Nintendo held one of their increasingly common Nintendo Direct mini-announcement video events today to talk a little bit about what fans can expect in the coming months for the 3DS. While there was nothing terribly new, a sleepy-eyed Reggie Fils-Aime and company did show off some exciting titles. This cements one thing for those currently making a handheld decision. One of the two systems is going to actually have content coming in the next few months. (Hint: It’s not the Vita.)
The headliner was rightfully Paper Mario: Sticker Star. It appears that some smart changes have been implemented to give the game a more portable-friendly design. The title is more focused on discreet levels rather than an open world, and the map screen looks like the same visually eye-catching and easy to navigate landscape we’ve seen since Super Mario Bros. 3. One of the things that stuck out to me was that each sticker you’ll be peeling off the environment and placing in your ever-growing book (with new pages added for defeating bosses) represents an attack. Each one is also consumable, which immediately gave me flashbacks to my least favorite Final Fantasy title (Final Fantasy VIII – tying consumable magic uses to stats is still the worst ever in an RPG /hyperbole).
It could make for some very interesting arsenal management if implemented correctly, though. The action-infused turn-based RPG style is intact, and the dynamics of combat, with enemies folding themselves into different shapes is quite clever. There is also an element of real world items making an appearance in battle. I completely understand why scissors were included. A goat, though? That’s just odd.
Moving away from the two-dimensional, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, out this week, received quite a bit of screen time. For those that have never played a Layton game, Nintendo believes that this is a good place to start because much of the game is a flashback to the Professor’s early days. For those that do jump on board, there are 365 additional puzzles waiting that will be delivered via home network WiFi and at Nintendo Zone locations (like Starbucks and Simon malls). The bonus content is completely free.
Speaking of additional goodies, there are a number of new level packs available for New Super Mario Bros. 2 today. You can access them through the game’s shop. You’ll also be able to StreetPass your scores, which will help give you new targets to beat when you encounter other players.
One of the big delights of the event was a great deal of new information on Fire Emblem: Awakening. For those of us who delighted in XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s difficulty and permadeath, this should be a title on the radar. Each member of the cast has his/her own backstory and personality. They’ll form bonds with one another, providing attack bonuses when in combat together or defending friends from attacks. Just like XCOM though, when a teammate dies, they are gone for good. The combat looks engaging, the added cutscenes and voice acting will enhance the story and the ability to create a player avatar, which will join in the combat, is exciting.
Another highlight of the Nintendo Direct was additional information about Animal Crossing: New Leaf. This time out, players will not only be a resident of their town, but also mayor. New customization options were touted, but the most significant seemed to be the ability to set normal shop hours. This will allow players to customize their experience around their own schedules. If you only have time to dive in during the late night hours, you’ll still have the opportunity to do your shopping.
The last bit we’ll share with you before suggesting you go watch the video for all the nitty gritty details, is that Level 5 has released the first part of its trilogy of downloadable games. Each of these has been designed by a different well known developer. The first part, Liberation Maiden, was developed by Suda 51, and is available on the eShop now for $7.99. It’s a 3D sci-fi shooter set 100 years in the future. The other two parts, entitled Aero Porter and Crimson Shroud (designed by Yoot Saito and Yasumi Matsuno respectively) will be coming soon.
In addition to all of this, a number of new third-party titles and classic NES and Gameboy adventures got brief mention. Missed out on the original Ninja Gaiden (not the one from last generation, the original)? You’re in luck. It’s just one of many great 8-bit titles hitting the eShop soon.
If you’ve got half an hour to spare and want to know what you’ll be pumping into your 3DS in the coming months, head over here to check out the whole Nintendo Direct announcement.