It felt like E3 came to Toronto at Nintendo’s recent “Summer Celebration and Media Showcase.” Nintendo’s entire E3 show floor line-up was on display—and playable—for media, friends and family to try out. This was the perfect chance to get more hands on time with the incredible games Nintendo has planned for release this fall, and beyond!
The media showcase, which was held at The Richmond event space in downtown Toronto, brought out many familiar faces from the local game scene, like tech guru Kris Abel (Metro News) and my long-time friend Shaun Hatton (former TV host for EP Daily.) It was fun to catch up with everyone while enjoying my favourite past time—playing video games!
Here are all the upcoming Nintendo games I got to try out:
Wii U Games
Super Mario Maker
Release Date: September 11, 2015
Remember those insanely hard Super Mario Maker levels created for the Nintendo World Championship during E3? I had a chance to try them out first-hand, and wow, are they an extreme challenge! Those levels are perfect at showing just how creative you can be in Super Mario Maker, a game that lets you build your dream Super Mario levels. Creation is as simple as taking your Wii U GamePad stylus and using the touch screen to design your own custom levels.
I loved the four different themes you can use, consisting of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. What’s also great is how you can break the traditional rules of Super Mario games by blending enemies, items, objects in unexpected ways. For example, in one level I hit a yellow “?” block and—to my surprise—out sprang a barrage of Boos that circled me! Of course I was expecting a power-up to emerge, say a mushroom or a fire flower. With the virtually unlimited Super Mario Maker levels that are sure to be created, this game is going to provide endless excitement.
Yoshi’s Woolly World
Release Date: October 16, 2015
If you enjoy multiplayer platforming games, like New Super Mario Bros. U, then you’ll love Yoshi’s Woolly World. This game is two-player co-operative, with each player controlling a different “knit” version of Yoshi. It’s not just Yoshi who is handcrafted—the whole game is! It has a whimsical and charming art style that blends knitted yarn, patchwork, and other handicraft materials.
I played through a couple of these gorgeous handcrafted levels with a partner and it’s a lot of fun. When you gobble up enemies, you turn them into yarn balls (and not eggs!) that can be used to tangle up enemies, collect items, and even knit whole new platforms. There are also stray yarn threads that you can grab with Yoshi’s tongue and unravel walls to reveal new areas. This is one cute and enjoyable platforming game the whole family will enjoy!
(also, to the right you can see the new Yoshi knitted amiibo that will be available this fall!)
Star Fox: Zero
Release Date: Holiday 2015
Fox McCloud, Peppy, Falco, and Slippy are back for another deep space dogfighting adventure in Star Fox: Zero. During my hands on with the game, I got to try out the new dual-screen flying gameplay that gives you two unique perspectives on the action. On your TV screen is a far away viewpoint, allowing you to see the entire area and where you’re flying; whereas on your Wii U GamePad screen, you get a view from inside the cockpit and is used for precision shooting.
It does take a minute or two to adjust to using two screens (previous Star Fox games only used the TV screen), but once you get accustomed to it the depth in gameplay becomes exhilarating. You’ll need to carefully and constantly monitor both screens as you’ll need to contend with both enemies to shoot and obstacles to navigate around. I also had a chance to try out the all-new “Walker” transformation, which changes your Arwing into a powerful running mech. It’s a bit easier to control in Walker mode given that you don’t need to worry about the many dangers in the sky, so this mode is well suited for new players. I can’t wait play more!
Nintendo 3DS Games
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Release Date: Spring 2016
Two of my favourite role-playing game series—Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario—collide in this unique new crossover handheld game. I only got to play about five minutes of the game, but I was already drawn in with its charming story and new twists on the familiar Mario & Luigi gameplay. The demo began with Mario and Luigi encountering Paper Mario (literally a 2D, flat version of Mario) and the three of them set out to take down Bowser’s dastardly army of bad guys.
During the turn-based combat sequences, you control all three characters and must leap over enemy attacks while also dishing out punishment. Your suite of attacks include jumping on enemies’ heads, giving them a good whack of your mallet, or when it’s Paper Mario’s turn, making multiple clones of yourself and charging forward as a group. I only scratched the surface of this game, and if past entries are any indication, I expect dozens of hours of fun!
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
Release Date: October 23, 2015
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a spiritual successor of sorts to Four Swords Adventure and lets up to three people team up, each as Link, and co-operatively play through dungeons and defeat bosses.
I had the opportunity to partner up with two other guests at the event, and together we played through a dungeon full of enemies and challenging puzzles. There’s an all-new “Totem” mechanic introduced in this game and it allows the three Links to hop up on each other’s shoulders to form a tall tower. When stacked, the top Link can reach new areas, attack enemies above, or trigger switches on higher levels. Where it gets tricky is all three players share hearts (your life bar in Zelda games) and so if one of your partners get hit, the whole group loses a heart. So, it’s important to stay together and protect each other as you work your way through the dungeons. From my time with the game, it’s looking very promising!
Release Date: October 9, 2015
Having limited time with the Chibi-Robo series in the past, I didn’t quite know what to expect with Zip Lash on Nintendo 3DS. It’s a new platforming game where you play as the adorable mini robot Chibi-Robo, who happens to have a cord and plug attached to his back. Using the cord, I was able to whip enemies, grapple onto ceiling and pull myself up, and swing across large chasms.
The gameplay started out very basic, mostly attacking enemies and grappling onto ledges, but soon enough I was introduced to more clever ways of using the cord and plug. For starters, the cord can richocet off walls and zigzag its way upwards, letting you attack enemies or nab faraway collectibles. You can also power-up the plug and cord, effectively extending its reach and letting you grapple to previously inaccessible locations. From my time with Zip Lash, there was a good mix of platforming, enemies, and puzzles to solve, keeping the gameplay fresh. It wasn’t overly challenging either, making this a fun, accessible game for younger gamers.
Well, that was all the games I had time to check out at the event, but there are still many more exciting Nintendo games to watch out for this fall, including Yo-Kai Watch, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. Keep an eye out on the Plug-In Blog for updates on these games as we get closer to the launch dates!
By Paul Hunter, Editor Gaming
I work out of Toronto, Ontario as the Editor of Gaming here on the Plug-in Blog and as Editor-in-Chief of NextGen Player. I am thankful for having a loving and patient wife who doesn’t mind my 40 hour a week obsession with gaming. You can follow me on Twitter @NextGenPlayer