Nintendo Mega Bits: July 2020

By Jonny Casino

It’s July and Nintendo still has us fans wondering what’s coming up.  Rumors of Mario remakes have gone silent.  Rumors of a large, E3like, Direct have continuously been proven wrong.  We are more than halfway through the year and we do not know what to expect for the holiday season

It’s July and Nintendo still has us fans wondering what’s coming up.  Rumors of Mario remakes have gone silent.  Rumors of a large, E3like, Direct have continuously been proven wrong.  We are more than halfway through the year and we do not know what to expect for the holiday season

Playstation has let us all know what we will be playing on the PS5.  Xbox has just shown off what big games are coming to their ecosystem.  Even though I play on all systems, not knowing what Nintendo will, or will not, have to offer is really starting to get to me.  I think this is the biggest drawback for E3 not happening.  Granted, I’m not an expert, so maybe its better that they have not been forced to make a big announcement.

Just because they have not made any big announcements does not mean they have been silent.  That’s right, Nintendo put out a Direct Mini: Partner Showcase.  Even though people were expressing that expectations should be kept low, it didn’t stop the internet from exploding with anger.  This is not to say that the games shown were bad.  They were just not what people were hoping for.

Shin Megami Tensei received a bit of the spotlight as they announced the remaster of Nocturne.  This is the third game in the series and was released on the Playstation 2.  Fans of the series have further reason to be excited because the fifth game was announced for 2021.  I have no history or knowledge of this series.  I know some people love it and I’m very happy for them.

Nintendo also announced 3 DLC packs for Cadence of Hyrule.  These packs will contain more characters, songs, and a story.  I have never played any Crypt of the NecroDancer, but this one has always made me curious.  Most likely due to my love of the Zelda franchise.  A physical edition of the game, with all the DLC, will be coming October 23rd and I might just have to get it.

Rogue Company, Published by Hi-Rez Studios, looked like the best game shown in this Direct Mini.  It’s a third-person shooter that looks to have a crazy amount of different guns.  The Beta is available now on all consoles and PC, and it has cross-platform play and progression.  I don’t play games like this often, so I’ll probably pass. 

Another game I’ll be passing on is WWE2K Battlegrounds.  I want to want this game, but it looks like it will be bad.  The wrestlers look like bendy action figures, which I actually like.  The problem is the fighting looks powered up.  I know wrestling isn’t real, but this takes it to a bad level.  If this is something you think is worth trying out, it will be available on September 18th.

All in all, this is not the Direct that most fans were looking for.  Had this come after a big announcement, I think it would have gone over much better.  Instead, Nintendo is staying very quiet about their future games and I am starting to worry about how long we will have to wait to hear more.

If Nintendo will not make a public announcement for its fans, then we will just have to check out what is said in their financial statements.  From what I have seen, nothing they said will get fans excited, but they did say that they are working “on a new product that will improve people’s quality of life in an enjoyable way.”  I do not even want to speculate on what this product could be, but I am excited to see it if it ever comes to fruition. 

Nintendo informed investors about how Covid19 is affecting their upcoming releases.  According to the annual report, nothing has been specifically delayed, but development cycles may be impacted.  This is due to how the development environment is different when working from home vice being at the office.   This is not shocking to anyone, but it would be nice to know more specifics.

Just because there was no real news this week doesn’t mean that nothing happened in the world of Nintendo.  The latest game featuring your favorite Italian plumber has been released.  Over the last few months, I have had a lot to say about Paper Mario: The Origami King.  Now that I have had a chance to play it some, I have even more to say

I have only put a few hours into the game, and I am just finished with the first world.  This is a game I need to take slowly because binging the game would potentially make me hate it in the end.  The problem, for me, is that I am not a fan of games with a lot of text or games with turned based combat.  Paper Mario has both.  These are not making me dislike the game, just that it means I need to take my time.

The world that I have explored has been amazing.  It is as beautiful as I had hoped.  There are random weird things going on, secrets to find, and enemies to destroy.  I hope that I will have the ability to just explore the world more as the game goes on.  This is not like some open-world games where there is just life happening around you, but it is full of quirky things to find.

The combat in the game is definitely a twist on turn-based combat.  Enemies show up in formations on a set of rings.  Mario is standing in the middle.  Then, the enemies move positions and your job is to line them back up.  You have a set number of moves, but it seems that they always give you enough to make them line up.  Later in the game, these enemies do not start in formations, so you don’t have an example of how to line them up.

Honestly, the combat is not difficult, but it always stresses me out.  I see the time ticking and, if I cannot easily figure out the moves, I almost panic.  Luckily, even if you screw up your moves, you’ll most likely still come out of the battle victorious. 

The writing in the game has been fantastic.  I just wish it were voice acted.  Reading and clicking just takes more time than needed.   Regardless, the jokes and conversations are worth the read.  The game feels a bit self-aware, which is always appreciated.  Between the spot-on writing and the fun world, I am really enjoying the game and can’t wait to make my way further into it.

It does look like there is one known major issue with the game.  There are reports of a bug that, if the player has it and saves in the wrong location, they will have to restart the game.  I have no idea how many people have been affected by this.  It looks like word of this has gotten to Nintendo and I am sure they will be fixing it.

Paper Mario was not the only worthwhile game released this month.  Panzer Paladins, an action platforming game developed and published by Tribute Games, was a surprise I did not see coming. This is a retro-style game where you play an android that pilots a paladin.  There is light platforming and swinging with a grappling hook.  Combat consists of different melee weapons that you can pick up throughout the game.  There are so many different weapons and ways to make your own.  I am only a little way into this but I can already tell it’s worth a go.  I hope to write a full review in the weeks to come.

Once again, I decided to dive into the deals on the Switch eShop and see what caught my eye.  This month, it was Stranded Sails.  This is an open world, exploration and farming adventure game, developed by Lemonbomb Entertainment.  You can find it on all the platforms, but it feels like the perfect game to play on the Switch.

You play the son of a boat captain that is taking people away from a big city and onto a new life.  Along the way, your ship is hit by a storm and stranded on a mysterious island.  Your father is injured, and it is up to you to take care of the passengers and figure out the mystery behind the islands.

 The graphics are just ok and the main character looks very odd while walking.  These are forgivable because I am really enjoying the gameplay loop.  After finding all the people, and setting up camp, I found myself in a daily routine.  The day starts with me picking, planting, and watering crops.  Then I make the stew that feeds the camp for the day.  From there, I set out on my next quest.  This might not sound great, but it’s very relaxing and easy to just play.

Stranded Sails does a great job of making sure you know what you are supposed to be doing.  It won’t tell you exactly where to go but guides you enough to remove any frustration.  When it comes to a relaxing game, this is what I want.  Beyond exploring, you get to cook, fish, and even fight a few enemies.  It’s a relaxing game that is perfect to play in handheld.  I recommend this game, especially if you can catch it on sale.

The Nintendo Online service continues to get mocked by gamers across the internet.  Regardless of the hate it gets, Nintendo is continuing to add NES and SNES games to the library and everyone should give these a try.  This month, it was quite easy to pick my recommendation.

In the latest batch of games added, Nintendo was nice enough to throw in Donkey Kong Country.  This game is absolutely fantastic and holds up.  It is not an easy game, but if you enjoy 16-bit platformers you need to take a trip back in time to this frustrating gem. 

With another month down and more silence about big games from the Big N, I am finding it harder and harder to stay optimistic about the holiday season.  My Switch is still my primary console, and that’s not going to change.  I just really hope next month brings news of something exciting.  We need something to be hyped about even if it’s down the road a bit. 

Until next month, I’m Jonny Casino and this has been your Nintendo MegaBits

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