Rosalina Crashes Super Smash Bros. & Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo Direct for 12/18/13

Plus so much more news to carry us into the New Year and beyond.

Today, Nintendo posted a new surprise Nintendo Direct video to show us what games are to come for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in 2014. As it turns out, there were not only some new announcements made, but some reveals of new games which are available as we speak. Here’s the video, followed by a rundown.

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The first part of the video revealed an all-new title coming in 2014, tentatively titled “Hyrule Warriors”. “A new game for Wii U developed by Tecmo-Koei that will feature the action-packed Warriors series set in the world of The Legend of Zelda“, says the press release, “[t]his is a separate project from the new installment of The Legend of Zelda series that is in development for Wii U by longtime series producer Eiji Aonuma and his team.”

I’ve never really played any of the Warriors games very much, so this seems like a good introduction to me. Besides which, I don’t mind seeing The Legend of Zelda spread its wings a little more beyond the core series (says the guy who loves Link’s Crossbow Training).

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Kirby: Triple Deluxe: The game is a side-scrolling platformer, but players can move Kirby to the background and foreground to dodge enemies and solve puzzles. Kirby can also use a new Hypernova ability, which powers up his inhale ability and enables him to suck up everything in his path. The game includes more than 20 different copy abilities, including four new ones created for this game. Kirby: Triple Deluxe also includes two new game modes: Kirby Fighters lets up to four players pick one of 10 copy abilities for their Kirby and then fight to see which is the most effective in battle. Dedede’s Drum Dash asks players to press buttons in sync with Kirby music while jumping and collecting coins. The game is planned for 2014.

I’ve seen people say this is a sequel to Kirby Super Star, but it’s looking less like that as we see more of it– at least, insofar as having a ton of smaller games in one package goes. Nonetheless, it’s good to see Kirby take advantage of the potential 3D background interaction where New Super Mario Bros. 2 did not. Kirby Fighters sounds fun, though I’m a little let down that Dedede’s Drum Dash is a rhythm game, mainly because I’m terrible at those.

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Yoshi’s New Island: The game launches this spring, and will be produced by Takashi Tezuka, the creative director of the original Yoshi’s Island for Super NES.

This one is a bit tough to get a pulse on. Nintendo hit on something special with Yoshi’s Island and have tried to replicate its success ever since, but have never been especially successful in doing so. Yoshi’s Island DS was decent, but unspectacular, and a bit on the hard side as well– and not simply “oh, I can’t do this” hard, but “keeping track of things in the gap between screens and across two screens at once kind of sucks” hard. That one didn’t have Tezuka’s involvement, but another did: Yoshi’s Story, an underrated game which didn’t set the world on fire. Tezuka produced that one as well, and while I enjoyed it quite thoroughly as a $10 Wii Virtual Console title, I can see how those who paid upwards of $50 or so might have felt a bit less satisfied.

Fingers are crossed here that this time, Nintendo finally figures out how to make the magic happen again.

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Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder: Everyone’s favourite helpful 4-inch-tall robot is back! This time Chibi-Robo has been tasked with helping a new museum get off the ground. Players are given silhouettes of needed objects, then use the Nintendo 3DS camera to find matching objects, known as NostalJunk, in the real world. Chibi-Robo will also help characters like superheroes and singing sponge-bears with various tasks, all while keeping an eye on his electricity reserves. The game also features community events called NostalJunk Challenges that focus on particular silhouettes, and give players opportunities to showcase their creativity and maybe earn a special outfit for Chibi-Robo to wear in the game. A demo will soon launch exclusively in the Nintendo eShop, with the full version landing on January 9, 2014.

I’m honestly not sure what to say on this one; Chibi Robo has a cult following (the “cult” part perhaps being why this latest entry is a Nintendo eShop release), but I’ve never really gotten to play one of the series. I have the Nintendo DS game kicking around somewhere after picking it up on sale a few years ago, but I’ve never had a chance to try it.

Suffice to say, I’m interested, but also wary– the AR-driven action worries me, as I wasn’t able to much with Spirit Camera.

Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter: Pokémon Bank is software that lets players store up to 3,000 Pokémon from the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y games. Poké Transporter is an application that lets players take the Pokémon they’ve caught through the years and transferred into Pokémon Black and Pokémon White, as well as Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2, and transfer them into Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter launch December 27. Players can download a 30-day free trial version anytime between launch and January 31, 2014. Following the free trial, an annual usage fee will apply for Pokémon Bank. Anyone who accesses a Pokémon Bank box by September 30, 2014, will receive the Pokémon Celebi as a special gift.

Bringing all your Pokémon from one game to the next always struck me as slightly odd, at least in an in-world way. I certainly see the real-world desire and practicality of it, but in the games, isn’t catching everything part of the journey of your character? It just seems weird to me that Red (for example) would effectively go up to some new trainer one day and say “hey, why don’t you take all my Pokémon? I’m not using them.” But that’s probably just me thinking way too much about it.

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Bravely Default: A free demo of the game launches in the Nintendo eShop on January 2, but this is much more than a demo. It’s an exclusive story with hours of content not included in the main game. The full game launches in stores and in the Nintendo eShop on February 7 at a suggested retail price of $39.99. If players with the full game close their system while the game is active, they might gather additional warriors via the StreetPass feature, but they also earn Sleep Points for every eight cumulative hours of down time. Sleep Points can then be used during battle to change equipment, revive a fallen party member, heal or unleash attacks beyond the game’s usual damage cap. Players who don’t want to wait for their Sleep Points to refill have the option of purchasing SP potions in the Nintendo eShop to refill all three Sleep Points at once. Also launching February 7, a Collector’s Edition including the game, an art book, a soundtrack CD and 34 augmented-reality cards will be available via select retailers at a suggested retail price of $49.99.

I have absolutely nothing to add here.

Wait, that’s not true; it looks nice! But that’s really it.

Okay, that’s not it: This sounds like a really good demo for people looking forward to the game. Demos which add to the experience, rather than merely sample from a random part, tend to be kind of cool. That’s all.

Now, back to the Wii U!

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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: Veteran Cranky Kong joins playable characters Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong as companions for Donkey Kong. Cranky Kong comes with his own set of special moves that allow him to bounce off enemies and obstacles using his cane. Players who collect 100 bananas in a stage can execute a new move called the KONG-Pow, which turns all enemies on the screen into items. Now that Cranky Kong is setting off on an adventure, instead of overseeing the in-game shop as he did in the Donkey Kong Country Returns game, the aptly named Funky Kong will assist players by offering them items for trade in the game. The game launches February 21 in stores and in the Nintendo eShop.

I can’t look at Donkey and Cranky together without hearing the first verse of the Goof Troop theme song. Also, I’m glad to see Funky Kong is back! Now to cross my fingers that he’ll show up elsewhere, like perhaps in a certain racing game (along with a returning R.O.B.).

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Sonic Lost World: A new Nintendo-themed level is coming to the Nintendo eShop. Yoshi’s Island Zone is now available for free. Done in a Yoshi art style, the level has Sonic speeding through areas filled with pipes, coins, Shy Guys and Piranha Plants.

Wow, where was this during the marathon? Also, it went unmentioned in the press release, but a Zelda-themed downloadable content pack was also hinted at in the video. You can see Kotaku’s screencap of the teaser image above.

Beyond that, I have to wonder: Between the game’s similarities to Super Mario Galaxy and the Yoshi’s Island Zone DLC, could Sonic Lost World be part of an effort by SEGA to create a Mario/Sonic platforming crossover they previously said couldn’t be done?

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Wii Sports Club: Launching today, golf becomes the third sport added to the Wii Sports Club lineup, joining bowling and tennis. In a move not possible on any other system, golf asks players to place the Wii U GamePad controller on the floor in front of their TVs. Players can then use a Wii Remote Plus to swing at the ball on the ground, just as they would a real golf ball, enabling more precise control with each stroke. When they take their swing, the ball flies from the screen of the GamePad to the TV screen in one fluid motion. Wii Sports Club – Golf includes the nine-hole course from the original Wii Sports game, in addition to a newly developed nine-hole course based on Golf US Course, a Famicom game that Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata helped develop more than 25 years ago. Wii U owners can play a free 24-hour trial of Wii Sports Club, which lets players sample all three sports. The trial offer is open to everyone, even to people who previously sampled the 24-hour free trial. A Club Pass for the full golf game, allowing unlimited access, can be purchased for $9.99. Boxing and baseball will be coming to Wii Sports Club in 2014.

Finally! I’ve been waiting for this one ever since they first showed the Wii U off at E3 a couple of years ago.

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NES Remix: Select parts from 16 classic NES games have been remixed with new challenges. For example, players might be tasked with completing a familiar Super Mario Bros. stage while running to the left. Or they might encounter a revamped level of Donkey Kong that allows them to play as Link from The Legend of Zelda series. NES Remix includes Miiverse compatibility, so players with broadband Internet access can show off their skills, complete with cool 8-bit stamps. NES Remix is now available exclusively in the Nintendo eShop for $14.99.

I’m eager to try this out and put my skills to the test. This is a pretty cool way for Nintendo to leverage their library of classic games, and I hear it’s surprisingly substantial, which is good, given the admittedly hefty price.

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Dr. Luigi: The Year of Luigi continues to deliver surprises, with a new title starring Mario’s green-clad brother. Much like the classic puzzle game Dr. Mario, Dr. Luigi requires players to line up colour-coded pills to destroy viruses. Dr. Luigi offers different skill settings and attacks in multiplayer games, and an original mode where the pills are, of course, L-shaped. The game comes with a Dr. Mario mode, Wii U GamePad compatibility and online play, so wannabe virus busters from all around the world can compete. Dr. Luigi launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on December 31 for $14.99.

This sounds like fun! I never did get Dr. Mario: Online RX, and I guess this sort of negates the need? That actually saddens me, slightly. Still, it’s funny to see Luigi follow his older bro into the pharmaceutical business, though Mario seems to show a touch more professionalism by not wearing his cap to this job. Also, a strange thing: The virus designs on the left are different, but in the playing field, they look just like the original three.

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Super Smash Bros.: Rosalina, who was introduced in the Super Mario Galaxy games for Wii and makes a surprise appearance in the new Super Mario 3D World for Wii U, will be a playable character, accompanied by her starry friend, Luma. The game will launch in stores and the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in 2014.

Oh, Nintendo, you are a dirty, dirty tease! In the Nintendo Direct video, this portion opens by making it look like Kirby might be joining Mario Kart, answering a plea for a full Nintendo roster of racers fans have had for years. But nope; Rosalina comes down to put the star warrior in his place pretty quickly, and reveals herself to be the latest addition to the Super Smash Bros. roster. Meanwhile, Daisy fans are left steaming.

That aside, I’m cool with this; I love Rosalina, though they seem to have gotten rid of that cool echo effect her voice had previously. She looks like she’ll be interesting to use, too, as she’s accompanied by Luma, who looks like he might act somewhat independently of the princess of the stars. One positive to take away from this is that if they do operate separately to a degree, that’s a good sign for the Ice Climbers, who people have been worried about being dumped due to trying to get the same rosters working on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Incidentally, that intro… could Rainbow Road be a new stage to fight on?

With that, there’s just one more game left:

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Mario Kart 8: New playable characters include Rosalina and various “Baby” Nintendo characters, like Baby Mario and Baby Luigi. New course settings include an airport, the desert and high in the clouds, and vehicles include UFOs, four-wheel ATV buggies, standard karts and bikes.

Sigh, who keeps asking for the babies to come back? Were they tracked as widely-used in Mario Kart Wii? I just don’t get it– they’ve even made a Baby Daisy just for the series, but I don’t know of anyone who is that big a fan of the lot. I guess they must have their audience somewhere.

Between Super Mario 3D World and Super Smash Bros., plus being in the last two entries in this series, I don’t think Rosalina’s inclusion is much of a surprise any more. I am curious about the new UFO vehicles they mention, though. As for stages, the airport looks neat, but I hope we get more like the Shy Guy Bazaar and Piranha Plant Pipeline from Mario Kart 7— the ones which really brought the worlds of the regular Mario games to life.

That’s pretty much it, but that’s also plenty for now, wouldn’t you say? 2014 is looking pretty good!

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David Oxford

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