Satoru Iwata, joined by two people dressed in Mario and Luigi costumes, kicked off today’s 3DS-centric Nintendo Direct with a closer look at the new Mario and Luigi game – dubbed Dream Team Bros. – which involves Mario entering Luigi’s dreams to save Princess Peach.
It’s a very co-operative focused game and features battle scenes involving both Mario and Luigi rather than real-time fighting, which could be very interesting. The visuals seem a bit odd, however – it doesn’t look like a very good game, graphically, although the distinction between 2D and 3D is great. The game releases in July.
Iwata then took a look at the new entry in the Mario Golf series, pointing out that the subtitle World Tour was referencing the online community features – it’ll be similar to Mario Kart 7, with Friend and Theme communities, as well as real-time online play. There’s no confirmed date, however, just that provisional date of Summer.
Focusing on Luigi – it is the year of Luigi after all – Iwata went on to announce a new Mario Party game for the 3DS. The boards are a lot more dynamic and there are 81 new mini-games, although Mario Party’s allure is same-screen multiplayer, so a handheld release seems like a strange choice. The game will release this Winter.
New Super Luigi U is a massive expansion for New Super Mario Bros. U and is described as “almost like a brand new” experience. There are a few tweaks to the gameplay – it’s a lot more fast paced, with Luigi able to jump higher and only having 100 seconds on the clock for each of the levels. The DLC will be landing on the Wii U eShop this summer.[videoyoutube]Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is confirmed to be a remake of the Wii version of the platformer, rather than a brand new title. They’ve adjusted the difficulty with a new mode – to essentially make the game easier (it was a very hard game after all).
They’ve also added ways to save yourself from falling or crashing into obstacles, which apparently makes the game better for portable play. Of course, this is all simply in addition to the original mode. There will also be eight new 3DS exclusive levels. The game is looking really good, visually, and we already know that the gameplay is solid. It’s out in just over a month – May 24th – so that’s something to look forward to.
Sticking with the theme of Mario characters, Iwata took a closer look at the new Yoshi’s Island game. The art style isn’t quite as refined as the previous DS Yoshi’s Island game, with an almost 2.5D style, but the platforming gameplay looks fun. Iwata couldn’t announce a release date just yet, however.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is a puzzle game coming to the eShop and actually looks quite fun. It involves you placing tiles on the bottom screen to guide mini versions of Mario and Donkey Kong through the levels on the top screen. You’re also able to create your own stages and play mini-games, so there’s plenty of content in this eShop title. There’s not too long to wait, either – it’s out on the 9th of May (and not until the 12th of June in the UK, seemingly).[drop]Taking some time out from 3DS to focus on Wii U, Iwata detailed the new system update, which will be available next week. This update not only speeds up the load times of the console, but allows for downloading of updates and installation of games in the background.
The Virtual Console follows this update, offering lots of classic Nintendo games which can be played on the TV or GamePad. The revered Earthbound will be one of these titles, releasing before the end of this year. That’s quite the release window.
Wii U Panorama view will also arrive next week – it’s a quite nifty application which allows you to watch 360 video tours. There’s a free demo but additional tours will cost £1.79 each.
Pikmin fans will be happy to know that there will be a new type of Pikmin – named Winged Pikmin – which are able to fly, offering some strategic advantages. There’s no confirmed release date, but Iwata said it will be available in the next few months.
Iwata passed the torch over to Satoru Shibata, President of Nintendo Europe, who revealed that the new Pokémon Wii U game – Pokémon Scramble U – will feature NFC features with collectible figurines. A step in the right direction, if you ask me – now just do the same for Pokémon cards and I’ll be set.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was then shown off. The game releases on the 14th of June and will come with a special edition 3DS XL, which has the game pre-installed. Shibata then reiterated the upcoming 3DS releases, as well as revealing that the Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons games will be coming to Virtual Console this summer. These are ports of the original GameBoy games and will arrive on May 30th.
Also arriving on the eShop this summer are a trio of titles from Level 5: The Starship Damery, Bugs vs. Tanks and Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale, which is a lighthearted game featuring a boy who lives in a world where 1970s TV show monsters come to life every Friday. Odd, but interesting nonetheless.
Shin Megami Tensei IV is also coming to the 3DS later this year, and actually looks quite good – it retains the gameplay of previous games but blends it with some new ideas. There will be “epic story arcs”, “optimised graphics” and “powerful new demons”. Professor Layton is extremely popular and the latest title in the series, will release on 3DS later this year. There’ll be new puzzles, new story twists and new gameplay, naturally.
Next up was an interesting pre-rendered trailer with a wonderful score. It appeared to be a Final Fantasy-esque title similar to the DS release The 4 Heroes of Light. It’s actually named Bravery Default and will release later this year.
And then, Nintendo did something brilliant – the unmistakeable Zelda music started playing and a 3D, top-down Zelda game was trailered. This title is very similar to the classic A Link to the Past – set in the same world and essentially being a sequel to the game. There’s no full title yet but it looks like a true revolution of the franchise – it’s the top-down Zelda game’s reborn.
The 3D features will allow for a clear difference in height, allowing for the dungeons to have puzzles across different floors. As well as this, the game’s core mechanic allows Link to become a drawing in order to walk along certain walls. The game will be out towards the end of this year and a 3D video will soon be on the Nintendo eShop if you’d like to see it in action.
There’s a lot in store for the 3DS, then – Sony really need to hit back hard with Vita games in the coming months, although their PS4 distraction might prevent them from doing so. Nintendo really know how to please their target market.
Thanks to Peter for his assistance.