Just yesterday, the latest Nintendo Direct gave us a look at a number of games releasing within the next six months, and a few beyond. As we approach the elder years of the Nintendo Switch and await news of an inevitable hardware sequel, Nintendo showed they still have a number of interesting games yet to release, even if they are relying heavily on remakes and remasters. As such, I wanted to outline my five highlights for the Nintendo Direct that I’m, jokingly, referring to as the “Direct of Remakes” so, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Remake)

To kick things off, we’re getting a remake of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, which was originally released on the Game Boy Advance. I’ve never played the original so I’m fairly excited to give this a shot when it releases on February 16th, 2024. Based on the trailer and the original game, Mario vs. Donkey Kong looks to be a slower, more puzzle-focused 2D platformer than we’re used to from the franchise and I’m all for it. The game immediately made me think of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker as another low-key but very rewarding puzzle game that will perfectly round out the wide variety of Mario games we’re receiving over the next six months. In addition to updating the overall experience, multiplayer has been added in this version, which doesn’t appear to me but likely will for many others. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for when the game releases early next year.

Learn more on Nintendo’s website: Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Another Code: Recollection

Among the remakes of this direct, this one caught me, and I’m sure many others, completely off-guard. Another Code: Recollection is a bundled remake of Another Code: Two Memories (Trace Memory in the US) originally released on the Nintendo DS and, the never before released in the West, Another Code: R – A Journey into Lost Memories which released on Nintendo Wii. These are Point-and-Click Adventure-type games that look to have gotten a full overhaul to their design, bringing exploration from the original 2D to full 3D environments.

You follow the story of Ashley as she journeys in search of her father who she believed was dead and uncover the hidden truth of her mother between both games. In addition to trying to solve the various mysteries surrounding Ashley’s parents, the trailer reveals there are supernatural elements at play so the story could lead in any number of directions. I never heard of this series until the direct and, I must say, I think this game, unironically, struck a real chord with me. The Japanese melodrama of the trailer mixed with a 3D adventure gameplay had me extremely intrigued and maybe it’s just because it’s an unknown quantity for me, but I’d love to give this game a try sometime after it releases on January 19th, 2024.

Learn more on Nintendo’s website: Another Code: Recollection

Unicorn Overlord

Oh boy, I have no idea what the actual gameplay is of Unicorn Overlord because it looks all over the place but Atlus and Vanillaware are boldly touting it as “the rebirth of tactical fantasy RPGs” and so, sure, I’ll bite. Vanillaware is a studio that continuously puts out unique and interesting games so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, their previous release, was a seminal Visual Novel meets a pseudo-RTS that had one of my favorite narratives of the last few years. If this is the first time you’ve heard of it and you have an affinity for visual novels or Japanese games, in general, I highly recommend giving it a look, you won’t regret it and it’ll build up confidence for their next title. They have the track record necessary for me to not write off the cluster of nonsense seen in the trailer (I really don’t know what I’m looking at, is the combat in real time? Is it turn-based?) so I’ll be patiently waiting to learn more as we approach its release. It’s also important to note that this will not be exclusive to Nintendo Switch and looks to have been announced for PlayStation and Xbox, shortly after it’s unveiling. I’ll be excited to get a full look at the Tactical RPG, Unicorn Overlord, when it releases on March 8th, 2024.

Learn more on Atlus’ website: Unicorn Overlord

Princess Peach: Showtime!

At this point, we’ve been long overdue for a Princess Peach-focused game with her last original game being Super Princess Peach on the Nintendo DS. Back then, Nintendo had very different ideas for what a Princess Peach game meant to their audience so it’s a nice change of pace to see Peach take center stage at the level of something like a Luigi’s Mansion. Princess Peach: Showtime! is an action-adventure game that places Peach in a theatre-themed locale where she traverses various plays with the help of the theatre’s guardian, Stella. What surprised me most from the newest reveal was that each stage looks to have vastly varying gameplay, looking to be more condensed yet specific experiences than a straight line from beginning to end. In the game, Peach takes on various forms from a swordfighter to a detective and many others, each with their own unique elements. Hack-and-slash combat, looking for clues, or participating in various minigames looks to be the overall structure the game is going for, similar to focusing on a hat form in Mario Odyssey but in a more linear fashion. From what we saw, I don’t imagine Nintendo would release it without it being a unique experience for Nintendo Switch so I’m cautiously optimistic to see how it is when it launches on March 22, 2024.

Learn more on Nintendo’s website: Princess Peach: Showtime!

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Remake/Remaster)

Capping off the “Direct of Remakes” is one that is near and dear to my heart. I would rank the original Paper Mario in my top 10 favorite games of all time due to how important it is to me and, to be completely honest, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is an ever better game. It refines and near-perfects everything that makes Paper Mario special and was the second and last time the series was a true Turn-Based RPG. Despite being, arguably, one of the best games on Nintendo GameCube, the Paper Mario series underwent a lot of gameplay changes afterward and it wasn’t until Paper Mario: The Origami King that I felt the series even remotely resembled itself. As such, releasing an updated version of the best Paper Mario game, along with Super Mario RPG, is a good sign that Nintendo may finally be listening to fans of the Mario RPGs.

In hindsight, with the announcement of Super Mario RPG finally getting a remake, it makes sense that Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door would be next on that list in the lineage, but I never would have guessed so soon. It also lines up with Nintendo opting to re-release GameCube games rather than adding GameCube emulation to Nintendo Switch Online for maximum value out of us (Fire Emblem next, please). This may be a questionable strategy for some, but if Nintendo continues to put out improved versions of these GameCube games then I’ll gladly take them. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door looks to be a faithful rerelease of the original, making it more of a remaster, with extremely crisp-looking visuals that are more in line with later entries. This game doesn’t need new gameplay elements and likely needs little to no quality-of-life changes to still feel perfectly modern. So, will they charge $60 for despite this? Absolutely. Will I still buy it? Oh yes.

For those unfamiliar with Paper Mario, it originated as a Turn-based RPG on the Nintendo 64 that utilized time-based inputs to increase combat effectiveness. Timing your attacks to press a button upon a hit dealt additional damage and vice versa, something that can be seen in modern games like Sea of Stars and Bug Fables, an indie inspired by the original Paper Mario. In addition, it implemented a badge system that allowed you to equip various badges to augment your abilities in addition to your various quirky companions who came within exploration-based abilities. There’s a lot on offer in the first two games in addition to its often cute and comedic story. For those who don’t play a lot of JRPGs, Paper Mario is one of my go-to recommendations to start with as it’s an overall good vibe. We don’t have a set release date yet for Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door but I can’t wait to get my hands on one of my most beloved game series once more in 2024.

Learn more on Nintendo’s website: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

And with that, another Nintendo Direct comes to a close. I’d say it was an above-average showcase, nothing crazy was announced but there were a lot of strong games still coming out as we approach the end of the Switch’s lifecycle. As we look towards 2024, who knows what else Nintendo may have up their sleeve.