With the Switch due to arrive in the shops on March 3, Nintendo fans can at last banish all memories of the flop that was the Wii U. Instead, the Switch, with its clever ability to transform into a portable console and, crucially, its Joy-Con controllers which resemble a vastly superior version of the original Wii controller, has a decent chance of success. Particularly since it supports both Wii-style party games and, of course, Nintendo’s classic franchises. So if you’ve pre-ordered a Switch, which games should you buy to play on it at launch?
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This is the big one: Breath of the Wild is one of the most long-awaited games ever – it has been six years since the last proper console Zelda game, Skyward Sword. And we don’t reckon Breath of the Wild will disappoint. It’s the first properly open-world Zelda game – so you can progress through its lush-looking game-world however you want. Its mix of action-adventure and puzzles is present and correct, but it introduces new ideas. For example, there’s a survival element: you must make sure Link has enough food to survive, and he won’t be able to enter a snowy area, say, without warm clothing. A future classic.
Get ready to party: 1-2-Switch is the sort of game which wouldn’t have looked out of place on the original Wii, in that it doesn’t resemble any sort of conventional game, but should go down a storm at a party. There’s a whiff of the WarioWare games to it, as it consists of a huge array of frankly bonkers micro-games – designed to be played by two people at a time – which showcase the considerable abilities of the Joy-Con controllers. And especially its next-generation force-feedback. So you might find yourself milking a virtual cow, or having to guess how many tiny balls apparently reside in your controller. Mad and great fun.
It won’t quite be ready for launch, but should arrive soon after. Superficially, ARMS resembles Wii Boxing – it’s a boxing game that requires you to hold a Joy-Con in each hand. But it’s way more sophisticated than any existing boxing party-game. Power-ups, dashes and the ability to curve your punches by twisting your hands add a surprising amount of tactical depth. Has cult-hit written all over it.
4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Another one which won’t quite be ready for launch, but will soon arrive. No new Nintendo console is complete without a Mario Kart game and, this time around, Nintendo has sensibly opted to give the glory that is Mario Kart 8 a makeover, in order to get it out early in the Switch’s life-cycle. It works particularly well on a Switch in its portable configuration – so you and your mates will be able to take Switches round to someone’s house and jump into some multiplayer action. Looks fabulous and adds enough new stuff to excite Mario Kart fans.
Given that it’s a puzzle game which involves cutting out virtual shapes with virtual scissors, Snipperclips doesn’t sound enormously exciting on paper. However, in practice it proves to be wildly innovative – exactly the sort of game you will only ever find on a Nintendo console. And up to four people can play it at a time. Again, something different from the norm, which bodes well for the Switch’s chances of success.