February 17, 2021, marked the first Nintendo Direct since September 2019. We speculated about the possible titles, but one thing stuck out about the event itself: Nintendo stated they would talk about games already released and some releasing in early 2021. At that point, I predicted we wouldn’t see the games that we’ve wanted to see. In the end, I ended up being right, much to my disappointment. The focus seemed to be on ports and remasters.
Although the Nintendo Direct felt lackluster to me, there were some exciting games announced to celebrate. Or, you know, give a curious look over. Here are the titles that caught my attention.
Apex Legends arrives on the Nintendo Switch on March 9, 2021. Respawn Entertainment originally released the Battle Royale for Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, and the Xbox One in February 2019. So, to say it has been a long time coming is an understatement. Now, Nintendo fans will assume the role of a Legend from a growing roster and take the fight to one another in Season 8.
Since this is a port, there are a few questions to answer. First of all, it is a free-to-play game, so Nintendo Switch owners can download it for free. At the moment, it’s unknown if players will need a Nintendo Online account to play. Microsoft is working on allowing free-to-play games without the need for their subscription. I hope Nintendo already has it in mind to forgo the strange subscription obstacle.
Apex Legends on Nintendo Switch will support crossplay, allowing gamers to play with other consoles and PC players. There is still no cross-progression for Apex. You will start from scratch if you’re picking up the Switch version, but Switch owners will get 30 free levels of the Season 8 Battle Pass. For the first two weeks of release, Respawn will hold a double XP event. I speculate the double XP event will be exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, but I don’t know officially.
Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout
Full transparency! I have never played Fall Guys. Until the Nintendo Direct, I had no idea what Fall Guys was about, let alone that it existed. My best friend informed me that it is a Battle Royale, but it includes mini-games for the last man standing formula. “How does that work?” I wondered, and then I began my research.
Fall Guys is a 60 player Battle Royale, but it’s not what I imagine when I see those words. Players start an activity, and those who complete the stage qualify to move on to the next activity until one person remains. There are team activities as well. I got a Ninja Warrior and Minion vibe from the gameplay I watched. Fall Guys may not have been on my radar before, but now I need this game. Mediatonic, please keep delivering addictive gems.
The tentative release date for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is Summer 2021 across Nintendo Switch and the Xbox Series X|S/Xbox One.
Strangest Nintendo Direct Announcement – Neon White
Neon White is a deck-building first-person shooter that involves hunting demons in Heaven. We play as White, an assassin from Hell who will compete against other demon slayers for a chance to inhabit Heaven permanently. What? When I say strangest, well, check out the trailer to see what I mean.
It sounds like the ‘edgy’ games I loved in my childhood. You know what? I still love games like this, and Steve Blum’s voice demands it so. Neon White just so happens to be one of the titles that drew little response from me. The gameplay caught my attention, however. Its lightning-fast action reminds me of Mirror’s Edge, while the deck building makes me wary. Why? A Kingdom Hearts game.
Kingdom Hearts: Re-Chain of Memories is a remaster of the Game Boy Advanced title. Square Enix remade the game with 3D environments. While you’d expect a battle system straight out of the main games, it has a deck-building component. Once you run out of cards, you can no longer attack. You must also hope you use a card with a higher numerical value than your enemies. Neon White doesn’t appear to be so frustrating, but we’ll see. For now, the blend of gameplay is unique enough to keep me intrigued.
Neon White will be available in Winter 2021.
Legend of Mana Remaster
Ah, a video game from an era before Square and Enix merged. Squaresoft released Legend of Mana in 1999 in Japan and North America in 2000. I never had the pleasure of playing this game, so I’m excited to play the remaster. The Mana series always struck me as one of the better JRPGs due to the real-time battle system.
Legend of Mana is getting a classic remake treatment. Square-Enix rearranged the music, and players can switch between the original soundtrack and the rearrangements. The Trials of Mana remake did the same thing. However, unlike Trials of Mana, Legend of Mana is sticking to its 2D sprites and environments with enhancements.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Anyone who knows me is going to believe I’m an imposter from now on. Keep in mind that I, like many others, hoped the Nintendo Direct would provide us with a little Breath of the Wild 2 news.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is not my number one pick for the most interesting game. With the game coming to Nintendo Switch, I will play Skyward Sword for the first time. That sounds like blasphemy from a Legend of Zelda fan. Listen. I was not a fan of the Nintendo Wii. I thought the Wii was a decent party game system but never thought it was critical to own. When I had a Wii U, I let the re-release on the Virtual Console pass by me. Now, I will rectify the past and experience the origin of the Master Sword!
Skyward Sword’s graphics are enhanced and will play at 60 frames per second. The motion controls work with Joy-Con use, but players may play without the motion gameplay mechanics. I’ll have my Pro controller ready for the inevitability of me getting tired of using the Joy-Cons. Though, the Master Sword and Hylian Shield edition of the Joy-Cons might keep me experimenting with the motion side of the game longer than I thought.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and the special edition Joy-Cons release on July 16, 2021.
Related Article: Link and Ryu are more alike than we ever imagined!
Most Interesting game from Nintendo Direct – Mario Golf: Super Rush
The Mario Sports brand expands with Mario Golf: Super Rush, and I’m ecstatic! Not because I’ve followed Nintendo-branded sports games. I’ve played a few of them, but Super Rush gains my praise based on presentation alone. Nintendo Direct showed off gameplay at the beginning of their trailer that’s typical of a golf game. I went through a weird period where I was obsessed with one of the Tiger Woods Golf Games, so that’s not a slight against Mario Golf.
Characters from the Mario universe will scramble along the golf course in a new mode called Speed Golf – ultimately, this won me over. It looks chaotic, and I can only imagine how fun the game will be with local co-op. That’s right. Up to 4 players can play locally or online with each other. The story mode looks like a welcome addition, but one I doubt I’ll play for long.
Mario Golf Super Rush is available June 25, 2021.