Miyamoto Says He’s Taken A Step Back From Nintendo’s Hardware Design, More Focused On Software

Nintendo’s renowned video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto has said he’s taking a step back from hardware design to focus more heavily on software development. In a recent interview with Fortune, the Mario creator stated that he’s no longer “actively participating and making decisions” when it comes to Nintendo’s current hardware development, including the NX. It’s, perhaps, a bold move for Miyamoto to make, though, as we heard earlier this week, he’s hoping the NX will be Nintendo’s next big hit after blaming the Wii U’s floundering performance on tablet progression and the console’s high price.

“I’ve pulled myself back out of some of the hardware section and I’m really focused on some of the software that I’m involved in—for example, the new Starfox game. Of course I am observing and looking at the hardware, but I am not actively participating and making decisions.”

Nintendo continues to be secretive when it comes to the NX due to fear of competitors potentially poaching their ideas. However, the company is currently in new talks with third parties regarding the upcoming hardware and, as Fortune alludes, reception appears to be positive. Nintendo’s software planning and development division general manager Shinya Takahashi referred to capturing the attention of gaming fans once again with Nintendo’s next home console.

“For us, the next step is to think about what is going to be that element that is really going to catch the attention of a large number of players again and get them excited. We’re constantly thinking about this idea from the perspective of the players and the needs of the players in terms of what can we can do with our ability and our technology to capture that excitement and passion.”

Hori Releasing Link & Toad Mario Kart 8 Racing Wheels This July

Game accessory manufacturer Hori will release two new officially licensed Mario Kart 8 racing wheels next month. The two accessories are set to represent The Legend of Zelda’s Link – following his placement into the game via the first DLC pack – and fan favourite Nintendo character Toad. Link’s wheel will be a glorious gold with the franchise’s emblem on the back, matching the gold of the Wii remote released alongside Skyward Sword in 2011, while Toad’s comes in blue. As per, the wheels are equipped with a trigger button for easy access to the Wii remote’s B button.

Link and Toad’s racing wheels join the previously released Mario and Luigi wheels, so you’ll be well kitted out for any future Mario Kart 8 parties planned. Both wheels will arrive in North America on July 6 and Europe, which releases a few weeks later, on July 29. While the price of each wheel is the same in Europe and the UK at £11.99, US prices differ with Link’s at the slightly elevated price of $14.99 and Toad’s at $11.99. You can take a look at the images of the wheels below or, if you’d like to pre-order them, you can do so at the Amazon US and UK pages.

Yoshi’s Woolly World Review

With fluffy wool and yarn balls at the ready, Yoshi returns for a fully fledged, naturally adorable and truly magical outing on the Wii U. Nintendo’s struck gold once again with another must-have title for the home console, knitting together a platformer paradise suitable for all.

From the developer of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and published by Nintendo, Yoshi’s Woolly World features cute-as-a-button gameplay with six worlds of effortlessly gorgeous and diverse levels to satiate players of all skill levels. Stretching across eight levels per world, players are tasked with piecing together Craft Island’s inhabitants after Kamek launched his dastardly plan, turning all the Yoshis into several wool pieces. Having scattered their threaded remains across each world, Green and Red Yoshi are the only two survivors and, as such, are tasked with the perilous journey to gather all the Wonder Wools and sew their dinosaur friends back to life.

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Craft Island: Strategically placed on an iced doughnut with a dollop of ice cream.

Yoshi’s Woolly World gives players the chance to seamlessly switch between two different modes: Classic and Mellow. With Classic mode, you’ll be able to experience the highs and pitfalls of a Yoshi game, while in the distinctly easier Mellow mode, Yoshi will sprout flutter wings in order to pass over pitfalls and avoid enemies or obstacles with the push of a button. But the ability to customise your yarn ball throw to either hasty or patient is what revitalises the game’s classic style, particularly if you want to ramp up the difficulty by way of accuracy. The side-scrolling platformer is also compatible with four controllers including the Wii U GamePad with off-TV gameplay, the Wii U Pro Controller, a Wii Remote, and the Wii Classic Controller Pro with an attached Wii Remote, giving plenty of choice.

As the name of the game suggests, Craft Island and all of its associated worlds are created from knitted thread or stitched fabric. Each level produces its own aesthetic quirks, whether through spools of thread, sewn scarves, threaded butterflies, cotton wool snow, buttons, zips with flames, and even blankets with shadowed platforms. Its beautifully detailed and deeply imaginative level design will produce awe-filled gasps on a regular basis, making players feel a little giddy with glee. Yoshi’s Woolly World is simply gorgeous from top to bottom and showcases some utterly delightful creativity to constantly gobble up and digest, mimicking our charming friend.

Through natural woods, fiery woollen lava, dreamscapes and over coloured pipes and rainbows, players won’t just feel mesmerised by the game’s aesthetics but also by its fluid control scheme. Instead of throwing eggs at various woolly enemies, Yoshi can unravel enemies into pools of thread, or string them together by aiming yarn balls. And, has been the case throughout the franchise, Yoshi can swallow up enemies, spit them out or digest them into extra yarn balls. Of course, those undeniably cute bops and squeals he makes when flutter jumping are back to cocoon us in a warm, fluffy burrito blanket, inevitably melting our hearts with his endearing characteristics.

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Watch out for Mega Yoshi’s tail swipe, if only T-Rex’s looked that cute, right?

But if you were one of the fans who believed Yoshi’s Woolly World would be a pushover – myself included – we were sorely incorrect. In terms of difficulty, Good-Feel has balanced the game wonderfully. While you won’t be throwing any yarn controllers at the TV – akin to Donkey Kong difficulty levels – you won’t be tearing your hair out in frustration with easy-as-pie levels either. In order to gather all the levels collectibles – five smiley flowers, five wonder wools, Miiverse stamps hidden in jewels, and hearts – you’ll be suitably challenged.

With countless secret areas to unveil, it’s platforming nirvana built specifically for Nintendo fans. Despite its Classic and Mellow modes though, players may feel an itch for extra challenges in a much more difficult mode. And though you can unlock special levels in each world after all 40 smiley flowers are collected, these are just a small taste of a meaty challenge, meant for nibbling only. A mode for experienced players would only have added to the joy Woolly’s World brings.

Past Yoshi games have undoubtedly contained a few dud levels, yet this HD platformer only seems to get more entertaining the deeper players tread. Some of the best levels arrive with Good-Feel’s ability to create intrigue and wonder. From sitting on the back of a woollen dog named Poochy – yes, it’s as deliriously cute as it sounds – to entering doors and experiencing Yoshi power-up sequences with Mega, Motorcycle, Mermaid, Plane, Umbrella and Digger Yoshi. Each world serves up fantastic levels such as a magic carpet ride to channel your inner Disney Prince, riding down curtain rails with exhilarating speed in Sunset at Curtain Falls, or hiding in the shadows within blankets for a similar feel to Super Mario 3D World’s Shadow Play Alley. It’s a real shame the game suffers from occasional frame rate drops during a level which switches perspectives, though, jarring play when Yoshi moves through doors in Duplicitous Delve for example.

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It’s a whole new world. Excuse the pun, and the singing, sorry.

But it’s the extensive variation between levels and evenly spaced checkpoints that means players will never get bored on their first, second or even third play-through. And with five Wonder Wools distributed throughout each level, finding them and unlocking a different Yoshi pattern to play with is profoundly rewarding – Candyfloss Yoshi looks good enough to eat, while Alpine Yoshi is great fun for camouflage on the snowy slopes.

In each world, players will encounter one mid-boss and an end boss to thwart their progress. Though they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to comedic value, their easy-to-spot weaknesses and ground pound to stun mechanic is a little wearisome for experienced players. Aside from these more mundane moments, players can refresh the game by using certain amiibo. Tapping either a Yarn Yoshi or a standard Yoshi amiibo to the Wii U GamePad will unlock double Yoshi – similar to the cherry found in Super Mario 3D World. Though it will only give players control of one Yoshi copy, it mixes up gameplay with amusing consequences. Yoshi’s Woolly World is also compatible with every amiibo character – bar from Pokemon – and touching the GamePad with a design such as Zelda or Link will import their Yoshi pattern into the game. It’s a simple yet effective mechanic, and I can’t quite mock the appeal.

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Life is like a box of Yoshis, you never know what you’re gonna get.

Playing the game in single-player mode is justly rewarding, but choosing a friend to play alongside in co-operative local play can be hilariously frenetic. Playing with another in the first world’s Bounceabout Woods was a delectable treat. From swallowing and spitting each other out, to focusing on taking down bigger enemies together, Yoshi’s Woolly World is enjoyable with two players from the beginning. With both players frequenting the screen, if one gets left behind you’ll simply turn into an egg and take a short flight over to the player ahead. You’ll have to work together as a team to reach the end of the level, or you could just swallow the player up if you’re feeling particularly mean-spirited, dragging them to the end as a yarn egg.

Of notable merit in Yoshi’s Woolly World is the background and level music. Much like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the musical tones of the jungle and ice worlds are particularly inspiring. I’ve often just left the game on in the Scrapbook Theatre in order to listen to the stunning and idyllic tones of Craft Island. With its relaxed pace, the game can be completed within 25 hours, though gathering all the collectibles will take it over 30 plus, and largely depends on skill level.

With its beautiful aesthetic appeal, cutesy gameplay and some suitably tricky levels, Yoshi’s Woolly World knits together impeccably. A near perfect game, it’s a must-own for every Nintendo fan. So make sure you tie up your loose ends by bringing an extra needle and thread, as you’ll be playing this game for hours on end.

9.5/10

Bowser & Donkey Kong Skylanders SuperChargers Amiibo Are Only Obtainable Via Starter Packs

Activision will only release Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and Hammer Slam Bowser amiibo via Skylanders SuperChargers starter packs. According to a recent interview with the US publisher, both amiibo sets will be sold only with the Nintendo starter packs in order to limit consumer confusion between platforms. The production of both exclusive characters lie with Activision, however, rather than Nintendo – having been less than reliable when it comes to stock.

Announced during the Nintendo Digital Event earlier this week, Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and his Barrel Blaster vehicle is available as part of the Wii U starter pack, priced at $74.99 within the US or £54.99, €69.99 in UK and Europe. While Hammer Slam Bowser and his vehicle the Clown Cruiser will arrive with the Wii and 3DS starter packs, priced at $74.99 (£54.99/€69.99) and $64.99 (£49.99/€59.99), respectively. It’s a little steep in price if you’re looking to “catch” ’em all, but cheaper prices certainly come around for those who wait just a little bit longer.

Both amiibo launching with Skylanders SuperChargers will be compatible in other Nintendo games, as confirmed with their handy circle slider on the NFC chip. The upcoming RPG platform title will arrive for a variety of platforms on September 20 in North America and Europe on September 25.

“At this time, Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and Hammer Slam Bowser will be sold via the Nintendo starter packs only, as we wanted to avoid having consumers confused at retail thinking that they are playable on other platforms, as they are exclusive to Nintendo platforms.” – Activision Representative

Looks Like You’ll Be Able To Change Skin Tone In Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Fans of the Animal Crossing franchise may have scratched their heads in confusion following the recently announced – and potentially free download – Wii U party game Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. But don’t let that deter you, as there are reasons to jump for joy when it comes to the adorable series, particularly with the upcoming 3DS title, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Spotted in a screenshot from the most recent trailer, it appears as if players will finally be able to change their character’s skin tone in-game.

From the trailer embedded above, pausing it at the 35 second mark – or thereabouts – displays a character avatar with a darker skin tone. Previously, Animal Crossing fans could only darken their skin by tanning in the summer months throughout the game. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, players could achieve the effects of a tan by walking around in the sunshine for approximately 15 minutes, with up to five darker tones available.

Though it’s yet to be officially confirmed by Nintendo as such, E3 Treehouse member Ali Rapp has stated via Twitter that Happy Home Designer will give players the option to change their skin tone. It is, at the very least, a good indication either way. Let us know what you think of this recent discovery in the comment section below.

Super Mario Maker Producer Shares His Level Creation Tips, Says Game’s e-Manual Will Inspire Fans

Super Mario Maker has been proven to inspire many Nintendo fans as part of E3’s showcase this year. Amidst the many Treehouse streams dedicated to the side-scroller creation title, there’s been lots of chatter brimming around the game on social networks, including this letter block fan creation highlighted by Nintendo UK on Twitter, as well as an amusing video featuring Tezuka – grinning wildly – kicking a green shell. And it appears we’ve yet to even scratch the surface of content available in Super Mario Maker, with countless level variations ready to be created when it launches for the Wii U in just a few months.

In an interview with Polygon, Super Mario Maker producer Takashi Tezuka has shared his level creation wisdom with fans, saying that less is perhaps more in many cases. He also said there’s no harm in taking inspiration from levels you play either, but if players get really stuck they can also take a look at the digital manual which displays brief videos and short tutorials for new creators.

“People try to have a tendency to cram every cool feature into one. The role of Super Mario Maker isn’t trying to recreate a course or compete against something that you would purchase created by a professional level designer, it’s trying to do what you haven’t seen in a game and make it your own, to have fun. I think it’s great to find something that you think that works really well, copy it, mimic it and try to think of ways you can improve it. It’s a good way to learn.

“We’re actually really, really proud of our e-manual because we found that players get stuck in creating a course, they can look to it for inspiration again and again in getting them on their way. E-manuals aren’t known for being the most interesting reading. We don’t know people who read them, but we think you can read the Super Mario Maker manual all day. It’s going to be packed with all sorts of interesting content.”

Though it’s not just the e-manual that will have interesting content and tips for beginners, but the artbook that’s shipping with every copy of Super Mario Maker also aims to inspire, too. The book is part of Nintendo’s 30th anniversary for the red-capped plumber and is chock full of the wonderfully classic game artwork, alongside reproductions of the original design plans for Super Mario Bros. Fans won’t have long to wait either as the game launches for the Wii U in both North America and Europe on September 11.

“I think the book that comes with the game will help people hone their skills and learn techniques they can add to their own courses,” Tezuka said. “If we were to name this book, we would call it ‘The Seeds of Super Mario Maker.’ We give you all the basics to make something great.”

Samus Will Make An Appearance In Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Producer Tanabe Reveals

Samus will make an appearance in Metroid Prime: Federation Force – according to the 3DS game’s producer Kensuke Tanabe. Developed by Next Level Games, the multiplayer shooter was announced yesterday during Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event – though it wasn’t the Metroid title many fans had been expecting. In a recent interview with Kotaku, Metroid Prime’s producer and designer Tanabe has explained much more about the upcoming 3DS spin-off title, mentioning that the franchise’s heroine Samus Aran will appear “somewhere in the game”.

Throughout the game, 3DS users will play as a Galactic Federation soldier working through missions and fighting against a slew of space pirates in multiplayer mode. However, Tanabe confirmed you can play the title in single-player mode, though it would be “more fun” playing with four others at your side. Later, the producer clarified there would be no four-on-four player matches, rather just four players against space pirate enemies.

First off, we have three major planets. There will be, roughly, 10 different missions on each planet. It will be a way for you to go between those three planets on and off going through an adventure. I think it is closer to Hunters. There are obviously areas for you to look around and explore as well. Hunters focused more on the shooting portion. In this game you’ll be able to have other types of things you can experience throughout the gameplay.

Tanabe mentioned there would be no visor scanning elements to Metroid Prime: Federation Force either, but there is a Metroid specific mission planted within the game to appease fans’ hunger. For those Metroid fans who own a New Nintendo 3DS, you’ll be able to use the second stick for additional and smoother camera movement, though Federation Force can still be played on a regular 3DS. The interview also revealed a number of other tidbits, including the ability to arm your character with super missiles and outfit them in mech suits. Currently Blast Ball – a sports-based minigame where players use guns to target each other and shoot a ball into their opponents’ goal – is the only part of the game playable at E3.

Personally, I don’t feel like I am creating anything that is a side-story. Until now, we’ve never had a game focusing on the Federation Force fighting against the space pirates. So the main idea here is that I sort of wanted to change that focus a little bit and see it from a different view from the same universe.

So as I briefly mentioned earlier, once you play the game you’ll be able to feel that Metroid Prime universe. So it’s kind of… at this point it’s a little difficult I’m sure for both sides to get that idea …for players who haven’t touched the game, it’s really difficult to imagine that feeling you get when you touch the game. So it’s a kind of an unfortunate situation at this time, but it’s something I definitely look forward to having the users touch it and play and experience the awesomeness of it.

Thanks, Takamaru64