Forget Mario moving to smartphones – smartphone hit Puzzle & Dragons is making the move to 3DS.
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros Edition, which can be seen in the video below, mixes the game's established gameplay with a Mario-themed makeover, with the gems carrying recognisable icons and the villains coming from the IP's rich stable of characters.
There also appears to be a Mario World-like hub mechanic, perhaps to make the title feel more familiar to the handheld console audience. It will also be free-to-play, marking a significant milestone for Nintendo's handheld.
The game is scheduled to release on April 29th in Japan.
It's an interesting development in the relationship between Nintendo and smartphones. Analysts and shareholders have frequently openly spoken about Nintendo's need to liberate its IP from its own hardware, while Nintendo itself has consistently distanced itself from such requests, and has even at times been forced to deny reports that such a move is in the pipeline.
That's not to say that Nintendo hasn't dipped its toe in the smartphone waters – owned studio Pokemon Company has released a number of smartphone apps and the company has admitted to thrashing out a smartphone strategy.
UPDATE: Other reports claim the game will cost 4,000 (22). Either way, it would not be the first F2P game on 3DS - Nintendo re-released Steel Diver as a F2P title. There have also been a couple of F2P releases on the eShop.
Here's the video: