After two weeks in the wild, Nintendo’s 9th generation console/mobile hybrid is the Big N’s most successful console launch to date. Deservedly so, as the Nintendo Switch is the companies culmination of motion technology, and mobile console ambitions. Starting with the Wii which was Nintendo’s successful casual gaming console two generations ago. That console set the world on fire with it’s motion sensing gaming. At the same time it brought a more approachable aspect to gaming, falling short of offering little retention for hardcore gamers or moderate gamer’s spend time playing consoles games. Nintendo’s last console the Wii U failed to capture the gaming audience in the same way as the Wii. The reason being Nintendo’s reluctance to technically, and gaming wise compete against Sony or Microsoft. Nintendo’s ability to get in their own way reared it’s ugly head with the Wii U. You see despite Nintendo’s ability to stay relevant they have a weird of not being relevant at the same time. What I mean by this is the fact that we are a much more digital on demand culture.
Nintendo though, insists on forcing old storage and cartridge based technology to be used by developers; meanwhile subjecting gamers to less powerful or technically up to par consoles that don’t take advantage of where we are in computing and technology. So for all Nintendo’s great progress they always find a way to be backwards. It’s a fascinating case study on the popularity of being dense, but successful. So it’s refreshing to see that the Nintendo Switch is limited by the dense part of the company, and speared headed by a more inviting approach to gaming. In some respects Nintendo could be responding to what it sees as a vulnerability from it’s competitors. Which one is the question? A better question is if Nintendo wants to be stronger before a larger entity enters into the gaming space; say Amazon? Wait a minute before we get ahead of yourselves. Perhaps the best question is, what does Nintendo have for the rest of 2017? That my friends is worth answering now.
Nintendo Switch Software:
Snake Pass- Release date-Spring 2017
Think of Snake Pass as some colorful pest that could have been in the classic Xbox 360 game Viva Pinata from Rare. Outside of the fact that you control the snake, don’t farm, and plant things. Snake Pass is more of platformer as opposed to farming title. Your job is to use every nook and granny that your snake can pass through, over, and around to navigate out of a stage. The games vibrancy lends a very approachable air to an otherwise meaning creature. Snake Pass is a great example of how to create focused contact that can stretch your legs as a player and mind because it is different from titles in the genre.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe- Release date April 28, 2017
A game that needs about as much introduction as Beyonce. Mario Kart 8 is a sequel in the long standing racing series game. This title continues the legacy of Mario Kart in a fun familiar way that is very refreshed, feeling right at home on the Nintendo Switch. No different than what we have seen on the Nintendo DS systems. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers up more tracks, a variety of character avatars to take on, and online play that takes advantage of Nintendo’s new online infrastructure. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe essentially brings all of the previous titles DLC characters, tracks, and content into a nice overhauled experience that makes room for new characters from Nintendo franchises that have just emerged on the scene. Like Splatoon? Well you get the squid-kids, King Boo, and Dry Bones to go along with a refreshed Battle Mode; which brings all of the competitive aspects of the original to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Shakedown Hawaii-Release date: April 2017
You can’t get more throwback than “Shakedown Hawaii” the sequel to “Retro City Rampage”. This ‘man with gun, will travel’ over head title is classic 8-bit/16-bit era gameplay with important advancements in the genre made by the developer Vblank Entertainment. Shakedown Hawaii takes us back to the days of Rambo, Ikari Warriors, & Mercs. It’s a game that has dude bro written on it in a 16 bit cote of vibrant paint. Rich and pixelated, there is no way you are going to mistake this for a 9th generation game. This game is more than just running and gunning because the story offers you politically questionable orders to kill rebel forces in some foreign country. Rather Shakedown Hawaii improves on what came before it. This is supper cool if you like me enjoy a shooter where you rack up points from kills, like running past patterns, and like blowing stuff up with nice pixel graphics. Shakedown Hawaii gives you the player have more freedom of movement, there are more detailed sprites, more missions to complete, and an entire property management economy to manage. With a kitchy tag line ‘Business in the front, bodies in the back’; the economy management part of the game sounds is very inspiring. It basically takes what illegal operations you do in Grand Theft Auto 5 into a streamlined place so that it fits an action game. That’s what you call iterative innovation. Interestingly in a setting of this caliber the depth being focused on such a management of your resources, and maximizing them lends an rpg element in an action of this caliber. Shakedown Hawaii impresses by building on the foundation of its predecessor in nearly every fun way imaginable; while bringing something borrowed to a new genre in a refreshing way.
Graceful Explosion Machine-Release date: April 2017
Here is an indie game that knows it’s soul and does not compromise. Graceful Explosion Machine brings a nice aesthetic to the shooter’em up genre; affectionately called ‘shump’ .Using a wide gamut of vibrant color with simple design direction. G.E.M as I like to call it is just that. The type of title you will undoubtedly find interesting and rewarding because it does not take itself too serious. The game offers up a challenge that is entertaining being a great ambassador for what indies can do on the Nintendo Switch.
Tumble Weed-Release date: Spring 2017
Here is a title that is part of the retro new school. I give Tumble Weed the retro moniker because it takes a game design formula and re-imagines it’s game Tumble Weed lets use an aspect of the Nintendo switch hardware in a unique way that is refreshing. The game is a challenge not just from a software stand point but also a hardware one. Tumble Weed forces you to change your perspective on game-play. If you remember Segas monkey Ball series you will be right at home with Tumble Weed. By taking a 2D pinball machine view point you navigate a ball/character up the screen within a very vibrant designed world that is cartooned out and campy. i already love the music bed that oulines some fo the game content we have seen, and could easily love hearing a playlist on Apple music, Tidal or Spotify.
Redout- Release date- Spring 2017
Just like Mario Kart inspired many a cart racing title so did Sony’s ‘Wipeout’ title. A futuristic racing title that is fun and challenging. Sony has not focused on the title much in recent years. So it’s certainly time for a developer inspired by this franchise to give gamers a fresh look at the sub genre. Redout spiritually does give you the feeling of playing in a ‘Wipeout’ esque world.
Sonic Mania-Release Date-Spring 2017
How long have we been playing or shucking pissy poor Sonic games? It seems longer than we have been playing good ones. Well Sonic team has brought on new talent and now we have Sonic Mania set to releases this Spring. We have not tired the game yet, but word is this Sonic will be what we have wanted to play. Now with that said, I honestly believe that developers over at Sonic team and even critics have wanted the wrong thing from a Sonic game. For me it’s a simple issue of the developers not looking at Sonic from a hero perspective. Rather everyone has just focused on his speed, and traversal through the world. I firmly believe it is a philosophy design issue.
Jackbox Party Pack 3- Release date: TBA
The Switch part of the console where you can use motion control to play against other people similar to the Wii. With the recent launch of the console the console/mobile needs a title to showcase that gaming is still fun for everyone. Rather than looking directly at the screen using the controls on the Switch you would look at your opponent. Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a great example of a party game to showcase in a moible way. You will be able to take Jackbox Party Pack 3 to the lamest setting and turn into a cool game night. From trivia to a quiz show and other really quality party titles built into this new Jackbox title.
Has Been Heroes-Release date: March 28, 2017
Whenever you come across a unique game you have to take a moment. A moment to ask why this game was never created before? Meaning all the elements where there from other developers to use, but never quite did it right. Sometimes it could be for a genre or just a game feature that makes the gameplay and mechanics fun. “Has Ben Heroes” is the perfect example of this on many levels. Here’s what the game gets right so far; resource management, RPG elements, action, pace, and character development. this is not a review of sorts just some observations taken from the game so that I relay how this Nintendo switch game should be and will be on your radar. Now full disclosure ‘Has Been heroes’ is not going to be for everyone but it will keep entertained and intrigued enough to get for your Switch library.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+: Release date: March 17, 2017
If you are a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS owner than The Binding of Isaac should be familiar to you. A macabre and disturbing game that is a gem to play due to it’s unique art, atmosphere, and game play premise. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ takes the game to new heights on the Nintendo Switch. Akin to different dungeon games where you have to traverse underground areas for items and clues. This title updates every aspect of the game’s environments broadening out features make the game even more dreary with dark humor that very similar to the Dark Souls series offers you new ways to engage in perma death or survive with your wits. The enemies are more diverse, sinister, and smart in A.I. You get more items to use in the game to help on your quest to get out, and with more realized rooms you get variations in what you ultimately face. All this newness makes the games progress addition by the developers worth the time they have taken to add to ‘The binding of Isaac’ as an IP with legs. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is a fully realized vision of what the developers have wanted to create, culminating their efforts and gamer feedback.
Pocket Rumble- Release date: March 17 2017
I wish Neo Geo by SNK was still a gaming console publisher. It was a beautiful console that was too expensive. Better yet, I wish Sega would have bought them and their teams working on consoles with better marketing. Ok, ok, enough nostalgia; well not really, as Pocket Rumble is such a fantastic homage to fighting games with simplistic controls to learn but classic in that it is a game hard to master. That’s where the rewarding aspect of the game is making Pocket Rumble a gem title for the Nintendo Switch. Specifically this game hits certain notes for gamers who like pixel graphics, love fighting games, and want something chunky to play. This is a Nintendo Switch game that you can tackle for a couple hours or a quick 15-20 minute game stretch. You walk away satisfied eager for your next play through. Again simple controls where you are only using two buttons, so there’s not much to have to button mash; all the while you get to sink your teeth into different fighters who are diverse in the way they play that the game is a rich experience for it’s purpose. Chuckle Fish the developers have really hit a nice place in the hearts of any fighting game fan looking to pick up a Nintendo Switch and wants a good fighter.
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment -Release date: March 3 2017
The first title of Shovel Knight is a gem, and the sequel; actually in this case prequel sub titled ‘Specter of Torment’ is meant to show us how our hero became the Shovel Knight. Hands down this game is one of the best platforms we have seen to date. Action packed for a anti hero/villain. Your goal is to recruit a crew of bad guys slashing away with your scythe-spinner. Parts of this game that make it really fun is that there is not one wasted aspect of play. This game knows exactly what it is and how you the player can play being creative with what it has to offer. Each character you play with or as is rich in personality and play. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment does well not to rehash content from the first title. So you can expect to get new weapons, unique types armor, traverse different levels with designs that are engaging with challenge, and some challenging new bosses. So with a brand new story to adventure through and a strong cool soundtrack gamers are hopefully going to be entertained with this new sequel in what is now a franchise for Shovel Knight.
Steamworld Dig 2- Release Date: Summer 2017
So sometime this Summer we will get a chance to return to the universe of Steamworld. The developers started out in a western style aesthetic with the first game and then veered off into a scifi one with a different genre in the same universe. Steamworld Dig 2 is a return to the wild west style, you can tell that developers Image & Form are looking to establish genre bending content that is similar to what Nintendo has done with Mario. For instance, Mario can go from being a doctor to being a fighter in Smash Bros. As a character or set of games in a universe that span various genres the developer get to show their range of ability to craft games. So expect more levels, upgrades, and better enemies to battle as you make your way through Steamworld Dig 2.
Dandara-Release Date: Summer 2017
You can never go wrong with a beautiful metroidvania style game, then add gravity-bending gameplay into it, and you have the makings of maybe something special. Look I know that the pixel art aesthetic has been done to death. In my humble opinion though its a style that can never get old. It’s nostalgic if you nail the type of game you are going then the character that exudes from it just stands out. Dandara is that and then some; I would liken this game to a Treasure platformer. Treasure was the developers who created the Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silver, and Guardian Heroes. This title is a beautiful mash-up of 16-bit era games and play, with a unique character. The characters design and what the avatar wears is a bit on the stale side. Outside of character design, Dandara looks like a promising gem from Raw Fury that we will get for the fall. Hopefully this game is successful so we can get more titles from the developer in the future.
NBA 2K18-Release Date: Fall 2017
The best sports game franchise of our generation and factually the past 13 years is set to return to a Nintendo console. NBA 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch is a well worth expedition, and if it’s robust like most 2K sports titles are on other platforms then we may finally have a Nintendo console where sports can live again. Not since NBA 2K13 has there been a Nintendo console with a basketball title from 2K sports. If 2K can really dig into how we can use the joy con’s or touchscreen for the game which should be similar to the big boy boxes from Sony and Microsoft. They could take advantage of the portable nature the Switch has over its rivals.
There are more games coming to the Nintendo Switch for 2017, but this list are games we believe should be on your radar as they present an eclectic library you can get behind for new console. So variety is the name of the game when you talk having a Switch and what’s is there to play on it. What’s obvious from much of the Nintendo Switch upcoming titles is that indies and diversity will be what drives the platform. Not just filler stuff, but rich game content that will give room to Nintendo to come through with solid first party titles to take the Switch to new heights.
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