The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was a technical marvel when it first arrived on the scene back in 1993. Easily one of the great Game Boy releases, it was a first bash at a handheld Zelda that took the formula as perfected by A Link to the Past, jammed it all onto a tiny portable console and, somehow, managed to make it all work while adding a host of new features and concepts to the mix. This beautiful Switch remake rebuilds all of this from the ground up in fine style. It adds modern conveniences, a dungeon creator, amiibo support and lots of little quality of life improvements whilst infusing every single square inch of Koholint – every secret passage, Piranha, Pokey and Pig Warrior – with a level of detail and depth that totally reinvigorates both its timeless story and classic Zelda gameplay for a whole new generation of gamers.
What we have here is a flawless port of a game which absolutely deserves all of the praise it has received. From start to finish, Ori and the Blind Forest is a real joy to play. Challenging yet never feeling unfair or discouraging, and almost relaxing to control. The mesmerising art style and musical score are the icing on the cake that makes the player actually care about the protagonist and want to keep playing to the game’s conclusion. It is a bit of a surprise to see this game make its way to the Nintendo Switch, but we’re glad that it has. An unmissable experience.
While we’ve had to wait a little longer than those playing on PS4 and Xbox One, the wait has been more than worth it. Dark Souls: Remastered is a faithful remaster of a touchstone in video game design that improves overall performance while preserving all of the character traits that made the original such a memorable experience. While it’s no less forgiving - and its menus are a little fiddly - this slick Nintendo Switch iteration offers the only way to experience Lordran’s ultra-challenging odyssey in true handheld form. Praise the Sun, indeed.
Okami HD is an utterly fantastic piece of software, and we feel you’d be doing yourself a disservice to pass on it. It's a 40-hour adventure that emulates Zelda wonderfully, adds in plenty of memorable mechanics, features one of the most beautiful art styles in gaming, and is completely playable on the go, to boot. It may be showing its age a bit visually and its combat is sometimes a little on the easy side, but Okami is an important, fun, and notable landmark in gaming history — and one of the easiest recommendations we can make for your Switch library.
The Switch isn’t short of games that have already taken a bow, or several, on other hardware, but Skyrim might be the one that most deserves another look from both hardy Elder Scrolls adventurers and absolute beginners alike. Despite its age showing, with countless little cracks in its already fractured façade, it still delivers a palpable sense of space that few games before or since have managed. May its dancing northern lights never dim.
Put in as simple a manner as possible, Super Mario Maker 2 is likely to be the last 2D Mario game you’ll need. It’s Super Mario Maker but with more of everything that made the original so phenomenal. Enemies, themes, game styles, gizmos, powerups, the Story Mode having an actual story, multiplayer, the list of additional gubbins is truly massive when you take a step back. There are a few small issues here and there, but they're overwhelmingly dwarfed by the sheer joy and unbridled freedom that exceeds the original in spades. Realistically this game poses the question as to whether this is the future for 2D Mario as a whole. For any fan of Mario who owns a Switch – heck, for any Switch owner full stop – buying this game is an absolute necessity.
If you’ve been craving an arcade racer for your Switch, look no further. Horizon Chase Turbo is a hugely enjoyable love letter to a gaming era when the cars were fast, the music was catchy, the action was smooth and the sky was bluer than an Eddie Murphy stand-up routine. Its enormous selection of tracks, addictive World Tour mode and excellent local multiplayer make it an absolute must-have for anyone even remotely interested in the genre.
It takes a surprising amount of effort to beat Minecraft at its own game, but we’d argue that Dragon Quest Builders 2 in many ways surpasses its inspiration in fun factor and replayability. The melding of JRPG conventions with the open-ended and creatively focused sentiments of sandbox gameplay proves to go over much smoother than you’d expect, especially now that Square Enix seems to know what it’s doing with this sub-series. Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a much more confident game than its predecessor, boldly expanding on its concepts, fixing many of its flaws, and providing an overall more robust adventure experience that fans won’t want to miss out on. Charming characters, a well-tuned gameplay loop, and near endless replayability ensure that you’ll be coming back to this one for quite some time, and though the performance issues are disappointing, we’d still highly recommend you pick up Dragon Quest Builders 2.
With its amazing visuals, fantastic presentation, varied gameplay and deep, rewarding combat, Astral Chain could well be PlatinumGames' most accomplished game yet. It mixes detective work with exhilarating battle sequences that are inventive, challenging and – perhaps most importantly – breathtakingly cool. The complexity of the game's myriad systems may prove intimidating for some players, but the inclusion of a co-op play and the ability to automate many of the mechanics via the 'Unchained' mode means that even complete newcomers can still enjoy the ride. Astral Chain isn't just one of the Switch's stand-out hits – it's one of Platinum's best video games.
Specter of Torment is the latest in a fantastic series of games; it further cements Yacht Club Games's reputation as a developer capable of crafting experiences that are not only on par with, but often surpass the efforts of some of the largest studios in the world.
The game's excellent level design, charming art style and top-notch soundtrack hold up as well in 2017 as they did three years ago in the original Shovel Knight. If you haven't played a Shovel Knight game before, we would highly recommend you pick up Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove for your Switch instead of this, as it contains Specter of Torment as well, but if you'd rather save some cash you can't go wrong with Specter of Torment.