Nintendo Direct – 3/3/15

As if out of nowhere, Nintendo announced and showed a new Nintendo Direct on the evening of Thursday, March 3rd. Here it is in full:

I like how I hit things before, so I’m going to repeat that this time, with the post here focusing on the facts as we know them for the Canadian side (i.e. the prices we pay versus the States).

Star Fox Zero arrives for Wii U on April 22nd, and in two forms: the Nintendo eShop version for $64.99, and in a physical retail bundle with Star Fox Guard for $74.99. Star Fox Guard can also be purchased as a digital download from the Nintendo eShop for $19.99, and buying either game in the Nintendo eShop gives you a $10 discount to use towards the other game.

In anticipation of Monster Hunter Generations, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will be $27.99 in the Nintendo eShop for 48 hours beginning at 3pm on Thursday, March 3rd.

Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, the third path in which you don’t choose a side, will be available as downloadable content to either the Birthright or Conquest versions of the game on March 10th for $24.99.

With Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 announced, you can get the original Azure Striker Gunvolt game for $10.49 in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS until June 1st.

While Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge will be available for early access free with the purchase of any amiibo from Best Buy, Amazon.com, and GameStop in the States, it doesn’t appear that Canada has any such deal going, and we’ll have to wait until April 28th to play this free Wii U and Nintendo 3DS downloadable title.

Huh… and that’s really it. Not a lot of pricing information going on here. If you want a full look at the press release for other details, head on over to the next page.

As for my own thoughts, you can find what stuck out most to me over at PoisonMushroom.Org.

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.

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Are you a fan of The Legend of Zelda? Do you think you might even be the biggest fan in all of Canada?

If so, then Nintendo of Canada has just the contest for you!

In order to participate and win a grand prize package, all you have to do is create and share either a video, cosplay, artwork, or even just talk about an experience you’ve had with The Legend of Zelda series. For the sharing part, you’ll need to either post it to Facebook or Twitter with the #ZeldaFan and #NintendoContest. Don’t forget to include them, as they’re essential to enter successfully!

Now, what do you get as the fruits of your labor should you win?

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As this contest is in celebration of the releases of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and Hyrule Warriors Legends, both games will be part of the grand prize, along with a Wii U and New Nintendo 3DS XL to play them on, respectively. The grand prize winner will also have their entry shown at select Canadian showings of The Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses (plus tickets and travel fare to one of the showings).

And if you don’t make the grand prize? Two first-prize winners will receive a copy of each game, which is nothing to sneeze at.

For all the contest details, rules, and regulations, click here, and may the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce!

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.

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Earlier today, Nintendo ran a new Nintendo Direct to reveal some of their upcoming plans for the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo eShop, and Wii U for the coming year. In case you missed it, you can view it in its entirety below:

Naturally, while the Nintendo Direct provides more general information much of the time, there are some specifics based on whether you’re living in the United States or, as I like to focus on here, in Canada.

First up, let’s talk about the questionably-named New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Those who follow the business more closely are no doubt already aware that the New Nintendo 3DS came out in Japan and Australia last year, while other regions have had to wait for an announcement of their own (hence my own silence on the subject). Today is the day we would learn more, and February 13th is the day it will be available here in Canada. The price is $229.99, and unlike the aforementioned regions, the only size here will be the XL version. Plus, if you’re looking at upgrading from a previous iteration of the hardware, you’ll want to hang on to your AC adapter, as that’s not included. If you’re new to the Nintendo 3DS experience, then you can still purchase one separately, and you’ll definitely need it– while the battery usage in this version is less than the others, you’re still going to need to recharge sometime.

From the press release, “New Nintendo 3DS XL offers a number of new enhancements designed to offer the smoothest and most engrossing portable gaming possible. New Nintendo 3DS XL features a wider range of controls with the addition of a C Stick and ZL/ZR buttons, super-stable 3D via face-tracking technology and built-in NFC functionality that allows for communication with amiibo figures.”

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Four versions will be available on February 13th: In addition to New Black and New Red, there will be a The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D-inspired version which also retails for $229.99, but doesn’t come with the game it’s named for. This will be available at EB Games, Future Shop, Best Buy, and Amazon.ca. As of this writing, the latter three are not yet listing it online, while the EB Games website appears to have already sold through their stock.

Speaking of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, it too will be available on February 13th.

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Similarly, this may just be a formality at this point, but exclusive to EB Games is the $259.99 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate bundle, which comes with a copy of the aforementioned game preloaded. Like the Majora’s Mask 3D version, this one is also sold out online already. Between these two, you may want to try your luck in-store.

I’ll try to have a review of the New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware for you before long, but that wasn’t the only thing talked about during the Nintendo Direct. Let’s get into some games!

Starting with Nintendo 3DS:

The showing kicked off with a teaser of a new Fire Emblem game– not the mysteriously quiet Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, however. Created by the same folks who brought us Fire Emblem Awakening, “the new adventure adds challenges never before seen in the series and asks players to make decisions that will affect the game’s world in new ways.”

In addition to single player hunting, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will allow multiplayer on a portable system through use of broadband internet for the first time. Plus, select players will soon be able to download an early access demo which features both single and multiplayer options.

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In April, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (whose Wii version I reviewed here) will be released exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS XL. In addition to offering 3D visuals and the ability to view maps and character stats on the bottom screen, a new mode will allow players to view 3D models of the characters and listen to music from the game’s soundtrack. If you’re wondering what the deal is with that Shulk guy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U or Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, now’s your chance to find out!

Oh, and if you want to see the game in action, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch the full Nintendo Direct for that.

A one-two punch of the popular Puzzle & Dragons is coming to the Nintendo 3DS. Not only will the strategy-RPG puzzle game be released in the form of Puzzle & Dragons Z, but it will also come with Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, featuring power-ups and enemies from the Mario games.

Arriving on March 13th, one month after the release of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will see Abraham Lincoln bring together a collection of heroes from American folklore and classic literature to fend off an alien invasion. What’s more, the game uses the New Nintendo 3DS XL’s built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) reader to scan Fire Emblem amiibo characters, allowing you to use the likes of Marth, Ike, Lucina, and Robin in the game as well.

“But wait!” you say. “How can I get a Marth amiibo now? They’re all gone!” Fortunately, the Nintendo Direct brought good news on this front, as it seems more Marth are on the way. With any luck, Villager and Wii Fit Trainer, among others in short supply, will be getting the same treatment.

Launching this spring, Etrian Mystery Dungeon from Atlus and Spike Chunsoft is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive which combines the gameplay of the two series which form its namesake, Etrian Odyssey and Mystery Dungeon. Create your own party of heroes, then embark on a near-infinite quest for loot!

Marvelous USA and XSEED Games will bring Story of Seasons to Nintendo 3DS this March. It combines farming and life simulation, and players with other lands throughout the in-game world will be able to connect with other players online.

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Ever wonder what would happen if Nintendo did Free-to-Play? You’ll find out in February with this free Nintendo eShop download as players “put their puzzle-solving skills to the test by matching three or more Pokémon in the Puzzle Area to deal damage as they battle wild Pokémon across a variety of stages.” You can purchase items in-game using Nintendo eShop funds, and more details and footage can be found in the Nintendo Direct video at the top of the page.

Available for all Nintendo 3DS systems on February 13th, Bandai Namco’s Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ is best experienced on the New Nintendo 3DS XL, thanks to its additional shoulder buttons and second analog input. You can also use select amiibo figures to customize your craft with different Nintendo-themed skins.

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Fossil Fighters Frontier will be available on March 20th, allowing two to six players to team up and battle each other’s Vivosaurs in local or online tournaments. Again, more details and footage are in the complete Nintendo Direct.

That’s mostly it for the Nintendo 3DS news. Now, want to find out about the Wii U, amiibo, and stuff for both platforms in the Nintendo eShop? Read on!

Nintendo of Canada has announced their upcoming Holiday Mall Experience, which will begin on Monday, December 8th in three cities across Canada and last until Sunday, December 21st.

There, Nintendo fans will have the opportunity to try out several of the hottest games from the past year, including Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Hyrule Warriors for Wii U. On the Nintendo 3DS side, there’s Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Mario Kart 7, Kirby Triple Deluxe, and Yoshi’s New Island to check out.

Plus, if you snap a picture of you and your friends playing at the Nintendo Holiday Mall Experience and post it to social media with the hash tag #NintendoCanadaHoliday, you’ll have a chance to win some branded Nintendo prizing. If you’re a lucky winner, then the Nintendo team will message your social media account directly.

The full schedule of locations, dates, and times is as follows:

Coquitlam, BC:

Coquitlam Centre, 2929 Barnet Hwy #1204

Hours:
December 8–12: 10am-9pm
December 13: 9:30am-9pm
December 14: 10am-6pm
December 15–19: 10am–9pm
December 20: 9:30am-9pm
December 21: 10am-9pm

Scarborough, ON:

Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive

Hours:
December 8–13: 9:30am-9:30pm
December 14: 10am-8pm
December 15–20: 9:30am-9:30pm
December 21: 10am-8pm

Pointe Claire, QC:

Fairview Pointe Claire, 6801 Pointe-Claire

Hours:
December 8-12: 10am-9pm
December 13–14: 9am-5pm
December 15-17: 10am-9pm
December 18-19: 9am-9pm
December 20-21: 9am-5pm


Seems like something is going around, because let me tell you, my head is spinning. As a result, I’m going to see about keeping this relatively brief, especially since I once again didn’t get any Future Shop or Best Buy flyers this week, which means I have a late night ahead (and don’t even talk to me about EB Games).

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Hyrule Warriors for Wii U – This comes out tomorrow, September 26th, and let me just tell you up front that I won’t have a review ready in time– I just got the game on Tuesday, so I can’t offer a whole lot of insight beyond my previously-noted impressions. The general consensus I’ve seen around, however, is that if you enjoy Warriors titles, you’ll enjoy this, and if not, then the Zelda trappings won’t do much for you.

Me? I’ve never really gotten to play any of the Warriors games at length, but I am quite enjoying this so far. Click here to see it in action.

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Mario Golf: Advance Tour for Wii U – Well, at least we now have one Mario Golf game on the Wii U. This one is the Game Boy Advance title in the series, which (to my understanding) is basically an updated/graphically enhanced version of the Game Boy Color title. I can’t tell you how accurate that is of if there is more going on, but it does possess the coveted role playing game elements fans of the series so love and crave in newer releases.

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Angry Bunnies: Colossal Carrot Crusade for Wii U – This non-copyright infringing take on Angry Birds returns with a new title containing 150 levels to hurl long-eared varmints through, plus internet rankings for bragging rights.

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Darts Up for Wii U – How much to play the ultimate game of darts, now on Wii U? $2.49, apparently. I guess darts just aren’t what they used to be. That said, four players can participate in the Classic, Combo, and X01 modes, or you can vie for online ranking glory in Arcade mode.

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Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party – Demo Version for Wii U – If you weren’t sure about spending $11.99 on this party game, now is your chance to try it out for free. If you like it, then good news: It’s on sale right now (see the sales below)!

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Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL World Duel Carnival for Nintendo 3DS – Get your game on, or whatever the slogan for this series is. Based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL cartoon, you can “Play as one of 12 characters, each with his or her own storyline, and battle with 40 Duelists from the TV show to compete in the World Duel Carnival. Enjoy multiple game modes, a tutorial and customization options as you play with more than 5,700 cards from the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game.” I assume it involves playing cards, too, but the pic above is the only image they gave to support this. Perhaps this trailer will shed a little more light on it.

Nintendo eShop Sales

Super Smashing Sale – To celebrate the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, you can save up to 33 percent on “some of the games that helped make your favorite fighters famous.” This is the last week, and the final rotation consists of (from highest to lowest):

Pikmin 3 for $39.99 (from $59.99), Star Fox 64 3D and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for $29.99 (from $39.99 and $49.99, respectively), Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for $19.99 (from $29.99), Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (both versions; I preferred the Nintendo 3DS game) for $11.99 (from $19.99), Kirby & The Amazing Mirror and Kirby’s Dream Land 3 for $4.99 (from $6.99 and $7.99, respectively), Donkey Kong for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS and Donkey Kong Jr. for Wii U only for $3.49 (from $4.99), Kirby’s Dream Land and Kirby’s Dream Land 2 for $2.49 (from $3.99), and Game & Watch: Donkey Kong Jr. for $1.49 (from $1.99).

Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party for Wii U – This game is 30 percent off ($8.39 from $11.99) until 8:59am PT on October 12th.

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Armillo for Wii U – This game is 37 percent off ($4.99 from $7.99) until 8:59am PT on October 6th.

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Swords & Soldiers for Wii U – This game is 33 percent off ($1.99 from $2.99) until 8:59am PT on October 9th.

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Glory of Generals for Nintendo 3DS – This game is 30 percent off ($6.99 from $9.99) until 8:59am PT on October 9th.

Coming Soon

Castlevania: Dracula X for Wii U – Coming October 2nd.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for Wii U – Coming October 9th.

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

Nintendo recently (well, sort of– long story) held an event for local Canadian outlets to try out some of the new and upcoming games which were shown off earlier this summer at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. As always, Mario’s Hat was there, and while I didn’t get to try out everything on offer, I did get to sample some of the juicier bits enough to provide some impressions.

Wii U

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Naturally, this was the big one for people to gravitate to, with two dedicated stations for playing it (the next-closest thing was three stations on which a number of demos were loaded). Better still, this opportunity presented an option not available at Best Buy: GameCube controllers, courtesy of the recently-announced adapter. The controllers themselves had seen better days, but they still did the job, as they felt more natural than my previous effort with the Wii U GamePad.

Also beneficial was the opportunity to go more than one round. The game feels closer to a midway point between Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl in terms of speed and competitiveness, and Mega Man is definitely going to take some getting used to. Despite the feeling that he’d fit me like a glove after watching him in videos, it’s proving to be a tight glove; he fits, but I still need more time to break him in, as some of his moves feel a bit more nuanced than I was expecting, mostly as a matter of timing.

Having heard how well he performed at the San Diego Comic-Con’s tournament, I gave Bowser a try next, and he seemed very, very slow to me; not as much in his basic movements, but more in his ability to perform special moves. But then, I’ve never been a big Bowser player, so that probably doesn’t help matters much.

I also tried Little Mac, but much like Mega Man, I think I’m going to need to spend more time with him before I really feel comfortable using him. I’m not sure if it’s me, or just a pattern among new challengers.

Finally, I went to my mainstay: Mario. Aside from having to deal with F.L.U.D.D. again (I’m eager to see what customization can do for me there), it was like coming home again. Much as I was eager to try new characters, I should probably have gone straight to Mario in order to form an opinion. Once we clicked again, things went a bit better for us. I didn’t always win, but I did feel like things were where they needed to be, and they felt good.

Some of the stages were pretty good, too. My favorite so far has to be the Punch-Out!! stage, though Dr. Wily’s castle, the Battlefield, the Fire Emblem arena, and others have felt pretty solid.

With a game containing as much content as this one, and with as little as what was available to us here, it’s hard to form a very complete opinion overall. Still, I have a very good feeling about this one. I don’t know if it will please the hardcore Melee fans, but whereas the Best Buy experience left me uncertain, I now fully and eagerly anticipate good times ahead.

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Hyrule Warriors

Have you ever played a game from The Legend of Zelda series, gotten a brand-new powered-up sword, and just wanted swathes of enemies to come after you all at once so you could simply tear them down with one mighty, enormous sword swing? It’s a feeling I’ve had all too often, and one that often feels like it goes unfulfilled.

Not so in Hyrule Warriors. Though no new sword power-up was required, it nonetheless provided that most desired sensation as I tore through huge platoons of enemy Bokoblins, sending them flying and falling left and right.

The demo gave a good sense of what to expect from the gameplay, offering three playable characters to choose from (Link, Zelda, and Midna), and one battlefield to run around on. Several objectives come up on the field, as you try to secure keeps and obtain items, such as the bombs which are hidden in a nearby cave (and which anyone seems to be able to use, throwing a volley with each press of the button). I only got to use Link and Midna, and while Link is great for cutting through enemies, Midna just manages to plow through them in the most joyful of ways. The end result is by and large the same, but the joys of getting there tend to differ.

It’s no secret that the ever-increasing focus on puzzles in Zelda have left me weary, and that I much prefer the action-oriented aspects of the series. Fortunately, Hyrule Warriors looks to be delivering on that in a big way (while still retaining some exploration and discovery elements) when it comes out at the end of September. At the moment, I think it’s the game on this list I’m most looking forward to– at least, that isn’t named “Super Smash Bros.,” and even that’s iffy at the moment.

All this, and I’ve yet to even touch the multiplayer.

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Bayonetta 1 and 2

I’ve never played Bayonetta. Not for any particular reason (not outside of “time” and “money,” anyway), it just never happened. So when I got to the carefully-positioned kiosk set away from all the others to have a look-see, I was presented with the question: “Bayonetta 1 or 2?”

I asked the difference, and was informed that the first game had a greater emphasis on exploration, whereas the sequel focused more on action. Well heck, I was on a loosely-defined sense of a schedule, so I decided to go for quick-n-satisfying action and leave exploration for when I could sit down with it.

That said, Bayonetta 2 is just so crazy and off the wall… I loved it. I can’t even begin to describe all the craziness here, though one recurring moment that sticks out in my mind is when I’d fight a foe, a meat grinder (or something) would pop up out of the ground, and as they tried to resist the pull of its conveyor belt, I’d kick them in– blood and bits strewn everywhere, though I’m not sure I’d describe it as exceptionally detailed gore, either.

Not for kids or the faint of heart, but very over the top, fluid, and fun. My kind of game, and it kind of reminds me of some of my favorite elements from Mortal Kombat, too.

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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Aside from how any slight movement of the Wii U GamePad would adjust the camera, the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World were some of my favorite parts of the game, providing a fun mini-game-esque diversion from the main quest which still benefited you greatly if you were to succeed. The big question, however, is “can this work as a full-price retail game?”

The jury is still out on that one, though from what I could tell, the camera didn’t seem as sensitive to movement here, so that’s a plus. In any case, the puzzles herein seemed to have a greater level of depth as opposed to those seen in the full 3D Mario adventure. The more I see of it, though, and having played it in person, I’m really looking forward to the final game. It feels like at the right price, it might not win “Game of the Year,” but could nonetheless be a potential sleeper hit for Nintendo.

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Yoshi’s Woolly World

While Yoshi’s New Island was not by any means a poor game, it did feel a bit lacking– particularly as a fan of the original Yoshi’s Island, which the New installment did excruciatingly little to break away from. Simply put, it was like Yoshi’s Island‘s equivalent of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in terms of series progression (though clearly not in difficulty).

But from what I got to play, the spark I felt was lacking in Yoshi’s New Island felt like it was present in Yoshi’s Wooly World. It’s too soon to say for sure, but adding some of the ideas and aesthetic appeal from Kirby’s Epic Yarn to Yoshi’s world felt like it was the right progression for both. Included in that is the option for two-player action, which I engaged in with my wife, and which we both enjoyed.

Yoshi’s Story aside, it seems like follow-ups have tried to be like the original, and it’s worked to their detriment. Yoshi’s Wooly World, on the other hand, seems to break away from Yoshi’s Island‘s most iconic feature– the visual style and aesthetic– and grows from there. Hopefully it will end up proving to be the true sequel we’ve waited so long for.

Oh, and there’s no Baby Mario– that’s a big plus right there.

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Mario Maker

Below, you’re going to notice that I didn’t get to play several games at the event for different reasons, mostly being a matter of priority versus time, but also because some of them didn’t quite feel right to me in the hustle-n-bustle environment they were in.

I thought Mario Maker would be one of those games I’d rather just sit down with and just play around with until I hit my stride, but to my surprise, just watching others play it made me want to play it. Seeing how others were setting up blocks, enemies, and obstacles got the wheels turning in my own head, formulating my own ideas I just had to try myself.

That’s a surprising part of the appeal of Mario Maker, it turns out– it can draw a bit of a crowd, and spectators are all likely to have their own ideas of what should be in the game, or will wonder just what cockamamie design you’re trying to implement. And doing so is fun, too, be it as a spectator or as you’re designing the level yourself. The interface is rather simple, and you can perform on-the-fly testing as often as you need before turning your creation loose.

It’s like art meets game design, and just feels a lot more fun than your run-of-the-mill level editors that you find in other games. Level editors have been in Nintendo games for years, dating back to the likes of Excitebike and Wrecking Crew, but I can’t remember a time when they’ve felt as fun as this. Heck, one would think a Mega Man fan such as myself would leap at the opportunity to create my own levels in Capcom’s 2006 game Mega Man Powered Up for the PlayStation Portable, but I don’t think I ever got around to designing a single board. But I can’t wait to get more time with Mario Maker.

By the sound of things, we’ve only seen the tip of what the full game will offer in terms of design options, too. Early 2015 can’t get here quickly enough.

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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Much to my regret, chagrin, and other words indicating displeasure, I never got to play the highly-regarded Nintendo DS title Kirby’s Canvas Curse, one of the earlier, more innovative, and apparently best titles in the system’s early days. Fortunately, luck has smiled upon me as a sequel has been announced for the Wii U.

From what I can gather, this title plays much the same as its predecessor, though it trades out the earlier game’s paint-like aesthetic for one made to resemble colored clay. Using the stylus, you control Kirby (who is stuck in a ball form) and draw ropes, ramps, loops, and more for him to follow to reach new places and get past his foes.

Playing it, I can see where the reputation of the original came from, and I look forward to playing more in 2015.

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Mario vs. Donkey Kong

I didn’t get to play this one due to a lack of time/the overall busyness of the event. That said, it’s yet another in the Lemmings-style of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, rather than my preference, the Donkey Kong ’94-style that launched the series. That said, it certainly looked really nice on a high-definition television, and watching some people play did make me want to snatch the GamePad away and say “no, like this!”, so maybe I should give it another go when it comes out.

Project Guard & Project Giant Robot

Unfortunately, though these two were there, I didn’t have time to try them out. Admittedly, they were kind of low on my list, perhaps due to the hints that they’re both part of the upcoming new Star Fox title that are not yet fully formed. Still, people seemed to be enjoying them, and I do wish I’d gotten to try them. Alas, it was not to be… this time.

Art Academy

Another game that was on hand, but I didn’t really get to try, as the environment didn’t really feel right for it (some games feel more like something I’d rather sit down with for a while, rather than form impressions in a really busy environment). Also, no time– maybe if there was more. Still, I’d love to give it a go when it comes out on October 24th, 2014.

Nintendo 3DS

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Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Okay, I’m going to be up front about this: I don’t like this one as much as the Wii U version. In fact, so far, I don’t think anyone I know has.

That isn’t to say it’s bad, however; I did enjoy my second time with the game since playing it at Best Buy back in June, and I even got to play a regular match this time. Really, I believe it all comes down to one simple thing that could very well make or break this experience.

Control customization.

In a game like this, a certain sense of immersion is key. You can’t stop to think about how you’re going to do what you need to do, you have to be able to do it instinctively, reflexively at a moment’s notice. I simply was not feeling that here.

It’s a very simple thing, one which can make or break a game, but one not afforded in the demo version that I was able to tell. The way the face buttons are mapped in this demo was counter-intuitive to me, or at least to my familiarity with the GameCube controls. I was able to adjust to them somewhat, but it took a more concentrated effort, and in the heat of a battle, it’s easy enough to lose yourself as well, which can wreck things.

I can’t say for certain, but if the final version allows me to remap the buttons, I think I’ll like the game a whole lot more. As it is, I saw the game again at a separate, more recent event, and ultimately passed it over for the Wii U version (and for Hyrule Warriors).

Fortunately, director Masahiro Sakurai is one of the best in the business– especially at Nintendo– for allowing various options and customization in his games, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Heck, that we’re even getting the option to use GameCube controllers in the Wii U version feels like a testament to that. So I do have confidence (and fingers crossed) that he will allow us to choose what feels right for us and go from there.

Until that point, though, I have a certain reluctance about this one. I’m sure it will be good, but will it be great?

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Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

I skipped on this one for two main reasons: 1) The frantic environment of the event isn’t really the type I like to play such games in, and 2) It was coming out so soon, anyway, that I figured it would be better to focus on other things at the show while I had time. In fact, I have my review copy now, so there you go.

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Fantasy Life

I didn’t really get a chance to give this a go, but it looks interesting. Another title I’d rather sit down with and get to know more personally, rather than meet-and-greet amidst talking to people and such.

Pokémon Art Academy

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t in the mood to do this there, but the Nintendo 3DS unit housing this demo was open while I was waiting for a shot at Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. I gave it a shot, though I didn’t draw any Pokemon— instead, I drew a Goomba, to the amusement of some others around. Not bad, but I’d need to spend more time with it, even though the primary function seems to be teaching one how to draw Pokemon.

—–

During the event, I had the opportunity to speak with Matt Ryan of Nintendo of Canada, who noted that Super Smash Bros. “will be our biggest launch this holiday,” including the October 3rd release of the Nintendo 3DS game, and that the amiibo figures would be arriving day-and-date with the as-yet unspecified release date of the Wii U version. He also pointed out that another title that was absent from the show, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Saphire, is also expected to do quite well in November, especially with the “more serious” Pokémon fan.

On a more personal level, Ryan notes that he is really looking forward to Hyrule Warriors. “Ever since I first saw that game, the graphics looked amazing. The gameplay and the physics of it all play really well.”

“While I haven’t played a lot of Dynasty Warriors, I have played, and it’s fun and I love that over-the-top action, like taking out the hordes of enemies. Splicing in The Legend of Zelda‘s look and feel, and the realm of Hyrule and the characters like Link and Zelda– it’s awesome. It’s one of the best-looking games I’ve seen on the Wii U.”

—–

Though I didn’t get to play everything, I came away with an overall positive feeling about (and from) the games Nintendo showed off at their post-E3 event. Some I need to spend more time with, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS does give me pause, but it’s an overall strong lineup going into the holidays and beyond, and I can’t wait to experience more of it.

A huge thanks to the folks at Nintendo of Canada for having us to the event, and for taking the time to speak with us!

As August draws to a close, Nintendo is looking past the end days of summer to bring us information on what to expect going into the 2014 holiday season.

Unfortunately, the big question on everyone’s mind– “When is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U coming out?”– remains unanswered, and as such, so too does the question of when the amiibo figures the game interacts with will be available. However, other release details have been afforded us, including the identities of the initial dozen– Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer– and that they will each be priced at $13.99, with pre-orders available now.

On the subject of Super Smash Bros., however, those who register both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of the title through Club Nintendo will be eligible to receive Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U: Premium Sound Selection, a soundtrack CD packed with music taken from and inspired by the games. It’s not quite what I had in mind on that front, but a welcome step up nonetheless, and more details about this offer are coming in the future.

Oh, and in a separate announcement, Nintendo revealed that Shulk from the Xenoblade Chronicles franchise would be a playable character in both games:

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire for Nintendo 3DS will be available in both stores and the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS on November 21st. Not a lot was said, other than “Trainers will catch, battle and trade Pokémon as they immerse themselves into a grand tale that draws ever closer to the heart of the secrets behind Mega Evolution and the power of Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre.”

Just in time for Halloween, Bayonetta 2 (which also includes the first game and Nintendo cosplay options for the titular hero, of course) has a release date locked down for October 24th. “The game features over-the-top battles with wild weapons that take place in gorgeous set pieces,” notes the press release, and “a new snake transformation lets Bayonetta better navigate underwater.”

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker still has no release date, but those concerned about where to pre-order Hyrule Warriors from with regards to the pre-order downloadable content can rest a little easier: The details will come later, but all the costumes will be available to purchase in due time.

More immediately, though, “Nintendo plans to support the game for the long run with more content to help players expand their adventures even farther. That program kicks off when the game launches on September 26th. People who buy the game will receive access to a free download that adds a new mode, a new weapon, and the option to select music to add to the Hyrule Warriors experience.”

While Pokémon Art Academy will be available for Nintendo 3DS on October 24th, the Wii U eShop-exclusive version of Art Academy is still only slated for “2014.”

On December 5th, NES Remix Pack— a two-in-one retail disc containing both NES Remix and NES Remix 2 (click for my respective reviews) will become available. The price given is $29.99 with a caveat that the Canadian price could change, while the Nintendo eShop versions will remain available for $14.99 each. On a personal note, I wish they’d released the disc sooner– I’ve loved both games and having them stored on my Wii U console is handy, but the classically-styled box would just look so good on my shelf.

On a related note: Fans have demanded it, and now they’re finally getting it… sort of. That same day, Ultimate NES Remix hits the Nintendo 3DS and will be available in stores and in the Nintendo eShop, also for $29.99 (similarly subject to change). “The game features rapid-fire challenges and mashups from a selection of 16 of Nintendo’s finest 8-bit games. Regional online leaderboards will let players see how they stack up against others in their area, and Championship Mode offers a series of challenges from three different games.”

As the first NES Remix contains 16 different games and the sequel features a dozen, it should be interesting to see what the Nintendo 3DS version pulls together for its offering– especially if they’re both the same price.

Fantasy Life will be available for the Nintendo 3DS at retail and in the Nintendo eShop on October 24th– a day with growing significance, apparently. “Fantasy Life lets players become the masters of their destinies as choices they make help determine their own Fantasy Life. Players can easily change their Life Class at any time and experience how each offers a new perspective on the world. Local and online multiplayer options let friends share the adventure, the exploration and the bounty.”

That same day, a downloadable content pack for the game will also be available. “Origin Island offers a new area that is home to an ancient culture and powerful enemies, additional story content, new ranks to achieve in Life Classes, access to even more powerful equipment and two new varieties of pets to adopt: birds and dragons.”

In a bit of a surprise, today marks the beginning of the availability of Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe and Kirby Fighters Deluxe, expanded stand-alone versions of two mini-games featured in May’s Kirby Triple Deluxe. “This version includes five new stages and a new team battle feature. Players who already own Kirby: Triple Deluxe with StreetPass data will get bonus content in both downloadable games.” I spoke of the two versions included in my review, but I’ll go into further detail should I find myself in a position to review the stand-alone releases and their expanded features.

On the indie game front, Curve Digital’s Stealth Inc 2 is slated for a fall release in the Wii U eShop and promises a mix of puzzle solving, action platforming, and stealth, as well as a “two-player co-op mode, level editor, off-TV play and Miiverse integration.” Ronimo Games’ side-scrolling action strategy game, Swords & Soldiers II, comes to the Wii U this holiday season.

In October, a system update for the Nintendo 3DS will yield new themes that can change the background, icons and folders, music, and sound effects of the Nintendo 3DS’s Home menu, purchasable from a new Theme Shop added to the menu. More details are still to come in the future.

In addition to the games, Nintendo is offering some new bundles for newcomers as well. The Super Mario 3D World Deluxe Set will be released in mid-September and include the Wii U console with physical copies of Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land for a suggested retail price of $299.99. Meanwhile, Walmarts across Canada will offer a special-edition Wii U bundle starting September 25th that includes the console and physical copies of Mario Kart 8 and Nintendo Land, also at a suggested retail price of $299.99. “This exclusive bundle will be available while supplies last.”

On the portable side of things, Nintendo will be offering three new Nintendo 2DS bundles. For $129.99 each, you can get an Electric Blue, Crimson Red or Sea Green Nintendo 2DS system with a code to download Mario Kart 7 from the Nintendo eShop. The three bundles will be available beginning in early October.

Finally, there are more than 60 third party offerings to come across the various platforms, all summed up by this handy chart:

 

Publisher

Title

Release Date

Wii U

Activision

Skylanders Trap Team

October 5

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2

October 14

Disney Interactive

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

September 23

Little Orbit

Penguins of Madagascar

November 25

Little Orbit

Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue

November 4

Mobot Studios

Paper Monster Recut

September

SEGA

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

November 18

Ubisoft

Just Dance 2015

October 21

Ubisoft

Watch Dogs

2014

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

November 11

WayForward Technologies

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

2014

Nintendo eShop on Wii U

Ackk Studios LLC

Chromophore: The Two Brothers Director’s Cut

Q4

Arachnid Games

Ballpoint Universe: Infinite

Fall

ATLUS

Citizens of Earth

November 4

BeautiFun Games SL

Nihilumbra

Winter

Breakfall

STARWHAL: Just the Tip

Q1 2015

Curve Digital

Lone Survivor

Q4

Curve Digital

Stealth Inc 2

Fall

Curve Digital

The Swapper

Q3

Frima Studio Inc.

Chariot

Fall

Image & Form

SteamWorld Dig

August 28

KnapNok Games

Affordable Space Adventures

Q1 2015

Midnight City

Costume Quest 2

October 7

Midnight City

Gone Home

Q4

Natsume Inc.

Alphadia Genesis

2014

Nnooo

Cubemen 2

September 4

Nyamyam Ltd.

Tengami

Fall

Over the Moon Games

The Fall

August 26

Rain Games

Teslagrad

September

Ronimo Games BV

Swords & Soldiers II

Q4

Slightly Mad

Project CARS

2015

Turtle Cream

6180 the moon

Q4

WaterMelon

Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Fall

Nintendo 3DS

Activision

Skylanders Trap Team

October 5

Activision

The Legend of Korra: A New Era Begins

October 28

ATLUS

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

November 25

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2

October 14

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce

October 28

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

TENKAI KNIGHTS: Brave Battle

October 7

Capcom

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Early 2015

EA

EA SPORTS FIFA 15

September

GameMill

Big Hero 6

October 28

Little Orbit

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

November 18 

Little Orbit

Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue

November 4 

Little Orbit

Penguins of Madagascar

November 25

Little Orbit

Winx Club: Saving Alfea

Fall

Majesco

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appetit!

September 16

Marvelous USA (XSEED Games)

Story of Seasons

Winter

Natsume Inc.

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley

October

SEGA

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal

November 11

Square Enix, Inc.

THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL

September 16

Ubisoft

Petz Beach

October 14

Ubisoft

Petz Countryside

October 14

Ubisoft

Poptropica: Forgotten Islands

October 14

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

November 11

 

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

ATLUS

Citizens of Earth

November 4

Big John Games

Cube Creator 3D

Q1 2015

Big John Games

Lionel Trains 3D

Q1 2015

Big John Games

Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter

August 28

Capcom

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy

Winter 

Choice Provisions

Woah Dave!

Fall

CINEMAX

The Keep

September

Goodbye Galaxy Games

Tappingo 2

September 4

Hörberg Productions

Gunman Clive 2

Fall

Inti Creates Co. Ltd.

Azure Striker GUNVOLT

August 29

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL World Duel Carnival

September 25

Nnooo

Blast ’Em Bunnies

Q1 2015

Renegade Kid LLC

Moon Chronicles (ep. 2)

Q4

Renegade Kid LLC

Treasurenauts

Q4 

Renegade Kid LLC

Xeodrifter

Q4

WayForward Technologies

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

2014


“Nintendo’s holiday offerings demonstrate a combination of fun franchises and great value,” said Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager, Ron Bertram. “With Wii U and Nintendo 2DS hardware bundles, classic names like Super Smash Bros., Bayonetta, and Pokémon, new IP like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and amiibo, everyone will find something to love about Nintendo this holiday season. Whether people are shopping for themselves or they’re prepping their gift lists, Nintendo has them covered.”

Finally, Nintendo has released the following trailer to highlight past, present, and future Wii U releases. Enjoy!