think Warioware if every game was longer and revolved rhythms and music. Megamix will be exclusive to the 3DS and will include a collection of games found in past Rhythm Heaven titles including all-new ones. I have not played any Rhythm Heaven title in the past so I cannot comment too much on the series but the game looks like a good entry point for those like me who have no prior experience to Rhythm Heaven. The game launches later this year on an unspecified date.

Kirby has a new adventure coming out way in the form of Kirby Planet Robobot that seems to retain the classic Kirby gameplay but now includes mech suits that can copy the powers of other machines. The game looks interesting but if you were expecting anything out of the ordinary like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse on the Wii U, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

A new game titled Mini Mario & Friends Amiibo Challenge was announced as a free-to-play E-Shop 3DS game that launches April 28th. If you purchase an Amiibo at Best Buy, Gamestop or Amazon on March 25th you will gain early access to the game. Basically, Amiibo Challenge looks like a Mario vs. Donkey Kong title that uses Amiibo to transform characters into the game to solve puzzles. I like the idea of a game using Amiibos as a source of content for the game for those folks like myself who are Amiibo collectors. A game like this makes Amiibo figures worth a little more than pretty figurines on a shelf in your nerd cave.

Pocket Card Jockey for Nintendo 3DS was announced that will be a downloadable E-Shop title later this year. The game is a mixture of horse racing and Solitaire in a chibi, cutesy anime art style. Players basically control a jockey in a horse race which is controlled by moves in a Solitaire card game. The game is developed by Game Freak (Pokemon) and looks rather odd, but I’m sure there is an audience for it. I do like some Solitaire so I have a slight interest in the game.

Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 was shown, which is the sequel to a downloadable indie sidescrolling action game in the vein of Mega Man and Gunstar Heroes. The sequel will introduce a boss copy feature similar to Mega Man which allows the protagonist to copy the powers of a boss character to use in the game. Expect the game to drop on the E-Shop this Summer.

A new Monster Hunter title for the 3DS was also announced titled Monster Hunter Generations. Not a whole lot of details and most information was promised at a later date, but the game is coming this Summer and you can grab Monster Hunter 4 on the E-Shop for $19.99 for a limited time.

Lastly, Nintendo announced that Super Nintendo Virtual Console support is now coming to the 3DS. You can grab Super Mario World, F-Zero and Pilotwings right now for $7.99 a piece with various other games launching soon including Earthbound and Super Metroid. This would be great news if it wasn’t for two problems. First, SNES games will ONLY work on the New Nintendo 3DS and not the standard 3DS models… which is absolutely baffling to me. You mean to tell me a 3DS can’t run Super Nintendo games?! Second, any games you may have purchased on the Wii U or Wii are not cross-buy compatible nor will there be an upgrade discount. Users must AGAIN pay the full price for these games. Consider me disappointed.

2.  Game Updates

Splatoon will be receiving two new updates in March and April including new maps, a weapon recommendation feature, balance updates, tweaks to game modes and more. I’m very happy that this game is getting continued support from Nintendo and all content continues to be absolutely free. Props to Nintendo for this one.

Speaking of free updates, Super Mario Maker is also getting new features. A locked door item and key item will be added to the course editor that allows users to add locked doors to their courses and hide keys to open them throughout the course. This will add a bit of a puzzle solving element to Super Mario Maker that will add a nice degree of challenge and creativity to the game. Super Expert mode is also coming to the 100 Mario challenge mode that will unlock new characters for the magic mushroom power-up upon completion. This updates arrives March 9th.

Fire Emblem Fates will gain a brand new third story path on March 10th that players can download for $19.99. You must own Birthright or Conquest in order to play the content. Also, various map packs are releasing for $2.49 a piece throughout the months of March and April. That’s a lot of content for a game that just came out a week ago!

Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U will be receiving all of the new characters found in the upcoming Hyrule Warriors Legends 3DS title. Those who purchase Legends will be able to transfer that content to the Wii U version. Also, a free downloadable character is coming to both games, which will be Medley from Wind Waker. Hyrule Warriors Legends will include a season pass and continued DLC support throughout the year. Out of all of the modern things Nintendo decides to implement… it’s the season pass.

3. Game Revisits

Nintendo also showed off many games releasing soon that were previously announced. Star Fox Zero was shown which looks like it had a total revamp since its first unveiling. The game seems to be a reboot of Star Fox which uses a lot of elements from Star Fox 64 like branching paths. Also, a new Star Fox game titled Star Fox Guard will be bundled with Zero and is basically a tower defense game starring Slippy Toad. I’m excited for Star Fox Zero and hope it delivers!

Also, we received new trailers for Pokken Tournament, Bravely Second, Dragon Quest VII, Disney, Metroid Prime: Federation Force (bleh) and Mario & Sonic at the Rio Olympics 2016.

That’s about it. Not the greatest Nintendo Direct but at least Nintendo confirmed that the 3DS is not dying yet and they’re delivering a few goodies to Wii U owners in the form of Paper Mario, Pokken Tournament and Star Fox Zero. This may not have been the Nintendo Direct I was hoping for, but I’ll take it. Check out the rest of the trailers below: