Rather than hold a traditional press conference, Nintendo has chosen instead to share a pre-recorded digital event with trailers and interviews with game directors and developers. Here’s what we saw this year.
Star Fox Zero
This game is looking pretty good. Any fears that we were going to be confined to a rail-shooter are gone. There’s actually quite a bit of freedom in how and where you can move. You’ll fly through through arches, circle-strafe bosses and even transform. With the touch of a button your ship can transform into 4 different types of vehicles. So not only can you fly, but you can also be a two-legged mech or a hover tank. Characters look a bit like puppets and feel a bit like the old TV show “Thunderbirds.” The game feels modern by Nintendo standards, but with plenty of nods to its past.
amiibo in Skylanders
Nintendo characters will now be playable in the Wii U version of Skylanders Super Chargers. It’s a genius partnership since amiibo is totally inspired by what Skylanders originally did. Several new amiibo are coming including a Power Hammer Bowser and several vehicles.
Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes
A new co-op Zelda game for 3DS, Triforce Heroes puts three people together to solve dungeon puzzles. One person can play alone and switch between Link and the two “dolls” that accompany him. The game looks fun. Not like a traditional Zelda entry, but a good co-op experience.
Hyrule Warriors 3DS
The popular Wii U title is now coming to 3DS, but with it’s own artistic look. The game will feature new levels based on Wind Waker. If you’re not familiar with these games, they’re hack-and-slash style games in the spirit of Destiny Warriors, but with Zelda characters and worlds.
Fire Emblem Fates & Shin Megami x Fire Emblem
Two new Fire Emblem games are coming to 3DS. Fates is a more traditional Fire Emblem that has already released in Japan as Fire Emblem IF. Shin Megami x Fire Emblem crosses the two franchises together in the most Japanese-style game they showed. Modern day teens with a Fire Emblem influence. Weird, but interesting.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and amiibo Festival
These are not full Animal Crossing games, but more like focused elements from the Animal Crossing universe. Happy Home allows you to really design your home. Furniture, paint, patterns, inviting over friends, etc… It’s 100% about designing your home. AC: amiibo Festival is a strange board game on your Wii U using your amiibo figures to affect the game.
Yoshi’s Wooly World
Much like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, this game is beautiful. It really looks like yarn and crafts from your house have come to life. Children and inexperienced players will enjoy the game and can be successful, but those looking for something a little harder have plenty of challenging items to collect. Also, if you use amiibo with the game, you can change the look of Yarn Yoshi. So you can have Mario Yoshi, Samus Yoshi, and more.
A new Pokemon-style game from Level 5. Collect Yo-Kai around the world and use them to battle. Level 5 games are always visually stunning and look a lot like Studio Ghibili movies. Looks fun.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
We just got a trailer, but the game looks pretty. I have a hard time with how cluttered the UI is, but the Xenoblade franchise is a great, but underappreciated, RPG series.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
A combination of the Mario & Luigi RPG games like Superstar Sage and the Paper Mario games, Paper Jam puts Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario in a trio that can work together to solve different puzzles and fight enemies. So maybe Paper Mario goes flat against a wall and slips through a crack to open something for Mario and Luigi to come through. Clever design.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
The Mario Tennis games have always been fun, even if you don’t traditionally like tennis games. They’re pretty arcade-y and have a great lineup of characters and power-ups. A perfect game for couch competitive multiplayer.
Super Mario Maker
This game takes the history of side-scrolling Mario games and puts the creation tools in your hands. So you can create your own Mario levels, mixing items and enemies from several games, into new and unique levels. There are few crazy level videos out there on YouTube and they’re worth checking out. As long as there are good tools for Nintendo to curate and share awesome user-generated levels, I’m in. I don’t really want to build my own levels, though. I just want to play them. Also, you can use your amiibo figures to change your character in the game. So you can play as Link and others.