The recent arrival of Super Mario Bros. 35 as the second Battle Royale-inspired online multiplayer experience to come following the excellent Tetris 99 poses the question of what other classic Nintendo franchises could be given similar treatment. As enticements to sign up for the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, the two existing games (one of them limited-time) are spicy little gaming nuggets that tap into players' nostalgia in a potent way.
There's room to expand on the existing Mario entry in the genre, of course — more characters, more Mario game styles, or maybe just more time to enjoy it — but if we're throwing large numbers of players together in a elimination-style, last-player-standing scenario, there's nary a Nintendo series that couldn't be adapted to make a brilliant Battle Royale experience.
Suggestions have been made since the beginning of the BR craze, and it's hard to argue that many of the propositions online don't show promise. How about a WarioWare or a Rhythm Heaven take on the formula?...
The examples above inspired Team NL to sit down and brainstorm a few of our own ideas. Some are deadly serious, others are a little more jokey, and we know we're just scratching the very surface of the tip of the iceberg below, so feel free to share your own ideas in the comments. There's a poll at the bottom of the page, so you can let us know which series you'd most like to see adapted to this massive multiplayer format.
So, let's take a look at ten ideas for potential Nintendo Battle Royale games...
We're jumping all over the place numbers-wise with Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35, so why not bring back the name of the fabled tech demo which got gobbled up into Pikmin, Super Mario Galaxy and other projects? Why not finally give players the 'Super Mario 128' they always wanted?
How does the game work, you ask? Oh, coming up with the name is the hard part — we'll let the boffins at Nintendo finalise the mere details!...
Okay, we've already got the Mario platforming Battle Royale, but the plumber is pretty handy across multiple genres, so why not take inspiration from his non-platforming back catalogue? How about a Smash Bros.-style free-for all with 128 Marios fighting on a deforming disc? Or a Mario Golf BR where you whack ball around a course as quickly as possible, with every perfect shot depositing a bunker or other hazard onto the fairway of another player? Or — if you're really bereft of inspiration — there's always Dr. Mario with a '99' on the end.
Switch owners will soon have the chance to direct these delightful little plant people when Pikmin 3 Deluxe comes to the console, and in the continued absence of Pikmin 4 why not make the next franchise entry a massive multiplayer mission?
Rather than conducting a large group of Pikmin as you do in the regular games (coincidentally, 100 is the maximum number you can have in the field at any one time), each player would take control of a single Pikmin charged with bringing as many trinkets as possible back to the mothership while avoiding marauding bulborbs and other predators that pick you off one-by-one. Temporary alliances could be formed to defeat attacking creatures, but as with any Battle Royale, there can only be one person standing at the end.
Still looking for the proper hook to bring back this fan-favourite franchise, Mr Miyamoto? How about a huge 99-player race around an impossibly twisty track with a counter which picks off the vehicle at the back every 10 seconds? Navigating the series' deadly circuits is challenge enough, but we always tended towards an offensive racing-style when we played on N64, barging other racers into the barriers or off the edge of the course whenever the opportunity presented itself. The Battle Royale formula is built right in.
Can you imagine? It could look exactly like F-Zero X for all we care, but we reckon this is as solid a vehicle as any to get Captain Falcon back in the hands of fans. Are we grabbing at straws? Perhaps, but this is what we've been reduced to after sixteen years (almost to the day, in fact) since the series' last entry, the Japan-only (and somewhat misleadingly titled) F-Zero Climax.
Rhythm Heaven / WarioWare 99
We've put these together because they're both produced by the madcap geniuses of Nintendo SPD, but we'd gladly take one of each. There's a reason both of the tweets in the introduction singled out mini-games from these two series as particularly suited to a massive multiplayer elimination experience. Of course, doing the same activity over and over would get boring, but using a selection of the series' greatest hits would keep things fresh, and their quickfire nature lends itself perfectly to short, sharp rounds of royale-ing.
We've heard concerns about potential lag in a Rhythm Heaven-inspired BR, but that worry assumes everyone has to be syncronised to the same beat. As long as everything works locally, flinging a perfectly timed bolt like Beyonce in your own game would send some an opponent a hazard to deal with in their entirely separate instance of the game. It could work a treat.
Breath of the Wild X Fortnite
Okay, this is hardly a ground-breaking, earth-shatteringly original idea, but imagine ninety-nine Links gliding into Hyrule — specifically the Hyrule from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — after leaping from the back of some Great Loftwing or other.
'Nuff said, no? It's Fortnite X Zelda — whadda combination!
But where's the Nintendo difference, you cry! Oh, we'll delete it from the servers on 31st March 2021, if you like. There. Happy now?!
Just throw a '99' on the end of any Nintendo game, amirite?
Well, jokes aside, we trust Nintendo would put a unique spin on the concept whatever these hypothetical projects were named. Just making a massive multiplayer version of Splatoon might be fun, but it would arguably be more exciting to use that existing universe for an entirely new experience. A Splatoon Battle Royale could, for example, put players in the shoes (or flippers) of the Salmonids from the Salmon Run mode as they compete to retrieve Power Eggs from the dastardly Inklings who've been thoughtlessly splatting them since 2017.
Alternatively, ninety-nine players could compete to unlock the ability to skip Pearl and Marina's intro every time to fire up Splatoon 2. That'd draw the launch day crowds, that's for sure.
Mario Party 99
No, not simply the latest entry in the long-running Mario Party series (after Mario Party 10 they eschewed numbering in favour of Super Mario Party), there's plenty of potential for mini-game-based battling with more than the standard number of players.
There's more than enough activities from the series that could be adapted for a larger competition (Mario Party: The Top 100 for 3DS already brought a bunch of the best mini-games together). There's also no reason Nintendo couldn't play with the formula a little to incorporate slightly smaller groups into a larger competition — how about using brackets and giving losers something to do while waiting? And forget Joy-Con drift! — Mario Party 99 could destroy your analogue sticks once and for all with rapid mini-game motions disintegrating not only the skin on your thumbs and palms, but also the already-flaky stick mechanism in your controllers.
A terrible idea... but one that's almost certainly in the works at Nintendo HQ.
Metroid (Pinball) 99
We were going to suggest a mighty 99-player Federation Force Free-For-All, but we think the undervalued pinballing gem Metroid Prime Pinball for DS provides a nice way of squeezing Samus into a Battle Royale that doesn't just have her blasting fools with her arm cannon. Accruing points on your table gains you extra balls and introduces hazards on other players' tables. Tilt!
The more we think about this one, the more the pinball idea grows on us, and it could fit in well to the existing framework (with your vertical centre 'screen' showing your table, and surrounding screens lined up in a similar way to Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35). Yes. Yeeeeesssss.
Alternatively, you could go for a some sort of Metroidvania-style explorative elimination game where bounty hunters compete to find gear and explore a map. Or perhaps Nintendo could add to the tension of escaping from a crumbling facility by adding ninety-nine other people jostling to make it to the exit before the timer reaches zero. We'd play it.
Kirby is such a versatile little chap that he could work in virtually any context. Sure, he can jump on platforms or scrap with the best of them, but he's equally adept when it comes to pinball or painting or puzzling (and he's already starred in his very own Battle Royale game, of course). Quite why he hasn't joined Mario and co. at the races yet is beyond us.
If the pink one were to feature in a Battle Royale-style game, we'd like to see his copy ability used in some way — perhaps some sort of Spy Party set-up where one person is the Kirbster and goes around devouring other players, adopting their forms while Detective Dedede tries to spot him in the act. Or a simple contest to vacuum up more tomatoes or gems or anything (Kirby's not a fussy eater) than any other player. Hardly a complex idea, but sometimes the simple'uns are the best'uns.
Now we're really talking. We've put 151, but you could do anything here. The ideas come thick and fast when it comes to Pokémon-themed Battle Royales. Considering the current BR offerings — the world's most famous puzzler and the world's most famous platformer — it's a good bet that the world's most famous collectathon RPG will be coming to a BR near you before too long.
The possibilities are endless. You could throw out a Pokémon GO-style raid game with players battling to catch a single Pokémon and fill up their Pokédex, or model it around Pokémon Stadium-style mini-games — everyone's a Lickitung slurping up sushi, that sort of thing. Or every player gets assigned a different Pocket Monster from a specific region's Pokédex before they're dropped into a Wild Area to scrap Musou-style until there's only one left...
Or you could stick with a Tetris 99-style puzzle theme and just 99-ize Pokémon Puzzle League. We've got some big fans of that game on the NL team, and they're most displeased that the game doesn't feature on our fluid, reader-ranked Top 50 N64 games list. Yet.
So which of the series above do you think would best suit a Battle Royale-style experience?
Think there's another series better suited to a BR? Fire Emblem or Advance Wars, perhaps? Luigi's Mansion 99? How about a NES Remix remix? Feel free to let us know your own ideas for potential Nintendo Battle Royale experiences below.