This site is reader-supported. When you click through links on our site, we may be compensated.
The latest “Nintendo Direct” announcement video came packed with surprises, and none shattered more earth than the big Mario and Zelda games at the video's beginning and end.
As seen in the above gallery, Super Mario Maker 2 is heading to Nintendo Switch in June 2019, and it appears to include enough new tools and systems to rank it as a bonafide sequel, if not at least a serious “deluxe” edition. The revealed footage sticks primarily to the four games that the original build-your-own-platformer game supported (SMB1, SMB3, SMW, NSMB), but it adds tools like auto-scrolling paths, clear tubes, piranha plant pathing, more platforms, and the cat suit power-up.
Though it has a more vague release window of “2019,” Nintendo had a lot to showcase for its upcoming, surprise-announced remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. This apparently faithful remake retains the 1993 Game Boy game's top-down perspective (along with its occasional drops into underground side-scrolling), but it otherwise remakes the entire game as a fully 3D adventure.
And as the above screens show, it includes the most storybook-appropriate designs for Link and friends that we've ever seen in a Zelda game. (In short, it makes the outcry about “toon Link” look like Sonic the Hedgehog in comparison.) A cursory glance suggests a hand-made materials approach to the new visual design. We can't wait to see more.
The weirdest additional surprise announcement came in the form of Tetris 99. Yes, Tetris joins the battle royale craze in this free-to-play game launching exclusively for paying Nintendo Switch Online customers later today. Meaning: you'll join an online Tetris instance in which 99 players manage their own block-filled boards while trading “damage” blocks with dozens of other simultaneous players. Will it be any good? We'll find out later today, and by then, we'll hopefully get more info about what microtransactions, if any, come in the product. (“Pay tokens to get more line pieces” is a scary possibility, but, hey, this is 2019.)
A brand-new franchise, Astral Chain, was announced from Platinum Games and will arrive exclusively on Nintendo Switch on August 30. This neo-Tokyo sci-fi beat-'em-up seems to marry the studio's prestige (Wonderful 101, Bayonetta, Nier: Autonama) with a trippy, neon-cop aesthetic… and a helpful, butt-kicking dog. So, it already appears to tick all of our stupid-action boxes. However, this announcement came with a reminder that Nintendo still doesn't have a release date for its previously announced launch of Bayonetta 3 on the Switch.
Additionally, Square Enix announced release dates for ports of Final Fantasy VII (March 26) and Final Fantasy IX (February 13… as in, later today), and it confirmed that Dragon Quest XI will land on Switch “this Fall” with a much-needed upgrade to its score. (Meaning, we're finally getting the orchestral score, instead of the awful MIDI on PC and PS4.)
Nintendo doled out a boatload of information on Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and the footage reveals the most gorgeous, high-fidelity Fire Emblem game yet. Cinematic camerawork sweeps over full battlefields, but it's unclear how the nuts-and-bolts of battling might truly diverge from the series' decades of tried-and-true tactics. But Nintendo did detail a lot of information about how training your fighters together will apply to the game's longer campaign. We imagine we'll get more information on this one ahead of the game's July 26 launch.
Should you have a Nintendo Switch handy, get thee to the eShop for a few free downloads today, including downloadable demos of Switch exclusives Yoshi's Crafted World and Daemon X Machina. (The first chapter of the semi-sequel to cult-classic RPG Undertale, Toby Fox's Deltarune, will have its own free Switch download very soon: February 28. That seems to indicate progress on the full version of Deltarune is proceeding nicely.)
For more on everything revealed, check out the embedded video below.
<em>Listing image by Nintendo</em>