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Monday, March 27, 2023
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Monday, March 27, 2023
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    New year, new games

    Danial Norjidi

    The first Nintendo Direct presentation of 2023 was livestreamed on February 8, with a particular focus on reveals and updates for Nintendo Switch games set to launch in the first half of the year.

    Getting the ball rolling was the reveal of new trailer and a July 21 release date for Pikmin 4, a real-time strategy game featuring small, plant-like creatures called Pikmin that the player can grow, pluck, command, and overpower their enemies with.

    Next up was Volume 3 of the Expansion Pass DLC (downloadable content) for role-playing game Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which introduces Masha, the newest hero and a refined lapidarist who can use special ore to craft accessories that can bestow various effects.

    Launching on February 15, the DLC also adds challenge battles with rogue-like elements, along with special outfits as rewards.

    Sega title Samba de Amigo: Party Central was also announced for a summer 2023 release. This rhythm action game sees the player use their Joy-Con controllers and gently shake them like maracas to match the targets on-screen during a song, while also following instructions to pose and dance.

    Pikmin 4. PHOTOS: NINTENDO
    Disney Illusion Island
    ABOVE & BELOW: Octopath Traveler II; and Sea of Stars. PHOTOS: ACQUIRE Corp & SABOTAGE

    Another 2023 release will be Fashion Dreamer by Xseed Games. This upcoming lifestyle game sees the player aim to become a stylish influencer, entering “a virtual world of fashion fantasies made real, where coordination and communication mix like never before”.

    Focus then shifted to new DLC for rogue-lite action-platformer Dead Cells. Titled Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, this expansion releases on March 6 and sees characters and the gothic setting from the iconic Castlevania meet the fast-paced combat of Dead Cells.

    Meanwhile, launching first for consoles on Switch this April is Tron: Identity, a narrative puzzle adventure set in the Tron universe, in which players “uncover dangerous truths and retrieve what was lost as you navigate through a perilous world. Your decisions and the alliances you forge will impact your journey and the entire server”.

    Slated for a summer release this year is puzzle-solving mystery adventure Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Created by Shu Takumi, the creator of the Ace Attorney series, this upcoming title is a HD remaster of the original 2010 release.

    Crime-suspense role-playing game DecaPolice will also be releasing this year. Described as “a mysterious detective story with investigations in a virtual world”, this title centres on a rookie detective named Harvard who “hunts down criminals in a huge open-world crime-ridden city, travelling back and forth between physical and virtual reality”.

    Action-adventure title Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon arrives on Switch on March 17. The game is described by Nintendo as “a new take on the Bayonetta series starring Cereza, a young apprentice witch before she would come to be called Bayonetta”.

    The presentation then proceeded to introduce the Expansion Pass for third-person action shooter Splatoon 3. This paid DLC includes two waves of content. The first launches spring 2023 and is called Inkopolis, featuring the location of the same name from the first Splatoon game, while the second is called Side Order, which features a new single-player campaign and is set for a future release.

    Adventure platformer Disney Illusion Island is set for release on July 28. Playable solo or in co-op for up to four player, this title follows “Mickey & Friends on a quest to explore the mysterious island of Monoth and recover three mystical books to save the world from disaster”.

    The Expansion Pass DLC for recently released strategy role-playing game Fire Emblem Engage was next, with a trailer on new emblems that will be added through the Expansion’s second and third waves, as well as a new story called ‘Fell Xenologue’ that will be unlocked in Wave 4.

    Making its way to the Switch in June this year is Harmony: The Fall of Reverie, a narrative adventure game which sees the player “harness your divine gift of clairvoyance to travel between worlds, see the future and decide humanity’s fate”.

    Also announced was the immediate availability of a demo for Square Enix’s upcoming role-playing game Octopath Traveler II, a sequel to 2019’s Octopath Traveler. Players will be able to transfer save data from the demo to the game once purchased after it releases on February 24.

    Third-person puzzle-action title We Love Katamari Reroll+ Royal Reverie, a re-master of 2005’s We Love Katamari that also features five new challenges and a selfie mode, releases on June 2.

    In addition, the Direct announced that a demo is now available for Sea of Stars, an upcoming turn-based role-playing game from Sabotage Studio scheduled for release on August 29 in which players “freely traverse a breathtaking world, meet characters from all walks of life and devastate foes with timed attacks in battle”.

    Free-to-play online multi-player game Omega Strikers was next to be shown, along with an April 27 release date. As described by publisher Odyssey Interactive, “Smash opponents off the arena and score goals in this lightning-fast 3v3 footbrawler. Sling slimes, toss tofu, and rocket boost to victory as one of 15+ stylish Strikers”.

    The presentation continued with a trailer for Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection, which compiles “re-masters of three timeless adventures that inspire players to go on a journey of discovery, mapping deep dungeons, and building customised parties for exploring and engaging in tactical combat.” Releasing June 1, the title features touch screen mapping functionality for the Switch, newly re-mastered graphics, a re-mastered soundtrack and quality of life improvements including difficulty selection and save slots.

    A trailer for turn-based strategy game Advanced Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp then followed.

    Releasing on April 21, the game sees players “move land, air, and naval units across the game map”, while also calling upon the assistance of commanding officers who each have their own specialties and powerful abilities.

    Also revealed was a new epilogue for upcoming platform title Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Titled Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler, the epilogue will be available after clearing the story mode for the game, which is a remake of 2011’s Kirby’s Return to Dream Land. Set for release on February 24, Deluxe also now has a specially arranged demo available with select stages and sub games for up to four players.

    A notable announcement was that Game Boy games are coming to Nintendo Switch Online.

    Games that will be available at launch include: Tetris; Super Mario Land 2 – 6 Golden Coins; The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX; Gargoyle’s Quest; Game & Watch Gallery 3; Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare; Metroid II – Return of Samus; Wario Land 3; and Kirby’s Dream Land. More titles will be added in the future. Players can use the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket or Game Boy Color screen filters, and up to two players can play compatible games together locally or online.

    In addition, Game Boy Advance (GBA) games are coming to the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. GBA titles that will be available at launch are: Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3; WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgames; Kuru Kuru Kururin; Mario Kart: Super Circuit; Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga; The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. This library will also see more titles added in the future. Local and online play is supported for compatible games and up to four players can play together.

    Metroid Prime Remastered was then announced. A first-person shooter originally released on the GameCube, this remaster features revamped visuals and sound, new and classic controls, multiple difficulty options and bonus content. The digital version of the game is available now, while the physical version launches February 22.

    The Direct proceeded with a trailer for Master Detective Archives: Rain Code. Releasing June 30, this action-adventure game centres on Yuma, “an amnesiac detective-in-training”, and Shinigami, “the spirit haunting him”, as they tackle unsolved mysteries, working with master detectives with supernatural abilities from the World Detective Organization, a group dedicated to solving cases.

    Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster was also announced for a summer 2023 release. This re-mastered collection compiles both Baten Kaitos role-playing games originally released on the GameCube. As described in the presentation, “After a long and peaceful era on the floating islands above Earth, the Empire’s conspiracy looms closer. As spirits dwelling within the protagonists, you’ll stand up to the Empire across two different eras of war.”

    This year will also see the release of Fantasy Life: The Girl Who Steal Time. As publisher Level-5 described, “Begin a fantastic life on a ruined island, and embark on a great adventure into the past. Gather friends, craft, and build your own city.”

    Professor Layton and The New World of Steam was then announced without a release date. According to Nintendo, “Solve epic riddles as you progress through the story of this puzzle/fantasy adventure.”

    Next was a segment on the fourth wave of the Booster Course Pass DLC of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, highlighting a new course – ‘Yoshi’s Island’ – as well as the character Birdo. Wave 4 arrives in spring 2023.

    A montage of trailers then ensued, featuring the following titles and release dates: sports title WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros, available now; artistic cooperative adventure Blanc, February 14; role-playing game Tales of Symphonia Remastered, February 17; 2D action rogue-like Have a Nice Death, March 22; tactical role-playing compilation Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection, April 14; action strategy title Minecraft Legends, April 18; as well as a new realm update for Disney Dreamlight Valley releasing in April this year.

    To close out the Direct, Nintendo unveiled a new trailer for the highly anticipated upcoming open world adventure game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Set for release on May 12, Tears of the Kingdom is described as “an epic adventure across the land and skies of Hyrule”.

    According to Nintendo, this sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sees the player decide their own path through the sprawling landscapes of Hyrule and the mysterious islands floating in the vast skies above. The game will see players “harness the power of Link’s new abilities to fight back against the malevolent forces that threaten the kingdom”.

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