Nintendo Direct 9/1/16 Summary

On the heels of the surprise release of a new Galaxy edition New Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo has released another of its now-familiar Direct videos, focused entirely on the Nintendo 3DS console. Strung together by a frame story of Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime looking for his New Nintendo 3DS — and his donuts — the Direct highlighted big RPGs coming in September, surprises in the 3DS eShop available today, and some brand new titles for 2017. Here’s a summary of all the announcements Reggie, Bill, and the Treehouse crew dropped this morning:

  • Nintendo leads with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. They know what sells. There’s a new Alolan form of Rattata, which is Dark/Normal type. This form evolved in response to the regional breeding of Yungoos, intended to control the Rattata population, driving them into a nocturnal pattern. Raichu has the “Stoked Sparksurfer” Z-move, and Snorlax can use a “Pulverizing Pancake” Z-move. Early adopters who purchase the game between launch and January 11, 2017 will receive a free Munchlax in their copy of Pokémon Sun or Moon, with a “Snorlium Z” crystal, which will activate Snorlax’s Z-move. The Pokémon information trickle continues in anticipation of the games’ November 18 release.
  • Super Mario Maker is coming to Nintendo 3DS! It’s a pretty smart move for Nintendo, porting a popular touch-screen focused game with an active community to a console with an even bigger user base. It will be compatible with some courses from the Wii U version…but not all of them. The Mystery Mushroom and all of its costumes will remain exclusive to the Wii U version. Unfortunately, there will not be online sharing of levels; instead, levels can be shared via local wireless or StreetPass. This is a pretty disappointing omission, and one which will undoubtedly have at least some avoiding Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS when it launches this December. Still, those without a Wii U who love Mario or are interested in level creation will find a lot to love.
  • There’s a new Mario Party game coming to Nintendo 3DS! Unfortunately, the series still doesn’t have online play on 3DS. Still interested? There are several new game modes: Toad Scramble, in which every player — each taking control of a color-coded Toad — moves simultaneously and must recruit other Mario characters along the way; Coinathalon, a coin-gathering race mode in which players compete in mini-games; Mario Shuffle, a linear board game; Boo’s Block Party, which appears to be a competitive block-dropping puzzle game; Rhythm Recital, a competitive rhythm game; and more…there are seven modes in all. The game will also be compatible with Mario series amiibo. No word on whether the Smash Bros versions of Mario character amiibo will be compatible. The game features Download Play and local wireless..but again, no online play. Mario Party: Star Rush and new Mario series amiibo release on November 4.
Collect them all this November! But where’s Spike?…
  • There’s new content coming to Animal Crossing: New Leaf. If your town has become neglected and overgrown with weeds, lonely villagers crying out for their mayor, now is the perfect time to return! The update will add amiibo functionality for existing series amiibo and cards, along with a new round of Animal Crossing amiibo cards coming December 2, which will introduce new villagers to New Leaf. You can then invite those characters to move to your village. The update will be released, alongside a pack-in retail version for 3DS owners who somehow don’t already own New Leaf, this “Holiday.” An Animal Crossing “mini-Direct” is also coming in the fall.
  • There’s an update to StreetPass Mii Plaza…available today! The Plaza continues to be one of my personal favorite features of the 3DS, and this update will ensure I keep checking the app until the day I put down the console for good. The update adds a “Quick Plaza,” letting you greet new visitors quickly, with a faster menu on the bottom screen — which also appears to have expanded slots for games. Mii Plaza Premium owners will also be able to store groups of 10 visitors in their Plaza Gate, now allowing them to store up to 100 visitors at one time. This may be the ultimate temptation to drop the $5 on the Premium package. In addition to the update, there are 5 new games coming to the Plaza: Slot Car Rivals, a self-explanatory toy car racing game; Market Crashers, a frenetic stock market-based game in which you get stock tips from your Mii visitors; Feed Mii, in which you fulfill meal requests for your visitors; Mii Trek, a step-counter exporation game; and Ninja Launcher, a game reminiscent of those Flash-based launcher games you played on Newgrounds as a teenager. Slot Car Rivals and Market Crashers are available for free, but if you get one, you can’t get the other; however, you can buy the other four at a discounted price if you grab one of the two for free. The update and new games will be available for download today.
  • There’s a new tank-based team battle game in development for 3DS, entitled Tank Troopers. Unlike Splatoon, which focuses on weapon and outfit variations, Tank Troopers features 13 unique classes of characters. These titular Troopers afford the player new abilities for their tank. The game features single player as well as local wireless and download play…but once again, no online multiplayer. This is becoming a disappointing pattern for Nintendo. The once-promising promises of online play over Nintendo WiFi Connection ten years ago on the original Nintendo DS seem to be dwindling away in favor of a shy focus on local play with other friends nearby who may happen to own the console. The Direct promised more game modes to come, but without online multiplayer, this N64-like tank battle game might be one to skip when it rolls around this winter.
Move over, Overwatch! Tank Troopers are coming!…without online multiplayer.
  • Do you like picross? What about picross…in 3D? Picross 3D: Round 2 releases on the 3DS eShop today, featuring over 300 3D puzzles to solve, including some which can only be unlocked with certain amiibo. A demo is on the way too, to test your multi-layer puzzle solving skills before diving into the full package.
  • September is the #Nindies Summer Jam! (Don’t forget, summer technically goes into September.) A new indie will be showcased on the 3DS or Wii U eShop every Thursday, with a discount running through launch week. This week’s game, releasing today, is Axiom Verge, the acclaimed Metroid-inspired sidescroller. It’s a game I’ve personally been waiting to come “home” to Nintendo for quite some time, so it will fit right in on my Wii U next to Super Metroid. September 8 sees the release of Jotun: Valhalla Edition on Wii U; a somewhat crudely drawn game inspired by Viking mythology, Valhalla Edition promises the same top-down action adventure with even more intense battles. On September 15, Noitu Love Devolution comes to Wii U and Nintendo 3DS — a cult favorite on PC, this sidescrolling shooter takes inspiration from Metal Slug and Treasure games and mixes it with a Mega Man-esque story dialed up to 11…fans of quirky shooters can’t go wrong here. The following week, on September 22, the long-awaited Severed, from the developers of Guacamelee, comes to Wii U — while Drinkbox Studio’s previous game featured combo-based combat in a Metroidvania sidescrolling world, Severed focuses on a one-armed protagonist solving puzzles and battling with a living sword using the touch screen. To round out the month, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 should serve as a good palate cleanser for any Mega Man fan left with a bad taste in their mouth by Mighty №9; on September 29, this Inticreates-developed action game will feature returning protagonist Gunvolt as well as the mysterious sword-wielding Copen, who can absorb boss abilities much like a long-forgotten Blue Bomber…
  • It’s the 30th anniversary of Zelda (cough and Metroid…not that anyone’s counting) and Nintendo has a lot of celebrations planned, absent a certain oft-delayed yet feverishly anticipated Wii U(/NX) game. Reggie took the opportunity to highlight the upcoming NES Classic Edition, a plug-n-play console featuring 30 classic NES games, including The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II; as well as the re-release of The Wind Waker HD as a discount Nintendo Selects title and the launch of Skyward Sword on the Wii U eShop. Nintendo also announced four new classic Amiibo for Dec 2 release — 8-Bit Link, adult Link from Ocarina of Time, and Toon Link and Zelda from The Wind Waker — as well as three series art books from Dark Horse Comics. All we need now to round out the celebration is a new game…
The new amiibo are confirmed to be compatible with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • Reggie also took note of the recent release of the Galaxy edition New Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as the Super Mario 3D Land edition New Nintendo 3DS, which is unfortunately a retailer-exclusive but a great deal at $150 for a solid game packed in with the best iteration of the Nintendo 3DS console, in this writer’s humble opinion.
  • A third round of DLC is available today for Hyrule Warriors Legends. The Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks Pack features a new weapon — Sand Wind — for Toon Link, a new playable character — Toon Zelda from Spirit Tracks — and a new map for Adventure Mode. No Wii U release was mentioned.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Spirit of Justice is on its way next week. There’s a demo in the eShop now, featuring the new Insight mechanic, which you use to reconcile logic and evidence with the vision of the deceased victim’s final memory. The full game releases September 8.
  • As many expected, the 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VIII has been delayed to 2017, but in the meantime, classic JRPG fans can sink their teeth into Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. The PlayStation classic has been fully remade in 3D, promising new StreetPass-unlockable dungeons and items, as well as new dungeons and unseen monsters downloadable over Nintendo Network. Fans who pre-purchase on the eShop can also download a free home menu theme with charming character art from Akira Toriyama. The game will release in a few short weeks, on September 16.
Not pictured: dozens of app icons covering the art on the bottom home screen.
  • The quirky and inexplicably charming Yokai Watch is back, sure to irk existing fans with further “Pokémon ripoff” claims from newcomers as the series adopts the dual release model so closely associated with the Pokémon series. Yokai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yokai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls further beg Pokémon comparisons by introducing version-exclusive monsters and individual version mascots. The game’s story takes you back to the origin of the Yokai Watch, with the new “Model Zero” unit enhancing gameplay; the Direct claims that battles will be more “strategic,” which would be a welcome change from the somewhat basic and rudimentary battle mechanics of the first Yokai Watch game. Pre-order bonuses and version exclusives abound here…physical first-print editions of the game will include a medal which unlocks a Soultimate move for iconic mascot Jibanyan; digital versions of the games unlock the ability to befriend Robonyan F or Sailornyan, depending on the version. “So many choices!” A demo comes to the eShop in mid-September, with the full game releasing on September 30.
  • Disney Magical Adventure 2 (there was a first one?) is available for preorder now, and what better incentive than free Frozen-themed outfits? This one screams “For the kids.” It appears to be a life sim inspired by the likes of Fantasy Life and Tomodachi Life (with a little Happy Home Designer mixed in), starring your own Miis and a variety of recognizable Disney characters. The game releases October 14, and there are a number of new Disney themes coming to the Theme Shop.
  • Speaking of licensed games based on popular animated properties…there’s a new Sonic Boom game for 3DS! Initially announced for a fall 2015 release, the game — developed by Sanzaru games, with a story from Ken Pontac who previously wrote for Sonic Colors, and music by classic Sonic composer Richard Jacques — may sound more promising as a result of the delay, but ultimately it is what it is: a farmed out tie-in for a popular Cartoon Network series. There are plenty of other games to play on 3DS between now and the early 2017 release of Sonic Mania…but if you need your yearly fix of Sonic, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice will release on September 27, packed with a 3-episode DVD of the Sonic Boom animated series (lest you forget the kind of licensed tie-in this game truly is).
  • As for those games which can hold you over until 2017…one of them would surely be Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. A sequel to the 2013 JRPG, which was perhaps most notable for offering a discount if bought together with Fire Emblem Awakening, the game promises insight into the story of the first game while offering closure on its plot elements. From the looks of it, the mainline Shin Megami Tensei monster-courting and fusion elements are intact, and navigating dungeons full of wily and temperamental monsters is sure to test gamers’ patience and skill. If you like your JRPGs to be of the punishing variety, look no further than Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, releasing September 20.
  • One of the Wii U’s most charming sidescrollers, Yoshi’s Woolly World, is headed to Nintendo 3DS in 2017. If you haven’t had a chance to experience the underrated yarn-based spiritual successor (of sorts) to Kirby’s Epic Yarn — infused with classic Yoshi’s Island gameplay — now’s your chance, albeit at a degraded graphical fidelity. While the creative high-def yarn textures are a large part of the game’s visual appeal, the art style is intact, with the solid secret-abundant level design shining through. In addition to every level from the Wii U original — which can be enhanced by new secret-sniffing Poochy Pups — the 3DS features a series of new rhythm platforming levels starring Yoshi’s adorable pup companion Poochy. Poochy also stars alongside Yoshi in a series of 30 stop motion animated shorts which are included with the full game. Poochy even gets his own amiibo, which will be bundled with the physical version of the game, and will have to-be-announced compatibility with the game; no word on Wii U level or amiibo compatibility. The appropriately titled Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World will be released February 3, 2017.
Look at this adorable face. You…must…buy…
  • At this year’s E3, Nintendo quietly announced a new 3DS IP: Ever Oasis. This morning’s Direct expanded on that initial announcement. The game boasts a pedigree of high expectations: it’s developed by Grezzo — the team behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask 3D re-releases — and produced by iconic former Square-Enix designer Koichi Ishii, credited as the creator of the Chocobo and Moogle races as well as the Mana series. Your character lives in the titular Oasis, and traverses the harsh desert in order to gather “duodems,” which can in turn be used to expand the Oasis. Shops in the Oasis sell items made from materials found out in the desert, and empty houses in the Oasis can house new villagers — or “allies.” When traversing the treacherous desert, you battle enemies and explore dungeons, recruiting an array of allies in order to progress; different allies use different weapons and abilities, which have their own advantages against certain enemies and when solving certain puzzles. It’s a system that could promise a good amount of depth if handled well by the team at Grezzo. In addition to going on-sale in stores at the Oasis, items found in the desert can be used to craft new items which can be given to travelers to fulfill quests and ultimately invite them to come live in your Oasis. Ever Oasis has an open “2017” release window, so stay tuned for more.
  • Mario’s back!…with sports! Mario Sports Superstars features five classic sports: soccer, baseball, tennis, golf, and…horse racing. Unlike previous Mario sports games, Nintendo promises these will be “full scale” sports; for example, soccer features 11 player teams, adorably populated with Spike teammates. Superstars may prove to be a more serious counterpart to previous arcade-like Mario sports games, with a focus on skilled and precise button input as opposed to gimmicky controls and cartoonish powerups. The game promises single player and multiplayer options, with both local wireless and online multiplayer! Gamers looking for a more serious Mario sports outing, or just for a new online game to play on the 3DS, have Mario Sports Superstars to look forward to in spring 2017.
  • The final announcement of this morning’s Nintendo Direct was certainly a surprise: a new, sidescrolling Pikmin game for Nintendo 3DS. Returning Captain Olimar to the starring role, this Pikmin game appears to use Pikmin like Lemmings to move objects and battle monsters on the way towards the right side of the screen. Despite the more linear design, the new game takes the traditional Pikmin formula of resource management and puzzle solving into a new dimension. Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS, a working title, is likely not the “Pikmin 4” project Miyamoto spoke of back in 2015, but 3DS owners will have a chance to play this new Pikmin game some time in 2017.

That’s all Reggie wrote. Lots of games in September, stretching through the holiday season and into 2017. In case you need a refresher, here’s a quick chronological list of all the games announced in today’s Nintendo 3DS Direct:

  • StreetPass Mii Plaza update feat. Slot Car Rivals, Market Crashers, Feed Mii, Mii Trek, and Ninja Launcher — Today
  • Picross 3D: Round 2 — Today
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii U eShop) — Today
  • Hyrule Warriors Legends: Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks DLC Pack — Today
  • Axiom Verge (Wii U) — Today
  • Jotun: Valhalla Edition (Wii U)— September 8, 2016
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Spirit of Justice — September 8, 2016
  • Noitu Love: Devolution (3DS & Wii U) — September 15, 2016
  • Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past — September 16, 2016
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse — September 20, 2016
  • Severed (Wii U) — September 22, 2016
  • Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice — September 27, 2016
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 — September 29, 2016
  • Yokai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yokai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls — September 30, 2016
  • Disney Magical Adventure 2 — October 14, 2016
  • Mario Party: Star Rush — November 4, 2016
  • Mario series amiibo volume 2 — November 4, 2016
  • Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon — November 18, 2016
  • The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary amiibo — December 2, 2016
  • Animal Crossing amiibo card: Series 5 — December 2, 2016
  • Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS — December 2016
  • Tank Troopers — Winter 2016
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf update — Holiday 2016
  • Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World — February 3, 2017
  • Mario Sports Superstars — Spring 2017
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King — 2017
  • Ever Oasis — 2017
  • Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS — 2017
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