Nintendo Direct 4/1/15 Highlights and Analysis: A Smashing Good Time
A new Nintendo Direct aired Wednesday, and it was chock full of great information! Let's get right into the highlights!
Here's everything you need to know about the event:
Super Smash Bros. Announcements
The Direct opened with a Super Smash Bros. trailer featuring the psychic Pokémon Mewtwo, a previously-announced DLC character that will be free to download for those who bought and registered both the Wii U and the 3DS versions of the game. Those who did not buy both versions — or did not register their games by the deadline of March 31 —can still purchase Mewtwo for $3.99 on either the 3DS or the Wii U, or $4.99 if you want him in both versions. Those who are getting Mewtwo for free will receive their download codes on April 15th. For those who need to buy the character, he will be available for purchase on April 28th. I'm excited to see Mewtwo return to the Smash Bros. franchise, and I look forward to seeing what he can do.
In addition to Mewtwo, fans of the Earthbound/Mother series will be happy to learn that Lucas, who appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, will be returning to the fight in June. New costumes for your Mii fighter, based on popular Nintendo franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Mega Man, are also on the way. Each costume will cost $0.75 across both the 3DS and Wii U, while $1.15 will net you the new gear in both versions of the game.
Which fighter would you like to see join the fray in Smash Bros.? Well, Nintendo is letting the fans sound-off on that topic. If you go to this website and fill out the form, you can recommend a character that you would like to see in Smash Bros. Be sure to make your voice heard before the October 3rd deadline. I've already got my vote in for Shovel Knight and Quote from Cave Story. #VoteForQuote
The next wave of Smash Bros. Amiibo will be released on May 29th, with additional figures to follow in July and September. And, for some unknown reason, some of these Amiibo will still be exclusive to specific retailers. Yes, Nintendo continues to make these things unnecessarily hard to find.
Coming Soon to Wii U
Mario Maker, Nintendo's upcoming level-building title, was finally given a September release window. I'm looking forward to this title, as I'm sure that Nintendo fans will be able to create and share some interesting and unique Mario levels.
The adorable and charming Yoshi's Woolly World will include two game modes: Classic mode and Mellow Mode. Mellow Mode is designed for casual players and any others who may not be as skilled, as it grants Yoshi with wings allowing him to float through levels with ease. Let's hope this news means that Classic mode carries a sufficient challenge, unlike Kirby's Epic Yarn, which many players found to be too easy. Along with Wooly World, Nintendo announced a new type of Amiibo to compliment the game. These new, plush yarn Yoshi Amiibo will be available in 3 colors when the game launches this Fall. Let's just hope Nintendo produces enough of them!
The colorful shooter Splatoon was also featured, with details about new game modes. One game mode that caught my attention is called Battle Dojo, in which two players compete locally to pop balloons, with one player playing on the TV while the other uses the gamepad. And, to the surprise of no one, there will be a set of Splatoon Amiibo which will unlock special costumes and missions. Splatoon launches on Wii U on May 29th.
New Platforms Hit The Virtual Console
The Wii U Virtual Console will expand soon, with the addition of Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS games. The first of these titles, Yoshi's Island DS and Super Mario 64, are available now for $9.99 each, with more titles to follow — starting with DS games Yoshi’s Touch & Go and WarioWare Touched — on April 9th. Donkey Kong 64, Mario Kart DS, and Paper Mario 64 will all make their way to the platform throughout the rest of the month. Nintendo 64 titles are set to run between $9.99 and $12.99 apiece, while DS titles will clock in slightly cheaper between $6.99 and $9.99.
More Gaming News
Additional eShop games, both new and old, were also announced to be making their way to Nintendo platforms, including The Adventures of Pip (May 2015), Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Summer 2015), and Don't Starve: Giant Edition (May 2015) among a host of others. Watch the trailer above to see the entire lineup.
Fans of the Fatal Frame series will be delighted to know that the previously Japan-only Wii U Fatal Frame title will be heading west, while those anticipating Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem received a new trailer to feast their eyes on. Neither title was given a release window.
BoxBoy, the unique puzzle platformer by HAL Laboratories, will be released on 3DS on April 2nd, featuring 150 puzzling levels. This game may look simple, but I'm interested in trying it. BoxBoy can duplicate his boxy body, forming different shapes which allow him to create platforms, hit buttons, or even snake his way through tight spaces. It's difficult to explain, so I recommend watching the Nintendo Direct to see for yourself, or you can check out the trailer below!
If you read my Code Name S.T.E.A.M. demo impressions, you might remember that my biggest gripe with the game was the wasted time during the enemy turns while you wait for the aliens to make their move. I was thrilled to learn that this issue is going to be addressed in an upcoming patch, which will allow you to fast-forward enemy turns.
Role-playing game fans were treated to a new Xenoblade Chronicles 3D trailer, as well as new details for the upcoming Fire Emblem game on 3DS. Unlike previous games in the franchise, your created character in Fire Emblem will now be the main protagonist for the game. In addition, the player's decisions will affect how the story plays out. As the hero, you have to choose sides between two warring nations. If you choose to side with the peace-loving Hoshido nation, the story progression will be more accessible and similar to past Fire Emblem games. Conversely, if you ally yourself with the glory-seeking kingdom of Nohr, the story will be a little more complex and the difficulty will be more challenging. Fire Emblem fans and newcomers alike can look forward to this title in 2016.
A new title in the Animal Crossing franchise was also announced. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is an interior decorating game in development for the 3DS. Although the game itself doesn't look that interesting to me, it does bring along with it yet another new kind of Amiibo: collectible cards. These cards feature some of the animal neighbors from the Animal Crossing series, and they work exactly like the Amiibo figurines that we are already familiar with. I think this could be a less expensive and more available alternative for future Amiibo-compatible titles.
Mario Kart 8 DLC
Finally, some exciting news about Mario Kart 8: The previously-announced DLC Pack 2 will be launching on April 23rd, bringing with it 3 new racers, 4 new vehicles and 8 courses. Those who purchased the bundle with Pack 1 and 2 are already set to download the new content when it goes live later this month. The content can also be purchased individually for $7.99. The new racers include Villager (male and female) and Isabelle from Animal Crossing, as well as Dry Bowser. The new Animal Crossing-themed track will feature changing seasons each time you race. Most interestingly of all, a free update is coming to Mario Kart 8 that will introduce a new engine class — 200cc — for the first time in the franchise. This is going to bring new top speeds and a new challenge to races, meaning I might have to use the brakes for the first time in the series as well!
Those are the highlights that I found interesting in the Nintendo Direct presentation. What news are you excited about? Was there something I didn't mention that you are looking forward to? Hit me up on Twitter or let us know in the comments.
Did you miss Wednesday's Nintendo Direct? Watch it in its entirety below!
Ben Holt is the one of the newest members of the Short Pause empire, a guitarist and amateur songwriter, and an all-around swell guy.