December-January Club Nintendo Rewards Breakdown

Tis the season to cash in for Nintendo games and goodies.
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It’s that time of year again!  No, not Christmas (…well, I guess that one too…).  I mean it’s time for the December-January wave of Club Nintendo Rewards.  From December 16th, 2014 to January 19th, 2015, Club Nintendo is offering 8 games through its Rewards program.  Each game can be purchased through the various Nintendo eShop services normally throughout the year.  But for a limited time, you can cash any Coins received through Club Nintendo for a code that lets you download a game of your choice (or more if you have the funds).  Here’s the skinny on everything being offered:

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Wii U 

Kirby’s Dream Land 3 – 200 Coins or $7.99

A SNES classic, this Kirby game has features never seen in any other game in the series, the most notable being the use of animal companions.  By teaming up with each animal friend, who can be controlled by a second player, Kirby can access their unique talents to perform some tricks and attacks unavailable otherwise.  This game is perfect for some friendly co-op and at 200 Coins is a steal.

Metroid – 200 Coins or $4.99

The first in the flagship series, Metroid is a must have for that oldschool gamer that thinks games are waaaaaaaay too easy these days.  Be prepared to be hopelessly lost and die a lot without the use of an online game guide or walkthrough while exploring the labrynth of planet Zebes.  Even still, I recommend playing without the use of one and making your own maps out of pen and paper to recapture that nostalgic feeling of isolation this title beautifully created.


(NOTE: for both these games, a Classic Controller or Nintendo GameCube controller are required for each player.) 

Super Mario Kart – 250 Coins or 800 Wii Points (roughly $8)

I probably don’t need to say anything about this one.  If you were a gamer in the 90s, you played this game.  Still, it can be a blast to see how far this game (and it’s ridiculously hard AI) have come.  A solid purchase for some classic competitive play with a friend or to simply relive Nintendo’s glory days.

1080° SNOWBOARDING – 250 Coins or 1000 Wii Points (roughly $10)

Besides getting the award for the “Most Loosely Related to Christmas” game on this list, 1080° SNOWBOARDING also has the distinction of being the only game to feature an IGN review on its Club Nintendo description.  Challenging and fun with some great 2-Player competitive modes, this one is definitely worth hitting the slops for.

Nintendo 3DS 

A Kappa’s Trail – 200 Coins or $4.99

Every Club Nintendo roundup tends to offer Western audiences at least one game inspired by Japanese culture and folklore, possibly as a means to inspire cultural awareness and acceptance.  A Kappa’s Trail takes that concept on its head by having the player guide a kappa, or Japanese river spirit, through a human world.  The controls are all touch-based and the game looks freaking adorable.  If you want something unique and charming, I would pick this game.  Be sure to check back for a more detailed review.

Kid Icarus of Myths and Monsters – 150 Coins or $3.99

Long before reviving his franchise on the 3DS, Pit was staring in a sequel to his classic adventure on a much older, grayer handheld.  A forgotten gem in gaming history, Kid Icarus of Myth and Monsters may not have received as much love as the original NES hit, but is worth a second look.   Keep an eye out for a review of this one in the near future.

Bird & Beans – 150 Coins or $2.99

This DSi Ware game looks an App game that got ported to a handheld, but is actually a full version of a microgame from the WarioWare series.   The gameplay is fun enough, although simple and repetitive: you are a bird and you eat beans that fall from the sky. There’s really not much more to say about it and at 150 Coins, I would probably pass on it unless you are really into birds, beans, and minigames.

Radar Mission – 150 Coins or $2.99

Battleship has seen more than its fair share of ports to consoles.  Radar Mission takes this concept a step further and lets you jump in the submarine and wage nautical war yourself.  If you want to play more faithfully to the original, the classic gamemode is also available.  This is a fun one for anyone who loves the iconic boardgame, although a 2-Player mode is sadly missing.

Other Rewards

Besides the rotating game library, Club Nintendo offers a few physical rewards.  The big prize right now is a set of three posters based off of promo art for Super Smash Bros 3DS/Wii U for 700 Coins.  It’s a hefty price tag, but as a Club Nintendo exclusive, it may be worth it for all you die-hard collectors out there.  Similarly, you can also receive a set of Mario & Luigi or Nintendogs Greeting Cards for 300 Coins each or the (Wii exclusive) Grill-Off with Ultra Hand! minigame for 80 Coins.  Personally, I’d pass on these last three and save your coins for a different game or physical reward, since Nintendo has been known to change those too every month.

A word to the wise: I know it says that physical rewards are shipped out in two weeks or less, but in my experience, expect up to eight weeks in some cases.

To Each Gamer His/Her Own

If we’re talking about Dollar per Coin value, the best games on this list are Kirby’s Dream Land 3 and 1080° SNOWBOARDINGBirds & Beans and Radar Mission are the worst investments Coin-wise.  That being said, every gamer is different and the value of each game (especially a nostalgic classic) is determined by your favorite genres and franchises.  I myself am looking forward to trying out a Kappa’s Trail as well as reliving some SNES memories with Kirby and Super Mario Kart.

What do you think about this month’s games?  Anything stick out to you and seem like a must have?  Feeling adventurous enough to try out something you may not have played before?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Esteban Padilla
Recent grad in Chemistry, Psychology, Music, and Biology. Passionate about doing music and science, sometimes simultaneously. Enjoys the nerdier things in life and is likely to turn any subject, even video games, into an academic discussion out of the love for knowledge.