UPDATE: Following on from the announcement that the Ness Amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. set’s Wave 4 releases will be exclusive to Gamestop/EB Games, which came shortly after this Direct, Nintendo has also clarified two other instances of Wave 4 exclusivity. Jigglypuff and Greninja have indeed been added to the Wave 4 releases on May 29th, though both will also be exclusive to certain retailers. The Jigglypuff Amiibo will only be sold at Target in the U.S. (the plan for Canada, which Target recently pulled out of, is currently unknown), while Greninja is only being sold at Toys ‘R’ Us. So far, there haven’t been any retail exclusivity plans announced for Wario, Charizard, Robin, Lucina, or Pac-Man, which will so far be shipped to all major retailers.
Original report follows:
It was an especially lengthy and busy Nintendo Direct for the new Spring season, with Nintendo having quite a busy slate for 2015! Between 3DS and Wii U, Nintendo gamers of all varieties have plenty to look forward to, regardless of whether they own one platform, or both. This Direct also provided some welcome updates (and a few radical surprises!) regarding Nintendo’s upcoming Amiibo slate, and also delivered some pretty exciting DLC announcements for last year’s top blockbusters.
Thus, if you missed the broadcast, or just want a handy recap of the highlights, we’ve got the rundown on all of the essential news that you need to know out of the April 2015 Nintendo Direct presentation!
SUPER SMASH BROS. SEES PSYCHICS!
The Direct kicked off with the official reveal of fan-anticipated DLC fighter, Mewtwo in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U! While only Wii U footage was shown, Mewtwo’s familiar moveset from Super Smash Bros. Melee was shown off, along with a few new surprises (namely an all-new Final Smash attack!) to bring the familiar Pokemon personality into the current wave of Super Smash Bros. releases!
Originally announced as an exclusive reward for those who bought and registered both Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on Club Nintendo, Mewtwo was confirmed to be offered as paid DLC in both games for those who failed to buy and register both games before the deadline that expired yesterday. Club Nintendo members that did satisfy the original conditions however will still receive a download code to redeem Mewtwo for free.
If you aren’t eligible for the free download, you can spend either $3.99 to download Mewtwo for each individual Super Smash Bros. game on 3DS or Wii U, or pay an agreeable $4.99 to get Mewtwo in both versions at once. Mewtwo will also launch as paid DLC this month, on April 28th. Eligible Club Nintendo registers however will get a free Mewtwo download code sent to them on April 15th, giving them time to enjoy the character a bit early.
Mewtwo’s public launch this month will also coincide with a major software update (update 1.0.6) applied to both Super Smash Bros. games, which will provide new DLC options, and provide some gameplay balancing in each. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will also get new sharing functionality related to photos, Mii Fighters, replay footage, custom stages, and more. An example of these additions was provided with all-new Mii Fighter costumes, which include crossover costumes themed around The Legend of Zelda, Xenoblade Chronicles, Mega Man, and Mega Man X! You can pay $0.75 to get the costumes for each individual version, or pay a discounted $1.15 to simultaneously get them for both games. The costumes will be available to download on April 15th.
This announcement was followed up by another pleasant surprise, with a reveal trailer showcasing Ness getting clobbered by various fighters. Eventually though, he’s bailed out by none other than Lucas, the Mother 3 protagonist, who was revealed to be an upcoming DLC fighter himself! The Direct then started showcasing Lucas’ moveset for a bit, which is similar to its counterpart in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, though does contain some exclusive new moves for the new games. Lucas is planned to be released as paid DLC this June, which would seem to have Nintendo officially backpedaling on their previous stance of not putting DLC fighters into the game.
In fact, Nintendo is officially opening the floodgates to fan demand on smashbros.com! Using the ‘Fighter Ballot’, you can submit your ideas for fighters you would like to see added to the roster of Super Smash Bros. games. You can list your gender (strangely), your fighter, which game they hail from, and why they’d be a good fit for the series. It’s assumed that first-party Nintendo characters are ideal, though Nintendo doesn’t seem to restrict input for third-party characters.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U are a few months old now, but it seems like they’re still exciting as they were in the lead-up to launch!
THE AMIIBO HUNT CONTINUES!
With news of new Super Smash Bros. content, comes the inevitable word on the next wave of Amiibo figures. The first bit of news is when those of us in Canada and the U.S. can expect Wave 4 of the Super Smash Bros. series to launch, and apparently we’ll be waiting a little while longer in contrast to Europe and Japan, who are set to get the new figures in April. North America however will get the Wave 4 Amiibo in stock all the way on May 29th, though the size of Wave 4 has apparently been increased! On top of the previously-announced Lucina, Robin, Pac-Man, Ness, Charizard, and Wario, Wave 4 also appears to have added Jigglypuff and Greninja, who were now shown with the other figures with this announcement.
While it wasn’t mentioned in this Direct, Nintendo confirmed shortly afterward that some of these Amiibo would be retailer-exclusive as well, starting with Ness, who will be exclusive to Gamestop/EB Games in North America.
Along with the announcement of Wave 4, came the reveals of Wave 5 and Wave 6 as well! Wave 5 will be the smallest of the lot, merely encompassing Dark Pit and Palutena, both of whom will release in July. Wave 6 is a bit smaller as well, containing five Amiibo, specifically, Pikmin & Olimar, Zero-Suit Samus, Bowser Jr., Ganondorf, and Dr. Mario. Wave 6 will apparently launch in September. Nintendo also reminds viewers that Lucina and Robin can also be used in Code Name S.T.E.A.M., and Wario can be used in Mario Party 10, outside of the Super Smash Bros. duo. Nintendo follows up by assuring that Amiibo figures will eventually be made of Mewtwo and Lucas as well.
There was no confirmation of re-issues for especially rare and costly Super Smash Bros. series Amiibo like Villager, Little Mac, Rosalina or Lucario, but at least Amiibo hunters will get a clear sense of what will be keeping them busy for the rest of the year.
NINTENDO TAPS INTO AMIIBO POTENTIAL!
Despite the many announcements related to the highly coveted Super Smash Bros. series Amiibo figures, Nintendo changed gears a bit to address Amiibo in general, including the recently released Super Mario Amiibo series. This was done with the reveal of a new piece of Wii U software called Amiibo Tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits. This free software allows you to scan any Amiibo figure on the Wii U Gamepad, regardless of which set it’s from, to receive a free timed trial play of a random retro Nintendo game. An example shown was a Super Mario series Mario Amiibo activating a timed demo of Super Mario World on Super NES.
Other potential games include Super Mario Bros. 2 on NES, Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on Super NES, and Kirby Super Star on Super NES, among many others on both consoles. Nintendo also claims that the game demo you may get will be random, and will differ from the same Amiibo scanned by a friend, with a separate Super Mario series Mario Amiibo from the one before getting a demo of Super Metroid for Super NES. Scanning the same Amiibo again however will give you a different timed ‘highlight demo’ in a different section of the game, giving you a cool way to see the most interesting bits of beloved Nintendo classics. It would seem then that the demos aren’t restricted by the franchise that their Amiibo hail from.
Nintendo hopes that the random and potentially surprising nature of the Amiibo rewards will encourage players to check out, or perhaps revisit their classics from the 8-bit and 16-bit era, which could lead to an uptick of Wii U Virtual Console sales. When you try out the demos of friends’ Amiibos, it can also recapture the feeling of exchanging old NES or Super NES cartridges, or so Nintendo hopes. The software will come to the Wii U eShop at some point this Spring.
Hey, why not, right? You can never have too many uses for those Amiibo you’ve been collecting!
MARIO MAKES ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY!
Next up was a new look at Mario Maker, the upcoming create/share tool coming to Wii U this year. After a neat 30th Anniversary showcase that took Mario from the assets of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U, the game was recapped for those who might not know much about it. Apparently, the entire commemoration video was made in Mario Maker.
The game allows players to simply drag and drop assets from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World or New Super Mario Bros. U using the stylus and the Wii U Gamepad Screen, to design your own custom Mario stages. These include obstacles, enemies and item blocks. When you’re done, you can then upload your custom stages to Nintendo Network for people across the world to enjoy.
This mostly served as a recap of information that those who regularly follow Nintendo’s broadcasts would already be aware of, but this update narrowed down the release window of the creation software at least. Mario Maker will come to Wii U this September. Nintendo also claims that they are looking into some other ways to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Mario, and to stay tuned for more information.
YOSHI GETS WARM AND FUZZY!
With the broadcast passed over to Nintendo Treehouse over at Nintendo of America, the next topic was another upcoming Wii U game, Yoshi’s Woolly World, a game that’s largely been absent from Nintendo press lately, despite Yoshi’s popularity as a Nintendo character, and the fact that it releases this year.
Nintendo recapped that Yoshi’s Woolly World is an action game that re-imagines Yoshi and his world as yarn and crochet creations. From there, they announced a new dual way to play the game, with ‘Classic Mode’ accommodating gamers who want a more traditional and challenging Yoshi platformer, and ‘Mellow Mode’, which allows more casual and young players to breeze through the game with Winged Yoshi. You can switch between Classic Mode and Mellow Mode at any time, expanding upon the idea of a ‘Super Guide’, which allows struggling players to bypass stages that they’re having trouble with in other recent Nintendo action games.
Nintendo then announced a pretty shocking innovation in the realm of Amiibo! Yoshi’s Woolly World will accompany the release of three special Yoshi series Amiibo, a Green Yoshi, a Pink Yoshi and a Blue Yoshi, though instead of being figures made from hard plastic, these Amiibo will be soft, yarn-like plushies! When you tap these Amiibo plushies on the Wii U Gamepad, another Yoshi will appear in your game, which you can use to help reach new areas, as if you were playing with a co-op player. You can also turn the other Yoshi into a yarn ball to throw at enemies, just like when playing with a second player. It’s another novel and interesting use of Amiibo in a Nintendo game, particularly with the shift to plushies in this case!
Yoshi’s Woolly World was originally planned for the first half of 2015, though Nintendo appears to have delayed it out of its planned Spring launch window. It’s now set to come to Wii U this Fall.
SPLATOON GETS COMPETITIVE!
Splatoon was next on the docket, with Nintendo introducing two new modes, along with the online Turf War and offline single-player modes that they touched on before in previous Nintendo Direct broadcasts.
The first new mode, Ranked Battle, has players battling fiercely over a single area of the map for online accolades. It’s the ideal multiplayer mode for players that are eager to perfect their skills against the most fierce of online opponents!
The second new mode, Battle Dojo, is a local 1-vs.-1 match mode that is played offline. One player navigates using the Wii U Gamepad Screen, while the other navigates using the television. Both players compete to pop as many balloons around a map as possible, within a time limit. Nintendo claims that Battle Dojo is also a great way to learn stage layouts, to improve your navigation and efficiency in Turf Wars and Ranked Battles.
Nintendo then furthered the rapidly growing pile of Amiibo announcements in this Direct, by revealing that a new set of Splatoon series Amiibo would release alongside the actual Splatoon game. This includes male and female Inkling variants, as well as an Inkling Squid. When you tap any of these Splatoon Amiibo on the Wii U Gamepad, you’ll receive special missions that can be attempted for unique and valuable rewards, depending on which Amiibo you tapped. The rewards include weapons and gear that are inaccessible outside of these special Amiibo missions.
The three Splatoon Amiibo are packaged together, though you also have the option of purchasing the Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl in separate packages. The Inkling Squid however appears to only be accessible in this group bundle. These Amiibo will launch alongside Splatoon itself, with Splatoon being given an official release date of May 29th!
We still have almost two months to wait, but it should be wonderful to see the Wii U soon getting its own high-profile exclusive shooter IP! On that note, those that continued watching after this Direct could watch an extended gameplay stream of Nintendo of America employees sampling the multiplayer components of Splatoon in greater detail.
THE VIRTUAL CONSOLE TOUCHES ON TWO GENERATIONS!
After addressing 2015’s slate of publicly known Wii U releases, Nintendo shifted gears to talk about the Wii U Virtual Console. At long last, Nintendo 64 games and Nintendo DS games will be added to the Wii U Virtual Console selection!
Apparently, in the case of Nintendo DS games, players can shift between views that use the television or Wii U Gamepad Screen to portray both screens of the DS, or perhaps hold the Wii U Gamepad in a certain way to be used as the Touch Screen, while the Top Screen is simulated on the television. This gives players the ability to idealize their visual experience, according to the DS game they’re simulating. Likewise, Nintendo 64 games will allow players to choose between a Left, Right or Center control configuration, which will shift the controls appropriately on their controller, depending on the setting.
Nintendo also confirms that Nintendo 64 games on Wii U Virtual Console will finally support rumble capability on the Wii U Gamepad, if their respective games utilized the Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak peripheral, which was a limitation when playing Nintendo 64 games on Wii Virtual Console. Both Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS games will be fully playable on the Wii U Gamepad Screen if the player so chooses as well, with any Nintendo 64 Virtual Console games that players already bought on Wii being upgradeable to Wii U Virtual Console for just $2.00 each. Normally, prices of Nintendo 64 games on Wii U Virtual Console will vary between $10-$12, while Nintendo DS games can be priced anywhere from $7-$10.
Best yet is that Nintendo isn’t wasting time with these new Wii U Virtual Console platforms, as both a Nintendo 64 game and a Nintendo DS game went live for Wii U Virtual Console, immediately after the broadcast. Super Mario 64 for Nintendo 64 and Yoshi’s Island DS for Nintendo DS are leading the charge, and are now available for $9.99 each on the Wii U eShop. Two other Nintendo DS games, Yoshi: Touch & Go! and WarioWare: Touched!, are set to follow on Thursday, April 9th, also for $9.99 each. From there, a new Nintendo 64 or Nintendo DS game will come to Wii U Virtual Console every month, with Donkey Kong 64 for Nintendo 64 arriving on April 16th, Mario Kart DS for Nintendo DS releasing on April 23rd, and Paper Mario for Nintendo 64 releasing on April 30th, all for the same price of $9.99.
GameCube games remain absent from the Wii U Virtual Console service for now, but this is still a great step to making the Wii U Virtual Console that much more appealing for both longtime and curious Nintendo gamers!
NINDIES ARE AFFORDABLE, PLENTIFUL!
Next was the inevitable showcase of Nintendo indie games, or ‘Nindies’, and as usual, these adorable little eShop projects didn’t disappoint!
Before the expected sizzle reel, Nintendo shone a spotlight on a few specific indie games, starting with Adventures of Pip, a pixel art platformer coming to Wii U in May. The game stars Pip, an undefined pixel that explores a 2D puzzle-platformer world, taking on the pixels of defeated enemies to give himself new forms. Players must switch between three forms to explore five worlds, and overthrow the evil Skeleton Queen. They can also locate and rescue captive villagers to open new shops for bonus items and equipment, and use the Wii U Gamepad to access and manage both inventory and maps. It sounds very quaint and fun for retro-minded gamers!
Next shown was a game that’s already available on PC and PlayStation 4, Octodad: Dadliest Catch. This kooky indie comedy game is coming to Wii U this Summer, and as with its prior releases, the game challenges players to master a quirky, mostly unhelpful set of controls to try and blend their octopus protagonist in with his perfectly human family, job and errands.The game also enhances the fun when players play in co-op, with each player controlling a different tentacle!
This Direct also gave us our first look at Renegade Kid’s long-awaited sequel to their challenging retro-chic platformer gauntlet, Mutant Mudds, which is officially being titled Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge. Set to release for both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U this June. The game contains forty all-new stages with the same dimension-leaping platforming gameplay. As the title suggests, the game will also ratchet up the difficulty quite considerably! Best of all is that Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge is a cross-buy release, so buying the 3DS version will score you a free download of the Wii U version, and vice-versa! You can also buy Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge at a discount, should you already own Mutant Mudds for either 3DS or Wii U!
Next, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition was shown off, another port of a game that’s already available on PC and PlayStation platforms, but will come to Wii U this May. As before, players must craft and scavenge a means of survival against a randomized, monster-filled world that constantly threatens them with perma-death and progress erasure. Fortunately, Wii U players will be at an advantage, able to use the Wii U Gamepad as a map and inventory manager at any time, a feature not offered on PC or PlayStation, naturally. Nintendo will also be collaborating with developer, Klei Entertainment for a very special, Wii U-exclusive promotion, where any purchasers of Don’t Starve: Giant Edition on Nintendo’s console will receive two copies, one for themselves, and another to give to a friend! That’s a very unique and unprecedented deal, one that your friends should be quite happy about, if they’re into survival games, and own a Wii U!
Now comes the showcase of indie games coming to 3DS and Wii U in the near future. The games shown off in the sizzle reel include the previously-showcased Adventures of Pip, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition and Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge, also showing off numerous other Nindies coming soon, including: forma.8 (Wii U), Dementium: Remastered (3DS), Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U), Starwhal (Wii U), Never Alone (Wii U), Ninja Pizza Girl (Wii U), Antipole DX (3DS/Wii U), Life of Pixel (Wii U), Badland: Game of the Year Edition (Wii U), Slain! (Wii U), Runbow (Wii U), Back to Bed (Wii U), Space Hulk (Wii U), Race the Sun (Wii U), Dooors (3DS), Dot Arcade (Wii U), Swords & Soldiers II (Wii U), Lionel City Builder 3D: Rise of the Rails (3DS), Toto Temple Deluxe (Wii U), The Bridge (Wii U), Shutshimi (3DS/Wii U), Nova-111 (Wii U), and Windup Knight 2 (Wii U).
While these indie releases are skewing pretty heavily towards Wii U (perhaps due to a lull on 3DS on account of the launch of the New 3DS), it’s wonderful to see Nintendo’s indie slate healthier and more robust-looking than ever!
ATLUS AND NINTENDO’S DEMONS RISE FROM THE ASHES!
It’s been a long time coming, after this game was announced wwwaaaayyyy back at the very start of 2013, but finally, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem has surfaced again! Some assumed that Nintendo and Atlus’ planned crossover game had become vapourware, but fortunately, that’s not the case.
Nintendo showed off an all-new gameplay trailer, showcasing the intriguing final product that the game was materializing as, a novel Shin Megami Tensei-esque RPG that incorporated a separate fantasy realm, one that happens to contain Fire Emblem personalities. The trailer was entirely in Japanese, and Nintendo didn’t give any kind of release window for the upcoming Wii U crossover, but that’s fine. The trailer footage was excellent, and it’s just great to see that the game has come along very well in its entire years of silence.
Frankly, it’s just a relief that it’s still happening!
WII U SNAPS A FATAL FRAME!
If you were among many fans demanding a Western localization of the new Fatal Frame game for Wii U that recently came to Japan, you’re in luck! Nintendo confirmed that the game, which currently doesn’t have an official English title, will launch in the West this year!
The game supports three playable characters, who are all trapped in the cursed tourist destination of Mt. Hikami. Players use the Wii U Gamepad as a camera not only to investigate the heavily atmospheric environments, but also to occasionally fend off malevolent spirits during bits of action.
There wasn’t much more info than that, but that’s fine. English-speaking Fatal Frame fans should simply be happy to know that the series’ newest entry is headed outside of Japan within the year!
3DS GETS BOXED IN!
Nintendo finally moved away from Wii U talk to address some 3DS games, starting with Box Boy, a new 3DS game from Kirby series developer, HAL Laboratory.
A puzzle-platformer, Box Boy challenges players to assemble and re-assemble their box form to navigate stage hazards and obstacles in a monochromatic setting. The game features more than 150 stages, each of which relies on increasingly creative ways to make use of a seemingly simple mechanic. You can even unlock costumes with which to customize your specialized Box Boy! Some costumes can even enhance your capabilities, such as allowing you to move faster, or jump higher.
Box Boy also launches very, very soon! The game will go live on the 3DS eShop the very next day, on April 2nd.
POKEMON RUMBLE EXPLORES THE FREEMIUM WORLD!
Next was the announcement of an all-new Pokemon game, Pokemon Rumble World for 3DS. It also happens to be a freemium game, so make of that what you will.
The game is free to download and play, containing over 700 Pokemon from the original Pokemon Red Version/Blue Version to the most recent Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire remakes, some of which are capable of Mega Evolution. You can attack with simple taps of the A Button, defeating and capturing wild toy Pokemon to increase your numbers. In order to get around and find these Pokemon, you use hot air balloons that are powered by Poke Diamonds.
Poke Diamonds can be earned through normal gameplay, namely by defeating powerful opponents, but this may take a while. To speed up the process, you can spend real-world money to get Poke Diamonds immediately, and aye, there’s the rub. Fortunately, you can also score Poke Diamonds via StreetPass.
If another freemium Pokemon game for your 3DS interests you, then Pokemon Rumble World releases on the 3DS eShop on April 8th.
MARIO LEAPS TO PUZZLE & DRAGONS’ Z-LIST!
Next up was a previously-announced bundle for 3DS, Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.
Nintendo recapped the function of the two games, which will be sold as one for $29.99, reminding that each game will have completely different stories, characters and gameplay, even if their fundamental design will be similar. Both games have you attacking opponents on the top screen by matching coloured gems on the bottom screen, with combos and chains resulting in greater damage. You can also activate unique abilities to aid you in battle, depending on your leader, and which other characters you may have in your party at that time, though characters must be activated after a certain amount of turns to use their special abilities.
Puzzle & Dragons Z unfolds with players joining a dragon research organization called The Rangers, encountering more than 250 monsters in a quest to save the world, any of which can serve as a team leader. You can also develop and evolve your monsters for better stats, and new capabilities to implement as you puzzle out attacks against your foes.
Frankly, Nintendo didn’t really offer much in the way of new information for these two bundled games, but they did solidify a final release date. Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition will launch for 3DS on May 22nd. For players especially eager to sample the gameplay, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition (only) will offer a demo on the 3DS eShop on April 30th. Nintendo also uploaded a YouTube video going into greater detail about the game bundle after the Direct broadcast.
3DS AUTHORIZES ATTACK ON TITAN!
Next was another Atlus game, this time inspired by the highly popular anime series, Attack on Titan. Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains is an all-new 3DS game that allows you to take control of the anime’s beloved characters in a fast-paced action game!
The game allows players to join the elite order of Scout Regiment either solo, or with up to three other players in both local and online co-op play. The game supports online rankings and leaderboards with which to evaluate your skills, and also allows enhanced control with the C-Stick if you happen to be playing on a New 3DS XL, allowing for smoother camera controls in contrast to the launch model 3DS, 3DS XL or 2DS models.
As added incentive to take an interest in the anime, the first two episodes of the Attack on Titan anime are also being made available for free on the 3DS eShop, where they are already available to view by any 3DS owner. As for Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains itself, it will be available in May, exclusively to download from the 3DS eShop.
MARTH BOOKS A RETURN TRIP!
Code Name S.T.E.A.M. was brought up next, despite the game having been released a couple of weeks ago. Nintendo reminds players that a free demo of the game is available on the 3DS eShop, and anyone playing on a New 3DS XL can scan the Fire Emblem Amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. set to add those respective characters to their team, fantasy weaponry and all.
None of the information on the game itself was really new, though Nintendo did narrow down the release window of the Marth Amiibo re-issue for this May, no doubt coinciding with the launch of Lucina and Robin in Wave 4 of the Super Smash Bros. Amiibo set.
Nintendo also confirmed an update for Code Name S.T.E.A.M., which adds the ability to speed up enemy turns in order to maintain gameplay pacing. The update’s release window isn’t yet known, but Nintendo urges players of Code Name S.T.E.A.M. to stay tuned. Fans of the game should also take note of a public tournament, themed around the mischief of Tom Sawyer, being offered online for those who fancy themselves truly skilled at it. The tournament runs until April 5th, and challenges players to win as many head-to-head battles as possible against their opponents. The reward is a unique title that can be seen online, and is unattainable in any other way.
MII PLAZA BUILDS NEW ATTRACTIONS!
Switching gears away from proper 3DS releases, Nintendo brought up some updates to the 3DS software app, StreetPass Mii Plaza. For the first time since 2013, Nintendo is adding two new games to the Plaza, namely Ultimate Angler, and Battleground Z.
Naturally, both games rely on utilizing StreetPass hits to equip their player. Engaging in StreetPass will net you bait with which to catch better spoils in Ultimate Angler, which features 150 fish, as well as some ‘legendary monsters’.
In the case of Battleground Z, you’ll receive weapons based around your Mii’s listed hobby, and use them to fight off hordes of zombies. 26 makeshift weapons are on offer, and it’s presumed that StreetPass hits will net you more weapons to use in this game.
Finally, Nintendo is offering a new StreetPass Mii Plaza Premium service. This is a paid service that will add new features to StreetPass Mii Plaza, including listing birthdays, and allowing you to store up to 100 ‘VIP’ Mii’s of your friends and family and the like, in a special VIP room.
These new updates will go live on April 16th, where the three new features will each be offered to buy for $4.99. You can save some money if you buy both Ultimate Angler and Battleground Z together as well, netting both in a bundle option for $7.99, if you’re so inclined.
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 3D CHARTS A NEW HANDHELD!
Nintendo brought up Xenoblade Chronicles 3D next, which so far remains the only confirmed game that will only work on a New 3DS XL, and can’t be played at all on a 3DS, 3DS XL or 2DS. Showing off a new trailer that demonstrates the new handheld visuals on the New 3DS XL, along with a recap of the same outstanding production value and exciting real-time RPG battles from the original Wii game, Nintendo also detailed some new features unique to the New 3DS XL version, including a 3D Model Gallery, and a Sound Test that allows you to sample the game’s soundtrack at your leisure, even if you close your handheld!
After the new trailer, Nintendo re-affirmed a release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, exclusively for New 3DS XL, on April 10th. Again, not really any new information, but it does help to build hype for this port’s impending release, especially given how difficult it is to find copies of the original Wii version in North America.
FIRE EMBLEM BLAZES A NEW TRAIL!
Nintendo went back to discussing the currently-untitled new Fire Emblem game that is coming to 3DS next, delivering plenty of exciting new tidbits about the game!
First, players will now be able to fully customize their lead character and army leader, including making them male or female, allowing players to design the lead protagonist of a Fire Emblem game for the first time in the series’ history! They will also be able to choose whether their character fights for the peace-seeking Hoshido Empire, or the glory-seeking Nohr Empire, offering two separate storylines. The Hoshido storyline offers a more accessible and traditional experience (and is especially recommended for series newcomers), with the Nohr storyline being more challenging, and tasking players with revolutionizing an unstable kingdom from within.
With the protagonist being born to Hoshido but raised by Nohr, this is the first time in the series’ history that players will be able to choose a side in the war! Do you fight for your bloodline, or are you bound by loyalty? It sounds incredibly ambitious for a portable strategy-RPG, but it should make for a very exciting new 3DS game to look forward to!
Sadly, North America won’t see this new Fire Emblem game until 2016, as mentioned in the previous Nintendo Direct. Still, it sure looks like it’s already one of 2016’s most promising game releases overall!
ANIMAL CROSSING’S HOME PLANNING IS IN THE CARS!
Next was another all-new announcement, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for 3DS. This simplified Animal Crossing experience explicitly focuses on developing and decorating a home, and is the first game to make use of a specialized Animal Crossing-themed Amiibo card set, with cards that feature various Animal Crossing characters.
Characters request that the player design a home for them, which is where the bulk of gameplay comes from. Players must do their best to satisfy a character’s taste and demands with their home decoration. You can also use the Animal Crossing Amiibo cards, which can be scanned on a New 3DS XL, to design special rooms for specialty characters. You can then scan other Animal Crossing Amiibo cards to have other Animal Crossing citizens enter the room that you designed, also allowing players to snap a photo of their completed project.
Both the Animal Crossing Amiibo card series, as well as Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer itself, will release for 3DS this Fall. Also releasing this Fall is a special add-on, which will coincide with the launch of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, and will allow 3DS, 3DS XL and 2DS users to scan Amiibo, as you could with a New 3DS XL. It’s a while to wait still, but it’s good to know that those who haven’t upgraded will be able to take advantage of Amiibo features in their compatible handheld 3DS games before the end of the year!
ANIMAL CROSSING SEASON BEGINS FOR MARIO KART 8!
In the final announcement of a rather packed Nintendo Direct, Nintendo revisited a game that’s already nearly a year old at this point, Mario Kart 8 for Wii U. Specifically, Nintendo delved into greater detail for the game’s second upcoming DLC pack, the Animal Crossing Pack. Adding in new karts and racers themed around the Animal Crossing series, the Animal Crossing Pack will also include tracks that change seasons every time you race on them, adding new backdrops and obstacles.
Nintendo also detailed a newly-composed, race-friendly version of the Animal Crossing theme song for the new DLC, done in-studio with an orchestral score, and broke down the DLC pack’s contents more specifically. It will add three new racers (Isabelle, Villager and Dry Bowser), four new vehicles, including the City Tripper bike and Streetle kart, and finally, eight new courses, which will unfold across the Crossing Cup and Bell Cup.
The best news however came from Nintendo revealing that this DLC pack will actually release early! Rather than May, as originally announced, the Animal Crossing Pack will go live to download for Mario Kart 8 owners, on April 23rd, for $7.99. Nintendo will also be providing an update to coincide with the new DLC, which will allow more Mii Racer costumes to be accessed according to Amiibo figures that you scan. After the update, the Mega Man, Pac-Man, Sonic, Toad, Wario, Villager, Rosalina, Bowser and Pikmin & Olimar Amiibo will be supported by Mario Kart 8.
Lastly, Nintendo will be issuing another free update for Mario Kart 8 on April 23rd, adding in an all-new speed class! Yes, for the first time in the series, daring and highly skilled Mario Kart 8 players can take on the breakneck speeds of 200cc races! It should prove a very welcome challenge for the best of the best!
Even almost a year into its run, Mario Kart 8’s aftermarket support remains outstanding as ever.
This was an absolutely massive Nintendo Direct, no doubt compensating for the lack of Nintendo Direct broadcasts in February and March. Even then, some known 2015 Nintendo games sat out this Direct, namely Xenoblade Chronicles X, but it seemed like everything else got a chance to shine. It was also awesome to see Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and Yoshi’s Woolly World finally emerge from the woodwork again!
It also seems like we’re entering the height of Wii U supremacy, before the mysterious Nintendo NX successor platform is detailed next year, presumably the console that will succeed Wii U. That’s fine though, as Nintendo gamers have no shortage of quality Wii U experiences to look forward in both the indie and triple-A retail realm, before the NX may threaten to steal their attention. Also, while the New 3DS XL still doesn’t have much in the way of content to itself, the 3DS catalogue still got a superb showcase of quality software to come, between the new Fire Emblem game, Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, which will also finally bring Amiibo support to previous 3DS, 3DS XL and 2DS models.
Regardless, keep revisiting Nintendo for all news and updates on Nintendo Direct, and other Nintendo incentives.