Remember the latest Nintendo IP you forgot all about
During the holidays, we are republishing some selection feature from the past 12 months. Compilation of arguments, interviews, opinions and more from NL staff and collaborators, you’ll find our usual blend of thoughtfulness, expertise, vanity, classic nostalgia, and — of course — enthusiasm for all things Nintendo. Happy holidays!
Did you know that every year Nintendo publishes at least one new IP? It’s true, they haven’t missed a year since 1983, the year Famicom launched in Japan. [Editor’s note. Except for 2022, it seems. You were on a roll, Nintendo!] In 2020 we have Good job!, Chain of Astral in 2019, sushi striker in 2018, and each oasis in 2017 — and that’s just the name of each year. Even so, only a few of them have ever reached a mass audience (like 2019 Ring Fit Adventure), don’t be surprised if they cross your mind.
So what was Nintendo’s new IP last year? Yes, suppose Game Builder’s Garage really a LABORATORY spin-off and not a unique series of its own (as it is entirely based on the LABO Builder Garage), that honor goes to a game that we think most people reading this article have. may have forgotten all about it until they saw the title: Friend Quest BONDS.
published in Japanese September 2020 Nintendo Direct, Buddy Mission BOND is a surprising revelation. In partnership with Koei Tecmo, known for Warrior batch and do Deadly frames (a series they also co-owned with Nintendo), Nintendo published this original visual novel/adventure game with artwork by the incredible manga artist Yusuke Murata, perhaps famous best with drawing the manga One-Punch Man.
The game was released in Japan on January 29, 2021, and at the time of writing, there is no sign of localization yet. It’s for this reason that we imagine that many people — even die-hard Nintendo fans — may have forgotten the game’s existence, but as it celebrates its one-year release, we think it’s time to change that. Buddy Mission BOND will never reach the top of the series like Metroid or Pikmin, but it at least deserves to be remembered and if given the chance, maybe even. play.
It’s a bit more action-focused than what the Ace Attorney series offers, and it could have been a bit easier, with investigative segments and visual novels.
So what exactly is Buddy Mission BOND? Well, the game is probably the best compared to Great lawyer series from Capcom but instead of the courtroom part which is the pivotal moment of each chapter, you explore the 3D environment and solve puzzles. The goal is always to get from point A to point B, usually with a friend, and there are multiple ways to achieve the goal — each offering small changes to the game’s story rhythm.
It’s a bit more action-focused than what the Ace Attorney series offers, and it can be a bit off-putting. This is due to two different playstyles: the visual novel segment and the investigative segment. The latter offers players a limited amount of action to explore the map and find clues through chatting with locals, while the former advances the plot and is where the main story takes place. In both of these segments, you’ll have enough clues to nearly always know the solution to the 3D action, but it means a reward for attention. Like a real detective would do.
Another bonus (aside from getting to experience a pretty good story) is filling up your Hero Gauge, which essentially works like a combination of HP and EXP. Every time you do something wrong, whether it’s making the wrong moral choice when talking to your superiors or solving the wrong puzzle in 3D action scenes, you lose some Hero Gauge. You want to finish a level as much as possible so you can unlock new side quests and learn more about the characters.
As with many successful visual novels, the characters are the most important aspect of the Buddy Mission BOND story, so these side quests are imperative. The game is voiced (apart from the investigative dialogue) and, as mentioned earlier, all drawn by Yusuke Murata. This really sells the aesthetics and style of the game because of the slick, emotional, and all-around great art. It looks like a manga series and has the same aesthetic theme as a manga series, with each ‘chapter’ resembling an episode of an anime adaptation.
It looks like a manga series and has the same aesthetic theme as a manga series, with each ‘chapter’ resembling an anime adaptation.
Visual novels often feature very static characters, but the amount of different poses, action shots, expressions, and reactions each character has is impressive. Each of the game’s four main heroes that make up Team BOND – Luke, Aaron, Mokuma and Chelsey – has a lot of personality and much of it comes from the art; The side quests to make them out more also help. We don’t really want to compare it with personalities because that feels a bit happening online, but its dedication to developing its characters definitely makes that series a hit (the incredible jazz soundtrack might have something to do with that, too).
Overall, Buddy Mission BOND is a really stylish game with a great story, only really toned down by the cleverly repetitive gameplay—though that’s arguably on par with many visual novel, so it’s hard to resist the game. It certainly doesn’t look like a Nintendo game, even if the company has published (and developed) the franchise in the past – last year was awesome. Famicom Detective Club Duology, for example. As for the Nintendo Switch, it’s like the kind of game that will be a hidden gem rediscovered in 10 years… but we can do it sooner if we pay attention to it now. !
However, to really accomplish this goal, Nintendo really needs to put in the time and energy to localize it, and unfortunately, we don’t know how much of that possibility. Maybe Nintendo will surprise us by announcing it in the first Direct of 2022, but we’re still skeptical. The company has had a pretty decent track record in recent years when it comes to worldwide releases — and the aforementioned localization of Famicom Detective was a lovely surprise — but a year goes by without news. nothing gives much hope.
You never know, though. Nintendo could pull the Famicom Detective Club and release it as an eShop-only title in the West. Likewise, the voices can remain in Japanese with a focus on further localization of the text. It’s a compact game full of style and potential — we’d love to see it have a chance outside of Japan. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, we can at least say Happy 1st Birthday to Buddy Mission BOND, perhaps the Switch’s most stealthy debut franchise yet.
Would you like to see this come to the West? Have you played it yet? Let us know below.