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.
…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.
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.
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:
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 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 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-assMetroid games.
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.
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.
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 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 got a new version of their 2DS handheld coming out on July 28th. The New2DS 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.
What happens when Nintendo launches a very successful and cheap console a few months before releasing the Switch hybrid console/handheld? Jose Otero:
Nintendo will discontinue the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition and the last shipments will go out to retailers throughout this month.
I bet that Nintendo looked at the Classic as a mistake. It was too cheap and attractive to players as a $60 machine that got hacked immediately to enable playing every NES game anyone ever wanted. The Classic also served as a distraction for buyers from the Switch and its inevitable virtual console online shop selling you the same 30 games at $6 or $10 a pop instead of about $2.
Nintendo has never done a good job with serving their old games up on their new consoles, why start now?
I have some concerns with the system’s a lack of games at launch, the two hardware flaws that we know about, it’s regressive online features, and the price.
The only major games available at launch are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Dan Ryckert’s 5-star review) and the 1-2-Switch fifty dollar minigame collection that isn’t that great (Alanah Pearce’s 6.2 out of 10 review w/ autoplaying video) and should have been included with the system. 1-2-Switch seems to be the only game that makes use of the Switch’s full functionality by using the gyroscope and other sensors in the Joy-con controllers. Zelda sounds fantastic, but I’d understand why people are skeptical if they have read any of the reviews for console Zelda games in the past ten years. The reviews have been overly positive for games that aren’t that impressive.
Anyone that owns the Wii-U and is considering buying the Switch for Zelda would probably be better off just getting the Wii-U version of the game.
More games are coming, and Nintendo recently announced that a lot of independent developers have signed up to deliver their games to the Switch as it takes over the indie portable role from Sony’s now defunct Vita, but those are the only big games available today.
Those Joy-con’s have had two major issues already reported by journalists who have had the system early. One is that the left Joy-con’s wireless signal to the console isn’t great and disconnects or gets out of sync sometimes. Nintendo’s response was not very helpful. The other hardware issue is that the rails the system uses to hold the Joy-con controllers onto the system aren’t very sturdy.
The more and more I look at pictures of the way the JoyCons physically connect, the more I think Nintendo has a major design issue.
When you’re holding the Switch in portable-mode, that connection rail mechanism is the only thing preventing it from falling onto the floor.
The Switch’s operating system is also woefully outdated at launch compared to its competitors. It is not possible to back-up saved games anywhere. They aren’t saved on Nintendo’s servers and Nintendo doesn’t let you carry them on an SD card to back them up. Sony and Microsoft both automatically back up saved games to their servers, though they do that with a paid subscription to their online service. Polygon’s article linked above incorrectly indicates that only Sony requires a paid subscription.
Finally, I don’t feel like the $300 price for a Switch is entirely fair when you can get an Xbox One for around $200 (on discount) or a PlayStation 4 for a little bit more.
The comparison may seem a bit more fair later this year when the Xbox One Scorpio is announced and released, I expect the Scorpio’s price to be comparable to the only PlayStation 4 anyone should be buying which is the $400 Pro model. However, even the base models of those systems have games that look better than the Switch’s whose leg-up is portability with a built-in screen and Nintendo’s exclusives like Zelda and Mario.
I wouldn’t let these caveats stop me, those games would be enough reason to own a Switch, but they may not be for many people.
The internet has provided us with an early look of the operating system on the Nintendo Switch and it looks much better than anything Nintendo has provided us with previously.
I recently spent about two hours inside a Game Stop trying to do a system transfer from one 3DS to another, which failed the first two times and worked the third for no apparent reason. Unless the Switch literally kicked you in the crotch it couldn’t be worse.
Nintendo Japan had a live-streamed presentation revealing new details about their upcoming console, the Nintendo Switch. Here are my notes.
It’ll be available March 3rd 2017 in Japan, US, Canada, “major Euro nations.”
It’ll be up for pre-order in Japan on the 21st. No word on the US.
The system will include the tablet console, the dock, Joy-con controllers, wrist straps, the grip that can hold both Joycons into a Voltron-like regular gamepad, an AC adapter using a USB-C cable and an HDMI cable. There are two different versions of the console bundle, one with the regular Joy-cons and one with differently-colored Joy-cons as depicted below.
Switch online services will have a free trial at launch, and then cost money this Fall, like Xbox Live and Playstation Plus.
“In general we will not apply region locking to Nintendo Switch software”
Nintendo highlighted three modes, TV Mode for typical console gameplay with the Switch docked, Tabletop mode where you can play with friends using the Joy-con controllers disconnected from the tablet for multiplayer or single player, and handheld mode where it’s just a tablet with two controllers attached. The switch is supposed to have 2.5 to 6 hours of playtime when it’s not connected to power.
For the first time, Nintendo highlighted that there is an NFC reader in the Joy-con controllers for Amiibo support.
You can get the Joy-cons in multiple colors. The Switch will include a wrist strap that slides on the rails that connect the controllers to the tablet. The Joycon controllers also have an IR sensor on one end to detect distance from objects and hand motions, similar to my old employer Leap Motion’s technology. The Joycons also have “HD Rumble” to convey different sensations. Nintendo oddly chose to highlight this through the idea of holding a glass and feeling ice cubes and then water being poured into it.
This was taken to a gaming context through a new multiplayer minigame collection called 1-2-Switch that started out with wild west gunslingers drawing the Joycon controllers. 1-2-Switch, will let you play these minigames without looking at a screen, and instead follow the action by observing your opponent, the rumble feedback, and occasionally the screen of the tablet.
Nintendo also introduced Arms, a fighting game that resembles punch-out at first but looks closer to a more traditional fighting game except with a third-person behind-the-back camera and fighting by swinging the Joycons.
Nintendo also introduced Splatoon 2, with 4 on 4 multiplayer, and a new akimbo weapon. You can play with gyro features or traditionally via the pro-controller. It’ll be out this summer.
A new 3D platforming Mario game in the style of 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy, is coming out, featuring Mario in a bizarrely alternate version of our world, Super Mario Odyssey. It’s very weird seeing Mario interacting with a realistic-ish urban environment and humanoid people. It is supposed to have the excitement of visiting new places. Weird. It’ll be out at the end of the year.
Monolithsoft is putting out Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Team Ninja is working on Fire Emblem Warriors.
Nintendo assures us that 50 companies are working on software and 80 games are in development.
Square-Enix is working on Dragon Quest 10 and 11 along with Dragon Quest 1 and 2 for Nintendo Switch, remakes.
Atlus is working on a Shin Megami Tensei game in the Unreal Engine.
Square-Enix also has a new game called Project Octopath Traveler.
Sega appeared on stage to show us their logo and say how interested they are in developing for the Switch without any commitment.
Skyrim was finally officially announced for the Switch after being in previous videos without a commitment.
Suda51 from Grasshopper made a very awkward entrance to let us know that Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes will return. He basically broke the translator who was so bored he sounded like he was about to commit suicide.