Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Mysplaced Copying Link's Awakening

Mysplaced screenshot looking very similar to the area above Toronbo Shores with the hero firing a Fire Rod at a knight

Mysplaced has been all the rage on social media today, which is an indie title presented in IGN's Rogue Jam. You can watch a small preview on Youtube and by doing so you will immediately notice how the game has simply copied the art style and core gameplay of the Link's Awakening remake, while it's non-linear and comes with some mechanics of its own.

It's like they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And this looks so beautiful that it makes me want to play Link's Awakening on the Nintendo Switch again. More importantly, this makes me want to play remakes of the Oracle games in the same art style sooner than later. If GREZZO is not up for the job, then maybe Nintendo should just hire the two indie developers behind this project, who call themselves Clear Sky Games, because they pretty much nailed it...

Looking at this footage really made me fantasize about how the Oracle games could look in the same style. Take for example this windmill:

There was a windmill next to Horon Village, at the Eastern Suburbs, in Oracle of Seasons, where you meet Guru-guru. This one:

windmill area during the summer in Oracle of Seasons

This really could be taken to the next level in a remake, imagine the whole upper area as one giant windmill structure. It could look absolutely fantastic.

Mysplaced also has winter themed areas, where seeing the different seasons in Oracle of Seasons in this art style would be a dream. Just imagine these little, snowy dioramas. Though, it makes me wonder how they are going to pull off the switching seasons between the areas in a remake, since you should also have the continuous scrolling and not some screen borders.

I suppose, it could work similarly to going into the foggy Mysterious Forest, where you can see from the outside that the area is different and then it morphs the visual style once you enter it. They could even use such a remake to properly showcase the madness of having all these shifting seasons right next to each other in ways that simply weren't possible on the GameBoy Color...

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Tantalus Currently Not Working on Twilight Princess HD

Twilight Princess HD banner artwork

With the delay of the sequel to Breath of the Wild to Spring 2023, it seemed like a no-brainer that Nintendo would want to port over The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD to the Nintendo Switch, so that Zelda fans would get something in the year 2022. However, you might already have had your doubts, because this wasn't announced right away together with the delay and Nintendo has a lot in their pipeline for the rest of the year with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Splatoon 3, and new Pokémon games.

Now, Tom Crago, the CEO of Tantalus Media, was asked in a podcast whether Nintendo has approached them for such a port or not, where the answer was a straight "no". See NintendoEverything for the full story.

Tantalus has made both Twilight Princess HD and Skyward Sword HD, where they seem like the obvious choice for the job. But of course The Wind Waker HD was made by Nintendo themselves and there is no need to remaster anything in this case, so they might just work on this in-house. However, Nintendo should have all hands full with the sequel to Breath of the Wild, where you would think it's best to let an external company do the job once more.

What would be important about such ports is that they get the same frame rate power-up as Skyward Sword HD, where the game runs now in 60FPS without any noticeable drops. This was still an issue with both The Wind Waker HD, for example during battles on the ocean, and Twilight Princess HD, for example in the swamps of Faron Woods. If they get ported over to Nintendo Switch, there will be no excuse for this at all after the smooth Skyward Sword HD, so simple ports wouldn't cut it.

And naturally, if only Nintendo were to work on such ports, we couldn't expect a remaster of Link's Crossbow Training as part of the collection. And we all know that this would be the true star. Well, not really, but it would make for an excellent extra, same as Bowser's Fury with Super Mario 3D World.


Saturday, May 7, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: Voice Actor Spoilers

An Italian voice actor has revealed something interesting about his latest work for the sequel to Breath of the Wild. The poor guy is probably in trouble now for breaking some NDA, but the damage is done, so let's talk about the dropped info a little bit and do some speculation. Spoilers ahead, stop reading here if you don't want to know anything that hasn't been officially showcased.

That the Champions may re-appear isn't all that surprising, since Nintendo has been pushing these characters ever since the release of Breath of the Wild. It could be in the form of additional memories from 100 years ago, where I personally doubt that the events of Age of Calamity will have any impact on this game, so we're still dealing with the original timeline for Breath of the Wild. It might also be that their ghosts appear to you again, where you could learn additional things from them.

It's already questionable how they will handle the different Champion abilities, like Daruk's Protection. Having them from the beginning of the game may be too much, but removing them entirely would be a shame, so eventually you will have to re-learn them or something like that. Technically, you can beat Breath of the Wild without ever acquiring a single one of these abilities, so it doesn't even have to be explained why you don't have them anymore.

Now, Daruk's ancestor is a different story. And this immediately brings us to the Calamity Ganon tapestry from Breath of the Wild:

Link's new design in the sequel, which got shown so far whenever he is in the sky, is clearly inspired by this tapestry. And this already led to a variety of different theories. Are we playing two different Links? Or does the Link from Breath of the Wild simply get the appearance of his ancestor? Are the sky islands over the current Hyrule or are they something from the past?

Maybe it's both, where I personally still like the theory that these islands are the Sacred Realm, which can take many different forms, though this one is so far the closest to what the "Golden Lands" have been depicted in A Link to the Past. But it may be that we are going to meet the ancestors of the Champions in this Sacred Realm, where it's still connected to the time of where they have first battled Calamity Ganon.

If the game really were to partly take place in that era, via time travel or other means, this would bring back the Divine Beasts, Guardians, and Sheikah Towers, where from the rest of the footage it doesn't seem like Nintendo wants to revisit any of that. It also wouldn't be very interesting, because we already have been dealing with the Sheikah technologies in two different games now and the sequel still takes place in the same Hyrule.

It would be interesting to see the original Champions, however. Since Link's Sacred Realm design is based on the tapestry, it's likely that the Champion ancestors' designs will be heavily inspired by that as well. Daruk's ancestor for example appears to be much slimmer than your usual Goron. The Zora Champion appears to be female, but more prideful than Mipha. The Rito Champion looks interesting, because it's essentially two in one, a little bird inside a larger figure. It could be that this is either a young Rito, who uses some sort of wing suit, or it's a duo of parent and child, like Teba and his son, Tulin. In any case, I would like it if the ancient Rito Champion is a female character, like Medli, because this would balance things perfectly.

Anyway, this reveal is one more thing to be excited about. Hopefully, we will find out more about the sequel in about a month from Nintendo themselves.


Source: Lega Hyrule via NintendoLife

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: The Title?

Link's right arm surrounded by green magic energy

Some people may be disappointed about the "delay" of the sequel to Breath of the Wild, but knowing that it comes out next Spring makes me feel closer to this game than ever, where I'm finally beginning to put more thoughts into it. A lot more of that will come to fruition once they've properly showcased the game, maybe around June where the cancelled E3 would have taken place. Until then we have to grasp at the straws that were presented to us in two and a half teaser trailers.

One of those straws concerns the actual title of the game, where it should be clear that it won't be named "the sequel to Breath of the Wild" forever or even "Breath of the Wild 2". Well, there was "Kamigami no Triforce 2" in Japan, which we know as A Link Between Worlds in the west, but it's more likely that it will have its own title to set itself apart more. So, what could this title be?

Well, it would certainly impress me if someone were to actually guess it, since Nintendo has stated that they didn't want to reveal the title yet, because it would give too much away. It could be related to things that we simply don't know yet. But it could also be related to things that we have already seen in the teasers – it's just that they haven't given us any explanation for them yet.

One of those things is Link's corrupted right arm and the mysterious hand that was holding down Ganondorf, which seems to give Link now a variety of abilities, essentially as a replacement for the Sheikah Slate. One of these abilities is to morph through ceilings, so he can reach the new sky islands from below or reach the surface from an underground cave. It's possible that the title of the game may have something to do with this hand, but of course it would feel somewhat uninspired if it just was named after the "item", like Ocarina of Time or Phantom Hourglass before it. After all, Breath of the Wild isn't named "The Legend of Zelda: The Sheikah Slate".

Another aspect are the sky islands themselves and the whole story around the sealed Ganondorf, where we really don't know anything yet and can only speculate. But from what it seems it's going to be a story that explores more of Hyrule's history as we know it from the classic Zelda games, where even the Triforce could play a role. The divine artifact never got mentioned by name in Breath of the Wild, where its meaning and existence could be something that's essentially lost in time. The sky islands that we saw may even be the Sacred Realm for all we know, where a lot of it gets portrayed in a golden color. This could become the first Zelda game where we actually get to explore the Sacred Realm as we've first seen it from the artworks for A Link to the Past.

artwork of floating rocks with the Triforce as the sun

Overall, it would be nice if the title had the same format as Breath of the Wild: "x of the y". This would make it a bit more obvious that these games are related by looking at the title alone, which is something that the series has done before, even though some of it got lost in translation. In Japan Majora's Mask is actually called "Mujura no Kamen", "Mask of Mujura", which sounds a lot more similar to Ocarina of Time, "Toki no Okarina". And the Nintendo DS games even followed the same format. Now, the sequel to Breath of the Wild will be in the same position as Majora's Mask and Spirit Tracks, where the subtitle could actually lean on the previous one. And since Japan also uses the English title for Breath of the Wild (only in Katakana), it's likely that it could be "something of the something" again. Of course there doesn't necessarily need to be "of the" in the title, but maybe something that rolls off the tongue similarly.

Now, what's that something? Putting everything together so far, the best I could come up with is "Reach of the Divine" or possibly "Reach for the Divine". This would go hand in hand with Link's new ability to reach for the skies, but it also ties into the Triforce, the Sacred Realm, divine intervention, and all that. And it would give a away a similar vibe as "Breath of the Wild" did.

At the same time it's not all that likely, considering that such a title wouldn't give away all too much and this is what has been Nintendo's concern before. Of course this also could have been just a generic PR excuse, so you never really know. But in the end this is just some speculation for the fun of it, as always, where I wanted to share some of my current thoughts before the curtain gets lifted later this year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Four Swords for Nintendo Switch Online?

There has been a leak of Nintendo's early development efforts with GameBoy (Color) and GameBoy Advance titles on Nintendo Switch. This shouldn't be all too surprising, where many fans are expecting this to happen eventually. Ideally, the GameBoy (Color) games will be part of the standard subscription, while GameBoy Advance games get moved to the Expansion Pack. It would be really low if every new collection became part of the latter from now on, and the GameBoy really should be next to NES and SNES.

Anyway, if Nintendo truly wants me to subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, they will only have to do one thing:

Four Links in the Sea of Trees at a starting point that's right next to the locked end point

Four Swords, with online multiplayer. The ability to play the multiplayer NES, SNES, and N64 games online hasn't been interesting to me so far, but the GBA with Four Swords could completely change this. I loved this game, but rarely had the chance to play it with others, where I've never even played this with four people at once, which could be fun and utterly chaotic.

Also, the GameBoy Advance version of A Link to the Past has never been re-released, where this would be nice to have, even though the original game is already part of the Super Nintendo service. But things like the Riddle Quest or the Palace of the Four Swords would be completely lost in time otherwise.

Well, the Anniversary Edition of Four Swords is equally lost in time, but the best thing about it was the singleplayer mode, which won't be as important if you can just easily play the game online with others. The Anniversary Edition was a DSiWare game and all about the 25th Anniversary, where it's questionable whether Nintendo will ever bring this back in any way, shape or form.

However, the current list of leaked GBA titles doesn't include A Link to the Past & Fours Swords, only The Minish Cap. There may also be concerns about griefing, because Four Swords was a game where you were cooperating and competing at the same time. You can pick up players and prevent them from doing things, kill yourself to waste Rupees, and so on. But since playing these emulated games online is limited to friends, this shouldn't be much of a concern, unlike in Tri Force Heroes, where you could play with random strangers.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: The Underworld?

Zelda riding an elephant through a cavern accompanied by Link

After last year's teaser trailer for the sequel to Breath of the Wild and its impressive showcase of a sky world, it's easy to forget how things started out in an underground cave system, where Link and Zelda went exploring and then found Mummy Ganondorf. Aonuma recently stated that the expanded world goes beyond the skies above, where we still can assume that the underground world will be a big part of the game.

It literally goes hand in hand with Link's new ability, which lets him morph through ceilings. It can be used to reach the sky islands, but also to get back to the ground from an underground cave. It could even be used to switch floors in a dungeon.

Breath of the Wild took a lot of inspiration from the original The Legend of Zelda, where the development team even had developed a prototype based on the NES game. This was for the overworld, however, at least what they have shown us, where the sequel to Breath of the Wild could use the underworld to take things to the next level. After all, one of the most common requests by the fans is getting proper dungeons. And proper dungeons they shall get.

map of the NES Zelda dungeons, where they fit together like puzzle pieces

What was interesting about the underworld in The Legend of Zelda is that it was basically all connected. The dungeons were all put on the same plane and fit together like pieces of a puzzle. If you could walk through walls, you would be able to move from one dungeon to the next.

And this could be a huge inspiration for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, taking this concept to the third dimension. For example, imagine that there is a new entrance to a cave at Mount Drena, to the east of the Tabantha Tundra. This dungeon goes deep down several layers with some intertwining tunnels and all that. But from there you can actually morph up and access a completely new part of the Forgotten Temple, which you couldn't find in Breath of the Wild.

There could be a gigantic network of different underground dungeons, all connected to each other in tricky ways. Of course this is all just speculation and we will have to wait a little longer until we find out how Nintendo really has expanded the world of Breath of the Wild. But the more you think about it, the more promising the idea of an underworld seems, where this could be as exciting as the new sky world. Let's hope that we will find out soon, maybe in June.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: What Should Change?

Link in the sequel running on a golden sky island, promotional screenshot

Nintendo takes their sweet time with refining the next major installment in the Zelda franchise, the sequel to Breath of the Wild. And that's good, they should strive to make the game the best experience possible. But while Breath of the Wild was a milestone to both the Zelda series and the open world genre, it's far from a flawless game, where the sequel should learn from the mistakes. So, let's discuss some of the basics that need to be improved.

The first thing that will come to mind for most players is the whole weapon system. "Don't make the weapons break or add a way of repairing weapons!" is probably the most common suggestion you will hear about Breath of the Wild. However, while various of the suggestions in this article are related to the weapon system, there are some merits to how it worked...

For once, you don't obsess over finding the best possible weapon(s) and it gives any weapon you may find some potential value, because your super duper Savage Lynel Sword is going to break eventually and you don't want to waste it on small fries. A means of repairing weapons would only lead to people cluttering their inventories with nearly broken weapons that they want to repair later, instead of throwing them at the heads of their enemies and using the next best weapon they'll find... A repair system could make things as annoying as the breaking tools in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, where you constantly get distracted by crafting new ones.

So, the fundamentals aren't actually bad, whether you enjoy the system or not, where it's likely that this will be kept largely the same in the sequel. But there is some fine tuning that will need to be done if they are keeping it as it is. This and more will be discussed here.

 

Weapon Variety

Having lots of different weapons in the game doesn't actually mean much when those weapons work mostly the same. You have bows and arrows, one-handed weapons with shields, two-handed weapons, and spears. There is some variety thanks to the different elements and some weapons with special usages, e.g. boomerangs and rods, but for the most part those are the four basic combat styles. And it's somewhat disappointing that Link would use a battle axe in the exact same way as a two-handed sword.

The sequel will probably expand upon what Breath of the Wild already had, so there is no reason to believe that battle axes work differently now. But we've already seen new types of shields in the trailer that can be used offensively, which is an interesting idea. Elemental shields instantly come to mind here, which can burn, freeze, or fry your enemies when they touch them.

Link using a shield with an artificial, fire-breathing dragon head attached to it in some cave

It would be good if there are some entirely new weapon types as well, where two of Link's additional weapons from past Zelda games are the Ball & Chain and the Whip. However, whips or flails would most likely turn into another variant of the one-handed weapons, similar to rods. And it's probably the same with ball & chains as two-handed weapons, where you swing the ball via the spin attack. They could also turn out more sophisticated and as their own thing, but they don't necessarily have to.

An idea for an entirely new weapon type could be something that's dual-wielded, like daggers, for faster attacks. This could not be replicated with any of the current weapon types, so that's a category with high potential and many additional weapons. Some of them could even be used as boomerangs, where you can throw two in succession.


Weapon Availability

If any weapon in the game can break, then you should be able to get them back at any point later in the game. Otherwise this creates an incentive to hang on to weapons that are either entirely unique or that can grow extinct, like a Hylian Shield with buffs or some of the Lynel weapons in Breath of the Wild. This is especially problematic when there's something like the Hyrule Compendium, where you document every weapon in the game. Having potential omissions was a bad design flaw and shouldn't be repeated in the sequel, which also goes hand in hand with the next topic.


Level Scaling

Breath of the Wild was a game about you constantly growing stronger, but so did some of your enemies, which went against a true sense of progression. While it's not as bad as in some other open world games with an actual experience and leveling system, the game did replace enemies with stronger variants, while also upgrading the tiers of the weapons that you will obtain randomly. By the time you feel like taking on one of those Blue Lynels you saw at the Faron Grasslands, they will have turned into the white-maned variants, and so on.

the new Eyegore enemy from the E3 2021 trailer

It's taking away the successes you have made, where you don't really feel like you've become stronger for a while, because your opponents became stronger as well. Of course the game doesn't always do this, but ideally it would never do this. The difficulty and tiers of your enemies should be entirely regional, as obstacles that need to be overcome, just like in the original The Legend of Zelda. And while Breath of the Wild partly does this as well, it's a weird mix that doesn't really work out all too great at all times.

To make things worse, the aforementioned Blue Lynels can (almost) disappear from your game entirely, where their weapons will be gone as well, which created the previous issue of limited weapon availability. So, overall this is something that Nintendo should rethink or at least optimize in a way where it doesn't get in the way of your progress and goals.


The Food

No matter how difficult the fights may get, you can always make things a lot easier for yourself with cooking. This feature is ridiculously overpowered, where the worst offender are the "hearty" recipes that give you additional hearts on top of fully healing you. This needs to be nerfed very badly by only giving you the yellow hearts, because otherwise this makes any other healing recipe completely obsolete, given that you have collected enough of the right plants. It's the same with "enduring" recipes and stamina.

a food inventory with 17 Heart Fried Wild Greens

Then there's the problem that you simply can have too many food items, 60 in total. No other Zelda game ever gave you this many healing opportunities, maybe four or five bottles with potions. An easy fix would be limiting the food stash in the same way as weapons, shield, and bows. You start with a hand full of slots and then can slowly upgrade them to a maximum of 20.

In addition, there should be some sort of cookbook that let's you remember any recipes you've found. It could even provide shortcuts for cooking, so you don't have to pick the materials out of the inventory by hand.


The Loot

When your weapons keep breaking, they are simply a resource, same as Rupees, materials, or arrows. And this makes finding weapons in treasure chests about as exciting as getting Rupees or arrows. After solving an optional puzzle in a shrine or clearing an enemy encampment, you don't want things that you could easily obtain from anywhere else. You want to find something that's either unique or limited in supply.

The remake of Link's Awakening understood this by putting its additional Secret Seashells and Pieces of Hearts absolutely everywhere. There is now no cave in the game where you don't find anything of value. And if Breath of the Wild ever gets a "Definitive Edition", a lot could already be improved by putting some of the loose DLC armor pieces into skull chests or the optional chests in Sheikah Shrines.

Armor pieces were actually the only major "collectible" in Breath of the Wild that could be found in a variety of ways in different places. Otherwise it had the Spirit Orbs and Korok Seeds, but those were always gotten from finishing Sheikah Shrines or solving Korok puzzles respectively. For other activities the rewards were rather limited, where the sequel will need a more universal collectible, similar to the Spirit Gems from Phantom Hourglass or the Secret Seashells in Link's Awakening. Those could be obtained from treasure chests, minigames, sidequests, and so on. Maybe this collectible can even replace the Korok Seeds in the sequel for something that lets you upgrade your inventory stash.


Map Completion

Whatever collectibles there might be, the map completion rating should this time be visible for each major area, like the Great Plateau or Necluda. This will help to narrow down things whenever you're still missing something, instead of searching all over the world.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Modernized Metroid Control Concepts

Super Metroid Controller Setting Mode as seen on Nintendo Switch

So, a friend of mine has been streaming Super Metroid lately, which inspired me to check out the game once more, this time via the Super Nintendo library of the Nintendo Switch Online service. Luckily, the game lets you change the controls via its options, because the emulator itself won't let you do this. Yes, something from the year 1994 is more sophisticated than a service from Nintendo in 2022, no big surprise here.

Still, I couldn't figure out something ideal and my enjoyment of the game didn't last long. I keep hearing from fans how Super Metroid is "perfect", as if there ever was a perfect game, but while it will always be one of my favorites, I personally don't feel like it has aged so well. And it's not just the button layout, the controls themselves feel very outdated, whether it's the weird wall jumps, having two buttons for diagonal aim, or the inconvenient item select. This is something that I've already struggled with while replaying Super Metroid on the Wii U, but things got much worse after playing Metroid Dread, where everything plays so much more smoothly in comparison.

Of course Metroid Dread isn't perfect either, where the controls feel somewhat overloaded, especially with the Grapple Beam, but it beats Super Metroid in most aspects. And after the success of Metroid Dread, we can safely assume that we will be getting more 2D Metroid games from MercurySteam in the upcoming years, where the game will certainly be used as a template. While it would be amazing if MercurySteam was already working on Metroid 6, another remake feels more likely at the moment and in that category Super Metroid should be the next in line.

You may have concerns about this, considering how Samus Returns turned out in certain aspects, like completely changing the final areas... But the 3DS title was a reimagining, while Super Metroid should get a proper remake, which respects absolutely everything the original did, including any glitch-free sequence breaks. There is no need to change the environments, enemy placements, upgrades, or anything like it. The only things that need to be updated are graphics, sound, and the controls. The game should simply be modernized, but not changed.

At the same time, Samus Returns would profit from something similar, where the Nintendo 3DS title could get ported over to the Nintendo Switch with updated graphics, sounds, and controls. Maybe some assets got already made in HD during the project, which would make such a remaster even more likely. People will want more Metroid for the Nintendo Switch after Metroid Dread, where such a title would be a good filler.

Metroid Dread Controls screen

Now, with all of this in mind I've kept thinking about how these two games would play on the Nintendo Switch by using Metroid Dread as a foundation. This is mainly about the controls, where all three games aren't exactly simple in that aspect... So, let's go through some potential button layouts for these titles to see how they could work on Nintendo's current system.

Of course we're just talking about the default control schemes here. All the games should follow the example of Super Metroid from the SNES and let you change the button layout as you see fit via the options menu, instead of just displaying it there (looking at you, Metroid Dread).


Core Controls

For the sake of consistency, the following should probably be the same for all three titles:

  • Y: Shoot
  • B: Jump
  • X: Melee Counter*
  • L: Free Aim
  • R: Missile Mode / Power Bombs
  • ZR: Grapple Beam
  • Plus: Map
  • Minus: Options
  • Left: Expand Minimap
  • Right: Scan

*It's questionable whether MercurySteam should implement the Melee Counter in a Super Metroid remake as well, but let's not get into this for now, so you can ignore this for that case.

Both Super Metroid and Samus Returns would also need a button for swapping weapons, mainly for changing between Missiles and Super Missiles, where the most convenient choice would be the A button. This one was used for the Flash Shift in Metroid Dread, but there is nothing similar in the other two games.


Super Metroid

  • A: Select Missiles
  • ZL: Dash
  • Left Stick Button: Morph Ball
  • Right: X-Ray Scope
  • Right Stick: beam selection

The SNES title was the only Metroid game that has a dedicated dash button. And not going to lie, using this still feels good. Technically, they could get rid of this by simply using the analogue stick analogously. So, if you don't want to run, you don't press the stick all the way. And the Speed Booster could be activated by pressing the left stick, exactly like in Metroid Dread. But if we go with a dedicated dash button, then the most comfortable choice will probably be ZL, so you can still shoot and jump while dashing.

Overall, the most important thing would simplifying the entire item selection system. This wasn't streamlined in Super Metroid at all, where it can adopt basically everything its successors have improved. Missiles and Power Bombs should be activated by holding R. Grapple Beam can be used by holding ZR. The X-Ray Scope should be activated with the same button as the Pulse Radar, where it then goes into the scope mode, which can be left at any time by pressing Fire or Jump. So, all that's left is switching between normal Missiles and Super Missiles, where this should go to A or X for the best access during combat.

Super Metroid also has a series of special Charge Beam attacks, which could be triggered when Power Bombs were selected and the Charge Beam was equipped with only one of the other four beam upgrades. Since most players never change their beam setup, those techniques are fairly unknown, where a remake could make this more accessible by offering a beam selection similar to that in Metroid Prime. Each direction of the right analogue stick would equip the Charge Beam together with either the Ice Beam, Wave Beam, Spazer Beam, or Plasma Beam respectively. Pressing the stick button would equip all beams at once (a remake will most likely allow the combination of Spazer and Plasma). If you charge and hold the R button during release, it will then fire the "Charge Beam Combo".

Needless to say that certain actions, like Wall Jumps, Space Jumps, or using the Grapple Beam, should work as fluidly as in Metroid Dread, which means that the inputs should feel more intuitive and natural. At the same time a remake should preserve what was possible in the original, e.g. single-side wall jumps, which wasn't a thing in any of the later games.

It could also be interesting to have a ledge grab, which would offer a variety of additional possibilities. But this should probably added via a new hidden item, like the Power Grip in Zero Mission, only optional, to respect Samus's original abilities in Super Metroid (even though they didn't really care about that with Samus Returns).


Samus Returns

  • A: Select Missiles / Beam
  • ZL: Morph Ball
  • Right: Scan Pulse
  • Right Stick: Hazard Shield / Beam Burst
  • Stick Buttons: Phase Drift

Since Metroid Dread and Samus Returns were made by the same developers, the controls are already quite similar. However, there is no second screen with the Nintendo Switch, which on the Nintendo 3DS mainly let you switch between the different weapons. The Grapple Beam gets taken out of this equation thanks to the ZR button, while switching to the Ice Beam and Super Missiles would best work via the A button. The touchscreen could also be used for the instant Morph Ball mode, where now there is the ZL button for that, just like in Metroid Dread.

The one thing that truly has to change is the activation of the Aeion abilities, where previously you would select an ability via the D-pad and then activate it with the A button, which we now need otherwise. Most of the Aeion abilities were toggles, however, like putting on the Hazard Shield, which absorbs any damage at the cost of Aeion. So, there is no real need to pre-select them and bind their usage to a button, where this was already somewhat inconvenient while playing the Nintendo 3DS title and could be improved here. Just flip the right analogue stick either left or right for the Hazard Shield and Beam Burst respectively. The Phase Drift then can go to one of the stick buttons, where this would be like the Phantom Cloak in Metroid Dread. And of course the Scan Pulse should work exactly like the Pulse Radar.

The Melee Counter could also be enhanced like in Metroid Dread, so that it works while jumping and running. This would improve some of the game's pacing significantly.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Metroid Dread: Boss Rush Released

Boss Rush menu, Battle 12 bosses without stopping. Energy is not restored between battles, but weapon ammo is fully restored.

Version 2.1.0 of Metroid Dread got released today, which comes with the new Boss Rush mode. This is an entirely separate mode from the main game, where you can switch between the "Samus Files" and "Boss Rush" on the main menu by pressing the L and R buttons respectively. You need to have beaten the game first to unlock it, which makes sense because of spoilers.

The Boss Rush itself comes in three different variants:

  • Boss Rush: You fight 12 bosses in a row in a given order and your goal is to beat them all as quickly as possible. Any taken damage gets carried over between bosses, but you can retry any boss for a time penalty, should you get defeated.

  • Survival Rush: The goal is to beat as many bosses within a five minute time limit. Beating bosses adds more time to your clock, more so when you don't take damage, but you can't retry on failed attempts. You need to have beaten Boss Rush or Dread Rush to unlock this mode.

  • Dread Rush: It's the same as Boss Rush, but with the one-hit-kill rule of Dread Mode. You need to have beaten Dread Mode to unlock this.

In addition, both Boss Rush and Dread Rush offer you Practice battles, where you can fight the bosses individually and go for highscores as well.

Boss Rush Practice: 1 Corpius, 2 Kraid, 3 Artaria Central Unit, 4 Drogyga, 5 Robot Chozo Soldier, 6 Escue

For each boss in the Boss Rush mode it gives you a set number of Energy Tanks, Missiles, and Power Bombs, where these numbers increase to appropriate amounts between battles. At the end of a boss fight it looks at how much of your total health is missing and then subtracts that amount from the new total for the next boss. So, even if you're nearly dead, you will be getting some health thanks to the new Energy Tanks.

In Survival Rush, however, you get eight Energy Tanks (899 health) and 120 Missiles at the beginning, where this will have to do for the remainder of the mode. It doesn't stop after the final boss, so you can keep going, but the time bonus you get from victories decreases with each cycle (at first from 30 to 20 seconds), where the time will run out eventually.

You also only get the abilities that you normally would have during the boss encounters in the main game. So, there are none of sequence breaking advantages that you could have with certain bosses, like Kraid or Escue.

It also doesn't go through all the variants of the different mini-boss fights, only two of them: there are two different Central Unit fights, Artaria and Ferenia, and there is the Twin Robot Chozo Soldier battle in addition to the single one. It also doesn't bother with the different tiers of the Chozo Soldiers and goes straight to the Elite one.

Overall, there is a lot to unlock here with the modes themselves. You have to beat the Boss Rush at least once, so it unlocks the Survival Rush, as well as all the practice battles (though, you technically don't have to beat the last boss in Boss Rush for the latter, only get there). And you'll also have to beat Dread Mode and get to the final boss in Dread Rush for all other options.

Plus, if you want to have set a record for everything, essentially to mark them as "beaten", there are all the practice battles to go through, and you will have to fully beat Dread Rush as well... But there is nothing outside the Boss Rush to unlock, so no new gallery pictures or anything like that.

 

My Opinion:

On first glance this seems pretty thought-out and fair. Well, the completionist inside me wants to go through everything this mode has to offer, where MercurySteam made a good call by giving you a retry function. While there is a hefty time penalty for losing, where it adds both the time spent on the failed attempt and some extra seconds, the records themselves don't really concern me as much.

It's like the Boss Challenge in Ocarina of Time 3D, where I want to have beaten all the bosses, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a good time. And unlike the Boss Gauntlet in that game, there is no potential frustration from having to start all over. So, that's a good thing.

Escue crashing right into Samus

Still, my first attempt failed miserably at Escue. "Who?", you might ask, and this was my reaction as well when the name popped up on the screen. It's the electrical charged bug boss in Ferenia and I haven't fought this boss normally since my very first playthrough, because in all my subsequent runs I have been sequence breaking, which let me easily beat this boss via the Screw Attack. And now this comes home to roost, because I had no idea what I was doing with this boss. I beat him in the Practice Mode eventually, but I still couldn't figure out a reliable way of dodging all those little homing projectiles.

This fight will be a nightmare in Dread Rush, where I still have yet to beat Dread Mode. This is all way too perfectionistic for my taste, but thanks to all the checkpoints in both modes this shouldn't get terribly frustrating. Imagine if you had to start Dread Rush all over with each failed attempt. This would have been the most ridiculous thing since the Endless Cucco Rush in A Link Between Worlds. But luckily you can keep trying at every step...

The real star of all this are the practice battles. These let you re-battle any boss at any time just for the fun of it, just like the Boss Challenge in Ocarina of Time 3D. And that's very nice to have.

Well, if it wasn't for all the dreaded "Don't get hit!" nonsense, I would applaud MercurySteam and Nintendo for delivering a fantastic free update to the game. But I will give all of it a try later this month and then may share my experiences with the game one final time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Breath of the Wild 2: Corroded Master Sword

Link in his ancient gear holding a badly corroded Master Sword against a golden glow

Today's announcement didn't come without any new footage, where we can take another glimpse at what the ancient-looking Link is up to. The Master Sword is completely corroded, it's in a much worse state than it was in Breath of the Wild. There is an orb of golden light next to Link and he draws the sword, where his hand is glowing in the same golden light.

It feels like one of those scenes in Skyward Sword, where Link was forging the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword. Maybe Fi will even play a slightly bigger role again, since she already got teased in Breath of the Wild, but probably not in the same vein as in the Wii title. You don't see her dancing around or anything like that, but the Master Sword has a blue glow to it and the handle looks a lot more blue. Maybe Fi will be equally damaged, where you are saving her along with the sword. In any case, it would make having Skyward Sword HD on the Nintendo Switch even more relevant.

The Master Sword probably gets corrupted like that in the beginning, in the scene with Mummy Ganondorf from the original teaser trailer. And it will be part of your mission to restore it. This makes sense, because having the Master Sword right from the start will be too overpowered, so Nintendo needed to find a way to get it out of the equation. But at the same time this is hardly innovative, so let's see what else they are going to make out of this situation.

It was also never fully restored in Breath of the Wild, where Ganondorf probably took advantage of that fact. Remember how he mocked the weakened Master Sword back in The Wind Waker, where now he may be a little bit wiser and tried to destroy the blade once and for all.

Breath of the Wild 2 Delayed to Spring 2023

Link next to a golden orb of light

Two hours ago Nintendo has published an announcement by Eiji Aonuma that the sequel to Breath of the Wild was rescheduled to Spring 2023. For readers of this blog this won't come as a shock, where at the fifth anniversary of Breath of the Wild this release window came up as speculation.

2022 is already crowded as it is and this way they can release the sequel on March 3rd, exactly six years after the release of Breath of the Wild and the Nintendo Switch. Maybe the game will even be the launch title for the second generation Nintendo Switch, who knows...? Well, Nintendo does.

For me personally this is good news, because this will give me enough time to replay Breath of the Wild before the sequel comes out. Plus, I have so many games to catch up with on Nintendo Switch, especially with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 coming later this year, where I wanted to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the first two Xenoblade Chronicles first. I won't be able to play all of it, of course, but I certainly won't be playing anything else for a while once the sequel to Breath of the Wild hits the stores.

Right now we can safely say that 2023 will be all about the sequel to Breath of the Wild. The game will come out in Spring, DLC will probably follow during the rest of the year, and every Zelda fan will be playing this for months.

This also shifts the road ahead for Zelda overall. If GREZZO is making more topdown Zelda titles, like remakes of the Oracle games, then those probably won't come out before 2024. And for this year it's still possible that we might be getting something for the meantime, like ports of The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD in a double-pack (or a triple-pack if they decide to add something else to it, like Link's Crossbow Training HD). Having all 3D Zelda games on the Nintendo Switch in some form before the next big Zelda games comes out would certainly be desirable and also good advertisement.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Booster Course Pass: Leaks and Speculation

Booster Course Pass Banner

Let's have some more fun with the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC by looking what may await us with the remaining waves. There have been two leaks with the release of the first wave, where we can already paint a pretty good picture. One is mined data of the current prefixes for all the tracks in the upcoming cups, which tells us what games the tracks will be from (for the most part). The other is an updated banner for the Booster Course Pass, which potentially shows us a variety of upcoming tracks. Well, let's put this all together and see what else there might be.

Spoilers ahead! If you don't want to know any of the leaked stuff, stop reading right here. You've been warned.

Let's start with the mined course data. Following are all the names of the future cups and the currently known retro labels for their courses. Some of them don't have any, but this is also true for Ninja Hideaway, where this data will probably get filled with upcoming updates.

As for the new banner found by Joshua 'NantenJex' Goldie, it's not clear where he got this from. But there's an upscaled version provided by Jolimations, which makes it easier to see the tracks:

updated banner art with lots of small images

It looks like this is mainly images of tracks from Mario Kart Tour slapped together, which accurately describes the whole DLC anyway. But there is what seems to be the trick variant of Choco Mountain next to Luigi's right arm, which doesn't really make any sense, unless not much thought was given into making the new banner. So, don't expect any shown courses here to be guaranteed.

Still, since all the new tracks are very likely going to be ported over from Mario Kart Tour, everything already in the mobile game is up for consideration anyway, where it makes sense to take a look at the list of courses for the game and remove what's already in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

This compilation doesn't cover any remixed courses or courses that aren't in the game yet, of course, like Coconut Mall for example or upcoming city tours. So, just because a course isn't in the above list, it doesn't mean that it won't make it. There is still a lot of time until the end of 2023, where Mario Kart Tour and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will continuously get additions.

And this list doesn't really fit well together with the numbers that we have above anyway, where apparently there won't be so many SNES and Nintendo 3DS courses, while GameCube and Wii are said to get more than what Mario Kart Tour already has. Even Mario Kart Tour itself only provides eight out of the dozen original Tour tracks so far, where at least three more city tours would be needed to start each new cup with a different real life city inspired course. And there is probably one more original course coming to Tour.

Also, there's are so many courses from Mario Kart 7 in Mario Kart Tour that it will be hard to pick between them. It would take all of the seven unlabeled tracks to cover the above list of Nintendo 3DS courses and this doesn't even include the two Wuhu Island tracks yet, which feel like a must-have and will certainly come to the mobile game at some point. Overall, the tracks from Mario Kart 7 will make for some of the best additions to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, because this is the game that has introduced the different driving modes. Even if there won't be any anti-gravity sections, these tracks will at least make good use of the glider and offer some great underwater tracks as well, e.g. Wario Shipyard.

In the leaked banner you can already spot the 3DS Rainbow Road and the Rock Cup will very likely feature Rock Rock Mountain, where there isn't much room left, really. With in this mind it's absolutely baffling that they went with the simplest track from Mario Kart 7, Toad Circuit, instead of something like the amazing Shy Guy Bazaar...

Shy Guy Bazaar as seen in Mario Kart Tour

At the same time we will be getting more GBA tracks than what there already is present in Mario Kart Tour, unless they are giving us both of the Bowser Castles, which would be lame. Those courses will most likely end up all being very short and simple as well, similar to Sky Garden. While that's not a problem in itself and it's nice to have some more carefree tracks, it will be disappointing if we end up getting many simple courses over some more interesting ones. In the end it's all their ripe for the taking.

And this raises one big question: Why not just have it all?

Well, the answer is that currently "only" 48 additional courses are planned. And if these courses were made in the quality of the base game, then this would be a gigantic effort for Nintendo, where we couldn't really ask for more. But they aren't in the same quality, they are mass-produced Mario Kart Tour ports, where their main purpose is probably for people to subscribe to the Expansion Pack of the Nintendo Switch Online service. And it's in Nintendo's own interest that they stay subscribed for the years to come, where the best way to ensure this is to keep releasing more courses. So, if we're really going the "quantity over quality" route, why not go it down all the way?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate had a second Fighters Pass, where it's possible that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may get a second Booster Course Pass in 2024 and 2025. They will keep making more courses for Mario Kart Tour and they could keep exporting them to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe while they are it... The current system to swap between the cups via the L and R buttons in the menu already feels like it's meant to be expanded even further. Especially in the trophy overview of the game modes this handles quite oddly, where they could have just used a single button instead.

And with 96 courses in total we could have everything from Mario Kart 7 and pretty much everything of note from the entire Mario Kart series. The only problem is that they will eventually run out of power-ups to name these new cups after. "Fruit Cup", really?

Well, there is another problem: at some point Nintendo will want to upgrade the Nintendo Switch to the next generation and also release a new Mario Kart title for that system. But that title will most likely go in a "Nintendo Kart" direction, where their goal might be to make Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the ultimate Mario Kart experience until then by adding all these retro courses.

all four Kongs in Mario Kart Tour driving in Rambi Riders

It won't be the ultimate Mario Kart without some character additions, however. It doesn't need any of the weird characters variations that Mario Kart Tour has, like Lederhosen Luigi, but some of the most prominent omissions from past games and additions in Tour should make it over to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as well, either as separate DLC or as part of the free updates. This includes Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Funky Kong, Birdo (with colors), Kamek, and Pauline.

Zelda from Breath of the Wild would also be great, especially after she took over the Master Cycle Zero in Age of Calamity. But Nintendo will probably save additional crossovers for the next Mario Kart game as a selling point.

 

Conclusion

By porting over the courses from Mario Kart Tour Nintendo went on the "quantity over quality" lane, but on that lane it won't be easy to satisfy everyone. There are just too many good tracks in Mario Kart with all of them being a favorite for someone. When the Booster Course Pass is gone and done, Mario Kart Tour will still have a good amount of desirable courses left, wanting to be ported over to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as well, where it's possible that those will all of this will be continued in a second Booster Course Pass. Oh, and there should be some more drivers to truly make this the ultimate Mario Kart collection, but everyone knew that already.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Booster Course Pass: Wave 1 Impressions

Link flying through Sky Garden on the Master Cycle Zero

The Master Cycle Zero is back on the track! The first wave of the Booster Course Pass has been released for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and it's making waves of its own. It contains the following eight tracks:

Golden Dash Cup:

  • Tour Paris Promenade 
  • 3DS Toad Circuit
  • N64 Choco Mountain
  • Wii Coconut Mall

Lucky Cat Cup:

  • Tour Tokyo Blur
  • DS Shroom Ridge
  • GBA Sky Garden
  • Tour Ninja Hideaway

For some reason Ninja Hideaway isn't labeled as "Tour" in the game, but this might be an oversight. The retro labels of all upcoming tracks already have been datamined, where there are a couple "unknown", despite the fact that the Booster Course Pass is said to be entirely made out of returning courses.

In fact, it seems like everything simply got imported from Mario Kart Tour with some polish. This has been a concern since the pass was announced over a month ago, but it definitely creates a rift in quality between the base game and the new DLC tracks, where the new tracks look a lot more plastic. It doesn't look terrible, but it is simply not on par with the rest of the game and comes with a completely different art style, which also clashes with the drivers and carts.

In addition, everything was upscaled to make space for a higher number of drivers. As a result you will find gigantic Toads at the wayside or comically large objects, because they didn't scale these elements properly afterwards. And you can't unsee this stuff.

Funnily enough, all the original cups got a golden border in the menus, while the new cups got one in silver to differentiate them visually. That's a good idea, but at the same time this can be seen as a statement that we're indeed getting second-rate courses here. Let's just hope that there won't be any bronze DLC in the future with an equal fall from quality...

You can switch between the golden and silver cups by pressing L or R, where it seems that this was put into the game whether you have purchased the DLC or not. Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U already had this bad habit of adding such "buy me" placeholders for the DLC, where Nintendo seems to continue this trend once more, though it's not as bad here, since you simply don't have to flip the page and the rest still looks complete.

Well... this blog has a saying: bad DLC can taint an otherwise great game. The original Hyrule Warriors on Wii U was very solid out of the box, but then Koei Tecmo gradually turned everything into a mess with all the molecular DLCs and the excessive difficulty and level increases. Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever made, but the Expansion Pass put a visible dent on that with its "pay for quality of life improvements" approach, the random insertion of treasure chests with DLC armor pieces, or questionable challenges that may not be fun for everyone... Of course these DLCs also had some really good things in them, making them worthwhile overall, but it's hard to ignore the taints that came with them. And it's the same with the Booster Course Pass.

Other than the placeholders, the DLC for the original Mario Kart 8 was absolutely great. It offered new courses, drivers, and vehicle parts in the quality of the base game (except for the generic trophies), as well as some very interesting crossovers with other Nintendo franchises, like Zelda or F-Zero. It expanded the whole package to what we know today as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, minus the Battle Mode.

Ninja Hideaway start area with a Japanese themed castle

The Booster Course Pass on the other hand has a very different goal: to bring over most of the tracks from Mario Kart Tour, where Nintendo could have just called this the "Mario Kart Tour Pack" if they were more upfront. In itself this is a noble goal. Mario Kart Tour is a service game and that service will cease to exist eventually, where it's good that they are preserving these courses by bringing them over to the current Mario Kart on consoles. This way you can play them whenever you want on a big screen, which is awesome.

But Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most popular game on one of Nintendo's most successful systems, where you would think that this gets all the budget it needs to become fabulously fantastic. Instead, they are not even trying. They know that this going to sell in any case, so they are saving costs and efforts left and right by simply porting over what they have in Mario Kart Tour without any bigger adjustments...

At least the music is of the quality that you would expect, where it seems that they've actually brought the band back. So, that's something and honestly a relief. Still, the music can't hide the fact that these new tracks were made for a mobile game and are a visual downgrade – or at least a divergence – from the rest of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.


The Courses

Now, going through the new tracks, there are some ups and downs. The highlights are probably the courses that got first made for Mario Kart Tour, where it seems like those will make up a majority of the DLC. Each of the new cups will start with one of the city tours even. There is Paris Promenade in the Golden Dash Cup, Tokyo Blur in the Lucky Cat Cup, and also Ninja Hideaway.

These are the most complex of the additions, with different routes and course alterations. The city courses all have different variants in Mario Kart Tour, where some of them now get combined into one for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which is clever and creates an unique experience for all of these.

In Paris Promenade you can choose between two different routes on the first two laps, but the last lap then makes you go in reverse for a bit, where you may even run right into other drivers who are still going through lap 2. This is such a great idea that you might wonder why Nintendo didn't come up with this any sooner. And this also builds on the fact that the tracks in Mario Kart Tour do have reversed variants, something completely new to the series.

Tokyo Blur simply makes you go different routes on each lap, where on the last lap you just go up a spiral driveway on a completely untouched section, so the first place won't have any bananas or other obstacles left by players in the way. But it's by far the simplest of the additions from Mario Kart Tour so far.

Ninja Hideaway is a quite open track with lots of possible routes take, without straying too far from each other. So, this isn't another Yoshi Valley, but that's mainly because the different ways are above each other, where the paths splits vertically. There is even the biggest updraft section in the game, where you have complete control over where to go. And it feels great. Curiously, the level only features Shy Guys, but no Ninjis... Probably because that's what they already had in the game.

Toad Circuit with a large yellow balloon Toad

The classic courses on the other hand, which also got ported over from Mario Kart Tour, feel very basic in comparison, where Toad Circuit from Mario Kart 7 is the prime example of this. It's a good tutorial track and there's nothing inherently wrong with this course, where it's just a short feel-good racing experience. But in a game where basically every course has something unique to it, this just falls flat and can be quite boring.

Choco Mountain could have had the chance to become something more unique here, instead they've changed this by making it more similar to Wario's Goldmine, where now there is a small cave section with bats flying towards you... They also kept the railing at the end at all times, but that's actually very useful for 200cc.

Coconut Mall start

Some of the other classic tracks also have some quirky changes that seemingly got made by Mario Kart Tour and weren't improved upon in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This even goes for the tracks that aren't officially in Mario Kart Tour as of yet, but it's safe to assume that those tracks were originally made for the mobile game and simply haven't been available so far.

Coconut Mall for example changed its escalators into flashy conveyor belts, where it's always obvious which way you need to go. At the same time you can't slowly go up in the wrong direction any longer, it's just way too strong. The course also feels more narrow overall, where it's easy to crash into the curves after said conveyor belts. And the moving cars with the Miis in them at the end aren't moving any longer and now feature Shy Guys instead of Miis. Such a change may be understandable for a mobile game, but on the Nintendo Switch this should have been made how it was in the original, since this game still supports Miis and it's easier to dodge moving objects. Curiously, the ramp and booster fields in the final section have also been removed, making it a lot more boring overall.

On Shroom Ridge you also won't find any oncoming traffic, everything goes in the same direction, where this course has borrowed some of the vehicles from Toad's Turnpike. This is arguably not the worst change, because the track is difficult enough as it is with all its sharp turns, where both here and on Ninja Hideaway you may find yourself hitting the brakes on 150cc already. Those two tracks are a nightmare on 200cc, which gets compensated in the Lucky Bell Cup by Tokyo Blur and Sky Garden, which are two of most relaxed courses in 200cc, almost if they were made for that speed specifically. But this also goes for Toad Circuit and comes with the simplicity of these racing tracks.

Sky Garden as seen from above

Sky Garden also would have been a great track for anti-gravity, but instead it's as basic as it gets. And that's true for the whole DLC. Well, all of the new courses have a glider section, almost as it was obligatory to put at least one into each track, so that players can see their entire cosmetics... But there are no underwater or anti-gravity sections. To be fair, the original Mario Kart 8 DLC also didn't have any underwater parts and it was fine. Also, Mario Kart Tour does feature underwater racing, where it's likely that we will be getting some courses with this feature later on.

But the lack of anti-gravity is concerning. Mario Kart Tour doesn't have anti-gravity and they may not bother implementing what's Mario Kart 8's defining feature into the new tracks, simply because the courses in Tour don't have it. Of course not every track needs to have it, but anti-gravity could have worked really well on Sky Garden or on the roof in Ninja Hideaway, but there is nothing. And right now we have reason to believe that there won't be any anti-gravity in the whole Booster Course Pass... Which is somewhat ironic considering that the promotional art has Mario, Luigi, and Peach drive over images of the new courses in anti-gravity.

And this isn't just about the anti-gravity. This DLC doesn't get the same treatment as the remastered classic courses from the base game, where Nintendo did some really creative things to fit them into Mario Kart 8. They are taking what they have made in Mario Kart Tour and they are simply shoving it into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as it is. The only tracks that seemingly got some efforts put into them are the city tours with the altered laps, but that this feels like the utmost minimum.

Overall, this is quite disappointing and the sad thing is that we can't expect this to get any better with the rest of the DLC. It will be nice to have all these tracks available, sure, but it's tarnishing the quality of an otherwise excellent title.