The Wii U may not be getting tons of attention this holiday season, but that's not stopping Nintendo from playing Santa Claus.
In a Nintendo Direct broadcast Wednesday, company president Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America chief Reggie Fils-Aime revealed a number of surprises and updates for both the Wii U and the 3DS -- and even delivered some of them to players immediately.
First up was a Hyrule Warriors, a previously unannounced Wii U game in the works by Tecmo Koei. Due to launch in 2014, the strange title is a mashup of Nintendo’s beloved The Legend of Zelda and Koei’s not-so-beloved (in the U.S., at least) Dynasty Warriors, letting Link take on hordes and hordes of enemies rather than solve dungeon puzzles.
Nintendo also supplied updates for two of the Wii U's most anticipated games. Super Mario Galaxy’s Rosalina and her companion Luma will join the star-studded lineup of the anticipated Super Smash Bros Wii U. The company also showed off two minutes of footage from Mario Kart 8, unveiling a new airport-themed level.
The year of Luigi is apparently going to extend into 2014, with Mario's brother starring in a modified version of the puzzle game classic, Dr. Mario. Dr. Luigi will hit the Wii U's eStore on Dec. 31. Among the twists? Luigi prescribes pills that come in an L-shape.
Nintendo 3DS owners have a few games worth cheering about, too, including Yoshi's New Island and Kirby: Triple Deluxe. Also coming early next year to the Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder for the 3DS, based on the GameCube series. This follow-up once again features the electricity-powered scavenger, who needs players to take pictures of real-world objects to fulfill missions.
Perhaps hoping to cash in on late holiday shoppers, Nintendo announced a handful of surprises. Wii Sports Club is introducing golfing to its collection and is available for download today. The game will feature a new nine-hole course as well as classic courses based on the NES golf game from 1984.
Also available today is NES Remix, a $15 downloadable game that takes levels from classic NES games and slightly reworks them to give them a fresh feel. For example, Excitebike players will race at night, with only the light from a headlight showing them where to go. A well-known Mario level is presented backwards. You can even play Donkey Kong using Link instead of Mario.
The Wii U has been criticized for its lack of strong software. Though short on bombshells (new Metroid, anyone?), this particular Nintendo Direct indicates that the company is willing to take some interesting risks to spark interest in the ailing system. The bigger question, though, is whether that realization might be coming too late.