Amidst the Wooly Yoshis and Captain Toads, there are some great games set to come out this year. Here a few that might have slipped your mind. If you’d rather watch than read, skip to the end for the video!
Rodea: The Sky Soldier
We first heard of Rodea: The Sky Soldier back in 2010 during an interview between Siliconera and Yuji Naka. If Yuji Naka doesn’t ring familiar to you, he was the lead developer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series who went on to open his own independent studio, Prope. When asked about the future of his independent studio, he revealed he was working on a new game, “I can’t really tell you the hardware or platform now, but one of them involves using the sky and it’s an original character IP we’re creating.”
That game was later announced as Rodea: The Sky Soldier, a NiGHTS-styled action game for the 3DS and Wii. Revealed to be completed in 2011 for the Wii, no release date was set— and then it went missing from the Tokyo Game Show floor. Kadokawa Games’ president Yoshimi Yasuda shut down rumors that the game was scrapped in 2013, and it was finally announced late last year that it would be coming to the 3DS and Wii U.
The story follows the journey of Rodea, a flying humanoid robot whose sole purpose is to protect Cecilia, the imperial princess of the Machine Empire Naga. After a foiled plan to stop a royal invasion by the Emperor Geared, Rodea and Cecilia are separated. 1000 years later, Rodea is found sleeping by a girl named Ion who shares a striking resemblance to Cecilia. After she is able to repair him, they embark on a journey to take back the Machine Empire.
Fans of Dreamcast-era platformers like Sonic Adventure 2 and Evil Twin will enjoy the look and feel of Rodea: The Sky Soldier. Watch out for it on September 22, 2015.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Not really a sequel, but still a part of the Xenoblade series, Xenoblade Chronicles X takes place in the year 2054. As a war between two alien races rages just above Earth, the planet takes severe collateral damage. Humanity is then forced to evacuate in a gigantic interstellar Ark ship. As they are being chased by the alien races, the ship crash lands on the majestic, yet hostile planet of Mira.
Xenoblade Chronicles X encourages the player to explore its expansive world, which is mooted to be the largest of any game on Wii U. The game is an open-world RPG where the player is given a variety of opportunities across the map to expand the plot. Different from the turn-based JRPG’s many American gamers are used to, Xenoblade Chronicles X will feature a realtime action-based battle system reminiscent of Final Fantasy XII, and should be familiar to fans of the original Xenoblade games. Diverse weather is also said to have an effect on which fiends you run into and how you fare in battle.
Aesthetically speaking, the game is much more impressive than its predecessors. After watching the exploration game trailer, I expect to spend hours in awe of the wonderfully rich environments. Character customization is another high point as you are able to select from a diverse set of attributes including gender, body shapes, height, skin color, voice and tattoos. There hasn’t been much revealed of online gameplay, but we do know it will feature co-op mode for up to four players. Offline, your avatar will be accompanied by 3 AI characters. The game will also feature 90 tracks by composer Hiroyuki Sawano. With so much music, I expect many hours of gameplay.
Splatoon is the colorful new third-person shooter coming to Wii U this Spring. Although it looks all cutesy and fun on the outside, don’t be deceived. Beneath its childlike charm is a serious competitive multiplayer battle arena, where up to eight players can duke it out online in 4v4 matches. There’s even a ranked mode! Does this mean Nintendo has its first eSports contender outside of Super Smash Bros.? Maybe. What it can promise is hours of fun on or offline.
Players control characters called Inklings. The general objective of the game is for your team to cover as much ground on the map as possible with your designated colored ink. Using the painted areas, you can either duck-and-hide or fast-travel the map. Although you can technically oust an enemy by spraying them with your color, the KDA (Kill, Death Assist) ratio doesn’t matter in this game. The winners are determined by either territory covered or length of time the territory is held, depending on the game mode.
An interesting and creative arsenal of weapons and defense items are also at your disposal such as the paint brush, ink grenades, ink tornado launcher, and splat roller— which allows you to cover large areas of the map with paint at once. The game also features use of the Wii U GamePad’s gyro sensor, allowing you to pan around the map and aim down your sights with relative ease. There is a shop in game where the weapons and clothing can be purchased to alter your player stats. There are also cosmetic items you can purchase to customize your character. If you enjoyed the likes of Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare, Splatoon is a level up. Your inner child is sure to enjoy it but your inner competitor will revel in it.
When I saw Mario Maker at E3 2014 the one thing I thought was... FINALLY! Fans have been making their own Mario and Nintendo-style 2d platformers on do-it-yourself game emulators, level editors, and ROM hacking tools for years. It was only a matter of time before Nintendo took this idea into their own hands. The outcome? Fantastic.
What you have is a totally customizable and playable Super Mario experience that allows you to switch between the original Super Mario Bros. and the New Super Mario Bros. U style. Both styles have all the familiarity we know and love about the old Mario games, with classic fiends like Koopas, Goombas, and Piranha Plants. Once a level is completed, players are able to shared their course creations online for others to play. This online level library could serve as a battleground for speed runners to challenge each other with their own custom courses. I can’t wait to subject my friends to my Goomba lair I already have mapped out.
Although the game has been delayed (yet again) you can expect to be making your own Super Mario death traps sometime later this year.
Contrary to popular belief, Nintendo doesn’t just make kids games. If they didn’t make that clear with Bayonetta, they definitely made it obvious when teaming up with Dead or Alive game designer, Tomonobu Itagaki of Valhalla Game Studios, to make Devil’s Third.
The story of Devil’s Third begins with a rogue Soviet force destroying all of the world’s satellites in an act of terrorism using the Kessler Syndrome, which renders all our high tech military gear completely useless. And apparently it stops electricity too… or something like that, since the world is reverted back to its katana-wielding ways. "It's a fictional parallel world, but it's not an impossible one,” said Itagaki in an interview with Weekly Famitsu. When questioned about his choice to also include elements of a third-person shooter game in this hack and slash style game, Itagaki explained, ”At first, you start from the position of a citizen, and all you have as weapons are metal pipes and normal guns. Insurgencies are happening everywhere, so you can try the road of the lone mercenary, or you can find allies and build up your own vigilante group or armed organization – clans or guilds, you could call them... So it's a massive shooter where tens of thousands of people try to control the North American land...” (via Kotaku)
Although not expected to be the most challenging of games, from its trailer it does promise fast-paced action and a fun story that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. If you're a fan of Tomonubu Itagaki’s style and other work such as Ninja Gaiden II, you will surely enjoy the flavor this game brings to the table.