Nintendo Direct Play-by-Play

What began as a review of the 1/14/15 Nintendo Direct turned into a play-by-play reaction piece.

From the top:

Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition (3DS)

The presentation kicks off with a Bejeweled clone. It seems completely unnecessary to create a “Super Mario Bros. Edition” of a game that is not focused on IP. I’ve always felt the same way with Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. (More commonly known as Puzzle Fighter.) The first sight of the characters catch my eye, but I am no more apt to play once I see the style of game. It’s a cheap trick. To challenge myself, I recently tested Marvel Puzzle Quest. Same Bejeweled experience in a IP wrapper.

How about a new Super Mario RPG?

Pokemon Shuffle (3DS)

I don’t see how this is any different than Puzzle & Dragons Z. These types of games seem entirely based on luck. I was quick to counter my own point with Tetris but a) in Tetris, the player can see their next piece, and b) Tetris focuses on single piece placement, not masses of unordered chaos falling from the top of the screen. “In-game purchases” for more lives? Terrible. It all feels too much like a slot machine.

Regarding the life meter hearts, does zero count? (I had to do it.)

Wii Games on Wii U

With the new Wii Games on Wii U, eShop purchased Wii games are displayed on the Wii U menu. However, launching an eShop purchased Wii game simply launches the software in the existing Wii emulator. This means Wiimotes are expected.

Satoru Iwata, 8:36:

There are some Wii software icons on the Wii U menu. These icons are for Wii disc titles that been reproduced as downloadable software for Wii U. And you can start each game directly from the Wii U menu without first going into Wii Mode. Wii U’s backwards compatibility with Wii was developed by switching the hardware function to Wii Mode. Because of this, in the past, we couldn’t distribute Wii disc software for download on Wii U. Now that we can reproduce Wii disc software on Wii U, we can make these titles available to download. And some of the Wii games that were compatible with Wii Classic controller can be played using only the Wii U GamePad too.

The Wii console has an extensive software catalog, but Wii U owners may not have had the chance to play some Wii games even if they were interested in playing them when those titles were first released. We hope these new possibilities will allow Wii U owners to enjoy these Wii games more easily.

Prior to watching the Nintendo Direct, and without any discretion, I jumped at the chance to purchase Super Mario Galaxy 2. I was fairly disappointed when I realized that the eShop Wii Games were not Wii U ports, rather downloadable titles with shortcuts to the Wii Mode.

I only play my Wii U with the GamePad. I have a few Wiimotes lying around from my Wii days but only break them out if additional controllers are needed for local multiplayer. If Nintendo is expecting new Wii Game players to purchase these titles on Wii U, wouldn’t complete GamePad functionality make sense? Instead they are expecting Wiimotes at the ready. To my knowledge, there is no Wii U bundle that includes Wiimotes.1

On a positive note, I am very happy to see that the Metroid Prime Trilogy will be making it’s way to the eShop. I played through Prime 3 and loved the experience.

Kirby & the Rainbow Curse (Wii U)

This game looks gorgeous. The textures and animations take me back to ClayFighter, albeit with more polish and charm.

I still don’t understand how games requiring touch input benefit during TV + GamePad gameplay. The prime mechanic of this game looks to be drawing on the GamePad. I’m not sure how players will avoid a purely GamePad experience. I’m all for the Off-TV Play feature of Wii U. I use it all the time when my wife is watching TV. However, when a game requires GamePad touch input, I have trouble adapting (Pikmin 3) or I simply play through the experience on GamePad alone. The gameplay of Kirby & the Rainbow Curse seems better suited for the head-down, (sorta) focused nature of the 3DS.

Pretty neat Amiibo support assuming the special unlocked abilities are completely optional.

Spring amiibo

Can’t wait for my Mega Man Amiibo.

Mario Party 10 (Wii U)

I remember spending countless nights playing the N64 and GameCube editions of Mario Party. I really hope this iteration brings the series back to its glory days. (Mainly because my wife will join in.) But I’m already a bit turned off when 1/3 of the modes are locked to Amiibo only support. I know I’m not going to win this battle, especially with a company that thrives on accessory purchases + the new trend of NFC figurines, but when I say Amiibo support should be completely optional, pieces of a game should not be missing/locked to Amiibos. Cosmetic additives, customizations on the go, and save data sure. But entire chunks of pre-built game? Mario Amiibo Bundle aside, selling 2/3 of a game at full price is lousy business.

But there’s more…

Bill Trinen:

If you decide to use your Super Smash Bros. Amiibo in Mario Party 10, you will need to erase that figure’s Smash Bros. Amiibo data.

You will need to erase the save data from one of the highest rated, most popular Wii U games out there. Nightmare.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker amiibo Functionality

Okay. Forget everything I said about Amiibo. I’m in!

But seriously, adding a simple hide-and-seek feature to an existing game is a great way to implement this technology. The core game exists without Amiibo while adding the optional “hide-and-seek for Pixel Toad” is no different than coin collecting, diamond fetching, or golden mushroom digging. Good move.

Splatoon (Wii U)

The addition of a social hub-world and what appears to be deep character customization adds so much to this game. My question: Will the Inkling replace the Mii?

I am still very excited about Splatoon.

Hyrule Warriors DLC: Tingle and Young Link

Young Link looks awesome.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

Since it was known as X, I have been intrigued by this title. I have only ever dipped into Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht but have always been attracted to the series’ cool and atmospheric design. More compelling: The big and lush visuals coming from a Nintendo box. It looks like the Lord of the Rings Fellowship traversing Avatar’s Pandora. Less compelling: That pop-in at 19:58.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U/3DS)

I’m a big fan of donating to my favorite creators. Likewise, I love the idea of tipping Level Creators with the stars you earn, helping them unlock new design pieces.

Also, very nice to see Nintendo build in cross-by support for the 3DS and Wii U versions of this game.

Project Treasure (Wii U)


Elliot Quest (Wii U)

Fun looking throwback title.

Blek (Wii U)

Painting-maze-pretty-shapes-cute-sounds… Did you say that this has been featured in museums? I’m in.

Citizens of Earth (Wii U/3DS)

A wacky RPG drawing heavy inspiration from Double Fine in which Mitt Romney looks to have been voted Vice President of Earth. Looks entertaining.

Gunman Clive 2 (3DS)

Love that art direction.

Moon Chronicles: Eps. 2, 3, 4 (3DS)

Was Episode 1 any good?

SEGA 3D Classics (3DS)

Get that After Burner II!

Etrian Mystery Dungeon (3DS)

I don’t get the whole “loot hunting” thing.

Story of Seasons (3DS)

Sort of a Harvest Moon reboot.

Fossil Fighters Frontier (3DS)

Archeology + Dinosaur Pokémon. Sounds addicting.

New Nintendo 3DS

I have been waiting for a redesigned standard, non-XL version of the 3DS before entering the 3DS market. I loved the portability of my DS Lite and have never been able to shake the feeling that I’m holding a Fisher-Price toy when using an XL. Not to mention it makes that terrible 800 x 240 pixel density look even worse.

The fact that Nintendo will not be releasing the new 3DS non-XL in the US was baffling until I saw this tweet:

@gamespite It might not be low-priced ENOUGH. We’re a 2DS/XL market

— JC Fletcher (@jcfletcher) January 14, 2015

Bingo. I had completely forgotten about the 2DS but it looks like the it’s push will be even stronger. One new feature of the New 3DS XL is NFC support.

Reggie Fils-Aimé:

You’ll be able to power up your Super Smash Bros. series Amiibo on the go with all of the gear you’ve already unlocked in the game.

Unless you’ve erased it to play Mario Party 10’s Amiibo Party mode. Also, no AC adapter. Here’s Nintendo’s comment to Polygon:

“Rather than raise cost of New Nintendo 3DS XL by charging consumers for a component they may already own, we are giving them the option to only buy if they need an AC adapter,” a Nintendo representative told Polygon. The spokesperson noted that the New 3DS XL is compatible with the same AC adapter used by all 2DS, 3DS, 3DS XL, DSi and DSi XL devices.

I’ve always appreciated having more than one power adapter around the house. Just this morning, I used my wife’s MacBook Pro power adapter as it was in a nearby room rather than fetching my own. Nintendo cannot assume their customer is upgrading just to save a few bucks. Poor, disappointing decision.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. (3DS)

Looks great. Ideal Amiibo support.


Think Street Fighter titles are bad?

I miss air combat games.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (new 3DS)

A very impressive port of Xenoblade Chronicles X.

IronFall (3DS)

Looks like Gears of War for handheld.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

Are these games worth playing?

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (3DS)

I have such fond memories of Ocarina of Time and will always regret not playing the original release of Majora’s Mask. My ears perked when they announced the Majora’s Mask edition of the new 3DS XL. However, no game (or power adapter) included. I am completely stumped at the decision to release a special edition model of the console without bundling in the game the design is inspired from. If this was bundled with Majora’s Mask, I would have put some serious thought into purchasing one of these, regardless of console size. Then again, I opted out of the Windwaker Wii U bundle. Those Zelda markings would have driven me nuts.


No 3DS non-XL in the US? Nintendo, what in the shit are you doing — Griffin McElroy (@griffinmcelroy) January 14, 2015

Consumers are, by no means, sold on Nintendo hardware. We are living in a world where far superior hardware runs rampant and on the cheap. It is more apparent than ever that Nintendo is putting their might behind precious IP and highlighting that they are world-class software developer. I will continue to wait for the New Nintendo 3DS non-XL, something that might feel a little less like toddlers toy. And hey, with that extra money I saved, I’ll get to buy an official charger!

Side note: I still find it intriguing that Nintendo is continuing development of 3D.

1Ben Thompson points out that the Mario Kart 8 Wii U Deluxe 32GB Bundle included a red Wii Remote (and Wii wheel accessory). This bundle is no longer available.