After an amazingly successful debut E3 and a notably less successful launch this March, 3DS returned with a strong presence at E3 2011. Only a handful of new titles were shown for the console (alongside a few upcoming releases high on many a gamer’s wishlist), but what was displayed was an exciting look at what the future will hold in store.
Foremost is highly-anticipated Super Mario 3D. The iconic plumber’s 3DS debut is very reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy 2, featuring a large amount of both third-person and side-scrolling levels. The Tanooki Suit was among the game’s many nostalgic elements highlighted in the latest trailer, and although it appears to only offer the ability to hover instead of really take to the skies, we cannot wait to see the mustachioed hero don it for ourselves. A slew of other items and abilities from yesteryear are also set to return, making Super Mario 3D look like it will be one of Mario’s most whimsical adventures to date.
That was not the plumber’s only appearance, either– the first substantial footage of Mario Kart 3D was also shown during the conference. The popular racer looks to build upon all of Mario Kart DS’s strengths, featuring a variety of new and classic courses as well as a few new changes in mechanics. Most noticeable is the addition of hang gliders and propellers, which are activated when in the air and while underwater, respectively. The title also boasts a greater emphasis on customization, allowing players to customize the parts of their kart before a race.
Luigi, too, made a surprise appearance at the show, starring in the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 2. Just how Luigi gets another mansion is still a mystery (he deserves all the misfortune that befalls him if he fell for another scam so easily), but the green plumber was shown exploring a variety of different rooms and encountering a range of new ghosts and other supernatural adversaries (MUMMIES!). Reggie made it clear the game is not a mere retread of the GameCube title but an entirely new experience designed from the ground up for 3DS.
Star Fox 64 3D also made a brief appearance at Nintendo’s press conference. Among its many new features is the ability to pilot your vehicle simply using 3DS’s gyroscope, an inconsequential but still neat option for those who have already played the original to exhaustion.
One of the more anticipated titles, Kid Icarus: Uprising made a return as well. The title looks significantly further along than in any of its previous appearances, but the most enticing revelation was the inclusion of a three-on-three battle mode. The game is also said to support AR functionality, and while it does not yet has a solid release date (#!@*), it is still scheduled to arrive before the end of the year.
The biggest surprise of the show was undoubtedly the announcement of a new Smash Bros. title, one that would see simultaneous release on both 3DS and the console-formely-known-as-Café, Wii U. Details are, unsurprisingly, scant, but Iwata did mention that series director and Kid Icarus: Uprising designer Masahiro Sakurai would once again helm the project. The two versions are expected to interact with one another in some fashion, but just how will likely not be revealed until both are closer to completion.
Conspicuously absent from the press conference were the 3DS iterations of Paper Mario and Animal Crossing; thankfully, however, trailers for each have also been revealed, indicating both titles are still on track to see release sometime next year.
Interestingly, DS also proved it had a bit of life left in it, raging against the dying of the light with a handful of new titles still slated for release. Among the list are heavyweights like Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, Kirby Mass Attack, and Super Fossil Fighters. All of these are scheduled to drop before the end of the year, providing DS and 3DS owners alike a range of new and deep content to enjoy.