2024 Games
Image: Nintendo Life

Soapbox features enable our individual writers and contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random stuff they've been chewing over. Today, Jim is finding 2024 to be a little more stacked than he expected...

2023 was a wild ride on Switch. In any given year, the likes of Fire Emblem Engage, Pikmin 4, Outer Wilds, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (and probably another 10 games that are slipping my mind) would be in with a shout for GOTY. But no! Nintendo had to go and release perhaps my most-anticipated game ever in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and, selfishly, make it absolutely slap?! Honestly, where's the respect?

In short, when 1st January 2024 rolled around, I was looking forward to a slightly more chilled one. I looked at the release calendar for the 12 months ahead and was pleasantly surprised by the absence of quite as many blockbuster 'must-plays'. With a smile on my face, I naively added Another Code: Recollection and Luigi's Mansion 2 HD to my wishlist, then cosied up for 365 days 366 days (darn leap years) of backlog-tackling free time.

At the start of the year, I did just that. I finally got around to starting Stardew Valley. I got ever closer to finishing Hollow Knight. Heck, I even booted up The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for another playthrough because my 'new releases' library was looking just that quiet. It was beautiful. For the week that it lasted.

Hollow Knight
Maybe one day we'll meet again, my little bug man — Image: Team Cherry

We are now a quarter of the way through 2024 and I cannot remember the last time I looked at one of my backlog games. In fact, the stack which sits and judgmentally stares me down from either my eShop wishlist or Switch home screen has only gotten larger. What happened to the plan? I was enjoying my Stardew time! Wasn't there supposed to be no games to swallow up my attention this year??

Readers, I was wrong. Very wrong. You see, despite 2024 not having a Tears of the Kingdom, Mario Wonder, heck even a Pikmin 4 to its name, we have been spoilt with fantastic games.

There is an argument to be made that if I had spent a little less time on Balatro and Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! and a little more time seeing what else is out there (yep, it's an addiction that I'm working on) then I might have been able to polish off a title or two from the ever-growing backlog. But these are both 2024 games that only serve to prove my point: the meals might not have been TOTK-sized, but we have been eating for the first three months, nonetheless.

Many seem to have already stopped talking about Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown as if that was some kind of fever dream and not one of the very best Metroidvanias in recent memory. Guess what? That swallowed up a solid two weeks of my time in late January and early February, pushing my barely touched copy of Eastward even further from my mind.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Sargon? More like "'s' all gone" amiright guys?? — Image: Ubisoft

Unicorn Overlord snatched up far more time than I expected, and that was just a demo! What do you mean you didn't rewind save states to win battles more efficiently and thus carry better stats over to the full game? I could have quit whenever I wanted to. Honest...

I'm at the point now where even bite-sized experiences are another evening lost from crossing an older "must-play" off the list. Just recently I had the best time blasting through all five hours of Pepper Grinder and that wasn't even going to be a title I touched until I was faced with a choice of trying out the free eShop demo or finally exploring those last parts of Hallownest (as I told myself I was going to do this year).

2024! We had a deal! You were supposed to be nice and quiet, letting me shift the weight of some games that have been on my mind for a while before picking us all up with news of a new Nintendo console. But so far, you haven't delivered on either! In fact, the latter looks even less likely now than it did on 1st January. What's that all about?

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door / Luigi's Mansion 2 HD
First-party schedule, you were so beautiful (and quiet) — Image: Nintendo Life

You know what the really annoying part is, though? All of the 2024 games that I have played have been belters. Sure, surprise me with an unexpectedly stacked release schedule but at least give me a bit of a break between the 'okay, this is my GOTY' epiphanies that I seem to be having by the week at the moment. It's rough being a game fan, I tell ya.

I am looking at Nintendo's relatively barren release schedule for the second half of 2024 at the moment and I am quietly wishful that perhaps this will be the backlog-beating stretch that I was promised at the start of the year. Yeah, "Fool me once..." and all that, but this calibre of unexpected releases has to slow down eventually, right?

The ball's in your court, Nintendo. Now announce that Wind Waker & Twilight Princess double pack for September 2024. I dare you.

What do you make of 2024's gaming scene on Switch so far? Were you also quietly hoping for a chance to clear some of your backlog? Let me know I'm not alone in the comments.