The second year of the Nintendo Switch has been a wild one. While we didn’t get the heavy-hitting single player games of 2017, and Nintendo leant heavily on their catalogue of Wii U games, we still got a plethora of titles throughout the year that has helped build the Switch into a must-have console. In fact, the best of it has come in the last couple of months and have already been breaking sales records and ruining friendships too.
Was there any doubt? I suppose I can’t just leave it at that. Smash Bros. has been a fantastic series since its humble beginnings nearly two decades. While the series has gone through a few different iterations, each with its own little quirks, the thing that has remained constant is the fun gameplay.
With Ultimate it has tweaked that gameplay to the nth degree and the resulting game is bloody wonderful. The competitive players are happy because of new things like grab cancelling, characters with actual mass, and even more characters to try and break. The more fun people to play with are happy because of all the new items, the stage-morphing, and the infinite assist trophy glitches.
In essence Ultimate is just a better Smash Bros. game. What this means though is that this is one of the best games on the Switch, which is saying something. With a thirty hour campaign, an almost never-ending supply of challenges, and the ability to crush your friends and ruin of relationships; Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is our Nintendo Switch Game of the Year because it beat up all the others.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! & Eevee! – Runner Up
The initial reveal of Let’s Go had many fans worried about the perceived ‘dumbing down’ of this children’s game. Of course, these fears have been largely unfounded, as the game is an absolute joy to play and the changes actually make the game feel different for the first time since the series started.
The loss of random battles makes caves enjoyable – a truly remarkable achievement – and makes back-tracking much simpler too, while the catch chains are a fun way of hunting for shiny Pokémon and being able to see them coming makes it much easier too. It feels like Pokémon Let’s Go respects your time a lot more than previous entries, which ironically makes it better for the adults of the world who still love to catch ‘em all.
You can even play-along with your little ones thanks to the first co-op mode ever to make it into a Pokémon game. This really is a fantastic entry point for all the budding trainers of the world, whether used as a warm-up for next years full entry or just played as its own thing.
Octopath Traveller – Runner Up
Octopath Traveller is wonderful blend of the old and the new. The visual are like a pop up book of classic pixel art RPGs, slathered with heavy depth of field to give it a tilt shift effect, and you have some classic JRPG adventuring and turn-based combat, but then there’s the twists that make it stand out.
In battle, the need to ‘break’ your opponent adds tactical thinking, finding their weak spot and exploiting it with just the right timing to allow your party strike with attacks that have built up in power over time. Then there’s the interwoven anthology style story, with eight characters all on their own adventures, banding together with strangers on similar journeys. It’s not perfect, it can feel disjointed, but there’s something special about Octopath Traveller regardless.
– Stefan L
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Into the Breach
- Nintendo Labo
- Xenoblade Chronicles II – Torna