Nintendo has held its latest Nintendo Direct for February 2022 with numerous major games announced during a stellar 40-minute presentation. From everything we know, it's looking like the Nintendo Switch is poised to have one of its best years ever.
Hosted by Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi, the whirlwind presentation revealed a selection of Nintendo Switch games coming to the system in the first half of the year, as well firmly stamping a number of release dates on already announced titles. Be that Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes that kicked off the stream or Xenoblade Chronicles 3 that closed out the presentation, there was a ludicrous amount of content on display.
While we didn't get any news of any Zelda ports (Wind Waker HD or Twilight Princess HD) coming to Switch or information concerning Breath of the Wild 2, Nintendo brought out the big guns and arguably delivered not only one but arguably three things better. Let me explain.
Mario Strikers: Battle League
I have to start with the star of the show for me – Mario Strikers: Battle League. If you've never played a Mario Strikers game before, you are in for a real treat. Think five-on-five football but there's an electric fence, explosive items and basically no rules whatsoever. It's absolute chaos!
There has only ever been two entries in the series – Super Mario Strikers on the GameCube and Mario Strikers Charged on the Wii – with the last release happening 15 long years ago. Battle League looks to bring back the same addictive gameplay alongside supporting up to eight players. Honestly, I just hope Nintendo and Next Level Games put real effort into the game. The last Mario Golf and Mario Tennis titles were lacking in content and Strikers deserves better.
Mario Strikers: Battle League is scheduled to launch on June 10th, 2022.
Nintendo Switch Sports
A new contender to Wii Sports? Yes, please! This one came out of nowhere, mainly because Nintendo normally releases these sorts of games at the beginning of a console's lifecycle not halfway through. I'll take it though.
Nintendo Switch Sports is a direct iteration of the 80-million plus seller back on the Wii, set to feature Football, Volleyball, Bowling, Tennis, Badminton and Chambara (swordplay) with Golf due to be added in future. Players can even strap a Joy Con with the Leg Strap accessory included in the physical version to kick the ball about in Soccer Shoot-Out. Fun for all the family, this is exactly what the Switch has been missing.
Nintendo Switch Sports is scheduled to launch on April 29th, 2022. An online play test will be available for Nintendo Switch Online members from February 18th to 19th.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass
Nintendo Directs are always full of surprises but again, who really saw this coming? As rumours circulated that Mario Kart 9 was in the works, Nintendo did one better and confirmed that 48 (yes, 48!) remastered courses from throughout the Mario Kart series will be coming to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as part of new DLC. It might be five years too late but it's certainly more than welcome.
From Choco Mountain (N64) and Coconut Mall (Wii) to Tokyo Blur (mobile) and Sky Garden (GBA), it's an absolute steal at $24.99 / £24.99. Better still, it's included as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack for those that subscribe. The tracks will be released in six waves with the first eight tracks coming as soon as next month and the final lot arriving by the end of 2023. The best kart racer just got better!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass is scheduled to roll out its first set of tracks on March 18th, 2022.
Aside from this, we also got a summer release date for Splatoon 3, an April release date for Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp, a remaster of Chrono Cross, Switch ports for No Man's Sky, Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, as well as a free update for Metroid Dread among much, much more. It's a good time to be a Nintendo fan.