A New Challenger Approaches
Hi everyone, and welcome to the first of my new Nintendo News blogs for Zatu. Each month I’ll be offering my idiosyncratic take on the new announcements from the big ‘N’. As well as looking forward to upcoming releases and events. Whether it’s a Nintendo Direct, a Direct Mini, an Indie World presentation, a partner showcase, or a trailer dropped on Twitter, I’ll summarise the salient points here. I'll be picking out the highlights of all the latest Nintendo news and offering my own personal views. And if you have tickets for a hype train, make sure you keep them handy! I will be checking them!
Currently playing: Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Crimson Flower route)
Currently hyped for: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
The Holiday Season
It may come as a surprise to those of us who feel like we lived through six months of March, but the holiday season is fast approaching. This means new video games. And, this year, it also means new consoles, as Sony and Microsoft release the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X respectively.
Understandably, it’s been a relatively quiet year from Nintendo, excepting the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons back in the early spring, which was possibly the biggest Nintendo news of the year. However, they have in recent weeks announced and released a whole slew of games to carry us through the holidays – some old, some new, and some borrowed from the Wii U.
Nintendo finally released its long-anticipated Mario collection – Super Mario 3D All-Stars – on the Nintendo Switch on September 18th as part of its Super Mario 35th anniversary celebration. This has been the source of much speculation for years. This omnibus collection features ports of games that originally appeared on the N64, the Nintendo Gamecube and Nintendo Wii, respectively. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy are all classics. The first marked a huge shift in the gaming space – quite literally! It triple-jumped gaming from 2D to 3D platforming.
For gamers of a certain age (*coughs*), this collection comes pre-packed with a large amount of nostalgia. I am the first to admit that I’ve been tempted, especially knowing it’s a limited-time release. However, I already own these games. My N64 and Wii still work just fine. I’ve been able to resist... so far!
It's a-me, Mario!
Next up in Nintendo news: another game celebrating Mario’s 35th Anniversary was released in October – namely, Super Mario Bros 35. Based on the Tetris 99 model, this game pits players against each other in a competitive playthrough of the original NES Super Mario Bros game. The battle royale mechanic doesn’t work quite as well here as it does in Tetris 99, but this doesn’t stop the game being a colourful burst of silliness. I’ve not won a game yet, but I’ve definitely got a win in me! The game is free to subscribers of the NSO service.
Super Mario Bros 35 is a great remix on an established game. The same is also true to an extent of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, which was released October 16th. This repeats the tactility and inventiveness of Nintendo Labo whilst making use of the augmented reality featured in games like Pokemon Go to create a novel Mario Kart experience. To play, you set up a series of cardboard gates around your home to create your own bespoke track. You use your Nintendo Switch console to drive a radio-controlled kart that’s kitted out with a camera around it. However, rather than just showing you the camera’s view, the Switch overlays all the normal Mario Kart craziness. It looks a kart-load of fun and would be a great way to spend holiday afternoons.
Nintendo closed out October with the release of Pikmin 3 Deluxe. This is one of the last great Wii U exclusives to be ported over to the newer hybrid console. Like many of the earlier ports, it features several additions and enhancements, no doubt in an effort to get those who owned the original to double-dip. The Pikmin series originally debuted on the Gamecube back in 2001 and was equal parts ingenious and adorable. It was immediately apparent that it was blessed with the Shigeru Miyamoto magic. The third title in the series is a fan favourite, and the deluxe port on the Nintendo Switch features new side story content and 2-player co-op.
The big release for the Nintendo Switch this holiday season is undoubtedly Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which will be released on 20th November. This game is a sort-of sequel to Koei Tecmo’s earlier Hyrule Warriors and an actual in-canon prequel to Nintendo’s own The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The ‘Warriors’ style hack-n-slash gameplay can be divisive. However, this time it’s different. On this outing, the game is set in the world of my favourite game of all time. The release, throughout October, of a series of bite-sized story trailers alongside the footage from the Tokyo Game Show showcasing the different playable characters, which include the four champions, Impa and Zelda herself, has only sent my hype levels as high as Link after he’s used Revali’s Gale. It’s time for me to find out what happened 100 years ago!
And, what’s more, in the Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase at the end of October – which showcased footage of the Divine Beasts in action – Nintendo announced a free demo for the game, with saves carrying over to the main game once purchased.
My First Fire Emblem
My lockdown game has been Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’ve spent somewhere in the region of 120 hours playing through the Crimson Flower (Edelgard) route. It’s been my first Fire Emblem game. However, it’s far from being the first Fire Emblem game. In fact, the franchise is now 30 years old. In a somewhat surprising move, Nintendo has announced that they’re celebrating by bringing the first game, 1990’s Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, to the Nintendo Switch eShop on 4th December. This game has never been localised for the west before, so it is something of a historical curio. If the history of the franchise interests you, this might be worth a look.
That's all the latest Nintendo news for October 2020. What games are you playing on the Nintendo Switch at the moment? What games are you most hyped for this holiday season? And… should I buy the Fire Emblem DLC or go straight into a second playthrough, this time as the Golden Deer? Let us know over on social media, @zatugames.
We'll see you next month for more Nintendo news!
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