Highlights: Nintendo Direct – June 22, 2023

First-party games for the win!

7 mins read
A red and white graphic for the Nintendo Direct on 22/06/2023.

It’s hard to say, but it’s true: the Nintendo Switch is nearing the end of its lifecycle. So it best go out with a bang! Today’s Nintendo Direct features titles mostly releasing this year, with a few coming in 2024. Here are my highlights from the showcase, as well as a full list of featured games and their release dates (if available). Nintendo insists on using seasons as release date targets, which drives me absolutely bonkers. For this article, I’ve changed it from what’s stated in the Direct; for example, Fall 2023 will be Q4 2023. It goes without saying that all featured games will be launching for Nintendo Switch; I have not listed any other platforms that may be available.

Game highlights


Free-to-play Palia is a bit reminiscent of games like Disney Dreamlight Valley and My Time at Portia. I kind of grunted when it was announced it was free-to-play, but I’m still interested. It’s a community sim game for people to play alone or with friends. The vibrant world is filled with everything from flower fields to rocky beaches. Players can spend time doing what they love: fishing, foraging, hunting (ew), mining, bug-catching, cooking, gardening… it’s all available. Customize and decorate your home. Unravel the region’s mysteries. Palia will be released this holiday season.

Detective Pikachu Returns

The first Detective Pikachu may have taken two years to come west, but it looks like its follow-up will be available everywhere on the same day! Solve mysteries with a personality-packed Detective Pikachu in Detective Pikachu Returns. Players will unravel a series of mysteries as Tim, who lives in a city where humans and Pokémon co-exist. Despite Pikachu’s self-assured attitude, he is still loveably charming. Detective Pikachu Returns will be released on October 6, 2023.

Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG is coming! Well, a remake. Originally titles Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the game has Mario, Peach, and Bowser teaming up to repair the wish-granting Star Road and stop the troublemaking Smithy Gang. Updated cinematics and graphics add to the charm. Explore the vibrant environments with your party, and run into monsters to enter turn-based battles. Pressing a button at the right time will deal extra damage of a helpful guard. Super Mario RPG will be released on November 17, 2023.

Silent Hope

Titled Frederica in Japan, Silent Hope is an isometric action RPG. In a world without worlds, what hope is there for humanity? The game takes place in a once-peaceful land silenced by the former king who stole the people’s speech before escaping into The Abyss. The Princess mourned her father’s actions and wept until she was entombed by her crystallized tears. To break her free, seven heroes must brave The Abyss to find the king and reunite the royal family. Silent Hope will be released on October 3, 2023.

Star Ocean: The Second Story R

A remake of the second Star Ocean game, Star Ocean: The Second Story R is a science fantasy RPG that visually fuses 2D and 3D elements. After a mission gone wrong, Federation officer Claude is stranded on an undeveloped planet. There, he meets Rena; she has mystical powers. Was it fate? Soon after, the pair is entangled in a sinister plot within the galaxy. Chose either Claude or Rena, and play through the story from their perspective. The hero chosen and the choices made effect who can become party members. Battles are real-time, with skills taking a single button. New combat features include stunning enemies with chain attacks, and having allies not in the current party unleash follow-up attacks. Star Ocean: The Second Story R will be released on November 2, 2023.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Mario is back in all his 2D side-scrolling goodness! Super Mario Bros. Wonder features Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, and Yoshi as playable characters in addition to the more familiar Mario, Luigi, and Toad. When you touch a Wonder Flower, the wonders or the world unlock: pipes come alive, hordes of enemies appear, characters change their looks, that sort of thing. The latest power-up has Mario transforming into an elephant, which is hilarious to me. Super Mario Bros. Wonder will be released on October 20, 2023.

Full list of featured games

  • Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet – The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero (paid DLC, more info here)
  • Sonic Superstars (Q4 2023)
  • Palia (Holiday 2023)
  • Persona 5 Tactica (November 17, 2023)
  • MythForce (2023)
  • Splatoon 3 – ice cream Splatfest (July 14 at 5 p.m. PT to July 16 at 5 p.m. PT)
  • Detective Pikachu Returns (October 6, 2023)
  • Super Mario RPG (November 17, 2023)
  • Untitled Princess Peach game (2024)
  • Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (2024)
  • Batman: Arkham Trilogy (Q4 2023)
  • Gloomhaven (September 18, 2023)
  • Just Dance 2024 (October 24, 2023)
  • Silent Hope (October 3, 2023)
  • Fae Farm (September 8, 2023, more info here)
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged (October 19, 2023)
  • Manic Mechanics (July 13, 2023)
  • Mario + Rabids: Sparks of Hope – The Last Spark Hunter (paid DLC, available today)
  • Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince (December 1, 2023)
  • Pikmin 4 (July 21, 2023)
  • Pikmin 1 (HD, available today)
  • Pikmin 2 (HD, available today)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 (October 24, 2023)
  • Vampire Survivors (August 17, 2023)
  • Headbangers (October 31, 2024)
  • Penny’s Big Breakaway (early 2024)
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass: Wave 5 (Q3 2023)
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story R (November 2, 2023)
  • WarioWare: Move It! (November 3, 2023)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – new amiibo: Zelda, Ganondorf (Q4 2023/Q1 2024)
  • Super Mario Bros. Wonder (October 20, 2023)

Watch the showcase

Lindsay picked up an NES controller for the first time at the age of 6 and instantly fell in love. She began reviewing GBA games 20 years ago and quickly branched out from her Nintendo comfort zone. She has has developed a great love of life sims and FMV titles. For her, accessibility is one of the most important parts of any game (but she also really appreciates good UI).

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