Hopes For: The New Mario Kart and Splatoon for the Nintendo Switch

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Continuing on my previous post, I’m going to look deeper into the Nintendo Switch. This time, I’ll be focusing on two games shown in the reveal trailer: A Mario Kart game, and a seemingly new Splatoon game. Right off the bat, I’d like to say that, although gameplay has been shown for them, these games have not been officially confirmed for the Switch (just as Skyrim has been shown running on the system, but has not been confirmed as an actual title).

I’d like to commend Nintendo for deciding to bring these two games to the Switch. Assuming that these will be launch titles, they’ll offer a robust portion of the starting lineup. This could greatly benefit Switch sales, as the Wii U did not have too many great titles during the beginning of its lifespan. Many people never experienced the joy of Mario Kart (MK8) or Splatoon because they weren’t willing to purchase a console that, admittedly, was not doing too well and was on its way out. Hopefully, the Switch versions of these games can help solve this problem.

Starting with the Mario Kart game that we saw for a few seconds: this was a very confusing showcase, as at first glance, it looked like a port of Mario Kart 8 to the Switch. Same art style and the course shown was a DLC track in MK8. But looking more carefully, you’ll notice a couple of things are different. For one, King Boo, the likes of whom we haven’t seen in this series since Mario Kart Wii, is in this showcase. Secondly, and arguably more important, is the return of a second item slot. Similar to Mario Kart Wii, it seems as though racers can now hold two items with them at once. However, this could be up for argument, as there are physically two spots for an item icon, as opposed to the single one we have seen in the past.

So, cool beans, Nintendo’s just making an enhanced port of their last console Mario Kart with all of the DLC, new characters, and some gameplay tweaks to satisfy us while they make a new one. There’s a couple things that could be going on here. Similar to this Zelda “game,” we could merely be seeing a tech demo with reused assets from MK8. I highly doubt this, though, as why would they bother changing the item interface just for that? Personally, I’m hoping this is a whole new game that builds off of its predecessor. Honestly, I loved the graphics in MK8 and I wouldn’t mind if they were used again. To name a few things in particular I’d like to see:

  • A BETTER BATTLE MODE (it’s important to me)
  • more utilization of the water mechanic
  • full Amiibo support
  • an improved race recording/sharing system

All right, let’s hop over to this interesting new Splatoon game. To me, this one looks like much more of a unique game – you could call it Spla2oon. At first, I also thought this was just a Switch port of Splatoon with maybe a couple new things. But the different animations, character design, and map was just too much for that to be likely.

When thinking about what this game could offer, I realized that its local multiplayer will kind of have to be better. Unless the Switch can quickly switch (no pun intended) to playing on public Wi-Fi, how are portable Turf Wars going to work? Seeing as the Switch seems to be much more of a “moving around and sharing with friends” experience than the Wii U, I think that, for this next Splatoon game to shine, it will have to improve upon things such as the Battle Dojo. I saw a lot of potential in this mode, but with the frame drops and shallow gameplay, it wasn’t much to hoot about. Also, it would be nice to see an extended story mode to play through while on the go.

There have been several reports saying that there are more features to the Switch that we have yet to hear about. Seeing that gyro control and touchscreen are fundamental aspects of Splatoon’s gameplay, I wouldn’t be surprised if the tablet-like controller had these as well, especially considering its similarities with the Wii U gamepad. But with the great innovations Nintendo is making to their next console, who knows what other new ways of control could pop up?

Regardless of whether these are new games, or just ports, I’m glad to see Nintendo realizing the importance of strong first-party launch games. Hopefully I got some ideas going in your head about what these new games could potentially offer. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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