What’s Super Mario Switch Going to be Like?

Ever since the Nintendo NX was first announced back in 2015, speculation has been rife in regards to the inevitable Mario platformer for the system. After all, one was always going to be released for the system. It’s basically a Nintendo console’s flagship game at this point. And well, there’s been a constant change in gameplay styles ever since Mario 64 was a thing.

But now it seems we have our answer. Here’s what Super Mario Switch seems to look like:

Even from the little we’ve seen, it’s certainly looking more interesting than 3D Land and World ever was. For example, look at those more original level themes.

Like say, the Mexican style town in the first clip. A wide open small town setting in the middle of a desert with a dancing cactus enemy wearing a sombrero. That’s certainly a new theme for the Mario series!

mario switch town

But this level also raises plenty of questions. Namely, where is it set?

Because this doesn’t look like a traditional Mushroom Kingdom location. We’ve had deserts before, and we’ve had wild west type towns before, but a Mexican style area like this one? That’s quite new to the Mario series, and hints that level themes might be a bit different this around.

And the giant moon looming overhead is very different too. Does it imply the area is on a different planet or in an alternate universe? Because again, that’s not something that’s been seen in any previous Mario level.

So something is certainly different about the location this game is set in. But as fascinating as an outer space locale or a less generic world theme is, it’s nothing compared to the next question.

And that is whether it’s a linear game or not. Or in simple terms, if it’s more open (like Super Mario 64) or more linear (like 3D Land and World).

Cause this place doesn’t look like a linear path. It seems like it’s a grounded location in a coherent environment, something which can’t be said about 3D Land or World’s levels. Add how a town is generally not a linear level setting with its doors and rooftops to explore and what not, and it gives me the impression we might be seeing something a bit more open world than in the 3DS and Wii U games.

There’s also a Bowser’s Castle style area. This place (set in a sandy looking desert castle near the town above) has Bullet Bills being fired at Mario and coin rings for him to collect along the path.

mario switch castle

However, while this one does look more linear, it’s not exactly out of place in the likes of Mario 64. I mean, Bowser in the Dark World was certainly linear, right?

As were the Bowser levels in the Mario Galaxy games. Or Corona Mountain in Super Mario Sunshine.

So linear levels aren’t unexpected in a more open platformer. Every 3D Mario game has had them after all.

Hence this could just be a Mario 64 style game with 3D World’s engine, not a hybrid.

Because let’s face it, the engine does look fairly similar here. We’ve got Mario 64’s triple jump, sure. And the long jump seems to be present too.

But Mario’s jumping animations and physics look to be taken straight from said game, complete with the fire round his feet as he charges forward. So while it’s been expanded on, the core engine seems to be like in 3D World.

So it seems like we’ve got an open town level and a linear Bowser level in a Mario 3D World style engine.

Yet that’s not all we’ve got. Oh no, it also seems like ice is a bit of a theme here as well. You can see it on buildings in the hot desert town. You can see it near the fountain. It’s everywhere, and it makes absolutely no logical sense given the setting.

ice mario switch

Which implies something odd is at hand here. Is Bowser (or a new villain) freezing the world with magical ice powers? Does it mark the return of Chief Chilly, Baron Brrr or the Crystal King? And regardless of whose behind it, what do they hope to accomplish here?

Well, something interesting presumably. That gives me the impression that Super Mario Switch has a new story or ‘main concept’ going through it. Like how Super Mario Sunshine was on a tropical island with FLUDD or how Galaxy was set on various small planetoids in space. That it’s not just ‘save princesses from Bowser’ or ‘explore the Mushroom Kingdom again’.

That’s all very interesting seeming stuff, and it sets up one of the more ambitious Mario games in the last few years or so.

But do you know what’s more interesting still?

Whether the game has multiplayer. Like again, in Super Mario 3D World.

Because based on the trailer, the answer seems to be yes. Why? Because when the woman in the ad goes to the party, she takes the Nintendo Switch with her. Fair enough, that’s the concept of the system after all.

But she then seems to continue the game with somehow else using the second controller at the same time. As you can see right here:

Maybe Mario Switch is multiplayer

Hence because of this, it seems like Super Mario Switch might retain the multiplayer functionality from 3D World on the Wii U. If so, this would make it the first non linear Mario game to have full co-op multiplayer functionality, and bring back the one key thing Super Mario 64 2 used to have going for it when it was in development.

So yeah, even the one trailer opens up a ton of exciting possibilities here. Congrats Nintendo, you may have made the most interesting Mario platformer in years!

Let’s Interview; Ty Anderson!

Where Zelda remakes are concerned, Nintendo doesn’t seem to like reimagining 2D games as 3D ones. Yeah, you might get a upgraded port that fixes a few features for a new system (like Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask on 3DS). Or you might get a HD reimagining of a game from a few generations ago (like Wind Waker and Twilight Princess on Wii U).

But it’s very rare you’ll see a classic Zelda game changed into a 3D one, or a 3D one made 2D.

That’s not Nintendo’s style.

But that doesn’t stop the fans though! Oh no, while Nintendo might not be interested in remaking Link’s Awakening, ROM hacker Ty Anderson certainly is, with his fantastic looking Link’s Awakening 64 project:

So let’s see what the story is here, shall we? Let’s find out more about Link’s Awakening 64 and the people who worked on it with our Ty Anderson interview!

First up, let’s find out a bit more about the game’s creator Ty Anderson. Who are you as a person, outside of ROM hacking and creating this game? What’s your background here?

Outside ROM hacking, I am a simple, laid back man. I am 23, I love Reggae music and long days out walking in the mountains and hillside where I live, just being in being in nature really.

In fact, it is moments sat on my own in woodland on a hillside, looking at the world that heavily inspired the landscape styles of my ROM hack/Patch. I am a student at university Studying mathematics and Physics, and I work as a carer for the elderly and mentally ill. I hope someday to find myself more permanent employment within the games industry, but for now it’s just love and passion for old school gaming that seems to keep me up each night working obsessively on Link’s Awakening 64.

And how about your experience with the Zelda series itself? What got you interested in these games?

I’m an N64 generation of gamer. My fascination with the Legend of Zelda series started with the Ocarina of Time, then blossomed with Majora’s Mask. I remember playing these games as a kid, becoming infatuated with exploring this amazing and imaginative world where all these different creatures and beings resided. As a child I used to make up adventures that Link would have, whilst playing with little paper cut-outs and drawings I would make. For me personally, the Legend of Zelda series has always been a place of sanctuary and creativity.

What’s the deal with Link’s Awakening? Is that one of your favourite Zelda games in general?

Link’s Awakening was the first 2D Zelda game I ever played, and always felt like a really underappreciated title. It was also the Zelda title released immediately before Ocarina of Time.

Another reason is that it was set in a dream, which has allowed me to have greater creative freedom as it would not interfere with Zelda historia or preceding events within other Zelda titles.

Finally, the manga version of Link’s Awakening had a very in depth and completely untouched storyline that wasn’t really covered in the Game Boy version and I wanted to take a lot of inspiration from this – really delve into this whole dynamic, and yet incredibly dark, love story between Link and Marin.

Link's Awakening Manga

The Link’s Awakening manga was an influence on Link’s Awakening 64

Onto the game itself now. Why did you decide to remake Link’s Awakening anyway?

We had all felt very denied after the cancellation of Zethn64’s URA Zelda project, which was for many such as myself a last hope of rekindling a forgotten nostalgia from a Nintendo 64 era of Zelda games. I wanted to give back to everyone and hope that we could all feel like children again, staying up way past our bedtimes exploring all the little secrets the old n64 game had to offer.

Link's Awakening 64 Screenshot 1

Link's Awakening 64 Screenshot 2

And why in the form of an Ocarina of Time mod? Why not say, a fan game or 2D Zelda ROM hack?

As I said before, the N64 era of Zelda-gaming was the most iconic, in my humble opinion. An Ocarina of Time mod was my attempt to deliver on a broken promise from the URA Zelda restoration project.

Did the URA Zelda Restoration Project influence you here? Because your Facebook page still mentions URA Zelda in the URL…

Absolutely. Originally this started as a similar URA Zelda project, as I just wanted to make some temples, just a small expansion. Then, my child-like imagination ran wild and I wanted to conquer something far greater.

On a technical level, is it difficult to remake Koholint Island in Ocarina of Time’s engine? Because it seems like the 2D Zelda games have much larger and more open worlds than the 3D ones do…

Hacking an N64 ROM and forcing it to behave as though it is a games engine is a very inexact science, and inherently very difficult. Most of my time I spend studying and taking a reductionist view of the ROM itself, trying to break down its inner mechanisms in order to exploit them. But with passion, perseverance and a little bit of luck, I have been extremely successful and finally have all the knowledge and skill required to make an entire game within the Ocarina of Time ROM as though it were a games engine and not a compiled and finished product.

Link's Awakening 64 Screenshot 3

How about the dungeons? Are you planning to remake the likes of Eagle’s Tower or Turtle Rock in this game? Are level mechanics like knocking down one of the tower’s floors going to be recreated here?

I intend to have a combination of original dungeons as well as dungeons inspired by the Game Boy game. For you see, I don’t want people to play my game already knowing how to complete it having played the original title. I don’t want to deny a single person that fresh new experience we all love from a new Zelda game. As far as mechanics go, we will have to see.

There are also a lot of interesting enemies found in Link’s Awakening. Do all of these appear in this remake?

As many as possible, as well as some of my own personal creations thrown in the mix.

What about the bosses? They seem like they could be fairly difficult to recreate in 3D…

Absolutely. The bosses are going to be one of the most difficult portions of the ROM hack as I am, of course, extremely limited by the original boundaries of Ocarina of Time. However, I have made the models for a few of the bosses already and am working diligently on their animations.

But this will be the very final step, I am working on building the world first and developing the story is my first priority, then will come the temples and all the mind boggling puzzles, and then finally the bosses.

Continue Reading…

Nintendo Switch Announced for March 2017!

As Nintendo promised earlier today, the NX will be officially announced in a preview video this afternoon.

And what do you know? They were right. Because at 3PM in UK time, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch, their new home console. Here’s the announcement video:

As well as the system’s logo:

Nintendo Switch

So what is the Nintendo Switch?

Well, it’s a hybrid system. It comes in a dock by default, and is immediately switched to handheld mode when you remove the console from said dock. Once you’re done, you can then unclip the controllers from the sides of the system and use them to play games in a more traditional way, with multiplayer games that don’t necessary require multiple systems.

Nintendo Switch Pic

Power wise, there’s not really much that Nintendo has confirmed here. Based on the video, it’s seemingly more powerful than the Wii U, with Mario Kart 8, Splatoon and Zelda Breath of the Wild showing running on it.

It also uses cartridges, with one picture pointing out the game cards for the console:

nintendo switch game card

And can be used with its own pro controller, aka the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. This can be seen here:

nintendo switch pro controller

On the games front, details are scarce. We have seen the following in the preview video:

  • Splatoon
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Elder Scrolls Skyrim
  • An NBA game
  • A new 3D Mario game
  • The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

But Breath of the Wild aside, the others could be anything from demos to ports or brand new sequels.

Continue Reading…

The Nintendo NX Reveal Liveblog

Well, it’s nearly time for Nintendo to announce the NX! And you know what that means right?

Yep, like with the Nintendo Directs and E3 before, it’s time for a new liveblog!

And everything NX related will be covered here. Does the trailer show the console hardware? Then we’ll talk about it. Is it a hybrid? That’ll be discussed too. Same with any games or other miscellaneous announcements too.

Here’s the video showing the console in action:

As you can see, it’s called the Nintendo Switch. It’s a hybrid console which can be used at home or out and about, and seems to have Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 on it.

So what did you think? Was the announcement what you expected?

The Nintendo NX is being Revealed Today!

It’s finally happening! After tons of rumours and ‘leaks’, speculation over every little thing and back and forth arguments between the ‘powerhouse’ and ‘hybrid’ camps, the Nintendo NX is finally being revealed tonight!

Here’s the announcement about it straight from Nintendo of America:

As you can see, it’s gonna be in the form of a short video rather than a full presentation or Nintendo Direct. So it’s unlikely a whole list of games will be revealed for the system, and even more unlikely they’ll go into too much detail about it. Instead, we’ll probably get a name, a few pictures of the system and (maybe) a short clip of a game for it. Like the new 3D Mario title on NX some people expect to see.

But hey, it’ll still kill off a lot of rumours. Like the ones about the NX being a hybrid home console/handheld in one. Or anything related to the design in general.
So yeah, the NX will be revealed tonight at 7am PT/10am ET. Or 3PM UK time, if you don’t live in America. Let’s see if it lives up to people’s expectations for the console!