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Takeaways From Nintendo’s Indie World; Lots of New Games Coming to Switch

Colin Edge

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Nintendo revealed a plethora of new games coming to the Switch in their latest “Indie World” presentation earlier this week. Often called an “Indie Direct” by Nintendo fans, the live stream showcased games from indie developers; some brand new, and some ports of classics. Several games’ release dates were announced, while others dropped the same day as the indie direct. 

Creators from around the globe were given the spotlight to pitch their games, from a skateboarding action platformer to a “3D side scroller with parkour action set in a futuristic, Tokyo-style Detroit”.

But here are a few TLDR highlights, in case you didn’t catch the direct, or just need a recap:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is arguably the biggest announcement from Indie World. Created in collaboration between Dotemu and Tribute Games, the 8-bit-inspired beat ‘em up is a brand new game, but recreates the aesthetic of the classic Turtles in Time. The trailer has been met with much buzz. Whether or not there’s a level where you’ll have to swim around to avoid deadly zapping seaweed remains unknown.

Nintendo released a same-day port of FEZ, the classic puzzle platformer from Polytron. Originally released in 2012, the game was considered by many to be the best game of that year, and hailed as an indie gem for its 2D/3D gameplay, zen-inducing simplicity, and pixelated art style. However, the game is also cursed with controversy.

FEZ’s outspoken and somewhat infamous creator, Phil Fish burned many bridges in the gaming community as a result of harsh language and derogatory remarks. Thus, with the release of the new port comes renewed conversation surrounding Fish’s reputation. As great as FEZ is, some are boycotting the re-release so as not to financially benefit its notorious developer. Perhaps Fish’s reputation is also why FEZ wasn’t given a spotlight in Indie World, but buried within Nintendo’s sizzle reel at the end.

Another takeaway from the indie direct was the overarching trend of nostalgia in these games. Between sequels coming 30 years after the original, like GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon, FEZ/TMNT, and even the ‘80s/’90s reminiscent texture of new games like Aztech Forgotten Gods and Road 96, it’s clear that retro is a strong theme in this batch of indies. New IPs like the space-themed UK title Last Stop seem to stand out from the otherwise throwback-heavy lineup.

Different kinds of gamers are naturally more excited about different games from the indie direct. One thing we can all agree on: we’re happy to have so many new releases coming to the Switch.

I’m a writer and creative professional who loves pop culture, music, games, and anything else that allows people to express themselves and share their passion.

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Nintendo to Boost Switch Output

Colin Edge

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Nintendo plans to ramp up Switch output to 30 million units this fiscal year, according to Nikkei Asia

This robust production outlook comes as Nintendo’s handheld/dockable console strives to meet rising demand, due to the prevalence of at-home gameplay connected to the pandemic. It seems that, even as vaccines are distributed and public life is slowly reopening, the increased time people spent in their houses and apartments over the last year made Nintendo fans out of many.

Nintendo, like many tech/auto manufacturers, is working around a worldwide semiconductor shortage. The gaming giant’s president Shuntaro Furukawa said in February that the company has secured enough supplies for the immediate future, but could still run out towards the end of the year, especially in Japan. 

Despite this setback, Nintendo has approached several parts suppliers to speed up output.

The decision to boost production for the 4-year-old console is a curious move, considering recent competition from the newly released PS5 and Xbox Series X. It also raises questions about the rumored “Switch Pro.” If Nintendo has an updated console in the works to compete with these new releases from competitors, why would it raise output of the current model? 

President Furukawa reaffirmed Nintendo’s belief that the current Switch is in “the middle of the Switch’s lifecycle.” The choice to boost production certainly seems to support that outlook.

Perhaps Nintendo believes it can walk and chew gum at the same time. Predictions regarding the Switch Pro still circulate, with spring 2022 being the latest speculated release window. Nintendo may plan to capitalize on sales of the Switch and also release the Switch Pro early next year.

If the Switch reaches the projected 30m units sold this year, it will hit roughly 110 million total sales. That number would surpass those of the Wii, released in 2012, and make the Switch Nintendo’s highest-selling console ever. 

With blockbuster games coming down the pike like a Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel and Metroid Prime 4, and New Pokémon Snap having just dropped on the console, Nintendo seems to have a bolstered sense of confidence in the Switch’s ability to perform. 

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New Pokémon Snap Doesn’t Disappoint, But Feels Repetitive (Review)

Colin Edge

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After 22 years and much demand from devoted fans, Pokémon Snap is finally back, by way of New Pokémon Snap. This game isn’t a reboot, but a completely new adventure from Bandai Namco. While New Pokémon Snap is not disappointing (especially for nostalgic fans of the original), it may not be for everyone.

The last Snap came out in 1999 on Nintendo 64. Both the old and new Snap games involve on-rails exploration of natural landscapes to snap the best pictures of Pokémon you possibly can. In the new version, your photos are graded by the significantly kinder Professor Mirror, rather than Professor Oak from the classic.

Apples are now called Fluffruit, used to throw at Pokémon to coax them into the perfect pose, or just to see what they’ll do. And the Pokéflute is now called Melody, used to awaken Pokémon from sleep or inspire them to dance a jig. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

One definite upgrade from the original Snap is the volume of mons and gameplay length. To be clear, it’s still a relatively short game. But the ‘99 game infamously left us wanting more. New Pokémon Snap boasts over 200 Pokémon, compiled from every generation of the series. It’s like a greatest-hits compilation album. 

There are also more stages to explore as you ride Neo One through the Lental region, and many courses are different in day/night versions, offering variation in types of mons to capture and ways to capture them. And now, you can even print polaroid-style photos of your snaps with Fujifilm’s new printer.

The highlight of the game is the modern, stunning graphic design of the Pokémon. With the exception of a very few frame rate lags when the Switch’s hardware can’t keep up (I’m looking at you, Wailord), the graphics in the game are gorgeous. The Pokémon are undoubtedly stars of this show. 

Meganium at night is breathtaking, and Pichu is adorable as ever. 

With believable accompanying sound design, the experience is immersive and adds to Pokémons’ charm. If you are a fan of the Pokémon themselves as natural, living creatures, you will absolutely love this game. But if you’re not a fan of repetition, you may not love it.

The game’s plot is almost nonexistent. While a loose story attempts to glue together the disparate plot elements of the game, it does so somewhat left-footedly. The voice acting segments from Professor Mirror were well-portrayed, and more voice acted scenes could have helped create a deeper story. 

And not to pick on the good professor excessively, but the star system for rating snaps is dodgy. He doesn’t always see a four-star photo when it’s right in front of him, prompting onerous runs through courses to take a snap to his liking.

But what some find boring, others find therapeutic. The game is chill, and takes you to another reality that’s much more zen than our own. New Pokémon Snap is ideal for die-hard Pokémon fans, kids, and gamers who like to zone out and do the same thing over and over. If you’re not in that category, you may want to save your $60 and try the game after the price has dropped, or when it goes on sale.

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What Monolith Soft’s Expansion Could Mean For a Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel

Colin Edge

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Monolith Soft, a Nintendo-owned developer out of Japan, is adding about 40 new jobs, as reported by VGC. The company announced a “large expansion” of their Kyoto team, including 5 roles specifically listed for the “Legend of Zelda series,” which we can assume to mean Breath of the Wild 2 (speculative title).

While Monolith is primarily known for its widely celebrated Xenoblade RPG series, their work with Nintendo has also been substantial. Besides collaborating on Splatoon 2 and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the growing game company made a significant contribution to Breath of the Wild. 

An expansion of staff could simply mean the company is growing in general, but there’s reason for excitement among Zelda fans. This growth could reflect the production scale and/or timeline of the Breath of the Wild sequel.

Winning multiple awards and massive critical acclaim, Zelda: Breath of the Wild released back in 2017, concurrent with the release of the Nintendo Switch. A sequel was announced with a trailer at an E3 Nintendo Direct in 2019, but updates have been few and far between since then.

As the trailer shows Link and Zelda in action together, many fans of the franchise are hoping for playability as Zelda, or even co-op play with both characters (i.e. an ideal husband/wife gaming experience). Nintendo hasn’t confirmed any gameplay details thus far.

Monolith’s announcement could speak volumes about the quality of the next Zelda game, as it seems to be devoting ample personnel to the project. It may or may not mean the game is coming any sooner than expected. 

Speculation about the arrival of the sequel ranges from this Christmas to spring 2022, with no official release date announced yet. BotW rumors seem joined at the hip to those of the “Switch Pro.” Since the first Switch arrived with the first BotW, it would be fitting for the next generations of the console and game to drop at the same time as well. 

After waiting almost two years for a sequel, news like this from Monolith can’t help but to pique the interest of impatient Zelda fans the world over.

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