2020 wasn’t exactly a banner year for the Nintendo Switch. While they came out the gate strong with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, most of their first-party offerings last year were either remasters such as Super Mario All-Stars 3D, or niche products like Mario Kart: Live Circuit, which is more or less exclusive to people who have enough room in their home to build a real life Mario Kart track.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nintendo dropped its first Direct in almost a year. While it didn’t have any updates on anticipated titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 or Metroid Prime 4, there were definitely some highlights and surprises worth talking about. So, let’s talk about them!
In general, I’m not the biggest fan of sports games. Unless you fill that bitch with Nintendo characters, then you can bet your ass I’m there! I could give half a damn about golf, but if I ask “Who all gon’ be there?” and you tell me “Mario and Peach,” oh yeah, I’ll pull up to play some links.
This is the first new entry in the Mario Golf series since 2013’s Mario Golf: World Tour on the Nintendo 3DS, and is the first new console entry since 2003’s Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the GameCube. I guess they’re only allowed to make these every 10 or so years.
The game looks like standard, arcade-y golf fun, and in true Mario sports fashion there are additional modes beyond just “golf.” One of the highlights is Speed Golf, which sees you and up to 3 others racing through a golf course to be the first to get your ball in the hole. This looks like it could be a very fun party game, so I’m going to need these vaccines to hurry up so me and the homies can have a new thing to talk shit about.
Mario Golf: Super Rush releases on June 25.
Personally, I’ve loved seeing Monster Hunter go from the niche, action-Role Playing Game (RPG) that the kids who shopped at Hot Topic played in high school, to a genuinely popular franchise worth getting excited about. The games have an incredibly addicting loop where you fight monsters, and use their remains to craft armor and weapons that allow you to fight even bigger monsters. If you haven’t tried one, I would definitely recommend giving Monster Hunter: World a go on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, or Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate on Switch.
The latest trailer provides context for the story, which shows a group of villagers banding together to protect their village from the monster threat. The gameplay looks like that standard Monster Hunter good-good, and even better, you don’t have to wait too long for this one as it releases on March 26.
Perhaps the biggest announcement from Wednesday’s Direct was a new entry in the Splatoon series. The trailer quickly revealed what looked to be a bleaker, somewhat post-apocalyptic setting for the traditionally colorful series. The opening shows the Eiffel Tower ruined and upside down in a pit. The inkling we’re introduced to is in tattered clothing and hops on a train that looks to be mildly in disrepair. The trailer then reveals Splatsville, which trades the colorful splendor of the previous Inkopolis setting for a more rustic, favela inspired approach.
As someone who has been a fan of these games since the original Splatoon on the Wii U, I was a little taken aback by the apparently darker change of pace. I legit had a sigh of relief when they showed a quick splash of gameplay that revealed the paint-based shooter we’ve come to know and in love was still intact.
For those who haven’t played Splatoon, the games are arena based shooters where the point is to cover as much of the map with your team’s paint. The team that manages to paint most of the map, wins. It’s a unique, surprisingly non-violent take on the shooter that’s a joy to play.
I’m all for Nintendo trying new things, and I’m curious to see more about what this new direction holds for the Splatoon series. Splatoon 3 is set for release in 2022.
Those were just some of the highlights from the nearly hour-long Direct. Other announcements included a remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword coming to Switch this summer, a curious looking RPG from the team behind Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler, and the free-to-play arena shooter Star Wars: Hunters.
So while there doesn’t appear to be any big new entries coming to their core franchises, there is still plenty of fun on the horizon for Nintendo fans.