Nintendo is a juggernaut. They may not make consoles that compete with the high processing power devices from Sony and Microsoft, but the quality of their games more than make up for it. Titles like Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Zelda, and more have been keeping them going for years. Since the beginning, they’ve always had something to keep them strong even against the stiff competition.
Lately, and especially today, that hasn’t quite the case. Everyone knows that the Wii U didn’t do as well as it should have. It’s not that it was a bad console by any means, it was just marketed so poorly, and by the time it made any sense to pick one up, the Xbox One and Playstation 4 were already well on their way to climbing to the top, and they still reign there today. Even when Nintendo was pumping out great games for the Wii U, there was still a lack of sales because of the marketing and the stigma that the console had. Yoshi’s Woolly World, Mario Kart 8, and Pikmin 3 are some of the best titles to come from the Big N, but sadly a lot of people won’t play them like they should.
These days, the case is even worse. With the NX coming early next year, Nintendo is almost dropping all of their time and effort from the Wii U to focus on their new system. Nintendo hasn’t launched a truly great game in what feels like ages. Even their most recent direct focus has been entirely on 3DS.
With their future a little hazy at the moment, here are eight things to love and eight things to avoid from the Big N in 2016/2017, starting with things to love.
8. Mario Maker 3DS
Super Mario Maker is one of the best games to ever come to the Wii U. Capturing everything that goes into making Mario great, this is a game that will last for many years to come. If Nintendo doesn’t take this game and put it on the NX, that will be a horribly missed opportunity. Nonetheless, because of the nature of the Wii U’s user base, it only makes sense that Nintendo would release Mario Maker on 3DS. New features in the game make it different enough from its Wii U counterpart, such as Streetpass functionality and doing “collab” levels where you work with your friend on the same course. Most of the Wii U courses will also be available for this game, but the only downside is that sharing your levels online will not be possible. Nonetheless, this is a great way to have a bigger audience be able to experience this excellent game on the go. People that already have the Wii U game may not have any reason to pick this up, but those that have never played it before will more than likely have plenty of motive.
7. New Amiibo
Amiibo lately haven’t been nearly as popular as they were at launch. Perhaps that’s due to the most Amiibo being released just down to Animal Crossing, Amiibo that didn’t do nearly as well as the Smash Bros line. In Nintendo’s recent direct, however, they announced a few new Amiibo that seem worth the time. The first is the Yarn Poochy Amiibo. The Yarn Yoshi Amiibo is already one of the best Amiibo ever created. While it may not have the greatest functionality, it looks amazing. The same will probably be true of the Yarn Poochy Amiibo, as we have no confirmation of what its functionality will be. The second set of Amiibo Nintendo announced are in commemoration of Zelda’s 30th anniversary. The Amiibo are 8-bit Link, Ocarina of Time Link, Toon Link, and Toon Zelda. They will function as normal Link and Zelda Ammibo respectively, but they will apparently have specific features in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If the Wolf Link Amiibo feature is anything to go by, we could be in for some interesting Amiibo support.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Zelda games are some of the most well-made games of all time, and the same continues to be true for their upcoming installment: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Boasting a completely open-world (in a realm much similar to games like Skyrim), this is the fantasy game that people need to get. What’s most interesting about the game is arguably the story progression. Essentially, you could complete the game right after the opening sequence, or you can choose the long and less-traveled to see everything that version of Hyrule has to offer. It seems to be a celebration of everything that made Zelda great on the NES. I hate to say it, but this is probably the last great Wii U title that we’ll see. It may not even be worth it on that console either, as the game is scheduled to be released on the NX as well. Breath of the Wild is either potentially the greatest Wii U title that will come out, or the final nail in the coffin for a console that didn’t perform like everyone wanted.
5. Pokemon Sun And Moon
I’ll be honest, even as a Pokemon fan, I wasn’t excited about the initial announcement of Pokemon Sun and Moon. After playing X and Y, I was impressed, but didn’t come back to it very much because there wasn’t a lot of replay value. Because of this, I skipped out on Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (which I regret to this day), and was skeptical about Sun and Moon. However, each bit of new information has gotten me more stoked for this release. Game Freak is pumping out new Pokemon at a much faster rate than they’ve done before, and the designs don’t look lazy like in Generation V. On top of that, the Alola forms of new Pokemon is the most interesting thing they’ve done in years. Having Pokemon adapt to different climates seems like a no-brainer, and makes me wonder why they haven’t done it before. To add to that, an updated graphic style give Sun and Moon a feel like none other. Not to mention that traditional gym leaders are being done away with. Because of the unique aspects of this game, there is still so much we don’t know, and I’m excited to find out.
4. Dragon Quest VIII
If there’s a company that knows how to make a good RPG game, it’s Square Enix. From their famed Final Fantasy series, to many other critically acclaimed titles, there seems to be no end in sight for them. Further proof of this is Dragon Quest VIII. A game released on PS2 a long time ago, Square and Nintendo have reached an agreement and are now porting that game to Nintendo 3DS. Why is this exciting, you may ask? First off, Dragon Quest VIII is the fastest selling PlayStation 2 game of all time. Not only that, but it is also one of the highest rated PlayStation 2 games ever as well. Holding near unanimous praise, this is a title that fans of the series and the RPG genre love. Now its legacy will be further immortalized through this 3DS port. The biggest difference now is that Square has not only amped up the graphics but reworked them to look more modern than in the past. Other enhancements will also be in place, the full extent of which has not yet been revealed. Dragon Quest holds a special place in gamers’ hearts and it’s a pure joy that another generation will be able to experience it.
3. Ever Oasis
It seems odd that Square and Nintendo should have such a good partnership these days, after that whole Final Fantasy VII being released on the PlayStation instead of the Nintendo 64 fiasco. Personally, I’m glad they’ve worked things out so that now we have Cloud in Super Smash Bros., a slew of RPG titles on Nintendo platform, and plenty more to look forward to. Ever Oasis is another result of that beautiful partnership. It is an RPG game that takes place in a desert. In said desert, you will build a town by the oasis. As you progress your little home, more NPCs will visit, offering you various options on quests on treasures to find. Along the way, you will gain various allies with specific abilities to aid in your dungeon crawling experience. Headed and designed by people who worked on the Final Fantasy series, it seems that this new RPG coming next year will be in good hands. It will most likely be lost in the vain of bigger titles and announcements such as the NX, but hopefully, Square’s work won’t go to waste this time around.
2. Yo Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Spirits/Bony Souls
Yo Kai Watch is one of the most popular franchises in Japan, possibly even more so than Pokemon. It’s not hard to see why either, as both games have very similar builds that fans of both can enjoy very well: catching creatures that you then grow and evolve in combat. Despite this, Yo Kai is by no means some cheap copy of Pokemon- it is a fully fleshed out RPG experience. Critically acclaimed by many, Yo Kai is a franchise that is here to stay. Fast forward less than a year later and Nintendo has announced the sequel, Yo Kai Watch 2. In a move very similar to how Fire Emblem Fates was handled, Yo Kai Watch 2 has two different games to choose from: Fleshy Spirits and Bony Souls. In the game, there are two different factions to align yourself with- naturally each game will have you explore a different path and faction. In the sequel, it takes place in the past as you begin to discover the true origin of Yo Kai Watch. The greatest thing about new franchises like this is how players get to explore a new world and story, and Yo Kai Watch is only going to expand upon it.
1. The NX
Lately Nintendo’s console user base has been getting by with games already released a while ago. The only Wii U game left to look forward to is Breath of the Wild. This is because Nintendo is reportedly focusing all of their efforts on the NX. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Wii U is an excellent console, but it’s not doing Nintendo any favors. That being said, a new console on the near horizon (March of next year) gets me excited for what’s in store. There isn’t much we know about the NX, as Nintendo hasn’t officially unveiled anything, but the rumors have been a dime a dozen, and it looks to be interesting. Hopefully Nintendo can sell it enough this time around that it will have a long life like the Wii did. Either way, a new Nintendo console is something to get hyped for, because who knows what unique features are going to come with it? We’ll just have to see when it comes out, but I’d say there isn’t a lot to be concerned about.
8. Disney Magical World 2
For those of you that aren’t aware, Disney Magical World was an “under-the-radar” game that came out about two years ago. None of the major game critics paid a whole lot of attention to it, and as such it’s not exactly well known. The game takes much inspiration from Animal Crossing, as it puts your Mii in a world with Mickey and all his pals. That being said, it isn’t Animal Crossing. Disney Magical World had a lot of potential, but played it safe the entire time, relegating you to fetch quests and a barebones customization option. When Disney Magical World 2 was announced for October this year, it seemed more of the same. The good I will say is that it seems as if Disney is beginning to realize the potential this game series has. Regardless, this isn’t a game that seems to be on anyone’s buy list at the moment, and will be probably be forgotten in favor of other upcoming 3DS games like Pokemon. Besides, Nintendo is still updating Animal Crossing, which is hands-down a more quality experience. Does Disney Magical World 2 look like a bad game? No, but it doesn’t look like it will be excellent either.
7. Mario Party Star Rush
When I was a kid, Mario Party was THE game to play. The first one I played was four, then up through seven. When I got to eight however, I noticed that Nintendo was beginning to change the formula a bit, and it made me uneasy. Then nine came out with that car, everyone bashed it, but I decided to give it a chance. Admittedly, I regretted giving it that chance. Mario Party has never been the same since that stupid car. The handheld Mario Party games have been better, but still not great. What makes me lukewarm about Mario Party Star Rush is not how it plays though. Instead, I just can’t get behind purchasing a Mario Party game for a handheld system. Mario Party was designed to be played on a TV with a group of friends with all of our relationships hanging in the balance. Playing it on a 3DS just doesn’t have the same feel. Who knows, maybe Mario Party Star Rush could be spectacular; or it could end up another forgotten Mario Party game while we wait for the series to go back to its roots.
6. Poochy And Yoshi’s Woolly World
Before you guys start to burn me alive, just hear me out for a second. I loved Yoshi’s Woolly World, played the game all the way through with a friend, and even have a Yarn Yoshi Amiibo. It’s precisely that reason why Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World is on this list. I’m all for Nintendo porting their Wii U games to 3DS, but it seems like they’re just trying to get their titles to sell more. The Wii U games are good, but not a lot of people own a Wii U, and that’s where the problems come in. Woolly World 3DS looks like a quality port with new levels focusing around the titular Poochy himself, but I as an owner of Woolly World have no reason to purchase this title. Granted, that Poochy Amiibo is freaking adorable and I’ll probably pick one up myself, but I’ll skip the game. If you never experienced Woolly World and own a 3DS, I’d encourage you to get this, but if not, there’s no point. Not to mention, it’s a telltale sign that Nintendo is getting ready to move to a next gen system.
5. Paper Mario: Color Splash
When Paper Mario was brought to 3DS, there was a lot of initial hype. Unfortunately when Paper Mario Sticker Star was finally released, there were some mixed feelings throughout. Admittedly, the title didn’t perform as well as Nintendo hoped, so they went back to the drawing board. Apparently, they didn’t do too much drawing, as they unveiled Paper Mario: Color Splash for the Wii U. It seems to take a much similar formula to Sticker Star (albeit a lot more beautiful looking now that it’s HD). This game will serve as the holiday release for Nintendo this year, and I must say that’s incredibly disappointing to me. There aren’t a lot of people who care about Paper Mario as it is, let alone the relatively small amount of people who own a Wii U. I guarantee Color Splash won’t be helping Nintendo very much, and from a marketing standpoint, it makes no sense why they’d go forward with this project. It doesn’t look like a truly awful experience by any means, but it’s not exactly going to get people lining up on release day. But hey, at least it has real-looking lemons.
4. Pikmin 3DS
On paper, a Pikmin game for the 3DS sounds really intriguing. In practice, there’s a different story to be told though. The nature of a Pikmin game is to control about 100 little critters across a vast world, collecting supplies to keep you alive while creating more Pikmin. A game that can hold 100 Pikmin at a time wouldn’t work on a 3DS for two reasons. First, the 3DS screens aren’t big enough. You could make the case for an XL, but not everyone has one of those. Second, the 3DS wouldn’t be able to process that many characters on screen at a time. What’s the solution to this problem? Make the game a 2D side-scroller of course. That’s exactly what Nintendo is doing with Pikmin 3DS, and I have to say, I’m not impressed. From the footage I saw, it looks like the outline of a Pikmin game: all of the settings and main parts are there, except for the true gameplay that makes Pikmin so different from the other games Nintendo makes. Making Pikmin a side scroller lumps the game with the likes of Kirby, Mario, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong just to name a few. There’s nothing unique about it, and that bums me out.
3. Mario Sports: Superstars
We’ve had quite a few Mario Sports titles over the last few years. We had Mario Tennis: Open, an okay tennis game for the 3DS. We had Mario Golf: World Tour, a better game that few people cared about. We had Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, a boring game that nobody cared about. Do you see the pattern I’m going for here? Mario Sports: Superstars is a conglomerate of Mario Tennis, Mario Baseball, Mario Golf, and Mario Strikes, with the addition of horse racing. Unfortunately, it’s another one of those games that nobody is going to care about. Is anybody asking for a new Mario Sports title these days? That’s the big problem with a lot of the upcoming Nintendo games. Everything they’re making isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not what their users wants. This leads to us Nintendo fans choosing to pick up a PS4 or Xbox One just to get a little more excitement with our games. Nintendo better be firing all cylinders on their NX, because we’re getting nothing but sequels to games released on the same console, ports of games released on Wii U, or indie titles that have either been on another console, or we don’t care about.
2. Any Rumors Of Mother 3 Coming to The West
Earthbound has been one of the more peculiar series to come out of Nintendo, but that hasn’t stopped it from being one of the most loved. It’s not very often where Nintendo tries their hand at creating a new RPG-based IP. Earthbound worked though, garnering support for two sequels. Mother 3, the final installment, was released in Japan in 2006, but only in Japan. Many Western fans of the RPG have been begging for the game to come out in North America for about 10 years now, and we’ve never gotten it. There have been a lot of rumors that it would get a virtual console release on Wii U, but no such release has ever been realized. Now that the NX is on the way, you might as well give up all hope of Mother 3 ever coming to the West, and if you want to play it, you’ll have to rely on fan translations or brush up on your Japanese. Perhaps it will come to NX, but that just seems like wishful thinking. Mother 3 is probably hiding out with Half Life 3.
1. The Wii U
As much as it pains to me to say this, as I love and enjoy my Wii U, buying one of these is one of the most pointless things you could do right now. The Wii U is pretty much dead. You could make the argument that it still has Breath of the Wild, but then I would argue that the game is coming for NX too, where it will run and look better than on Wii U! The only reason you could ever possibly want a Wii U is if the NX doesn’t have backwards compatibility and you still want to experience games like Smash 4 and Splatoon. If you do not fall into that category, don’t get one. On top of that, the fact that many people still haven’t played these games is astonishing to me, because they’re all excellent titles. Nintendo has even admitted they didn’t market the Wii U well and because it didn’t sell like it should’ve, they’ve all but abandoned it. Now we Wii U owners are suffering from a drought until we hear anything about their next console, and we’re chomping at the bit to know if Nintendo will learn from their mistakes. My guess is that they will, but come March, we’ll know for sure.