Today, Nintendo graced us all with a brand-new Nintendo Direct, outlining some of the games and updates we can expect for the 3DS and Wii U this holiday. This Direct is important because it's the last one before Sony and Microsoft launch their respective next-generation consoles, so Nintendo has to put its best foot forward. Did they pull off an impressive showing?
Super Mario 3D World
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata kicked off the show with a trailer for Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. The game looks like Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS brought to life on a home console, with a strong focus on beating your friends to the end of the level and cat power-ups. But who needs to hear more about that, when USgamer's own Jeremy Parish offered up his own impressions of the game this morning? Super Mario 3D World is coming on November 22, the same day that Microsoft's Xbox One touches down in the United States. Nintendo is also releasing Mario and Luigi-themed Wii Remote Plus-es on November 1.
Wii Party U
Next up was Wii Party U, the follow-up to Nintendo's party game collection. The first game shown was Water Runner, which will have players using their Wii Remotes to ladel water from a stream represented on the Wii U GamePad to a bucket shown on their television screen. Dance With Mii has the party joining hands and Wii Remotes to dance around the Wii U GamePad in time to music. The Wii Party U bundle includes a horizontal stand for the GamePad and a Wii Remote Plus. If you enjoyed Wii Party or Nintendoland, this looks like more of the same, so you can pick it up on October 25.
Sonic Loves Nintendo
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 will have online multiplayer for the first time in the series' short history! Ski Cross, Snowboard Cross, Speed Skating, and the Dream Event quadrathlon will all have available online modes. When players jump online and win medals, they also win points for their home country, making the leaderboard competition a worldwide affair. Nintendo will offer the standalone Mario & Sonic and a bundle that includes a light blue Wii Remote Plus on November 15.
Continuing Nintendo and Sega's strong working relationship this year, Sonic is joining the roster for Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. Yeah, that's right, Mario, Sonic, and Mega Man all together in one game.
More Pikmin 3 On The Way
Nintendo continues to feel out the new reality of the games industry with paid downloadable content for Pikmen 3. The DLC will be new Mission Modes stages. The first Round of DLC will be the "Collect Treasure" Pack, which offers three stages for $1.99. Nintendo has "a second round and additional offerings" that is coming at a later time. Pikmin 3 will also be getting a free software update today that will improve the world ranking feature and offer players a free Mission Mode stage. Pikmin 3 players need to update before downloading the game's new DLC.
Link Tries Something New
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will be shaking up the series classic gameplay a bit. Previously in Zelda games, you'd find a new weapon in a dungeon that would help you complete that dungeon and all subsequent dungeons. In A Link Between Worlds, there will instead be a shop offering new weapons for purchase or rental, and players can tackle the latter dungeons in any order. That means players will have to pay close attention to their stash of rupees as they explore this new Hyrule. Once again, USgamer's Jeremy Parish has an in-depth look at the upcoming 3DS Zelda game. Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will be coming to Nintendo 3DS on November 22.
Nintendo even offered a new trailer for Square Enix' Bravely Default for 3DS, finally coming to the US in 2014. The English voices aren't my cup of tea, but the trailer said the game will let players choose between English and Japanese audio.
Leave The Epic Yarn At Home
Finally, Nintendo showed us one final title, a new Kirby game for 3DS. The game looked like a traditional 2D Kirby game, but with an extra sense of depth: Kirby, enemies, and elements bounced in and out of the background. The short trailer also showed off a Kirby power-up allowing the little puffball to suck up larger items, like a giant tree. The new, unnamed Kirby game is planned for release in 2014.
Home For The Holidays
Nintendo also detailed the release dates of a number of first and third party titles. The full list is below, but sadly Iwata announced that Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze has been delayed from this year until February 2014. That makes Super Mario 3D World is big tentpole Wii U title for 2013.
- Just Dance 2014 for Wii and Wii U - October 14
- Skylanders Swap Force for Wii, Wii U, and 3DS - October 13
- Lego Marvel Superheroes for Wii U and 3DS - October 22
- Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate for 3DS - October 25
- Sonic Lost Worlds for Wii U and 3DS - October 29
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag for Wii U - October 29
- Phoenix Wright Duel Destinies for 3DS - October 24th (demo available today)
And last but not least, are you still playing Animal Crossing? Of course you are, because Animal Crossing is forever. Nintendo is offering Link's starting shirt from Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD in Animal Crossing; just scan the QR codes found at 20:45 in the Direct video linked above. Still haunted by a desire for more Animal Crossing content? Connecting to Nintendo Zones on October 1 will let you download a Fedora Chair and October 15 will add a Sushi Platter to download.
It's a decent lineup for this holiday season, but will it be enough to help Nintendo's Wii U fend off the Xbox One and PlayStation 4? Mario and Zelda will be on store shelves to sway parents, but I can't help but wonder if Nintendo would've been better off with Mario Kart 8 in the place of Super Mario 3D World. Mario Kart Wii was Nintendo's best-selling non-pack-in game for the Wii, and the price drop plus a Mario Kart bundle might've cleaned up in 2013. Anybody picking up a 3DS or Wii U after today's Direct presentation?