All posts in “zelda”

Nintendo makes the old new again with Mario, Zelda, Tetris titles for Switch

The afternoon brought an eventful series of announcements from Nintendo in one of its Direct video promos, and 2019 is looking to be a banner year for the Switch. Here’s everything the company announced, from Super Mario Maker 2 to the unexpected remake of Game Boy classic Link’s Awakening.

The stream cold opened with a look at the new Mario Maker, which would honestly be enough announcement for one day. But boy did they have more up their sleeves.

First the actually new stuff:

Shown last but likely to garner the bulk of the internet’s response is the remake of Link’s Awakening, which came out more than a quarter of a century ago on Game Boy. I admit to never finishing this but I loved the feel of it, so I’m dying to play this new tilt-shifted, perspective-switching 3D version.

Platinum has an intriguing new game called Astral Chain, in which you appear to control two fighters at the same time in some crazy-looking robot(?)-on-robot action. Talent from The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta, and Nier: Automata ensure this will be worth keeping an eye on.

The recent trend of battle royale and perhaps the best game ever made, Tetris, combine in Tetris 99, where 100 people simultaneously and competitively drop blocks. It looks bonkers, and it’s free on Switch starting right now.

And on the JRPG tip:

Fire Emblem: Three Houses got a long spot that introduced the main characters, whom you’ll no doubt ally with and/or be betrayed by. Romance is in the air! And arrows.

From the back-to-basics studio that put out I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear comes Oninaki, an action RPG that looks like a good well-crafted bit of fun, if not particularly original.

Dragon Quest 11 S — an enhanced version of the original hit — and DQ Builders 2 are on their way to Switch later this year, in Fall and July respectively.

Rune Factory 4 Special is another enhanced, remastered classic in a series that I adore (though I wish they’d remaster Frontier). It was also announced that RF5 is in development, so thank god for that.

Final Fantasy VII is coming at the end of March, and Final Fantasy IX is available now. I’m ashamed to say I never played the latter but this is a great opportunity to.

Sidescrollers new and old:

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! is a new entry in a well-like puzzle platformer series that introduces some new characters and multiplayer. Coming in April.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night got a teaser, but we’ve heard a lot about this Castlevania spiritual sequel already. Just come out!

Yoshi’s Crafted World comes out March 29, but there’s a demo available today.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker gets an update adding multiplayer to its intricate levels and soon, a paid pack for new ones. I might wait for a combined version but this should be fun.

Miscellaneous but still interesting:

The new Marvel Ultimate Alliance is coming this summer and I can’t wait. The second one was a blast but it came out way too long ago. A good co-op brawler is a natural fit for the Switch, plus being a superhero is fun.

Daemon X Machina, the striking-looking mech combat game, is getting a demo ahead of the summer release. They’re going to incorporate changes and advice from players so if you want to help shape the game, get to it.

Disney Tsum Tsum Festival… I don’t know what this is. But it looks wild.

Deltarune! It’s the sequel-ish to the beloved Undertale, and you can get the first chapter on Switch now. Play Undertale first, or you won’t get the dog jokes.

There were a few more little items here and there but that’s the gist. Boy am I glad I have a Switch!

You can watch the full Direct here.

Nintendo Switch games on sale: Save on ‘Mario Kart,’ ‘Hyrule Warriors,’ ‘Skyrim,’ ‘NBA 2K19’

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Need gift ideas for a gamer? Start here.
Need gift ideas for a gamer? Start here.

Image: mashable photo composite

Any die-hard Nintendo fan knows that having a Switch can get expensive. The console by itself is already $299, and growing your collection of games at $60 a pop adds up quickly.

But what are you supposed to do? Just not play at every waking moment even though you can take it anywhere?

HA, good one. Amazon, Walmart, and GameStop have dropped the prices of numerous top Switch games — our favorite deal is snagging a digital code for Mario Kart Deluxe 8 or Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors for just $41.99 each (that’s 30% off).

Extra bonus: A few games on sale were called out in GameStop’s “The best Nintendo Switch games out now” list.  Let’s a-go!

Classic games

War and battle games

Sports games

  • NBA 2K19 — $37.44 (list price $59.99)

  • FIFA 19 — $49 (list price $59.99)

Kids games

In need of replacement joy-cons? Grab a pack of the red and blue ones for $13 off at $66.77.

Nintendo’s ‘souped-up’ NES Zelda loads you with gear for an easier adventure

Nintendo has set a strange new precedent with the release of Legend of Zelda SP on the Switch: it’s essentially the original NES game but Link starts loaded up with good gear and cash. In a way it’s no different from a cheat code, but the way it’s executed feels like a missed opportunity.

The game itself (SP stands for “special”) is described by Nintendo in the menu as a “souped up version” of the original: “Living the life of luxury!” It’s a separate entry in the menu with all the other NES games you get as part of the company’s subscription service.

You’re given the white sword, big shield, blue ring, and power bracelet, plus 255 rupees to replace that shield when a Like-like eats it. Basically they’ve given you all the stuff you can find on the overworld (including max bombs and keys), but no items you’d get from inside a dungeon. You also have six hearts, and traveling around a little bit I determined these were awarded by raiding nearby hidden areas, not simply assigned. Secret passages are already revealed, and so on.

Because it skips the title screen and save game selection it seems like someone must have essentially played through the game to this point (or more likely edited the values in game RAM) and then walked to the classic starting point and made a save state that automatically loads when you start or reset the game. This means the only way to save is to use the Switch’s built-in save states, not the rather inconvenient save method the game used.

It’s plain enough that this will be a less frustrating way to explore this famously difficult game, but it seems untrue to Zelda’s roots. I understand perhaps gifting the player some of the impossible to find things like a heart hidden inside a random block here or there. Getting some bombs to start is great too, and maybe even the rings (warping is helpful, and the game is pretty punishing so damage reduction is nice). But the white sword?

For one thing, a player experiencing the game this way misses out on one of the most iconic moments in all gaming — “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this!” Then the ritual lifting of the wooden sword. And then setting out into the world to die again and again.

And for me, the white sword was always sort of a rite of passage in the game — your first big step towards becoming powerful. You earned it by finding those extra heart containers, perhaps after asking in vain after it before you were ready. Once you have it, you’re cutting through enemies like butter.

To make it the default sword and to skip these steps seems like it causes the player to miss out on what makes Zelda Zelda.

To be fair, it’s not the only version of the game you can play — the original is available too. But it seems like a missed opportunity. Why not just have a save game you can load with this stuff, so you can continue playing as normal? Why not have the option baked into the launch of the original Zelda — have a couple secret save states ready with differing levels of items?

Nintendo has the opportunity to introduce a new generation to classic NES games here, having provided a rather barebones experience with the NES Classic Edition. Why not enhance them? Include the manual, god mode, developer commentary? This is the legacy the company has been stewarding for decades, and what better than to give it the respect it deserves?

I’m probably overthinking it. But this Zelda SP just seems like a rushed job when players would appreciate something like it, just not so heavy-handed. It’s not that these games are inviolable, but that if they’re going to be fiddled with, we’d like to see it done properly.

Zelda expansion, Death Stranding and other titles hyped at The Game Awards


The Game Awards, an event that’s exactly what it sounds like, took place shortly ago and, like any gaming event, it was shot through with trailers and announcements. What’s the biggest announcement, you ask? It’s probably a tie between the sudden release of a new expansion for Zelda: Breath of the Wild and a teaser for the next project from From Software, the creators of Dark Souls and Bloodborne.

Well, let’s be honest – a new Zelda expansion, available now, is pretty much the only thing that matters in the world. Everything else can wait.

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The Champions’ Ballad appears to be a follow-up to the original story, with the four champions working to defeat “the beast” once and for all. More importantly, there’s new horse armor that lets you teleport your mount to your location instantly. New weapons and armor await, and it also looks like there are a number of new shrines and larger dungeons. Oh, and you get an “ancient” motorcycle. I’d be playing it now if I hadn’t left my Zelda cartridge in the U.S. when I crossed the pond for Disrupt Berlin. What was I thinking?!

Less immediate but perhaps ultimately more intriguing is From Software’s minimal trailer for its new game, which has no name but does have a tagline: “Shadows Die Twice.” Some speculate this is a reboot of Shadow Tower, one of From’s earliest games, but others point out that not only is this a line from venerated ninja series Tenchu, but the music and writing suggest a Japanese theme. No one is quite sure what the gruesome hardware on display is, though my guess is it’s a grapple made from a bone.

Next on the hype train is Death Stranding, the next project from Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear fame. In the longest and most substantive look at the game so far, which really isn’t saying much, we see a space-suited-up Norman Reedus attempting in vain to hide from invisible and enigmatic pursuers that seem to be attracted to… suffering? Life? Anything but the baby in bottle that later turns up inside Reedus.

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We’re really no wiser than we were before, but Kojima’s eye for the uncanny and dramatic is clear. He may be rather off the rails, but often our most interesting artists are.

Some other trailers of note: The developers of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a creepy mystery, show off their latest project, Witchfire.

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But if you were expecting another somber, slow-moving affair, the developers would like to remind you that they were also behind the excellent Painkiller and underrated Bulletstorm. It looks like a high-energy shoot-em-up in a strange, arcane world.

I’m particularly interested in Campo Santo’s In the Valley of the Gods, in which it appears you and a partner (likely computer controlled) infiltrate a tomb not to raid it, but to document it with an old-timey movie camera.

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Perhaps you’re not as much of an antiquarian as I am, but this looks like it should be a very interesting little adventure.

Some other things worth noting: Bayonetta 3 was teased as a Switch exclusive, along with remasters of 1 and 2. This should please hardcore action fans who might not be satisfied with the console’s otherwise great selection of games.

And the soul still burns: Soul Calibur 6 was announced, though honestly I’m still happy to play the original on Dreamcast.

Nintendo is planning a Legend of Zelda mobile game


Following up on the massive success of Pokémon GO and the, well, slightly less massive success of Super Mario Run, Nintendo is reportedly planning a Legend of Zelda for smartphones for release later this year, or so The Wall St Journal’s sources have it.

Details beyond that are scarce; it would supposedly follow the release of the also-rumored Animal Crossing mobile game, presumably once everyone has played that into the ground.

How exactly they expect to represent the expansive exploring, puzzling and battling that have defined the series heretofore is unclear. Super Mario Run took a minimalist approach to controls, essentially reducing the platformer to a one-button game.

That would be rather difficult with the vastly more complex Zelda series — doubly so considering the improbably well-received Breath of the Wild was so vast and unrestricted. Whether the company would repeat its pricing strategy for Mario is also unknown; sales weren’t quite what it had hoped.

We’ll likely know more soon; Super Mario Run was announced three months ahead of its release. But if the timing hinted at by the WSJ’s sources is correct, we’ll hear about the Animal Crossing game first, though who knows when.