Nintendo's 3DS Lineup: Zelda, Star Fox And Mario
Despite a slow start, the publisher has big things in store for its newest handheld.
Compared to previous system launches, the 3DS first party lineup was a little weak. Pilotwings Resort was fun, and we spent several hours scratching puppies and kittens in Nintendogs + Cats, but Nintendo's so good that we hold the publisher to a higher standard. After all, this is the same company that delivered Tetris and Super Mario Land for the original Game Boy launch, Super Mario Advance and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity for the Game Boy Advance debut and then Super Mario 64 for the DS.
In other words, we expected better. Consumers seemingly agreed, as sales fell below Mario and Co.'s expectations.
That said, bigger games are on the way, so if you're on the fence about purchasing a 3DS, the handheld's future lineup should convince you to pick one up.
Here's what Nintendo plans to release...
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (June 19, 2011)
You've probably enjoyed this timeless classic on N64, GameCube and/or Wii, but the 3DS version should be the best. Although the core adventure remains the same, as Link sets off through Hyrule to defeat Ganondorf, the game sports a plethora of new features, including re-mastered visuals, gyroscope support, a user-friendly inventory system and the inclusion of the Master Quest. Bottom line, you cannot own a 3DS without this game.
Star Fox 64 3D (July 14 in Japan)
Much like Ocarina, this beloved N64 shooter received a much-needed makeover. Expect enhanced graphics, the option to control Fox McCloud's Arwing via gyroscope and four-person multiplayer support, though it's offline only. That, however, shouldn't stop you from enjoying one of Nintendo's greatest video games. Do a barrel roll!
[Editor's Note: We expect Nintendo to announce a U.S. date/launch window next week.]
Kid Icarus: Uprising (2011)
We still can't believe it's taken Nintendo 20 years to release a new Kid Icarus, but as the old saying goes, better late than never. With Uprising, you'll take control of Pit as the angelic and winged protagonist battles Medusa and her minions, both on the ground and in the air via thrilling on-rails segments. With three unique weapons, hordes of monsters and sweet graphics, this should quickly become one of the 3DS' best titles.
Super Mario 3D (2011)
A Nintendo system cannot exist without a healthy dose of Mario, and Nintendo has big plans for its mustachioed plumber. First up is a brand new entry in the franchise that may incorporate the raccoon suit from Super Mario Bros. 3 while borrowing elements from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. That's about all we know, but expect plenty of info during next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
Mario Kart 3DS (2011/2012)
If you prefer racing games, Nintendo has you covered with a new entry in the celebrated Mario Kart franchise, complete with 60 frames per second play (making this the fastest portable game in the series), online play and a bunch of cool special effects made possible with glasses free 3D. Bells and whistles aside, you can still hit opponents with green turtle shells.
Paper Mario 3DS (???)
Personally, we think it's a bit strange that Nintendo plans to bring Paper Mario to a handheld system, largely because the series usually resides on a console while Mario & Luigi get into trouble on the portables. But hey, we can't complain when the game looks this good. Not much is known about it, but you can bet on a battle system featuring timed button presses and over the top (and hilarious) dialogue.
Animal Crossing (???)
If fighting creatures and piloting a ship stress you out, kick back and relax with Animal Crossing 3DS. Nintendo refuses to comment on this game, though we know you play as a mayor of a town full of talking animals.