Welcome to a new feature on Toad’s Castle called Toad’s Castle News. A schedule hasn’t been decided upon yet, but you might expect either one or two entries each month and of varying length permitting on what Nintendo is throwing our way. For the first release, supertoad and I thought it would be appropriate to cover Nintendo’s presentation at E3, or rather, its equivalent, since they technically skipped E3 2016 and held a couple of Treehouse Live shows in its stead.
Today we’ll be covering Paper Mario: Color Splash, Mario Party Star Rush, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokémon Sun and Moon, and last, but not least, Monster Hunter Generations. Furthermore, seeing as how this is a Mario centered website, I thought it would be appropriate to both start and end with something Mario related when applicable, therefore I will be ending with an opinion piece which covers my feelings on the direction that Paper Mario: Color Splash is taking.
Paper Mario: Color Splash is the fourth sequel to Paper Mario, depending on whom you may ask, and is aiming for an October 7th, 2016 release on the Wii U. Color Splash has been the subject of some controversies and many fans have declared that it, along with Paper Mario: Sticker Star, are too far off the beaten path of what makes a Paper Mario video game. A major point of contention among fans in regards to Sticker Star was the lack of a story, Nintendo explains that Color Splash will have a story and that they have learned from the mistakes that some have perceived them of making. The story will reportedly (by Risa Tabata) be rather on the light side as opposed to the sprawling level that players were fed in the first three entries. Furthermore, the RPG elements remain removed in favor of helping differentiate it from the Mario and Luigi series. The main focus of Color Splash is now, according to Nintendo, humor and puzzles. Color Splash has a paint system which allows you to use your hammer to drain color from or to add color to objects, this will allow the player to solve puzzles.
Also of note is that the battle system is still turn based, but allows you to make use of cards that you have collected. The aforementioned cards can be ‘colored’ by the player to make them more powerful when used to attack enemies; damaged enemies will also lose color. As of now the game is completely playable from start to finish for the development team at Intelligent Systems.
The other Mario video game that was shown during the Treehouse Live, Mario Party Star Rush, is heading to the 3DS and has a projected release date of November 4th, 2016. This time around players will be able to move across the board separately, which is traditional for the series, but a departure from the last entry. However, this freedom is granted with a twist, the turn-based gameplay has been thrown away in favor of allowing players to move whenever they want and without being confined to set pathways on the game board. The main mode will allow players to play as Toad, but no one else. Instead, other characters from the Mario franchise can be recruited to your team. The game will support and launch alongside multiple new amibos such as: Wario, Waluigi, Daisy, Rosalina, Boo, Diddy Kong, and Donkey Kong.
Long anticipated by many, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is reportedly going to release sometime in 2017 for both the Wii U and the successor console codenamed NX. This entry differs in how open it is, players may not only roam the vast landscape as they please, but they may also go through the dungeons in any order, even rushing to the end boss immediately after beginning the game. The world map is approximately twelve times the size of Twilight Princess’. Also of note are the many new additions such as: various equipable shields, swords, bows, and clothes; cooking is also in so as to allow players to cook food to provide them with health. Furthermore, there is a stealth mechanic, day and night cycles, extreme temperature areas that require special attire or elixers to traverse, crafting, and weapon deterioration.
The story revolves around Link awakening from a long slumber and coming across a ruined Hyrule. An entity called Calamity Ganon was responsible for the destruction and was left virtually unchallenged as Link slumbered, however, the entity was able to be sealed within the remains of Hyrule Castle. Despite this setback, it grows in power, thus the need for Link to find a way to defeat it before it escapes its confinement and destroys the world.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild seems to be a truly ambitious step for the Zelda franchise. Here’s hoping that they deliver, especially on the 2017 release date!
Releasing for the Nintendo 3DS, World Wide on November 18th, 2016 and Europe (because it somehow isn’t part of the world) on November 23rd, 2016, is Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. This time around the versions are set in the Alola Region, a set of tropical islands which are seemingly Hawaii inspired. The starters are: Rowlett (grass-flying), Litten (fire), and Poppilo (water). A couple of features are returning which include: Petting your Pokémon with the touch screen to bond and the Poké Bank which allows users to store and transfer Pokémon across different generations. There’s also something new called Battle Royale Mode which will let players pit their Pokémon against each other in a “different kind of battle”. Details are rather scarce on Sun and Moon, but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing as it’ll keep us guessing as to what we’ll see and experience until after release.
Monster Hunter rapidly became one of the newest staples to the Nintendo family and continued to prove that it could be successful as a series, therefore it is of little surprise that a new Monster Hunter game called Monster Hunter Generations released in Japan last year and finished releasing in the other territories on the 15th of July (if only I was quicker, this news would have been relayed ahead of launch, oops). There appears to be few changes to the preexisting Monster Hunter formula; slaying monster still requires planning and gearing up. Focusing on what is new, MHG boasts a system called Hunting Arts which can provide players with different effects such as: buffs, damage boosts, and ally healing support. Arts are charged up over the course of a hunt and cannot be used a moment beforehand, but they may be used at any time after becoming fully charged.
In addition to Hunting Arts, there are also Hunting Styles. Hunting Styles adds different attack styles for weapons and guarantees that each weapon has four unique forms. There is also a new mode called Prowler Mode which enables play of a cat-like species, Felyne. Last, but not least, is the ability to transform armor pieces into new gear should one contain enough material to do so. Reviews for Monster Hunter Generations have been widely positive and the game has a Meticritic rating of 86/100. Available now, only for Nintendo 3DS!
It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of the Paper Mario games ever since I played the first one. I’ve always dug the stories, memorable and wacky characters, and the new concepts. Moments such as running away from the invincible Tubba Bubba with a gang of Boos (and later finding and putting his heat back into him so that he could be defeated), stomping my way through the Glitzville Arena, and conquering the dating game in Francis’ Fortress are among some of my best memories of video gaming as child. I was therefore aghast when I saw Paper Mario: Sticker Star was being touted as light on storytelling and with more of an emphasis on sticker collection than the traditional combat that the series offered. I watched a couple videos of gameplay and did some reading on it before deciding that I wasn’t a fan and passed on purchasing the title.
I am rather saddened by Nintendo’s decision to continue in that direction with Color Splash, though it does appear to have some newer elements. I’d normally argue that a company would do that to play it safe, but in this case I feel like Nintendo is clueless as to what fans want. In retrospect, perhaps I am clueless and simply long for a return to the old familiar grind. I fear that there may be no going back to how things were for the series as the newer games will establish their own following and fans which may be opposed to the old style, much like how I, an old time fan, am opposed to the new style. I do find a degree of joy knowing that the series continues to make Nintendo some much needed profit and continues to live on, even if only just in name.
Thanks for sticking around and reading through Toad’s Castle News: Issue 1! If you enjoyed this issue, then be sure to tune in for the next one where I do a report on the rumors surrounding the mysterious Nintendo NX!
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