Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has never been better than on Switch; the enhanced versatility of the console lends the game a new sort of appeal and convenience that wasn’t there before. This is a charming, colourful, and sometimes challenging Metroidvania that will no doubt prove to be a memorable addition to your collection. While it could be a little longer, we would give this one a strong recommendation to anyone that hasn’t yet picked it up for the Wii U or any other platform. For those of you that have, know that you’re essentially just paying for the ability to play this on the go, but that’s still arguably worth the asking price. Either way, this is one of the most polished Shantae games.
Blaster Master Zero is a lovely addition to the Switch's library. We suspect that it will help to fill the gap between major retail releases for anxious Switch owners looking for a low-impact game to play on the go. Perhaps thanks to its non-taxing visuals, we were able to squeeze some extra battery life out of our Switch while playing it when compared to some of the more visually intense titles already on offer. If you are looking for something new, we highly recommend Blaster Master Zero; it's a great homage to the original and one you will have a blast (sorry) playing.
Snipperclips - Cut it out, together! makes no bones about the fact it's a game best played with others, and the formula is functional but lacking a real hook in single player. When in a team, however, it transforms into an intelligent yet cute set of co-op puzzles, with plenty of content and variety to keep duos busy. It's a shining example of how games can be accessible and fun for players of any level, and in the Switch launch line-up is probably the most laid-back and flexible multiple experience available. The built-in multiplayer aspect of the Switch is played up to nicely (to the point that only Joy-Con controllers can be used), and beyond the lengthy main mode there are larger four player puzzles and a few competitive minigames (two of which are fun in short bursts). Couple all this with some great DLC (included with the expanded 'Plus' retail version) and you've got one of the Switch's finest co-op experiences.
A genuinely creepy creation, Oxenfree combines a clever story and smart dialogue mechanics with superbly sinister music to leave a deep and lasting impression on the player, one that should encourage an all-important second playthrough. Fans of Stranger Things and Poltergeist will love the direction this game takes – if not to hell and back, exactly, then absolutely to some other place where horrors abound, just waiting for an invitation into our world. It’s yet another Switch essential.
Point-and-click beginners may struggle with the myriad puzzles Thimbleweed Park lays across its curiosity-piquing plot, but its developers have rightfully made it possible to get ahead even when all you see are dead ends, with the inclusion of the tips line. It means that what would have been an essential only for a very specific audience is, with no explicit fail states, easy for anyone to not just enjoy, but actually finish. And going around for a second time is still a treat, much as Monkey Island et al were, as you can clearly see all the pieces of the grander picture coming together to comprise a fascinating whole, climaxing with one of gaming’s better twists.
Overcooked is an absolute must-buy for anybody looking for a fantastic party game to play with friends. The wacky visuals and chaotic gameplay make it an ideal game for local co-op, and there’s plenty of content to work through. We still give this one a strong recommendation overall, even if the sequel has stolen its thunder to a certain extent; it's a more compact experience and a title that perfectly nails what makes local multiplayer games so fun.
L.A. Noire's troubled development resulted in accusations of poor management at Team Bondi, the fallout of which was enough to effectively sink the studio. Despite its troubled history, it's heartening that players are being given the chance to revisit Los Angeles on Nintendo Switch. While the game's myriad faults remain and the revised interrogation system fumbles its chance to fix one of the most egregious part of the game, the great acting, stunning atmosphere and amazing facial animation all combine to make this a detective adventure that's worth experiencing, despite its rough edges. It wasn't a faultless game back in 2011 and that hasn't changed now, yet it somehow manages to be more than the sum of its parts. We suspect it will be regarded as a pioneering classic in the future; few games treat the player to such a grown-up and mature experience as this, and that's important for the video game industry as a whole.
After appearing on a whole bunch of other platforms, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ feels like a perfect fit for Switch. It's a game you can pick up and play for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, jot down or screenshot your favourite seeds, or dip into daily challenges. The Switch's control configurations and simple couch co-op only sweeten the deal. This game feels like a blend of old-school mechanics and new-age thinking; it's an homage to the challenge and style of old titles, while simultaneously presenting itself stylistically as something more contemporary. If you're looking for a game that will be different each time you play it, look no further.
What happens when you throw arguably the two most popular falling block puzzle games in a blender? It’s a miracle that the result wasn’t a horrible, horrible mess, but Puyo Puyo Tetris mixes the two so confidently that it doesn’t occur to you how catastrophic this cocktail could have been. Sonic Team respects the fundamentals of each series and offers a rock-solid game of both, but isn’t afraid to have fun stirring them together. There’s a bevy of multiplayer options for up for four people, and everything is presented with a vigour and verve which belies the decades-long history behind both puzzle genre titans.
The Story mode is… well, it’s a bit nuts, but it’s there if you want it (we were glad for the skip button). More importantly, the wealth of modes available means aficionados of either series have more than enough to occupy themselves with. In fact, it’s possible to pretty-much ignore your least favourite, but that would be a great shame; this is a glorious firework of a crossover, uniting puzzle fans of all creeds and it shines very brightly on Switch.
Enter The Gungeon is a brilliantly tactile, endlessly replayable twin-stick roguelike that sits right up there with the very best indie games on Nintendo Switch. With satisfying combat, random levels, and an endless supply of inventive weapons, items and secrets, it's always a total joy to play. Yet another modern indie classic has found a natural home on Nintendo's console.