It's been a rough year for Nintendo, as it has left the Wii U behind in favor of a new console. Rumors about the NX were legion before it was finally announced as the Nintendo Switch. The new Zelda game finally has a title, but it's been delayed yet again. Nonetheless, there have been some very significant highlights to the past year. Nintendo moved towards the mobile market with a bang, Metroid got a much needed re-vamp, and rumor has it Nintendo might have better third party support in the future! It's been, perhaps, a little confusing as to Nintendo's intended direction but I think there are quite a few bests in 2016 that can be appreciated.
Yes, the monster game that stole the show the moment it was released. Pokemon Go has been the talk of the industry as one of the first games that nearly everyone worldwide was playing. If they weren't playing, they knew someone who was. It was all over the papers, even the tabloids that normally favor Princess Kate. The game was said to bring everyone from introverts to those with autism spectrum disorder out the door and exploring the beauty of the city they lived in. Still, Pokemon Go was not without its problems. But they've been rapidly improved upon in the latest updates, including a reasonable tracker (at last), gym training, and buddy Pokemon.
When Miitomo launched in the US back in March, it was more like a quirky social network than a game. It combined the weirdness of Tomodachi Life with Nintendo’s Miiverse social hub. Players used their Mii avatars to ask and answer personal trivia with their friends, buy new outfits, take photos, and so on. It was, for a moment, a hit. It was abandoned quickly, but gained back a few people with the sorely needed update allowing you to send messages directly to friends. Despite its shortcomings, I still enjoy playing it quite a bit. From the flower question to supernatural experiences, Miitomo continues to be both weird and wonderful.
Earlier this year, Nintendo announced the Mini NES Classic Edition, a console so small it can fit in the palm of your hand. Nintendo has jammed thirty of its classic games within, from all the Mario Bros. franchises to Legends of Zelda, Pac-Man, and Castlevania into the Mini NES. Considering those games have been available for download on Nintendo’s Wii system for years, it was unclear if packing them into a retro-style console was a gimmick worth the $60 price tag. But the nostalgia is strong with this one, and it turned out to be worth it to so many people that it sold out within days.
Fire Emblem Fates
The latest release in the newly-rejuvinated Fire Emblem series continues in a similar vein to Fire Emblem: Awakening. This lovely 3DS game turned heads not only for its much improved gameplay but for its three-party fantasy story and romance options. This is the first time that same-sex marriage has existed in the series, even if it was a bit limited. I think we are all very happy that Nintendo is trying, at least a little, to be inclusive.
Star Fox Zero
“Do a barrel roll!” Turns out it still doesn't get old after all these years. Star Fox Zero puts players in an Arwing to fly through a 3D world. Much like Space Invaders, you get to shoot your way through waves of enemies. The difference comes in the land-based Walker unit, which was just as much fun to run around in. The controls were a bit complex, but quite fun once you got the hang of them... and immensely satisfying when you finally took down a tough enemy.