Spring is here. Flowers are beginning to bloom and blossom is appearing on the trees. The evenings are lighter and even, for a time, warmer. And on the horizon, giant monsters are rising into view, their wings beating furiously as we approach, weapons were drawn ready for combat. For the Monster Hunter as well as for the poet, this April may well be the cruellest month.
March was a month of new life and sad departures for the Nintendo Switch owner. April will see more arrivals too. Let’s check them out in my new Nintendo Newsround.
I’m currently playing: Cadence of Hyrule
I’m currently hyped for: Zelda 35th Anniversary Announcements
The biggest game of the year so far roared onto the Nintendo Switch on the 26th March – Capcom’s Monster Hunter Rise. This is the latest instalment of a franchise that first appeared back in 2004 on the Playstation 2 and the first since the worldwide smash hit that was Monster Hunter World (a game for Playstation and Xbox consoles). The new game, a Switch exclusive, gets a lot out of the hybrid console’s less powerful architecture and has been met with great reviews. I’m very tempted to make it my first entry in the franchise.
Monster Hunter Rise wasn’t the only major release in March. Back on 4th March, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate creator Masahiro Sakurai gave us his detailed video presentation on the new DLC characters - Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. They then released that night. And let me say, forget Capcom’s monsters... these characters are absolute Smash beasts. As an XC2 fan, the implementation of their move sets, the new Cloud Sea stage and the inclusion of all the new music is just about the perfect addition to Super Smash Bros.
The month saw some other key releases too. Apex Legends finally arrived on Nintendo’s platform on 9th March. Three days later, on 12th March, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time crashed its way onto the Switch. And it certainly was about time (the game came to other platforms last September). A week later saw the flowering of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Complete Edition. The game released on the Switch on 19th March. Then, on the same day as Monster Hunter Rise, the Square Enix published game Balan Wonderworld was released.
The end of March saw the end of Mario! If Nintendo has spent the last year throwing a party for their mascot, they’ve now turned on the lights and asked everyone to go home. The NSO exclusive battle royale game Super Mario 35 has now been delisted and is no longer playable. Players are simply met with the message that ‘this online service has ended’. More notably, the omnibus collection Super Mario 3D All-Stars has been delisted from the eShop and is no longer being produced physically. The only upside to this is that perhaps - just perhaps - Nintendo is clearing the decks ready to celebrate this year’s Metroid, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda anniversaries.
Some games have already arrived and some are still to arrive. For instance, Square Enix’s SaGa Frontier Remastered is coming to the Switch on 15th April. This is a reworking of the original 1998 game, featuring updated graphics and other new features. And then there’s Koei Tecmo’s ‘new’ releases. Following the recent success of the Atelier Ryza games, they’re releasing a collection of older Atelier titles. Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX will include Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey and Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings. The title is launching on the Nintendo Switch on April 22nd.
The biggest new arrival of April will undoubtedly be New Pokémon Snap. It’s sure to be a huge hit with the Pokémon fanbase as well as with those who fondly remember the original Pokémon Snap back on the N64. It’s bound to be a game that people will snap up quickly.
Looking ahead to May, we have the Famicom Detective Club game collection scheduled for 14th May and both the HD remaster of Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne and Miitopia coming on 21st May. Then, in the summer we can expect some big releases, including The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD.
All in Bloom?
For those waiting for the flowering of a new Pikmin game, there was a miraculous sprouting of news in March. Nintendo of America announced on Twitter that there is going to be a new Pikmin mobile game. Sure, this isn’t the reveal of Pikmin 4 that some would’ve liked. However, it is being developed by Niantic, the company behind the worldwide smash game Pokémon Go, which augurs well. The new game is going to allow players to explore the real world and looks set to use the same augmented reality approach as the Pokémon game. At this stage, we only know that it is slated for release in 2021.
And with that, it remains for me to ask what you’ve been playing this last month? Are you rising to the challenge of Monster Hunter? Will you be practising your alchemy in the Atelier re-releases or snapping your way through fields of Pokémon? Let us know over on social media.