It would appear that Nintendo called in the Robot Chicken chaps to create a handful of clips for their E3 digital event. We got to see a stop-motion Reggie fire laser-beams out of his eyes, Bowser and Peach argue over the last doughnut, and Little Mac expose the pitfalls of drinking coffee while wearing boxing gloves.
If that’s not enough, ‘live-action’ Reggie put up his dukes to show off his fighting skills. All in the name of Super Smash Bros., no less. The character roster is being bolstered with Miis and Nintendo is keen to stress that they’re anything but a lazy addition. Miis will have three different fighting styles to choose from – brawler, gunner and sword fighter and just as many special moves as regular characters. Palutena from Kid Icarus was also confirmed as playable, revealed during a short anime clip.
Super Smash Bros. on Wii U will be one of the first games to support Nintendo’s new ‘amiibo’ figurine platform. Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Link, Peach, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, the Wii Fit trainer and a random Animal Crossing villager figures were shown, all of which are due by the end of the year. The figures aren’t just for use with Super Smash Bros. – Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10 and Yoshi’s Woolly World will also utilise them in some way. Just like Skylanders, the figures hold data that can be carried over from one game to the next. 3DS owners have a short while to wait – the 3DS NFC reader/writer isn’t scheduled to launch until 2015.
The lovely looking Yoshi’s Woolly World now has a two-player mode in which one Yoshi can swallow their partner and then spit them out to access higher areas. We also approve of the way Yoshi uses wool to tie up the mouths of the pesky piranha plants. Developers Feel-Good claim that the game’s slow pace, at least when compared to Mario platformers, allows players to explore and discover secrets at their own free will. Due out 2015 on Wii U, it should be every bit as magical as Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Speaking of Kirby, the pink blob is back in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. It appears to be a sequel to Kirby: Power Paintbrush (aka Kirby: Canvas Curse), only set in a plasticine world. In fairness, it’s a little hard to get excited about it just yet. We’re sure it’ll turn out just dandy though.
No major new Mario games were shown, but there are two relatively minor ones incoming – Mario Party 10, which sees Bowser take the limelight, jeopardising player’s chances along the way, and the previously leaked Mario Maker. If Mario Maker came in a tin, it would do exactly what it says on it – allow players to make new Mario levels. The interface looks pleasingly simple, while the ‘game’ itself has a neat style echoing NES Remix’s shadowed sprites. Sprites from NSMBU can also be used. Both are due in 2015.
Shigeru Miyamoto is currently working on three other Wii U projects in addition to Mario Maker. The most exciting of these is a new Star Fox. Here the GamePad shows the view from Fox McCloud’s Airwing, with the gyro-sensors used to target enemies. As well as the Landmaster tank – which can be accessed at a push of a button – there will also be a new helicopter-style vehicle. Project Giant Robot likewise uses the GamePad for a cockpit view. The robot brawler, in which it’s possible to create your own mechs, uses the GamePad’s motion controls to add leverage and momentum to every punch. Then there’s Project Guard, which too features robots. It sounds like a tower defence game of sorts, where the focus is on mounting and monitoring laser-equipped security cameras to protect a base.
So hows about a new Zelda to send your eyebrows soaring skyward? The currently untitled Zelda Wii U sees the series go open-world without boundaries. Link looks a little older while the visual style remains both colourful and cartoon-like. The short trailer showed Link riding through lush green fields on horseback before being chased by a colossal beast. Link pulls out his bow and with a few well-aimed shots takes the beast down. It’s bound to be remembered as one of this year’s E3 highlights.
Online shooter Splatoon on the other hand is easily the biggest surprise. Taking a leaf out of deBlob’s book, players run around arenas while spraying each other with paint. Here’s the twist – it’s possible to turn into a squid and travel through puddles of paint at an increased pace. This four-versus-four shooter could be the game to eventually drag players away from Mario Kart 8.
So what is out this year? Well, there’s Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. This Super Mario 3D World spin-off sees Toad solving puzzles and beating bad guys in small cube-shaped levels. A Luigi’s Mansion-themed world was shown, along with a lava world featuring a dragon. It’s unknown currently if it’ll be a retail release or download only. Or both, which we suppose is a possibility.
Bayonetta 2 is due out in October and will include the original as a bonus. Link, Peach and Samus outfits were revealed. It’s looking spectacular – if this doesn’t shift a few more Wii Us, we’d be very surprised. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is out 3rd October while Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire launch 28th November. Hyrule Warriors meanwhile is due 26th September. Impa and Twilight Princess’ Midna were confirmed as playable. Keen doodlers will no doubt be pleased to hear that Art Academy will be etching its way onto Wii U this year too. Sadly, Xenoblade Chronicles X – as it’s now known – is yet another due 2015.
While the Wii U line-up isn’t exactly overflowing with new games for 2014 (according to Nintendo’s press release, just 11 third-party titles are due this year) there’s no arguing about quality. We would have liked to have seen other new IPs in addition to Splatoon, but at least Nintendo continues to innovate within their franchises to keep them feeling fresh. In a few cases the characters are simply a front for something new. You would never catch Master Chief or Nathan Drake in a world made out of wool now, would you?