March 2016 U.S. Nintendo Direct & My Take

YOU CAN FIND ME AT: @LizzieBtheQueen

The Nintendo Direct for March 3, 2016, hosted by Bill Trinen, had some highlights, some low points, but was pretty undistinguished in terms of energy overall. Most of the games will appeal to hardcore gamers and Nintendo fans alike. So what were the announcements, and what were my thoughts? Read on!

STAR FOX ZERO

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Shigeru Miyamoto, famous Nintendo icon and Star Fox Zero’s producer, announced the news for this nostalgic franchise appearing on the Wii U. Complaints in the past (at E3 specifically) were made by critics about the visual art style and control scheme of the game. The game still looks a bit polygonal in places, especially for a console rather than a handheld game, but this art design may be an inherent design nostalgic choice of the SNES original as well as the N64 version.

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The announcement showcased a new stage on the land of Fortuna, the use of portals as travelling points between worlds (and stages), and the ability for the player, depending on the path they took in a level of the rail shooter, to access alternate paths leading to differing levels. Miyamoto also announced that completion of the game on normal mode would allow even more alternate paths to be accessible to the player on replay. This allows the player incentive to replay levels, in order to explore routes and levels they did not access in their first playthrough.

Nintendo also showcased a two-player mode, where one can control the Gamepad and shoot enemies while the other player can fly the Arwing, Fox McCloud’s ship, via another controller. Finally, Miyamoto announced amiibo support for the game with the Fox McCloud amiibo, allowing for the Arwing in-game to appear as the SNES original, along with other secrets undisclosed in this Direct.

Star Fox Zero will be available for purchase on April 22, 2016 on digital or at retail, although at retail currently you will have to purchase the title with another Star Fox title that was announced next.

My Take: Looking at gameplay reminds me of Kid Icarus: Uprising, a game for the 3DS I thoroughly enjoyed. I hold interest in this game, but I might play the title a bit later when it is a cheaper price.

STAR FOX GUARD

starfoxguard02Coupled with the Star Fox Zero announcement was Star Fox Guard, a tower defense game also on the Wii U. Slippy (a character in the Star Fox universe), has an uncle named Grippy, who holds a mining site but is continously attacked by robots. The gameplay mechanic centers around your placement of weaponized cameras in defense of the mining site, with over 100 levels to play on onset.

The game also features a social aspect, allowing an individual to create a chart denoting robot enemy placement patterns at the site and upload this for other players to test out.

Star Fox Guard releases on April 22, 2016, as a standalone digital purchase or in a bundle with Star Fox Zero on purchase.

My Take: This would have been an excellent mobile or handheld game, and I find it strange that it found its home on Wii U. Even on the Wii U, this game seems more fitting as a separate mode on Star Fox Zero rather than its own title.  The price, currently at $15, seems a bit steep for what it is offering, but I may be being too harsh on the game without first playing a demo.

SPLATOON UPDATES

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Everyone’s favorite squid? kid? squid or kid shooter is back! Bill Trinen came back to announce the balancing of lesser-used gear abilities and adjustments to ranked battle matchmaking. New Splatfest elements to improve user experience were also promised to be added with the update. This update will be available March 8, 2016.

The second update focuses on weapons in-game, balancing some weapons as well as adding an area for players to purchase weapons with multiple ability types from Sheldon, owner of the Amma Knights. The update will be split into two parts (or volumes, as Nintendo called it), with the first part releasing in April.

My Take:  I like how the Sheldon’s Picks picture looks like the Nintendo Seal of Quality.

MARIO & SONIC AT THE RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES

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The Mario and Sonic cast of characters are headed to Rio, Brazil, for this year’s summer Olympic games. The trailer showcased various Mario and Sonic characters playing rugby sevens, boxing, archery, track, bicycling, rhythmic gymnastic clubs, volleyball, and soccer. Trinen highlighted that areas in the game are modeled after the locations within the real Rio 2016 venues. This game will be available on 3DS on March 18, 2016, and on Wii U on June 24, 2016.

My Take: I saw where someone on Twitch joked that they hoped the characters would not get the Zika Virus, and that is about all the energy I can put behind this title. Which is a bit sad.

SUPER MARIO MAKER UPDATE

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This Mario level creation game is getting an update, allowing even more props of Mario’s adventures to be added to players’ creations. With the update, the shaking of Thwomps with the stylus will transform them into Skewers. Shaking a p-switch will turn the item into a key, while shaking a door will transform it into a key door. Shaking coins now allows them to become p-coins, which can be used to store keys, along with blocks or enemies.

The online portion of the game is getting an update as well; Super Expert Mode (unlockable after clearing Expert Mode) is being added to play on the 100 Mario Challenge area of the game. Six challenging levels will be offered to you in this mode with one hundred Marios to spare, where upon completion you will gain New Mystery Mushroom costumes of some of your favorite characters from other beloved Nintendo franchises.

The Super Mario Maker Bookmark site will now allow an individual to view Major Rankings for Total Stars, World Records, First Clears, and 100 Mario Challenge Clears on a weekly or all-time basis.

This update will be available March 9, 2016.

My Take: These updates, while small, can be very intriguing and enhance gameplay in a manner that Mario level creators will adore. I am excited to see what types of challenges they can create with these new tools at their disposal.

TOKYO MIRAGE SESSIONS #FE

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Despite not selling well in Japan, this Wii U JRPG crossover of Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei by Atlus has been rebranded under a new name and given a pop idol focus (oh so typical.) The game, based in Japan, will leave in the original voice actors with English subtitles. The game arrives to the West on June 24, 2016.

My Take: *Pretends not to be interested but really is.* Although I do not know very much about J-Pop, I am a sucker for anything that even barely resembles the Persona series while I wait for Persona 5 to come out (please let it be 2016 for the West =(.) Although some may see Nintendo’s decision to have the original Japanese voice acting to be a bold move, I feel that this choice was rational, given that the audience that this game will attract would not value the English dub and the extra months placed into this process as much as they would desire the original Japanese voice actors. Sub>dub. I will be getting this game as soon as it comes out, while I anxiously await Persona 5. I will die in this grave I bury if I must.

LOST REAVERS

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Bandai-Namco’s free-to-play co-op action Wii U game plays much like a dungeon or raid; you and your friends team up to solve puzzles, collect loot, and kill baddie fodder  in a closed environment before facing off against a large boss. Once you have obtained the treasure, you must return back to the entrance in order to have a chance to gain some of the treasure. Trinen stated that the player will be able to complete missions in alternate routes, with differing puzzles, and with different combinations of enemies on replay. The style of the game (from what was shown) appears to be dungeons modeled off of Egyptian tombs, with legions of undead mummies blocking your way. As you play a mission, your character will level up and increase funds to purchase better weapons.

The open-beta version is available April 14, 2016, and the full version will be available to purchase on April 28, 2016.

My Take: ((it looks kind of bad and old; just wait for the price to drop if you care about yourself and if you must play it, you daft child))

PAPER MARIO:COLOR SPLASH

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This is the one that got a petition to cancel it! Yay! There’s always one Nintendo game on these Directs that do that.

Paper Mario: Color Splash caused a stir because the title struck a similar cord as 2012’s Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a title that majorly departed from the core RPG style of combat, intriguing environments, and a witty, imaginative story that had occurred in the previous Paper Mario titles. These older titles, which drew from an innovative and charming well of writing and place-setting that many had thought for years had left Nintendo in other areas, are for some fans their favorite franchise in the Nintendo lineup.

Paper Mario: Color Splash has Mario walking around environments “devoid of color” with a “paint hammer;” an object that Mario uses to smash color into colorless objects in an area. You fight enemies with cards you paint, by holding down the card with your stylus or finger, and accrue more cards to deliver stronger attacks.

Paper Mario: Color Splash is available in 2016.

My Take: People like to be angry about subjects they are passionate, so I understand a desire to carefully back away. Yet I understand the fans’ frustration; the developers have changed the core elements of what they loved on a franchise and slapped the name onto a concept that does not seem to fit the source material at all with concepts that seem too sparse to be full-fledged games. But to start a petition demanding change showcases a strong level of entitlement that I feel is overall corrosive. But luckily, we definitely will not see this type of anger at a game later in the Direct! (We definitely will.)

POKKÉN TOURNAMENT

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Popular in Japan, this Pokémon fighting game is coming stateside for the Wii U. The player can play in multiple modes, from online play to a campaign where the player challenges other trainers in battles and climb up tiers to become the best . Battles won in any mode will have the player gain currency, which she or he can use to change the appearance of their avatar. Just like with other fighting games, different Pokémon you and your Pokémon team will fight against have different strengths and weaknesses, depending on their speed, strength, and type. If you pre-order the game, you will get a Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card to use in-game.

Pokkén Tournament comes to the United States on March 18, 2016.

My Take: This looks pokken awesome! (That is a play on words.)

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS HD

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Just a shoutout that this title is available March 4, 2016.

My Take: Haha, you think I am going to put my hat in the ring on one of the most divisive Zelda games in terms of “true excellency”?

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MY NINTENDO

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Since Club Nintendo’s passing, Nintendo has revitalized its loyalty rewards system, My Nintendo. By purchasing digital games and playing Nintendo’s apps, the user can earn points towards rewards.

My Take: I signed up for a Nintendo Account as well as pre-registered for Miitomo, and I am always excited by a rewards system. High hopes here 🙂

MINI MARIO & FRIENDS AMIIBO CHALLENGE

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Mini Mario & Friends amiibo Challenge, a free-to-download game for the Wii U and the 3DS, allows players to use Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Toad, Mario, Bowser, Peach, Luigi, Bowser Junior (not pictured above), Rosalina, and Diddy Kong amiibos in courses stylized after the Mario vs. Donkey Kong puzzle platformer series. Each amiibo will have ten levels playable only by that character, highlighting each character’s specific ability.

Mini Mario & Friends amiibo Challenge will be available for early access starting March 25, 2016, with the purchase of an amiibo figure at Best Buy, GameStop, or Amazon.com. The title will be available to download April 28, 2016.

My Take: I am happy they decided to make this game a free-to-download title; for only ten titles for what can be expensive figurines, such a decision seems a wise way to thank amiibo users.

ANIMAL CROSSING AMIIBO CARDS  AND  ISABELLE AMIIBO FIGURINES

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Series Four of the Animal Crossing amiiibo cards will be available on June 10, 2016, and the Isabelle amiibo figurine (with a winter outift) will become available outside of the Animal Crossing amiibo Festival game for standalone purchase on June 10, 2016. The Isabelle amiibo figure with a summer outfit will also be available for purchase on June 10, 2016.

My Take: Resist the temptation to purchase, Elizabeth. You’re stronger than this. Your bank account is not.

VIRTUAL CONSOLE UPGRADE

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Exclusively for new Nintendo 3DS XL systems, the Virtual console will release SNES classics such as Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, EarthBound, Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Pilotwings, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, and F-Zero. The games on this system will also now feature Perfect Pixel Mode to showcase games in their original resolution.

Pilotwings, Super Mario World, and F-Zero will be available March 3, 2016 in the Nintendo eShop. Super Mario Kart, EarthBound, and Donkey Kong Country will be added to the Nintendo eShop on March 24, 2016. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest will be available for purchase in the eShop on April 14, 2016.

My Take: Some of these games encapsulated my early childhood, and some of them are my favorite games of all time. But I wish (as of now) there was a way for my digital purchases of these games in the past could be made cross-platform so I would not have to purchase the title again so I could play it on another device. I also dislike that because I do not own the new 3DS XL Nintendo line, I will not be able to purchase and enjoy these games again. My cynical side tells me that Nintendo is only stating that the new 3DS XL’s can run the games so they can “push them out the door,” but I will ignore that side of me in consideration of my deep knowledge of the 3DS’s technology…which is none. But these are just SNES games; how can a normal 3DS not have that kind of processing power? Might stay a bit cynical.

POCKET CARD JOCKEY

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In this 3DS title by GameFreak (yes, the creators of Pokémon), users play as a jockey who plays “a simplified version of Solitaire” to win races. As your horse’s experience increases, they level up and gain skills, increasing their ability to win races and win trophies that attract sponsors. You will also be able to retire your racing horses and breed them to obtain new horses with which you can compete.

Pocket Card Jockey arrives to the Nintendo eShop in May.

My Take: THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT MOBILE GAME, NINTENDO. THIS GAME DOES NOT HAVE A COMPLEX CONTROL SYSTEM THAT WOULD MAKE THE TITLE MORE VIABLE VIA HANDHELD. But this game looks like a great on-the-go experience with a lot of charm, and I can see myself divulging too much time into this game should I give it the chance.

AZURE STRIKER GUNVOLT 2

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This 3DS 2D action game gives a strong Mega Man vibe with techno themes, robotic enemies, blasters galore, and the ability to access an enemy boss’s power with their defeat.

The first game in the series, Azure Striker Gunvolt, will be offered at a discounted price for $9.99 in the Nintendo eShop from March 2 to June 1, 2016. The sequel will be available in Summer 2016.

My Take: I have never heard of this series, and I am excited to look into it as I am filled with Mega Man nostalgia. I hope the title does well, abstaining from what appears to be a directly Japanese-translated title.

FIRE EMBLEM REVELATIONS & FIRE EMBLEM FATES DLC

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Fire Emblem Fates held two paths from which players could choose to align,with two separate titles called Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, released on February 19, 2016. Now, a third choice in the Fire Emblem Fates story can be chosen with Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation. This third choice reveals more story elements not covered by the first two versions of the Fates tactical games. The new path in the story will be available to purchase as DLC, just as players of one version of Fates were able to purchase another “path” or version of the game for a discounted price. Players will be able to access this option in Chapter 6 of the game, where the player chooses in the “Branch of Fate.”

This DLC path will cost $19.99.

Two new maps, Price Museum Melee and Ghostly Gold, are available through the in-game DLC shop, Dragon Gate. These maps are prominent as areas to gain rare weapons. A third map, Royal Royale, will release on March 17, and will explore more intricacies of the kingdoms in the game.

All three maps will cost $2.49 each, unless you have already purchased a season pass.

My Take:

I find the use of DLC, especially the usage of the term, by Nintendo intriquing, considering how toxic they considered the idea in the past. But if such an option allows fans to access large amounts of new content for a low price, such an option seems perferable than making your fans wait two more years for a sequel. Given how Fire Emblem: Fates holds so much content as-is and holds such a strong following, I find this to be an excellent case for DLC.

HYRULE WARRIORS LEGENDS

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This 3DS game, an adaptation of the Wii U version from 2014, allows players to control favorite Zelda characters in a Dragon Warriors’s style hack-and-slash gameplay.  A season pass will be accessible to purchase on launch day, allowing the purchaser access to four DLC packs promised to come in 2016. The DLC will also be able to be purchased individually. With the purchase of the season pass, players will receive an alternate costume for Ganandorf, an offer exclusive to the 3DS version of the game.

The purchase of Hyrule Warriors Legends on launch day at retail will come packaged with a Hyrule Warriors Legends 3DS theme. Purchase of the game will allow users who also own the Wii U version to access Linkle, Skull Kid, Tetra, King Daphnes, and Toon Link for play, as well as allow Ganondorf’s trident weapon from 3DS Hyrule Warriors Legends to be played in the Wii U Hyrule Warriors. Pre-order of the game at GameStop will receive a sixteen-page colored art book that showcases concept art for the title.

Medli, a character in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, will be available to download for free in both versions of the game when the first round of DLC releases for Hyrule Warriors Legends.

Hyrule Warriors Legends releases onto the 3DS on March 25, 2016.

My Take: That was a lot to digest. Besides copy-pasting my discussion above about Nintendo’s usage of DLC for season passes, I am excited to one day play this game.

DISNEY ART ACADEMY

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Following the winds of Pokémon Art Academy, Disney Art Academy instructs the player step-by-step on how to draw classic Disney and Pixar characters, including highlighting and shading techniques.

Disney Art Academy is available for purchase on May 13, 2016.

My Take: Bathroom break! No, this game is excellent for kids and adults alike who enjoy Disney franchises and is a fun addition to your 3DS collection. Heck, even I would play it if I had excess of money, even if exclusively for Winnie the Pooh characters and Baymax.

Fav Quote: YES, EVEN DISNEY’S FROZEN.

BRAVELY SECOND: END LAYER

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Bravely Second: End Layer, the North American version of the 3DS RPG sequel of Bravely Default, was highlighted to describe some new jobs accessible within the game. Choosing the job of wizard allows the player to use spellcraft, whereas the choice of catmancers allows the option to train cats to learn the moves that monsters use upon your characters  in battle for treats.

A free demo for Bravely Second: End Layer will be a side-story only accessible (at this time) through the demo, and will be available in the Nintendo eShop March 10, 2016. My Best Buy Members Gamers Club Unlocked (who came up with that title?) will be able to access the title early on March 7, 2016. Playing the demo will net the player the ability to transfer bonuses into the full version of the game.

Pre-purchase of the game will be available on March 10, 2016, whereas a collector’s edition is also available for pre-order. The collector’s edition will include the game, a soundtrack CD, and the official art book for the game. Bravely Second: End Layer will be available for purchase on April 15, 2016.

My Take: Although I would rather they DEFAULT to a more accessible name for the English audience (hlp me pls), RPG fans fell in love with this series with the release of the first title in 2014 in North America. I hope the second lives up to the standards placed upon it, and I hope to play this title in the future. Also, I love how Bill Trinen sounds so fed-up by the concept of the catmancer. Look below.

 

DRAGON QUEST VII:FRAGMENTS OF THE FORGOTTEN PAST

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As a complete remake for the 3DS, this turn-based RPG originally released on Playstation in 2000 has been completely retranslated with updated 3D models. In this story, a fisherman’s son who longs for adventure rather than falling into his father’s footsteps joins two friends and goes on a journey to search for stone fragments in order to travel to the past. The game features more than thirty classes.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past will be available for purchase later in 2016.

My Take: Whenever the West can get a translation of a Japanese game, I consider it a win.

MONSTER HUNTER GENERATIONS

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This 3DS RPG, called Monster Hunter Cross in Japan, is coming to the West. With a new debut trailer, Trinen showcased some of the monsters playable as well as an online mode. This game will also feature an armor set based on Marth from the Fire Emblem series.

Any player who plays Monster Hunter Generations and has save data for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will receive bonus content in Generations.

Monster Hunter Generations will be playable in Summer 2016.

My Take: I am surprised the West is getting this title so early, and as a fan of the series, I am so excited to play this game.

METROID PRIME: FEDERATION FORCE

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Kensuke Tanabe took the spotlight for a few minutes to address the concerns since E3 about Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a 3DS game that received a tremendous amount of controversy when noted to appear nothing like the other games in the series. He stated his team holds deep passion for the franchise and began working on the title in 2009. In consideration of the DSi’s inability to showcase what they wanted to achieve, an online multiplayer shooter, they waited until the new 3DS XL to pursue the project further. The game highlights a battle between the Galactic Federation and the Space Pirates, with players controlling soldiers of the Galactic Federation. Tanabe acknowledged this detail prevented him from using Samus Aran, the main character for most Metroid games, as the protagonist.

With each mission, a players can obtain subweapons from the Federation and carry a limited amount to use as distinctive markers towards their “class,” like a warrior, healer, or mage.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force releases in Late Spring 2016.

My Take: This was the saddest and most awkward part of the Direct. Having Mr. Tanabe express how he has spent seven years developing this game and explaining, in response to backlash, how he feels this game is integral to the Prime series left a strange taste in my mouth. Explaining the long process the game took and why certain plot steps were necessary for what the story was tackling felt like an apology rather than a defense of the product, in a manner that felt as if they knew the game was not meeting their own expectations as well. The blocky, antiquated art style of the game (thanks to the 3DS), the chibi style to the characters (with mostly primary colors distinguishing the team), and the terrible narration to the trailer revealed at the Direct cause the game to look like a cheap production on a series many fans take very seriously. I feel that as soon as this game came out and was not what fans were expecting, the title was already doomed. Nintendo has blocked up and down votes for the trailer revealed on YouTube, called Project Golem.

RHYTHM HEAVEN MEGAMIX

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The content from Rhythm Tengoku for the Game Boy Advance (Japan-exclusive), Rhythm Heaven for the Nintendo DS, and Rhythm Heaven Fever for the Nintendo Wii have been combined to form Rhythm Heaven Megamix. This title offers over one hundred rhythm games, and seventy of these have come from the previous three titles.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix will release in North America later in 2016.

My Take: I played the previous two titles in the series and love this franchise. Although I am not excellent at rhythm games, this and WarioWare hold a certain charm that few other games tend to have.

KIRBY: PLANET ROBOBOT

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“Invaders have mechanized Dreamland” in this 3Ds return to the land of Kirby. In traditional fashion of the series, Kirby will travel through the foreground and background, absorbing enemies’ powers to utilize against them, and complete stages to become closer to defeating these invaders. In this game Kirby can utilize enemy robots to become a mech called a robobot to remove obstacles and copy enemies’ attacks. Ten different versions of the robobot are available for Kirby to use.

Another mode in the game called Team Kirby Clash allows four players to join together, or one player to play alone, and select one of four classes or roles to defeat bosses. Collection of Meteor Tablets during the boss battle can be used to aggregate a meteor to attack the boss. As you play the game, the player will gain experience, that upon leveling up will allow he or she greater stamina, attack, recovery, or team meteor to play harder quests.

This mode will be available for Download Play as well, to allow friends who do not own the game to play as well.

Kirby: Planet Robobot will be compatible with amiibo as well. Kirby, upon activation of certain amiibo, can copy the ability of the amiibo placed upon the 3DS.

Meta Knight, King Dedede, Waddle Dee, and a new Kirby amiibo will be launched as well.

Kirby: Planet Robobot will be released on June 10, 2016.

My Take: Although the games tend to be simple and very easy in nature, I enjoy playing the Kirby title on occasion, and feel this title will do well on the 3DS.

YOU CAN FIND ME AT: @LizzieBtheQueen

 

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGIY_O-8vW4rfX98KlMkvRg

Star Fox Zero hands-on preview – Not so sure about the GamePad play

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Fox_(video_game)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Fox_64

Genei Ibun Roku #FE Debuts with Poor Sales in Japan with 23k Copies Sold

https://www.change.org/p/nintendo-cancel-paper-mario-color-splash

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_Mario:_Sticker_Star

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Emblem_Fates

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrule_Warriors

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bravely_Default

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