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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Super Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero highlight an underwhelming E3 Nintendo Digital Event

Nintendo opted again for a Digital Event to show off future Wii U and 3DS titles at E3 2015. While the games look to be fun, it was underwhelming since most of them we already knew about and some unannounced games were more like spinoffs.

After a bizarre and humorous opening sequence where Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime were shown in puppet form, Star Fox Zero for the Wii U was announced to the delight of many. The trailer showed how the GamePad can be used to aim the Arwings during hectic battles, and you'll be able to transform ship types with the touch of a button and walk around on the surface. Fan favorite Platinum Games is working with Nintendo to make it happen. It releases this holiday.

Sadly there was no mention of the epic Wii U Zelda title we saw at last year's E3, but two new 3DS Zelda games were shown off with The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and Hyrule Warriors Legends. Tri Force Heroes features Four Swords-like gameplay (but with 3 players) where you can team up with others online and make a totem pole of characters to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. It releases this fall. Hyrule Warriors Legends introduces characters from The Wind Waker including Tetra, King of Hyrule, and more, as well as new story elements. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out on the handheld. Unfortunately, it releases in the first quarter of 2016.

Nintendo is teaming up with Activision to put Donkey Kong and Bowser in the Nintendo version of Skylanders SuperChargers, which releases Sept. 20. What's neat is these figurines are both amiibo and Skylanders compatible. So will the amiibo completionists take the costly plunge? The Wii U starter pack costs $74.99 to get the Donkey Kong figure, and the Wii and 3DS ($64.99) starter packs come with Bowser. They will not be available separately.

Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer for the 3DS focuses more on decorating and designing homes. It launches Sept. 25. The charming Yoshi's Woolly World got more footage shown off and launches Oct. 16.

Other trailers included a new Metroid Prime for the 3DS...but it's actually a spinoff, which was a buzzkill. Metroid Prime: Federation Force is cooperative multiplayer and includes the Blast Ball mini-game that was announced during the Nintendo World Championships. Xenoblade Chronicles X is coming Dec. 4, and we also saw Fire Emblem: Fates (2016) and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem (2016). Mario Tennis Ultra Smash is coming this holiday.

Another Spring 2016 release is Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam for the 3DS. This is a hybrid of Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi styles, both of which I love, but it's so far, far away.

Besides Star Fox Zero, the highlight of the event was Super Mario Maker, which we finally got a release date of Sept. 11. Nintendo has been giving this game a major, major push, and it looks like it has a lot going for it. I imagine there will be thousands of levels made from amateur level designers around the world, and I can't wait to see what people think of. 

Lastly, I hate to say this was the most disappointing announcement, because I think the game will turn out fine, but Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival is not the Animal Crossing any fan was expecting for the Wii U. Scheduled for release this holiday, it looks more like a Mario Party-type game with lots of amiibo capabilities. 

With the mobile push starting later this year, Nintendo has assured us multiple times about their NX project and more info coming in 2016. That Animal Crossing announcement, along with the rest of the Digital Event, kind of tells me that new Nintendo hardware is coming out sooner than you think.


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