Nintendo delivered quite a surprise today, hosting an unannounced Nintendo Direct presentation this morning that spotlighted a handful of 3DS and Wii U games set to arrive before the end of this year, and in one case, next year.
This Direct should prove to be a good omen for E3, with Nintendo no doubt hosting the broadcast to dump big game announcements that they didn’t have room for during their digital E3 keynote on Tuesday, June 16th. Nintendo looks to have plenty to announce for 3DS and Wii U, so it’s doubtful that the lack of news on Nintendo’s new mobile game initiative, or the in-development new gaming platform code-named “NX”, will be missed at all.
Anyway, while this is a small Direct, it was still packed with all-new game reveals, along with some expansions related to two recent Nintendo releases. Thus, if you missed the broadcast, or just want a handy recap of the highlights, here’s the list of news you need to know from today’s Nintendo Direct Micro presentation:
Recently announced for Japan in their own Japanese-specific Nintendo Direct broadcast, the new Chibi-Robo game planned for 3DS was also unveiled today, as Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash. Contrary to the previous games, Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash has been redesigned as a full-blown 2D side-scrolling action game, with Chibi-Robo using his plug cord as a whip-like weapon. It almost looks like Nintendo’s own super-adorable version of the Castlevania games that Konami used to spoil Nintendo’s handhelds with.
Chibi-Robo can use the key cord-swinging mechanic not only to attack enemies, but also to grapple along walls and ceilings. He can also charge up the cord to blast through thicker blocks that a normal lash couldn’t break. There are also power-ups that can extend the reach of the cord, allowing Chibi-Robo to do things like pull down a draw bridge with the grapple function. Truly skilled players can even bounce the plug off of walls to nail consecutive objects in one big swing. It looks very exciting, and could represent the widest appeal that the Chibi-Robo! series has ever had to date!
Adding to the good news (or perhaps being bad news, if you’re a frustrated collector), Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash will also come in a bundle that includes an all-new Chibi-Robo Amiibo figure! This figure can’t be attained outside of this bundle apparently, with players able to scan the Chibi-Robo Amiibo on a New 3DS XL (at least, until the Amiibo Reader comes out for legacy 3DS/2DS handhelds) to turn their character into Super Chibi-Robo! This makes Chibi-Robo faster, and extends the reach of his plug, on top of giving him a new gold finish. As players use the Chibi-Robo Amiibo, they can also level it up, which will gradually unlock new in-game items. Nintendo also claims that more Amiibo functionality will be announced later, so it’s possible that Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash may end up poking its head up somewhere at E3, despite the game being announced now.
Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash is set to come to 3DS in North America, this October.
Another game announced during last week’s Japanese Nintendo Direct was a new Dr. Mario game for 3DS. This game was also unveiled for North America during this smaller Direct, as Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure for the West.
Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure features classic virus-busting puzzle gameplay, with players continuing to be able to flip around pills to vanquish viruses of the same colour. The game seems to boast several play modes, including the ability to play with Dr. Luigi-style L-shaped capsules, the ability to drag and drop with the stylus by turning your 3DS/2DS handheld on its side, and of course, the ability to engage in multiplayer bouts, both locally, and online.
The game’s title comes from an all-new mechanic for this game called a ‘Miracle Cure’, which players can build up to by busting viruses continually, which increases a meter on the side of the screen. When this meter is full, players can use a specialized ‘Miracle Cure’ to do things like obliterate an entire row or column of viruses, take out a small, diamond-like radius of viruses, or perhaps do things like eliminate all of the pill blocks and viruses of a certain colour. The Miracle Cures gain new capabilities in multiplayer as well, such as reversing your opponent’s controls, or perhaps preventing them from rotating their pills. It sounds like delightful puzzle battle dickery! All the better is that Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure supports Download Play, so you only need one download of the game between a pair of 3DS/2DS handhelds to allow two players to battle it out! Of course, if you’d rather not compete however, there is also a co-op mode, which allows two players to work together to bust viruses.
This new Miracle Cure mechanic looks to enhance the strategic options of the game considerably, and should be a great new mechanic for both single-player and multiplayer sessions! If you’re a purist however, fear not, as the Miracle Cures can be turned on and off at the player’s leisure, from the Options menu.
Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure can be pre-loaded onto your 3DS/2DS handhelds as of right now. It will officially see release exclusively on the 3DS eShop, on June 11th, in just a couple of short weeks.
Adding to the predictable list of North American announcements, for those who stayed privy to the recent wave of Japanese Nintendo announcements, is Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, a game that was also announced for Japan very recently. Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon is naturally headed to North America, and will once again have players turned into a Pokemon, and left to explore treacherous dungeons in said Pokemon role.
If you’ve played a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game before, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon seems to follow a similar template, namely in having your Pokemon-transformed protagonist befriend and solve the problems of other Pokemon, while exploring a slew of mysterious dungeons with them. In addition to one of twenty Pokemon that the player can turn into, every last Pokemon in the roster, from the original Pokemon Red Version/Blue Version to the most recent Pokemon X/Pokemon Y, will be featured in the game in some form.
Most details on Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon are currently being left vague, though it will officially hit 3DS in North America this Winter, which could place it in late 2015 or early 2016, since the ‘Winter’ window is a bit vague.
Predictable as clockwork, Mario and Sonic are yet again returning for the next Olympic event of 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Unlike the previous game, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which only released for Wii U, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is coming to both Wii U and 3DS.
The game will apparently include events ranging from the 100-meter Dash, to Rhythmic Gymnastics, to Table Tennis, to Soccer, naturally featuring playable personalities from both the Mario series and the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Apparently, each version will also feature a unique event to call their own. The Wii U version will exclusively pack in Rugby-7’s, while the 3DS version will apparently boast Golf.
No release date was given for Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on either platform, with Nintendo simply urging fans to stay tuned.
Next up was an update on some upcoming content for recent Wii U game release, Splatoon. Apparently, a weapon modeled after vintage NES accessory, the Nintendo Zapper, will come to the game, as an in-game weapon called the N-Zap 85. The weapon isn’t very powerful when it comes to getting kills, but its rapid firing and ammo efficiency will help players cover territory very quickly, especially since it continues to come with Ink Bombs. The weapon also quickly charges up the Echolocation special weapon, allowing you to better identify targets for your teammates that have more powerful weapons.
Next was the announcement of an upcoming free map called Port Mackerel. The map contains both high ground and low ground, being littered with a slew of massive crates that players can hide behind or swim on top of, along with shifting rig-like machines that can also help ferry players along, or potentially push them out of cover!
The new weapon and map are being made available today for Splatoon owners, though they won’t go live until 7:00 P.M. PST (10:00 P.M. EST). The option to play Ranked Battles is also being added to the game at the same time, now that many players have successfully reached Level 10 already. This should serve as great news for people who have already become avid Splatoon competitors!
Remember the mini software, Art Academy: Sketchpad, which was meant to foreshadow a full Art Academy game release for Wii U all the way back in 2013? Well, Nintendo is finally bringing it up again!
At long last, the new Art Academy game for Wii U has been announced. Art Academy: Home Studio was revealed during this Direct, which will allow players to continue using the Wii U Gamepad Screen to sketch incredible new art that can be shared on Miiverse. Not only that, but this full game features full-fledged art lessons, allows practice on real-world paint techniques, and will also allow players to record time-lapse videos, allowing them to showcase their art pieces coming along in motion! The videos can apparently be shared on YouTube to boot, which is a big plus.
Art Academy: Home Studio is now available to pre-load on your Wii U console, with the full game becoming available to purchase from the Wii U eShop on June 25th, before the end of this month.
Nintendo next brings up another Wii U project, specifically, Project Treasure by Namco Bandai!… Then they say to just go look at the Japanese reveal trailer on their YouTube channel. Well, that’s kind of boring…
As for commentary on the trailer, it’s a very small teaser, less than a minute long. It shows four-player co-op gameplay with a focus on intense hack-and-slash action, and unearthing treasure in treacherous ruins. It looks reasonably promising, though there still isn’t enough context to anything. This project certainly is quite mysterious…
Taking a brief break from the game announcements, Nintendo next brought up the Nintendo World Championships, which are being held for the first time in decades at E3 this year. Nintendo also finally divulged the time and date, with the event being held on Sunday, June 14th, at 3:00 P.M. PST (6:00 P.M. EST). This places them a few hours before Bethesda’s all-new E3 presentation begins late that evening.
Nintendo also took this opportunity to announce a pre-show for the Nintendo World Championships 2015. They also revealed that they have all-new channels on Periscope and Snapchat, which will allow fans to get a sneak peek at what the company is up to. The handle, as with Twitter, is @NintendoAmerica.
Next up was a rather surprising announcement, that being a new video game inspired by the Little Battlers Experience anime and toy line. Rather hilariously, when Nintendo showed off the toys, they actually had to specify in tiny text underneath that they weren’t Amiibo. Oh, dear…
Anyway, this new 3DS game allows players to build and customize their own tiny, palm-sized LBX machines, which are small robots that fight in special cases of extra-durable cardboard. The new season of the anime is set to return to NickToons in the Fall, just in time for the launch of this new game. The game apparently sports over 130 LBX models, and over 4,000 parts with which to customize them. Apparently, their internal parts can be customized as much as their exterior frames, allowing for innumerable combinations of robot fighters for players to customize. Players will also be able to choose up to two weapons for their LBX, from nine potential varieties, and can freely switch between the two in battle. All weapons and parts also happen to level up individually, furthering expanding the potential strategy for players to exploit in their building of the ultimate LBX fighter.
Perhaps most ambitious of all with Little Battlers Experience on 3DS is the fact that the game supports up to six players in a simultaneous local multiplayer battle! That’s unprecedented for the majority of 3DS games, and should prove quite appealing to fans of the anime.
Regardless, Little Battlers Experience launches on August 21st of this year, presumably at both retail, and digitally via the 3DS eShop.
The second already-available Nintendo game that was given a small update during this Direct was Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition on 3DS. Apparently, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition is revealed to have an all-new batch of eight extra-challenging Worlds, for those who haven’t already completed the game, and wouldn’t have discovered this themselves. Apparently, these all-new worlds feature the ability to recruit characters like Rosalina, Princess Peach, Bowser, Bowser Jr., and the Koopalings into your party. Sure, this info is redundant if you already beat Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, but hey, it should allay any worries over the game’s content for those on the fence, seeing as it is being bundled with another game.
Speaking of the other game, Puzzle & Dragons Z was also announced to be getting all-new weekly challenges, starting with today! These new challenges allow players to explore dungeons and potentially amass all-new, super-valuable monsters to add to their party. Nintendo also urges would-be buyers that the same heap of unlockable content is available to earn in Puzzle & Dragons Z as Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition as well. Apparently, more information on future download incentives is available on these games’ website.
So, I guess that answers the worry about these games being compromised as one package. Clearly, they’re not.
Lastly, and perhaps best of all for RPG fans, Bravely Second: End Layer, the sequel to last year’s JRPG smash hit, Bravely Default on 3DS, is indeed headed to the West!
Nintendo claims that newcomers don’t have to play the first game to enjoy the second, as it boasts an all-new story with a new protagonist, though they also claim that some returning characters from Bravely Default will also be featured for returning fans. Apparently, the story involves the kidnapping of Agnes Oblige, with the new hero being tasked with rescuing her, being a knight in her service. Naturally, the game will feature the same deep, exploration-friendly world, along with the same excellent turn-based combat from its predecessor.
Bravely Second: End Layer is set to come to 3DS for North America in 2016, which may disappoint some. Still, the fact that we’re getting this game at all is very exciting, and the fact that a fantastic new RPG is on the docket for 3DS should certainly be cause to celebrate!
Despite being a more constrained Nintendo Direct, there was no shortage of exciting announcements here! The confirmation that Bravely Second: End Layer is being localized for the West was incredibly exciting, as was the announcement of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash and Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure. Some of the bits, like the Project Treasure non-showcase, and the Puzzle & Dragons side note, were kind of pointless, but this was thankfully offset by no shortage of exciting game announcements, with more great announcements sure to follow them at E3 in a couple of weeks!
Stay tuned to Eggplante for all news and updates on Nintendo Direct, and other major Nintendo announcements.