In a year in which Nintendo fans wait eagerly with bated breath for any news at all on the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel (allegedly releasing in 2022), the first Nintendo Direct for 2022 quickly rose and dashed any such hopes for those hoping for even a small morsel of information on BotW II. However, away from the dreamful dalliances of Zelda-dom this early Nintendo Direct gave plenty to be excited about for the coming year, with the likes of Kirby, Mario Strikers, and even “Wii” Sports making exciting returns to the Japanese companies slate of 2022 game releases for Nintendo Switch.
We’ve gathered up the highlights from Nintendo Direct and all that you have to look forward to coming to Switch in the first half of 2022.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes (June 24)
Before the ever-joyous face of Nintendo’s General Manager, Shinya Takahashi, took to the screens to present 2022’s first Nintendo Direct, we were given a first announcement and look at Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes – an action-oriented Musuo game set in the Fire Emblem: Three Houses universe.
Musuo – or “warriors” as you might otherwise know it – is a genre all of it own where players solely take on great hordes of enemies on a battlefield, completing objectives and dispelling wave after wave of foes. Think the likes of Dynasty Warriors, or the more appropriate template of Hyrule Warriors, or even of course the first Fire Emblem Warriors title – both of which were developed by Omega Force.
Three Hopes will be coming to Switch on June 24.
Mario Strikers Battle league (June 10)
Mario football (or soccer, to you Americans) is back finally after 15 years away with Mario Strikers: Battle League releasing on June 10th for Nintendo Switch.
Fans of the old Strikers titles will recognise its lovable formula, with 5 players on each side vying for sporting supremacy in an all-out footie brawl complete with brutal tackles and power strikes. Rule the field with your favourite Mario characters to score more goals than your opponent via a number of Mario-type items to change the flow of the field, and super charged “hyper strikes” which can be activated by claiming orbs that arrive on the pitch. These hyper strikes are the same as Charged’s “Mega Strike”, though now they count for 2 goals.
Characters will all have their own ability stats, ranging from speed, to strength, to pass accuracy and so on, meaning you can craft your team to play to certain styles. This time around however gear comes into play which not only gives your characters distinctive looks but also contributes to their overall stats.
A huge addition to Battle League lays in its multiplayer, with the Switch allowing competitive play between 8 players all on the same console. Additionally Battle League comes with an “online clubs” mode akin to FIFAwhich will let you take a character into a player created club, or your very own if you choose so, to be part of the team against other player-controlled clubs online.
Splatoon 3 (August 18)
Nintendo’s colourful third-person shooter returns once again for its third outing in Splatoon 3. Overall the structure of Splatoon 3 will be most of what you already love. Zany battlefield where players shoot-out in a who’s who of Squid kids.
Splatoon 3 will also include a full single player story mode to tackle as Agent 3 takes the battle back to the evil Octarian army. As was mostly shown during this Nintendo Direct too, the popular Salmon Run co-op mode returns, this time dubbed as “Salmon Run: Next Wave”.
The Direct trailer merely stated a summer release, but eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed a QR code during the video which when scanned gives a date of August 18th for you to return to turf for warfare on.
Disney Speedstorm (Summer)
If ever there was to be a challenger to Mario’s supremacy as the kart racer you might just back the characters of Disney and Pixar’s illustrious library. Dubbed as the ultimate Disney and Pixar Race, Disney Speedstorm is a free to play kart racer that will be speeding onto the scene this summer for Nintendo Switch.
The game will feature many of your favourite characters from across Disney and Pixar’s catalogue (which at this point is more or less every character ever) racing it out in a frenzy of speed and abilities. Unfortunately with the free to play tag we might have to expect many of the characters will be behind paywalls to unlock.
Nintendo of course only advertised the game for the Switch, however Disney’s advertising of the game has it marked as releasing for “PC and consoles” meaning it may possible be on Xbox and/or PlayStation as well.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land (March 25)
One of the best trailers of Nintendo Direct, Kirby and the Forgotten Land showed everyone’s favourite pink Dyson ball in an all-new setting and game style, hoovering up quite literally everything in his path. The internet has already become awash with love for “Carby” and “Coneby”, though names for Kirby’s vending machine, scissor lift and water form have been a little bit harder to come by (Waterby? Just spit balling).
Kirby and the Forgotten Land updates the gameplay style this time out, with Kirby getting his first mainline outing in a 3D space. As you might expect, the art style is suitably colourful and cutesy and looks like a whole load of fun. On his rampage to eat everything in his path, consuming their power, Kirby must also find the mysteries of the Forgotten Land, save the trapped Waddle Dees, and restore this apocalyptic land back to its former glory. The trailer showed off a slew of colourful bosses standing in the way of Kirby and his restoration of the Forgotten Land, so
to do so he’ll be sucking the ability out of anything he can find in all sorts of combinations to overcome any and all obstacles in his path. You can evolve every Kirby variant too for even better results and buy more weapons from the rescued Waddle Dees.
Kirby comes flying in on March 25.
Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece (Available Now on Cloud)
With the 20th anniversary of Kingdom Hearts upon us players, both new and familiar can get to playing Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece right now as it releases specifically for the Cloud on Switch.
This collection contains Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, and Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind.
Portal Companion Collection
Portals have just got, um, portable as the Portal Companion Collection comes new to Nintendo Switch sometime this year. The Companion Collection brings Aperture Science back to life with both Portal 1 and Portal 2 ported for the portable Nintendo Switch. If you missed out first time around, or even if you just want to return to your old friend GLaDOS then this may be the perfect opportunity.
Nintendo Switch Sports (April 29)
Doo doo doo doo do doo. DOO!
Wii Sports are back with Nintendo Switch Sports! A staple of the Wii generation, Nintendo’s loveable sport title is back for more motion control swinging nonsense in a range of sporting activities on April 29th.
Wii Nintendo Switch Sports includes old favourites tennis and bowling, while also bringing in some sword fighting action with chambarra as well as volleyball, soccer, and badminton. As ever with a Nintendo Sports game, the motion controls are leading the way with the gameplay trailer showing you how to thrust forward your Joycon to dive-header a soccer ball, or roll your bowling ball for a strike.
Nintendo Switch Sports will also introduce the hilarious leg holster for your Joycon so that you can strap one in for extensive kicking action. Innovation is alive and well in gaming!
What’s more innovative than a Joycon gun holster, you may ask? Well how about some BATTLE ROYALE BOWLING BABY! Yes, Nintendo Switch Sports will feature online multiplayer, and this game trailer showcased a “survival bowling” mode where players bowl it out against a hundred other players to be the last one standing. The best moment of the night also came through when Takahashi was joined by Yoshiaki Koizuma adorned in a Nintendo Switch Sports team shirt to demonstrate how online play with Volleyball will work too. The senior Nintendo execs showed off their sporting prowess in thorough demonstration of the games motion controls and online fluidity.
The game will receive future updates along the way too with first coming in summer, and to test out the online play Nintendo will be running a multiplayer beta test on February 18–20, which you can sign up for now.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival (This Year)
Time to get your rhythm in check as the drumming fun of Taiko no Tatsujin returns for Rhythm Festival. The game will feature 76 songs on launch ranging from anime title themes to Nintendo game soundtracks and beyond. You’ll be able to really refine your skills on a particular song by the game’s practice mode which allows you to replay specific sections of songs until you can drum like the best of them.
Head-to-head drum battles will also be available as well as a whole host of cosmetic upgrades so that you can look your best when out drumming your foes.
If 76 songs isn’t enough for your drumming needs then the games subscription service will also bring in up to 500 more songs.
Metroid Dread Update
Whether the incredible Metroid Dread has been too difficult or even too easy for you then Nintendo has the update for you available right now. “Dread Mode” adds a hardcore one-hit-kill mode which will mean Samus dies at even the slightest of touches.
Don’t despair however if that brings you to tears, because a Rookie Mode is also simultaneously being added to make the game far easier for those struggling.
A further update will be coming April to add a Boss Rush mode so that Samus can face off against her deadliest foes one after another in a battle of extreme attrition.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass
As ever from Nintendo, the game you already love and want a new one from instead gets a new shine to it with all the older stuff you loved from before. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be releasing its “Booster Course Pass” from March 18th which will bring in freshly remastered versions of racetracks from Mario Kart games of old. Your favourites like the Coconut Mall and others from all 8 of Mario Kart’s instalments will be given a galvanised look for the HD capable Switch.
Nintendo plan to release these courses in waves beginning March 18th, and when all is said and done there should be a total of 48 more courses added. Unfortunately this DLC update does not come free, nor does it come cheap as the pass will cost $24.99 USD.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (September 2022)
The final showcase of the night was the only to be beyond the first half of 2022. In an exciting and frankly gorgeous story trailer, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 made its surprise arrival, earmarked for a release this September. Xenoblade is a massive JRPG developed by Monolith Software featuring huge open worlds and real time combat.
Previously each game in the series has remained largely disconnected story wise. The stories of both Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 follow different character sets and entirely different stories, but following the game reveal Nintendo’s website suggests that 3 will be “bringing together the futures of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Monolith’s executive director Tetsuya Takahashi acknowledged the weirdness of such a suggestion, stating:
“The key visual features a broken great sword of Mechonis and the body of the Urayan Titan with a gaping wound. I imagine everyone who saw the trailer was quite surprised by the final scene. What is this visual hinting at? I can’t reveal that just yet. What I can tell you is that this visual was conceived quite some time ago. More precisely speaking, we came up with it sometime between the end of development of Xenoblade Chronicles and the beginning of development of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. So, it’s not something we recently added to the series.”
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will also apparently be perfect for fans of both games and provide a satisfying story for those that have followed before, while also being entirely approachable for all-new players as well. From the trailer alone Xenoblade Chronicles 3 looks massive and wonderfully gorgeous across its expansive and diverse world. This is certainly one to watch for in Fall.