No one can accuse Nintendo of not keeping multiple carrots at the end of a stick leading its fans to the Nintendo 3DS. The handheld console that was in such dire straits just eighteen short months ago, hosts an ever-growing library of solid games. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata swore in July 2011 that his company would turn around the fate of the Nintendo 3DS by releasing a steady stream of new games, and it’s held true to that promise. The latest volley of Nintendo 3DS games were announced on Thursday morning in a new Nintendo Direct presentation. In addition to new entries in classic series like the Mario & Luigi RPGs, Nintendo made one unexpected announcement: A port of a Wii game.
First, the new games: Not content to let New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and the myriad other Mario-branded games already available for 3DS sit and sell for awhile, Nintendo announced two more games starring the unusually energetic plumber. Joining Mario Tennis Open, developer Camelot is returning to its other go-to Mario sport in Mario Golf World Tour. The usual suspects—Bowser, Luigi, etc.—showed up on the links in the trailer shown, sporting the familiar Giant World theme from Super Mario Bros. 3. Unfortunately it wasn’t specified if Camelot would bring back the role-playing campaign mode from its old Mario Golf titles. Mario Tennis Open proved an entertaining but hollow effort without Camelot’s quirky campaigns.
Coming later in the year is Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the first entry in the Mario RPG series made since 2009’s Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Rather than return to the innards of the series’ villain, the game will have Mario adventuring through his brother Luigi’s dreams. This is also the first time that a single Nintendo platform will have both a Paper Mario role-playing game and a Mario & Luigi role-playing game. Given that Paper Mario: Sticker Star moved away from storytelling, it will be interesting to see if Dream Team sticks to the series’ penchant for placing equal emphasis on action and comedic stories.
The biggest surprise of the event, however, was the announcement of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, a 3D remake of Retro’s 2010 Wii platformer. Iwata said that the remake is being done from the ground up to take advantage of the glasses free 3D. Nintendo has already ported multiple NES and Nintendo 64 games to the Nintendo 3DS and upgraded them with 3D graphics, but Donkey Kong is the first Wii game to make the jump. If the process proves both cheap and profitable, Nintendo may be encouraged to bring out more Gamecube and Wii games to platform. (Gamecube and Wii share almost identical architecture.)
Finally, Nintendo announced that Animal Crossing: New Leaf will come to the US in June. The summer is looking jam packed for the Nintendo 3DS.