Nintendo held one of its periodic Nintendo Direct investor meetings early on Wednesday announcing a handful of new first-party titles for the Nintendo 3DS. The event didn’t exactly prime the 3DS engine ahead of the pre-Wii U release hype explosion, but Nintendo’s new games are worth noting. One’s a spiritual successor to one of the DS’ weirdest Japanese hits while the other is a new non-Pokémon game from Game Freak.
Know this: Friend Collection will never, ever make it out in the United States. Described by the company as a “Life Simulation,” the Nintendo 3DS preview of Friend Collection showed president Satoru Iwata’s Mii avatar singing and dancing in front of a giant Game Boy as well as riding on a giant roller coaster. The game’s a bit like a surreal version of The Sims built from the ground up for Japanese citizens. It won’t make it out in the US because frankly Nintendo would just have to make it a new game.
Why is Friend Collection notable? In terms of Nintendo’s fiscal success, it’ll keep 3DS sales swift in Japan. The console recently hit 7 million in sales in Japan, an impressive number for a system that’s only been on shelves for 18 months. Friend Collection will help as it’s the sequel to one of the original DS’ most popular titles, at least in Japan. The original Tomodachi Collection (literally “Friend Collection”) sold 3.2 million copies in Japan in its first year on shelves.
The other new Nintendo 3DS game announced at Nintendo Direct should get platformer fans psyched. Rhythm Hunter: Harmo Knight is a sidescrolling platformer but rather than stomping terrapins Mario-style, you collect notes and bust down barriers in your path in time to music. It’s got a smooth look and since it’s rhythm-based you never really stop moving. Think of it as a cross between Bit.Trip Runner and Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy.
Rhythm Hunter’s no quirky one-off though. It’s the latest entry in a rich platforming tradition from Game Freak. While the studio mostly just plugs away at making Pokémon games, once a decade it makes a killer platformer. Back in 1994, shortly after opening Game Freak made Pulseman for Sega Genesis, a stylish cross between Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. Then in 2004 it made Drill Dozer for Game Boy Advance, a mad action comedy about a band of thieves piloting drill-equipped mechs. Both are genius. Here’s hoping Rhythm Hunter lives up to the pedigree.