Yes, Nintendo fans – its that time again. By now you all know the score. Every couple of months or so, Nintendo shares its upcoming wares with its devoted followers through the modern medium of internet streaming. Usually there is a different briefing event for the North America, Japanese and European markets and each one tends to focus on either the 3DS or Wii U. This week the massively popular handheld was the center of attention, and some genuinely exciting new titles were announced, perhaps paving the way for the struggling Wii U to take the limelight at E3. Join us as we take a look at the newly announced titles for the 3DS.
First the big piece of news; the one which has got the internet all in a tizzy. A Link to the Past, the SNES hit from 1991, is receiving a long-awaited sequel. Although it doesn’t have a title yet, the new 3DS game will be set in the same world as the 16 bit classic, and combine a top-down view with some 3D elements. A lot of the trappings of the game will seem familiar, for example the force beam sword play and dungeons, however the game is promised to be all-new. One exciting new feature sees Link transform himself into a kind of graffiti wall painting, who can then slide through tight spaces like Paper Mario. You can check out a 3D trailer of the game for yourself in the eShop, and a release is promised for this Holiday season. You may officially now start getting excited Nintendo fans.
As if a Link to the Past sequel wasn’t showing enough SNES love, another new/old game was announced during the conference; Yoshi’s Island. This will be the third installment of the platforming series starring the lovable breed of dinosaurs and baby Mario. The game looks to be a nice merging of the art style of the original game along with the more complex level layouts of its DS sequel. No more information on this one but if it can join the new Zelda game in coming out this Christmas then Nintendo will have a solid end to 2013.
Yet another Nintendo franchise title launching later this year is a new Mario Party title. Featuring 7 game boards and 81 separate mini-games this one promises to be the biggest yet, and should bring families together around the diminutive handheld this Winter. Mario Party 3DS will also be offering AR card games and StreetPass battles to its core gameplay.
OK, so three new game announcements is pretty good, but Nintendo didn’t stop there. The 3DS was the star of this conference and several new details on games already announced were also shared. Firstly Donkey Kong Returns 3D was confirmed for launch on May 24th, and it was announced that the game will feature 8 brand new levels, and a handheld specific mode with new game mechanics. Mario Golf: World Tour was also discussed, with it having some very robust multiplayer options such as leaderboards and communities that bring it into line with the previous 3DS online flag-bearer, Mario Kart 7.
Several games have already been confirmed for 2014, including the localization of Japanese RPG Bravely Default Flying Fairy and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. Finally for games, a new trio of eShop titles from Level 5 have also been announced and they are; The Starship Damprey, BUGS vs. TANKS! and Attack of the Friday Monsters, A Tokyo Tale. All three look very intriguing and we will be bringing you more on them soon.
In hardware news, a special Nintendo 3DS XL system featuring designs from Animal Crossing: New Leaf that comes pre-installed with the new game will be available on launch day, June 9, at a suggested retail price of $219.99. Lastly, two much requested games will be heading to the eShop. First of all we have the Legend of Zelda titles Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons for the 3DS, and secondly Earthbound for the Wii U eShop. This last title has been in demand for a digital version for as long as Nintendo have been re-releasing games on the Virtual Console, so the RPG will finally be playable on a modern console. There is particular interest from Europe, as the original SNES game was never released there.
So that’s about it for our Nintendo Direct round-up. Some very exciting stuff coming up for the 3DS over the next few months and into next year should keep the system selling well. Personally the only gripe I have is that Nintendo seems to have slightly ditched their more mature franchises in favor of more Mario and Zelda games – the announcement of a new Metroid and F-Zero title in particular would pretty much guarantee plenty of new 3DS sales in my opinion. What do you guys think?