Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster is a package of two fantastic games; the 2001 original and its 2003 direct sequel. FFX is probably not the most straightforward introduction for new players, but it presents one of the most engaging worlds in any of games in the series and its Conditional Time-Based battle system (which here replaced the standard Active Time Battles of previous entries) spiced things up nicely. With upgraded visuals and audio and all the content from the 'International' version of the game, Switch is a great place to play X. If you've got the requisite dozens of hours to spare, of course.
The complete oddball of the family, Tetris 99 offers a truly unique way to play the tried-and-tested classic, even if the overall package feels a little lightweight. Playing live against 98 others is chaotic, and the action feels fast, precise, and wonderfully addictive. It’s seriously difficult, too – we’d fancy our chances in Fortnite over this any day – and we’re impressed with the fact that it's forced us to play the game with a completely different approach to our usual slow-and-steady ways. Signing up for Nintendo Switch Online just to play this game might be a bit of a stretch, but if you’re already a member, what are you waiting for? It’s free, and it might just become your next favourite time sink.
Few would’ve guessed back in 2014 that Shovel Knight would still be going strong with brand new expansions five years later; it truly has been the gift that keeps on giving. King of Cards proves that Yacht Club Games has lost none of the zeal or talent that made the original release such a success, as evidenced by the tight level designs, excellent writing, top-notch presentation, and loads of replayability. It’s tough to say whether King of Cards is the best expansion yet, but it certainly meets the ridiculously high bar set by its predecessors. As a standalone release, King of Cards easily trumps most other retro 2D platformers on the Switch eShop at the moment, and you certainly can’t go wrong by picking it up, although you should really play it as part of the full Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove package. This is likely the last we’ll see of the ‘core’ Shovel Knight series for some time, and King of Cards acts as a worthy swansong for a now-legendary platformer. Bravo.
The Switch port of DOOM is the best version of the game ever released on a Nintendo system by a country mile. In fact, after launching with a smattering of small technical issues, subsequent updates have improved things to the point where this ranks alongside the very best versions of DOOM available anywhere. Purists may suggest that DOOM should only ever be played on a PC with a keyboard, but after a couple of minutes with this exquisite port you'll feel like it was made for a gamepad. If you’re looking to slay hordes of Hellspawn at home or on the move, there’s no better way.
If you're a gym addict you probably shouldn't throw out your membership card just yet, but for everyone else looking to get fitter, Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic way to do it that won't bore you senseless. Play it properly and you'll definitely feel it the next morning – a sure sign that it's at least doing you some good – while the compelling adventure mode with its RPG elements will ensure that you'll keep coming back for more.
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.
From its opening moments upon a prison ship bound for Fort Joy to non-stop adventures that take you across the high seas to the Reaper’s Coast, Nameless Isle and beyond, Divinity: Original Sin 2 simply dazzles. In its seemingly endless parade of well-written characters, hilarious narration, deep and rewarding physics-based combat and the myriad ways in which it allows to you to engage and toy and with its systems, this is a truly epic RPG that revels in choice more than any other that’s come before it. It takes the old-school isometric style of Baldur’s Gate, layers it with an unparalleled level of attention to detail and fuses it with a thoroughly modern take on meaningful player decisions, resulting in one of the greatest role-playing games available on any platform; and it’s all here, present and correct on a portable console.
A remarkable breath of fresh air for a franchise that was getting a little stale, Resident Evil 4 is one of the best video games of all time and put the series on an action-based path away from the fixed-camera, pre-rendered, 'staged' survival horror of the previous games. What you lost in nail-biting tension was more than made up for by the brilliantly chunky gunplay and impeccable progression through a story that continually ups the ante and adjusts difficulty automatically to keep you on the edge of your seat without pushing you off entirely.
Ditching standard zombies for the more intriguing 'Ganados' and draining the colour palette helped make Leon and Ashley's story distinct from previous games. The excellent Wii Edition added pointer controls which worked fantastically well, although they might have made things a little too easy. Still, they were totally optional and there really aren't any bad ways to play RE4 on Nintendo platforms; whether you choose the original GameCube option, the friendlier Wii port, or the sharper Switch edition, you won't regret taking this European sojourn, in spite of the less-than-friendly locals.
Super Mario Maker 2 took everything you loved about Super Mario Maker and turned it up to eleven. It's got more of everything: the Super Mario 3D World style, enemies, gizmos, powerups, vertical levels, the Story Mode having an actual story, multiplayer, and more (and slopes, of course). The list of additions is truly massive when you take a step back.
There are a few small issues here and there — the online is still hilariously obtuse in a way only Nintendo could make it, and the slight awkwardness of button-based building is disappointing after how natural it felt on the Wii U GamePad — but they're overwhelmingly dwarfed by the sheer joy and unbridled freedom on offer. Free updates and tweaks to the formula mean the game has evolved since release much like the original did, with Ninji Speedruns and various new elements added to this expansive Mario toybox.
Final Fantasy VII presented gamers with one of the biggest conundrums of our time: is it Aeris or Aerith?
Pronunciation posers aside, this game represented the series' 3D debut and was the first mainline game to not appear on a Nintendo platform. Therefore, Square took full advantage of the space available on Sony's CD media that simply wasn't available on Nintendo's cartridges at the time.
In many ways, FF7 is a relic. If you were there at the time, it likely affected you deeply; if you've never played it before, it's influence quickly spread across the entire genre and you'll most likely have seen everything it has to offer done elsewhere, and better in the intervening years. That's only natural — and it happens to all the very best games — but if you can overlook the odd clunky mechanic and antiquated piece of design, the core game here is as brilliant as it ever was.