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Dark Souls, Mario Tennis and more coming to the Nintendo Switch

The long-awaited Nintendo Direct has arrived, with more games announced for the Switch's lineup throughout 2018.

Mario Tennis Aces is coming to the Nintendo Switch this year.

For weeks, Nintendo fans have been waiting for a new Nintendo Direct -- the focused, digital presentations the company gives to announce new Switch and 3DS games. This week, anticipation reached its peak after Nintendo laced its Twitter feed with cryptic messages. The community overanalyzed these, but found nothing.

On Thursday, it happened. Nintendo posted a short Nintendo Direct Mini episode early this morning to quietly announce a new Mario Tennis game, Nintendo Switch versions of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (now with more Funky Kong!), Hyrule Warriors, DLC for Super Mario Odyssey and surprisingly, two mature titles: Payday 2 and Dark Souls Remastered.

All in all, it's a decent peek at Nintendo's 2018, but there's one big elephant in the room. Little is known about Nintendo's plans for its paid online service for the Switch, which promises to offer a selection of classic Nintendo games to subscribers.

Still, it's not a bad start for Nintendo fans hungry to know what they'll be playing soon. And Dark Souls on the Nintendo Switch? Come on, that's pretty rad.

Want to see everything? Here's the Direct Mini itself, plus our thoughts on all of today's announcements.

  • Mario Tennis Aces -- Let's face it: Mario Tennis Ultra Smash on the Wii U was a disappointment. But with Aces promising the first story mode for the series since Mario Tennis for Game Boy Advance, it could be a return to glory for the franchise.
  • Dark Souls: Remastered -- All the frustration you loved from FromSoftware's original Dark Souls (complete with the Artorias of Abyss DLC), but in a portable form. Try not to break your Nintendo Switch with rage when it comes out on May 25.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze -- You know what every Donkey Kong Country game ever made was missing? The ability to play as Funky Kong. That may be reason enough to play this Wii U port when it hits stores on May 4.
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle DLC -- Speaking of Donkey Kong, guess who's going to be the next playable character in Nintendo's weird partnership with Ubisoft? This spring, players will be able to download a new chapter of the game starring DK himself. We haven't seen any gameplay yet, but it looks like Kong wields not a gun, but a banana boomerang. Perfect.
  • Kirby Star Allies -- What's better than Nintendo's cute puff of pink fluff? Well, pretty much nothing, but in Kirby Star Allies, Kirby will be able to befriend up to three enemies -- changing the game into a four-player co-op platformer. This one hits the Switch on March 16.
  • The World Ends with You: Final Remix -- When this game hit the Nintendo DS in 2008, it was critically acclaimed and loved by fans. When it came to smartphones a few years ago, its original praises were echoed by a new generation. Now it's coming to Nintendo Switch with updated graphics and a new epilogue to complete the story. Oh, and while the game is fully playable with the console's Joy-Cons, the DS and smartphone touch controls will be completely intact on the Nintendo Switch when it launches at some point later this year.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition -- This game has already seen releases on both the Wii U and 3DS, but this Switch port promises to be the most complete version, boasting all 29 characters, every piece of DLC and new character outfits for Link and Zelda based on Breath of the Wild. Look for it later this Spring. 
  • SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy -- Years ago, I fell into the habit of exclusively picking women in fighting games. They were almost always faster and more agile -- and universally less ridiculous looking. Now there's a game featuring SNK fighting heroines exclusively, available this summer. Sounds perfect. Can't wait? ACA NeoGeo Art of Fighting 2 hits the eShop today.
  • Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana -- Looking for a RPG to play after you finish Xenoblade Chronicles 2? If you didn't pick up Ys VIII on PlayStation 4 in 2016, look for it this summer on Switch. 
  • Payday 2 -- Dark Souls may be a surprisingly mature addition to Nintendo's library, but it's not quite as surprising as Payday 2. If you're unfamiliar with the series, Payday is a game that asks players to pull of elaborate bank heists with a team of online multiplayer friends. There's nothing wrong with that, but criminal simulators traditionally don't get much attention on Nintendo platforms (note the lack of GTA on major Nintendo consoles). That changes when the game hits shelves on Feb. 16.
  • Fe -- If you've been waiting for a gorgeous, exploration-heavy adventure for Nintendo Switch, this is it.  Not only does this game look hauntingly beautiful, but it apparently uses Nintendo's HD rumble to help players "sing" along with other creatures in the game. I have no idea how that's going to work, but I'm looking forward to finding out on Feb 16. 
  • Celeste -- This pixelated action platformer lets players jump, climb and fall through a dangerous ascent on Celeste Mountain. Think of it like Super Meat Boy, but not gross. It looks like a ton of fun, and hits the Nintendo Switch on Jan. 25.
  • Luigi joins Super Mario Odyssey -- Sadly, Mario's taller, better looking and more agile brother isn't actually going to be playable in Super Mario Odyssey, but he will be bringing a new mini-game called Balloon World to each of the game's unique Kingdoms. Basically, it's an asynchronous hide-and-seek game. Players have 30 seconds to hide a balloon somewhere in the local area -- and other players (online) have 30 seconds to find it. That actually sounds pretty fun, but come on Nintendo. Super Luigi Odyssey. We know you want it, too. Balloon World will be available in February.
  • Pokkén Tournament DX Battle Pack -- The roster in Nintendo's Pokemon fighting game is a weird mix of creatures I've adored since childhood, and monsters I don't recognize. So too, is the game's new battle pack, which adds Aegislash (who?) and Blastoise (yes, please!) to the game's list of fighters. Sadly, you won't be able to get both at once -- the first half of this update rolls out on Jan. 31 and the second lands on March 23. 

What are you looking forward to in this Nintendo Direct? Let us know in the comments below!