After a tepid hardware launch featuring several less-than-stellar first-party offerings for the console, the 3DS will finally be receiving the software it needed back in March: new portable installments of classic Nintendo franchises. At the Nintendo Press Conference today, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils Aime took the stage to properly reveal footage of (and announce new) 3DS games coming to the handheld in the next year.
The first of these gameplay reveals is the latest installment of Nintendo's Mario Kart franchise. Simply titled Mario Kart (no 3DS in the title this time) the new racing game contains your expected mix of jump-slide drifting and power-up firing, but the courses themselves have gotten a little more varied. The old race tracks can expand into short flying sections (where the karts will literally sprout a hang glider) or underwater sections (with the karts growing propellers and diving downward). It looked a little like Rare's old Diddy Kong Racing game on the N64, except the track/vehicle changes can occur mid-race.
Beyond the potential for courses and karts to shift into the air or under the water, Mario Kart for the 3DS will also allow players to customize their vehicles, adding different bodies, different wheels (including Monster Truck wheels) and so on. No word if that customization will have an effect on gameplay or if there will be a button that allows me to add Monster Truck wheels to all vehicles, all the time. That's the button I want.
Beyond the latest edition of the Mario Kart franchise, Nintendo also showed off the first footage of Super Mario... and it's just called Super Mario. The new 3DS platformer makes no mention of its platform of origin in its title, but this game is clearly Super Mario 3DS. The game looks to combine elements of the side-scrolling New Super Mario Bros. release on the DS as well as the more traditional analog-stick 3D platforming of Super Mario 64. The new release also utilizes the artistic shaders and styles seen in the more recent Super Mario Galaxy, and the result is pretty striking for a handheld game. Also: Tanooki suit. Raccoon tail flight suit. Think about it.
And finally, at the end of the 3DS section of the show, Nintendo threw a genuine curveball of a game announcement: Luigi's Mansion 2 is coming out. Yes, the sequel to the ubiquitous GameCube launch title is coming to the 3DS, complete with multiple mansions to explore and similar ghost-busting gameplay as the original.
You won't have to wait to long to start busting ghosts on a race track while wearing a raccoon suit--you know, if that's your thing. All three games will be available on the 3DS by years end.