The Nintendo Experience Comes to Mississauga

From Thursday, April 28th through Sunday, May 1st, Nintendo of Canada is bringing the Nintendo Experience to the Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. In addition to getting to play Wii U and Nintendo 3DS titles such as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Star Fox Zero, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, and Super Mario Maker, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet and have your picture taken with Mario from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday, April 30th and earn a ballot for daily prize drawings and the grand and first prizes on May 1st!

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Source: Nintendo of Canada on Facebook

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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As noted yesterday, Star Fox Zero is available today in both the Nintendo eShop and at retail. While the game and its Tower Defense-meets-Five Nights at Freddy’s companion, Star Fox Guard, can be purchased separately in the Nintendo eShop, both games are being sold collectively as one unit in stores for $74.99 CAD. Those who purchase one in the Nintendo eShop will receive an automatic discount of $9.99 CAD when purchasing the other game digitally.

Star Fox Zero is a game that’s only possible through the second-screen experience of the Wii U GamePad,” said Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director Pierre-Paul Trepanier in a press release. “Many video game fans have experienced the Star Fox series through the years, but never with this level of full-throttle action.”

To get people hyped up for the game, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto has teamed with Production I.G and WIT STUDIO to produce Star Fox Zero: The Battle Begins, a 15-minute animated short which expands the world and characters with a trip through the first level of the game, Corneria:

Yep, Falco is still my favorite.

In addition, they’ve provided an overview of both Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard that you can view here:

While I haven’t gotten to play the game yet, you can find my impressions from last year’s Nintendo Summer Celebration and Media Showcase here.

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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It’s a small batch this week, but a pretty packed one. In addition to the return of Star Fox, Mario is ready to party, and there’s even free pinball and solitaire/horse racing! What more could you ask for?

(Don’t answer that, it was purely rhetorical.)

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Star Fox Zero for Wii U – Available Friday, April 22nd: In this reboot of the Star Fox team’s original adventure, you’ll have to master new ways to pilot the sleek Arwing and its new all-terrain Walker formation, the mighty Landmaster tank (now with hover conversion), and the hovering Gyrowing flight drone in order to stop Andross’s armies from invading Corneria and conquering the Lylat system!

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Star Fox Guard for Wii U – Available Friday, April 22nd: Star Fox team member Slippy Toad’s uncle Grippy is in the mining business, and as the founder of Corneria Precious Metals Ltd., he needs your help! Man a dozen turret-mounted cameras across each facility and keep the invading robots at bay!

Unlike the retail version of Star Fox Zero, it and Star Fox Guard are sold separately in the Nintendo eShop. However, purchasing one game allows you a $9.99 CAD discount on the other, bringing the total price for both to $64.99 CAD. (Edit: Whoops, my mistake — looks like the two together are $74.99 CAD.)

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Mario Party DS for Wii U – Bowser has shrunken Mario and seven of his friends down to pocket-size! Pick one and take control in four game modes as you triumph in 70 mini-games across five game boards to foil the Koopa King’s latest scheme!

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Blockara for Wii U – It’s a competition that happens only once every 12,000 years as the September Dragon awakens to grant one wish to the best alchemist in the land. Are your puzzle skills sufficient enough to claim the prize? Choose from ten characters, each with their own story, and find out!

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Dreamals for Wii U – Three animals have been summoned to the Dream World, and are now searching for a way home. Each can move in only one direction, so teamwork is the key in this puzzle/strategy game.

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Pinball Arcade for Wii U – Touted as “the most realistic and comprehensive pinball game ever created,” this free download will soon see updates featuring tables based on various hit movies, TV shows, and more, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Twilight Zone, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Monster Bash, Medieval Madness, Funhouse, Attack from Mars, Circus Voltaire, and Big Shot. Plus, online tournaments and extra modes will allow you to challenge yourself and compete against your friends.

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Pocket Card Jockey Demo Version for Nintendo 3DS – Is this mixture of solitaire and horse racing for you? Find out in this free card-stacking demo before the full game is released in May.

New DLC

Fire Emblem Fates – New DLC Map – Witches’ Trial – For $1.99 USD, you can test your skills in the Fear Mountain stage from Fire Emblem Gaiden. You can also purchase Map Pack 1 to get everything released through April 21st for less than you’d pay individually.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “Fire Emblem Fates : The Men” and “Fire Emblem Fates : The Women.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

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

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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Not a whole lot to speak of this week, though a compilation package with some of Nintendo’s earliest classics (and their remakes) is now available on the Wii U:

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Game & Watch Gallery 4 for Wii U – Classic games which helped make Nintendo a household name can now be yours to enjoy on contemporary hardware. Play recreations of Fire, Boxing, Rain Shower, Mario’s Cement Factory, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3, and many more in recreations of their original liquid crystal-display format, or remade with Mario and friends to the specs of the Game Boy Advance!

Star Fox Zero pre-purchase for Wii U – Be among the first to play this new title from the Star Fox franchise by pre-purchasing it through the Nintendo eShop on Wii U or through this link. Doing so will not only allow you to play after a small update upon launch, but also net you a $4.99 discount towards Star Fox Guard when the two titles are released on April 22nd.

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Emojikara: A Clever Emoji Match Game for Wii U – Create your own emoji masterpiece by unlocking a collection through completing word puzzles!

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Epic Dumpster Bear for Wii U – Is this memes? Regardless, there are 70 levels spread across seven worlds, plus bonus puzzle levels which make special use of the Wii U GamePad as you seek revenge on the evil corporation that destroyed your forest.

SUPER ROBO MOUSE for Wii U – Three worlds are divided into 20 levels as you guide Robo past dangerous blades, spikes, flamethrowers, lasers, and sharks in order to escape from the evil Boltz Clan.

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Doll Fashion Atelier for Nintendo 3DS – Choose a Pretty, Gothic, Victorian, Princess, or Antique doll and dress it to impress from 600 available items.

New DLC

Fire Emblem Fates – New DLC Map – Anna on the Run – For $1.99 USD, you can find out the fate of Anna as she gets cornered by thieves. You can also purchase Map Pack 1 to get everything released through April 21st for less than you’d pay individually.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “Disney Frozen,” “Mickey & Friends,” “Stitch & Company,” and “Disney The Little Mermaid.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
    • Spring into savings on Nintendo eShop with the Super Spring Sale! Save up to 30 percent off select games in Nintendo eShop starting at 9 a.m. PT on April 7 until 8:59 a.m. PT on April 21. Remember: Purchasing items from Nintendo eShop is an easy way to earn points for the new My Nintendo rewards program. Just make sure your Nintendo Network ID and Nintendo Account are linked prior to making a purchase. Visit https://my.nintendo.com/ for more information.
  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U

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

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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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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amiibo_Timmy-and-TommyAfter some teasing of various upcoming amiibo figure announcements, Nintendo of Canada has pulled back the curtain on a pretty good chunk of it. Leading off with the previously-announced Ryu, Roy, and R.O.B. in Famicom colors coming in March, they’ve also announced that a new wave of Animal Crossing amiibo will arrive in stores on March 18th, headlined by Rover, Kapp’n, and the duo of Timmy & Tommy, as well as a stand-alone Digby figure.

If that’s not enough Animal Crossing for you, another wave of Animal Crossing amiibo cards will be released, bringing the grand total to 300!

Returning to store shelves will be new shipments of Charizard, Greninja, and Lucario, who will arrive to help celebrate Pokémon‘s 20th anniversary.

3DS_MSROG_Pack-ShotWhen Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games arrives on the Nintendo 3DS on March 18th for $49.99, amiibo functionality will be includes there as well. However, perhaps due to the vast rosters on either side versus the number of amiibo available for either, only the title characters’ figures will be usable here.

The functionality here is rather curious, as the press release states “By tapping the Mario or Sonic amiibo figures to the New Nintendo 3DS system (or on a Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL or Nintendo 2DS system using the NFC Reader/Writer accessory), players can boost Mario and Sonic’s outfits with that character’s power for the day.”

I’m guessing that there might be some sort of stats associated with clothing/equipment, but it’s hard to say for sure without more information about the game itself (I’m still crossing my fingers that it features an Adventure Mode).

Incidentally and interestingly, no mention is made of similar compatibility with the Wii U version.

The biggest news of the entire press release, however, came from the Wolf Link and Midna amiibo figure’s compatibility with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD:

The retail version of the game will arrive on March 4th at a suggested retail price of $79.99, and it includes the aforementioned Wolf Link and Midna amiibo figure, which “currently” will be the only way to get said figure. Still, if Digby is any indication, the duo will likely strike out on their own before too long.

In any case, tapping the figure to the Wii U GamePad controller will open the 40-floor “Cave of Shadows” bonus dungeon, and according to GameXplain, awards the “Bottomless Wallet” (provided you already have the Giant Wallet) that holds 9,999 rupees upon completion. Plus, players can save their remaining hearts at the end of the Cave of Shadows to the amiibo, allowing them to use them to replenish their life energy inside the cave should one wish to try to beat their previous record.

Data stored to the Wolf Link amiibo will also be usable in the upcoming The Legend of Zelda game coming to Wii U later this year, but the specifics are being kept hush-hush.

Wolf Link isn’t the only one that works with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, though — Link and Toon Link from the Super Smash Bros. series can be used once per day to refill your arrow count, while Princess Zelda and Sheik will do the same for the player’s hearts. Those seeking a challenge, though, will want to seek out the Ganondorf amiibo — scanning his figure doubles the damage that Link will take. Stack that on top of the rumored Hero Mode, and you’ll find a challenge worthy of any truly great Hero.

Finally, Star Fox Zero has a release date of April 22nd confirmed. However, while amiibo compatibility is also reiterated, Nintendo has elected to keep its lips sealed on that particular matter for now — sort of an odd way to conclude a list of amiibo functionality announcements, one has to admit.

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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As you may have heard earlier today, Nintendo of America has rolled out their release schedule for the remainder of 2015, and is it ever jam-packed with stuff to look forward to. Nintendo of Canada has just followed suit, and that’s naturally where our interests lie — particularly the suggested retail prices you can expect.

“Nintendo has games, amiibo and systems to satisfy all kinds of players, whether they’re looking for back-to-school gifts or getting an early start on their holiday shopping,” Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director Pierre-Paul Trepanier stated in a press release. “No one can match the quality or uniqueness of what Nintendo has to offer for the rest of 2015.”

So, what’s on tap for Wii U?

NOA_PackShot_SSM_2For starters, if you don’t yet have a Wii U, then Walmart has the answer for you come September 11th: The Super Mario Maker Wii U bundle, which comes with the Super Mario Maker game, Idea Book, and the 30th Anniversary Mario “Modern Colour” amiibo. The $329.99 bundle will then be available at other retailers across Canada after October 1st.

For those who already own the Wii U console, the game will also be available on September 11th for $69.99.

Speaking of Mario, a semi-new two-in-one disc containing both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U (click for my respective reviews) will be available at retail on October 16th for $74.99. Previously, the two games were sold separately at retail with both coming together in a special bundle with the Wii U console. Now, if it suits you, you can get both together in one package.

Also on October 16th, Yoshi’s Woolly World launches for $64.99, or you can get it in a bundle with the exclusive green Yarn Yoshi amiibo for $79.99. If you want more Yarn Yoshi amiibo in your life (and who doesn’t?), then the pink and blue versions will be sold at retail individually for $19.99 each, also on October 16th.

A little closer to Halloween will see the release of Koei Tecmo Games co-developed title Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. This Nintendo eShop exclusive will be priced at $62.49, and beginning October 22nd, players can download and play the prologue and first two chapters for free, with the full version of the game available as downloadable content in the Nintendo eShop or the in-game menu.

WiiU_StarFoxZero_case_RSeveral of Nintendo’s heavier hitters don’t have prices yet, but you’ll find Star Fox Zero in stores on November 20th, Xenoblade Chronicles X on December 4th, and Devil’s Third on December 11th. Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, its amiibo figures (Isabelle, Digby, K.K., Reese, Cyrus, Tom Nook, Mabel, and Lottie), and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash are all still saddled with the more nebulous “Holiday 2015” release window.

On the subject of toys, Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition is slated for an August 30th release for $64.99, the special Nintendo amiibo-fied versions of Skylanders SuperChargers with the exclusive Turbo Charge Donkey Kong amiibo/Skylanders toggleable figures will be available for $84.99 on September 20th, and the LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack will make its debut on September 27th for $109.99, with additional LEGO Dimensions Level, Team, and Fun Packs available the same day for $29.99, $24.99, and $14.99, respectively.

On October 20th, things get musical on Wii U as Guitar Hero Live hits the stage for $109.99 and Just Dance 2016 shakes its booty for $49.99.

Indie games get some love as well, with Toronto-based 13AM Games releasing Runbow (complete with its host of fellow indie-gaming guest stars such as Shovel Knight) in the Nintendo eShop for $15.99 on August 27th, with those who downloaded the [email protected] demo back in June getting 15 percent off for the first month after launch. Speaking of Shovel Knight, the Nintendo eShop hit is coming to retail in October for $29.99 on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Speaking of Nintendo 3DS, let’s shift our focus to that now. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer arrives at retail for $44.99 on September 25th and comes with one complimentary amiibo card, while those who opt to download it from the Nintendo eShop at the same price will instead receive an exclusive Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer HOME Menu Theme. The rest of the 100 Animal Crossing amiibo cards will be released the same day, sold in packs of six for $6.99 per pack. Launching the same day is the long-awaited wireless NFC Reader/Writer accessory for $24.99, or you can get a bundle with the game and one card for $54.99.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes arrives on October 23rd for $49.99, with YO-KAI WATCH and Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon arriving on November 6th and 20th, respectively, neither of which being given a price yet.

Skylanders SuperChargers races onto Nintendo 3DS the same day as its Wii U big brother, September 20th, for a price of $79.99. This and the Wii version both include Hammer Slam Bowser and his Sky vehicle, the Clown Cruiser, to get you started with multiplayer racing action both online and off. Meanwhile, Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash will come bundled with a Chibo-Robo amiibo for the price of $49.99 on October 9th.

YWW-amiibo-mega-4Now that we’re back to amiibo, here’s the news on the rest. More Super Smash Bros. amiibo are on the way with Mewtwo and the great Falco Lombardi hitting on November 13th and 20th, respectively, at a price of $15.99 each. The Mii Fighter 3-pack will also hit stores on November 20th for $44.99.

Finally, Yarn Yoshi has skipped straight past Super and gone into full-on Mega with the giant green Mega Yarn Yoshi amiibo. The biggest amiibo to date arrives on October 16th for the equally mega price of $59.99, Mega Yarn Yoshi features the same “Double Yoshi” ability in Yoshi’s Woolly World as his more diminutive counterparts, which allows players to add a second Yoshi to use at any point during a stage. Plus, if you’ve got a favorite Yoshi pattern, that can be saved to the amiibo as well.

It looks like it’s going to be quite a busy (and fun) year for the rest of 2015.

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The day before we left for Otakon, Nintendo held their “Summer Celebration and Media Showcase” for 2015. Those who have been following the site for a whole know that this is basically their smaller-scale Electronic Entertainment Expo showing for Canadian journalists who weren’t able to make it out to the big show in Los Angeles earlier in the summer.

Naturally, you couldn’t keep me away from an event like this. Writing about it until now, maybe (things have come up since; don’t ask), but I’ve been champing at the bit to go over what I got to play. Plus, I got to speak for a bit with Nintendo of Canada’s newest public relations representative, Andrew Collins, who you can meet in our video interview at the end of the column.

Now, without further ado…

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

This was admittedly not the first one I had my eye on, but it was the one with the shortest line when we got there, so I figured it was as good a place to start as any.

At this point, there’s admittedly not too much to say about it. The tennis graphics and Mario characters look great in high definition, and it plays well with traditional controls (I don’t know yet if the “New Play Control” style from Mario Power Tennis for Wii will be incorporated, but we can hope). However, the game seems really early on in development, or at least minimal in what it was showing, polished as it was. Only four characters were available — Mario, Bowser, Peach, and Toad — and only one power-up is available: the growth spurt-inducing Mega Mushroom, which allows you to cover a much greater portion of the court.

That said, this small peek is giving me hope that we’ll see a tennis game that has a bit more “Mario” to it than Mario Tennis Open did. While a fine game, it felt too much like tennis featuring Mario characters, rather than a true blending of the two. The incorporation of the Mega Mushroom here gives me hope, however.

Metroid Prime: Blast Ball

Here we come to what might be the most controversial title in Nintendo’s entire E3 lineup. Up front, I’ll say that I really don’t have any ill will towards this game: I remember Metroid Prime Pinball and have heard nothing but good about it, and I also remember going eight years between Super Metroid and the double-whammy of Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion. This doesn’t worry me at all.

That said, I was really hoping that the four-player cooperative game from Metroid Prime: Federation Force would be available, but all we got was Blast Ball. That said, it was kind of fun. Sort of like a futuristic American Gladiator-styled version of hockey or soccer, wherein teams of three use their weapons (rather than hockey sticks or their feet) to knock the big glowing ball into the opposing goal. Plus, there’s room for some roughhousing against the opposing team.

Overall, it was fun, but left me wanting to take part in the main course.

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash

Another confession: I’ve never really gotten to play Chibi Robo before. I actually have the Nintendo DS game around here somewhere, picked up at Toys R Us for a song, but never had the chance to dig in.

That said, this is my kind of thing: a platform game with a focus on using a wire of some kind as your main way of getting around. That said, it’s not quite like Bionic Commando Rearmed or Super Castlevania IV in that regard, but feels unique unto itself. Certain common elements come into play, as you use Chibi-Robo’s power cord to pull on blocks and climb over obstacles, but again, it’s not quite the same. Not in a bad way, just a different way.

I look forward to playing more when it comes out. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be too challenging, but just fun to go through — sort of like Kirby Triple Deluxe. I adored that game, so if this is anywhere near as much fun, then we’ll be in for a treat.

Yoshi’s Wooly World

Nadia and I gave this later build of Yoshi’s Woolly World another go, this time with me taking up Player 2 as the red Yoshi (my preference — still hoping for a red Yarn Yoshi amiibo).

From what we got to play, not too much was different from last year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The combination of new tricks and skills involving the yarn aesthetic with the gameplay of Yoshi’s Island — minus the crying baby, of course, has me feeling like this may just be the first truly worthwhile sequel to Yoshi’s Island. Of course, I’ve thought that before, though in those cases the games ended up trying less to be a successor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System classic than just trying to be Yoshi’s Island — and typically coming up a bit short.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – Ryu

Only in a world where Super Smash Bros. is already a thing is it so easy to get to play as this was. The game has already been out the better part of the year, but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was on display with everyone available to play. Already familiar with most of the roster and returning characters anyway, I immediately went for the most curious new addition: Ryu from Street Fighter.

What I played of him was… interesting. He really feels like a combination of his Street Fighter self with the Smash Bros. style, and takes a bit of getting used to — more than one match can sufficiently provide, I’m sure. Still, my familiarity with him in his home series helped ensure that I wasn’t easily disposed of, but nor did I win the match — I just avoided getting completely throttled.

Call me intrigued. I definitely want to play as him more, and play against him as well. For the moment, I’ve been holding back as I try to determine what the best option for my budget is with all this new content — buying it piecemeal as I go along, or just saving up and buying the bundles. Decisions, decisions…

Of course, seeing as I like Ken a lot more than Ryu, I’d have gotten him Day 1 had he been an option.

Super Mario Maker

I came back to this one a few times, though unlike last year, I didn’t bother trying to make a level. Oh no, there will be time for that… time I fully intend to take advantage of to craft a masterpiece.

Ahem. That said, I did play a few of the built-in levels included in the demo. One which particularly fascinated me was a stage I had seen someone else try — and fail — to complete. It’s basically simply running straight for the goal and avoiding enemies with only just enough time to succeed. If you’re off by the slightest margin, you die.

I gave it a shot… and failed. This level was a Super Mario World-styled creation, complete with the moving “H” finish line tape at the end. However, unlike the original game, merely crossing the finish line isn’t good enough; you must break the tape, which is a little trickier to pull off.

I stuck to it, and by Goomba, I did it. Took me a couple of tries, but I was apparently the first one to succeed at it that day. Having to repeat the performance, I was able to do it again… eventually. I had more hits than misses, but at least I was still able to pull it off for the small crowd who wanted to see it done.

If I’m not mistaken, Super Mario Maker is the first game on this list to be released, with September 11th marked on the calendar. I, for one, cannot wait.

Star Fox Zero

As eager as I am for Super Mario Maker, there’s no denying which game was the Star of the show. The line was long, and the demo wasn’t any shorter, but the time came to stick it out and ensure that at least one barrel roll would be done at my hands before leaving that day.

And it wasn’t as easy as that! Well, the barrel roll might have been, but Star Fox fans, take note: this is not the Star Fox you grew up with, at least from a control standpoint. The basics are all there, but just about the entire controller shy of the directional stick has been remapped. I think the R trigger is your gun, and A converts your Arwing to robot mode (fun, that). But a lot of functions, such as turning and somersaulting and boosting and slowing down, are now mapped to the right analog stick. It’s not bad once you get used to it, but going in blind can leave you a little disoriented.

In fact, after flying through what was basically a thematic remake of the first level of Star Fox 64, I was still figuring things out. I ended up losing at the final boss of the area when — in all the hype surrounding the game — I’d forgotten one of the new features: using the GamePad screen to aim. Whoops.

All told, it was a blast, and I wish I could have played more (there was a neat space station stage to play as well). It wasn’t especially difficult, at least thanks to my veteran Star Fox experience, but I think they may be toughening things up this time around as well. For instance (and my memory may be off here), but previous installments would allow you to glide along the surface of the planet with no problems, whereas here I seemed to take damage. Maybe that’s just a mechanic to help differentiate the walker mode, but either way, it’s one more reason that this is not just the same old Star Fox.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

It’s The Legend of Zelda, and you know what? It really is rad.

I wasn’t expecting too much here that I hadn’t experienced before with The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition and Four Swords Adventures (solo, that one), but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with it. I always enjoyed those previous four-player games, though I didn’t really get to play them with any more than one other player, so the loss of one count here didn’t really phase me. My wife, Nadia, took up a second Nintendo 3DS while Ian Flynn hopped on a third, and we chose unique outfits and got down to business.

Besides the stat-boosting outfits, the big difference maker is the whole totem pole mechanic. It doesn’t look like much in the videos, but in practice, it’s fun as you all have to work together — and occasionally swallow your pride if you end up stuck in the middle during a fight that requires a three-Link stack. Plus, you’re all sharing the same set of hearts this time, so watching out for one-another is more essential than ever.

Thankfully, with the wireless capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS (and freakin’ online), maybe I’ll finally get to experience one of these games the way they were meant to be experienced.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Sadly, my time here was all too brief.

Well, not too brief, I suppose. I got to partake in the Toad hunt which teaches you different tricks that Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario can do, and I got to engage in a boss battle against Peter Piranha as well. Fun stuff, but fairly typical for Mario & Luigi fare — which is of course already excellent.

Where I had to put things down was during the most unique part, the Papercraft Mario segment. Here, you have to tap the screen to a beat to charge up your army of Toads who will carry your folded Mariozord around the battlefield, charging into other foes and squashing them. Unfortunately, a leaky faucet has more rhythm than I do, so I never got past the charging stage. I’m certain I can do it in time, but time is not a luxury I had at that moment as I tried to squeeze in what I could between interviewing Mr. Collins and being shooed out the door.

On the bright side? At least the mechanics seem more solid than Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and it looks like the fun and personality may be back, too! With the team behind Mario & Luigi at the helm, I’m sure the Paper Mario crew are in good hands.

Yo Kai Watch

This was the one game I didn’t get to play. Well, this and Splatoon, but since I’ve already played and reviewed the latter, it was a deliberate choice.

Chat with Andrew Collins

Towards the end of the event, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Andrew Collins, who is now serving the role previously filled by Mr. Matt Ryan at Nintendo of Canada. We talked about a variety of things, most of which involve the games which were on display at the event. Even though things were wrapping up, there was still a lot of noise pollution going on, so my apologies if everything doesn’t come through clearly. With that in mind, here are some highlights:

  • One needs to Metroid Prime: Blast Ball to truly appreciate it.
  • Adds that just because Metroid Prime: Federation Force is coming out next year, that doesn’t mean it’s the only version of Metroid they’re working on; likens it to the different branches of the Mario franchise, which had three very different games available on the show floor.
  • With The Legend of Zelda for Wii U delayed, rather than fill its void with another big heavy-hitter title, they’re focusing on releasing more of a variety of other titles.
  • The Yarn Yoshi amiibo bundle for Yoshi’s Woolly World is coming out in North America.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes will feature a single-player mode (involving the “rental” of two paper doll characters), but they’re keeping hush on most of the details for now.
  • Yo Kai Watch is a phenomenon in Japan; explains its concept of spirits found in everyday life. “Nice and family-oriented.”
  • The Yo Kai Watch TV show is coming over as well; details of Canadian airing are yet to be revealed.

And that’s it for this year’s event! Overall, I came away quite pleased with what was on display, and look forward to trying more of each of these titles in the future.

There will no doubt be more information and events to come as we progress through the year and into the holiday season, and I’ll bring you the latest News from the North as it happens!

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