This morning Nintendo presented a fresh Nintendo Direct that gave some insight into what Wii U and 3DS owners could expect in the coming months. Satoru Iwata gave out a few tidbits of information regarding a few anticipated titles such as Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Rayman Legends, and Pokemon Rumble U. Not to mention a new title involving Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright has been confirmed for a U.S release and two current games (Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pikmin 3) debut on Miiverse with some cool features.
If you slept through the Nintendo Direct, you are not out of luck. Allow us to recap the exciting news that Nintendo has to tell:
Animal Crossing: New Leaf has quietly become a worldwide phenomenon. It was original released in Japan in November 2012 while the U.S., Europe, Australia, and other countries received it back in June of this year. The game might not be as publicly spoken about like some AAA titles, but regardless, players love to talk about their towns and show off their accomplishments as the mayor. Animal Crossing: New Leaf has a built-in feature called the Dream Suite which allows players to randomly visit dream versions of other players towns from anywhere in the world. While this feature is very neat and gives users a change to explore other players’ ideas, the fact that it is not a “live” visit takes away some of the fun. Nintendo has recognized the communication barrier and is offering a slightly easier way to share ideas with fellow players.
By downloading the free Animal Crossing Plaza from the eShop, you can be better connected to the Animal Crossing Miiverse. You will have access to a vibrant plaza filled with your favorite residents with a direct line to the Animal Crossing Miiverse Community. There others can gather to share screenshots of their town by importing them from their 3DS via a SD Card. QR codes can also be imported and organized in an album. If you find a pattern you like, you can automatically scan the QR Code from the GamePad with your 3DS system. You will also be able to register your Dream Address in your profile so others know exactly who you are. This means that you can better associate towns with their respectable mayors. With the ability to post messages in the Miiverse, you can then reach out to that mayor if you want to set up an opportunity to visit their real town.
Notifications will be posted on the billboard in order to keep everyone up to date with the latest news about Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Reminders will also pop up about events going on in the game to make sure you do not miss out on anything going on. Keep in mind that Nintendo has stated that this service – while free – is a limited time release. The Animal Crossing Plaza is available to download today but will go offline at the end of 2014.
With that being said, Nintendo is celebrating the new plaza by offering a free item from August 11 until the end of September. All you need to do is go to an active Nintendo Zone location and load up your game. Go to the post office and ask about a present. Then the item – a pumpkin pie – will download for free directly to your cartridge.
Legend of Zelda fans can begin rejoicing if they have not already. While we did not receive too much information on the two new Zelda titles, some information is better than none. Iwata pointed out that the logo for Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds gives a hint to the game’s plot. When looking at the logo, we see a normal golden Triforce while a dark shadow lingers just below it. There are apparently two worlds (in case the title didn’t tell you) that Link will need to travel between his world and this secondary world in order to secure the safety of the Triforce while uncovering the reason of the shadow Triforce’s existence. The game’s setting takes place long after A Link to the Past but fans will recognize some of the locations they will be visiting. Rest assured that even though some areas are former ones from the previous title, all the puzzles and dungeons are new. We will get to explore these new dungeons when the game launches on the 3DS sometime in November.
As for the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD remake, Nintendo confirmed an October release but has not yet given a specific date. Iwata did state that some gameplay mechanics have been improved in order to enhance the experience for veterans and newcomers alike. Some of these adjustments include faster sailing, quicker Wind Waker actions, and fine tuning the Triforce collection at the end of the game.
The Professor Layton games have settled into a nice niche of being difficult puzzle games with beautiful animated scenes. The final chapter to the current Professor Layton trilogy is being released sometime in 2014. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy concludes the events from Miracle Mask. Ancient relics from a long forgotten civilization have fallen into the hands of a mysterious organization known as Targent. The organization plans to harvest the powers to use for themselves…Though no one is quite sure on what that power truly is. Professor Layton returns with his assistant Emma and apprentice Luke to investigate a “living mummy” said to be tied to the Azran race. Much to their surprise, the mummy is a living young girl frozen in ice. They defrost her but she has no memory of her past or the Azrans thus sending the newly formed group travels around the world. They will use their wits to solve over 500 puzzles to discover more about the Azrans and their relics. Perhaps they may even discover the truth behind Tangent’s powers.
The game was originally released on the 3DS in Japan back in February but it will be released in Europe on November 8th. U.S. players will sadly need to wait until sometime in 2014.
Hold it! Professor Layton will appear in one other game next year alongside Phoenix Wright in Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright. A young London woman named Mahoney is being hunted down by a mysterious force. She turns to Professor Layton for help but she is captured not long after reaching out to him. Professor Layton’s investigation leads him and Luke to a strange book that magically transport them to a medial-style city known as Labyrinth City. At the same time Phoenix and Maya are visiting London on business and stumble upon the same book thus trapping them as well. They stumble upon Professor Layton and Luke; the group discovers that the city is full of witches and is controlled by the Story Teller – someone who has the power to turn anything the write into a reality. Mahoney has also been transported to Labyrinth City where she is on trial of being a witch. Good guy Phoenix decides to defend her in court after learning the laws of the land, while Layton wants to focus on discovering the mysterious behind the city. The two do not see eye to eye but might also be each other’s only way to get out of the book.
Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright will feature a gameplay mixture of both series. The gameplay is broken down into two main parts: Puzzles and Trials. The puzzle aspects mimic those of the previous Professor Layton titles. Players will be able to navigate through the environments where they can interact with objects, converse with characters, and solve puzzles. The trial aspects are much like the court trials of the other Phoenix Wright games, but with a slight twist. Now Phoenix will need to cross examine multiple witnesses at once thus making it slightly more challenging to find the contradictions in each witness’s statements. A keen eye will be needed to observe the way each witness reacts to the others statements and calling them out.
There still is some time before Pokémon X and Y will be released, but for those of you in need of a Poké fix a new eShop title is just around the corner. Pokémon Rumble U features a handful of toy Pokémon that get washed down a river during a delivery. Bewildered by the strange forest they wash up in, the group tries to make their way back to the toy store only to discover that something is not right. They meet other toy Pokémon along the way but some a fierce fighters while others seem to be plotting something sinister. You will need to battle against them and befriend if you want to survive.
Pokémon Rumble U will feature all 649 Pokémon that have been announced up to Black 2 and White 2. Each Pokémon has their own strengths and weaknesses meaning you will need to pick your battle companions wisely. You can either battle alone or up to three other friends can join you on your quest. Since these are toys, 18 figures will be released exclusively at GameStop that are compatible with the game. Nintendo has stated that the figures are not needed to play the game or to experience all the content but says the figures add a different sense of depth with interacting with your Pokémon. Pokémon Rumble U will be released only on the eShop on August 29th. The figures will launch simultaneously in stores on the same day.
The year of Luigi continues as we head into the latter part of the year. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is scheduled to be released on August 11 in retail shops and on the eShop. We told you a bit about the gameplay during San Diego Comic Con but today, Nintendo gave us a look at the badge system. Badges can now work together and be combined in order to improve your attacks. Successful attacks will help you build up your badge meter that once filled will give you a bonus for whatever the badge is for such as extra experience or more HP. You will be able to keep badges in your inventory along with the extensive amount of useful gear that can be collected. Nintendo claims that there are a few hundred pieces of gear and accessories that can be collected to give you status boosts or help defend you. Both brothers will start off with two slots but as you progress, you will be able to equip more gear to alter the way the brothers play so they fit your play style. Some gear will be purchasable throughout the game while others must be obtains throughout Expert Challenges. Expert Challenges are a wide variety of specific goals to achieve in battle such as dodging ten consecutive attacks. By completely these challenges, you will be able to unlock some of the best gear in the game.
Other than staring in New Super Luigi U, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and co-staring in Mario & Luigi, Luigi will be appearing in some other upcoming titles. Nintendo has confirmed that Luigi will be playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game for both the Wii U and 3DS. We have not yet received any information regarding the game’s release and Nintendo is keeping quiet on the finer details of how Luigi will play, but nonetheless, it is good to see the younger brother getting more spotlight.
Even Ubisoft is partnering up with Nintendo to celebrate the Year of Luigi. Rayman Legends for the Wii U will have an unlockable Mario costume for Rayman and a Luigi costume for Globox. (If that is not enough to get you excited about Rayman Legends, Wii U owners will also be able to access select stages from Rayman Origins.)
Here is a quick reminder of upcoming releases mentioned in the Nintendo Direct.
* Art Academy: SketchPad (Wii U eShop) – August 9th
* Donkey Kong (Wi ui/3DS eShop) – Virtual Console release on August 15th
* Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) – November 2013
* Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Wii U) – October 2013
* Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS) – August 11th
* Pokemon Rumble U (Wii U eShop) – August 29th
* Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS) – 2014
* Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright (3DS) – 2014
* Rayman Legends (Wii U exclusive content) – September 3rd
* Sonic Lost World (Wii U/3DS) – October 22nd
* Summer Carnival ’92: RECCA (3DS eShop) – Soon
* Super Mario Bros. 3 (Wii u/3DS eShop) – Virtual Console release soon
* Tecmo Bowl (Wii u/3DS eShop) – Virtual Console release in September
* Wario Land 3 (Wii u/3DS eShop) – Virtual Console release soon
* Wonderful 1o1 (Wii U) – September 15th
* Nintendo is asking Pikmin 3 players to take pictures of their Pikmin adventures. Simply select the camera button on the GamePad during the game to see through the eyes of a Pikmin. Snag a couple pretty scenery shots, your Pikmin doing silly things, or be dangerous and take an action shot during battle. Upload your pictures to the Pikmin 3 Miiverse with a caption and you might be one of the select few to have your picture/caption posted on the Wii U official Facebook page.
* The latest system update now allows 3DS users to StreetPass other 3DS owners at Nintendo Zone locations. You will now StreetPass the last 3DS owner to use the Nintendo Zone location even if the person is not there.
* A Wonderful 101 Nintendo Direct will best hosted on Friday, August 9th at 10am Est/7am Pst.