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This Week in Games – Elephantitis, Don’t Even Get Me Started

Welcome back, everyone! Things are nice and cozy as summer rolls along. I even had time to play a little Xenoblade Chronicles 3, though it’s mostly exploration. Now that a big reveal has been cleared, I wanted to go back and fill out more of the map. It was a busy month, though, as I worked through three game reviews. I’m happy to say my early misgivings about Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! were wrong. They might have the auditory feedback wrong, but the fanservice?

… Yeah, safe to say Taito won me over.

This is…

Before We Begin…

I had the pleasure of covering the Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life remake for ANN. Our review for the game went up earlier this week. It was a delightful experience, covering A Wonderful Life, as with any of the Story of Seasons or Rune Factory titles. A Wonderful Life is a special case, as the game revolves around living your life: falling in love, getting married, having kids, and watching them grow up. It’s one thing to play through all that as a kid, but this will hit harder with folks nowadays, with all of us twenty years older.

Maximilian_Dood is best known for his fighting game coverage, but he’s also a massive fan of Final Fantasy VII. During one of his playthroughs of Final Fantasy VII: Remake, he had an adorable moment while playing through the scene where Avalanche returns to Tifa’s Seventh Heaven after the initial bomb run. Marlene runs to Barrett, shouting, “Daddy~!”. Max’s daughter, Ripley, had just been born a few months earlier. As he composed himself, Max said, “Things are different now, chat!”. More and more gamers are getting older, and while not every game has these explicit moments of characters interacting with their families, a lot of older games will likely hit differently as many of us get older and start families of our own. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride is a great example and one you should try out now.

This is all in my head because one of my comments from my review for A Wonderful Life comes from reader Aura Ichidora, who had a very heartwarming account of playing the original A Wonderful Life with their belated mother. My first friend in middle school, Kevin, was also really into A Wonderful Life; I’ve sadly fallen out of touch with him, especially after leaving Puerto Rico. We’ve all grown a lot, and many of these games will mean different things to us as we get older. We talk a lot about games being “good” in some arbitrary sense, but we tend to forget that some games stick with us in many ways. (Case in point, any time you guys see me carrying on about Boktai or Izuna the Unemployed Ninja.) I don’t think of this as “Oh god, I’m old now, waaaaah,” because as Prince once put it, what’s the use in being young if you ain’t gonna get old? I think of this as us learning more about ourselves. It’s like how you can fall in love with someone you already love all over again after years of thinking you had them figured out. Maybe you’ll find yourself caring less about a game as time passes; you will come around to understanding its charms after a second look. But we’re all the better for having those special titles we keep close to us, revisiting them occasionally and always rediscovering why we love them.

Aura is very fortunate to have had their experience with their mother over A Wonderful Life. I’m lucky to have had the experiences I had with my buddy Gerald bonding over the Crossover Battles between Boktai 2 and Mega Man Battle Network 4. There may be some memory involving games you keep close to yourself. But that goes to show: these games are special, and they are a big part of who we become. We can only be so lucky to share this with the people around us.

Okay. Now, let’s talk news.

Square Enix Re-Releases Chocobo GP As A Full Game, Like They Should Have Done In The First Place

It’s a sad time for many mobile games or “live-service” games—because the chickens are coming to roost and many are shutting down. The sad part of this story is that many of them are rather good for what they are, so fans are stuck tearfully bidding farewell to games like Dragalia Lost (which deserved better). The good news is, however, that we might be at the beginning of a new trend of these old “live-service” games getting repackaged online as whole titles with the microtransactions yanked out. Last week, we covered the case of Mega Man X DiVE as a tidbit; while the PC version and the Asian servers are going dark, it’s getting a second chance as Mega Man X DiVE Offline, which will let players play the game and unlock all of the in-game characters via in-game means. It won’t have any special collab characters, so unfortunately, we won’t see the Monster Hunter-themed characters. However, any of the other event characters, like the Summer Festival or the Halloween variants, are fair game. And even though the online version of the game is still going in the US, the Offline version is slated for launch in the US later this year!

So with that said: hoo boy, last year was pretty bad for Square Enix‘s attempts at launching live-service games. They had three high-profile failures: Babylon’s Fall, Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, and Chocobo GP. Babylon’s Fall was dead on arrival; it was never going to last long. Unfortunately, Platinum Games was involved with that mess, so, uh, so much for the whole “platinum never tarnishes” thing (though I hear Bayonetta fans also have umbrage with that these days). Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was Square’s attempt at launching their own version of Fortnite. It was a decent idea, but ultimately one that was dead in the water; who would have thought that Final Fantasy VII fans weren’t interested in battle-royale games?

Chocobo GP was the real tragedy in that list because it was a pretty solid game. A sequel to the beloved Chocobo Racing series (and possibly the Chocobo’s Dungeon, if only in tone and aesthetic), it was an adorable and competent kart racer that also allowed you to unlock and play as cute cartoony versions of Moogles or even Medeus and his half-Esper daughter Terra from Final Fantasy VI. It would have been the perfect kart racer for kids. I say “would have” because Square absolutely murdered the game with a horrible microtransaction system. After purchasing the title for $50, players could look forward to spending another $8 for a tiered battle pass. And if you wanted to earn the exclusive cameo characters like Cloud Strife, good luck: even after winning an entire tournament, you still wouldn’t have the experience necessary to unlock him: you’d have to buy in-game premium currencies (Mythril) to buy him outright. All this for a game that is ostensibly aimed at kids… and was retailing for $50. (There was a free “Lite” version with even fewer options and features.)

Square Enix famously apologized to fans when they cried foul, but the damage was done, and Chocobo GP died out within nine months of its March 2022 release. Thankfully, Square Enix is showing a rare bit of self-reflection: Chocobo GP is back up on the Nintendo eShop—with all of the content available for unlocking, and without microtransactions.

Anyone who’s already played the old version of the game can upgrade to the current version, so anything you’ve already unlocked should, to my understanding, still be in your file once you upgrade. It’s a rare bit of goodwill from Square Enix, and I’d like to think that their eating crow on three live-service games in one year gave them a bit of humility. I say, “I’d like to think,” because Square Enix hasn’t made any official announcements about the title at the time of writing. I found out about this because one of the Twitter accounts I follow that gives folks a heads-up on game sales put out the word about this earlier this week. Regardless: Chocobo GP is a fairly simple racing game, but it is a fun one with tons of Final Fantasy fanservice, and it’s a game you can enjoy with the children in your life. And now that it’s an actual game and not a bloody skinner box that requires you to make it a job in your daily life, it’s quite good. Give it a look. Just be warned that the menu theme is a total earworm. (Also, Christina Valenzuela voices the Moogle Racing Hero X, making him the best character.)

We can only hope that as time goes by, more and more games under the “live-service” umbrella are given “offline” versions after-the-fact so that fans can continue to enjoy them.

Yes, Virginia, We Remembered Metaphor: ReFantazio

We covered Atlus‘s upcoming Persona 3 Reloaded last week; I mainly focused on discussing that on the Atlus side, partly because I had words to share about Persona 3, but partly because it was a big deal. Atlus also announced a new RPG series coming soon—and unlike what I mistakenly said about Persona 3 Reloaded, Hashino actually is directing this one through his Studio Zero. This is Metaphor: ReFantazio.

This game has been a long time coming; it was originally announced as “PROJECT Re FANTASY” six years ago. Heck, Atlus was priming it as early as 2018 with special DLC character profile pictures in Etrian Odyssey Nexus. I can only imagine the Pan-Demi Lovato threw a spanner into its development. But it’s here now! And… wow, it really looks like a fantasy game made by Hashino. Hashino was also the director and planning director for Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and my beloved Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (Avatar Tuner, if you want to be pedantic), and a ton of Metaphor: ReFantazio seems to feed into the general design of those games. The menus and battle menu are almost one-to-one with Persona, down to the protagonist looking like Persona 3‘s protagonist with Nocturne‘s Fairy as a familiar. It even looks like the battle system uses Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga‘s Press Turn system. For reference: where latter-day Persona games use the “One More” system where attacking enemies with attacks they’re weak against grants you “one more” turn for free, opening the possibility for All-Out Attacks once the enemy party has been downed. The Press Turn system also depends on hitting enemy weaknesses. Still, instead of earning a potentially-endless amount of free turns, your party can only double the actions they take during one turn at most. What’s more, hitting enemies with attacks they’re resistant to or immune to drains you of potential actions, ending your turn and letting enemies take potshots at you. It’s prolonged, deliberate, and puts a ton of strategy on skill development: you constantly need to swap your equipped skills to best take advantage of the enemies you encounter.

I’m not comparing Metaphor: ReFantazio to Shin Megami Tensei out of some disparagement; this is just the kind of game Hashino and company are used to making. And hey, if you have a formula that works, keep at it. Metaphor: ReFantazio is leaning more into the kind of typical “fantasy” aesthetic (as the title implies). Very little is known about the story or characters so far; Hashino explained a bit more about the game on the 20th, mentioning that it is hoped that the Metaphor series can become a “third pillar” for Atlus, alongside Persona and Shin Megami Tensei. Me, I would try to find a way to make Etrian Odyssey that “third pillar” (especially since Atlus seemingly figured out how to make those games work outside of the Nintendo DS); what does it say when one of your pillars is a spin-off of the other, and the “third” is just a different coat of paint?

But that’s just me snarking. The real question will be whether they can rein in Hashino’s way of writing. The Persona games, as we’ve mentioned, all suffer in their way of trying to talk about “misfits” while also deciding that conforming to what grown-ups expect of you is radical—also, they sure do like their uncomfortable gay- and trans-panic jokes. Digital Devil Saga and Nocturne mostly avoided this; here’s hoping having a game that’s less about Living In A Society™ means Hashino doesn’t have to show off more of his inability to write women.

For all my snark, I’m interested in Metaphor: ReFantazio, and I’m looking forward to it. Digital Devil Saga is very near and dear to my heart (hey Atlus, how’s about remastering it next?), so if it can channel those vibes along with some of Nocturne‘s tone for mood and flavor, you might have a game that can be far more than just “Fantasy Persona.” So here’s hoping. Don’t mess this up, Hashino. Metaphor: ReFantazio was originally announced for Xbox Series X|S and Windows platforms, but it’ll also be coming out for PS4, PS5, and Steam. We’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Nintendo Direct June 2023

Ah, yes, the Nintendo Direct! Earlier this week, Nintendo dropped another one of their big streams where they announced all of their upcoming titles. There was no Metroid Prime 4 news, so into the bin it goes!

… Aaaand with all of the annoying people taken care of—wait, hang on, no Silksong news, no Mother 3 news… okay, now all the annoying people have left, we can discuss the Direct. It was a pretty big one this time! There was a lot of trepidation going into it because, among fans, the prevailing thought was, “Nintendo just has Pikmin 4 coming up, what else could they possibly talk about for 40 minutes?” You’d think after all this time, people would catch on that Nintendo always has surprises up their sleeve. You’d think. It might not be news people want or expect, but that’s why it’s a “surprise.” The Big N has always played its cards close to its chest; this is why they were able to make announcements like the Metroid Prime Remaster being available the very same day of its announcement. So let’s explore what we’ve got coming in the pipes!

First, we had some sizzle reels for both of the upcoming DLC stories for Pokémon Scarlet/Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero. This DLC comes in two parts. Part 1 is titled The Teal Mask and takes place in Kitakami. Part 2, titled The Indigo Disk, takes place at Blueberry Academy and its massive four-environment-encompassing Terrarium. Both will involve a new pair of trainers to meet: Carmine and her younger brother Kieran. Beyond that, little else has been announced; The Teal Mask is due for release this autumn, while The Indigo Disk drops this winter. There was some news on a corresponding in-game event where players can get a special chest variant of Gimmighoul. I still think The Teal Mask is heavily inspired by the “Momotaros”-themed Avataro Sentai Donbrothers having been such a big smash-hit series in Japan (even though Tanabata-themed festivals are no stranger in Japanese games—case in point, Majora’s Mask). This isn’t a bad thing—it’s nice to see a return to Japanese folklore for the Pokémon universe. It’s nice that GAME FREAK has tried to make the series with a much more “global” focus, hence why all of the regions from Unova onwards have been based on foreign locales like New York, Paris, the United Kingdom, and Hawai’i. Fingers crossed, we get a region based on the Caribbean or the Middle East! But it’s easy to forget that so much of Gens 1 through 4 were painfully based on Japan: the fictional in-universe currency is based on Yen (so each Pokéball runs a kid about $2, which is perfectly affordable for your average 10-year-old), and the early regions were based on Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa, and Hokkaido. I feel like this is a return to Pokémon‘s roots, in a way. I might pick up Scarlet/Violet just for the DLC.

In other Pokémon-related news, we have an old friend returning! Nintendo 3DS veterans might remember , a charming kid-oriented mystery game where players helped a gruff-voiced Pikachu. It was eventually spun off into a fantastic feature film starring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith. Unfortunately, —the game—was allowed to languish. Thankfully, we’re finally getting a sequel! Returns reunites with his human partner, Tim Goodman; what they’ll be solving is currently under wraps. But hey, glad to see Pikachu back. Kaiji Tang still voices him! Glad to hear him back.

A Silent Hope was up next, and… I feel like somewhere along the way, it was supposed to be a Rune Factory game? Like, it presents itself as an action RPG, but you can’t fool me—those are Story of Seasons cows in that trailer! Those are Story of Seasons turnips! You can harvest crops and cook meals! I might be a relative Johnny-come-lately, but I know a Rune Factory game when I see one, Xseed! Still, I understand why they might have cut this loose from the Rune Factory branding; the story’s tone doesn’t fit with the rest of the games. A Silent Hope is about a group of adventurers tasked by a princess encased in a crystal made of her tears to save their kingdom, which was cursed into silence by her father, the King. Players will control one of seven characters as they swap between forging weapons, preparing crops and meals at their farm, and exploring The Abyss, a sprawling pit loaded with monsters. I’m always down for a fresh take on Rune Factory, so if this game focuses more on the RPG aspects than the socializing, then I’m down for trying it out. It comes out this October 3rd; I’m already itching to play it. I hope I get to cover it…!

Eeeeeeeeeeee~! A few columns back, we went over the Dragon Quest Monsters games, courtesy of a video Square Enix put out in honor of the spin-off’s 25th anniversary. There were also rumblings of a new Dragon Quest Monsters game coming to the US. I had theorized that the new one might take a page from the original Dragon Quest Monsters or Dragon Quest Monsters Caravan and feature a younger version of one of the series heroes—specifically, the hero from Dragon Quest VIII. (Because he had a pet mouse, see?) It turns out I was wrong by four games. I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince will be a new Dragon Quest Monsters game that, indeed, features a younger version of an early Dragon Quest character, serving as a prequel to the game. But it’s not one of the heroes—it’s for the game’s big bad. The Dark Prince stars a young Psaro the Manslayer, the misanthropic elf who would someday seek out the Secret of Evolution to become a monster terrible enough to stamp out humanity. It’s easy to call Psaro a proto-Sephiroth since he’s pretty much the guy down to the long white hair. But Psaro debuted years earlier in Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. His is a tragic story: throughout the game, we learn his anger towards humanity was because he was in love with the elf Rose, who was hounded and abused by humans for her ability to shed tears made of rubies. This game seemingly has Psaro in his younger days as he tries to protect Rose, facing off against hordes of monsters yet finding himself cursed into being unable to fight them in the first place. So the game is on for Psaro to tame monsters, breed them into their most-powerful forms, and hopefully break his curse!

This has a ton of fanservice potential. As mentioned earlier, Psaro was seeking out the Secret of Evolution—obviously, it’s unlikely Psaro will ever use it on his monsters, but it’ll likely get teased somehow. Not only that, but being a prequel to Dragon Quest IV means we’ll likely meet the Hero, Solo. I mean, he is in the trailer…

Besides the usual team battles and monster fusing, The Dark Prince looks like it’ll take a more proactive approach to scout wild monsters. Full disclosure, I never played Dragon Quest Monsters Joker, so I don’t know how it worked there, but in the older Dragon Quest Monsters titles, about all you could do was toss meat at them during battle, defeat them last, then hope they’d ask you to join them after you clobbered them. Here, Psaro is using a spell to try and recruit monsters to his side.

I’m over the moon at the news of this game. We don’t have to wait too long for it; it comes out this December 1st.

We finally have Pikmin 4 news! Folks have been waiting for this one for ages, and we’re coming up on its July 21st release date. We have some news to cover for it. First, the setting is on Earth, so you’ll explore giant bedrooms and playgrounds as you collect objects like GameBoy Advance SPs to repair your ship. There’s a new Underground area to explore, as in Pikmin 2, with plenty of its treasures and castaways to find. Also, in a series first, you can do nighttime explorations! Typically, previous astronauts like Olimar would avoid this as the local fauna was too violent at night; this time around, this is still the case, but you can recruit special nocturnal Glow Pikmin to face off against the local threats—although you’ll have to protect the Glow Pikmin’s hives while you’re at it. There are also new Dandori Battles to take part in, where you’ll strategically recruit Pikmin to collect more items than your opponent. Similar to how Pikmin is a very Nintendo take on Real-Time Strategy games, the Dandori Battles are what happens when Nintendo tries making their homegrown take on a MOBA game. It’s intriguing; I look forward to it.

If the wait for Pikmin 4 has you down, don’t sweat it—we’re getting more Pikmin love! HD remasters of Pikmin 1 and 2 are currently available on the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo Switch, and we’ll be seeing a demo for Pikmin 4 released this June 28th!

Hey, Star Ocean is back! A remake of Star Ocean: The Second Story wasn’t on my wishlist, but it sure looks phenomenal. The Second Story R takes the classic PS1 title and gives it an HD-2D makeover, putting detailed 2D sprites in 3D backgrounds. The art has been completely redone, as has the combat: now, you can stun enemies with chain attacks and summon extra party members for follow-up attacks. I’m gonna be honest. If I’m iffy on this title, it’s because I’m largely iffy on Star Ocean as a whole. I love the space opera setting, but Star Ocean games (especially the older ones) have the problem of being set in futuristic times… and taking place entirely in medieval fantasy worlds. So the setting largely goes to waste. The Second Story R looks phenomenal, at least. We can look forward to it on November 2nd.

Wario Ware is back! The Wario Ware games are all a fantastic collection of micro-games where you’re given a burst of time to complete some vague objective. Once you figure out the objective, it’s a mad dash to finish it. These mini-games are always zany and wild, some completely off-the-wall (like picking your nose) while some being deep cuts to Nintendo‘s history. Wario Ware Move It! promises to take advantage of the Switch’s motion controls, making players wiggle around like worms to beat microgames. This feels like the kind of game we should have gotten much sooner in the Switch’s lifespan, to say nothing of being the kind of thing Everybody 1-2-Switch! wanted to be. There will be up to four-player couch co-op, which I hope leads to a ton of fun Yo!Videogames streams. I’m looking forward to a rotten day with Wario this November 3rd.

And now, we can touch upon the real meat of this stream. Mario had a very busy Direct; while people expected Pikmin 4 news, they didn’t expect four Mario games to get announced! It’s weird, seeing people get so excited for new Mario games—he’s unfortunately earned himself the reputation of being the safe old warhorse of the industry: technically proficient but rather staid in his ways. A shame that; the Super Mario Bros platformers are all in some way incredibly ambitious in their way; it just gets taken for granted with how iconic they are. Thankfully, Nintendo is stepping it up.

Let’s start from the bottom up. First: Luigi’s Mansion 2 is getting ported to the Nintendo Switch, complete with a graphical make-over. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was part of that onslaught of amazing titles that rocketed the 3DS to a must-have console. It expanded on the original Luigi’s Mansion. While losing the original’s tight levels designed like interactive dioramas, it revolved around using Luigi’s Poltergust 3000 to suck or blow away obstacles: a simple mechanic, but fun. So far, we can look forward to this one in 2024.

In bigger news: Princess Peach is finally getting another game! Stans of Nintendo‘s most-famous Princess (can’t call her “Nintendo‘s First Lady,” that honor goes to Pauline) have been fiending for a new game since 2005’s Super Princess Peach on the Nintendo DS. And that game, seemingly, was tossed out the window to die. It was charming and cute but not the kind of thing people seemed to want to give the time of day in 2005. Peach is finally getting a second chance, and from the looks of it, this new game will be an absolute stunner. Taking a cue from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Princess Peach’s new game is framed as a stage play, complete with cardboard props in the background that spring to life with a touch of princess magic. Not much else is known about the title. It doesn’t even have a title yet. We won’t know more about it until next year.

In even bigger news… well, I’m glad we’re done with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC because Geno fans are having an absolutely normal one now. Against all odds, entirely out of nowhere, SOMEHOW… we’re getting a Super Mario RPG remake.

… You know, in Super Mario RPG, Geno—he’s a kid’s toy possessed by an alien spirit named “♡♪!?”—explains that he’s helping Mario and the game because the Star Road is damaged, and wishes can’t come true if the Star Road can’t direct shooting stars to Earth. I dunno why, but it’s cute to think that after all this time… someone’s wish made it to Star Road. Anyway! Super Mario RPG was a seminal SNES classic, an unprecedented collaboration between Nintendo and Square Enix (then just “Squaresoft“) where the typical platformer trappings of Mario into a turn-based RPG. Much of the Mario games’ traditions are still alive, though—enemies were displayed on the map, and Mario could jump on them for a bonus attack at the outset of the battle. There were plenty of fun platforming challenges and even hidden blocks with coins or items for Mario and the company to find. People are obsessed with this title… but to be fair, this kind of game invites obsession. There just hadn’t been anything like it before, and arguably since. While much of Super Mario RPG‘s mechanics would go on to be inherited by the Paper Mario games and the Mario & Luigi games, they just didn’t hit right. Even the Action Commands are a bit different in Super Mario RPG, depending not just on visual cues but also audio cues—in Mario fashion, all of the action syncopates well with the background music. And hey, this was the first game that not only let Princess Peach (then Princess Toadstool) join the party with her healing, but it also let Bowser set aside his grudge against Mario to recover his castle from the evil forces of Smithy and his armored goons. There were other unique characters, like the unique puff-ball Mallow… and Geno, the aforementioned possessed action figure that people are a little annoying considering his presence in Super Smash Bros.

This is a big deal; it’s long been believed the reason Super Mario RPG had been kept on ice was because it was a split deal with Square. Whatever happened, Nintendo finally buried the hatchet—and we’re all the better for it. For starters, the game looks stellar—even the squat proportions of the original game’s sprites have been retained, so Mario looks uniquely small, and Peach looks a bit more like a Kewpie doll than usual. The isometric perspective has been retained, as has the design of the levels—but they’ve been updated with modern graphics. There’s a properly orchestrated OST, so the music is better than ever. It even looks like the battle mode has been given a minor addition in the form of a meter for boost attacks. I don’t know what else to say; this game is a must-play. Look forward to it this November 17th.

Rounding out this Direct was the news of a brand-spanking-new Mario platformer—and I’m leaving this one for last because it really is a stunner. This is Super Mario Bros Wonder.

I mentioned earlier that the Super Mario Bros games have an unfortunate reputation for looking kinda bland. And while I maintain that the classic platformers don’t deserve this, the New Super Mario Bros games deserve it. That sub-series was supposed to breathe life into Mario and company, and they did… for a time. But they went on for too long and became entirely too similar. Super Mario 3D World was a good start for stepping away from all that, but now Nintendo‘s taking a confident leap into all-new territory. Sure, it’s still a side-scrolling platform, but Nintendo is stunting with the art. All of the sprites ooze with the kind of energy you see in Shigehisa Nakaue‘s official key art for Mario and the gang (best seen in the stickers and postcards in 3D Land. Stages are teeming with activity and color… and then Mario grabs a Wonder Flower, and things go topsy-turvy. There were already tons of tired jokes about Mario and mushrooms and drug trips, so Nintendo decided to make it official: Wonder Flowers change the physics of the world around Mario, from making the ground grow and stretch to turning the whole thing into “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy.” I can see Nintendo took some cues from Rare’s work in the Donkey Kong Country Returns games, specifically with the backlit stages where Donkey Kong and company were exclusively in silhouette (only Mario and company have cartoony eyes staring back at you). There’s an Elephant power-up that’s going to be the butt of a ton of increasingly-unfunny jokes, but honestly, Super Mario Bros Wonder is shaping to be an artistically ambitious platformer the likes of which we haven’t seen since Rayman Legends. And crazier still—it’s coming out this October 20th. Holy crap.

Yeah, I think Nintendo found a few other things to talk about besides Pikmin 4.

Let’s wrap up with some quick tidbits

  • Sonic Superstars will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch; look forward to it later this Autumn.
  • Persona 3 Reloaded might not be coming to the Switch, but Persona 5 Tactica is! It’s even got a release date: this upcoming November 17th!
  • The Wonderful 101‘s DLC, The Wonderful One: After School Hero, has been released as a stand-alone title for PS4, Steam and Nintendo Switch! Does anyone else remember The Wonderful 101? Silly videogame, based on Super Sentai? Wasn’t Platinum working on an Ultraman-inspired game too…?
  • I think my buddies at This Week in Anime might like this one—we’re getting an Umamusume game in the US! Umamusume: Pretty Derby – Party Dash is a party game featuring everyone’s favorite horse-girl idols based on real-life racehorses. Look forward to it in 2024 on PS4, Steam, and Nintendo Switch. And remember: the Yakuza are always watching!
  • That’ll do it for this week. Here’s to a great summer! Final Fantasy XVI is out, and the reviews are looking good. I’ll be happy to admit my misgivings about it were poorly founded—just a shame about the lack of POC. Still, I hope folks enjoy it! And if folks need a breather, don’t ignore Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life. I hope many of you can make your own heartwarming stories within the confines of that cozy farming game. Love your games, people, they do bring us together! Be good to each other, I’ll see you in seven.

    This Week In Games! is written from idyllic Portland by Jean-Karlo Lemus. When not collaborating with AnimeNewsNetwork, Jean-Karlo can be found playing JRPGs, eating popcorn, watching v-tubers and tokusatsu, and trying as hard as he can to be as inconspicuous as possible on his Twitter @mouse_inhouse.



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