Bayonetta 2 is a must buy for action gaming fans. It's fast, intense and ridiculous, all with an entertaining story and a protagonist that is forever subverting and playing with her audience. It's pure Platinum Games, and one of the Wii U's best games - a rare arrival on that system that was unashamedly violent, gory and mature, while still mischievously winking at the watching world. Of course, the Switch port is the easier way to play it these days, but regardless of platform, Bayonetta 2 is brilliant, brash and impossible to ignore.
There was a lot riding on it, but Fire Emblem: Three Houses managed to live up to the hype and will stand as a highlight in the series for years to come. The expanded gameplay styles, retooled combat, lovable characters, and in-depth character customisation hook you fast and are almost guaranteed to keep you engaged for dozens, if not hundreds, of hours as you come to understand this enormous game in its entirety. Fans both new and old won’t want to miss out on what Fire Emblem: Three Houses has to offer; this sets a new standard for what a strategy RPG can be and proved itself to be a must-have release for the Nintendo Switch.
999 blends interactive novel elements with a digital escape room to stunning effect. It sports a captivating plot driven by a fantastic cast of characters, a satisfying mix of puzzles and mathematical, scientific and philosophical quandaries to ponder. While the third person descriptive prose might be lacking and solving the same unchanging escape sections repeatedly can become a bit of a bore, it's too compelling not to play through multiple times to see the "true" ending. The game more than makes up for its imperfections and creates a truly gripping experience that you owe it to yourself to try.
Shovel Knight is more than just a great platformer; it's a celebration of classic gaming. Excellent controls, gorgeous graphics, an incredible soundtrack and endearing characters make the game worth playing, but top-notch level design, varied gameplay, hidden rooms, optional challenges and a deceptively rich combat system make it brilliantly memorable. The entire experience comes together so naturally that it feels more like a recently unearthed gem from the days of the NES than it does a latter-day attempt to milk nostalgia. Shovel Knight is the rarest kind of game: one that set sky-high expectations prior to release, and then managed to exceed all of them. It's a must-buy for platformer fans, and one of the most charming and satisfying experiences on 3DS.
The third entry of the mystery-solving DS Layton trilogy, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future doesn't stray too far from the winning formula of the first two releases, and instead focuses its attention on offering up what is easily the best storyline of the series on the console, not to mention some of the best minigames as well. It's no slouch with the puzzles, either, and it's safe to say that if you're a fan of the franchise, this is a game you absolutely do not want to miss.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers a huge amount of racing goodness right out of the box; a polished version of a Wii U entry that was only a proper Battle Mode away from being top of class. It's the definitive Mario Kart 8 experience, content-rich and a delightful feast of comedic, cartoonish karting action. It's a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It's addictive and unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel.
Coming from the mind of Shu Takumi, the main developer responsible for Phoenix Wright (and his Japanese voice), Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective equals, and arguably surpasses, the quality of the lawyer's many games. It has a few issues towards the end with some of the puzzles requiring a few leaps in lateral thinking (particularly when controlling multiple characters with different abilities), but Ghost Trick is a perfect showcase of what the Nintendo DS could accomplish with the right design. Making use of the system's stylus to latch onto object cores and ultimately recover the deceased protagonist's memory, it's still a delight to play, with a dramatic, jazzy soundtrack and a story that continues to surprise until the end. It may be crammed full of tricks, but this is still an absolute treat.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is an achievement that Square should be proud of; this is one of the best games they’ve put out in years. A heartwarming, well-paced narrative supported by a cast of fantastic characters, a dense and interesting overworld packed with dozens of hours of content, and one of the finest soundtracks we’ve heard in a JRPG combine to make this an unforgettable modern classic. Whether you’re a newcomer to the JRPG genre or a returning vet, do yourself a favor and buy Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age as soon as you’re able. This is the epitome of a gift that keeps on giving, and it more than deserves a spot in your Switch library.
Mario Kart 8 took a while to arrive, but was worth the wait. The vehicles and racers have never handled better, the collection of courses is possibly the best ever, while replayability through Ghost Races or — primarily — online races and Tournaments is almost endless. While the Deluxe version on Switch would include all the DLC and add the missing Battle Mode, the brilliant base game is largely unchanged. Mario Kart 8 was an accomplished effort that pushed the franchise forward, and regardless of the version you play, you're guaranteed a great time.
This SRPG series has always enjoyed the adulation of a passionate fanbase, but it wasn’t until Fire Emblem: Awakening with fan-favourite characters Chrom and Robin that its popularity went mainstream. Beyond series-best mechanics, subtle use of stereoscopic 3D made the battlefields even more readable and a wonderful localisation courtesy of the folks at 8-4 Ltd made a large roster of characters truly memorable - the relationships created in this game stick in our minds to this day (ah, Sully). You can’t really go wrong with any entries in the Fire Emblem series, but the first 3DS game left a particularly strong impression.