April 1st Nintendo Direct Shows Off New Games, amiibo Figures, and DLC

Splatoon, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and much more.

On the evening of April 1st, Nintendo opted to hold a Nintendo Direct. Knowing full well the date and the stigma which comes with it, they reassured everyone that this edition was “no joke,” and sure enough, they meant business!

If you haven’t seen it, here is the video in full:

And in case you don’t have the better part of an hour to watch it at the moment, here are the highlights as provided by Nintendo of Canada’s press release (accompanied by my own thoughts/commentary).

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amiibo Cards: A totally new form of amiibo is coming this fall! The first set of amiibo cards will be based on Animal Crossing characters and will be compatible with the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer game. An NFC reader/writer peripheral for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS – which offers the functionality for scanning amiibo currently included in the New Nintendo 3DS XL system – will also launch the same day as the new Animal Crossing game.

My thoughts: Wow. Okay, given how scarce many amiibo figures are, the move to cards for something like Animal Crossing is probably a good one, but I can imagine there being some people upset that Isabelle isn’t getting her own little figure to sit on their shelves or desks. Still, without the draw of being toys, maybe these will be easier to come by?

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The Next Waves of Super Smash Bros. Series amiibo: On May 29, a new set of amiibo in the Super Smash Bros. series will launch, featuring Charizard, PAC-MAN, Wario, Jigglypuff, Greninja, Robin, Lucina and Ness. July brings Dark Pit and Palutena. And in September, Zero Suit Samus, Ganondorf, Olimar, Dr. Mario and Bowser Jr. will join the amiibo family.

My thoughts: At this rate, it looks like it’s going to be a year since they started releasing these before I can get to some of the ones I really want– Duck Hunt and R.O.B. among them. Strangely, that suits me fine. Of this lot, Nadia and I have our eyes on Charizard, Pac-Man, Lucina, Ness, Palutena, and Dr. Mario… and maybe Bowser Jr.

Play Classic Nintendo Games Using amiibo: With amiibo tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits, Wii U users can download the free application from the Nintendo eShop and tap any amiibo to unlock game-play highlights from select NES and Super NES games.

My thoughts: Apparently there’s no correlation between the amiibo and which game it unlocks, so you could have a Mario amiibo unlock Metroid sequences, for example. What might really suck is if the program chooses without regard for games you already own, and ends up taking a “slot” for something you’ve already played through.

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Yarn Yoshi amiibo: A new set of Yoshi amiibo figures made of actual yarn will launch later this fall along with the Yoshi’s Woolly World game. Tapping one of these yarn amiibo to the Wii U GamePad controller while playing Yoshi’s Woolly World will make another Yoshi appear in the game to assist the player. The Yarn Yoshi amiibo will be available in three colours: green, pink and light blue.

My thoughts: 1) Just when I thought amiibo couldn’t get any better… 2) No red? Now that’s disappointing… especially since that’s the color of Player 2! (Which is who I’d want to use in a 2-player game as a result.) 3) Does this mean the Super Mario series Yoshi amiibo figure I just got isn’t going to work with the game? Fiddlesticks…

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Splatoon amiibo: Launching simultaneously with Splatoon on May 29 are Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy and Inkling Squid amiibo figures. By tapping one of these amiibo to the GamePad, players can receive special missions to unlock weapons and gear.

My thoughts: Cool. Not much opinion here until I get the game, but the figures look neat.

More Mii Racing Suits!: On April 23, a new free downloadable software update to Mario Kart 8 will add support for nine more amiibo figures, including Mega Man, Sonic and PAC-MAN. Players can tap these amiibo to outfit their Mii characters in Mii Racing Suits themed to those amiibo characters.

My thoughts: Hmm, I may have to switch my Mii’s racing duds from Mario to Mega Man… but that Pac-Man outfit looks so good, too. Hmm…

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Mario Maker: The Mario Maker game launches exclusively for the Wii U console in September and easily lets users create their own Mario levels and share them online with people all over the world! Various activities related to the 30th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. game are also planned throughout the year.

My thoughts: Wow, 30 already? It feels like just yesterday the series turned 25 and we got that Super Mario All-Stars release. Hopefully they pull out something big for this one… maybe an HD version? One can only hope…

In the meantime, it’s neat seeing some new enemies rendered in the Super Mario World style, among other neatness.

Splatoon: In addition to previously detailed single-player and online “Turf War” modes, action shooter Splatoon will feature a highly competitive “Ranked Battle” mode, which ranks and matches players based on their wins in 4-on-4 multiplayer matches. The super-fun and super-colourful game will also feature a “Battle Dojo.” In this mode, players can enjoy local 1-on-1 battles with friends. One player plays on the GamePad controller, while the other plays on the TV using a separate controller, competing to see who can pop the most balloons. Splatoon will launch exclusively for Wii U on May 29.

My thoughts: I’m eager to try this, but I’m having a hard time forming any real opinions otherwise until I get to.

200cc? 200cc!: Yes, that’s right: For the first time in the Mario Kart series, a 200cc racing class is coming to Mario Kart 8. Even faster than 150cc, the new high-speed class will work on all tracks in the game and makes braking an important driving skill. The new 200cc class will be offered as a free downloadable update on April 23 alongside the new paid DLC Pack 2 featuring three new characters, four new vehicles and eight new tracks.

My thoughts: No, no, no, nonono… oh lord, I saw where they were going with this in the video, and didn’t want to believe it, but here we are.

Okay, besides being free, this might be fun to try out, but I am honestly stretched to my limits by 100cc… the idea of seriously playing 200cc is unfathomable to me. As long as they don’t lock anything behind it, though– I’m looking at you, Mario Kart 9 and beyond– I guess I’ll be okay with it. If people are into it, more power to them. Just don’t go taking away chunks of game from me as a result, like in several previous installments.

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Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS Games Hit the Virtual Console Service: Starting today, classic Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS games are coming to the Virtual Console on Wii U. Today brings Yoshi’s Island DS for Nintendo DS and Super Mario 64 for Nintendo 64. While playing Nintendo DS games, the TV and GamePad combination will provide various options for dual-screen layouts, while all Nintendo 64 games that supported the Rumble Pack will continue rumbling away on Wii U controllers. Upcoming Virtual Console releases include WarioWare: Touched! for Nintendo DS on April 9 and Donkey Kong 64 for Nintendo 64 on April 16.

My thoughts: Ah, finally! As readers of Nintendo Force magazine may already well know, I’m actually surprised that New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS doesn’t even appear to be on the radar yet, but I’m sure that one’s inevitable. As for Yoshi’s Island DS, you may remember from my Yoshi’s New Island review that I think it’s a more interesting game for those who have played the original, but not quite as well put together.

As for Super Mario 64, both it and Yoshi’s Island DS cost $9.99 USD to purchase, though as with other Virtual Console games, if you have it on Wii (which only applies to Nintendo 64 games, of course), then you only have to pay a small charge to upgrade– $2 USD in this case. That won’t be the case for Donkey Kong 64, which I’m surprised to see here at all– it was never released on the Wii Virtual Console for reasons only Nintendo knows.

You know, I never did finish that one… if the Wii U’s Virtual Console allows for Restore Points on Nintendo 64 games as well, I might give it another go. It might make all that collectathon stuff more tolerable…

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Yoshi’s Woolly World: The lovingly crafted new Wii U game launches this fall and overflows with numerous challenges and hidden secrets. In addition to the challenging Classic Mode, Yoshi’s Woolly World adds “Mellow Mode,” an additional mode that lets players of all skill levels play as “Winged Yoshi.”

My thoughts: This game just looks better every time I see it, and if what I played last year is any indication, this might just be the successor to Yoshi’s Island we’ve all been waiting for.

Shin Megami Tensei & Fire Emblem Crossover Project: The role-playing masters at ATLUS are developing a truly modern RPG, where everyday life exists alongside a secret world of fantasy that includes characters from the Fire Emblem series.

My thoughts:

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New Fatal Frame Game Coming to the U.S.: Fans that have been clamoring for a chance to play the latest game in the creepy Fatal Frame series will have their chance when it launches later this year for Wii U.

My thoughts: This has me intrigued, so long as it works better than the Nintendo 3DS iteration released some years back.

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Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer: This new game in the Animal Crossing series focuses on the decorating and home-designing aspects of the Animal Crossing games. Animals will ask players to design houses for them, and it’s up to designers-in-the-making to meet the animals’ requests by furnishing and decorating their homes. By tapping a new Animal Crossing series amiibo card to the New Nintendo 3DS XL system or NFC reader/writer accessory, players can design a room for that specific character on the card and scan additional character cards to invite those characters to visit. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer will launch this fall.

My thoughts: Not much on the game yet, but I do hope they incorporate this method of organizing a room into the next main series installment, as it looks a lot more efficient.

BOXBOY!: From the platforming masters at HAL Laboratory, Inc., creators of the Kirby series, comes BOXBOY! The black-and-white charmer tasks players with creating, casting and hooking blocks to navigate more than 150 challenging stages. BOXBOY! launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS tomorrow, April 2.

My thoughts: I don’t have a lot to say about this, except that I’m rather eager to try it.

A New Fire Emblem Game: For the first time in the series, the main playable character is not only a customizable avatar, but also the main hero or heroine of the game. Players must choose to take one of two major paths, resulting in two different experiences: the “Hoshido” side for a more traditional experience, or the “Nohr” side, which makes the story more complex and the difficulty level more challenging. The new Fire Emblem game will launch for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems in 2016.

My thoughts: It’s petty, but I’m not huge on the barefoot designs for the main characters. But then, it looks like you get to dress them up in different stuff later, so I’ll let it slide. Funny, given that in the last game, they barely had feet at all. All that aside, this looks really good, and I’m intrigued by the duality of it.

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Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition: Players get two gigantic, unique puzzle/RPG adventures when Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition launches on May 22. The two-in-one game can be pre-ordered starting today at http://puzzleanddragons.nintendo.com. For players who can’t wait until May 22 to play, a free demo for Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition will be available in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS on April 30.

My thoughts: Why am I not playing this now?!

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Pokémon Rumble World: The latest action-packed adventure in the Pokémon Rumble series is free to download (with paid content) and features more than 700 Pokémon, all the way from the original Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue games to the recent Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire games. Square off against tons of these Toy Pokémon when Pokémon Rumble World launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS on April 8.

My thoughts: The last one wasn’t bad, and this looks kind of neat. Perhaps even neater than that one. I’d like to give it a try, should it come my way.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.: An upcoming software update to Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will add a fast-forward feature to drastically speed up enemy turns. In addition, a new online Public Tournament in honor of playable character Tom Sawyer called “Hijinks” launches today and runs until April 5.

My thoughts: In light of this update, I may hold back my review for the time being. Not that it was going to be especially timely anyway, but in any case, might as well review it at its best.

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New StreetPass Games: On April 16, two new StreetPass Mii Plaza games launch for $6.29 each, or $9.99 if purchased together. In Ultimate Angler, players visit the “StreetPass Islands” to try to catch more than 150 types of fish and legendary monsters with bait received from Mii characters via StreetPass. In Battleground Z, players receive items based on the hobbies of their Mii Plaza StreetPass characters to defeat a horde of zombies. A new paid service will also launch alongside these new games called “StreetPass Mii Plaza Premium,” adding features like “StreetPass Birthdays” and a new Mii character VIP Room for $6.29.

My thoughts: Every time I finally complete all my StreetPass puzzles, Nintendo releases a truckload of new ones and makes me want to cry. I’m still making my way through Monster Manor and making slow progress through Warrior’s Way, while I’ve finished the main parts of Mii Force and Flower Town and am simply dealing with the minutia. What I’m saying is that despite all of that, I’m a StreetPass addict and I want to play these, dang it.

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Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains: Based on the popular manga and anime, the Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains game features four-player local and online co-op game play and leaderboards as players take on the role of their favourite character to defend humanity from the giant Titans. In addition, the first two episodes of the hit anime series are now available to stream for free in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS. Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains from ATLUS will launch exclusively in the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems in May.

My thoughts: I’ve seen this around, of course, but never really watched it. Maybe this will provide a good reason to?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D: A new trailer hones in on some of the mysteries of this epic role-playing game, the first game developed exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS XL system. The game launches on April 10.

My thoughts: The original was cool, and I’ve little reason to believe this version will be any different in that regard. Meanwhile, my wife is champing at the bit to play this, and she doesn’t even have a New Nintendo 3DS XL… which means I’m probably not going to see it again for a while after this comes out, much like what happened with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (I’m working on it).

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

New (DLC) Challengers Approaching!: As previously announced, Mewtwo will join the roster of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS as a downloadable character on April 28. For $6.29, players receive Mewtwo for both versions of the game. Club Nintendo members who have purchased and registered both versions of the game will receive a free download code for Mewtwo on April 15. In addition, fan-favourite character Lucas from Mother 3 is joining the all-star Super Smash Bros. cast in June. After a game update on April 15, Super Smash Bros. players can also purchase more costumes for their Mii fighters, including ones inspired by Mega Man X and Proto Man from Capcom’s Mega Man series.

My thoughts: The video referred to the Mii costumes as “Wave 1,” so I wonder if we’ll see more in the future… and if so, I wonder which characters we might see. Bass? Zero? MegaMan Volnutt?

Choose Your Own Super Smash Bros. Fighter: Starting today, Super Smash Bros. fans can visit http://www.smashbros.com to participate in a “Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot.” Fans can use this ballot to vote for which character they would like to see added to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as a playable character.

My thoughts: I imagine requests for Ridley and Princess Daisy will be through the roof, though I hear some people are voting for Son Goku (“Go ahead, throw your vote away!” –Kang). If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, however…

Adventures of Pip from Tic Toc Games: When this pixel puzzle platformer launches this May in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U, players can use the GamePad exclusively to access inventory and quickly travel through the game’s world.

My thoughts: Looks neat.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge from Renegade Kid: People who purchase the Nintendo 3DS version of this beloved muddy platforming sequel will receive the Wii U version for free (and vice versa!). Anyone that owns the original Mutant Mudds game will also receive a loyalty discount when buying Mutant Mudds Super Challenge. The game launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS this June.

My thoughts: The original felt really flat to me– nothing terrible, but nothing spectacular, either. As such, a harder version of the game doesn’t really do anything for me.

Don’t Starve: Giant Edition from Klei Entertainment: This acclaimed survival indie will launch this May with exclusive Wii U GamePad functionality and a special promotion – anyone that purchases the Wii U game will receive a free download code for the game that he or she can give to a friend!

My thoughts: It has a neat style, so I’m intrigued.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch from Young Horses, Inc.: Experience Octodad’s wobbly journey with family and friends in co-op mode, with two to four players controlling different tentacles. Octodad: Dadliest Catch flops his way into the Nintendo eShop on Wii U this summer.

My thoughts: I remember seeing stuff about this when it came out for the PlayStation 3, but I lack(ed) the hardware to try it. That said, it looks like my kind of game– enjoyably over-the-top and crazy.

“The world of amiibo is getting bigger, better and even more interactive,” said Nintendo of Canada’s senior director and general manager Pierre-Paul Trepanier. “And with existing amiibo support for games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 and more, and upcoming support for Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, amiibo continue to stretch the definition of the toys-to-life category.”

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All in all, a pretty good showing from Nintendo, I think. That said, while we still have two months until the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, I’m not sure how well this will do to assuage fears about the Wii U in the meantime immediately following the announced delay of The Legend of Zelda for the system. Nonetheless, it looks like there’s still a lot to enjoy in the coming months ahead… and again, that’s without even taking E3 into account, which will no doubt provide our first look at a lot of titles.

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David Oxford

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you're interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.