Nintendo hosted its Direct event on Thursday, showcasing a slew of games released in the first half of 2023. The nearly 45-minute presentation was streamed live on the company’s social channels and featured most of the major IP, including new trailers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Pikmin 4, and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Among the new announcements, Nintendo is finally remastering the original Metroid Prime, bringing a new course to its acclaimed racing title Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and more. In addition, the company made retro Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games available on the Nintendo Online subscription service.
Without further ado, here’s a list of the biggest video game announcements from the first Nintendo Direct event of 2023:
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe to Hogwarts Legacy, the 8 biggest games released in February
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom new trailer and price
Release date: May 12th
One of the most anticipated games of this year, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom throws series protagonist Link back into the world of Hyrule, although it looks scarier this time around. As an infectious plague grips the lands, we’re introduced to new types of enemies, ranging from Wyvern-like creatures, a one-eyed boar-like ogre, and what looks like a boss fight against a giant made of rune blocks. There’s not much to discover in terms of the plot here, but we can see the new mechanics of traversing the skies, as this time we can explore the floating islands. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom would also be the first Nintendo Switch exclusive to cost $70 (about Rs. 5,785).
Metroid Prime Remastered
While Nintendo still remains tight-lipped about the existence of a Metroid 4, the company has announced Metroid Prime Remastered. And guess what? The digital edition is now available on the Nintendo eShop! Originally released on Nintendo’s old GameCube system, this new revamped version adds dual stick controls that aid in easy navigation with the ability to change point of view. Additionally, there is an in-game control setup that “recreates the feel of the original game”. Physical editions of Metroid Prime Remastered will be released on February 22nd.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Demo and Epilogue
Release date: February 24th
Ahead of its release later this month, Nintendo announced a new epilogue for Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Accessible after finishing the main story, in it you play as the interdimensional traveler Magalore, who has lost his magical powers. The epilogue features an all-new map, in which players collect magic points by clearing over 20 levels – eventually restoring Magalore’s abilities to their original state. In addition, the company also made a free demo available on the Nintendo eShop.
Advanced Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp release date
Release date: April 21st
Featuring a newly reimagined style for Nintendo Switch, Advance Wars is returning with its core cast of Andy, Max, Sammy and more as you strategically defend the lands in a military-style turn-based combat system. Think of it as Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, but characters can help with machine repairs and leveling up abilities. Players can also create their own maps and share them with friends, as well as participate in a Versus mode for head-to-head battles – both online and locally. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp was originally slated for release in 2021.
Pikmin 4 release date
Release date: July 21st
In addition to getting a July 21 release date, the long-awaited Pikmin 4 received a close-up gameplay look in the Nintendo Direct presentation. The trailer offered a look at the tiny new unnamed player character as they order the smaller Pikmin floral species to help solve puzzles and defeat backyard bosses. We are also introduced to a friendly dog named Otachi, who is an expert at breaking barriers and pulling giant carcasses.
Splatoon 3 Expansion
Release date: Spring 2023
It’s time to splash some more color on gray, metropolitan Splatsville via the new expansion pass, which adds two waves of Splatoon 3 DLC content. The trailer then cuts to a darker theme, highlighted by a gloomy, snowy location, introducing a second single player mission called Side Order – due to release in the future.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wave 4
Release date: Spring
Mario fans might be disappointed to learn that there isn’t a standalone release for Nintendo’s poster child, but there is a new racing course for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe coming soon. Those who own the Booster Course package will have access to Yoshi’s Island, taking you through vibrant underwater regions and a ramp to the skies. Birdo, the funnel-mouth dinosaur, who first appeared in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! from 2003, is also being added to wave 4 as a playable character.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon gameplay
Release date: March 17th
Exploring the early days of Umbra Witch Bayonetta, under the name Cereza, Nintendo has released a new gameplay trailer for Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon. The spin-off title sees the young trainee witch on a quest to save her imprisoned mother, as she ventures deep into the forbidden fairy-ruled Forest of Avalon. Fortunately, we are not alone on this journey, as we are soon joined by the demonic Chesire, a muscular feline, who acts as our muscle. The game lets you take control of both characters, with Cereza only serving as a supporting character, using spells to lock enemies in place. By switching controls to Cheshire, we can deal massive amounts of damage to defeat these threats.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Expansion
Release date: February 15th
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is getting its third batch of expansion content on February 15th, adding roguelike battles and a new character, Masha, a Lapidarist. Essentially serving as a crafting specialist, she relies on special ores to craft accessories that can grant various stats – such as increased agility. The roguelike addition lets you select a character and fight waves of enemies, with each victory granting more heroes and special abilities. Developer Monolith Soft has also announced Volume 4 content – released later this year – which adds a new story-driven experience.
Disney’s Island of Illusions
Release date: July 28
Starring iconic Disney characters – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy – Disney Illusion Island is coming to Nintendo Switch in July. The cartoon-style platform game sees our heroes embark on an adventure to search for three magical books as they jump, swim and spin across the mysterious island of Monoth. The game can also be played in four-player local co-op, where each player controls a character. Share hugs for extra health points, jump for longer jumps, and throw a rope for your allies to climb up.
Octopath Traveler II Demo
Release date: February 24th
Octopath Traveler 2 just got a playable demo on the Nintendo eShop, with saves carried over to the main game once it launches. Featuring a unique blend of retro pixelated art styles and 3D CGI, the game immerses you in Solistia, a bustling land divided by the sea. Play as one of eight eccentric characters, each with their own unique traits, and explore the lands as you see fit — engaging with the townsfolk and developing work skills and talents over time.
Game Boy on Nintendo Switch Online
Retro Game Boy titles are available now on the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. Key library highlights include Tetris, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, Metroid 2: Return of Samus, and more. The base tier of $19.99/year (about Rs. 1,651) grants you access to Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles.
Meanwhile, Game Boy Advance (GBA) titles will only be available to those who own the premium expansion pack, costing $49.99 (about Rs. 4,129). This tier adds six more titles to the mix, including Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario Kart Super Circuit, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgames! and Kuru Kuru Kururin.