After the Nintendo Direct Tuesday afternoon, Nintendo’s E3 showings didn’t end – rather, they were only beginning as coverage moved to the Nintendo Treehouse team. If you’re not familiar with how Nintendo typically does E3, what will happen is that they’ll have a Direct which gives a general overview of some upcoming games, and then a day full of interviews and deeper dives into gameplay that allows you to see games in more detail. Some of the games covered are even games that didn’t make an appearance during the Direct at all.
As I write this article, I have maybe three or so hours to catch up on as much Treehouse coverage as I can muster. Currently, the Treehouse footage adds up to over five hours of stuff, and I only have about three that I can spend working through it. But I definitely want to take the time to cover what I can and share my opinions about the cool Nintendo games we didn’t get to see during the Direct itself (less salty than yesterday about that – but still a little salty). So let’s jump right in to all the different games the Treehouse has covered!
Quick note: I’m working on this article Wednesday night and to my understanding, there’s more Treehouse footage on Thursday. When this post goes up, I’ll effectively be a day behind. If anything particularly interesting comes out during that time, I’ll try to add it later if I get time!
Overcooked is a game that I haven’t gotten to check out yet, but I’ve heard good things about it from folks online and from my wife, who has quite enjoyed playing it with her friends. Getting to see the second game in action on the Switch pushed me a little bit in the direction of “oh my goodness I want to play this.” The constant chaos of trying to juggle kitchen responsibilities while navigating ridiculous locations would be a lot of fun to enjoy with friends.
There’s a light story element here involving an ancient tome called the Necro-nom-nomicon (I love a good pun) but it feels like the real focus here is the chaotic joy only a kitchen can provide. One level they showed off during the Treehouse was a rafting situation where two platforms rotated around each other, each one with only some of the kitchen supplies needed in order to prepare a meal. The chefs had to throw ingredients to each other across the water, keeping in mind the constantly-changing angles.
The Nintendo Switch version of Overcooked 2 will have an exclusive platypus chef, so if a platypus is your favorite animal then this is gonna be the version of this game you’ll want to get.
Honestly, I just need to get my wife to write this article, as she has played all of these games that I don’t know anything about. Fortnite is something of a phenomenon right now and having it on the Switch is definitely a great opportunity to bring some new players to the Nintendo console. I’ve heard a lot of “fans” express frustration that this game would come to the Switch expressly because of its popularity. To that, I say this: we’re finally getting third party support and you’re complaining?!
The game looks pretty solid on the Switch right now. Fortnite is a Battle Royale game where 100 people go to an arena with the goal of being the only person left alive. You accomplish that by building sweet forts out of materials that you scavenge by wrecking people’s homes and purchasing firearms out of vending machines. You have to be careful not to be consumed by the swirling storm that closes in at the edge of the map, too. There are lots of strategies to implement and a lot of factors to juggle, so it makes the game pretty varied.
As far as why you should play on Switch compared to another console? Outside of portability, it’s hard to say. From what I’ve read online from others so far, there’s actually a pretty big issue with trying to bring your PS4 account over to the Switch version, and the Switch won’t be getting some of the new updates or DLC for the game. Eventually a touch screen feature might be added, but since that’s limited to handheld mode, it won’t be a function that is essential to the game. If you’re already playing Fortnite elsewhere, there’s little to incentivize you to change your ways.
Pokemon Let’s Go was revealed a few weeks ago, and ever since then the fandom has been in a tizzy. Is this generation eight? Is it a spin-off? Will the Pokemon Go mechanics ruin everything that fans ever loved? The Treehouse gave us a better look at what exactly this game means for the series, so let’s go (ha) and see what changes have been made.
Some changes were obvious from the trailer itself – random encounters are gone in favor of Pokemon that move around the overworld. When you touch a Pokemon, you enter a capture screen which allows you to feed the Pokemon berries in order to increase your capture chance, and you can throw Pokeballs in order to capture the Pokemon. The timing and angle of your throw is important because it allows you to increase your chances of a successful capture, but there’s also another benefit – a better quality throw increases the experience your Pokemon gain after capturing.
In this game, all of the Pokemon in your party gain EXP when you capture a Pokemon, with the amount of points varying based on the CP of the Pokemon you catch, the Pokemon’s size (with a special aura in the overworld indicating whether the Pokemon is larger or smaller than normal), and the quality of your throw. Because capturing wild Pokemon is how you level up your team, you are incentivized to capture Pokemon way more than you were in the past – it’s critical to your success. When your team is full, Pokemon go into a storage box that is now carried in your bag – no more relying on a PC at the Pokemon Center to juggle your Pokemon around. You can also nickname your Pokemon whenever you want, with no name rater required to change things if you decide on something different.
Other than that, the game looks very much like the Pokemon experience longtime fans know and love. There are trainers battles, the typical Pokemon stats, hidden items – even classic lines from the original Yellow are back in Pokemon Let’s Go. We also got to see a little bit of what it’s like to have Pokemon follow you. Your partner Pokemon either rides on your shoulder or head depending on whether you chose Pikachu or Eevee (respectively), while your second Pokemon can follow behind you or even give you a lift depending on its size. There’s a lot to like with this game and I plan to cover it in more detail next week, so for now I’ll move on.
Mario Tennis Aces just recently enjoyed a successful demo weekend, so what more could they possibly show off? Turns out that the answer is story mode! This game has a storyline where you move from node to node a la Super Mario Bros and play short challenge matches for rewards and progression. The basic plotline appears to be that an evil tennis racket has possessed some people and is using its dark power to…play tennis really well, I guess?
Regardless, each little stage has some kind of challenge to overcome. Some of these challenges are boss battles, some of them require you to volley tennis balls in a certain way, others are matches with other characters in the game that occur in unusual areas. For example, one court was a boat with a huge mast sticking right through the center of the net. Hitting a ball into the mast causes it to bounce out of the arena and give a point to your opponent, so angling the ball around that obstacle is going to be your big hurdle there.
Winning these matches and progressing the story unlocks customization options for your character, primarily new tennis rackets. The racket type you use can change how different shots work or how your character performs, so earning new ones through the story mode in order to optimize your character is an important aspect of play. This game comes out before too long, so it won’t be long before interested players can stop the evil tennis racket for themselves. You brave heroes.
Of course, we can’t have a Nintendo event at this particular E3 without also having some Smash Bros Ultimate coverage. There have been multiple Treehouse segments devoted to showing off Smash a little more, but I think the most interesting ones have been those which showed off how the new characters work: Inkling and Ridley.
Ridley is a vicious villain and they’ve really emphasized just how powerful and ruthless this guy is using his playstyle. He can drag foes along the ground, tear into them with rending claws, set them ablaze with his fire breath, and pierce their flesh with his tail stinger. The tail attack has a devastating sweet spot that allows Ridley to deal high amounts of damage to the opponent. It seemed a little unbalanced right now but playtesting is still occurring with this game, so there’s a chance it may be nerfed just a bit before the full game comes out.
Where Ridley is big and powerful, Inkling is fast and fun. The ink actually has some really interesting effects on the battlefield. The ink created on the ground by the roller slows down any characters trying to move through it, and if an opponent gets hit with the roller directly it buries them and makes them vulnerable depending on their damage percentage. Inking an opponent with the splat bomb or the splat pistol makes them more vulnerable to damage from any source, allowing you to weaken them much faster. Ink management is important for the Inkling, as many of his/her abilities are weaker or totally useless when the ink tank is empty. Luckily, recharging is just a matter of pressing the B button when holding up your shield. Though I have to wonder – since that isn’t necessarily a normal combination of buttons you might use with any character, how will an Inkling player brand new to the game know to do that? Is there an alert or something that pops up when the ink is empty? Hmm…
It’s nice to see Smash in action but after so much focus was given to it during the Direct, I wanted to see other things during the Treehouse. It got to the point where if a new Smash segment was coming up, I simply skipped it to get to some brand new content.
As of the posting of this article, the second Octopath Traveler demo should be live and allowing you to play as two new characters, the hunter and the thief. The gameplay for these two character classes was shown off, as well as some explanation of how leveling up works and the game’s “path actions.” Path actions are abilities unique to each character in the overworld. Both the hunter and the thief have what are called rogue actions – they can be used at any time on anyone, but have consequences for failure. There are also noble actions that have level restrictions, but no penalty if things don’t go smoothly for you. The distinction between noble and rogue actions appears to the be only difference between the path action for the hunter and for the knight from the first demo.
The hunter class allows you to capture animals and then use those animals to unleash special attacks during combat. This works really well within the vulnerability system available in Octopath Traveler, as normally the attack types you can use (and by extension, the weaknesses you can exploit) are limited based on the character’s weapon proficiency. As the hunter, your animal buddies have different attack types than you and so can exploit weaknesses that you couldn’t otherwise. This is great for “breaking” your opponent’s guard and getting some free attacks against them. The hunter can capture any opponent in the animal classification, though it did show that she isn’t capable of capturing a boss.
The thief class naturally allows you to steal stuff. In the field, the path action has a percentage chance of success, with the percentage being higher based on trust. In the character’s starting location, for example, everyone in the town likes him so there’s a 100% chance to rob them blind. Jerk. During battle, enemies have to be weakened in order to steal items from them, but you can also use boost points (accumulated one per turn as long as you don’t spend them) in order to increase your likelihood of a successful steal. In the dungeon they showed, the thief was able to steal items from enemies that would be useful in future battles within that dungeon. Octopath Traveler comes out in July, and will feature a total of eight different characters with unique class abilities.
Well adventurers, I think that’s all I’m realistically going to be able to cover before I have to head to bed for work. What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Treehouse footage so far? Have you seen anything that made you more or less excited for a particular game? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to return to Adventure Rules this afternoon and tomorrow for more E3 2018 articles!