Last night brought us the huge, huge news that Nintendo was finally taking the plunge into mobile gaming, signing a deal with Japanese publisher DeNA.
So far, we don’t know many of their specific plans, but we do know that the games will not be direct ports, so don’t expect Ocarina of Time: Pocket Edition. They will, however, utilize Nintendo’s many IPs, so expect to see a ton of their characters and game series getting the mobile treatment.
Before we go to the list itself, I should note that a lot of my entries assume microtransactions of some kind, which makes sense to me given Nintendo’s recent experimentation with them in Pokemon Shuffle. They could easily be going for premium-priced games instead though, a mix of the two, or even premium games that include microtransactions. The sky’s the limit at this point, and in any case, I think these ideas could work in any number of monetization formats.
1. Advance Wars
Advance Wars has been missing for too long, and there’s nothing about that series that couldn’t work on mobile. In fact, it would be easier than ever to scroll around the map, issue orders, and play online with friends.
Additionally, this seems like a great way for Nintendo to put together a “premium” game experience, that still lends itself to microtransactions if they want to go that route. And seriously, it’s been over seven years since the last Advance Wars game, this would be the perfect opportunity to bring it back.
2. Pokemon Tie-In
A full-on Pokemon game on mobile is almost definitely not going to happen (those 3DS games move systems after all), but that doesn’t mean we won’t be getting something. Nintendo has been testing the water with tie-ins to their Pokemon games, including the Pokebank, and the recent demo for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire that let you transfer bonus items into the main games.
I wouldn’t be all that surprised if we got some kind of mobile lead-in to next year’s Pokemon 3DS game. Maybe a way to earn extra items? Find special Pokemon? The possibilities are pretty endless, and as a Pokebank subscriber, I’ll admit I’d be the first to sign up.
3. Animal Crossing… Anything
Animal Crossing lends itself well to mobile, with its fairly simplistic core gameplay, and emphasis on collecting the crap out of everything you can find. I can easily imagine a mobile version of this series that keeps the core idea of developing your home and village intact, with the added ability to use real money instead of Bells to purchase certain items. Charging 99 cents for a new table or wallpaper sounds pretty evil, but hot damn if I wouldn’t be tempted.
4. A Super Smash Bros… Card Game
Hearthstone is huge right now, but it’s certainly not the only card game on the App Store. In fact, card games were stupidly popular way before Blizzard got involved, and by now, basically every mobile publisher under the sun has one (or three).
My initial thought was that Nintendo should just port over the Pokemon TCG to mobile. Then I remembered that an official version is already on tablets, so that wouldn’t make sense. But how about a Super Smash Bros. card game? I imagine you would be able to collect and build a deck of characters, items, and power-ups across Nintendo’s many franchises, then pit them against an opponent. That to me captures the feel of Smash, and would be a really cool way for Nintendo to get involved in mobile card games.
5. WarioWare Mini-Game Collection
I know Nintendo said no direct ports, but WarioWare seems like it could easily make the transition to mobile with little to no alterations. After all, they already did a touchscreen version for the DS. A more likely option though would be a new collection of WarioWare mini-games, designed to be played with a finger rather than a stylus. To monetize it, Nintendo could charge for new mini-games, or just price the entire package as a premium release.
6. Rhythm Heaven
Rhythm Heaven isn’t one of Nintendo’s most recognizable IPs, but it was still a a super fun DS game that’s perfect for touchscreens, and it was a huge hit in Japan, so Nintendo has plenty of reasons (1.5 million to be more precise) to give it another go.
The game has you holding the Nintendo DS vertically (which already makes it look like a phone screen), then use the stylus to play rhythm-based mini-games to a particular beat. It even had a feature where you could acquire new bonus features in the “cafe” hub level, which seems like a perfect place to expand the game to include some microtransaction unlockables.
7. Tomodachi Life
Tomodachi Life is so mobile that I’m frankly a little bit surprised that it’s a 3DS game. The Sims-esque experience has players importing Miis to populate an island, then checking in routinely and tending to their needs to level them up. Boil that down far enough, and it’s basically the model for every Farmville/Tapped Out clone on the app store.
I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. In fact, I think it would be fantastic as a mobile game. After all, it’s a pain in the butt for me to check in for daily and holiday events, given I don’t carry my 3DS everywhere (I have an XL and that monster does not fit in a pocket), but I do have my phone on me 24/7. Plus, the added ability to find and import new Miis using the internet seems way more interesting to me than just being limited to who’s already on my Nintendo devices.
Alright I’ll admit it, I just want a dog on my phone. I really haven’t thought this idea through. But seriously Nintendo, I want a dog on my phone, and I will pay good money to get one.
9. Mario Party
Mobile works great for board gaming on the go, and Mario Party is basically a board game, so…
I can imagine a scenario in which players can check in whenever it’s their turn, with mini-games redesigned so that you don’t need everyone online at the same time. That sort of asynchronous gameplay works great for Words With Friends and similar games, and we’ve already seen a lot of traditional board games, like Settlers of Catan, make the jump to mobile.
Mario Party can be a lot of fun in a group, at least until you start strangling each other. Playing an ongoing game while out and about could definitely cut down on that violence, at least a little.
10. Tapped Out: Hyrule
The Simpsons: Tapped Out is not a particularly clever game (it’s barely one or two steps above Farmville), but man do I love it. The gameplay is simplistic and one-note, and the premium currency is meant to lock you out of the good stuff, but it is so fun to build and design your town, down to the tiniest little shrubbery.
Now imagine that instead of Springfield, it’s the fantasy kingdom of Hyrule? Holy crap would that be a visual treat. I could definitely see myself spending hours designing my little city. You could also throw in some of the gameplay we’ve seen in mobile titles like Game of Thrones: Ascent, with you having the ability to recruit heroes and send them out on adventures for rewards. It’d be a nice way to tie it all into the core ideas behind the Zelda series, without trying to make a full-on Zelda game for mobile.