Nintendo Articles

Our exclusive editorials about the 3DS and its games, as well as Nintendo as a whole.

New Super Mario Bros 3DS; My Predictions

True, there’s already been a post devoted to my wishlist for New Super Mario Bros 3DS.  But as anyone who read it should have figured out, the list was very much a best case scenario, what the game would have if by some miracle Nintendo gave us the perfect 2D Mario game.

Unfortunately, Nintendo isn’t a perfect company, and the New Super Mario Bros games were certainly not perfect games, having shown signs of less effort being invested in them than the 3D ones and with some questionable design decisions (more so in the DS original than the Wii one).

So here’s a realistic list of things I think Nintendo will have in the next 2D Mario game.  And by realistic, I mean that if this list turns out to be completely wrong I will be shocked.

1. It will be a New Super Mario Bros game

Because the last two 2D Mario platformers have been New Super Mario Bros games, and it seems Nintendo is desperate to keep using the brand for everything and anything (note how the visual stylings and general theme of these games is now running through the 3D games, Mario Kart and even Paper Mario).  I assume Nintendo will do the same for the upcoming 2D game.  Maybe they’ll call it New Super Mario World, maybe not, but I fully expect them to keep using the brand simply because of customer confidence and brand recognition.

2. A Super Mario World theme will run throughout and Reznor will return

Look at past history a few minutes, there’s gradually been more and more ‘retro’ elements reintroduced as the series has moved on, whether in the 2D games or the 3D ones.  New Super Mario Bros introduced flagpoles and the general 2D concept, Super Mario Galaxy airships and Magikoopas.  New Super Mario Bros Wii brought back the Koopalings and Yoshi, Super Mario Galaxy 2 Hammer Bros and Super Mario 3D Land Boom Boom.

The general pattern is that near enough every single 2D Mario platformer element that fans have wanted have made a return, so by process of elimination only Reznor, Chargin’ Chuck and Fishin’ Boo are really left as far as enemies go.

Not that these are the only things they could bring back.  The Hammer Suit, the Cape and the P Balloon are also left, and given the general pattern of bringing back one classic power up per Mario game, I think one of those seems likely to be in this game as well.  Probably either the Cape or Hammer Suit really, they’re much better things to use to advertise than the P Balloon with its memories of the dreaded Tubular.

Although… is this a good thing?  I’m not sure.  Reznor would make a nice boss for a few fortresses or maybe a single castle, but given Nintendo’s tendencies of cramming the new ‘boss character’ of the moment in nigh on every single level with a boss in it, do we really want to fight Reznor seven times?

The Super Mario World theme in general seems to be another given, since they’ve practically beaten the Super Mario Bros 3 horse to death by now, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before Nintendo ever thinks to revisit Super Mario Bros 2 or the Lost Levels.

Continue Reading…

How to Improve Mario Kart’s Battle Mode

Based on a fairly old video I uploaded to our Youtube channel, here are my thoughts on how Mario Kart’s battle mode could be salvaged and made better to the point people would play it about as much as they do vs mode.

Because unfortunately, battle mode has been woefully neglected over the last few installments.  The arenas have become smaller and generally less interesting, the amount of battle mode arenas in total has been reduced significantly and long time fan favourite elements like balloon battle have practically been phased out entirely.  While Mario Kart DS, Wii and 7 seem to have moved the rest of the series in the 21st century, it’s clear battle mode has languished and been ignored ever since Mario Kart 64.  So with that said, here are what I think could improve battle mode in the next Mario Kart game.

1. Have more arenas

Just look at how few arenas Mario Kart 7 has, it’s absolutely pathetic.  You have what, six arenas total?  And just three of them are actually new to the game?  Even Mario Kart 64 and Super Circuit had more levels to choose from than this, and that was over ten years ago!

Instead, Mario Kart needs to up the total to about 12, with six new ones and six retro ones to keep the mode varied and fun.  Maybe even split them into cups like the tracks are, with the first set of four arenas being the easy/basic ones, the next ones being harder and the final ones being for experts.

2. Have more interesting arenas

But with that said, it still doesn’t get you interesting battle arenas.  Why bother if they’re going to all be as boring as much of the arenas from Double Dash, or Wii or Mario Kart 7?  Instead, here are some ideas which I think could be interesting:

Luigi’s Mansion

A large arena based loosely around the location from the Gamecube game, which would allow about 20 players to be involved in the same battle.  It’d have a few different areas, such as the graveyard and front/back gardens of the mansion, the first, second and third floors and various obstacles to avoid like ghosts.

Of course, it wouldn’t be as large as the eponymous mansion from the original game, just about 10 rooms and a fairly decent sized exterior where you got to explore some of the grounds and race across the balcony and rooftop.  There would also be various glider pads, ramps and updrafts, and you could enter or exit the mansion through things like broken windows.

Ricco Harbour

That harbour with multiple levels of girders and metal beams from Super Mario Sunshine.  It’s nowhere near as big as in game, so everything would be much closer together and you could literally jump via ramps from one bit of walkway to any other. But the interesting part of this arena isn’t ‘floor area’, it’s height. While the area itself would be about the size of Delfino Pier:

Height wise it’s much bigger, with about six floors. Namely underwater/sea level, to show off underwater mechanics…

Dockside/ground level, which is pretty open and flat. Also, has some boats you can drive on.

Rooftop/girder level 1, which includes some metal beams and platforms as well as building rooftops.

Girder level 2, more beams and platforms above the other levels

Girder level 3, even more beams and platforms above the other four levels of floor.

Another level, some metal platforms from fruit adventure, giant cage and glider ramps.

Bob-omb Battlefield

You know the place, the first level from Super Mario 64. However, it’s a bit different, because:

It’s now about half the size, with the areas of the level much closer together, making for a more interesting battle (still has a lot of open space though). All enemies bar the Chain Chomp, rolling cannonballs and maybe another type have been removed, as have all the cannons and breakable boxes.

There’s also a glider ramp on the floating island.

Bowser’s Castle

Based on Bowser’s Castle from Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, it’s a pretty large (although not large enough for 12 or 16 players) castle level with lots of lava, traps and other Bowser like things.

You only ever explore the interior of the castle, so there’s none of this silly ‘lava filled wasteland’ stuff than all Mario Kart games from 64 onwards seem to have in Bowser’s Castle.

Layout wise, it’s as follows:

Foyer: Front part of the castle, not that big. Has three paths, one leads upstairs and around to the top of the main room, one just leads around the outside of the main room to another entrance to it. There are Bowser statues above the floor which shoot down lasers at people who approach, flipping them over like a shell and vapourising their items.

Main Room: Three story lava room, with each level getting more dangerous as you go up. Ground floor is a bunch of stone bridges and platforms over lava, medium sized but very boring. Some Podoboos to dodge. Floor 1 however is made up of narrower paths and Donut Blocks (which fall down, dropping you to the ground floor). More item boxes though, as well as good places to wait or lay traps. Finally, the top of the room has glider pads and very narrow platforms, one having a ‘Super Item Box’ (always gives a star or triple red shells). However, the Podoboos DO reach the ceiling, so you can easily get hit in mid flight and send straight down to a floor below. More risk; better reward.

Ground Floor Passage: Simple passageway like the entrance room of Bowser’s Castle from Double Dash. Thwomps line it, so you have to dodge between them when they smash down. Leads from foyer to main room/vice versa, going around the right side of the building.

Stairway Room: Absolutely lethal, dangerous room. Why? Two reasons. One, it’s like Mario Kart Wii’s main Bowser Castle room, with giant Bowser statue shooting fire down the hallway. That’s bad, because the item boxes are in the centre. It’s also more narrow. The other issue? Giant metal spikes like in Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros Wii slam into the floor in timed intervals, also near the centre and item boxes.

Honeyhive Galaxy

Part of the first planet, except fairly redesigned, without enemies bar some of those Mario 3D Land like bees and much smaller.

Imagine something a bit like that, except:

No slide, the area with the flowers is moved behind the tunnel and directly links the tunnel, the bit near the fountain and a bit near the left of the level together. No wooden building or tree top access, and with ramps and jumps leading to higher ground. Extremely peaceful, easy to play on battle arena.

SMB 1

A medium sized arena based on the NES Super Mario Bros 1, it’s about the size of a standard Mario Kart 7 arena, except with three ‘levels’, a small area underneath based on the cave levels and a small area above based on the mushroom and bridge levels.

Goombas are in this arena to make it a bit more Super Mario Bros 1 like, and the graphics style is eight bit (although the characters are normal styled)

Igloo

That place from Snowman’s Land in Super Mario 64. It’s a tiny arena, but has plenty of transparent ice walls that you can see opponents through, yet cannot pass through.

Item boxes are scattered around in the small, more open areas.

Mushroom Plains/Battle Arena Standard

Just like the battle arenas from Mario Kart Super Circuit and Super Mario Kart, a flat field with various walls to hide behind. However, it’s much smaller, so it doesn’t usually support a high number of players.

Continue Reading…

Will future eShop games also be edited like Kid Icarus?

As you may have noticed from the trailers and screenshots, Nintendo have added in all new detailed backgrounds to the 3DS version of Kid Icarus (the NES version) that’s now available on the eShop.  But what’s more interesting about this isn’t just about this one game, but the questions it raises about the classic games Nintendo is rereleasing.  Will they too be edited?

And while it’s not exactly a big change to add these backgrounds, since none of the sprite or foreground graphics themselves seem to have been changed, it could open up the possibility of lots more minor changes being made to rereleased games.  Indeed, I’d say to some degree a lot of NES and Game Boy games would be vastly improved by this kind of thing.

Take early Game Boy Color games for instance.  If they could just edit the palettes for them to make them less eye searing it’d be a real improvement, don’t you think?  Wario Land II was one of the worst games hit here, since it decided to make one whole world bright pink and purple to the point some people’s eyes likely bled after looking at the screen too long.  It wouldn’t take much effort, but if they could just tastefully tone down Syrup Castle’s colour scheme, as seen in the video, I’d definitely thank them for it:

Continue Reading…

Has Mario Kart 7 died down already?

Because only about three months after the game is out, it seems barely online on any internet forums I visit even plays the game any more. True, this kind of thing has also occurred to Super Mario 3D Land popularity wise as well as Ocarina of Time 3D before it, but both of those are single player games and by definition will get old once 100% completed.  Mario Kart 7 isn’t.

But why is this?  I’ve seen a ton of people recently say they’ve stopped playing it or get bored with the game, and heck, even the odd person comment how they’ve actually sold the game.  Well, here are my thoughts on perhaps why Mario Kart 7’s online is getting a bit quiet and why it seems the hype for the game has died down:

1. Christmas is over.  Maybe with everyone going back to work/school/university a significant amount of people have found less time to devote to playing online.  Then again, they seem to devote a decent amount of time to forums, including the one for this website, so maybe that excuse isn’t too accurate.

2. There’s a current feeling of too much randomness, maybe no metagame.  In Mario Kart DS there was ‘snaking’, in Mario Kart Wii bikes and wheelies, but there seems to nothing to keep a good player doing better than random chance to dictates here.  Maybe that’s what might have affected it.  Certainly seems time trials have lost a lot due to it.

3. Various glitches like the Wuhu Mountain Loop glitch. Perhaps people just got too fed up of the glitch abuse and moved on to something else.  But even with that, surely there have to be some new players either unaware of it or happy to keep using it, right?

Still, why do you think Mario Kart 7 seems have died off a bit recently?  Are there any reasons I missed?  And heck, since I’m a bit bored about now, if you want to race me my friend code is below:

4983-5165-4189

Could Wario Land and Yoshi’s Island be revived on 3DS?

I think so, and here are two developers I think would be up to the task for each:

1. Yoshi’s Island and GoodFeel

1. GoodFeel have a lot of experience with games with unique art styles

See above?  Those were GoodFeel’s last games, and both had a very unique art style.  Which put bluntly, is just what a Yoshi’s Island game really needs.  The original had a crayon/hand drawn style, Story had a sort of primitive pre rendered wood/fabric type style and even the worst games like Topsy Turvy looked like cardboard cut outs.  Given their expertise with unique art styles, I think GoodFeel could either mimic the SNES game’s style quite well (updating it to 3DS standards as necessary), or just come up with some beautiful hand drawn graphics like they used in Wario Land Shake It.

2. Their past games arguably worked a lot like Yoshi’s Island

Well, maybe worked a lot like may be a bit strong, but think about it.  Wario Land Shake It and Kirby’s Epic Yarn already had much of what people liked about Yoshi’s Island… large levels with plenty of room to explore, neat transformations, some clever puzzles/gimmicks of sorts that never got too much in the way of the core platforming… Heck, the 100% completion is just like Yoshi’s Island too; remember collecting five flowers, 20 red coins and 30 stars to fully complete each level?

When you add the secret levels you can unlock and such like (Yoshi’s Island’s GBA port had twelve secret/extra levels!), then I think GoodFeel could make a game that would seen as a worthy successor to Yoshi’s Island (more so than Artoon’s efforts at least).

2. Wario Land and Retro Studios

Hold on, what the heck? Yes, I do mean THAT Retro Studios, the company who made the Metroid Prime games and Donkey Kong Country Returns, and who helped out with Mario Kart 7. And surprisingly, it doesn’t seem that unlikely a combination.

First things first, it’s a surprisingly popular and important Nintendo series.  Yes, people like to mention Star Fox, F-Zero and Metroid… but Wario Land is actually a series which sells just as much as any of them.  No really, nearly every Metroid game has been outsold by at least half the Wario Land series, and a fair few of them have sold double what the typical F-Zero or Star Fox game has sold (the best selling one, the original, sold over 5 million copies worldwide, more than some Donkey Kong Country games and most of Rare’s Nintendo 64 output).  Retro Studios as a result have in my opinion a fair enough chance of getting asked to make a game in said series.  Not as much a chance as they would of making Zelda or Donkey Kong Country, but as much chance as they have of working on an F-Zero game.

That aside, here’s why I think Retro Studios could make a good Wario Land game:

1. It’s got a very ‘western’ art style.  Now, that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of quirkiness in the series and that a few Japanese things aren’t in the games, but Wario World aside the series has always shied away from the overly cartoony look found in Mario, Kirby or Yoshi’s Island.  Look at the first game a minute:

Or this level from the fourth game:

We’re definitely talking a series which would work best with 3D Donkey Kong Country Returns style graphics here, maybe even a bit of of Metroid Prime’s style would work for stuff like the factory/industrial themed levels.  And when you consider the games Retro has worked on, I think they could very, very easily make a Wario Land game which takes the style from the Game Boy Advance game and updates it to the modern day.

2. It’s a series which could potentially be extremely high selling

True, it died down a bit recently due to a string of mediocre games, but there’s definite potential for a series that could sell big in this day and age.  Think about it, 2D platformers are in vogue again with New Super Mario Bros Wii, Rayman Origins, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Sonic 4, the original game sold at Donkey Kong Country levels and anything Retro Studios touches seems to do great critically and commercially… They could both make the series relevant again and have it become another A level series.

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?  You’ll sell Metroid Prime numbers.

3. They could do absolutely anything and there wouldn’t be any expectations from fans

You know how hated the tiki tak tribe from Donkey Kong Country Returns are due to replacing the Kremlings, and how some Metroid fans were unsure of the Prime games when they were first announced?  Wario has none of that problem.

Why?  Because his games don’t have continuity.  There’s no need to bring back known characters, antagonists or items, since hardly any of the earlier games did this themselves and any fans are pretty much used to it by now.  Retro could easily start from a blank slate, come up with their own new villain, setting and items and not only would there be no fan complaints, but people would fully accept it as a Wario Land game.

And two reasons both ideas would work well

1. Both Yoshi’s Island and Wario Land rely on excellent music

And both Retro Studios and GoodFeel can come up with some great music for their games.  Wario Land’s themes were always excellent:

Even in the bad games:

As were the songs in Yoshi’s Island:

Sure, some people may argue the Donkey Kong Country Returns soundtrack doesn’t live up to David Wise’s work on the themes from the original SNES games, and that neither the Wario Land Shake It or Kirby’s Epic Yarn soundtracks are amazing, but come on, they’re better than many of the alternatives.  Can you imagine a Wario Land game with Metroid Prime or Donkey Kong Country Returns level music on 3DS?  And heck, even what GoodFeel could come up with would absolutely curb stomp the music from Yoshi’s Island DS or Topsy Turvy.  Compare:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fZ_hU0da0k

To:

Even the most die hard cynics have to admit the former is preferrable to the latter, right?

2. Both companies can make good boss battles, which Yoshi’s Island and Wario Land need

Look at one of the bosses from Wario Land 4, as well as one from Yoshi’s Island:

Pretty nice boss fights, aren’t they?  And that’s why I think the companies I mentioned could handle each series well, because they really do know how to make decent boss battles.  Sure, some of the Donkey Kong Country Returns foes didn’t have as good a design as those in the SNES originals, but the fights themselves were excellent fun, varied, had great music and just felt unique (maybe except Tiki Tong ironically enough).

As were the bosses in Kirby’s Epic Yarn.  Look at the final one for example:

With bosses like that in the next Wario Land and Yoshi’s Island games, what could possibly go wrong?  Nothing I say.

So, that’s who I think should make the next games in said series on 3DS, what do you think?