Attendees of this year’s EVO Tournament won’t need to have trained up to a professional level to enjoy hands-on time with Nintendo’s upcoming enhanced port of PokkenTournament thanks to the announcement of the Pokken Tournament Academy booth.
Visitors to the Pokken Tournament Academy booth can try out DX almost a full two months before it is released on September 22nd. Visitors will also be able to chat with members of the development team, enter a contest to win their own Nintendo Switch console and possibly most importantly receive a special invitation to a undisclosed Nintendo event taking place later this year at PAX West.
Here’s the low down on the where and when for Pokken Tournament DX’s EVO appearance:
10 a.m.-8 p.m. PT
Mandalay Bay – South Convention Center – Nintendo Booth (No. 121)
3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
The original Wii U version of Pokken Tournament was released in July of 2015. Now two years later Nintendo is updating the game for their home console / portable hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, with the addition of previously DLC only Pokemon: Croagunk, Scizor, Empoleon, Darkrai and the DX exclusive Decidueye. New multiplayer centric modes have also been added to the DX version, to entice Trainers to battle against their friends on a whole new platform.
WayForward’s long running Shantae series gets a brand new entry with Shantae: Half-GenieHero is coming to the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Wii U on December 20th in both digital and physical flavors.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is WayForward’s fourth entry featuring their purple haired protagonist. For the first time in the series history Half-Genie Hero features HD graphics while maintaining the color art-style that helped previous games stand out. If you’ve come to love Shantae’s particular flavor of transformation enhanced action combat this latest title looks like it will be worth the wait.
Gameplay wise Half-Genie Hero retains the transformation enhanced combat seen in other titles with eight different forms available at our heroine’s disposal. Her basic attack, the hair-whip, is also still in-tact but this time with an HD coat of paint. WayForward gives the completionist in all of us a reason to explore levels that have already been completed – thanks to the 8 different forms that Shantae can use, levels hold a number of unlockable items, secrets and easter-eggs that can’t be found on the first play through. Levels finish off with large boss encounters that will hopefully test the reflexes and pattern recognition ability of players of all skill levels.
Want to see the game in action? Check out four PlayStation 4 launch screenshots below, an image of the physical Wii U version and launch trailer for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.
Paper Mario Color Splash is a comical and nostalgic entry in the franchise that almost takes on a 90’s PC adventure game vibe. With less emphasis on RPG elements in this release it may feel awkward at first, but it’s a worthwhile journey to take. Some of the set pieces along the way really make for great additions to the story. Other reviewers have touched upon some of the great moments like the Pirate Ship and Haunted Inn.
Much of this content is decently lengthy and encourages exploration which really adds to that classic adventure game feel. I couldn’t decide if the game is actually hard and we just got lucky at times, or if exploration is done just right to keep you progressing. There has been the odd time I’d wandered about trying to figure out where to go next, but between quick searches online or stumbling across characters who point you in the right direction, the game has flowed well. Areas are split up in a Super Mario World style overworld map, as seen below, allowing you to go back and forth between different stages quickly.
Really it’s the story to get into Color Splash for. Princess Peach has received a colorless Toad in the mail and she takes him to Mario. They set off to Prisma Island where the Toad had been mailed from to try and discover what is going on. Upon arrival they meet Huey, a talking paint can who is distraught that the port town is missing it’s Big Paint Stars. It quickly turns out Shy Guys are using straws to suck the paint out of Toads, flowers, the walls, everything! These colorless splotches can be filled in by Mario’s new paint hammer. You’ll use paint from the three primary colors, and get more paint from hammering various objects, to color in the world again.
This gimmick is actually pretty neat since it gets you exploring your surroundings more to try and get 100% in each area. Unfortunately the game doesn’t give you a big notification when you do get 100% of the spots in a level. Instead you’ll just have to check out your stats menu on the GamePad which isn’t open while walking about. Info like that and a more constant reminder of how many cards out of your maximum you have would have been helpful.
Cards are another thing altogether. As mentioned above, you don’t really have RPG elements in the game. Sure you battle it out like in most Paper Mario games, but you don’t level up or such. Instead, finding Big Paint Stars rewards with more HP and gives you an eventual advantage to one shot certain enemies outside of combat. At first the card system can feel cumbersome. You’ll get a display of cards for jumping, hammers, fire flowers, your typical attacks, on the GamePad. After selecting your attack you’ll paint it in if it isn’t already to power it up. Finally you’ll flick the cards at your TV with the stylus. Like with many Wii U interactions, this is a cool interface that feels unique. It just takes a bit to get used to. Battle cards aren’t complex. They just activate various moves and serve as your way to attack enemies.
One tricky part however is making sure you have the right kind of cards on you and don’t just stack your deck with stuff that will get you stuck. I’ve had some challenging moments, but I haven’t had to reload because of battle cards. Thing cards are another story however. They are big attacks that you can use in combat, but they are also items you’d find in an adventure game to solve puzzles. One ability you’ll learn early on is to cut away parts of the environment. This can at times allow you to drop in one of these Thing cards to solve a puzzle. If the game is ever awkwardly bashing you over the head with a word that relates to one of your Thing card items, take that as a massive hint. There has been the rare time we got stuck this way. You do really need to put the breaks on in each area and explore around. You can also talk to Huey for hints as well by pressing up on the directional pad.
Those frustrating moments are few at least and most of the time the game does a good job in making you feel clever. The rare time you may tear an area apart only to figure out that if you just walk into the background and try to walk behind the scenery, you’ll find a ramp up to where you want to go however. It’s those moments I’ve felt incredibly lucky on. A decent number of times we’ve said, “That could have really drug out if we didn’t find that.” I don’t know if anyone has become stuck in any of those situations, but at times it just feels like we stumbled upon what we needed by chance.
I won’t go into much detail about it, especially since I haven’t beat the game yet, but there is one personal frustration I have with this title. For years I’ve been waiting for the cast of Super Mario 2 USA to return. There’s even a mention of Wart by one of the Toads in this game. The Shy Guys are his minions! I’d love to see an expanded universe Mario game and this one really could have been it. I’ve poked around a bit online but haven’t seen any reference to Wart being in the game. There is a big cast from Super Mario 2 USA that added new dynamics to the flow of a Mario title. I’d love to see any of the bosses return. Really I’d love to see a return to SubCon itself. I’d just give up, but there is so much Mario 2 nostalgia in this game! I’ll be eagerly awaiting anything like this to ever be released.
My personal obsession with an old Nintendo game from 1988 aside, Color Splash really does have a lot going for it. The story is interesting and keeps you playing. Various characters you meet along the way are fun, as are the areas you’ll explore. Many times the game did make us legitimately laugh out loud and it really has quality writing poured into it. Really the only awkward thing that makes the game drag a little is combat. It’s strange to say for a series that started with RPG routes, but I could have done with less combat and more adventure game content. There are times you’ll be referenced to return to a previous area and talk to someone there. I was more interested in that content than really doing much of the battling. It isn’t that the combat is bad. It’s more so that the game’s story is so fun that you just want to stomp or hammer the enemies out of the way to enjoy the content instead. At least I did. That and wandering the land trying to paint every last spot in each area.
Visually the game is absolutely beautiful! Color Splash uses the paper craft style that the series is known for and makes it cleaner than ever. When you actually look back to even just Thousand Year Door, the art style really stands out as even more realized. The world comes alive as you unfurl paper bridges, watch some of the scenery tremble with each hammer hit, and even as enemies and friends react like crumpled paper cutouts. The style looks great and the simplistic character animation is enhanced by the actual motion and turning of the paper cutouts they are painted on.
Paper Mario Color Splash really is worthwhile. It has the feel of the series you’ve come to know and love in the story, with a new card combat system that while different doesn’t feel out of place. I usually love grinding for levels in RPG’s, so that’s probably why I’ve personally taken to the story more since that’s absent in this game. You are rewarded with more maximum paint after collecting hammers that drop after battle along with some coins, but I love the stats of previous releases. Again, that doesn’t devalue this title. It just makes it different.
You’ll find lots to enjoy in Color Splash. The game feels like a quality Nintendo product. Sure we can nitpick various elements about it, but they aren’t really that big of a deal. Besides Wart, I want 16 games featuring him for the 30th anniversary of Super Mario 2 in 2018 Nintendo! Combat and cutting out areas are the only main uses of the GamePad which keeps it from feeling overused. Looking down at your cards may feel cumbersome at first, but it’s something you get used to that isn’t overly intrusive. It’s a fun adventure and a good value for the lengthy time you’ll be spending on Prisma Island.
Word came out earlier today that retailers in the European Union have until the end of this month – just 7 days from now – to get their final orders in for Wii U hardware. None of this has been confirmed by Nintendo themselves but at least one twitter user corroborated the original GameSeek report that broke the story. With six months to go before Nintendo’s next generation console – code named NX – launches and no official reveal in sight this whole situation should be a little concerning.
It is not uncommon for console manufacturers to ramp down production after the launch of a successor. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was discontinued just this past April, staying in production for 3 full years past the Xbox One’s unveiling. In some cases the end of production can actually occur prior to the launch of a successor console – as an example Nvidia stopped manufacturing the Original Xbox’s GPU in August 2005 just 3 months before the debut of the Xbox 360.
Nintendo’s prior history with discontinuing consoles isn’t as cut and dry as its competitors, however. They haven’t shyed away from dropping an obvious failure like the Virtual Boy, which was discontinued just six months after its initial launch in August 95. But other, more successful, Nintendo consoles have had a much longer life, even alongside their successors – the GameCube wasn’t sunsetted until late February 2007, giving the console an additional 4 months on the market alongside the Wii before Nintendo finally pulled the plug.
The house of Mario has traditionally sold it’s hardware at a profit, however the expensive Research & Development and hardware costs of the Wii U GamePad have been eating into Nintendo’s bottom line for sometime. Wii U is the first Nintendo device in recent memory that has been sold at a loss and with declining sales an argument could be made for ending the production of the console if Nintendo has enough in-stock to meet their projected demands until the NX has a strong foothold with the company’s faithful customer base.
What is a bit odd in this particular situation is that Nintendo isn’t announcing the end of hardware production at its’ partner factories but rather telling retailers in the European Union to place orders for hardware within a weeks’ time. Traditionally Europe hasn’t been the strongest of the three major markets in terms of units sold – those honors shift between North America and Japan – but Nintendo’s pattern of discontinuation of hardware has always occurred either after a successor has been released into the market for a matter of months or at least announced and demo’d publicly.
Even when Nintendo discontinued the GameCube in February of 2007 and stopped producing new titles for the machine, then Nintendo’s long time marketing Guru Perrin Kaplin took the chance to re-position the remainder of GameCube stock as an alternative to expensive next-gen consoles for players who are new to console gaming.
“I mean, I wasn’t the first to buy an iPod. By the time I bought it, it came to a price where I wanted it to be and looked the way I wanted it to look. So we’re not selling GameCube to the people who are hardcore players and want all the gadgetry – we’re going after the people who never really bought a system before now it’s finally at a price that they can afford for their family.”
The NX Question
With all of this history taken into account there is still one unanswered question that remains shrouded in secrecy: what are Nintendo’s plans for the NX? The facts are that they confirmed its existence and announced its March 2017 release date, a year before its scheduled launch. Now with news coming forward of the Wii U’s hardware discontinuation in Europe, the company is about to enter the holiday season with no shelf presence for its existing platform or its successor.
There have been a ton of leaks coming out of Foxcon factories, the supply chain and development sources, to pretty much confirm that the Nintendo NX is a hybrid / dockable device that can be used either on-the-go or while hooked up to a television. If true then the NX is probably one of the worst kept secrets Nintendo has ever held so tightly to their chest. What is of concern here is that none of Nintendo’s recent decisions surrounding NX or to some extent the Wii U fit with the company’s history of hardware launches or the end of an existing console’s lifecycle. This whole strategy seems very concerning for those of us watching Nintendo, but here’s hoping it is a direction that works.
This fake 3D printed proto-type sure fooled a lot of people, us included.
Contemporary racers might have sleek and powerful machines but they’re still confined by the restraints of modern automobile technology. With no proper F-Zero release in sight and the WipeOut franchise all but extinct there hasn’t really been an option for those of us who want to turn corners at several hundred kilometers an hour. If you want to break the sound barrier you’re going to have to go FAST!
Fast Racing NEO is a futuristic racing title for the Wii-U that has drawn a lot of comparisons to Nintendo’s own F-Zero franchise over the last couple years and was well received when it was released last fall. In the game players race down a number of different tracks at hundreds of kilometers an hour, unlike other far off racers like Sony’s WipeOut FSN features no weapons or offensive combat. Instead each ship has a boost meter that they must manage, using the R button on the pro-controller to speed forward, and traveling through colored strips to replenish the meter. Racers can quickly shift their “polarity color” with the tap of a button in FSN’s unique twist on the racing genre. Should a player come into combat with a oppositely colored strip their speed is greatly reduced.
So why exactly was Nintendo showcasing a game that came out almost a year ago at their indie booth at PAX West? Well not only Fast Racing Neo getting a physical release in North America on September 30th but also the NEO Future pack will also be released alongside the physical disc. This add-on gives owners access to 10 brand new vehicles, 8 new racing tracks and 18 new audio tracks to jam out.
Speaking of Sony’s formally active futuristic racing franchise – I also played a whole ton of WipeOut 2048 on my PS Vita while on the flight to PAX West. While mechanically similar to NEO aesthetically and somewhat musically it is a very different game due to the inclusion of offensive weapons. Regardless, both of these experiences reminded me just how much I love futuristic racing titles and it seems that AAA developers have all but abandoned the genre. It is nice to see that smaller developers and indies have picked up the mantle and are racing towards the finish line.
Critics of Nintendo’s E3 2016 strategy wondered just how the company could have a strong showing with just one game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild playable at their booth. Now that the dust has settled it is quite clear that the big N made the right call in putting all of the cucco eggs in one basket and trusting in the Hero of Time.
Not only did Nintendo bring one of the most refreshing and innovative Zelda titles to date to one of gaming’s biggest conventions (our impressions will be going live later this week) but they also brought a ‘live experience’ that existed opposite the traditional rows upon rows of demo stations that E3 is known for.
Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse Livestream Was Just Outside the Live Experience Booth
This real world playground of Zelda: Breath of the Wild delights mimics several key elements new to the game. Upon entering visitors are greeted by a large statue of Link aiming his arrow towards one of the game’s new tentacled enemies. This particular statue became a popular photo spot for media, fans, developers and other attendees. During my time inside the Breath of the Wild E3 experiencece it was hard to get a shot of the statue without someone beside the it posing for a selfie with Link.
This Statue Was So Possible It Was Almost Impossible To Get A Shot Where Someone WASN’T Taking a Selfie With Link.
Opposite the large monster / Link statue was a replica of one of the game’s new feature – a goblin stronghold. In the game Link can take these over by completing challenges, thus unlocking new abilities or hidden treasures. Breath of the Wild‘s live experience was watched over by one of these goblin creatures atop the stronghold. Adjacent to the stronghold was a large cooking pot, which contained multiple items that bob-up and down thanks to mechanical motors. This simulates a similar animation that plays when Link uses the new cooking crafting system introduced in Breath of the Wild.
A Goblin Keeps A Loook Out In Nintendo’s Live Experience
One of the far corners of the live experience mimics the iconic look of Temple of Time but this particular version of the Temple of Time is different than any we’ve seen before. Giant columns rise up from the ground with vines growing all around them. Large doors complete the new aesthetic, filling in the space between the pillars.
The Temple of Time
As a Nintendo PR Rep took me on a tour of this elaborate live experience for the new Legend of Zelda she informed me that all of the objects in the booth are too scale, exactly as Link would see them in his world. That not only means that visitors to the live experience would see recreations of objects & monsters that populate Hyrule in Breath of the Wild but more importantly see them exactly as Link will in the game, right down to the proportions. To top it all off Nintendo had fans blowing a gentle wind through the trees and carrying the smell of forest throughout the booth.
A Chest With Glowing Eyes!
Nintendo promised to transport attendees to Hyrule with their presentation at this year’s E3 and they succeeded like never before. If you thought that ultra cool Twilight Princess booth from 2006 was amazing and immersive – you can’t possibly imagine the feeling of seeing objects through Link’s eyes, feeling the wind on your skin and smelling the faint scent of the trees with every breath. You can bring a single game to E3 and impress the socks off of everyone and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild live experience booth has set the standard for an immersive convention experience.
A Wide Shot of Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild E3 2016 Experience
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released in 2017 for Nintendo Wii U and the unannounced Nintendo NX.
Nintendo will be bringing some of its timeless mascots and set pieces to the world of MineCraft with the optional “Nintendo MashUp Pack” for the Wii U Version of the game.
Revealed today on Nintendo’s official YouTube Channel, this new add-on includes skins themed after classic Nintendo characters like Wario, Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad. It also includes tile sets that will allow players to build giant versions of their favourite chatacters or even a replica of the Mushroom Kingdom Castle from Super Mario 64.
Nintendo recently released a 14 minute anime short to help promote yesterday’s launch for Star Fox Zero for the Wii U. Serving as an introduction to the major characters – Fox, Peppy, Slippy, Falco and General Pepper – it doesn’t exactly shed any new light on the Star Fox universe but it is still quite the treat for long time fans.
Like the game, the aesthetic of “The Battle Begins“is very reminicint of Star Fox 64 and it can be quite amusing to see some of the long running anime tropes make their way into the Star Fox formula. Also if you happen to remember the introduction cinematic for SF64 look for a visual shoutout to that game about half way through this episode.
Production IG, famous for their work on Ghost In The Shell / The End of Evangelion & others handled the animation for “The Battle Begins”.
Yet another day means yet another round of supposed leaks for the Nintendo NX. As with anything related to the unannounced console, take these with a grain of salt because we all remember how that supposed controller leak went down last month.
This last news comes by the way of multiple NeoGaf threads and a locked Twitter account belonging to a known industry insider.
The Legend of Zelda For Wii U has long been rumored to be coming to both the Nintendo NX and Wii-U and this latest lengthy post by 10K adds another anonymous confirmation to that list. Other Wii-U titles supposedly in development for the NX? Ports of Mario Maker and Splatoon are both in active development according to 10K’s multiple sources. While these games may certainly be in development there is some contention about whether or not they may come to market due to the challenge of engineering cross platform play for Splatoon and backwards compatibility with existing levels for Mario Maker. Apparently it is also “100% confirmed” that Smash 4 (otherwise known as Smashbros for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U) will be making its way to the NX as an enhanced port, no rumblings if this game may also support cross platform play or use the 3DS as a controller.
Apparently development kits have not been sent to eligible developers yet. Although, the Software Development Kit (or SDK) is apparently in the hands of developers as of the publication of the lengthy post. In relation to ports of current generation titles (Xbox One / PS4) – these anonymous sources have had no problem porting current generation code to Nintendo’s SDK with ease and reportedly the NX’s clockspeed will be somewhere around 15-30% faster than the one found in the PlayStation 4.
Some of these rumors have been backed up by Emily Rogers. Unfortunately the account is locked so we can not verify the authenticity of these tweets but here is a screenshot as it appeared in the original GAF thread:
What do you think these of these? Fake? Real? E3 Is only two months away, I suppose we will find out then.
Nintendo announced a brand new entry in the Paper Mario franchise exclusively for the Wii-U. Titled Paper Mario Color Splash this game finds Paper Mario finds himself in a world that is beginning to lose it’s color (literally). In order to save this new land, Paper Mario must use a special hammer to splash down color on objects and NPCs.
The Paper Mario series began all the way back on the Nintendo 64 with the release of the original Paper Mario.Splash is the first console release for the franchise since 2007’s Super Paper Mario on the original Wii. Our flat 2D friend had a co-staring role in this year’s Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam which was released in North America this past January on the 3DS.
Nintendo kicked off their huge 42 minute Nintendo Direct the same way that they kicked off last year’s E3 – with new information about the upcoming aerial space combat game Star Fox: Zero. Perhaps the juiciest piece of information revealed is that Star Fox Zero’s physical release will come bundled with two games, the previously announced Star Fox Zero and a new title Star Fox: Guard.
Star Fox: Guard is a tower defense game set in the Star Fox universe. In this new title players must assist Slippy Toad and his uncle defeat waves of oncoming enemies by placing down canons and other defenses. Over 100 pre-designed missions will be available on the Guard disc as well as an online mode that will allow players to upload custom made enemy placements on a number of pre-defined maps.
The physical release will bundle both games together in a dual disk package. Digitally Star Fox Zero and Star Fox: Guard will be sold separately with the price of the two games combined to equal the physical retail release. This is great news for folks who might want to just pick up Zero and skip Guard for the time being.
Both games will be out in North America on April 22nd.
Nintendo will be holding a surprise Nintendo Direct video presentation later today that will focus on titles for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U. They have stated that this presentation will include titles for both platforms that are due out by the end of the summer but will not include any information on the companies’ plans for mobile phones or their upcoming Nintendo NX Console.
Things kick off later today at 5PM EST / 3PM MST / 10 PM GMT and will be broadcast on the official Nintendo sites for North America, Europe and Japan.
What do you think Nintendo will announce? We already know that Pokemon Moon & Pokemon Sun are slated for release in Winter 2016 so any new details on those two titles is unlikely. Perhaps Ninty will surprise everyone with a few often requested Virtual Console releases? With Nintendo it is really anyone’s guess.
Here are a few titles that are currently scheduled for the first half of 2016 from Nintendo:
Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS)
Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
Bravely Second (3DS) / Published By Square Enix
Hyrule Warriors: Legends (3DS)
The folks over at GameXplain have posted over 10 minutes of new gameplay footage from the English localized version of Nintendo’s’ upcoming Wii U fighter Pokken Tournament. In these brief clips we get a look at the games’ main menu as well as our first taste of the official announcer for the English version.
Some folks over at NeoGaf aren’t exactly impressed with the female announcer Nintendo of America has chosen for the game. They point out that her excitement doesn’t exactly come across very well but overall the game’s presentation and graphics have been praised by fans thanks to pre-release footage.
We also now know the final roster of playable Pokémon (not including the 15 support monsters used temporarily in battle. Here’s the full line-up:
Nintendo’s new account system, which is expected to be a unified way to connect the Wii U and 3DS, as well as Nintendo’s upcoming next-generation hardware codenamed NX, has begun accepting registrations via the official Nintendo Account website. Although no official notice has been released by Nintendo indicating the account system is available, we were able to create a Nintendo Account and link existing Nintendo Network IDs without any issue. The Nintendo Account is expected to be Nintendo’s multi-generational account system that links together existing hardware with future hardware while also connecting in mobile devices – a new market that Nintendo has pursued interest in.
The account system opened for registrations in Japan last December and included the ability to sign-up and link existing Nintendo Network IDs as well as various social media accounts to the new Nintendo Account and use your Nintendo Account to purchase games or add-ons from the eShop remotely, as well as a 10% discount per 1,000-yen spent in the eShop. No word on if the discount program will come to North America with Nintendo Account’s arrival here, but after Nintendo promised their new account system would provide an alternate reward program to the now-closed Club Nintendo, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be some kind of customer incentive program in our region.
It’s likely that the Nintendo Account will be used in some form when Miitomo, Nintendo’s upcoming first entry into the mobile game market, is released. A tweet from the Serkan Toto, CEO of Tokyo-based gaming consultancy company Kantan Games, suggests that pre-registrations for Miitomo will begin shortly in Japan.
No details regarding the specifics of the Nintendo Account in North America have been announced by Nintendo of America, but when details are posted, we’ll be sure to update you on them!