Nintendo has certainly been scheming in the year and a half since we last received a full length, detailed Nintendo Direct. Although many of us were hoping for some news on entries into both the Zelda and Metroid Prime franchises, the February 17, 2021 broadcast gave us remasters, re-releases, and compilations suitable for gamers of any age. Here are some announced titles for later this year and a few new entries into franchises we have loved for decades.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir and Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Initially released in 1988 on the Famicom Computer Disc System, Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Kōkeisha, or Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir and the 1989 prequel, Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind (Ushiro ni Tatsu Shōjo) have never received the proper Nintendo of North America localization treatment — until now. These beloved Japanese text-based adventures are being remade/updated and finally translated into English for the Nintendo Switch — slated for release on May 14th, 2021.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir occurs in a mansion suitable for only the best of horror flicks. Using text-based commands, players can interrogate other characters, move around the mansion, and/or examine surroundings and items. The mansion is at the center of the game’s mystery, as those who attempt to steal the fortune within the estate meet an untimely death. The village surrounding the mansion mysteriously warns players of this — that the dead “will return to life to kill anyone who attempts to steal the treasure of the Ayashiro family”.
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind (Ushiro ni Tatsu Shōjo) was even more popular upon release and in its subsequent years in relation to its predecessor. Using text-based interface, players must solve two separate mysteries — the death of a classmate who was investigating a supernatural legend in school and a murder case nearing the “statute of limitations”. Players must choose between a set of commands/responses on the screen while talking to other characters to push forward the narrative and examine clues in a modern-day Japanese environment to solve these two crimes .
Legend of Mana: Remastered
Originally released on PSX console in 1999, Square’s (Square Enix) Legend of Mana: Remastered will receive a multi console release on June 24, 2021. One of the more interesting dynamics of this traditional 90s JRPG is the “land make” system. Instead of an overworld map, players start with an empty map screen, as it requires them to get Artifacts that create Land to build their own unique world. Once a Land forms, a player can enter to complete many quests, get or sell items, or receive hints. The strength of the Land depends on several factors, such as how players develop their overworld map or what artifacts they use to develop Land. Yoko Shimomura’s score also gets a remaster, as players can choose between new or classic arrangements from the 1999 release. It will be interesting to see the other updated dynamics that Square Enix promises for the game upon its release for the PC, Nintendo Switch, and PS4.
Capcom Arcade Stadium
Capcom is no stranger to clever repackaging of their older titles and reselling them for profit. I expect Capcom Arcade Stadium to be no different from the numerous Mega Man or Street Fighter compellations, providing an arcade companion to the Switch. Similar to Sega AGES, the initial install of the game is free to download, with the choice between Battle of Midway: 1944 or Ghosts ‘n Goblins (out Feb. 25th) as the starter choices for this title. Subsequent releases are available for purchase and available for download in packs of ten (there are currently three packs available) to beef up this unique collection of Capcom’s earliest hits. Purchasable titles include Street Fighter II and the ever weird Forgotton Worlds. So, relive the memories in Capcom Arcade Stadium, which is NOW available in the Nintendo eShop.
Stubbs the Zombie in a Rebel Without a Pulse
The questionably cult Stubbs the Zombie in a Rebel Without a Pulse will receive a “royal remaster treatment”, with a slated multi-console release on March 16, 2021. Relive, or rather “undead”, in the zany, retro-futuristic adventure of Edward “Stubbs” Stubblefield. The player is a zombie, starving for both revenge and human brains. If successful in their munching, players can then recruit victims for their hoard, making Stubb’s assault on Punchtown, PA even more violent. We just want to know what prompted the resurrection of this long buried title from 2005 on the original Xbox, but are interested in seeing how the Joy-Con controls.
Celebrate 35 years of Super Mario with an Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Update
Maybe not a retro re-release but more of a retro homage, last year’s insanely successful Animal Crossing: New Horizons will receive an update — filled with items and costumes from across the Super Mario series in celebration of 35 years of the Italian plumber and his infinite quest to save Princess Peach. Items in the update include ? boxes, coins, mushrooms, and even two warp pipes players can install on their island to transport from one end to the next. Be sure to accept the update on March 1, 2021, and rock the Wario costume — only if to troll all the visitors and villagers on your island.
Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection
The Ninja Gaiden series has been a topic of discussion and frustration since the franchise’s first release on the NES back in 1988, being easily one of the historically harder games in this Nintendo Direct announcement. Known for its action-platform gameplay and quoted as being “the first console game to have the story presented in cinematic cut-scenes”, this collection does not include the original game. However, Ryu Hayabusa is still our dude in Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, which will only contain the later 2000-2010s Xbox releases of Ninja Gaiden: Sigma (2007), Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, (2009) and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (2012) when released on the Nintendo Switch June 10, 2021.
SaGa Frontier: RemastereD
Another of Square Enix’s seemingly endless rotation of JRPG games on the PSX, SaGa Frontier is actually the seventh entry in the series and the first localized and released in the United States. Relatively unknown in the west compared to the similar Final Fantasy franchise, SaGa Frontier is science fantasy JRPG that toys with the conventions of narrative, featuring seven different protagonists and non-linear gameplay to keep this game as fresh as it was back in 1999. Admittedly, I have never ventured into this franchise, but with a remastered version slated for April 15, 2021, I may have another reason to be in awe of the company’s ingenuity during the 1990s.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
This is THE one Legend of Zelda title I found impossible to get through. Even in 2011, the dopey-esq character designs mixed with the forced use of the Wii’s abysmal motion controls made me rage quit as soon as I entered the first dungeon. I do not think I am alone in the issues that plague the game’s initial release — a game that is retroactively recognized for a fantastic narrative and character development. Skyward Sword is receiving the ultimate HD facelift, complete with a player option to shift between Joy-Con motion controls or a traditional button-based method. What’s also dope is the fact that a new set of Joy-Cons will be available for purchase, and the game, on July 16, the left-con representing the Hylian Shield and the right, Link’s Master Sword.
Besides the above, several mentioned titles piqued our interest during Feb 17. Nintendo Direct. The Nintendo Switch plans to release a MiiTopia RPG-adventure, using console owners’ custom Mii’s in classic gameplay, featuring enhanced dynamics from the previous Nintendo 3DS add-on. On February 25, Capcom fans will once again take on the role of Arthur in Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Resurrection, a colorful platformer heavily influenced by the series’ earliest titles — complete with a co-op mode. No More Heroes: 3, with a release date of August 27, 2021, reintroduces Travis Touchdown to next gen at the center of a battle for Earth against aliens. Touchdown must pay to enter the ranked battles between these baddies, as players lead him through a set of mundane, but hilariously fun tasks to advance in the game. We are excited to see how Travis Touchdown will control through the Joy-Con’s intuitive smoothness with both blade and fist. Finally, Square Enix’s announced and tentatively titled “Project Triangle Strategy” SCREAMS Final Fantasy: Tactics, in narrative, design, and tactical combat — all three elements that made me absolutely fall in love with the game when it released on my 8th birthday back in 1997.
As long as Square Enix keeps delivering nostalgia in repackaged mediocrity, as seen with having several announcements within this one Nintendo Direct, I will continue to be a sucker for it. However, Nintendo has illustrated their willingness to recreate past peaks in retro gaming for not only the nostalgia points but also for a new generation of gamers — generating new reasons to fall in love with the same games all over again.