Connect with us
Nintendo Crossover Nintendo Crossover

Games

Green Pipe Dreams: A Wishlist of Unlikely Nintendo Crossover Titles

Advertisement

Published

on

Nintendo’s history is full of unexpected crossover titles. Just on the Switch alone, Nintendo’s youngest console, are the unprecedented crossovers of Fire Emblem and Omega Force’s Warriors franchise in the form of Fire Emblem Warriors, the fusion of Pokemon and Tekken in Pokken Tournament DX, and the impossibly successful combination of Ubisoft’s Rabbids with Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. With Nintendo, fans have learned to expect the unexpected, but what are some truly surprising crossovers that I think would make exceptional games? Here is my Nintendo crossover wishlist.

Kingdom Hearts and the Nintendo-verse- “Kingdom Hearts: Mushroom Kingdom” or “Mushroom Kingdom Hearts”

I’m not the first to suggest this, and I won’t be the last. Square Enix and Nintendo have a long history together, including one truly brilliant fusion of Square’s first rate RPG gameplay and Super Mario Bros. action, charming character, and familiar narrative in the way of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Star. Most recently fans were treated to the unforeseen inclusion of FFVII‘s Cloud Strife in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, allowing the owners of the Master Sword and the Buster Sword to clash for the first time outside of the popularity polls. While I’d be more than happy with another Super Mario RPG, the worlds I’d truly love to see (final) mix it up are those Kingdom Hearts and the entirety of the Nintendo-verse.  With KH‘s Dark Seeker Saga finally, maybe, actually wrapping up, what better detour for the franchise to take than one into the beloved realms of Nintendo’s franchises?

Now, I recognize that Kingdom Hearts is already a happy union between Final Fantasy and Disney and adding another element to that coalescence might make a mess, however, while the combination of Disney and Nintendo seems like a match made in family-friendly heaven, I think the best way to proceed would be to substitute Nintendo for Disney for a spinoff title. Structurally, Kingdom Hearts is optimized for crossovers as the narrative follows keyblade wielders hopping from world to world, franchise to franchise to protect them from an external danger.

In this scenario, those worlds, rather than being the wonderful worlds of Disney, would be Hyrule Kingdom, Mushroom Kingdom, Donkey Kong Country, Brinstar, Corneria, Inkopolis, and many, many more beloved Nintendo destinations. Seeing Sora, Riku, and Kairi Disney bound has always been a treat, but how fun would it be to see them Earthbound and fighting Heartless alongside the Super Smash cast of Link, Samus, Fox, DK, and, of course, everyone’s favorite plumber, Waluigi… or Mario… depending on who you ask. Square Enix has been vocal about Kingdom Hearts III being the conclusion of a saga but not the franchise, but what follows for Sora and friends, or maybe even a new cast of characters, no one knows. I’ll hold out hope for Mushroom Kingdom Hearts, but more than likely this will remain a green pipe dream.

Fatal Frame and Pokemon Snap– “Pokemon Spirit Snap” or “Project Pokemon Zero”

The most unlikely pairing on this list, despite the preexisting crossover title Pokemon Conquest shared between the two teams, this dream nightmare combination might sound like a stretch, but has so much potential it’s haunting. The odds of this title ever happening are ever so slightly improved by the fact that developer Koei Tecmo and Nintendo are on good working terms and even further improved considering Nintendo now co-owns Fatal Frame! Beyond being an eerily enticing concept, the creepy combination would undoubtedly be beneficial to all parties. Being paired with Pokemon could only improve the Fatal Frame franchise’s popularity, while a Fatal Frame scenario and gameplay being applied to Pokemon Snap would resolve the issue Pokemon director Junichi Masuda raised with the much clamored for Snap sequel.  In an interview with the now closed CVG regarding Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Masuda had this to say concerning a Snap port or sequel:

As a player, I definitely want to play a cool new version of Pokemon Snap, but, at the same time, I also think if it was just a remake with better graphics, I don’t think it would be as interesting as a lot of people are imagining. If someone was to end up developing it they’d have to come up with some cool ideas to really make it a good game for the current generation. It’s sort of like what I was saying about Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. If it was just a direct port that would be kind of neat as well, but having new elements is definitely important.

Fatal Frame‘s signature gameplay and sinister scenarios merged with the concept of snapping pictures of Pokemon provides exactly the kind of gameplay hook and concept necessary to breathe new life into a now nearly twenty-year-old Pokemon Snap.

Acerola’s trial in “Pokemon Sun” and “Moon” had trainers reveal Ghost Pokemon with the Pokefinder camera feature!

But what would this long awaited spiritual (heh) successor to Pokemon Snap look like?  Borrowing a scenario similar to Fatal Frame, a town, perhaps the infamous Lavender Town, has been overrun by all varieties of Ghost Pokemon who are menacing the public and resisting capture, (phantom) forcing the living inhabitants of Lavender Town to abandon their homes and town.  One photographer, armed with the mysterious Camera Obscura, has what seems to be the only means of pacifying these restless spirit Pokemon and riddling out what mystery lies at the dark heart of Lavender Town’s haunting situation. While a survival horror-lite title might seem like a dark detour for the Pokemon brand, Game Freak’s games always include eerie elements, with some of the franchise’s ghoulish ghosties’ Pokedex descriptions being downright disturbing.

The fun designs of the Ghost-type Pokemon ensure the games imagery would never be unsuitable for a younger audience, while tonally the game could easily keep closer to Luigi’s Mansion rather than the Fatal Frame franchise itself. Narratively, the fright fest could easily resolve with a nightmarish Darkrai, menacing Marshadow, or envious Mimikyu causing all of the chaos without ever encroaching on Fatal Frame‘s typical masochistic human sacrifice notes. As far as finding an audience, well, that should be the least of producers fears! Wherever there are Pokemon, there are eager trainers, where there are trainers, there are those clamoring for Pokemon Snap. If Creepypasta is anything to go by, this dark dream of a crossover’s audience has been lurking in the shadows of the franchise for a long time.

Monster Hunter and Pokemon– “Pocket Monster Hunter”

Ironically, I sleep soundly waiting for the nightmare merging of Koei Tecmo’s Fatal Frame and Pokemon Snap. But, the lack of a Pokemon and Monster Hunter crossover… that keeps me up at night. One might be an action RPG and the other a more traditional JRPG, but fundamentally they are very similar concepts centered around defeating or capturing powerful, elemental monsters out in the wild. That might sound reductive, but I endlessly compare the wyverns and beasts of Monster Hunter World to the Pokemon I’m much more familiar with.

The frigid, elegant Legiana of MHW I’ve taken to calling Lugia. My thunder kinsect? He’s a Vikavolt, for sure! My Palico? Well, he’s named after Dragon Ball Super‘s Lord Beerus, but he could’ve easily been yellow and named Pikachu, or Meowth, that’s right! Jyuratodus is Quagsire, Tobi-Kadachi is a Pachirisu/Emolga mother Muk-er, Paoluma is Swoobat, Barroth is a Bastiodon, and need I go on? As if that wasn’t enough, both games have Dragonites for Arceus’ sake! There needs to be a Pocket Monster and Monster Hunter mashup! The similarities are already there and it’s too fun a concept, not to mention potentially monstrously lucrative, not to happen! Monster Hunter World might have been a monumental success, but imagine the new fans it could capture if it directly appealed to Poke-fans? And what could make the MH gameplay loop even more engaging? If it featured popular Pokemon, of course!

A wild Lugia and Swoobat appeared!

There’d have to be certain adjustments on both ends of the crossover. For one thing, you can’t kill and carve Pokemon. Equally pressing, the game would have to take place before Pokemon battles, balls, and badges. It wouldn’t be the first time a Pokemon spinoff was set in a much earlier era than the main series games, just see Pokemon Conquest. The game could easily revolve around a human settlement handling dangerous, neighboring Pokemon before the advent of Pokeballs and trainers, allowing for the crossover to mirror Monster Hunter‘s signature gameplay. In the place of child trainers would be experienced Pokemon hunters equipped with MH‘s signature arsenal of weapons. A fight with a Pokemon might not culminate in a choice between killing and capturing a target like in MH, but in main series Poke-titles, wild Pokemon encounters present players with a similar choice between knocking a Pokemon out or capturing it, and the same could be said here. Rather than carved, maybe a K.O.ed ‘mon could be sketched and studied before being let loose, where captured monsters would be studied more rigorously. All resulting armor and equipment could simply be inspired by wild Pokemon rather than supplied through wild Pokemon parts.

Alternatively, and admittedly more difficult to conceive, perhaps the player could control roughly human sized sized Pokemon wielding weapons they could generate through their elemental powers. For example, a low level water Katana user might play as Froakie, eventually replaced by a fierce Greninja with a wicked water Katana. After SSB, this isn’t without precedent. Weavile could wield ice Dual Blades, Magmortar a fiery Heavy Bowgun, Empoleon perhaps a watery Charge Blade, and Aegislash… well, he is a Sword and Shield.  This might be an unnecessarily complicated rework of the existing weapon and armor system, but could create the quintessential Pokemon battle experience. In either case, Pocket Monster Hunter is about as good a combo as a Slowpoke and Shellder, and given Monster Hunter‘s long history of exclusivity on Nintendo consoles, maybe this pipe dream isn’t so wild after all.

Here’s to hoping for a lot more uncanny combinations out of the Big N and friends.  What are your favorite Nintendo crossovers and, given the opportunity, what franchises would you choose to fuse? Let me know!  And take the worlds advice to keep dreaming!

 

 

Tim is not the droids you are looking for. He resides quietly in the Emerald City where he can often be found writing, reading, watching movies, or playing video games. He is the Xbox editor for Goomba Stomp and the site's official Pokémon Master.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

Game Reviews

‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Published

on

It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

Continue Reading

Games

The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

Published

on

Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

Continue Reading

Games

‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

Published

on

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

Continue Reading

Popular