Few things in the gaming industry get me more excited than a Nintendo Direct. I’m 36, a bit jaded, and the feeling of elation often eludes me with game announcements… with the exception of Nintendo. Blind nostalgia? Sure. But hey, it makes me happy.
Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct presentation spent a little over thirty minutes running down a list of upcoming titles for both the 3DS (which refuses to die) and Switch. Many of the games shown were remasters or ports of games that already exist on other platforms, but there were a few bangers thrown in that really excited me as a Nintendo consumer. Hell, even some of the ports did.
In a smart move, Nintendo began the presentation by rapid firing the 3DS news and getting it out of the way. The 3DS still sells and I love the console to death, but the Switch is the fancy new gadget everyone wants to hear about.
Coming to the 3DS we have a remaster of the Gamecube classic Luigi’s Mansion. I love this game (LOVE it) and I was bummed to see it announced exclusively for the underpowered 3DS hardware. I’d like to see more simultaneous releases like they did with Fire Emblem Warriors and (eventually mentioned below) plan to do with Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
I forget which host it was, but one of the guys from Kinda Funny pointed out that perhaps Nintendo themselves didn’t predict the Switch would be as successful as it is and as a “just in case” kept working on 3DS titles. What we’re seeing come out could be the last batch of new releases, though that’s highly unlikely. The install base is strong and there’s no reason for Nintendo to kill support because I want to be selfish and play everything on my Switch. But, if they did that it’d be rad.
How do we know they’re not killing support anytime soon, though? Because a remaster of Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is in the works for 3DS and doesn’t release until 2019. It’s only March and Nintendo is already confirming 2019 releases for their aging handheld.
Also on deck for the 3DS is a new entry in the WarioWare series (WarioWare Gold) that releases on August 3rd, a sequel to Dillon’s Rolling Western (Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers) coming May 24th (a demo arrives May 10th), and Detective Pikachu on March 23rd. I’ll admit that I had no interest in Detective Pikachu going into the Direct, but the hard-boiled, aging electrical rat won me over.
I was mainly interested in the Switch portion of the Direct, which focused on the upcoming Mario Tennis Aces. I’m not big into those games, though, so this was definitely the presentation’s low point. However, the game’s RPG mode (and playable Chain Chomp) has me somewhat intrigued.
Mario Tennis Aces arrives exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on June 11th, with a free demo coming to the eShop “soon” that allows for 1v1 online tournament matches. The trailer showed off a JoyCon control mode that lets you swat along with our Lord and Savior Waluigi (everyone else is worthless), as well as detailing different swings, special abilities, and some single-player stuff.
Nintendo still hasn’t given up on ARMS and hopes to reinvigorate interest in the game by holding a free Global Testpunch demo on March 31st. For three days, all Switch owners can download the Testpunch and check out a variety of fighters and game modes. They’re also holding an online tournament from now until March 18th, where the top 8 players will battle it out online for the finals on March 31st (which will be streamed from Nintendo of America HQ).
On the ports and remasters front, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition was given an official May 18th release, indie RPG darling Undertale is coming “eventually,” 2D horror puzzle platformer Little Nightmares: Complete Edition arrives May 18th with Pac-man amiibo support, Dark Souls Remastered will run a free network test demo on the eShop and a brand new Solaire of Astora amiibo was shown off (I smiled so hard at this I hurt my jaw), crass RPG South Park: The Fractured But Whole arrives April 24th (though no sign of The Stick of Truth, which was included in the Xbox One and PS4 versions), Zelda-like classic Okami HD is coming “this summer,” Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy surprisingly comes to Switch on July 10th, and finally, Wii U underdog Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker comes to Switch and 3DS on July 13th.
That’s a lot of great stuff.
I know ports and remasters draw a collective groan across social media, but I love the idea of them. They’re a great way to introduce games to new fans, which is how I experienced The Last of Us, Dishonored, the earlier Batman Arkham games, and more. I absolutely adored Hyrule Warriors on Wii U but never got around to the DLC (or 3DS exclusive content). This is an absolute must-buy. I also can’t wait to revisit Captain Toad, Okami, Undertale, Dark Souls, and finally give the Crash trilogy a shot.
Jumping back into the newer stuff, Splatoon 2 is getting another major update (3.0) with 100+ new pieces of gear, 3 new stages, and a brand new high-level X rank above S+. However, the biggest news for Splatoon fans came by way of a brand new single-player expansion, dubbed Octo. Launching “this summer,” Octo is the first paid expansion for Splatoon 2 at $19.99 and puts players in the shoes of an Octoling named Agent 8. It’ll feature 80 new missions, new story bits, and unlock the ability to play as an Octoling in Turf War multiplayer once the new campaign is completed.
Still no word on removing the timed scheduling of the game’s Salmon Run mode. Damn.
Kirby Star Allies arrives on the Switch on the 16th next week and Nintendo plans to support the launch with a batch of free character DLC. The first update arrives on March 24th and adds five classic characters to the ever-growing roster.
Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido comes to the Nintendo Switch (and 3DS) on June 8th and appears to mix match-style gameplay by matching sushi pieces on a conveyor belt to deal damage to your opponent. I’m sure it’ll feature some sort of single-player mode, but Sushi Striker supports local and online multiplayer battles.
My favorite piece of news confirmed Octopath Traveler’s July 13th release date. I’m so glad that Square Enix decided to stick with the Octopath name, but man, between the Crash trilogy, Captain Toad, and now this, the week of July 13th is going to be expensive.
The highly anticipated Square Enix RPG Octopath Traveler will receive a $100 USD Collector’s Edition, dubbed Wayfarer’s Edition, which includes a coin, a cloth map, a pop-up book, and a soundtrack CD. The trailer also showed off two new characters (a merchant and an apothecary), shed a little more light on class combinations in battle, and confirmed that the Warfarer’s Edition will release the same day as the standard one.
The biggest news of the Direct, however, came at the very end. As we all expected, Super Smash Bros. will make its way to the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2018. It wasn’t confirmed to be a brand new game in the series, nor a Deluxe Version remaster of the Wii U and 3DS version, but the trailer did confirm Splatoon’s male and female Inklings as well as a Breath of the Wild version of Link. Other familiar faces were seen in silhouettes as well, but whether or not these are simple roster additions remains to be seen.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty exciting Direct. I know ports and remasters aren’t for everyone, but there was a lot of stuff shown that I’d love to play. I can’t wait for Octopath Traveler!
What about you, folks? What did you think of the Direct? Did you enjoy it or are you somehow more jaded than I am?