Nintendo Announces Super Mario 3D World, New Smash Bros., New Donkey Kong Country

Posted by Bob Muir on Jun 11, 2013 in Videogames |

Super Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS

Both Microsoft and Sony announced a lot of major exclusives yesterday, which leaves Nintendo in a catch-up position with its already underperforming Wii U. With the 3DS finally taking off, what did Nintendo have to show during its first online-only E3 press conference? Click to find out!

The next Pokemon games are on the way, Pokemon X & Y. We’ve been seeing the game for a little bit now, but today Nintendo announced the first new type since Pokemon Gold & Silver introduced Dark and Steel. The 18th type is Fairy, and it will be super effective against Dragon types, because screw those guys. Eevee’s new evolution Sylveon, previously thought to be a Normal type due to its pink coloring, was confirmed as a Fairy type. Several other pokemon like Jigglypuff, Gardevoir, and Marill will also be either reclassified as Fairy types or gain it as a second type. This should change the game’s balance in a way that hasn’t happened since Attack and Special Attack classifications were redefined from types to specific moves in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Also new is a feature called Pokemon Amie, which lets you pet your pokemon on the touch screen and feed them treats. It also uses the camera function to let you copy their movements. It looks cute for pokemon like Pikachu, but less cute for pokemon like Tyranitar. Pokemon X & Y will release worldwide on October 12, which is a first for the series.

Of course, there’s a new Super Mario game (though not another New Super Mario Bros. game). Super Mario 3D World is a Wii U sequel to the 3DS’s Super Mario 3D Land. It looks like it’s made by the same team (that also did Super Mario Galaxy) and features Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad, who each have different abilities seemingly ripped from Super Mario Bros. 2. You can play with up to four characters like New Super Mario Bros. Wii. A new power-up is also introduced, a cat suit that lets Mario climb up walls and even flagpoles, kind of like Knuckles in Sonic & Knuckles. Looks good! It will be out in December.

Next up was Mario Kart 8, giving the Wii U a Mario Kart game. Bikes are back, and now you can drive on walls, underwater, and using gliders. The carts seem to drive a lot faster too, and it just looks more fun than the 3DS Mario Kart 7. There are also many multiplayer modes. Mario Kart 8 is coming Spring 2014.

Minigame collections are still popular enough, so Wii Party U was announced to feature board and party games that use the GamePad and Wiimote. There are 80 new minigames and also “Tabletop Minigames” which are played with just the GamePad. If not for the Miis, this could have easily been a new Mario Party game. This was originally scheduled for Summer, but is being delayed to spend more time on the game. Similarly, Wii Fit U was supposed to launch this Summer, but is also being delayed to work in new features. Iwata also apologized for being unable to release Wii U games after their launch the way they wanted to and even bowed. Now, Wii Party U and Wii Fit U will release in October and December, respectively.

A new Art Academy is in development for Wii U, but they don’t have much to say about it yet. However, Nintendo is impressed by many of the drawings being posted on Miiverse, so they’re releasing a special version of Art Academy intended to let artists post drawings using some of the new art options to Miiverse. This small version sounds free and will be on the eShop this summer. There is no launch date yet for the full game.

Nintendo then showed a sizzle reel of many third-party games that are coming to its platforms. Many of these are multi-platform, also appearing on Xbox 360, PS3, or PS Vita, with some also releasing on Xbox One or PS4. Here’s the quick rundown: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Wii U), Batman: Arkham Origins (Wii U), Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate (3DS), Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut (Wii U), Disney Infinity (Wii U), Just Dance 2014 (Wii U), Rayman Legends (Wii U), Scribblenauts Unmasked (Wii U/3DS), Disney’s Planes (Wii U), Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS), Skylanders SWAP Force (Wii U/3DS), Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Wii U), Sonic Lost World (Wii U/3DS), and Watch Dogs (Wii U). In particular, the 3DS graphics for Sonic Lost World looks like a close approximation of the Wii U version.

There are also some more games coming to the Wii U eShop, so here’s another list: Ballpoint Universe, Cloudberry Kingdom, Coaster Crazy Deluxe, DuckTales: Remastered, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty, Scram Kitty and His Buddies On Rails, Shovel Knight, Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party, and A World of Keflings. The last game, A World of Keflings, looks to be just like the Xbox Live Arcade version, but with Miis instead of Microsoft’s Avatars.

After only showing pictures to this point, Nintendo finally revealed a trailer for their HD update to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Unlike the early shots, which looked like the flat cel-shading style had been swapped out for a more natural shading style similar to clay figures, this trailer shows that the game still looks like a pretty HD version of the original in widescreen. There are graphical improvements as suggested in those original pictures, but it looks like it’s preserving more of the original art style, which is a good thing, because it looks great. There is also more bloom. It looks like you can now increase your boat speed, which should let you get around faster. There is an update to the Tingle Tuner, now called the Tingle Bottle, which allows you to use the item to put messages and pictures into bottles and let them wash up on other player’s shores using Miiverse-style integration. The original required you to connect the Game Boy Advance to use the item and unlock minor co-op and bonus features, but these features weren’t discussed for the Wii U version, so they may have gotten the axe. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD will be released in October.

Platinum and Hideki Kamiya’s The Wonderful 101 was shown next, and it’s looking good. I could be wrong, but it looks like the objects the heroes unite into now look like actual objects, instead of just a bunch of people in the shape of an object. There is now a multiplayer mode with up to five players. It’s launching on September 15 in America on Wii U.

The next new game is a new Donkey Kong game, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Vikings have taken over Donkey and Diddy Kong’s home, and he must travel to various islands to fix things. It’s a 2D sidescroller, but there are sections — mainly the rocket barrel sections — where the camera will move around. There is a two player mode like the previous game, and players are no longer limited to only Donkey and Diddy Kong: Dixie Kong now also returns as a playable character. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will launch on Wii U in November. No mention was made of an easier mode with an additional heart and other assists like the recent rebalanced option in the 3DS version of Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Up next was a full trailer for Platinum’s Bayonetta 2. She’s sporting a shorter haircut and a new outfit, but the game looks to be as bonkers at the last one. She fights monk clad in white who eventually summons an angel monster, prompting her to summon a beast herself. The gameplay looks similar to the previous game and is nice and smooth. Bayonetta 2 is launching sometime in 2014.

There is a trailer for Monolith Soft’s next RPG X for Wii U. Directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, the game features a large open world and players hopping in mechs to fight some enemies. It’s from the team that made Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii and the Xenosaga games on PS2. X will launch in 2014.

Nintendo closed their conference with a trailer for the next Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS. After showing each character in their respective games and with their logos, the characters began fighting, including a new fighter: Villager, from Animal Crossing. While visually boring, he has many moves from the Animal Crossing series, such as digging holes that players fall into, a bug-catching net, cutting down trees, and absorbing projectiles. The biggest reveal was a new challenger: Mega Man! After many requests for him to be in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he came in fighting with his arm cannon and ability to use bosses’ weapons, specifically weapons from Metal Man, Crash Man, Wood Man, Hard Man, Sword Man, Slash Man, Spark Man, Guts Man, and Flame Man. There was even a Yellow Devil that appeared at the end of the trailer.

Super Smash Bros. (which is still lacking a subtitle) will release in 2014 on both consoles. In the trailer, Mario undergoes a graphical change as he presumably begins fighting on the 3DS version, with all characters having light cel-shading and light black outlines. The graphical change disappears as he begins fighting in what is likely the Wii U version. Returning characters so far include Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Kirby, Pikachu, Samus, and Pit. At one point Samus uses her Final Smash attack from Brawl, so they are likely to return, though no items are depicted yet. There is a Super Smash Bros. series community that will open on Miiverse soon, but no mention yet of the return of the Super Smash Bros. Dojo, a website that revealed one piece of news concerning Brawl daily, Monday-Friday.

These were some good announcements from Nintendo, but there was not the same level of excitement that was present at Microsoft and Sony’s conferences. It’s good to learn about a new Mario, Mario Kart, and Donkey Kong, and finally seeing footage of The Wind Waker HD, Bayonetta 2, and Super Smash Bros. was great, but outside of Super Smash Bros., these are all merely “solid” games for many people; they don’t have much hype besides Super Smash Bros. Nintendo needed to provide gamers a reason to pick up the Wii U, especially with true next-gen consoles around the corner, and I don’t think they sold it well enough. With the PS4 costing $400, there also should have been a Wii U price drop.

Of course, Nintendo’s latest strategy seems to be spreading out its major news across the year with various Nintendo Direct videos, but as far as E3 2013 showings go, this is one of the weakest. Nintendo is promising more information as the week goes on, so hopefully we’ll learn more soon.

Feel free to watch the full Nintendo Direct here.

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