Mario Odyssey Reviews Out, Game Available Tomorrow

The reviews are almost universally positive. Here is Dan Ryckert’s:

Make no mistake about it, Super Mario Odyssey is a weird game. It’s wrapped around a concept featuring sentient hats, enemy possession, and Bowser making wedding preparations, but actually playing the game feels very familiar. Gone are the polarizing FLUDD from Super Mario Sunshine and the gravity-warping planetoids from the Galaxy games. While Mario may be able to occupy the bodies of numerous baddies and inanimate objects this time around, the experience feels more like Super Mario 64 than any of his other adventures.

The only downside is the motion controls. Chris Scullion talking about them in his review:

One thing that may irk some players is that Super Mario Odyssey tries its very best to make you use motion controls. Every time you start the game you get a splash screen suggesting you try it out because it offers extra moves.

Don’t worry: in reality, you don’t need to play with motion controls. There are three major moves that the game claims can only be performed with motion: throwing Cappy straight up into the air, throwing him down to roll him along the ground, and a spin attack.

Scullion also has a video guide for pulling off that spin attack move without using motion controls.

Super Mario Odyssey is available tomorrow for $60 on the Nintendo Switch.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp in Late November

Nintendo’s iOS and Android adventures continue late next month with Animal Crossing Pocket Camp.

I love Animal Crossing in general, it’ll be interesting to see if Pocket Camp really gives us a good experience but it looks pretty limited and full of traditional mobile game shenanigans.

There’s a shorter version of the above video at this link. Nintendo has a site to get notified when the game is out here.

The game is limited, because you’re just decorating a campsite and a camping van instead of a multi-story home and village. There’s “crafting” but it looks like just another type of in-game thing to collect and trade for furniture in addition to bells.

The animal characters are more likely to visit if you have the furniture they like best, and your character travels around to different areas trading goods and making new friends.

The shenanigans are countdown timers and in-app purchases for “leaf tickets” that act as a wildcard when you don’t have the right crafting materials, or to speed up those timers.

 

Super NES Classic Edition Stuff

SNES Box image via Nintendo

The Super NES Classic Edition is out for $80, Chris Scullion has a review of the Brit version which looks a little different externally and in the menu, but is functionally identical, to the US version:

The only main problem I have with the SNES Mini is how important the Reset button on the console is. Any time you want to change a game, save your state, load a state or rewind you have press the physical Reset button on the SNES Mini.

[…]

A button combo would’ve been a better way of doing this. It could be a complex one to avoid accidental restarts: most Game Boy games back in the day could be reset by pressing A + B + Start + Select, there’s no reason why that shouldn’t have been possible here.

That niggle aside, I’m happy with the way each game is handled here. They look great – even though it only outputs at 720p, on my 4K TV they still look crisp – they sound great, and they play great.

I think it is odd that in some places Nintendo have decided to straight out call it a “mini,” as Chris’ box shows:

Well at least we get our more hideous miniaturized console with buttons that lack colour.

Eurogamer’s John Linneman confirms that the tech inside is exactly the same as the NES Classic Edition:

The fact that the SNES mini runs on the same hardware as its predecessor has a number of implications. Among them, we can expect hackers to be looking to exploit the system in short order to add new games – exactly what happened with the NES mini. And secondly, the use of what is essentially the same technology makes it much easier for Nintendo to resume NES mini production.

The only game exclusive to the Super Nintendo Classic Edition is Star Fox 2, Christian Donlan has a review:

Star Fox 2 is an unusual game, an astonishingly inventive sequel that built on the combat and visual thrills of the first Star Fox but wasn’t afraid to experiment with the structure. Rather than starting you at one end of a space map and asking you to pick your route to the far side, choosing from missions that can eventually be all but committed to memory through sheer repetition, you’re suddenly protecting Corneria, your home world, from an ongoing attack from big villain Andross and the attack pretty much plays out in real time. Andross builds bases on nearby planets, and he has cruisers headed for you and IPBMs launching every few minutes. Your job is still to get across the map to take out Andross directly, but you have to respond to other things as they happen. Those cruisers! Those missiles! These are all problems that compete for your time and there’s a panicky thrill in knowing that if you head for a planet to take on an entrenched baddy, there will be missiles still snaking through space towards Corneria, launched from other points. Throughout this wonderfully breathless game, you are asked to think on the fly, and to dash headlong between danger zones, constantly prioritising threats.

The hackers are working on updating hakchi2 for the SNES Classic Edition so that you can load your own ROMs on to the system. Legally backed-up from your own cartridges or downloaded and deleted within 24 hours, of course.

I’m waiting for delivery of SNES Mini now, it will be delivered tomorrow. Seems like hakchi and hakchi2 will require some minor changes to work with SNES Mini. So please wait little more.

They might also be able to fix it so we don’t need to get off the couch to reset the console and access save states. Here’s hoping.

But if you’re going to go that far you almost might as well just listen to Seth Macy with his hilarious article titled “Why Spend $80 on an SNES Classic When You Can Install Emulators on a Raspberry Pi and Never Shut the Fuck Up About It?”:

Nintendo’s highly coveted SNES Classic Mini system comes out today and is certain to be a hot item. A word of advice to gamers who aren’t able to land an SNES Classic: did you know you can just buy a Raspberry Pi and remind people at every opportunity how much fucking better you are for it?

After the NES Classic Edition was announced and became immediately  impossible to find I attempted to do exactly what Macy is joking about by setting up a Raspberry Pi with emulators and it is indeed still a pain in the ass. It’s great that these classic NES and SNES consoles have embedded Linux at their core, but Nintendo have done so much work to obscure that core from their users and make things easy.

That hard work is exactly what has always been missing from any Linux distribution on a single board computer like the Raspberry Pi or desktops and laptops. I have the patience to use this software and fix it when it breaks but this is never as easy as using a Classic Edition. Hopefully Nintendo lives up to their promise and produces enough to go around.

Nintendo Promises More Stock of Classic Editions

SNES Box image via Nintendo

Nintendo put out a press release announcing that they would both manufacture more NES Classic Editions this coming summer, 2018, as well as making more Super NES Classic Editions available at launch on September 29th than they had shipped of the NES CE all last year.

It’s good that Nintendo are finally going to potentially thwart some people who are taking advantage of shortages, but this commitment should have happened a long time ago.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is Another Surprise

Ubisoft has developed XCOM: Baby Mode with a Nintendo license for the Switch called Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. It reminds me of my favorite JRPG, Super Mario RPG, because both games were developed by third-parties using a Mario license to get a genre of games out to more people than would normally try them. With Super Mario RPG, that was the JRPG, with Mario + Rabbids, it’s the turn-based strategy from old DOS games brought to life again but this time Mario has a gun for some reason.

Chris Scullion reviewed it:

…the game’s still funny thanks to the character animations. From the way Rabbid Mario poses like he thinks he’s God’s gift to hares, to the way Rabbid Peach takes selfies of herself while one particular boss plummets to its doom (as Luigi looks on disturbed), the cutscenes and animations constantly had me chuckling in ways the dialogue never threatened to.

Ultimately, despite the exploration sections and the writing being slightly underwhelming, the main meat of Mario + Rabbids remains the turn-based combat sections so it’s a good job this is where the game truly shines.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is out now on the Nintendo Switch.

SNES Classic Edition Announced with Star Fox 2; Out September 29th in US for $80

Rumors have been pretty clear that Nintendo would announce a Super Nintendo Classic Edition as a successor to the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, and it turns out that the reports were true. The SNES Classic Edition will be available at the end of September on the 29th for $80, $20 more than the NES Classic Edition. It’ll have 21 games built-in total, 9 fewer than the NES Classic Edition.

Just like the NES Classic Edition, the SNES Classic Edition will hook up via HDMI, and won’t support cartridges or any other official method of loading new games onto the system. This time Nintendo are including two controllers and one of the games on the system will be the previously unavailable Star Fox 2. Although Star Fox 2 was never released, some footage was available and some versions of the ROM leaked, but this will be the first legitimate release of the game. There’s an old interview on Arwing Landing with Dylan Cuthbert who worked on both Star Fox 1 & where he discusses why the game was never released:

Starfox 2 was fully completed. I was lead programmer and whilst Giles made Stunt Race FX, myself and the rest of the original Starfox team (ie. Nintendo’s artists and designers) expanded Starfox into a full 3D shooting game. We used state-of-the-art technology such as arbitrary plane clipping (which has only been seen recently in such games as Crash Bandicoot 2 & 3) to create some rather spectacular effects. (for the time)

The reason for non-release was the then impending Nintendo-64 which of course was intended to be released a lot sooner than it actually was. Miyamoto-san decided he wanted to have a clean break between 3D games on the SNES and 3D games on the new superior 64 bit system. In retrospect, he could have released Star Fox 2 and there would have been over a year and a half before the N64 came out. But hindsight is always 20/20.

Starfox 64 incorporated a lot of the newer ideas we created in Starfox 2 but it didn’t, in my view, take the genre a full step forward. Starfox 2 really was a different direction of gameplay.

Here’s the full list of games that’ll be in the SNES Classic Edition:

  • Contra III: The Alien Wars
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • EarthBound
  • Final Fantasy III
  • F-ZERO
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Kirby’s Dream Course
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Mega Man X
  • Secret of Mana
  • Star Fox
  • Star Fox 2
  • Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • Yoshi’s Island

This collection looks great to me, Super Mario RPG is still my favorite RPG, but just as I said when the NES Classic Edition was announced you could buy a Raspberry Pi for $36 today. Load up that Pi with all kinds of emulators and use whatever controllers you want. Which feels even more reasonable when Nintendo plans on ending SNES Classic Edition manufacturing at the end of the year, which will probably make it just as difficult as it was to get an NES Classic Edition when that was discontinued.

 

Metroid: Samus Returns on September 15th

You wouldn’t have been wrong to think that Nintendo doesn’t care much about Metroid when it gets largely ignored by Nintendo, until today. Nintendo has a fresh team developing a new game in the Metroid Prime series and this 3DS remake of the Game Boy’s Metroid II: Return of Samus due on September 15th.

Very surprising to see Nintendo’s commitment to the 3DS platform continue. Here’s a longer video with Nintendo revealing the game on their Treehouse stream, interviewing the developers, and showing off about 40 minutes of gameplay:

Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 Notes

Nintendo is here to finally tell us the backstory about Walugi and Wario. Are they really just old versions of Mario and Luigi that got really shitty?

Nevermind, Reggie has been hiding in our apartment to jump out and tell us about games.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Xenoblade Chronicles is getting a sequel and it’ll be out for the Switch later this year. The voice acting is real strange in this trailer.

Kirby

Kirby is still Kirby as heck. He’ll be out on the Switch in this sidescroller next year.

Pokemon coming to the Switch

Nintendo paused the trailer storm to let us know that Game Freak is working on a “core Pokemon” game for the Nintendo Switch. No release date but it probably won’t be out for over a year.

Metroid Prime 4

Speaking of games that are in development and don’t have anything to show. Metroid Prime 4 is being developed by a different team, not Retro. I’m pretty excited to hear that, I just got the Prime Trilogy set for the Wii and am looking forward to exploring some good Metroid-ass Metroid games.

Yoshi

Everyone’s friend that they don’t mind dropping into a pit at the end of a Mario level is back to scroll sideways some more. He’ll be on the Switch in 2018.

Fire Emblem Warriors

Where the hell is Advance Wars? This anime bullshit will be out on the Switch this Fall.

Skyrim for the Switch, Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC

Eiji Aonuma showed up to remind us that Skyrim will be on the Switch with Link’s gear and then to start the trailer for Breath of the Wild’s upcoming DLC:

The Master Trials are coming out June 30th, and The Champions’ Ballad will be out late this year. I’m playing through BOTW on the Wii U and loving it.

Aonuma returned to tell us about more Amiibo coming out based on the champions in Breath of the Wild.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Why the hell does Mario have a gun? I am kind of surprised at how good this strategic and very weird Mario crossover looks. Even if the Rabbid characters are insufferable, it isn’t the kind of game you’d expect. It’ll be out on August 29th for the Switch.

Rocket League

Handheld Rocket League sounds like fun, and it’ll be cross-networked with the Xbox and Steam versions. It’ll be kind of interesting to see platform-exclusive customization items like the Mario hat in this trailer, if they’re displayed on other platforms.

Rocket League will be out on the Switch late this year.

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario‘s Hat being alive is kind of disturbing if you think about it too much, especially when Mario is using it to possess everything in this game including PEOPLE in New Donk City. You can inflict horrors upon the many kingdoms on October 27th if you have a Switch.

Overall

I kind of miss the spectacle of a stage show and seeing people speak live  when this entire video is just pre-recorded and made available online. It’s good that Nintendo is putting out games with a perspective and style that you might expect from their 3DS handheld on the Switch, like Yoshi, and I don’t think they have entirely abandoned the 3DS either, which is good because I recently traded my old 3DS in for a New 3DS and don’t have a Switch yet.

Of course, I’m sure anyone with a Switch who didn’t have a Wii-U is ready for something big to play that isn’t Zelda, it looks like they won’t have long to wait.

Ben Heck Got That Nintendo Playstation Working

Last year Ben Heck attempted to repair a Nintendo Playstation prototype. It was a console developed in partnership between Sony and Nintendo during the Super Nintendo era. Before Sony decided to go their own way and the project was scuttled, this prototype was developed and made its way into the world.

Last year Heck managed to get the unit loading regular Super Nintendo games. He now has the prototype loading homebrew games off of the disc drive.

Nintendo’s New Nintendo 2DS XL on July 28th, $150

Nintendo’s got a new version of their 2DS handheld coming out on July 28th. The New 2DS XL has many of the features of the big boy New 3DS XL, like the clamshell design, c-stick, and faster processor, without the 3D functionality that almost no games are taking advantage of anymore. It looks good in that two-tone black and turquoise color scheme.

Japan also gets a second color scheme at launch:

As somebody that recently upgraded their 3DS XL to a New 3DS XL it’s good to see Nintendo continuing to support their handheld platform after the Switch was launched. Though, of course they will have to consolidate handheld development onto the Switch, if it continues to be a success.