What We Learned from the Latest Nintendo Direct

Nintendo took to the internet last night to show off their latest slate of titles and updates, and caused quite a stir in the process. But after a brief tribute to Satoru Iwata, what exactly did we find out? Read on.

Twilight Princess Comes Out of the Shadows

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Jaws hit the floor when we learned we were about to get the GameCube’s swansong, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as an HD remaster on the Wii U next March. That said, it can’t be missed that unlike the gloriously reinvented Wind Waker HD, this looks like merely a retextured and upscaled port with some as yet unspecified new features. Those of us who have been running our copies through emulators to achieve the same effect for years might be a little disappointed, but that’s secondary to the real question – given the entire game was flipped for the Wii, which orientation will the Wii U use?

There was also some mention of the new Zelda game for Wii U, allegedly out next year after being delayed. It’ll be compatible with the fancy new Wolf Link Amiibo. Coo. There’s a free update coming for Zelda: Triforce Heroes coming on December 2 as well, which is a nice treat even if the game’s sales haven’t been stellar.

Hyrule Warriors is getting a bit of an update, with Toon Link, Tetra, The King of Red Lions and Skull kid being thrown in as playable characters for a 3DS port entitled Hyrule Warriors: Legends. The games are also getting a new female Link character – Linkle. It’s out in March.

Pokémon Evolves (and Devolves)

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In a week’s time, fans of Pokémon: Mystery Dungeon will be able to pick up Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon for 3DS, a garishly colourful affair you can throw yourself into if you’ve ever fancied cosplaying a Squirtle but couldn’t afford the fursuit.

You want downloadable games? Nintendo have them. Stunningly addictive puzzle game Picross is back, and now it’s got Pokémon branding slathered all over it. If you’d rather beat Pokémon up, Pokken Tournament is being ported over from arcade to Wii U soon.

We’ll be honest, the addition of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow to the eShop is a bit disappointing after a minute or two of excitement. While there is wireless trading between 3DS systems, there was no mention of Wi-fi trading or battling, and the games haven’t been given the enhanced borders or colour filters which could be applied to the games by the SNES’ Super Game Boy add-on back in the 1990s. Won’t stop them selling like hotcakes though.

A Bad Case of the Squids

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As one of Nintendo’s rare-as-a-blue-moon popular new properties, Splatoon obviously got a heavy airing in this Nintendo Direct. A fair chunk of new maps and equipment are out as an update now, including a casino stage with revolving geometry, and a seaside resort full of that deadliest of substances, water.

They’re also opening the new SplatNet site, allowing you to check your friends’ progress in the game, and find new reasons to be unhealthily competitive with them.

Make Mine a Mario

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Now Mario Maker’s got checkpoint flags, there’s more scope for challenging levels that are actually capable of being completed. We don’t know what it is with Nintendo and launching new websites recently, but they’ve got another one for Super Mario Maker, allowing a fairly specific search function for courses. This will be a godsend to those of us who’ve struggled through the semi-random nature of the game as it stands. But we’re disappointed they’ve not yet introduced the death penalty for people who make automatic stages. If you flag a course up on the app or site, it’ll show up in your game. Nice.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is a difficult one to leap out of bed for, but the Mario Tennis games have been solidly high quality since their conception on the Nintendo 64 so we have reasons to be hopeful. It also allows you to turn off all the gimmicky gubbins these things tend to come with, and play a good honest game of tennis. It’s out next week.

It’s still a bit up in the air how the combination of Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi will necessarily work. Sure, they’re both RPGs, but with quite different combat systems, graphical styles and styles of humour. Nonetheless, the potential is there, and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is out towards the end of January.

Don’t Cross Tom Nook

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Mario’s Law: After a series has been running for a while, the probability that they will attempt an all-star minigame party game tends towards one. So it is for Animal Crossing, attempting the move with the second of its recent spin-offs from the series. After Happy Home Designer, we have Amiibo Festival, and you already know how it works. Players travel around courses, moving space by space after a dice roll, and compete in little games catching fish or fruit or whatever McGuffin is current. It comes bundled with two Amiibos, though, which is kind of them. And also a cynical ploy to shift more units to the slightly obsessive collectors. Take your pick.

Xenophilia

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Xenoblade Chronicles X has been a darling of the Nintendo fanbase since it debuted at E3 a couple of years ago, and it’s still looking very pretty. Not even very pretty ‘for a Wii U game’ either. It lands in a couple of weeks and excitement levels here are high, although with three massive open-world games (Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Fallout 4, and this) to get through, we’re looking like we won’t be very productive over Christmas.

Fox Hunting

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Nintendo loves little more than wallowing in their old franchises like a sow in filth, but in recent years their attachment to Star Fox has been a little limited. The crew of the Great Fox had their last outing on the DS, and that wasn’t spectacular by any stretch. Still, Star Fox Zero is heading to Wii U on April 22. Getting decent graphics out of an on-rails shooter isn’t the hardest thing, so really the best test of the game will be when we actually get to play it. It’s immediately lost 4/10 for bringing back Slippy Toad.

On Cloud Nine

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This was the one that made the headlines – not hugely fair, given the amount of stuff packed into the presentation. But yes, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII has made it to Smash Bros. In what must be the most brutal stomping of Sony’s spectacle fighter dreams we’ve ever seen, a character with absolutely no prior connection to Nintendo has been drafted in to ensure that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is never, ever coming back. Well done to Nintendo for getting him, if nothing else.

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Robin Wilde

Co-Editor of Cubed Gamers, meaning I send out, take in, edit and upload content. I'm also in charge of doing much of the graphics and design stuff for the site.

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