Nintendo’s Switch is not even a year old, but in 2017 it amazed us with the accolade winning combination of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey. Their momentum shows little signs of slowing down and with more third party companies adopting the little hybrid console that could, 2018 could be an even better year.
We’re still in the dark about a lot of games that Nintendo will be releasing themselves in 2018, but that doesn’t stop us speculating and analysing the potential they show. Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct Mini didn’t shine a light on many of these offerings from the house of Mario this coming year, but there’s still plenty to look forward to on the system, including Dark Souls Remastered on the go, The World Ends With You: Final Mix and Switch releases for Hyrule Warriors and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Looking for new and original games, as opposed to ports and remasters, here’s some of the biggest titles set for release on Switch
Yoshi [Working Title]
Release date: 2018
Yoshi’s Woolly World was the best solo adventure that the green dinosaur has had in years, with gameplay truly accessible for younger gamers. The as yet unnamed Yoshi for Nintendo Switch drops some of Woolly World’s adorable aesthetic (which also led to some lovely amiibo), but you have to go beyond the announcement trailer and to the E3 Treehouse stream to see what this game’s unique hook will be.
Instead of using wool, Yoshi’s world is now entirely made of papercraft, designed to look like an arts and crafts project in someone’s home. There’s interactive backgrounds that you can throw eggs at, but the exciting twist is that levels can be played from the front and then played again from the back, swapping the foreground for the background.
The effect on gameplay is frankly bamboozling to me, but I certainly think having the option to see what’s in the background from a different perspective is a fabulous sounding idea, and there’s tons of cute ideas with Shy Guys revealed to be waving flowers and moving parts of the level around. Hopefully the game has plenty of this ingenuity, which should in turn make this a decently challenging experience.
Fire Emblem for Nintendo Switch [Working Title]
Release Date: 2018
We know literally nothing about the next main game in the Fire Emblem series, other than that it is coming to the Nintendo Switch. To say anything more than that would be mere speculation at this incredibly early stage, but that doesn’t mean that Fire Emblem as a series hasn’t been busy in recent years.
Since the rather ambitious decision to split Fire Emblem Fates into three separate campaigns, we have seen a remake of a previously Japanese exclusive instalment of the series with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which reintroduced dungeon crawling to the tried and tested tactical RPG formula, while Fire Emblem Warriors had players charging through hordes of enemies Musou style, while retaining some key mechanics from Fire Emblem.
Since this will be the first home console game since Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn for the Nintendo Wii in 2007 (or 2008 if you’re in PAL territories) it has the opportunities to really carve out a stunning visual style appropriate for HD resolutions, but at the same time still be a great tactical RPG for a platform that can be played on the go. Not bad for a series that was on its last legs just a few years ago, eh?
Kirby: Star Allies
Release date: 16th march
Perhaps the one game on this list we know the most about, thanks to its appearance in yesterday’s Nintendo Direct Mini, Kirby’s back for yet another game in 2018 despite having had a very busy 2017. Though last year was all about experimenting with the character, Kirby: Star Allies shows signs of returning to a more familiar format as a 2D platformer.
That’s not the only familiar thing present in what we’ve seen in Kirby: Star Allies though. New copy abilities are augmented further by the return of helpers, which were a big part of Kirby: Super Star on the Super Nintendo, allowing Kirby to convert enemies into friends. What has me excited is the return a key feature from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards – combining two powers together to make new ones, such as Stone and Ice to make Kirby turn into a curling stone. There’s also a cute cameo from Kirby’s animal friends who haven’t been seen since Kirby’s Dreamland 3.
Kirby: Star Allies definitely has a vibrant visual style that will look great no matter where you play it, and with the Switch’s Joy-Cons it should be easy for players to just pick up and play in four player co-op. If there’s one more thing to add, I’ve never seen a fight with Whispy Woods with so many apples on the screen at one time. Think of that what you will.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
Release date: 2018
Suda51’s return to No More Heroes couldn’t have come at a better time. Nintendo have successfully released the Switch with some stellar titles, so it only makes sense for slightly more niche franchises to make a return. No More Heroes and its sequel are arguably Grasshopper Interactive’s best works and the Switch seems like the best home for them.
Once again, Travis Touchdown will have to fend off plenty of attackers in this action adventure, but as with almost all the other titles in this particular collection, we know next to nothing about it. We do at least have the snazzy trailer above though, with an odd homage to Hotline Miami for the eagle eyed among you.
Expect plenty of awkwardness, awesomeness, and everything inbetween. No More Heroes definitely loved to break the fourth wall, so with the emergence of similarly fourth wall shattering games in recent years, I’m pretty much expecting Suda51’s team to turn that on its head.
Mario Tennis Aces
Release date: Spring 2018
One of the few new surprises from yesterday’s Nintendo Direct Mini was Mario Tennis Aces. This long running series has always been a great multiplayer game, even if it’s not the most technical of tennis games. It’s always emphasised fun and accessibility, and that’s being taken even further this time around with big pools of light to help you find the right spot on court and the hit the right type of shot to succeed.
Perhaps more exciting for long term Nintendo fans is the return of a single player story mode, throwing tons of mini-games, boss battles and straight up tennis matches at players. It will hopefully mean there’s a fair bit more meat to this game than the Wii U’s run-if-the-mill Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash.
Project Octopath Traveller [Working Title]
Release date: 2018
Coming from the team behind the critically acclaimed Bravely Default and Bravely Second RPGs for 3DS, Project Octopath Traveller is a fascinating adventure featuring eight characters travelling on eight separate journeys. I guess that’s where the working title comes from.
What really jumps out from the trailer is its so-called HD-2D art style, blending sprites with a polygonal world in a manner that reminds me of 3D Dot Game Heroes. However, each of the eight characters has their own journey to tell with unique Path Actions – Olberic the warrior can challenge people to a duel, while Primrose the dancer can allure people to her side. Combat is based on a Boost system that adds a modern touch to traditional turn-based combat with BP that builds up each turn and can be spent to make attacks more powerful.
As rightly pointed out in the comments, we initially overlooked this exclusive Switch title and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on!
Pokémon [Working Title]
Release date: TBA
Pokémon is definitely coming to Nintendo Switch, meaning that while it will keep the essence of the series’ portable gaming gold, you’ll also have the option to play the full game at home on a big TV for the first time since the Pokémon Stadium days. That means there’s lots for fans to look forward to, right down to not having to plug a GameBoy Cartridge into an Nintendo 64 game pad peripheral!
With a new generation comes newfound speculation though. For a time, rumours were that Pokémon Sun and Moon would be ported across, but that plan was reportedly ditched once Nintendo saw the demand for their console. Even so, Sun & Moon and Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon will have had a major impact, as they ditched gyms for trials to give it a unique flavour compared to other generations, as well as taking the decision to go fully 3D, pushing the 3DS to the limits.
We’d naturally expect the Switch to make for a huge upgrade on those visuals, but we’d also love to see this new generation fully explore mechanics that were previously used in one-off situations previously, whether that’s Mega Evolutions, regional forms and Z-Moves or having Pokémon follow you around the world. I’d personally love to see a story that challenges the player in a similar way to that of Pokémon Black/White – a theme I don’t think has been topped, even if it did lose it towards the end. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet however.
Finally, as a side note, every Fire type so far has correlated with a sign on the Chinese Zodiac, the latest one – Litten – turns into a Tiger. The ones left are Ox, Rabbit, Horse, Goat, and Snake. I hope this tradition continues.
Metroid Prime 4
Release date: TBA
As the biggest advocate of Samus Aran on TSA, I was stunned by the wave of announcements at E3. Initially when Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4 we all thought that would be it, but then they sneakily revealed the 3DS offering of Metroid: Samus Returns in the Treehouse Twitch stream which came out a few months later. Of course, we only have the teaser to go by and so it’s not terribly likely we’ll see it release in 2018, but we can at least look back at the Prime series as a whole and speculate.
Having been created by Retro Studios, the same developers who revived Donkey Kong Country for the Wii and Wii U, Metroid Prime has had something of a cult following, with the first game widely praised as one of the best ever made. It successfully transformed Metroid from an atmospheric 2D Metroidvania into a 3D First-Person Metroidvania. Its sequels on both GameCube and Wii were met with praise, though could never get to the lofty standards of Metroid Prime.
One thing we do know about Metroid Prime 4 is that Retro Studios aren’t developing it, but a wholly new team that’s being led by series producer Kensuke Tanabe. While that means the project is likely quite early, it also gives me more time to replay the Metroid Prime Trilogy on my Wii U. With any luck, we should know a bit more about what Metroid Prime 4 brings to the table by the time I have done so!
That’s all for our Nintendo Switch exclusives for our Ones to Watch 2018. Check back next week where we’ll be continuing our coverage of the most anticipated games.