E3: Nintendo (Sort of) Conference - Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, DKC: Tropical Freeze, new Smash Bros characters

By Richard Pilot

Just a little later than we intended we finally take a look at Nintendo's offering at E3. Taking a break from the lengthy and showy conferences that we've come to expect each year, Nintendo opted to forgo a live event and instead decided to run a special "Nintendo Direct" broadcast instead. What was the motivation behind all this? If the video itself is of any indication, a lack of content may have been the cause, but let's take a closer look.

We got a look at some new games, some of which Nintendo had already tipped its hand to. One example of this is a new Mario game for the Wii U, named Super Mario 3D World. As clued in by its name, this is based on the similar 3DS game, Super Mario 3D Land. It supports four players and is sporting lots of interesting levels with a few twists on the traditional formulae including see-through pipes and a new power, the cat suit. Whilst all of this looks and sounds exciting, we’re a little disappointed that there was no Mario Sunshine or Mario Galaxy equivalent. Mario Kart 8 was also showcased sporting the typical wackiness that you have come to expect from that franchise. The karts themselves have been given upgrades and can defy gravity by attaching themselves to the bottom of certain sections, leading to some crazy new twisting tracks. The 3DS was not left out completely with the new PokÉmon being shown off again (with a new pokÉmon type, fairy, yay!) and a weird companion app where you can feed and pet pokÉmon. Nintendo also announced what Retro Studios had been working on; sadly it was not another Metroid but another platformer, in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Next came the news of delays to previously announced games; both Wii Fit U and Wii Party U were pushed back to 2014. Next, Nintendo showed off its progress on the HD remake for the GameCube classic, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The game looked really sharp and we can’t wait for it to come out. In addition to providing some exciting new footage from the game, Nintendo revealed the tweaks they have made for its Wii U transformation, notably, faster speeds for the ship and using the touch screen to control the wind baton and other items. The Tingle Tuner from the original game will be replaced by a Wii U specific feature called Tingle Bottle that allows players to connect to each other through the Miiverse.

And finally, we move away from familiar Nintendo favourites to focus on some newer games like Platinum’s Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 and an interesting looking RPG from Monolith Soft. Nintendo wrapped up by showing off the new Super Smash Bros and announced new characters to the roster such as Villager from Animal Crossing and Megaman. Thus ended the Nintendo Direct, with a few returns from familiar franchises but sadly not a lot else. In recent months we’ve been hearing about poor sales numbers for the Wii U and it seems that Nintendo are banking on fan favourites to pick themselves up. Whilst we wish Nintendo all the best, the hopes of new franchises from Nintendo themselves have not been answered.

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