Nintendo doesn't just make a game in a genre, it makes that genre work for it. We saw that with Splatoon, which reinvented the competitive online shooter, and now with ARMS. In many ways, this is as much of a puzzler as it is an action-packed fighter. Given that you're often fighting enemies from range, and your punches take time to land, you really have to try and catch your opponent off guard.
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Super Mario Party was a big surprise when it released. Very few people expected it to be this good, given its recent history, but the latest entry in the multiplayer party franchise turned out to be a hit. The latest entry also offers the best co-op multiplayer yet, thanks to River Survival Mode. This sees you and up to three friends rowing down a treacherous river before a timer ticks down. You'll avoid obstacles and try and collect balloons that initiate a minigame. Beat the minigame and you'll add more time to the clock. It's an absolute ton of fun that's well worth checking out.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are beautiful reimaginings of a video game classic, updating a 20-year-old game in ways which make it infinitely more accessible and user-friendly for a modern audience, while keeping the magic first discovered all those years ago. Hardcore fans may consider the whole experience too much of a cakewalk, but the game does a superb job of striking a balance between being an easy route of entry for newcomers to the series and offering just enough post-game challenge and competitive play elements (and nostalgia, of course) to please series veterans. As a result, these new titles really do offer something for everyone, which can't always be said of the mainline Pokémon entries. They might not be an absolute masterpiece, but we’d urge any Poké-fans out there to give these ones a go.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses 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 proves itself to be an absolute must-have exclusive release for the Nintendo Switch.
Snipperclips was the Nintendo Switch's indie darling launch title, and it sums up exactly what the Switch is all about: co-operation, creativity, and a dash of competition. You have to work alongside a friend or two to cut shapes out of each other to solve a variety of tricky puzzles, and it's an absolute riot.
This is 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 Super Mario Maker 2 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.
Brace Yourself Games crafted a unique Zelda game which fits in perfectly with the rest of the family. A transfusion from Crypt of the NecroDancer gives the old top-down template a fresh spin but it still manages to feel like Zelda. By allowing a talented indie developer to play in the universe, Nintendo has gained a fantastic entry in the franchise that feels like a celebration - specifically of its music, a part of the series destined to take a back seat as the majesty of Hyrule is increasingly conveyed through the scale of its world rather than melodies from the days when the 'kingdom' was really a walled garden. Cadence of Hyrule is not just a brilliant game, it's a brilliant Zelda game, and one that you won't want to miss.
How does this 'ultimate' version of Nintendo's scrapper stack up? Vocal concerns about past games have been actively addressed, every single fighter from the series is present (even Pichu), the customisability is overwhelmingly vast and it’s all topped off with super-solid single-player modes to boot. We’re not sure how you could make a more robust or pleasing Smash game - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly is the ultimate instalment in the series, and it makes you wonder where Sakurai can possibly take this franchise next.
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 2019's best video games regardless of platform.
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 reinvigorates both its timeless story and classic Zelda gameplay for a whole new generation of gamers.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is not only a graphical powerhouse and showcase for Next Level Games’ unrivalled mastery of video game animation, it’s also an immense helping of spooky fun as well. The amount of care and consideration poured into every facet of the game is abundantly clear, and it all results in one of the most enjoyable and attractive Switch titles of the year. It's also the undisputed high point of a franchise that deserves love and attention from Nintendo fandom, and the gaming community as a whole.