40. FIFA 18 (Switch)
As a first attempt at releasing FIFA on Switch, EA nailed the look and feel and provided a brilliant console and (more notably) handheld game. For that reason alone, Nintendo fans – especially those who haven’t owned a good football game in a while – should consider this a must-buy. FIFA 19 may have superseded it, but this still provides a solid rendition of the beautiful game on Switch.
This re-heated Wii U port is a Pokémon fan's dream come true – rather than relying on turn-based combat to see who is the very best, you can take to a 3D arena and smash seven shades of poop out of a rival 'mon to finally decide once and for all who is (Nido)king or queen. Robust single and multiplayer options make Pokkén Tournament DX one of the most impressive competitive fighters on Switch, although the lack of mechanical depth may put off serious fighter fans.
LEGO City: Undercover doesn't quite stand up as well as it did when it originally came to Wii U; series improvements have come in the years since that leave this one looking slightly dusty in comparison. There are also some technical issues that hold it back, with odd graphical blemishes - a pity as the updated engine is generally an improvement - along with performance issues in co-op and handheld mode.
That said, played as a console game in single player, like its original, this still offers an easy-going and slightly anarchic fun time. The same crazy storylines, set pieces and scenarios are still here, as are the cheesy jokes riffing on famous movies. LEGO City: Undercover's case isn't quite as convincing as it was in 2013, but it still has plenty to offer.
FAST RMX is as good as the Wii U original and then some. Updated visuals, more tracks, more vehicles; it was an utterly outstanding launch title for the Switch and it holds up very well to this day, keeping the futuristic high-speed racing game alive in the absence of F-Zero. With the console's ability to allow multiplayer on the go rolled in, this is without doubt essential for racing fans with a Switch.
It's clear that the team at Lizardcube are massive fans of the original Wonder Boy III, and that affection translates into what is without a shadow of a doubt the definitive version of a game which has previously been ported to the Game Gear and PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16. The new visuals are sumptuous and the soundtrack - which uses traditional instrumentation rather than computer-generated audio - proves just how catchy the original tunes were. Despite the passing of the years Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap remains a perfectly-pitched non-linear action adventure which must surely rank as one of the best of the 8-bit era. Its biggest failing is the fact that like the Master System original, it can be completed in the space of an evening. Still, that evening will be one of the most enjoyable you can possibly spend with your Switch, making this a thoroughly recommended purchase.
Despite the enduring fame and commercial success the Musou games have, in the past they've come dangerously close to self-parody, and it's easy to see why critics of the series consider them to be little more than repetitive button-bashers. Thankfully Fire Emblem Warriors is anything but; it combines enjoyable combat with real-time tactics, faithfully paying tribute to the two franchises it fuses together. Musou fans will love the fantasy setting and blade-based action, while Fire Emblem followers will appreciate the strategic wrinkles that series adds to proceedings. While the story is largely forgettable, there's plenty of fan-service for Fire Emblem lovers here. Despite the addition of deeper tactics we fear that Fire Emblem Warriors may still be too samey for those who have struggled with Koei Tecmo's franchise in the past, but everyone else should definitely give this a try; it may well be one of the best Musou outings yet seen.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was a massive game on other platforms and is even bigger on Switch. The visual downgrades were expected, but the removal of the gray filter present on other platforms arguably makes the Switch version look better overall. The brilliantly rendered cutscenes, deep character customisation and fine-tuned fighting mechanics make for a title that is easy to pick up but hard to put down. This is another case of a game that makes one wonder just how much developers can do with Nintendo's diminutive console. Fans of fighting games and Dragon Ball alike should definitely consider picking this one up.
Thumper is a fantastic video game, an extravagant rhythm experience that's also a brutal assault on the senses. It's extremely difficult - painfully so at times - yet we feel the need to persevere, retrying tough stages over and over again. Even when that's done, the drive for better ranks remains simply because the game compels us to play on. The only real flaw of Thumper, in actual fact, is that it offers so little respite and no 'easy' mode for players. Some may scoff at that, saying it's a game designed to be tough, but the downside is that without that optional concession the game will be inaccessible and impenetrable for some players. That's a pity, as for those up for the challenge it's a wonderful - albeit gruelling - gaming experience.
Graceful Explosion Machine is a masterful example of how to do an arcade shooter right. Eye-catching visuals and extremely fine-tuned gameplay combine to make this a memorable and compelling experience for anybody looking to get into a faster paced, action-focused game. That being said, there is a minor element of repetitiveness which never goes away entirely; the selling point comes not from the amount of levels, but from how many times you'll be playing each one. We give Graceful Explosion Machine a very strong recommendation, all told; considering the amount of polish and replayability on offer, this is quite the bang for your buck.
Super Mario Bros. being playable on a Nintendo system is not particularly surprising, but that it should first appear on Switch in its VS. incarnation was unexpected. The excellent gameplay, catchy music and a large chunk of the levels are still present, but the new stages make for a different feel that muscle-memory won't get you through. Those levels may have since appeared in The Lost Levels, but their inclusion here alongside changes to existing levels (including a different solution to a multi-path puzzle) make for a still enjoyable but tougher alternative way of playing, with highscore chasing also adding to the fun thanks to the online leaderboards. Even if you can play through the regular version of the game in your sleep, VS. Super Mario Bros. is an excellent - and challenging - choice for platforming fans.