Nintendo Directs are always one of the most interesting things to come from the post games conference world: sometimes, they’re packed with huge surprise reveals and news, and in other cases, it feels like nothing actually got said. The latest Nintendo direct is very much the former, with a ton of new titles, updates, and some serious surprises on the horizon for Nintendo’s hit platform. We’ve collated all the announcements here, so you can catch up on what was said and what you need to know about them if you didn’t get a chance to watch it!
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Perhaps setting the tone for this direct in an odd way, the first announcement was the return of Mario vs Donkey Kong, a series of games from the Game Boy Advance days that featured puzzle-based gameplay in which Mario and Donkey Kong faced off against one another. Instead of normal platforming action, these games worked almost in a systemic, sem-programming fashion in which players had to suss out the correct solution to the puzzle, and sometimes featured odd little hitches like wind-up, mechanical Marios to control or use. This update to the series seems to be keeping a lot of that similar puzzle solving gameplay, with a graphical update and some new twists on it. The game is slated for release on February 16, 2024, and personally I quite enjoyed the previous games, so if you like puzzle platformers, I recommend giving it a chance!
Super Mario RPG
I mentioned a theme, and the theme of this direct was very much “re-makes and re-releases”, and the biggest one of them all (maybe!) is on the horizon with the re-make of Super Mario RPG. The beloved and legendary Square RPG is back with updated graphics and some new features, and today’s trailer showed off hints of some new modes such as a rematch against bosses in the post-game. I’m curious to see what else gets changed or updated for the game when it comes on this year in November, slated for a release of the 17th, and I’m excited that a brand new generation (frankly, nearly two!) will get a chance to play the game for the first time, and many others to play it again.
Another Code: Recollection
Another handheld game returns, this time the somewhat cult classic Another Code: Recollection, coming back to the Switch with its sequel, which did not get an official American release before. Trace Memory is an adventure puzzle game in which players take control of Ashley Robbins, trying to find her father. The game on the DS was quite fascinating for its use of 3D environments, as well as the DS’s little features like microphones and touchscreens. The Switch makes a great platform for the remake to land on, and I’m really excited to get a chance to finally play the sequel after nearly 20 years (oh god the game came out in 2005). The trailer shows the updated graphics have made the game look quite nice, and the game is scheduled to come out in January 2024 on the 19th.
Princess Peach: Showtime!
That’s right, the first new game of the Direct from Nintendo is Princess Peach’s second solo adventure game, and this looks like an absolute blast. Unlike her last outing, this game seems to put a bit of emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving, complete with some potentially interesting combat mechanics. The costume changes that Peach gets give her new powers and abilities, and the four shown in the trailer include a swashbuckling swordswoman, a chef, a detective, and a kung-fu master. What others are included remain to be seen, and how exactly the game works also does, but I’m really excited to see Peach get a game that doesn’t rely on terrible stereotypes of women in which to do it. The game will release next year on March 22nd, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more of this game in the near future!
Tomb Raider Remastered
Platform: (Switch, possibly more)
Back to the re- tend we go, with this remaster of the original Tomb Raider trilogy. It doesn’t specify if this release is exclusive to the Switch, but there wasn’t much other information offered on if it will or won’t hit other platforms either, so it remains to be seen. Frankly, I like the idea of releasing the games again and giving them a bit of a visual overhaul (that you can also turn off), and some new features, but frankly I don’t know if these games are… really that interesting to play today except maybe for mild curiosity or nostalgia. Still, if you’re interested in revisiting the original Tomb Raiders, you’ll get your chance on Valentine’s Day, 2024! Do not buy this for your Valentine. Or do, I’m not your mom.
Available by the time you read this, Nintendo announced the newest iteration of their 99 series with the return of F-ZERO. 99 players are forced to race against one another in a battle-royale style mode, and players who lose all of their power find themselves out of the game. An endurance race more than the traditional F-ZERO really was, there’s a lot of things to unlock and the hectic, 99 player racing is a fun gimmick. I don’t know if it will have the addictive quality that Tetris 99 had for me, but if you REALLY want to get that F-ZERO itch in, this is your likely only chance to do so for quite a while.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
More footage of the latest Prince of Persia game; this doesn’t particularly show anything that is unique to the Switch or particularly different from the other releases of this upcoming game, but it was nice to see some of the systems of how the game will play out, such as various powers, fights, and abilities that will be at the Prince’s disposal during the game when it releases in January 2024 on the 18th. I think this game has a lot of potential if it pulls it off, because Prince of Persia was always a fun series, and I like the return to somewhat classic 2-D action in this. I think it will depend on the combat, and it will also potentially remain to be seen on if the game has a lot of staying power, but I quite like what has been shown so far of this return to the franchise.
Amiibos and Mario Kart 8 Updates
Platform: Real Life and Switch
There were quite a few Amiibos announced, specifically for Tears of the Kingdom, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and surprisingly, Kingdom Hearts, with Sora receiving an Amiibo to commemorate his appearance in Smash Bros. I love the little things, as hard as they can be to get your hands on still in the year 2023, but it is at least nice to see new ones coming out; I just wish they had ever had a bit more utility than what they actually do. Still, I’m absolutely going to cop that Sora amiibo. As for Mario Kart, the last batch of DLC was announced, introducing 4 new racers: Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, Pauline, and Peachette, so if you love getting absolutely furious at your friends and yourself for getting Blue Shelled at the finish line, you’ve got 4 new ways to do it along with a new circuit and 7 new maps.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD
And back to remakes and re-releases, as Luigi’s Mansion 2 hits the Switch with updated graphics and retooled controls for the Nintendo Switch. If you’ve never played the Luigi’s Mansions games, they can be a lot of fun to mess around with, and with more modernized control schemes, likely a little more comfortable to play as well. There isn’t really much else revealed about what this release might have or do for the game, but it did say it will be out sometime in Summer 2024, so perhaps we’ll find out more about this one during the next Direct.
Developer: Holy Wow
Available now, this weird little rhythm game doesn’t seem to take itself very seriously, which I really love. A lot of rhythm games focus heavily on being extremely accurate and reflexive, and this game seems literally the opposite of that, including one of the goofiest motion controlled aspects I’ve ever seen. You can even play it with 4 people, if you really want to hear terrible trombone music in quad sound. Really, though, this is the type of party game and goofy thing to break out with people and just have a great time with, and I think it’s the type of game that you oddly don’t see much of on the Switch anymore, so I’m all for trying it out.
Developer: Riot Games
The League of Legends Story games have been really fantastic, despite some initial resistance to the idea that League products that aren’t League aren’t worth it, and yet Ruined King was a fantastic game. The thing about League is that it has such a unique and interesting fantasy world that has colorful characters it can easily work with, so these ‘League of Legends Story’ games have so much potential already. This particular game builds off of the sort of crafting RPG style archetypes, and has a cute, top-down isometric view to go along with it. The game doesn’t seem to be taking itself overly seriously either, and from what we can see in the trailer, looks like it simply wants to use the League world, particularly the Yordles, for setting and flavor.
Song of Nunu
Developer: Riot Games
The second League of Legends Story title announced, this one features the characters Nunu and Willump as they embark on an adventure together that features quite a lot of snowboarding, puzzles, and some platforming. Like I said above, I love the way these games take the existing League world and expand on the actual universe and lore they provide, and this one seems to be trying some new things with that, moving away from the RPG elements of the other titles that have existed so far. This title releases on November 1st, and the trailer does make it look quite far along, so hopefully there’ll be a lot to enjoy because this trailer looked fun and cute.
WarioWare: Move It!
I hate to be a downer, but the focus on motion and movement controls kind of kills this one for me. If you like motion controls, though, then you might enjoy the zany WarioWare style of gameplay that these titles bring. For me, though, I’m really having a hard time being excited, because I historically have a really hard time with these motion based games. I really do love WarioWare, so I am glad to at least seem the aesthetic again. If you like it as well, you can find the game available on November 3rd of this year!
Dave the Diver
Platform: Switch on the 26th, currently on PC
Dave the Diver is an ABSOLUTELY amazing game. I’ve played it myself on steam, and watched numerous streamers play it, and the game is just as fun to play as it is to watch. It’s also one of the only games featuring underwater mechanics and settings that do not give me terrible Thalassophobia, so I feel like that’s got to be worth something in terms of recommendation. Dave just manages to hit all sorts of buttons. The exploration is fun, the collecting of ingredients is fun, the cooking and restaurant minigame is fun… the game is just *fun*. Do yourself a favor and check it out when it hits the Switch if you can’t get it on PC, or feel, like me, that this is a game you’d like to play handheld or when you’re taking a break from your workstation. You won’t have to wait long for the Switch, when it arrives on the 26th, but if you prefer to play games on your PC, you can play it right now!
Detective Pikachu Returns
Detective Pikachu is back, and the game is afoot when the new mystery following Pikachu and Tim’s adventures to solve the problems and find Tim’s missing father. The combination of hardboiled detective jokes with mystery solving gameplay was what made the first game really fun, using the Pokemon universe as a way to explore a world that we don’t often see except for in mainline Pokemon games. The sequel seems ready to promise more of the same, and following the success of the movie, seems to be capitalizing a bit on that, even if it is a few years after the release of the film. There wasn’t much shown but the gameplay seems very similar to the first outing, with just some slightly better graphics and hopefully tighter designs. The game will release on October 6th, so get your thinking caps on!
This RTS style game calls back very heavily to the Advance Wars series, and essentially expands on that formula and the one present in the first Wargroove to deliver a more customizable and deep experience as you play through the story and battle your way through various opponents. I really loved Advance Wars, and while the remake of that came out recently, no one really did much ‘new’ with that formula, so I’m glad to see a new game try and make use of the formula and improve on it, and the game releases on October 5th.
Horizon Chase 2
Arcade style racing games really aren’t as popular as they perhaps once were, so this little racer seems like quite a fun time if those games are up your alley. There’s a bit of customizable action going on and some other things to keep the gameplay loop looking enjoyable, and the game is actually available right now if you’re looking to get your racing itch on!
SPYxANYA: Operation Memories
Developer: Bandai Namco
The hugely popular anime series SPYxFAMILY gets its first video game, and of course it does so by banking on the most popular character in the series: Anya Forger. While licensed games always leave a little to be desired in how they might execute or use the license, I have to admit that making you play as Anya instead of Yor or Lloyd is a really interesting twist, as the game seems divided between school and home life, and has a focus on a photography mechanic for the main game. If you aren’t a fan of SPYxFAMILY, you probably have no reason to check this out, but if you do like the series, it might be worth taking a look at this next year.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle
I really can’t say that this trailer explained anything to me, but there are a lot of Konami songs in this, so I’m assuming that the big draw here is to play with songs from Konami’s library of classic games, and then also taking advantage of the up to 4 player multiplayer rhythm puzzler. It seems like an interesting concept, I would just like to know a bit more about it. Still, it seems like it can be fun as a party game of sorts, and there aren’t a ton of those really. This game releases on Nov 14th.
Contra: Operation Galuga
Contra is back, baby, and… I dunno, it’s Contra, and it’s made by WayForward. That probably tells you everything you need to know if you want to buy or avoid this title, but I will say that it does at least look like quite a good time, and WayForward really can nail that retro feeling exceptionally well. What I like is that this is an re-make, going back to the classic NES Contra, so it might be really interesting to see how that gets updated and made to feel fresh or interesting to play. I do love the inclusion of redone classic music, and I’m sure we’ll find out more about the release as we get close to it coming out in 2024.
13 Sentinels was one of my favorite games in recent memory, and frankly, Vanillaware has an amazing library without that one as well, but if you were going to tell me that they were making a new game of any type, I would absolutely be there for it. I finished 13 Sentinels across a single 24 hour period, only stopping to sleep at night and then resuming it immediately. This RPG looks like a maybe more standard tactical RPG, but frankly, that’s what I thought about 13 Sentinels and being ‘just’ a mecha game, so… I’m pretty pumped. This releases in March of next year, on the 8th, and I’m absolutely pre-ordering it right now.
The SaGa series has always been a little bit of an oddball in terms of RPGs. It tends to get unfairly compared to games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but really has always tried to do it’s own thing and does it very uniquely. I don’t know if the games have always done them well, but they DO at least provide something that you are unlikely to get or see in another game, so I am going to optimistically hope for SaGaEmeraldBeyond to provide something really unique and entertaining when it releases next year, but right now there doesn’t seem to be a lot more information to go off of.
Splatoon 3: Spire of Order
While not a new game, one of the final announcements to cover is the upcoming solo play expansion to Splatoon 3, the Spire of Order. This odd and unique narrative aventure seems to be taking the world of Splatoon in a different direction, and the almost bizarre evolving replayability of the mode seems like it’s going to add life to an already thriving and fantastic game. I love the monochromatic styling of this mode, where everything is white and grey and then features muted colors. Splatoon’s story and lore are kind of fascinating, in a weird way, and while the games don’t lean too far into them and keep things light, this seems like an interesting and mysterious way to expand on the world already established in the three games so far.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
The legendary Mario RPG returns to the Switch with enhanced graphics, as The Thousand Year Door returns out of the vault and into the modern era. I loved Thousand Year Door, and for good reason: it’s a fun, amazing RPG, and the Paper Mario system works so well with the game. The later Paper Mario games sadly lost quite a lot of the magic this one had for baffling developmental and internal reasons, so it’s great to see this game come back and give new players a chance to experience it for the first time. Paper Mario will return in 2024, and I’m eagerly awaiting it!
Wow, that was a LOT of games; it feels like Nintendo announced more games and titles during their direct than most other companies did during the Summer Games Fest and other such celebrations. Certainly, Nintendo is owning their slice of the market again, and the Switch keeps rolling on with amazing hits and fantastic games to play.