How time flies, eh? We're already more than three months into 2018 and that can only mean one thing - E3 2018 is only around the corner. The centerpiece of the gaming calendar is where everyone will be looking come June, but that doesn't mean the release schedule is barren in the lead-up. In fact, Nintendo Switch has some huge new additions coming to its retail library in the next few months.
We've collected together ten must-have new titles arriving in physical form in the run-up to E3, and another five that are either launching just after or are likely to do so. You'll find links to all the games below if you're looking to pre-order any (or all) of them, as well as a handy poll (because we know you love a good poll) for your delectation. Enjoy!
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Nintendo Labo - 20th April (North America) / 27th April (Europe)
One of the biggest - and most anticipated exclusives of the year - Nintendo's new cardboard revolution promises to be a genuine game-changer in a medium crying out for something new, exciting and innovative. We've already gone hands-on with the two main packs launching on 27th April (the Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con 01 - Variety Kit and the Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con 02 - Robot Kit) and with plenty of extras to be found on the official Nintendo store if you pre-order from there you'll have all the bits and bobs you need to turn your Switch into an inventor's playroom.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 24th April
Heavily rumoured and finally confirmed during last month's Nintendo Direct, the turn-based RPG sequel from Ubisoft San Francisco is coming to Nintendo Switch by the end of the month, bringing with it a story written by and voiced by series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The follow-up to 2014's The Stick Of Truth, SP:TFBW refines its battle system and adds in even more black humour with its superhero-themed antics. A must-have for any turn-based fans with a Nintendo Switch.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - 4th May
With Wii U now dead and buried, Nintendo continues to rescue its best exclusives, updating them and porting them over to the far more successful (and very much alive) Nintendo Switch. The full Tropical Freeze experience will be present on Nintendo's new console - including loading times that are half that of Wii U - plus the addition of a new Easy mode for younger players and the arrival of cool dude Funky Kong to complete the primate family in time for May.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition - 18th May
Combining content from both the Wii U and 3DS versions into one package, the Dynasty Warriors-style Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition includes every map and mission, plus all 29 playable characters from both incarnations. With all this extra content on one platform, you'll also get access to some new outfits for Link and Zelda based on The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. A port, but one that's definitely worth picking it up if you missed it the first time round.
Little Nightmares: Complete Edition - 18th May
On the very same day as Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, Tarsier Studios' unique mixture of plaforming, stealth, environmental puzzles and horror will make a scary splash on Nintendo Switch. As its cryptic name suggests, this version bundles in the full 2017 base game with all the DLC you could possibly want or need. The game will also be compatible with your Pac-Man amiibo, well, because its published by Bandai Namco...
Runner3 - 22nd May
The latest instalment in the zany BIT.TRIP series, Runner3 continues the misadventures of CommanderVideo as he sprints, leaps and floats his way through all manner of colourful 2.5D levels. The same, addictive music-rhythm formula returns, with developer Choice Provisions adding in myriad new modes to keep you running, including Hero quests, vehicle sequences, branching paths, an item shop, new collectibles and much more. A high-speed platformer that's not to be missed.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 + 2 - 22nd May
When the first Mega Man Legacy Collection arrived on 3DS in 2015 it packed in the first six games in the classic Capcom platforming series and brought back all the feels (and the frustrations) from Nintendo's yesteryear. Well, that impressive package is making the leap to Nintendo Switch and it's bringing volume two along with another collection of must-have Mega Man hits. You'll also get all of the fan-made challenges from the 3DS version of MMLC to keep you playing long into 2018.
Dark Souls: Remastered - 25th May
At the end of May, mere weeks before E3 descends upon us, FromSoftware's seminal action-RPG draws its rusty blades and brings Lordran's darkest denizens to Nintendo Switch. You'll be getting the full Dark Souls experience on Nintendo's handheld system, with a handful of subtle changes (including remapping jump to the left analog stick and the ability to use multiple Hard Souls at once). Oh and there's a Solaire of Astora amiibo. What more reason do you need to get excited?
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection - 29th May
To celebrate 30 years of hadoukens, spinning bird kicks and sonic booms, Capcom has bundled together 12 classic entries in the series - from the original Street Fighter to Street Fighter 3rd Strike - so if even if you have a passing fondness for the series this retro package will get you in the mood to travel the world kicking ass. You'll be able to take a handful of them online too, so you can finally prove just how good you are to all your friends (and some complete strangers).
Runbow: Deluxe Edition - 8th June
On 24th April, the colourful brawling action of Runbow - which has already handed out some beatings on 3DS and Wii U - will be bringing the pain to the Nintendo Switch eShop. And a couple of months later, the game will be hitting retail shelves with an imposing physical edition. The multiplayer mayhem will come with all the DLC for the game, along with some tantalising physical goodies for all your collectors out there.
Mario Tennis Aces - 22nd June
The next big first-party release following the launch of Nintendo Labo in April, is the slice and dice court-based drama of Mario Tennis Aces. The latest smash hit from the Big N brings back the much-missed Story mode, adds in some explosive arcade moves for blistering offence and rocks-sold defence, and all the characters and costumes you could possibly want in a tennis game. And just in time for Wimbledon 2018 in the summer!
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy - 10th July
With summer in full swing, here comes the next big third-party release on Nintendo Switch. A year ago we would have laughed at the idea of a Crash Bandicoot game returning to a Nintendo console, but here we are, with the wumpa-fruit loving marsupial bringing the rebooted versions of Crash Bandicoot, Crash 2: Wrath Of Cortex and Crash 3: Warped together in a package that doesn't have the word 'PlayStation' anywhere near it. Vicarious Visions' port promises to bring the full platforming experience to your handheld very soon.
Octopath Traveler - 13th July
Square Enix's next big action-RPG - and one that won't feature the words 'Final' or 'Fantasy' in the title - is coming this summer and it promises to be one of the most enchanting experiences the genre has ever produced. As its name suggests, there are eight characters to choose from, each with their own unique personality, traits and skills that will all make a big impact on the world of Octopath Traveler. A deep and rewarding battle system awaits...
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - 13th July
On the same day Square Enix releases the long-gestating Octopath Traveler, Nintendo will be unleashing the port of another journeyman character - Captain Toad! The original version was one of Wii U's best exclusives, so Switch owners will now be able to experience the full platforming charm of the titular explorer. The Switch port will include extra courses based on locations from Super Mario Odyssey, as well as packing in some fun two-player co-op action.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - July/August?
Okay, so we don't know exactly when Wolfenstein II is hitting Nintendo Switch, but with Bethesda providing hands-on access at PAX East in Boston it's clear Panic Button's port is shaping up nicely and may well be approaching completion. Its over-the-top action, unrelenting difficulty spikes and genuinely surprising plot twists, the bloody sequel proved its worth on other console platforms last year so we've got our fingers crossed the Switch port is ready to lock and lock this summer.
Which Switch retail games are you most excited for? (1,543 votes)
Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con 01 - Variety Kit
Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con 02 - Robot Kit
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Little Nightmares: Complete Edition
Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 + 2
Dark Souls: Remastered
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Runbow: Deluxe Edition
Mario Tennis Aces
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Please login to vote in this poll.
So there's our list of best retail releases launching in the spring/summer of 2018 - just in time for E3. Check out Alex's lovely video covering the same list above. Oh, and feel free to drop a vote in the poll above and discuss which games you're most excited for in the months to come...