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Inside Nintendo's Summer Celebration

July 30, 2015

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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It was a Nintendo wonderland. A feast for gamers both casual and hard-core. At its Summer Celebration held in downtown Toronto, Nintendo gave G4 Canada a sneak peak at 2015's much-anticipated releases. Below are our detailed highlights.

Inside Nintendo's Summer CelebrationStar Fox Zero
Upon entering the crowded, bustling room filled wall-to-wall with Nintendo faithful, my eyes were immediately drawn to one of two TVs displaying the highly-anticipated Star Fox reboot.

The demo started off with Fox and his band of human-like mammal squadmates soaring through the air in their signature Arwings as they bantered back and forth with each other over an intercom.

A brief tutorial highlighting the game's very basic controls ensued. Something that I immediately noticed upon picking up the Wii U gamepad was how smooth and intuitive the controls felt. Shooting, and especially barrel rolling, felt seamless enough to the point where I was pulling off these aerial acrobatics without a second thought.

Much like previous entries in the Star Fox series, certain portions of the game are on rails. During these guided areas, the player can still freely shoot and move their aircraft vertically and horizontally to avoid onscreen threats and manoeuvre around terrain.

About halfway through the demo, the player is granted complete control over the aircraft, although within the confines of a certain area. While there is no denying the classic feel of playing a Star Fox game on rails, I found the more free form section of the demo to be more enjoyable.

Something that I failed to find any bit enjoyable was the on-foot version of Star Fox's Arwing. The controls went from feeling tight to immediately janky and tank-like. It was a jarring transition due to how much of a stark contrast there was between both play styles.

The demo ended with a boss fight that could be approached in one of two ways.  The player either had the option to attack the boss (a stationary enemy fortress) head on by circulating around it and attacking its weak spots, slowly chipping away at its health bar.

Or, the player could damage the boss to about half health, therefore creating an opening in its armour. This left players with the option to infiltrate its core and finish the fight while inside the fortress via the Arwing's aforementioned on-foot capability.

This diversity to how objectives could be completed was a nice touch. Although I enjoyed my time with Star Fox Zero, I couldn't help but feel that the gameplay is destined to get repetitive after a while. There simply isn't enough variety within the game's mechanics to bring the title into the modern era. But if Nintendo's goal is to capitalize on nostalgia without reinventing the wheel, Star Fox Zero looks to do just that when it is released later this year.

Inside Nintendo's Summer CelebrationMario Maker
Easily one of the more ambitious and novel Mario titles to be released in the last couple of years, Mario Maker aims to lend creative control to the player by letting them craft, edit, and share their very own levels across multiple visual styles spanning the plumber's thirty year legacy.

Ever since its announcement during E3 2014, I've kept a close eye on all Mario Maker coverage, as the concept genuinely had me excited.

The demo started off normal enough. I was controlling an 8-bit Mario making my way through what looked to be a standard world one level. Question mark boxes, goombas, and green pipes were strewn about the iconic 2D plane. About three minutes into my play session, I encountered what looked to be a combination of three different enemy types, some of which appearing across different Mario titles.

I immediately timed my jump and whizzed right over the user-created abomination's head. After completing the level, I took a crack at creating one of my own. It was jarring at first having a myriad of different control options available at my fingertips.

I eventually gave up on creating a level, as it seemed that I would have to be acquainted with the creation tools over a longer period of time to truly get the most out of them.

I played a couple more user created levels and simply put, had a blast. Some were speed run focused, while one level in particular kept spawning infinite coins in an enclosed area. As it stands right now, Super Mario Maker looks to supply fans with endless Mario via a community that is sure to be thriving with creativity come this September.

Inside Nintendo's Summer CelebrationYoshi's Woolly World
While already released in Europe, Yoshi's Woolly World aims to send gamers on a side scrolling adventure across a world full of lose yarn threads and plush wool.

Featuring Nintendo's favourite B character, Yoshi, the gameplay felt solid, if not a little floaty in spots. It took me a couple of minutes to find my footing, but when I did, I quickly learned how to handle the weight and jump distance of Yoshi.

About halfway through my time playing, I had interacted with about four different gameplay mechanics that all centred around manipulating the fabric in the world around me. It was great to notice such diversity in this respect.

Something that immediately stood out was its amusingly light-hearted aesthetic. The yarn in the world looked authentic to the point where you just want to reach into the screen and squeeze the plushy little guy. Fans of Yoshi (and yarn) and can get their hands on this title October 16th.

Inside Nintendo's Summer CelebrationBlast Ball
Battle Ball is a three-on-three multiplayer mode to be featured in the upcoming Metroid Prime spin off title, Federation Force. Initially debuted at the Nintendo World Championships during this past E3, Blast Ball takes elements of soccer and first person shooting and melds them together to create a unique and frantic game mode.

Two teams of three square off in a rectangular arena with the sole purpose of getting the ball in their opponent's goal. Players do this by shooting the ball with their blasters to move it across the arena.

Each player also has the ability to shoot their opponents, thus effectively stunning them. When in a stunned state, the player is ejected from their mech and must hop back into it to resume playing. Powers ups also occasionally populate the field, which lends an edge to those who pick them up.

While certainly straightforward, I enjoyed my time with Blast Ball. It's hard to say as of right now if it will find long legs with gamers due to its simplicity, but if the recently released Rocket League is any indication of whether gamers love simple twists on soccer, it should be just fine. Find Blast Ball in Metroid Prime: Freedom Force, launching for the 3DS sometime next year.

Inside Nintendo's Summer CelebrationMario Tennis Ultra Smash
Revealed at E3 and met with an unsurprisingly low amount of excitement, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash marks the plumber's return to everyone's favourite racket-based sport.

It's not clear at this point if any fan had been clamouring for it, but it's coming nonetheless. Putting my curmudgeonly attitude on the title aside, I left Mario Tennis Ultra Smash surprised at how instantly fun it is.

I played a quick one-on-one game as Mario up against Bowser. It was as arcadey as any Mario sports title should be, coupled with flaming tennis balls, massive eight feet jumps, and of course, power ups.

About halfway through my match, I collected a Mega Mushroom power up that grew Mario to an hilariously enormous size, effectively taking up half of his side of the court.

Needless to say this one match changed my initial stance on the title. Now if only Nintendo would get going on that Mario Strikers reboot.

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash is set to release this Holiday season.

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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see