Monday, January 15, 2018

Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love Impressions

With the release of the fan-made translation patch for Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, I decided to finally give the game a try, eight and a half years after its release in Japan in August 2009. I did like the the predecessor, Freshly Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, which was also made by Vanpool, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt instead of simply ignoring or mindlessly hating it without ever giving it a try.

However, a big part of the reason, why I liked the first Tingle game in the first place was the fact that underneath the silly Tingle cover was an Action Adventure game akin to the Zelda series. The fighting was different, but otherwise it had an overworld, dungeons, a town, interactions, puzzles and most of the things that you would expect from a Zelda. Pair it with some crazy humor and you get a fairly nice game - nothing on the quality of the main Zelda series, but still enjoyable for what it was.

Now, with Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love they basically threw all of this overboard to create a Point'n'Click Adventure similar to Monkey Island, but certainly not as great. I've never been a fan of the genre, probably because I basically grew up with Zelda and need Action in my Adventure. And Balloon Trip of Love plays quite slowly, a little too slow for my taste. You have to pixel-hunt for any interactions and investigate through the various screens for how to proceed. And this requires a good amount of patience.

The game also seems to be very linear. You play this on a page-by-page basis, where every page includes a small area with multiple screens and gets divided into individual chapters... (Shouldn't this be the other way around?) There is usually only the one solution for a chapter and figuring it out sometimes may take a while. I think, later in the game you will be able to travel to previous pages, probably by balloon, but early on you just follow the given set of events through them.

Still, I did like the classic Point'n'Click Adventure style in the beginning and the humor is similar to the first game. Tingle gets accompanied by a scarecrow (Kakashi), a female robot (Buriki) and a lion (who's simply called "Lion"), which is based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Kakashi can use his straw for various things and crawl in small holes, Buriki can analyze and kick things, while the Lion has super strength and can talk to animals. You also get various other items including a Bottle and a Slingshot for additional interactions on the screen. But the Bottle seems mostly for carrying water and it's not like in the first game, where you can have up to 23 bottles with many different contents. The Slingshot can be fun, though, because it lets you shoot anything on the screen for funny reactions...

There's also a strange "hero" with a red cape, who rides on a horse, which he calls via an Ocarina and Epona's Song, and who puts obstacles into Tingle's way to meet the beautiful Princess. It's kind of funny and Tingle also got to ride his own train four months before Link could, even on the same Nintendo system:

The train brings you to Page 6 and this is where my journey currently has ended. It introduces the "love push" system, which basically brings back the worst feature of the first game: the bargaining. It's not exactly the same, but probably more annoying. Women won't talk to Tingle in this game, because he looks like (and is) a pervert. So, you have to feed them with presents until they like you... And that's racist. Ding.

Tingle also takes notes about all women, where he doesn't discriminate. Young or old, large or small, pretty or ugly. It doesn't matter, because Tingle wants all their love, where especially the underage girls feel somewhat problematic in the sense of Pedo-Tingle. It's probably harmless, but it's still weird at first and you have to do this with seemingly all the women in the game in order to proceed, whether you want to or not...

The "love push" system itself doesn't seem as bad as the bargaining from Rupeeland on first glance, but it still involves lots of trial and error, where so far no guides for the inofficial English version exist. You have to give a woman presents and then figure out the right one from her reactions. There are at least a hundred different possible presents in the game, which you have to buy from Rupees, which you can collect in the areas by performing certain (slow) tasks like kicking trees or looking under rocks.

It does remind me of building friendships in Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball (and yes, I've played that game), but the difference is that the females here are mostly ugly and you don't get any clues what you should give them at first. I did try to find presents, which might match the person, but they usually hated me for it. But then you see, what categories they might like and you can try to find a fitting present based on that. So, it really just seems to be trial and error, where you have to grind for the necessary Rupees in order to effort all those presents. At least there isn't a time limit, at least not yet...

Anyway, I couldn't muster enough motivation to continue from there, even though I would like to see, how Tingle gets the Princess in the end. I might continue this game at a later point, but for now I had enough of it.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Nintendo Switch - The Port Machine

Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!

It's no secret. The Wii U was a commercial failure with only 13.56 million units sold in the five years of its sad existence. The Nintendo Switch on the other hand seems to be a big success, where it already sold over 10 million units in less than a year and set records in various countries. The consequence? Nintendo's going to port all the good Wii U games over to the Switch. And here's a list of what this already covers, Nintendo published games only:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Mario Kart 8 DX
  • Pokkén Tournament DX
  • Bayonetta
  • Bayonetta 2
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  • Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition

Of these games I own Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U. So, all of them except for Pokkén Tournament. And with that a good chunk of my Wii U library already exists on the Switch as well, some of them as superior versions.

All these ports are certainly nice for those, who didn't own a Wii U before. And to be frank, it seems like the Switch's target market are people, who haven't invested in any video games in the last five years, because it's just re-rolling everything from the last generation. For those, who did invest in a Wii U, however, this might leave a bitter taste, because it seems like skipping the Wii U was quite lucrative. Nintendo is teaching the people that no one should have bought a Wii U in the first place.

I suppose, it's not a big deal with straight ports like Breath of the Wild, Bayonetta or even Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, where I wouldn't classify the Funky Mode as a meaningful addition for someone, who has owned and completed the original game. This clearly caters to people, who didn't buy the game before, while I'm perfectly happy with my Wii U version. But in case of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe there's the excellent Battle Mode that everyone already wanted on the Wii U back in 2014. They could have added this via DLC, but they didn't. Nintendo purposefully left this as an incentive to buy the new Deluxe version on the Switch, while the Wii U version was simply left as inferior. And it's similar with Pokémon Tekken.

In case of Hyrule Warriors there already has been the Nintendo 3DS version with Hyrule Warriors: Legends, which had many new (DLC) contents that didn't make it to the Wii U. At least the Wii U version still had the coop mode and the better graphics, but now even that became obsolete with the Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch. This one basically becomes a "best of both worlds" with combining all features and merits of the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions.

It's also likely that there's going to be Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, which combines Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS in a similar fashion. It would come with all the DLC, all stages of both versions and probably also a shiny new Adventure Mode and some new characters.

And this is really an answer to the phenomenon, where the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U were cannibalizing each other. The systems had similar interfaces and lots of similar games, where there were even games with different versions on both systems like Hyrule Warriors or Super Smash Bros. 4. The Nintendo Switch now aims to combine handheld and home console and with that some dual version games get combined into one as well... At least future games on the Nintendo Switch should be relatively safe from triple releases, if Nintendo keeps focusing on one system from now on.

Third party support so far also seems to be ports mostly: Minecraft, Rocket League, Stardew Valley, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Doom, Wolfenstein II - The New Colossus... to name few. At least Bethesda on Twitter is taking it with humor:


Well, the strong exclusives on Nintendo systems often came from Nintendo themselves, while it's certainly nice to have all these games on the Switch available and to see so much 3rd party support for a change. And the list of Switch games is getting longer and longer.

Anyway, one interesting question remains: will Nintendo port even more games? Super Smash Bros. 4 seems to be a given, but what else could make it to the Switch? What games might even remain as Wii U exclusives?

Super Mario seems to be doing quite well with staying exclusive so far. Super Mario Odyssey is already out and a new 2D Mario for Switch is apparently in the works as well, while New Super Mario Bros. U and Super Mario 3D World will most likely remain as Wii U exclusives. The same probably goes for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which heavily used the Wii U GamePad. Only with Super Mario Maker Nintendo might not be able to resist, after all this got ported to the Nintendo 3DS already.

Following Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, another candidate might be The Wonderful 101 by Platinum Games. There already had been rumors about it and I wouldn't expect much from such a port, however.

An often request seem to be the Zelda HD remasters: the Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD. You know that Nintendo has arrived in easy money heaven, when fans are asking for ports of ports. However, those two will likely remain as Wii U exclusives and not just because the Wii U has to keep something. Both titles focused quite a lot on utilizing the Wii U GamePad for their interfaces, though you can play both games just with the Pro Controller. But they also added new features based on Miiverse, where the Wind Waker HD had the Tingle Bottles for ingame Miiverse communication and Twilight Princess HD featured a collection of Miiverse Stamps. All of this would have to be cut from the ports, unless Nintendo finds some replacement usages for the bottles and the stamps.

Instead it's more likely that Nintendo will deliver a new Zelda HD remaster for the Switch: Skyward Sword HD. The Joycons are predestined to bring this game back with improved graphics and maybe some new features. Talking about Wii games, there could also be a remastered HD version of the Metroid Prime Trilogy to accompany Metroid Prime 4. But of course such remasters would take more time and money in development, so we shouldn't expect as much here as with all the Wii U ports.

Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!
Ports, ports, ports, come buy some ports!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch?

This is a simple follow-up to my post about Super Smash Bros. for NX from September 2016. Nintendo keeps porting their games, so why should I not port some of my posts...?

With the announced Definitive Edition of Hyrule Warriors in mind, it becomes even more likely that Super Smash Bros. 4 will also see a similar "Definitive Edition" on the Nintendo Switch, which combines the contents of both Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. It's a no-brainer, really, and I already expected this last year during E3, where they might have saved this for 2018 instead.

The key points still stand:

  • All DLC included.
  • All Stages from both the Wii U and the 3DS version in HD graphics.
  • A new mode replacing the Smash Run & Tour modes, e.g. an Adventure Mode more akin to the Subspace Emissary.
  • Custom moves for the current DLC characters.
  • Expanded Stage Editor.

I would also expect a couple "new" characters added on top of that. Here are the likeliest candidates:

  • Inkling(s)
  • Ice Climbers
  • Wolf

The Ice Climbers were cut due to hardware limitations of the Nintendo 3DS, but those wouldn't apply to the Nintendo Switch version anymore, where the new characters most likely would become exclusives. Wolf would be a simple clone returner similar to Lucas. Nothing too special, but it would make the roster feel even more complete. And the Inkling(s) from Splatoon seem like a popular candidate, where it would be nice to have more than just Mii costumes, especially since Miis aren't a big feature on the Switch anymore.

Here are some more candidates, where some of them might make it into the port:

  • Captain Toad
  • Dixie Kong
  • Ivysaur
  • Rex (Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
  • Spring Man / Ribbon Girl
  • Squirtle
  • Sylux

They might bring back Ivysaur and Squirtle for the same reason as Wolf. Last year I already had Sylux in mind as a possible promotion for Metroid Prime 4. And the Metroid franchise certainly needs another character at some point, since Ridley never fit in.

Overall I wouldn't expect too much here, but it probably will be enough to the get most hardcore fans to buy the game for a third time. But I guess that there are several "interesting" additions that would be possible, e.g. Captain Toad, Dixie Kong or characters from ARMS.

Unlike with Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, there probably will be quite a few features that won't make the final cut: both the Smash Run and Smash Tour modes are likely to be replaced, the Street Smash mode will be gone, as well as all Miiverse functionality (but that's dead anyway).

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition Announced

If you've been anywhere near a Nintendo site or board in the last few days, you know that the hype for today's rumored Nintendo Direct has been crazy. And I have to admit that I got quite excited as well, hoping for announcements of both the rumored Link's Awakening remake/requel for Nintendo 3DS or the rumored Zelda Smartphone game. Or some Metroid Prime 4 footage. The last thing I was hoping for, however, was yet another port of Hyrule Warriors on the Nintendo Switch.

For someone, who has bought and completed both the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS versions including all the DLC, so far at least each version had their merits. Hyrule Warriors - Legends offered many more and much more balanced Adventure Maps, the ability to switch between characters and the new My Fairy mode. And Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U had the better graphics and performance, a local coop mode and the Challenge Mode, where you can play as Ganon or the Giant Cucco.

The "Definitive Edition", where all of these merits and all the DLCs are combined into a single ultimate version, seems like an obvious offer at this point, but it also makes the previous versions fully obsolete and makes them appear like a bad purchase, almost, which might feel like a slap in the face for all the earlier adopters. "You should have waited for Switch version!" is what Nintendo is saying right now.

They also added two Breath of the Wild costumes for Link and Zelda on top of that:

And some people actually have the effrontery to ask for more exclusive content in the Definitive Edition... As if having all the content, features and advantages of both versions isn't enough already. Well, with any new characters Nintendo should also release them on the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS as an "apology", ideally for free, which is probably why they won't add any new characters at all. But this would have been a nice opportunity to finally fill that 30th character spot, which is still glaring at us:

Well, finding a suitable 30th character as a promotion is probably still as hard as it was back then, because most of the major characters are already in the game. Hilda wouldn't feel special now and with the big and successful new Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, there are mainly the Champions as candidates for new characters, who come in a pack of four. Those should be saved for a sequel. But they could have created a Wild Link or Wild Zelda as a separate character using the Sheikah Slate, instead of just offering plain skins. On the other hand the Sheikah Slate could also fill that eight slot in Link's weapon arsenal...

Update: A potential character from Breath of the Wild would also be Kass with the Accordion as his weapon type. He would fill that 30th character slot and it would fit his character to appear out of nowhere on the battlefield, playing his trademark tune. An alternative would also be Beedle with the Bug Net, a character that appeared in many Zelda games including the Wind Waker, the Minish Cap, the Nintendo DS Zelda games, Skyward Sword and even Breath of the Wild. He would be a nice choice for a "final" character of Hyrule Warriors.

However, at this point, Koei Tecmo should save any new characters, weapons, stages or other content ideas for an actual sequel. There needs to be Hyrule Warriors 2 with a focus on Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch. The Definitive Edition is just a filler for all those, who might have missed the previous versions of the game, to get some more sales out of it. It's a great title and certainly deserves every purchase, especially with that much content. But I wouldn't expect any DLC or major exclusive content for the final version.

I'm personally struggling with myself, whether I should get this or not. Well, at first I need a Nintendo Switch and yet another port in the library isn't going to change this. But when I get one, this feels similar to Mario Kart 8, where I really like the game and I'd like having the better version with all the content, but I wouldn't want to complete it yet again. The Adventure Mode is so extensive and takes so much time that I spent hundreds of hours on both Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors - Legends, where I don't feel like going through all this a third time. Well, I don't have to, but it then it feels like I'm missing on the ultimate edition of one of my absolute favorite games...

As a side note, the new "3D" fairy renders in the My Fairy mode look very weird:

I liked the sprite versions on the Nintendo 3DS much better.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Remaking Link's Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS

Following the previous rumors about a remake of Link's Awakening in the style of A Link Between Worlds, I put some more thoughts into how such a title would look like on the Nintendo 3DS. The rumors described it as more "open" to follow the success of Breath of the Wild, where A Link Between Worlds already had the same goal.

Overall the engine of A Link Between Worlds could easily be used to remake the GameBoy (Color) Zelda games. It wouldn't have to follow the SNES style visuals - similar to the town of Hytopia in Tri Force Heroes such a remake could just define its own visuals based on the engine to create something that's closer to the looks of the GameBoy style.

At the same time it would make sense, if a remake of Link's Awakening wouldn't be a simple remake, but its own story placed after A Link Between Worlds. The latter was in many ways very similar to A Link to the Past and also remade that classic Hyrule overworld on the Nintendo 3DS, where you could the describe the game as a mix of a remake and a sequel, a "requel". And for Link's Awakening Nintendo could create another requel as well, where they bring back the island of Koholint and where they will also tell the story of the Wind Fish, but it will be a new story, experienced by the Link from A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes after his travels through the Drablands. The Wind Fish could have simply fallen asleep again over the ages and is in need of a new hero.

This would give Nintendo the opportunity to base the game on the original material, while creating something new at the same time. A strict remake of Link's Awakening would probably be boring and like A Link to the Past the game isn't really in dire need of one.

Well, the original Link's Awakening was quite linear outside of its dungeons, where you usually needed the key item from one dungeon to proceed to the next. In addition there were scripted events after completing certain dungeons, where otherwise you couldn't make any progress at all, even with the dungeon item at hand. Most of these events have to do with the companions that will follow you around throughout the game. So, let's take a look, how these restrictions could be eased up...


Roc's Feather, Power Bracelet, Pegasus Boots, Flippers, Hookshot... Almost all of the dungeon items in the game help you with traversing the overworld of Koholint. But ideally you wouldn't be as limited by their obstacles right from the start. They could serve as short cuts, but there should still be ways around that you can take from the beginning. The original game even allowed for early exploration of some parts, but it stopped you with some (unnecessary) dead ends.

In the very least Nintendo could provide a choice between a couple of dungeons at a time. For example in the beginning you would be able to play either the Tail Cave or the Bottle Grotto. And both the Roc's Feather and the Power Bracelet would allow you to go east on different paths, where you could access either the Key Cavern or the Angler's Tunnel...

A Link Between Worlds opened its game up via Ravio's shop, where you could rent and purchase most of the items in the game. And Link's Awakening essentially had the predecessor of that idea with the Town Tool Shop in Mabe Village...

There you could buy the Shovel, Bombs, as well as the Bow. You didn't have to purchase the latter, since it's only required for a key inside Turtle Rock, a dungeon that has about 50% optional parts. The Shovel, however, was required to beat the game, where you have to buy it before Level 3 at the latest.

A Link's Awakening requel could place more of its key items into the shop, instead of into its dungeons, but such a drastic change probably wouldn't be necessary. In fact getting all items early in both A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild made it somewhat meaningless where you go first, because you can't really miss anything. The only thing to miss is a real feeling of progression. Here it would be interesting, if Nintendo tried something different, where the game is still open, because you don't really need all the items from the dungeons to make progress, but where at the same time these items provide access to shortcuts, optional parts in other dungeons and hidden secrets like the Secret Seashells.

Apropos, the Secret Seashells could potentially become more similar to the Maiamais from A Link Between Worlds, maybe even be replaced by them, where you still get the upgrade for the sword, but also for the other items. They could also add various items that weren't part of the original game, e.g. an Ice Rod.

With some items it would also be interesting to make good use of the 3D effects, where the Roc's Feather seems like the most interesting candidate, which probably would replace the Tornado Rod in some form.


In Link's Awakening you had various entities follow you around Koholint as part of the quests: the Chain-Chomp Dog BowWow, the lovely Marin, an annoying Ghost and the useful Flying Rooster. All of them were restricted to a specific part of the game, where after completing certain tasks you would part from them.

A Link's Awakening requel could do things differently by always granting access to the companions after "unlocking" them for the first time. Want to take BowWow for walkies? Just ask Madam MeowMeow! Want another date with Marin? Just ask her out and bring her back to the Weather Vane afterwards.

Talking about the Weather Vane, the Flying Rooster could even become your new method of "teleportation" in the game, essentially replacing Irene's Broomstick from A Link Between Worlds. And much like in the 3DS Hyrule, you might find Weather Vanes everywhere on Koholint as save points. Of course the Flying Rooster would need to be unlocked early one for this scenario.

Hero Mode, Trial Cave, Clothes

Well, naturally they could add the typical features that Zelda games have seen in the last years: a Hero Mode option, which they could call "Nightmare Mode", and a floor-based enemy gauntlet, which might even include most bosses. Nothing too special here, but always nice to have. Ideally such a "Nightmare Mode" would also modify the dungeons in some meaningful ways, instead of simply increasing the damage. And the trial cave could be implemented via different levels in the Dream Shrine, where the Minish Cap already had a similar feature with Simon's Simulations.

It's questionable whether the Color Dungeon or the photo quest would actually return in such a requel, since they won't aim to sell GameBoy Color systems or GameBoy Printers with a new title on the Nintendo 3DS. But in the very least the Red and Blue Mails from the Color Dungeon could be preserved as rewards for the trial cave or whatever new dungeons they might add. They could even go as far and bring back the outfits from Tri Force Heroes in some form, where you could collect them for different bonuses.

StreetPass, Online Multiplayer, amiibo...

Ideally Nintendo would keep the game pure and clear of most hardware gimmicks aside from the 3D. A Link Between Worlds featured StreetPass, while Tri Force Heroes focused on online multiplayer and also offered some Miiverse integration. The latter is already dead, however, while the rest seem to be dying features. So, Nintendo might want to stay off them. It's more likely that they will try to integrate amiibo in some form, because that's something they haven't done with the Nintendo 3DS Zelda games yet.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Metroid Prime 4: Quotes & Visions

One of the big Nintendo games in 2018 could become Metroid Prime 4. Even if the game doesn't get released this year, we will certainly learn more about it soon and it probably will become one of the biggest games at E3 2018. We might even see something in the rumored Nintendo Direct next week already. So, this is the perfect time to speculate and to gather everything that we might already know about the game.

Officially we only know that the game is in development for the Nintendo Switch and that a "talented new development team" led by Metroid Prime series producer Kensuke Tanabe is in charge. But Tanabe has been interviewed various times about a potential fourth installment and he always has been quite open about sharing his visions. Especially around E3 2015, where they first had shown Metroid Prime: Federation Force, he gave some interesting quotes, which we can use to get a vision ourselves.

For starters, in an interview with Eurogamer he already teased back in 2015 that developing Metroid Prime 4 would take around three years and most likely place the game on the "NX", better known as the Nintendo Switch today:

If we started for Wii U now, it would likely take three years or so. So it would likely now be on Nintendo's NX console. It's a long time but it would need to include a lot of content, which would take a lot of work on the development side.

If the game really is to be released in 2018, this already adds up. So, let's see what else there is.

A Story About Sylux

Each title in the Metroid Prime Trilogy ends with a secret cliffhanger that gave a hint about the antagonist of the next game. In case of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Dark Samus finally seems gone and instead we see Delano 7 from Metroid Prime Hunters chasing after Samus at the end of the game:

Tanabe confirmed in the Eurogamer interview that this was indeed Sylux and that he wants to do a story about him, while the story about the Phazon and Dark Samus really is over.

The stories of Dark Samus and Phazon are done now. [...] It was Sylux, another hunter from Metroid Prime Hunters at the end of Metroid Prime 3. Personally I'd like to create a story centring around Sylux and Samus.

He confirmed something similar in an interview with Wired:

Are you familiar with the ending of Prime 3? You might remember the scene where Samus gets on the ship and you see the planets, but after that, there’s another ship that lands in that place. That was actually Sylux, who appeared in Metroid Prime Hunters. In my mind, I still have that idea where Sylux is going after Samus. So to continue that story is something I’d love to work on.

In an interview with IGN he added the following:

There’s still more I want to build around the story of Sylux and Samus. There’s something going on between them. I want to make a game that touches upon [it]. I’m also thinking that, in that eventual game between Sylux and Samus that might get made, that I want to involve the [Galactic] Federation as well.

From the information in the games we also know that Sylux uses stolen Federation technology and that he hates both Samus and the Galactic Federation for unknown reasons. Reasons that we probably will get to know in Metroid Prime 4. His character has been completely shrouded in mystery to a point, where we have no clue, who or what is underneath his "Power Suit". And this might lead to an interesting reveal.

On top of that, there's a secret ending in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which further teases Sylux' actions against the Federation.

Artist Logan Foster, who created that ending scene, even confirmed that it indeed featured Sylux and that this was actually one of the first tasks that he was given about the game (source). So, we know for sure that Sylux is still on the mind for Metroid Prime 4 and we also have a picture of what he might be planning.

Of all the hunters in Metroid Prime Hunters Sylux was probably the one who felt the closest to Samus in design. And that he's using Federation technology that kind of emulates Samus' Power Suit will probably be a key part of the story. Also, a common theme in the Metroid Prime Trilogy, at least for the 2nd and 3rd games, was Samus facing herself in the form of Dark Samus. And these could remain with Samus facing Sylux as her rival. The title of the game might even become "Metroid Prime 4: Rivals".

A Bridge to Metroid II / Samus Returns

Chronologically, Metroid Prime 4 will most likely be placed between Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Metroid II - Return of Samus. And it just so happened that the latter saw a remake last year on the Nintendo 3DS with Metroid: Samus Returns, where Nintendo might want to link the stories. So, actions in Metroid Prime 4 could lead to the events and circumstances of Metroid 2.

There's already some potential in the hidden ending of Metroid Prime: Federation Force and what happens there...

There's also another detail with Samus' Gunship. It has been different for all three games in the Metroid Prime Trilogy, where the Gunship in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is the one that she uses in Metroid II - Return of Samus and Super Metroid. You can still see her use her advanced Gunship from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, however.

It's likely that Samus still uses her Gunship from Prime 3 in the beginning of Prime 4, but it gets destroyed somehow, maybe as it crashes on some planet. So, after the events of Prime 4 Samus will switch back to her old Gunship from Prime 2. It's a detail, but it's the attention to detail that is quite strong in the series.

A Different World and Experience from the Trilogy

Despite all following the same visuals and core gameplay, every game in the Metroid Prime Trilogy has been unique in its approach. For example each title has quite a different world layout, as depicted in my Worlds of Metroid article.

Metroid Prime essentially translated the Super Metroid experience into a 3D First Person Shooter game, where the game uses the maze-like world of Tallon IV. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes focuses on a Light and Dark World mechanic and uses a hub-like world setup on the planet of Aether. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption then introduced the Hyper Mode mechanic, but also did a lot more with Samus' Gunship, where you can travel between various worlds on different planets.

Now, Metroid Prime 4 should do something different as well. In the very least it needs a different world layout and a new gameplay mechanic as the focus. And in the Eurogamer interview Tanabe expressed the following:

Instead of broadening it to more planets I would have one and would focus on the timeline, and being able to change that. That's one interesting idea I have in mind... but I understand many people thought that [Echoes] was too difficult.

That doesn't sound too special at first, but there's some potential here. First of all, if it actually holds true that Samus' Gunship from Prime 3 will be destroyed somehow, it makes sense that the game is confined to a single planet again. It could be that Samus escapes using the Delano 7 at the end of the game...

Anyway, the time shift mechanic sounds awfully similar to what we had in the Lanayru Desert of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. And this could be interesting. So far Samus usually explored the ruins of destroyed civilizations, may it be that of the Chozo, the Luminoth or the Alimibic. With a time shift mechanic she might be able to explore such a civilization in its prime and see how the life on the planet used to be before everything fell to ruin.

With the success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey and their open world designs, it's also quite likely that Metroid Prime 4 will follow an "open planet" approach, where you might be able to freely explore a small world in its entirety, instead of following a limited set of areas.


Metroid Prime 2: Echoes included a multiplayer mode, where four players would face each other as different colored variants of Samus. Metroid Prime 4 might add something similar with online support. Instead of only featuring Samus, there should at least be Sylux as a playable character and maybe also some other hunters. But if the game really focuses on the "Rivals" theme, it might become just a two player mode, where Samus fights Sylux.

It could also be that Metroid Prime 4 will lead to another game like Metroid Prime Hunters on the Nintendo Switch, which sets its focus on multiplayer

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Rumor: Link's Awakening 3DS Remake

Current rumors picture that another Nintendo 3DS Zelda game is in development, which is supposed to be either a remake or re-imagining of Link's Awakening in top-down style. There are also many additional rumors that place a Nintendo Direct on January 11th, Thursday next week, where we already could see this title. Here are the tweets that mention the 3DS version of Link's Awakening:

Nintendo still want 3DS games out in 2018. Many of them will be minor games however you should expect another top down Zelda. It is meant to be a re-imagining of a Link's Awakening. It is meant to be the most expansive and impressive 3DS Zelda title to date.

Source: Marcus Sellars on Twitter

A new 3DS Zelda Game is coming. An enhanced remake of Link's Awakening but more opening like BoTW. Was suppose to come this year but we delayed for gameplay changes. We will see a reveal soon.

Source: Nate8696 on Twitter

The first guy also shared rumors about a Bandai Namco event on December 15th, which were partially correct, so there might be some truth to this. The second one doesn't seem very credible and might just copy the rumors of the first guy, however.

Update: The first tweet has been deleted by now, but the author released a new one, where he claims that the game has been made by Grezzo. While this still might be, it seems rather unlikely, since they were busy developing Ever Oasis and they just started hiring for a supposed new Zelda project with experience in Unreal Engine 4 or Unity. This doesn't add up, unless they have been developing this between things or they actually have multiple teams. We'll see.

But I don't post rumors on this blog, because I think that they are super trustworthy. I post them, because I find the idea interesting and want to talk about it. So, take it all with a grain of salt.

Anyway, if this holds true, I can say good bye to my previous idea, where I envisioned a Link's Awakening remake as a sequel to Breath of the Wild. But I suppose, if Nintendo were to remake Link's Awakening, they'd still would want to keep it connected to A Link to the Past somehow.

In general I liked the Nintendo 3DS Zelda games quite a lot. A Link Between Worlds is still one of my favorite Zelda titles and a big reason for that is the smooth and polished Nintendo 3DS engine. It just plays very nicely. I also enjoyed Tri Force Heroes for the same reason and I would love to get another Zelda game on the Nintendo 3DS in the same style.

However, I thought that Nintendo is now done with the Nintendo 3DS, where it certainly had a good run. It's an amazing system for Zelda fans. There have been four Zelda Editions of the Nintendo 3DS, we got two exclusive Nintendo 3DS Zelda games with A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes, there have been two Zelda remasters with Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora's Mask 3D, there were Hyrule Warriors - Legends and Twilight Princess Picross as spin-offs and a total of six different Virtual Console titles, including Link's Awakening DX. And that's not counting the Minish Cap and the Four Swords Anniversary Edition, which both only had been available for a limited time. So, the Nintendo 3DS was outstanding for Zelda fans and to put yet another Zelda game on top of that seems almost too good to be true.

I played with the thought, but I honestly didn't anticipate something like this, because I expected Nintendo to move the top-down Zelda department onto Smartphones. But I certainly would prefer another Nintendo 3DS Zelda game to satisfy my classic Zelda needs.

As for a remake / re-imagining of Link's Awakening, I would say it would make the most sense to design this as a sequel to A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes. After Link's travels through Hytopia and the Drablands, he finds himself shipwrecked on a mysterious island again. It would be a similar dream of the Wind Fish much like in the original, but still a new story about a hundred years later to explain the differences. It just could be that the Wind Fish got put to sleep by the Nightmares again and that it so happens that a new hero comes to awaken him.

This would give Nintendo enough freedom to create something new and in a sense it would be the same as A Link Between Worlds, where Nintendo partially remade A Link to the Past, but with a more open world, new features and a new story. In addition it would keep the consistency that Zelda games on the same system and engine are usually also connected via the story.

And if you can play the dungeons out of order, I'm going to target the Eagle's Tower first, because this always has been my favorite. But I do hope that the dungeons will be more complex and difficult, because in my opinion the easy dungeons were the biggest weakness of both A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild. Playing dungeons out of order is nice and fun, but there still needs to be a difficulty curve, where in both titles only one dungeon stood out: the Ice Ruins and Vah Naboris. So, if I aim at the Eagle's Tower first, I want to get wrecked.

But first, let's see if any of it is actually true...