Though Nintendo’s focus at E3 was promoting its eight new WiiU titles, the company also has a strong lineup of Nintendo 3DS games. The “Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” sequel “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds,” “Mario & Luigi: Dream Team” and a new “Yoshi’s Island” game appropriately titled “Yoshi’s New Island” were all playable during Nintendo’s media presentation.
The title that garnered the most attention is “A Link Between Worlds.” It’s the first new “Zelda” game made for the 3DS, and styles itself after the early birds-eye-view games in the franchise before “Zelda” made its shift to 3D in 1998’s “Ocarina of Time.” The graphics in that top-down view have been improved significantly in “A Link Between Worlds” even though they clearly take their inspiration from the early NES and Game Boy games, and the game plays around with a sense of depth and 3D elements in a way never before seen. Still, it’s the ability to shift into paintings on the wall and give the world a 3D perspective that makes “A Link Between Worlds” so interesting. It’s unclear just how much of the gameplay will involve the shift in perspective and whether it will only be used for puzzle-solving, but hopefully it becomes a major part of the experience like the ability to shift into a wolf in “Twilight Princess.”
As for “Yoshi’s New Island,” it also honors the tradition of its predecessor. “Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” came out on the SNES in 1995, and though its been updated for the Game Boy Advance and the Virtual Console, it never got a sequel until now. The three levels of the game that Zap2it got to play at E3 showed that the mechanics of the title haven’t changed much even though the system it’s on has advanced significantly. One of the biggest changes is the addition of the “Mega Egg,” which Yoshi can spit at pipes and rock formations to break them and open up access to new areas, coins and other items. Other such upgrades will likely be available throughout the game, but beyond that fans of “Yoshi’s Island” should be happy with the way this new title stays true to the series.
“Mario & Luigi: Dream Team” similarly offers a sleeker new take on a familiar style of Nintendo gameplay. Following in the footsteps of 2003’s “Superstar Saga,” 2005’s “Partners in Time” and 2009’s “Bowser’s Inside Story,” the latest “Mario & Luigi” game as the same feel as its predecessors with the twist of being set in Luigi’s dreams. While playing a demo at E3, it became clear that the ability to use the 3DS’s touch screen interact with Luigi while he is dreaming will add a fun twist to the unbound nature of this new game.
Last but not least, Nintendo unveiled an exciting tidbit of information about the upcoming “Super Smash Bros.” game for the Wii U and 3DS: one of the playable characters will be the Wii Fit Instructor.
“Mario & Luigi: Dream Team” comes out on August 11, “A Link Between Worlds” and “Yoshi’s New Island” hits stores this holiday season and “Super Smash Bros.” is set to premiere in 2014.