The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016? (1)

E3 has come and gone and all the big players have made some exciting new announcements about their upcoming and future games. Unlike, for instance, Sony, Nintendo decided to focus on games they will be releasing in the coming year instead of in the coming years. For some (including myself) their digital E3 event was a bit underwhelming. Mostly because we already knew about most of their games that will release before the Spring of 2016. Especially when looking at WiiU.

In this series of articles I will look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.


First off let’s take a look at Nintendo’s main internal development studios in Japan: the Nintendo EAD studios! There are 7 EAD studios, 5 of them are located in Kyoto, 2 of them in Tokyo. We will take a closer look at all 7 of these studios in the coming paragraphs.


EAD 1

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 1 Mario Kart 8 May 2014 Mario Kart series

Nintendogs series

(?) New Nintendogs

Mario Kart 8

What are they working on?

EAD 1 has been working on updating the Mario Kart 8 experience after the original game was released in May 2014. The latest DLC pack was released not so long ago, about a year after the release of the original game. No further DLC packs have been announced.

Since I can’t imagine the whole Mario Kart team having worked on the DLC packs for a year, production of the next Mario Kart must be at least a year underway by now. The new Mario Kart will release on NX, as Nintendo is in the habit of releasing 1 Mario Kart per system.

EAD 1’s second team, led by producer Hideki Konno (who is also the producer for Mario Kart) and director Yasuyuki Oyagi, is most likely working on the next Nintendogs, which will probably be released together with Nintendo’s next handheld – whether that be the rumored “Fusion” project or not.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

EAD 1 is probably not actively producing a WiiU game. A small team may still be working on Mario Kart 8 updates, but since the game is more than a year old right now, chances are slim that we will see more big content updates (like 200cc). A small team may still be working on DLC in collaboration with studios in charge of other Nintendo IPs, but also here chances are slim. If more Mario Kart 8 DLC was incoming, E3 would have been the perfect time to announce it.


EAD 2

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 2 Splatoon May 2015 Wii Sports series

Nintendo Land

Animal Crossing series

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Splatoon 4

What are they working on?

EAD 2 has been working on two Animal Crossing spin offs that will be released in 2015: Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival. These games reuse assets from New Leaf (released in 2012) and Plaza (released in 2013).

Although both games are directed by Aya Kyogoku, it is most likely that only a small part of the Animal Crossing team is working on Happy Home Designer and a small part of the “party games team” (Nintendo Land, Wii Sports) is working on Amiibo Festival, meaning that the remaining members of both teams have most likely been working on the next major installments in the Animal Crossing and Wii Sports series since 2013.

While the next Animal Crossing will probably be a cross gen game (on WiiU and on NX), the new Wii Sports game will be a launch game for NX.

The third team working at EAD 2 just finished Splatoon and will continue supporting that game for a while, while most likely starting to work on the blueprints for Splatoon 2 for NX.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

We may still see a full-fledged Animal Crossing game after Spring 2016 on WiiU after the release of Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival in the Fall of 2015. The other two teams will not be making new games for WiiU. The team behind Wii Sports and Nintendo Land is most likely making a release game for NX (one that shows of the new system’s capabilities) and the Splatoon team will have started working on Splatoon 2 for NX. A small part of the Splatoon team will create DLC for Splatoon until May 2016.


EAD 3

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 3 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds November 2013 The Legend of Zelda series The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

A Link between Worlds

What are they working on?

EAD 3 has been working on The Legend of Zelda for WiiU since 2013. No release date has been announced, but it will most likely release in 2016 for WiiU (and some say for NX as well).

A small team is working on Tri Force Heroes for the Nintendo 3DS, which reuses a lot of assets from A Link Between Worlds, and which is set to release later in 2015.

While it is possible that another spin-off is in the works, it is most likely that most of EAD 3’s work force is working on the next big Zelda game and that no other projects are in the works.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

The next big Legend of Zelda game will be on WiiU. Whether it will be exclusively on WiiU or whether it will be a cross-gen game like Twilight Princess was, remains to be seen. No other games (unless a possible Zelda spin-off) will be produced for WiiU by EAD 3.


EAD 4

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 4 Pikmin 3 July 2013 Pikmin series

New Super Mario Bros series

Super Mario Maker

Pikmin 3

What are they working on?

EAD 4’s New Super Mario Bros team has been working on Super Mario Maker since 2013 at the latest. The game will release in September for WiiU. While it is unlikely that the New Super Mario Bros team was working on anything but Super Mario Maker during its development, work on a New Super Mario Bros game for NX may have started by now.

A smaller team may have started working on another Maker game or DLC for Super Mario Maker. Looking at internal assets, most likely candidate would be Yoshi’s Island Maker, which may or may not be (standalone) DLC for Super Mario Maker on WiiU.

The Pikmin team has probably started working on the next Pikmin, which will most likely not release on WiiU, but on NX.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Super Mario Maker will release in September for WiiU. Depending on its success DLC may still be created for the WiiU game, most likely incorporating Yoshi. No new game from EAD 4 will be coming to WiiU after that.


EAD 5

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Kyoto EAD 5 Steel Diver Sub Wars February 2014 Steel Diver series

Wii Fit series

Star Fox Zero

Steel Diver Sub Wars

What are they working on?

EAD 5 is currently working on Star Fox Zero, Project Guard and Project Giant Robot, which are all projects helmed by Shigeru Miyamoto and are supposed to be released by the end of 2015.

EAD 5 has a history of co-developing games with other developers/developing groups. This isn’t different for Star Fox Zero, as it has been announced during E3 that Platinum games (of Bayonetta fame) is co-developing the title.

EAD 5 has become Miyamoto’s playground in the last few years (he also created the original Steel Diver which is being handled by the studio) and is more of an experimental development group.

On the other hand, EAD 5 also works on the Wii Fit Series, and most likely it has begun working on Wii Fit for NX as well. Will the next Wii Fit be related to Nintendo’s upcoming Quality of Life project? Only time can tell.

What does this mean for WiiU?

With three games still slated for release on WiiU by the end of 2015, chances are slim we will see any of EAD 5’s work on WiiU after those games are released.


TOKYO EAD 1

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Tokyo EAD 1 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D February 2015 Super Mario Galaxy

The Legend of Zelda remakes

Nintendo (3)DS guide

(?) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess remake

 Majora 3D

What are they working on?

Tokyo EAD 1 once developed Super Mario Galaxy, but that was in 2007. Afterwards they haven’t produced a single big title anymore, which means that they have been working on the next big Mario since 2007 or that they have been demoted.

Since Miyamoto has been working more closely with EAD 5 in Kyoto ever since the release of Super Mario Galaxy, and Tokyo EAD 2 has developed Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World in the meanwhile, the latter seems more likely.

Tokyo EAD 1 has mostly been working together with external developer Grezzo to remake several The Legend of Zelda games for Nintendo 3DS (Occarina of Time 3D, Four Swords Anniversary Edition and Majora’s Mask 3D).

They have also created several guides for Nintendo DS and 3DS (including the Louvre Guide).

Most likely they just started working together with Grezzo on another The Legend of Zelda remake, and the most likely contenders in that respect are: Twilight Princess HD (for WiiU) and Four Swords Adventures Anniversary (for New 3DS and WiiU). While the latter may seem the most feasible for the studio, fans have really been dreaming of a Twilight Princess remake ever since the tech demo shown at E3 2012. With some help of Kyoto EAD 3, it is not unlikely that Tokyo EAD1 is working on making this dream a reality together with Grezzo.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Although Tokyo EAD 1 has not made a single WiiU game (apart from the app: WiiU Panorama view), it is not impossible that they are working on a Twilight Princess HD remake together with Kyoto EAD 3 and Grezzo exclusively for WiiU. The exclusivity of this game may help soften the blow for the fact that the next big Zelda will not come exclusively to WiiU, but will be a cross-gen game. A September 2016 release seems to be possible.

The other possibility is that they are working on Four Swords Adventures Anniversary for News 3DS (and maybe) WiiU.

There’s a chance we may see some of Tokyo EAD 1’s work on WiiU, but this may be more wishful thinking than anything else.


TOKYO EAD 2

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Tokyo EAD 2 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker January 2015 Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario 3D series

NES Remix

(?) SNES Remix

Captain Toad

What are they working on?

Tokyo EAD 2 has been in charge of Mario’s 3D outings ever since Super Mario Galaxy 2. They have made some smaller side games, like Captain Toad: Treasure tracker and the NES Remix games, but their main focus is on 3D Mario.

Their next big game will most likely be the next big 3D Mario and the release of that game will most likely coincide with the launch of NX.

It may be Super Mario Galaxy 3, but it may be something entirely new as well. Time will tell. There’s a chance that before the next big Mario we will see something smaller from them, like SNES Remix or something similar though.

What does this mean for WiiU?

We may see a smaller project from Tokyo EAD 2 still come to fruition on WiiU (like SNES Remix), but their next big 3D Mario game will most likely be skipping WiiU for NX. Although, it isn’t impossible that we may still see Super Mario 3D World 2 or Super Mario Sunshine HD before that happens on WiiU, we should not get our hopes up too much. Just like with Tokyo EAD 1 this may mostly be wishful thinking.


All in all, it doesn’t seem likely that we will be seeing many more WiiU games from the EAD studios after Spring 2016. The Legend of Zelda will still apear on WiiU, and maybe Animal Crossing will as well, but apart from those two big games, the EAD studios will have shifted their focus to the next generation of Nintendo consoles. We may still get an HD remake or two and a smaller game or two as well, but that’s about it.

But… Do not fear yet, Nintendo fans, because next time we will be taking a look at what Nintendo’s SPD studios are most likely working on. So, as Marie and Callie would say: until then, stay fresh!

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The Late Game: Watch_Dogs (WiiU)

When I am not able to review a game within the first two months after release, but still want to review the game, its review ends up in The Late Game. Games that get reviewed in The Late Game may be three months old, three years old or thirty years old. Of course I won’t be able to tell you how people experienced the game when it was initially released… well… I could… But so does Google. What I am trying to achieve with The Late Game is tell you whether you should still play that three month old or thirty year old game today.


PS_WiiU_Watchdogs_PEGI18 Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Original Release: May 27th 2014 (PS4/PS3/XONE/X360/PC)

Release on Platform: November 21st 2014 (WiiU)

Personal Play Time: 22 hours; March 2015

Bought @ Amazon.co.uk for £23,04 on January 19th 2015  

I could hardly imagine a better [sic.] game to start The Late Game with than Watch_Dogs on the Nintendo WiiU. Not only was I playing the game almost half a year after it was released on the platform, it also took the game about half a year to make the jump from almost every imaginable system out there to the WiiU. And before you start thinking that this review will be all about halves, you’re only half right about that. No, I’m not scoring it a 5 out of 10. Nor did I play the game half through. Yes, the game is only half as good as Ubisoft’s marketeers had made us want to believe. But that’s mostly because they promised us the world, and we only got Chicago.

By M.C.J.F.

Your not so neighborhood friendly Aiden Pearce

Watch_Dogs is not a bad game. Not even on WiiU. There I said it. It does come with its fair share of problems, but let’s keep those for later and start with a quick word about the game’s story. Aaah, not so much later then…

You play as Aiden Pearce, the masked vigilante who is not as neighborhood friendly, nor as radioactive as some of the other masked vigilantes out there… Although using your cellphone as much as he does, cannot be healthy either.

WiiU_WatchDogs_02_mediaplayer_large

Aiden is not a very likeable character. Not just because he hacks random people’s bank accounts, or steals other people’s cars… who may or may not have just lost a family member to cancer (no joke!) – which you get to know by profiling them with your cellphone -, or because he has no sense of humor whatsoever. But because the main reason why he does what he does, why he kills who he kills, is because he wants to punish the people who he holds responsible for the death of his niece.

Read that last sentence again. Yes, who he holds responsible. Because no matter how you look at it, the main reason she died was because of Aiden himself, though it takes him a bloody long time (the entire campaign to be exact) to figure that out. No, that was not a spoiler. Not really. You will come to the same conclusion yourself during the first hour or so of the game.

Aiden’s lust for vengeance is what drives the story. Gangsters who get in the way have to die. Police officers who get in the way have to die. Even journalists who want to reveal his identity… have to die… Only once will you get to choose whether a person needs to die or gets to live, and that’s after the credits role…

But what about political intrigue, sabotage, double crossings? Oh, they’re all there, but their main purpose is to flesh out the story a bit. You never get the feeling that something out of the ordinary is happening. What do you mean politicians are corrupt? What?! They’re going after Aiden’s family? Noooo… Those thing… are just… impossible!

Competing hackers are introduced as quickly as they are killed off again, just to provide some filler (here’s looking at you Act IV!). And when something does happen to a person for whom we should feel something, I felt nothing. Why? Because Aiden just says he’s sorry about what happened without as much as a twitch on his face. Also, the fact that said person had not been around for a while in the main campaign didn’t help either.

It’s a shame really, because apart from Aiden, most characters are pretty interesting, with occasional partner in crime (and take crime as literally as you can) Jordi Chin being the king pin of the cast. Not that we get to know a lot about him, but the way he talks, the way he walks, it just make the ladies (and myself…uhum…) beg for more. Now, I know this is a very fan boyish thing to say, but when they release Watch_Dogs 2 or Origins, or whatever they’re going to call it (you know it will happen sooner rather than later) I would want Jordi to be the main character instead of stick-up my a** Aiden.

Aiden’s the name, hacking’s the game… rhyming’s lame

By now I probably should have mentioned what kind of game Watch_Dogs is… It’s a sandbox game. You can steal any car, bike or boat that you want in order to move more swiftly across the city (in this case Chicago). You have a plethora of weapons at your disposal to shoot innocent or not so innocent people. You can enter a few different shops and buy weapons, gadgets and clothes. And if you’re a bad boy the cops will come and chase you. Yup, sounds and plays very much like any other game in the genre. What mainly distinguishes Watch_Dogs from genre master Grand Theft Auto, is the lack of humor. Well that and the fact that you get to hack almost every electronic device in the city.

The entire city of Chicago is controlled by a Central Operating System, i.e. ctOS. The system is also the city’s biggest weakness, since hackers seem to be able to infiltrate it quite easily. With a simple touch on his cellphone’s touchscreen Aiden is able to control traffic lights, get money from ATM’s, hack people’s cellphones, open bridges, block roads, scramble communication devices, hack camera’s, remotely detonate explosives or even blackout the entire city. WiiU_WatchDogs_01_mediaplayer_large This hacking system is what makes Watch_Dogs an enjoyable experience. Doing what you’ve done in several other games before Watch_Dogs becomes far more interesting when you get to control your surroundings as well. Cops chasing you? Just open up a bridge seconds before you cross it. Follow up by using a blackout device to make sure they can’t trace you again. Want to take out an entire gang of criminals stealthily? Hack into their HQ’s camera’s, locate every single one of them, kill any of them by luring them to nearby devices that can explode, finish off the rest with your arsenal of guns and explosives.

Using every hacking trick at your disposal is great fun. It’s a bit of a shame that you do not have all of these hacking options from the get go, but have to gradually unlock them. Of course, it’s completely understandable that you become more powerful by levelling up. Heck, that’s one of the main mechanics behind almost every game coming out today. But most games also manage to find a decent balance between unlocking more and more abilities and increasing difficulty incrementally. While this is true for Watch_Dogs campaign missions, I found that police chases in open world Chicago were more of a hassle in the beginning of the game, than they should have been.

There are no bulls in Chicago

Chicago itself is portrayed quite nicely. Parking your car in Pawnee and gazing at the city skyline while listening to Rage Against was a great experience for me, but cruising through the Windy City itself felt lackluster sometimes. Not just because the driving controls need some getting used to on the WiiU gamepad, but also because I didn’t see a single person wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey. Come on! Okay maybe that’s nit-picking, or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention when someone in a number 23 or 33 jersey did cross my path.

What the developers did include, are no less than one hundred Chicago city hotspots which you can check into and learn about. Great stuff if you’re willing to take your time to locate all of them…

… Which I wasn’t willing to do.

WiiU_WatchDogs_03_mediaplayer_large

Unlike with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for WiiU (i.e. that other big open world action game by Ubisoft) I didn’t feel the urge to complete all of the side missions nor trace all of the collectables in Watch_Dogs. It is hard to explain why, but after the 20 hours of gameplay the main campaign had to offer, I just had enough. The progression bar in the game tells me I haven’t even finished 40% of the game, but I’m okay with that. I did try a few of the side missions, but they just couldn’t convince me to keep playing. They’re not bad, mind you. So, maybe it has more to do with me thinking that saving citizens or stopping crime wasn’t something Aiden would do if it wasn’t for me helming the controller. Or maybe it was because I wasn’t as invested in Aiden as a character as I was in Edward Kenway (i.e. the main character of Assassins Creed IV). Maybe it was because I had just recently invested too much time in other open world games. Maybe it was because I sporadically had to do a hard reset of my WiiU system because Watch_Dogs sometimes locked up my console. It’s probably a combination of all of those reasons.

What distinguishes the WiiU version from the other versions?

Apart from its platform specific set of bugs, glitches, freezes and frame rate issues, Watch_Dogs supports Off-TV Play on the gamepad, which is always a plus. I didn’t really use the option though, because of my personal preference of playing HD games on my HD television, instead of on a sub-HD screen – I do think using Off-TV play is great for smaller games like the latest Mario vs. Donkey Kong or virtual console games from the NES, SNES, GBA or other era.

When not in Off-TV Play mode, the gamepad displays an interactive map of Chicago. Normally I’m a big fan of not having to go through any menus and being able to directly look at the map on the gamepad, but that wasn’t the case for Watch_Dogs. It’s heavy focus on action, made me want to pause the game at times to mark my way on the map. This was less of an issue for me in games like Assassin’s Creed or the Batman Arkham series, which are action games as well, but aren’t as frantic as Watch_Dogs is.

2735216-watch_dogs_helicopter_gamepad_1416328391

All in all the gamepad specific features feel like a bit of a missed chance. Just like the main character in the game, you always have a touchscreen device in your hand while playing. Something tells me that could have led to a more immersive experience.

Whom should play this game?

If you like action games, but don’t own a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or gaming PC, you should definitely check it out on WiiU. It is not the best game in the genre, nor is it technically the best port, but apart from the child friendly Lego City Undercover, there’s simply no other option available on the system.

The game mechanics are really fun when you have all options unlocked, and the story (while not great) will give you reason enough to get through some of the more repetitive missions. Even if it’s only to see Jordi’s smirk once more.

Watch_Dogs as a series has great potential. Potential which doesn’t always translate into good gameplay in this first game, but which does bode well for the eventual sequel. Just… don’t get your hopes up of ever playing that sequel on your WiiU.

7 out of 10

Game Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars

Mario vs Donkey Kong - Tipping Stars Box Art Eu WiiUDeveloped by: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release: March 20th 2015

MSRP: €19.99

Bought @ Media Markt Wilrijk for €16,99

Sometimes you buy a game on Saturday and finish it by Sunday… and that’s okay. This is what happened to me with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. I bought it Saturday afternoon, played a few levels, put it down, thought it was fun enough, picked it up again Sunday morning, couldn’t put it down anymore and finished the main world levels by midday, tried to create my own level afterwards, failed at it miserably, turned off my console and went out on a social call.

By M.C.J.F.


It’s a puzzle time, woohoo!

I have really enjoyed my time with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars so far. It’s a puzzle game. It’s not a hard game. Not by a longshot. But it’s short levels do (mostly) require you to think ahead and be quick on the draw while playing. Just like in previous Mario vs. Donkey Kong games (not counting the first one, which was a breed of its own, and much more like 1994’s Donkey Kong for the original Nintendo Game Boy) you have to safely guide mini-Mario toys, as well as mini-Toad, mini-Pauline and mini-Peach toys, from point A to point Door by influencing their surrounding environment with the stylus.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong Tipping Stars (1)

The challenge? Once one of your toy figurines starts moving (because you tapped on it with the stylus, or because it was touched by another toy) it never stops. At least, it doesn’t stop until it has reached its goal, is brutally ripped apart by a Shy Guy or blazing fire ball, or, just like a lemming, has plunged itself into whatever abyss you weren’t able to bridge in a timely fashion – purposely or unpurposely, depending on how psychotic you are.

The last level of each world spices things up a little. In these levels one of your mini-Mario toys becomes cursed by a monkey and starts moving on its own accord, looking to create havoc. When it touches one of your other mini-toys it’s Game Over. So you will want one of your mini-toys to whack it with a hammer before that happens, lifting the curse in the process – aaah, if only real life was as simple as that.

Monkey curse

 

It’s a MORE puzzle time, woohoo!

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars  is the kind of game of which you think beforehand that you’re going to play a few levels of when you have half an hour to kill and end up playing for several hours in a row, saying: ‘oooh just one more level… but now I’m at the final stage of this world… and now I want to know what the next world looks like… but that first new level was so easy.’

You and I will be able to play a few levels of it whenever we want to kill some time though, and that is because the game doesn’t really start before you finish it. Indeed, there are a lot more levels to enjoy than the initial 48 which comprise the story mode – which isn’t more than a gif before level 1-1 and a gif after level 6-8 to be honest. After you beat level 6-8, you unlock the first of two extra worlds, comprising another 8 levels each. There are also 24 bonus levels which you unlock by perfecting the main, extra and already unlocked bonus levels. And then there’s the option to create and share your own levels with the outside world.

Community

Now, before you say that you aren’t interested in user generated content, because… well… oftentimes it isn’t all that good (here’s looking at you Infamous 2!), know that you will not only find user generated content behind that scary “Community” button, but also  official Nintendo content shared by the director of the game. Yes, Nintendo has promised to release two new levels every week for the next 50 weeks. That’s a lot of extra content, and at the time of writing, three days after release, already six official extra levels were available.

 

It’s a… creating time, woohoo?!

Creating your own levels is a puzzle game in its own right. The creator mode is intuitive enough. You start with a level template and select different traps to bridge, what you would want to bridge them with e.g. springs and conveyor belts, enemies to whack or avoid, coins to collect (it is a Mario-game after all), mini-toys to safeguard (including mini-Luigi and mini-Donkey Kong toys not seen throughout the main campaign!) from a list and add them to the template with simple stylus taps and drags. Before you get to finish your level and share it with the outside world, it has to work though (here’s looking at you once more Infamous 2!), and that means you will have to be able to clear the level yourself, grabbing all the coins to get a perfect a score… which is trickier than you think.

At least for me it is.

Creator mode

I can’t see myself creating that many levels, let alone sharing them with the community, but those who do can get even more out of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. When people play and like your levels, they get a chance to tip you with stars (hence the name of the game). With these stars you can buy more tools and skins to make your levels even more intricate and interesting. You also get stars for playing and perfecting (community) levels, but when you aren’t really planning on creating your own levels, you only get to use these stars for tipping… which is less of an incentive than actually getting something in return (Miiverse stamps don’t really count, do they?). Though one could argue that you indirectly get fun new levels by tipping and encouraging the right people.

It’s a cross-buy, woohoo!

The game offers a lot of content, but only for those who are willing to spend more time with it after the credits role. Depending on what type of gamer you are then €19,99 might seem a somewhat high price of admission. You can get the game for €10 though, because when you buy a download-code for WiiU or 3DS (it’s on both systems) you also get a download-code for the other system. Because it’s an extra code, and not limited to use on the same account, you can easily share the game with a friend who owns the other system. I played on the WiiU and gave the 3DS-code to my wife.

Cross buy

Are there advantages for playing the game on one system or the other? The game is exactly the same on both systems; also meaning that the game doesn’t make use of the WiiU’s added raw power. The graphics are fine. The music as well. But it is clear that not too much attention was given to these aspects during development. The visuals and music very much resemble what was already achieved on the Nintendo DS in 2006.

For those who thought they would get to enjoy the series in HD on WiiU for the first time, think again. What you get on your television screen is a small square box surrounded by a frame filled with stars, clouds or whatever icon comes with the level theme. The larger levels might just fill up the screen, but that just creates another problem. Because you aren’t as zoomed in on the action as on the gamepad, it can sometimes become difficult to spot what your mini-toys are actually up to – even on a 50 inch television screen. Clearly, the game is meant to be played on the gamepad or the Nintendo 3DS. So while I had my television switched on during my first play session, I didn’t bother to turn it on during my second session.

Clouds

Whom should play this game?

Woohoo! No. No. No more woohoo’s! If you really can’t get enough of the woohoo’s, however (like me), this game is definitely for you. Also if you like puzzle games like Lemmings and previous Mario vs. Donkey Kong games, you should probably pick this one up as well. It might not be the best you’ve ever played, but it is really enjoyable none the less. When you’re a creative spirit who has always wanted to make his own Mario vs. Donkey game and share it with the world, now’s your chance… again. Though the level editor has been around in the series since 2006, the sharing options, tipping mechanic and Miiverse integration make for it being the best editor the series has offered to date.

7 out of 10

2015 Most Wanted (Pre-E3 Edition)

(5) Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (PSV/PS3): Tokyo Twilight What Now? I understand your confusion. This certainly isn’t the next Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, or Final Fantasy. Heck, I’m not even sure it can actually be called a videogame. It’s a visual novel by the guys who gave us Deadly Premonition, which… did not have great gameplay, but did have a more than decent story, great characters and took place in an amazing setting (interactive Twin Peaks anyone?). So it is completely understandable that these guys decided to make their next game gameplay-light. The title? It might be difficult to take any product that has Twilight even near its title serious in this day and age, but I can assure you: there are no glittery vampires involved in this one. Or… are there? *Evil laughter*

European release date: March 13th

(4) Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4): Will this game convince me to buy a Playstation 4? It just might. Some years ago I bought a Playstation 3 to be able to play Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (my bundle of choice), Final Fantasy XIII, and… Brütal Legend (don’t judge me!) Since we will probably have to wait for Final Fantasy XV until next year, and because chances for a new Brütal Legend are rather slim, Uncharted 4 will have to be stellar to convince me though. Presentation wise, it will be stellar. Gameplay wise, it will be s… similar to the previous ones. Story-wise… meh. Not quite convinced yet. In his newest adventure, Indiana Jo… I mean… Nathan Drake will team up with his long lost brother, whom he thought to be dead… They look for… Let’s just stop there for now. Anybody else think the brother might turn out to be the bad guy, only to turn good just before he dies?

European release date: late 2015

(3) Danganronpa: Another Episode (PSV): Whomever says the Playstation Vita is dead… does not like to play niche Japanese games. Danganronpa: Another Episode is the third game in the series, but while the previous two games were visual novels, this one is a third person shooter. Meaning that this time around your only means of escaping will not be killing one of your classmates and surviving the class trial. This time you get to shoot stuff. Not just any stuff. Playing as Komaru Naegi (sister of Makoto, the main character in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair) you will have to shoot down a whole lot of psychotic robot teddy bears who are black on one side and white on the other (i.e. Monokuma’s). Sounds whack? It is. And for those who are less shooter apt (like I am), you will also be able to play as the powerful Genocide Jack. Yes, the creepy serial killer girl with the snake tongue from the first game is back as well.

European release date: fall

(2) The Legend of Zelda (WiiU): Do I really have to explain why this game is so high up on the list? It’s the first Legend of Zelda-game in HD for Pete’s sake! Link: check! Bow and arrow: check! Open world: check! Horseback-riding: check! Zelda: Eeerrr… she’ll probably be in this one as well. Truth is, we haven’t seen that much of the game yet. I still believe it will release this year (unlike Final Fantasy XV), but chances are it might slide to next year. This year’s E3 will show us whether we’ll be in Hyrule by Christmas or not, though whether I’ll be ready for it or not will mostly depend on how much time I’m going to sink into the number 1 on my 2015 most wanted (pre-E3 edition) list.

European release date: late 2015

(1) Xenoblade Chronicles X (WiiU): First there was Final Fantasy VII for the original Playstation. Then there was Fallout 3 for the Playstation 3. On the third day God gave us Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii, and he saw that it was good. More than good actually. It was amazing. The first Xenoblade Chronicles is not only regarded to be one of the best Japanese roleplaying games of the previous generation of consoles. It is also my favorite game of all time. Expectations for its HD follow-up are… high, to say the least. The new game will boast an even larger over world with even bigger monsters to fight, will give us the chance to cross said world in mech-suits, and generally promises to be the biggest sci-fi opera/fantasy RPG to date. Plus, the trailer that revealed Monolith Soft’s mysterious game (X) was actually Xenoblade Chronicles X, also revealed the Nopon race to be in this game as well. Meaning we’ll probably get to be called the ‘heropon’ once more. Cannot wait to spend a 100+ hours on this game!

European release date: June 26th, hopefully (if the Italian Amazon leak was correct); late 2015, probably