It’s been quite the dry spell since Nintendo’s last media outing, but they returned with a bang in their most recent Nintendo Direct. They proved a lot of things during this direct like how third party developers really want to support the Switch and that the 3ds is in fact still alive and well (a true surprise) and, above all, that they still know how to drop some big announcements. In the short forty minute presentation, Nintendo went on a veritable roller coaster of reveals. Some were jaw dropping, while, admittedly, some were a tad eyelid drooping. Regardless, here’s the five that impressed us the most.
#5 – Minecraft is coming to Switch, and soon!
The Wii U had an extremely difficult time getting the sandbox, survival game to its tiny install base, getting it nearly half a decade after the other consoles, but Minecraft seems to be sprinting head forward onto the Nintendo Switch. On May 11th, a mere two months after the Switch’s launch, the gaming staple will make its way onto the system, and its proving to be the best version of the game yet.
Probably the most popular version of Minecraft is the Pocket Edition, partly because it was portable and partly because it supported local co-op. Now, the Switch version will support both portable play and eight-player local wireless co-op, but it will do so with all of the controller functionality of a standard console. Of course, online play will be present in full, just as it is with any other version.
The Switch and Minecraft is a match made in heaven. The fact the Mojang was so fast to port their legendary I.P. onto the system proves their confidence in Nintendo. Any player that loves Minecraft and has sunken hours upon hours into it will no doubt have just as much fun with this new version, if not more.
#4 – Arms
After a scant showing of Arms at the Switch Presentation in January, most were left wanting more. The game looked like a blast, but its character and stage lineup seemed lacking. Unfortunately, not much has changed since then, but Nintendo did an awesome job of making the new I.P. look even more fun during this direct.
First, they described an intriguing feature of the “arms”: the springy weapons that these fighters use. Each arm can create a different sort of elemental effect that gives a particular ailment to opponents. Fire burns opponents, ice freezes them, etc. Nintendo really went all out explaining what about Arms is complex. They wanted to prove that it’s more than a Wii Sports Boxing clone, and these elemental side-effects helped to convince.
They also showed a brand new fighter in the form of Min Min. She uses ramen to sling her arms at opponents and has a general Japanese theme. She also introduces a new stage themed after a giant ramen bowl, and a new arm shaped like a dragon that shoots laser beams. Min Min looks to sport the same great personality as all of the other characters, which is an element of Arms that Nintendo continues to get right. Arms will be released on June 16th for the Switch.
Min Min, the cute ramen fighter.
#3 – Amiibo Galore
Nintendo continues to support their Amiibo brand, this time with some truly awesome looking models. First of which was the new Pikmin Amiibo for Hey! Pikmin. It has five different types of Pikmin on it, all doing various tasks. This immediately spiked to the top of my “must have” list once it was shown, as it’s brimming with detail.
Next, the three rumored Zelda Amiibo were shown. One for Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. These all look incredible and stick surprisingly close to the original concept art. Sadly, their major functionalities in Breath of the Wild have already been revealed by data-miners. No spoilers here, other than the reward they give is worth the price. These will be available on June 23rd, this year.
Finally, Nintendo presented the six final installments in the Super Smash Bros. set of Amiibo: Cloud, Corrin, Bayonetta, and their respective counterparts. Yes, funnily enough, in order to finish your grand collection of nearly sixty Smash Amiibo, you’ll have to buy the alternate skins for these last three DLC characters. Regardless, it’s good to finally see these missing pieces be set into place, as it’s been 19 months since these characters’ were released. These Amiibo will be released on July 21st.
The amazing new ‘Pikmin’ Amiibo.
#2 – Hey! Pikmin
The first portable Pikmin game — shown about six months ago — has been detailed, named, and dated. Hey! Pikmin will arrive on 3ds on July 28th, alongside its Amiibo. The game looks adorable and seems to provide your average Pikmin experience but in a bite-sized form. It takes on a side-scrolling, 2d perspective rather than the usual overhead view. It also appears to be much more puzzle focused than previous Pikmin incarnations.
In this new showing, five different types of Pikmin were present: the original three, and the flying and rock Pikmin from the third game. This wide variety of types will provide for an abundance of puzzling opportunities. Hey! Pikmin looks like an awesome tribute to previous titles, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. More than anything, it’s great to see the Pikmin brand staying strong, and the 3DS line getting some continued support.
#1 – Splatoon 2
Nintendo saved the best for last during this Direct. Splatoon 2 was confidently splayed out for the world to see, and Nintendo sat back, arms folded, beaming at the praise gushing out of the comment section. We’d all thought Nintendo would show a handful of maps and story details; nothing more. Instead, they went with the unpredictable and gave us a new horde mode called “Salmon Run,” and, oh boy, does it look fun.
Essentially, this mode has the player and three friends battling, as you might have guessed, evil salmon. The main objective is to collect the eggs dropped when they’re defeated and to carry the golden eggs dropped by the various bosses to a special container. These eggs have uses outside of this mode, of course, but their purpose is unknown as of now. They could be used as in-game currency used for gear and other items, but only time will tell.
Either way, this mode looks like one heck of a good time. Imagine getting together with friends on a couch and playing this mode for hours, grinding for those precious salmon eggs. It gives a real Call of Duty Zombie mode kind of vibe, which is a great label to achieve. But, this was but a taste of what’s to come. We still haven’t heard much about the story mode or any of the other modes. Because of Splatoon 2’s July 21st release date, Nintendo will have a great opportunity to pop its lid open during E3 2017.
This direct served as an awesome warm up for the quickly approaching E3. It feels like Nintendo got all of the small but awesome games out of the way during this direct, and are now ready to reveal the absolute catacomb of Switch games during E3. Until then, it feels good to be hearing from Nintendo again, and the fact that this was but a taste of coming attractions only has positive implications.