Well, well, that was a packed one, wasn't it?

We've gotta be honest, expectations were sensibly low around these parts. For every wild card dream we had of a new Mario & Luigi or that 2D Zelda we've been hoping Grezzo would make as a follow-up to Link's Awakening, there was a wise voice in our ear warning us to be cautious and realistic. Switch launched back in 2017 and Nintendo has said there's a new hardware announcement coming in a matter of months — surely all the big-name games are getting banked for the new system's launch, right?

While that remains true where 'Switch 2' is concerned, we also know that Nintendo supports its systems very well into the latter years. Sure, we'll get a fair number of HD updates (hello there, Donkey Kong Country Returns HD), but there was also a healthy dose of optimism with our caution that there'd be some sparks of excitement amongst the known-knowns and the unknown-knowns. And Nintendo delivered.

Honestly, having watched the thing with various documents and other windows open for coverage purposes, this writer in particular is keen to sit down tonight and watch the whole thing again to catch the details we missed. Once it started, it just didn't stop, with wave after wave of great news rolling in over the 40 minutes. The pacing was just spot on this time, with known quantities and nice little updates to existing titles sprinkled in among the big announcements.

Mario & Luigi Brothership
Image: Nintendo

Starting with a revival of a fan-favourite series, we're eager to hear more about Mario & Luigi: Brothership.

And given that we weren't expecting first-party megatons from this, it managed to deliver at least two. Confirmation that Metroid Prime 4: Beyond is indeed still releasing on Switch and that it's coming next year was a bombshell, helped by the fact that it's been seven long years since the game was announced. The trailer didn't disappoint.

And then there was Zelda. The actual character Zelda in a game of her own, Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom, with series boss Eiji Aonuma showing up to explain things. We've got our fingers crossed that the frame rate hiccups from Grezzo's Link's Awakening remake can be ironed out in this intriguing twist on the top-down Zelda formula, and seeing Zelda finally take the lead in the series that carries her name is heartening.

Elsewhere, there was more Mario Party for people who haven't had their fill with the two entries already on Switch, the aforementioned Donkey Kong Country Returns HD fulfilled the hi-def-up quota (sending Wind Waker and Twilight Princess fans home unsatisfied again, although a brand-new Zelda game should help them get over it), and there was even time for the Denpa Men making a return on Switch in the West.

Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom
Image: Nintendo

And we haven't even mentioned the third-party stuff yet. RPG fans had plenty to chew on with massive Dragon Quest news, the Romancing SaGa 2 remake, and the rumoured Fantasian port. Stray is making its way to Switch (very interested to see how that holds up) and MIO looks intriguing. There was a good dose of cosiness in there, too, but it wasn't cloying and games like Metal Slug Attack Reloaded, Ace Attorney Investigations Collection, and, perhaps best of all, Marvel vs. Capcom Fighting Collection brought some genre heavy hitters. Something for everyone, almost.

Oh, and Perfect Dark and Turok and Four Swords and Zero Mission are all on Switch now, too. Everyone's a winner.

All in all, we were very pleasantly surprised by how Nintendo has fleshed out its 2024 slate today not just with your token HD ports, but with new experiences. There's still a sense that great things are being held back, but looking at today's exciting lineup, you would never know that Switch is 'on its last legs'.

But how would you rate today's Nintendo Direct? Let us know in the poll below, and check out the copious coverage across Nintendo Life for all the juiciest news.

How would you rate the June 2024 Nintendo Direct, on a scale of 1-10?