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With over a month under our belts exploring the expanded and more populous Hyrule, Tears of the Kingdom has had time to settle in as the newest title in the Legend of Zelda series. A direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, players will find maps to be vastly changed, even if a bit familiar. As one of the most-anticipated games of 2023, the team here at Nintendo Everything ended up picking up copies across the board – and for the first time, we’d all like to weigh in with our impressions and takeaways when it comes to Link’s latest adventure since we’ve had a few weeks to digest it all. Members of the team came together and discussed our experiences with Tears of the Kingdom, and you can see our various takes on the game below.

Disney Illusion Island preview

Disney Illusion Island feels like the type of game that Disney hasn’t made in ages. It’s not only the first original Mickey Mouse platformer that we’ve seen in about a decade, but it’s combining some of the best gameplay elements of many of its inspirations with gorgeous character animation, and a rhythm that’s especially tuned for local multiplayer. While perhaps not seeking to innovate the genre, Disney Illusion Island feels like it’s built with incredible care and respect for its IP; while I’m sure fans of Mickey and friends will appreciate this game the most, there’s a lot to love here for fans of platformers in general, and I think its exploration and puzzle elements will resonate with many.

Disney Illusion Island interview

After a surprise reveal at D23 Expo last year, Disney Illusion Island ­- an upcoming 2D Metroidvania from the makers of the recent Battletoads reboot – is set to launch exclusively on Switch in late July. After getting to spend nearly an hour with it at Summer Game Fest, I spoke with lead designer Grant Allen about its development, what it’s like working with such iconic characters, and what players can expect when the full game releases.

My demo with Thirsty Suitors had me battling an ex-boyfriend by slinging insults, racking up combos at an abandoned skatepark, and cooking food to win my parents’ approval. Credit where credit is due: I don’t think any other game has tried to do those three specific things at once! It feels like exactly the type of game you’d expect to see Annapurna publishing these days – a little surreal, very experimental, and handcrafted to surprise you at almost every turn. While I’m a little unsure about how Thirsty Suitors will manage to tie all its ideas together into a cohesive package, I’ve enjoyed the rollercoaster ride that I’ve experienced so far.

Cocoon preview

Cocoon is enrapturing. A few minutes into my demo, I had already managed to completely block out the noise of the bustling Summer Game Fest crowds around me – no small feat – and found myself completely absorbed in the mysterious desert landscapes of the alien planet I was exploring. While ostensibly a game about solving puzzles, playing Cocoon felt less like working out solutions to brainteasers, and more like trying to interpret and learn the rules of the world around me. Or, worlds, to be more precise. While its developer, Geometric Interactive, isn’t revealing too many of the game’s secrets just yet, I’m captivated by what I’ve played so far, and can’t wait to untangle the web of its interconnected pieces.

There may not have been an E3 this summer, but it sure as heck felt like it! Between Summer Games Fest, the Xbox and PlayStation showcases, the Wholesome Direct, Future Games Show, and even more presentations than we can list here, there have been hundreds of games announced or shown off in the past few weeks. Fortunately, we were able to visit LA last week to get hand-on with a wide range of exciting Switch-bound games, including Sonic Superstars, Oxenfree II, Mortal Kombat 1 and much, much more! In this week’s episode of Nintendo Everything Refresh, join your hosts Nick Serpa and Tom Chaplin as they talk about all the games big and small that Nick got to demo at Summer Games Fest. Then, stick around for some other freshly announced Indies you should keep on your radar, several irrelevant tangential conversations (our favorite), and more!

Our podcast is ⁠⁠available⁠⁠ on most major streaming platforms, including ⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠⁠Google Podcasts⁠⁠⁠⁠Amazon Music⁠⁠ and ⁠⁠Audible⁠⁠, or you can check out the video version on ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠. Direct downloads are also available for free through our friends at ⁠⁠⁠ListenNotes⁠⁠⁠

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Mortal Kombat 1 is perhaps the most jaw-dropping fighting game I’ve ever had the privilege of playing. And not just in a figurative sense, because there’s literally an X-Ray attack in which Sub-Zero skewers his opponent’s brain through their mouth with a shard of ice, rendered in a shocking amount of detail. Between the new Kameo mechanic, an increased focus on aerial play, and some of the most stunning visuals I’ve ever seen in a fighting game, this is a game that feels next-gen from edge to edge. That’s a polite way of saying: I have no idea how they are going to get this running on Switch.

Oxenfree II preview Summer Game Fest

It’s easy to forget, looking back, just how innovative Oxenfree felt when it launched in 2016. Plenty of games up to that point had experimented with branching narratives and dialogue, but few had managed to weave conversations together in such an organic, convincing way. What started as a slow-burn teen drama quickly evolved into a tense supernatural thriller, and the choices the player makes for protagonist Alex could have a dramatic impact on the ending of the game. After getting hands-on with Oxenfree II: Lost Signals at Summer Game Fest, I’m confident that Night School Studio knows exactly what the fans are looking for from this sequel, and I can’t wait to play more of it.

Eventide Island was one of the best moments in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In this video, Sam dives into what made it such a memorable location, how it represents the philosophy of the game, and how it’s changed to fit Tears of the Kingdom’s new design.

Check out the full video from us below.

Oxenfree II developer interview

Oxenfree II, the long-awaited sequel to Night School Studio’s moody supernatural mystery, is right around the corner. After playing through the first 30 minutes of the game at Sumer Game Fest Play Days, we had the opportunity to speak with studio director Sean Krankel about the game’s development, storytelling mechanics, and more.

You can check out our in-depth conversation below.

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