The past year has been a tough one and we don't need to explain why. The corona pandemic dominated the reporting and had a massive impact on everyone's life, something that will probably not change significantly in the foreseeable future. But you have to look for the positive in the negative, because because you were locked up at home most of the time, as a video gamer you could of course devote yourself to your hobby very intensively.
And as a Nintendo fan in particular, there were once again many highlights waiting for you, even if the year got off to a pretty slow start; definitely also because numerous projects had to be postponed due to Corona. We will probably never find out what these are and whether games have been completely canceled. But what exactly happened? What have we and the Nintendo gamers have been thinking about over the past twelve months?
We want to get to the bottom of this question in this report. In addition, the individual editors reveal their very personal games of the year and, as objectively as possible, draw the best games of the year across all editorial teams.
That was the Nintendo year 2020
It starts with our big annual overview. We hope you enjoy reading!
The last year has started quite leisurely. One will appear on January 3rd, 2020 Continuation by Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training for Nintendo Switch, we give an experienced 8 out of 10 for the puzzle game and take care of the rest this month Alien: isolation and about party games like Tools Up! and the DLCs too Overcooked 2. A lot of fans want a "real" Nintendo Direct in January – nobody knew at the time that we wouldn't see one all year round! The last such event took place in September 2019, but at least Nintendo will be offering a Pokémon Direct on January 9, 2020. The time will be used to extensively read the two DLCs by Pokémon sword and Pokémon shield It is also about the cloud-based service Pokémon Home and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a new edition of the spin-off for the Switch. The latter should not appear until March, but there will be a free demo right after Direct. The best thing about the whole event is the information that pocket monster fans will receive that 200 old Pokémon will find their way into the sword and shield editions! The fact that only a few of the popular classic monsters were available in the adventure up to this point was one of the biggest criticisms. On the PC goes in January Temtem at the start, an indie game that wants to compete with Pokémon. Actually, the title should have been published on the Switch in 2020, but that didn't happen, possibly because of the pandemic.
Most of the Smash fan base had long faces in January when the next fighter and the second season pass for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate were revealed: Byleth, protagonist from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, will soon enrich the warrior wars. Another character from the series, which is already well represented, and another swordsman – many viewers are disappointed with the choice of fighters for these reasons. At the end Byleth turns out to be in our test of the DLC as a fun and versatile Smash participant!
As far as the pandemic is concerned, the news about this novel viral disease in China can be heard in early January. But the state that now prevails in the world is still far away. The first confirmed case of Covid infection occurs in Germany at the end of January.
The second month of 2020 is the calm before the storm in many ways. As for the releases, that is what really stands out Indie adventure Florence which we certify a 9 out of 10 in the test (although not this month), as well as the fabulous port from Metro. What else seems like that? The Diablo-like, rather mediocre spin-off Darksiders: Genesis, Two Point Hospital, Snack World: The Treasure Hunt – Gold and the Classic Devil May Cry 3 in the special edition. The gaming community still wants a big direct, but the hope is in vain. On February 25, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the inventor of the world-famous Konami Code, dies. The Robert Koch Institute rated the threat posed by the corona virus for the population of Germany as "low to moderate" on February 28.
After the postponement, the time has finally come: Animal Crossing: New Horizons appears for the Switch! We have the opportunity to play the game extensively before the release on March 20th, so the virtual vacation starts much earlier for us. As part of a final preview before publication, there are already security measures, we are visited at the publisher instead of arriving. Most events – if they should take place at all – will be held virtually in 2020. Animal Crossing is a bombshell. The internet is full of memes, videos, reports, and all kinds of content related to the title. The ratings are great (we also give a 9 out of 10), and the first sales figures suggest that Nintendo could have hit the nerve of Switch gamers.
This is not only due to the quality of the game: The pandemic has accelerated immensely since February and politicians see it as their duty to act: In mid-March, as we now know, the first lockdown will be imposed, the schools will close, Masks are required in many places. This also has an impact on the publishing house and on the production of our magazines such as N-ZONE. For the next few months, most of the editors and layouters will work from home and manage to keep the editorial work going. Given the gloomy mood and the restrictions and stress that comes with it, many Switch owners seek refuge in the laid-back paradise of Animal Crossing. In any case, if you managed to get your switch and / or the game before the lockdown – not only were there some bottlenecks due to high demand, picking up in electronics stores was sometimes tricky because of the lockdown. To this day (!) There is also massive demand for another Nintendo exclusive game: Ring Fit Adventure In the face of closed fitness studios and exit restrictions, it almost becomes an investment in March, so astronomical are the prices that are called up by private sellers.
The Game Developers Conference will take place virtually at the end of March 2020. This concept is no alternative for E3; it is canceled for the first time in its history three months before the date in June. Gamescom, on the other hand, still refrains from changing anything in the existing plans, there is still a long time until August, or so the thought. Otherwise, there is no full-fledged Direct this month, but at least the Indie World Showcase, in which, among other things Pixeljunk Eden 2 is announced. The 20 Minuten Direct are packed with innumerable indie games from just about every field, and we of course dedicate appropriate reporting to the event.
Source: 2K Games
The hype surrounding Animal Crossing continues to grow, internet platforms and huge Discord servers are emerging, in which players meet up and exchange and sell items (mostly for the in-game currency Sternis, but also forbidden for real money). The first event in the game is quite a failure: The two weeks of Bunny Day are mostly on the nerves of the players because of the countless Easter egg items.
Nevertheless, other games will of course also be released in April, for example the Surprise hit Streets of Rage 4, which we happily give a 9 out of 10 and which deservedly found its place in our special among the Switch games of the year. Besides, this will be neat Trials of Mana remake released. Appeared or not? That is the question with the ominous Cooking Mama: Cookstar, whose strange story occupies the gaming world and to which we even dedicate a report. Dark machinations at Nintendo Online too: more than 160,000 accounts were partially compromised by hackers, Nintendo informed at the end of April. Germany is still in lockdown.
Source: PC Games
Animal Crossing: The game is also the theme for the Nintendo world in May. This is also noticeable in the fact that Nintendo announces that after just six weeks it has sold more versions of Animal Crossing: New Horizons than was forecast for its entire lifetime. After the end of the financial year in March, it is time to present the annual report a while later. This is also the case in 2020, and almost everything looks rosy for Nintendo: Digital sales in the last twelve months are around 70 percent higher than in the previous year. The Switch is and will remain extremely popular, but Nintendo cannot keep up with production, so that the console is temporarily sold out in Japan, Europe and North America. This is related to the corona pandemic, which is ensuring that production in Vietnam does not go according to plan. In the context of the annual report, Nintendo emphasizes that it is assumed that production will be back to schedule within a few months. The high demand for switches is blooming: Programmers write bots, for example, that constantly query the switch stocks at online retailers in order to be able to quickly sell them up and for a substantial premium. The Covid situation in Germany is now easing again, and measures will be increasingly relaxed over the course of the month.
When testing, we deal with, among other things Old school shooter Ion Fury, the TESO spin-off The Elder Scrolls: Blades in the switch version and Shantae and the Seven Sirens – all decent games. At the end of May, there will be three special implementations for the Nintendo console, all of which are superbly implemented: XCOM 2 Collection, Bioshock: The Collection and Borderlands Legendary Collection. On the same day, May 29th, will also Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition brought on the market. We also learn that a new Paper Mario will appear in July.
Again no Nintendo Direct this month! But a Pokémon broadcast as part of the upcoming release of the first DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield – which we give a good 8 out of 10 in the test. It's also about news for Pokémon Go, New Pokémon Snap announced and a pocket monster assisted toothbrushing program called Pokémon Smile is shown. Speaking of showing: In June, Nintendo will present the toy sets for the first time that are being developed in collaboration with Lego – we will try them out Mario Lego collaboration for you a few weeks later in the editorial office. We will test for it in June 51 Worldwide Games and give an 8 out of 10 for the virtual game collection.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic can still be felt in Germany in June, but not to the extent that it was currently in January 2021. Nintendo is releasing the little game for free Jump Rope Challenge, the developers programmed it in the home office. And should you ask yourself whether Animal Crossing is still successful: Yes, the life simulation is thriving in June too.
While Animal Crossing (which is still very successful) has one of the biggest updates yet (it brings marine animals to the game), the one revealed in May is also coming in July Paper Mario: The Origami King, which we like overall, but not completely enthusiastic – we give a rating of 7 out of 10. In the Mini Direct: Partner Showcase in July, among other things Shin Megami Tensei 5 and during a treehouse presentation Nintendo and WayForward present the new work by the Shantae makers with the title Bakugan: The Champions of Vestroia. The rather inglorious result of the efforts inevitably recalls Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise. The Switch-exclusive sequel to the cult game will be released in July 2020 and we are horrified by the technical state of the adventure in the test, which is why we only give the game a 5 out of 10.
Source: Rising Star Games
Gamescom usually takes place in Cologne in August, as will be in 2020, but in a different form: As a digital event, the fair will be streamed completely this year. The lack of the E3 is also noticeable in the industry and in the publishing house. Instead of being bombarded with information and games for a week, everything is spread out much more evenly over the weeks and summer months. Nintendo is streaming another Indie World Showcase in August, showing loads of indie games, including the outstanding Spiritfarer, A Short Hike and Hades – We ennobled all three games in the test with an impressive rating of 9 out of 10. It was also announced in August (but not as part of the indie stream) that Switch remaster from Pikmin 3, which should appear two months later.
While the last three months have turned out to be rather unexciting and eventful, things are really going in September, on the third day of the month when Nintendo is organizing Direct on the occasion of Mario's 35th birthday. It's not just about merchandise and toys like Mario Kart Home Circuitwhich will be released later in the year, but of course to games, for example Super Mario 3D All-Stars. The three-pack of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy will be available from mid-September as a limited offer – the information that the game will only be available until March 2021 causes fans to shake their heads, but probably also ensures that that there are tons of pre-orders and purchases. Also New Super Mario 3D World is presented as a remake for the Switch, expanded with the addition of Bowser's Fury – what is hidden behind it, reveals a trailer in January 2021. The title will be released in February 2021, so the test will be available soon. And a third Mario game will be shown within the Direct: Super Mario Bros. 35, where you compete online against 34 other players through a level remix of the classic NES title Super Mario Bros.
That wasn't all the exciting news of the month, it was also announced Hyrule Warriors: Time of Desolation, the continuation of the action spin-off for the Zelda series – a few months later we are awarding a score of 7 out of 10. Finally, in September there will be a Mini Partner Direct where two Monster Hunter games will be unveiled, and as a surprise it just becomes like that Ori and The Will of the Wisps presented and published immediately. We give the magical Metroidvania a great 9 out of 10. In September, it's also time to say goodbye! Production of the handheld Nintendo 3DS will cease worldwide this month.
Source: 505 Games
The rather relaxed summer months are slowly over, the corona virus is spreading rapidly in Germany. Halloween mainly takes place virtually, for example in the update for the still popular Animal Crossing. In reality we do laps with the Mario Kart Home Circuit released in October, and test Pikmin 3 Deluxe and the Switch on the Switch second expansion of Pokémon Sword and Shield.
In Europe, too, it is now possible to play on the Switch via the cloud: It starts with Control, which is immediately available and also becomes Hitman 3 announced for 2021 with cloud streaming. As part of the Partner Direct there is also information on other titles, such as Bravely Default 2.
The month is comparatively quiet for Nintendo fans, in other camps there is a lot of anticipation and excitement, because both the next generation of the Xbox and the Playstation are coming onto the market. Nintendo itself said in early 2020 that the next-gen devices will likely have little impact on its own business. Nonetheless, the gaming industry's eyes are primarily on Microsoft and Sony in November. But that does not mean that nothing is going on on the Switch in September: Hyrule Warriors: Time of Devastation, for example, appeared as the most popular game on the Nintendo console for the Christmas season. Within Germany, the measures against the corona pandemic will be further tightened.
The year is drawing to a close, one last Indie World Stream takes place, in which, among other things, Super Meat Boy Forever, Spelunky 2, Among Us and other indie games. Shortly before just a little while, then finally comes this year Doom Eternal on the Switch out. And Smash fans are very happy with the new Smash fighter announced in December compared to Byleth in January: Final Fantasy villain Sephiroth enters the ring!
2020 was a successful year for Nintendo, not only despite, but also because of the circumstances accompanying the corona pandemic. In general, the industry benefited from the increased time people now spend at home, even when events such as E3 did not take place and there were numerous postponements of games due to the virus. Whether we will be able to pop the corks on New Year's Eve as usual in a large group and without a mask remains to be seen. In any case, it is clear that Nintendo was able to strengthen its position immensely in 2020 and can start optimistically in 2021 – we are trying to do the same as the group!
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