Summer Game Fest has been and gone, but we’re not done for gaming news this month – not by a long shot, as Nintendo dropped a Direct livestream on us with barely 24 hours’ notice, and it was a good one.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is almost certainly going to be the frontrunner for game of the year come Christmas time, but until today we had no idea what else Nintendo had in store for us in the second half of 2023. A fair bit, it turns out. We knew beforehand that this Direct would focus primarily on games launching this calendar year, so there was no Metroid Prime 4, and no news on the rumoured Switch 2. But Nintendo had plenty of surprises in store.
After smashing box office records on the big screen, the plumber we don’t need to name is getting a brand new 2D adventure for the first time in a while, and retro RPG fans will be just as excited by the other big announcement involving Nintendo’s mustachioed mascot. And if you’re a fan of party games that make people look very silly, a surprise new WarioWare game looks like it could be a classic in waiting.
We’ve rounded up the biggest announcements from the June Nintendo Direct below.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
It really is about time that Nintendo updated us on its plans for Mario’s next 3D outing (we’re still holding out for Odyssey 2), but while we’re going to have to wait a bit longer for that news, the plumber is starring in a new side-scrolling adventure that looks – and we don’t say this lightly – absolutely bonkers. Nintendo appears to have moved on from the good-to-meh “New” sub-series, with Super Mario Bros. Wonder sporting a new art style, warp pipes that come alive and a trippy new item called a Wonder Flower that transforms stages. Let’s just say things get weird. Oh, and just as you thought Nintendo had run out of ideas for the 2D Mario games, he can turn into an elephant now. So there.
Out: October 20
The fourth Pikmin game is very nearly with us, and Nintendo is gearing everyone up for its big summer release with a new gameplay trailer that showcases the game’s new features. We already knew that a new space dog companion called Oatchi will join you on your quest to assemble an army of Pikmin and repair your broken ship, but now we’ve seen the playful pup smashing through obstacles, fighting enemies and collecting treasures, including a Game Boy Advance SP. The other big addition is nighttime expeditions for the first time in the series, in which you’ll encounter a new glowing Pikmin type to help solve puzzles. Not long to go now, and if you’re new to the series, Nintendo just dropped the first two Pikmin games on the eShop.
Out: July 21
Super Mario RPG
Mario is as partial to a tens-of-hours-long RPG adventure as he is to a go-karting track, but a lot of people will insist that his very first remains his best. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was actually a Square-developed game that was published by Nintendo, and it was the first bold attempt at a Final Fantasy-style JRPG adventure set in the Mushroom Kingdom. It was also the final game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and one Nintendo fans have been pleading with the company to remake or at the very least just re-release for a very long time. And, well, they listened. If you’ve ever played a Mario RPG then you owe it yourself to give this beautiful-looking remake a go, as it remains one of the most enjoyable (and hilarious) stories ever told in the genre, and deserves a whole new audience.
Out: November 20
WarioWare: Move It!
Given that the most recent WarioWare game only came out two years ago and it’s hardly Nintendo’s most prolific series, this one caught us off guard. But if (and we said as much in our review) WarioWare: Get It Together! didn’t seem all that interested in the Switch’s unique hardware, WarioWare: Move It! goes all in on it, with each microgame asking you to hold the Joy-Cons and get moving in increasingly ridiculous ways. With local co-op and up to four-player multiplayer modes, this will surely be the tipsy party game to beat come the festive season.
Out: November 3
Batman: Arkham Trilogy
The masterful Arkham games have been rumoured for a Switch port for years, and finally you’ll be able to add the greatest superhero games of all time to your library and play them all again on the go. Rocksteady’s beloved trilogy lands on Nintendo’s hybrid console with all DLC included and will offer the perfect excuse to revisit all three titles. With a release date of “Fall 2023” you’ve got a few months to pray that the aging Switch hardware can do them justice.
Out: Q3 2023
Detective Pikachu Returns
Remember Pokémon Detective Pikachu, the shockingly actually quite good 2019 film starring Ryan Reynolds, Bill Nighy and, er, Rita Ora? Well, the movie was actually based on an also surprisingly decent 3DS adventure game, which is now getting a sequel on Switch, which as far as we can tell doesn’t feature Rita Ora. With us? Good. Pikachu is once again reimagined here as a coffee-addicted and unsettlingly gruff talking detective, who works with his fellow Pokémon and human partner Tim Goodman to solve mysteries in the big city. Detective Pikachu Returns looks no less strange than its predecessor, and should be a bigger hit on Switch.
Out: October 6
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1
We learned at last month’s PlayStation Showcase that Konami and Hideo Kojima’s legendary stealth series was being revived in a big way despite its creator no longer being involved. PS5 and Xbox players will eventually be able to play through a ground-up remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, but before then the first three games in the 3D series are being re-released in the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1. Why does any of that concern Nintendo fans? Well, because it’s coming to Switch, too. Longtime Metal Gear fans will remember that MGS3 was once treated to its own 3D-toting (and near impossible to track down these days) 3DS port, so it will be great to play through what is probably the best of the lot on a Nintendo handheld again- even if the long grass doesn’t pop out of the screen this time.
Out: October 24
Pokémon fans had a fair bit to get excited about, as we got an extensive look at the upcoming DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, which features a new area in the middle of the ocean. There was also news on DLC for Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and the next wave of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe tracks.
Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon, originally a 3DS game, is being remastered for Switch, and we’re getting a currently untitled Princess Peach game at some point next year. Sega fans will be able to play Sonic’s latest on Switch later this year, while the Bafta-winning Vampire Survivors is finally making its way to the console it surely suits better than any other. Oh yeah, and there was a pigeon rhythm game, because why the hell not?