Whether you loved or loathed this year’s VGX awards, one thing was for certain — Nintendo didn’t deliver: it didn’t even come close. Despite hyping a rare first-time-in-10-years appearance from the company’s American President and all-round meme generator Reggie Fils-Aime, Ninty’s sole announcement — the revelation of a Tropical Freeze release date – served only to antagonize and underwhelm longtime fans of the brand.
Following an awkward night for fans and figureheads alike, the big N appears to be bouncing back in a big way, unveiling a spate of trailers, characters and even an all-new Zelda spin-off, courtesy of this month’s Nintendo Direct. Among the many newsworthy moments included in today’s announcement are the latest trailers for Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. As sequels to some of the company’s most successful ever ventures, both entries are likely to excite plenty of attention and earn no end of accolades.
Kicking off with the Mario Kart 8 clip (available above) gamers get a good long look at some of the new features racing their way into contention on the Wii U. Zero-g segments, complete with sci-fi-style horizontal wheels are of course the biggest additions visible here, though there’s still plenty of fresh tracks and familiar faces on hand to round out the experience. New additions and returning favorites include baby Mario and Luigi avatars, GP motorbikes, and a desert-set Bowser boneyard track. Other courses include a busy airport, Jack and the Beanstalk-style cloud locale and a candy-themed arena that should be familiar to any fans of The Simpsons.
Not to be outdone, the trailer for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze features many new additions of its own, including an Icy Viking-like end boss, playable Dixie Kong character and a co-op move that transforms enemies into in-game loot. Fans riled by the series’ typically-demanding mine cart sections will be pleased to see that these areas have shifted to an isometric viewpoint here, affording players a much greater view of the upcoming track.
New Mario and/or Donkey Kong footage is always a welcome sight, and both games appear to be shaping up for success. Sadly, the relative failure of the Wii U console to meet sales expectations means that less players than ever before will be able to pick up and play these latest, exciting iterations. Had Nintendo led the way with more first party titles like these, then the situation might well have been reversed. As it is, all-but the most diehard of fans will likely consider purchasing a console to play these types of intermittent, quality titles.
Can either of these games revitalize the Wii U, or has the console become a niche machine already? Which title is the more likely to top its high-scoring handheld predecessor? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Wii U news, right here on Game Rant.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will appear in store and online (via the Nintendo eShop) from February 21, 2014. The title is exclusive to the Wii U platform.
Mario Kart 8 has yet to receive an official release date, and is also exclusive to the Wii U.
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