Nintendo Stick To Their Guns

Nintendo offer more Mario Bros and more Metroid

By Eliot Fish

Nintendo answered the critics of last year’s E3 briefing with a number of announcements designed to delight their hardcore fans – more Mario, more Metroid and a continued focus on maintaining the dominance of the DS. This was paired with a more predictable commitment to their broader lifestyle titles, most notably with Wii Fit and Wii Sports.

The new Wii Fit Plus will allow you to customise your own individual fitness routines, as well as enjoy a slew of physical mini-games to make you feel you’ve “run a mile in Mario’s shoes” – yes, it involves a lot more jumping. The Wii MotionPlus attachment, oddly not mentioned during the Wii Fit Plus segment, will bring true 1:1 Wii Remote control to future software and will be bundled with Ubisoft’s Red Steel 2 (at least in North America).

Nintendo hope to ignite everyone’s interest in the new peripheral with Wii Sports Resort, another compilation of sports mini-games including canoeing, archery, table tennis, swordplay and basketball.

Shigeru Miyamoto, whilst not given any stage time, has been hard at work on New Super Mario Bros Wii – a game designed for four-player simultaneous action in the style of a classic side-scrolling Mario platformer. Players can be both competitive and cooperative as they progress through levels, beating each other to coins whilst also helping each other bypass tricky sections. Unfortunately no online play will be included, so it’s cramming on the couch for this one.

The DS enjoyed a slew of announcements including Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (in which the brothers journey through Bowser’s insides), a new 3D Golden Sun, C.O.P: The Recruit (a GTA-style action title), Mario Vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again, Flip Note Studio (an animation tool), WarioWare DIY (in which players create their own microgames), and of course, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.

The kookiest announcement of the show was the reveal of the Vitality Sensor for Wii, a small peripheral which measures the pulse from your fingertip. Nintendo hope to use it in future fitness software and other undoubtedly more innovative games.

The Wii announcements to steal the show were easily the reveals of Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M (being developed by Team Ninja, not Retro Studios). Super Mario Galaxy 2 promises to be a true sequel, with Miyamoto later stressing during a developer Q&A that more than 90 percent of the game was stuff not seen in the first game, such as levels with Yoshi.

Metroid: Other M, meanwhile, promises to delve more into Samus Aran’s backstory, featuring both first-person and third-person action. A game which Reggie Fils-Aime described as “edgy”.

No great surprises here, with Nintendo once again sticking to their strengths whilst emphasising their interest in broadening the appeal of games so there’s “something for everyone”.