Let's Look at Nintendo's Year-End Lineup

By Keza MacDonald on at

There is a predictable rhythm to the gaming year and its events. Like the seasons, E3 follows GDC; Gamescom follows E3; PAX, EGX and the other big regional shows follow Gamescom. By the time we get to September, we've seen and played pretty much everything that's coming out in the last four months of the year, at one of these shows or another.

Nintendo has pretty much had a rest year in 2016, saving Zelda and its new NX hardware for next year. 3DS and Wii U owners will likely be consolidating their collections before both systems are wound down for good – but there are still some exciting things on the horizon for Nintendo fans.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force


UK release date: September 2nd

Federation Force turned out to be a great multiplayer take on Metroid Prime; it is atmospheric, inventive, and about twice as fun with another player as on your own. It might not be Samus, but it's still a good Metroid – and the competitive Blast Ball multiplayer mode has just enough of Rocket League about it to be oddly compelling.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past


UK release date: September 16th

A loving remake of a 16-year-old, intimidatingly vast (80+ hours) and enduringly well-regarded Japanese RPG, Fragments of the Forgotten Past is a throwback for sure. Some of its old systems don't go down as well now as they did then. But a lot of it has been modernised (especially its looks), and perhaps because I've been gripped by nostalgic affection for turn-of-the-millennium Japanese games lately, I found what I've played really charming.

Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice


UK release date: 30th September

This is the only game on this list I haven't played at all in any form, but let's not be dismissive. Even if Sonic is still, for some reason, wearing a snood. It's got to be an improvement on the other two Sonic Boom games, which have the unenviable distinction of being some of the lowest-rated Sonic games of all time.

Mario Party: Star Rush


UK release date: October 7th

The biggest change to the friendship-ruining Mario Party formula here is that everyone can roll their dice and play at once. There's no waiting around. This results in a somewhat more chaotic party-game experience, with characters and special events popping up all over the board.

Paper Mario: Colour Splash


UK release date: 7th October

Paper Mario has had a bit of an identity crisis since its early-'00s heyday, as the Mario & Luigi RPGs have taken up the mantle of "Mario-themed RPG", leaving it to straddle an awkward divide between action-game and role-playing game. 2012's Sticker Star was rather disappointing for anyone looking for depth; last year's Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros, meanwhile, was a great crossover, but had more of a Mario & Luigi flavour. Colour Splash looks gorgeous on the Wii U – surely the best console ever for craft-themed aesthetics, what with this, Yoshi's Woolly World and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – and has a quite sophisticated card-based battle system to complement the simple premise, which involves Mario running around and bashing things with a hammer to restore their colour.

Rhythm Paradise Megamix


UK release date: 21st October

The Rhythm Paradise collections of totally insane rhythm-based mini-games are enduring favourites of mine. Megamix on 3DS has bizarre characters, quirky music and strict scoring, all of which are series staples, but it also has a new story mode tying the minigames together. (I'm not sure a quick-fire minigame collection really benefits much from a story mode, though; it does rather slow things down.)

NES Mini


UK release date: 11th November

I still can't get over how cute this dinky wee thing is. It comes with 30 games from the NES era that are actually good, which between them offer a wide view of that time in gaming history.

Pokémon Sun and Moon


UK release date: 23rd November

The hype for Sun and Moon has been building slowly, but it's fair to say that pretty much everyone is looking forward to it now. New pokémon, new forms for old pokémon, and a cheerful tropical theme promise enough novelty to tempt lapsed players, and the global Pokémon Go mania has no doubt boosted the world's appetite for a full-sized new Pokémon RPG.