The below post was originally posted on my blog found at the following link; Euphonic Gaming.
Happy Anniversary to the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo's first year with the Switch has come full circle. All Switch consoles are on the same side of the sun as they were at launch. We have enjoyed 365 full days with this beautiful console. Ninten-does what... the hell it wants. Stocks are up, sales are booming, gamers are chatting. This has been a heck of a year. Multiple times throughout it I thought to myself, "Wow, it's been an incredible first year," only to then realize it had only been five months, or nine months, or any slice of time less than a year itself. As of this blog post, Nintendo Switch sales have exceed the LIFETIME sales of the Wii U console. Bonkers in the best way. As a life-long fan of Nintendo, its so easy to just be enamored by the fun and excitement. I thought I would take this opportunity to break down the past year with the Nintendo Switch through mainly the lens of my own gaming experiences. I want to showcase the games that earned my rupees, the games I've yet to spend coin on, and the games I'll probably never get around to but deserve a special mention because of how beloved the fanbase is. I'll dive deeper into some of the experiences and anecdotes that essentially make up the notion that without question, this is the greatest first-year of a Nintendo console in my whole life. It is easy for me to announce such a claim. Nintendo has had so many fantastic years but for an initial early-adopter console launch, I have had so much fun, been so eager to share my experiences,... there's just no question about this. Enough preamble. Let's-a-go!
I'll begin with some stats. I love stats. Stats show complex calculations and data in a neat little package. Stats tell a story. So here's one... how about...
Hours of Nintendo Switch Played: 939+ Hours
I have to add a + and presume some rounding down in this stat because Nintendo did something weird where they only show the general time played on a game within a five hour increment. In theory with all the games I've played I could have logged another 100+ hours if I happened to be at the upper limit of all these titles but I suspect that's not true. So lets presume the low end and see how that shakes out. 937 hours is exactly 39 days and 3 hours. 39 days is over 10% of my year. Awake. Sleeping. Eating. Working. Biking. Walking. Driving. Gardening. Vacationing. Netflixing. There are so many actions and activities I've entertained this last year. Yet, 10% of my life the last year was gaming on Nintendo Switch. That's a staggering number considering how much else I've done. I got engaged! I worked on my home! I participated in almost every Splatfest. To be fair, this stat was somewhat front-loaded as I did nothing but play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in March of 2017. However the pace stayed consistent afterwards. Believe it or not, there are still games I have not started but own and games I want to own but have not yet purchased. The potential to eat up even more time of mine was there and I had the restraint, or distractions, to keep it at a cool 10% of my time. Bonkers in the best way.
For the sake of the argument, here is a breakdown of my ten most played titles by life-consumed.
Splatoon 2 - 270+ Hours The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 245+ Hours Stardew Valley - 90+ Hours Super Mario Odyssey - 70+ Hours Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - 50+ Hours Picross S - 35+ Hours Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 30+ Hours Yooka-Laylee - 30+ Hours SteamWorld Dig 2 - 20+ Hours Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove - 20+ Hours
So the top ten games by time played eat up 91% of my gaming on Nintendo Switch this past year. That is a hell of a value if you ask me. This thing paid for itself since day one. Splatoon 2 itself is nearly 29% of my gaming time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at just above 26%. The thing is... I'm still not done with those games. I'd like to go back and finish Master Mode in Zelda. I beat the Champion's DLC story but I never finished those special trials. With Splatoon 2 I have the same goal I had with Splatoon 2, which was to collect, expand, and fulfill all gear. I started that endeavor after 100%ing the single player campaign. What a joyous year indeed.
All in all I have amassed a total of 24 titles... that's an average of 2 a month. On top of this there's the two DLC packs for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, three Splatoon 2 demos (the Global Testfire, the Splatfest World Premiere, and then the European Splatfest World Premiere), and three demos. Admittedly I barely touched the Pickle Lines DX demo and I flat out haven't played Dragon Quest Builders. I really should though. It looks great. The only demo I have that I played a little bit of was the unique Project Octopath Traveler Demo Ver. With this many games I'm sure this blog post will grow and grow but this is a celebratory moment after all. I'll be trying to write some reviews down the line for some of these titles but I want to spend a moment addressing each game and why it was either important to me, important to the Switch's launch, or other things I appreciated about them. While not all of these titles blew me away, I won't dwell on the negative. Not here, not now. Like Nintendo's stock, we'll just keep looking up. I'll do this in no discriminatory manner. Let's get alphabetical.
Arms Release Date: June 16th, 2017 Purchase Date: June 16th, 2017 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Fighting Played For: 5 Hours or more
For the first game in this jaunt down memory lane, I am truly surprised I have not even logged 10 hours into this title. Admittedly I was on the fence but I liked the idea of a game that got me moving. I tried out the Global Testpunch and had a lot of fun and the hype was brewing amongst friends. That theme song is so powerful and catchy that I think it was what finally won me over. Arms is a fighting game at its core but it does something different. Not only is it in a 3-D space but your 'arms' are spring-loaded so to speak. They act as arcing projectiles that move and sway to your motion controlled actions (or button presses if you're a bit more hardcore). I found it the most fun to play with those motion controls. What really won me over was how well this game won over my nephew. By the time he received his Switch in the summer, he really wanted this. We played together a bunch, but on his copy, which is probably why the hours are lower than expected. I found that quickly the online community got really good, which ultimately acted slightly discouraging. That said, It is quite foolish of me to feel such a way. This game deserves attention and it is incredibly fun. It needed more time between its release and that of Splatoon 2. That might have fixed its fate with me.
Bayonetta Release Date: February 16th, 2018 Purchase Date: February 16th, 2018 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Action Played For: 10 Hours or more
I avoided this game for a while now. I just did not think I was going to like it. Button mashing? Overtly sexualized protagonist? Blood and gore? These aren't usually my kind of thing. However the hype remained. Friends and folks on Twitter kept saying how fun the series was. I wasn't swayed on the Wii U but for some reason, even with a tighter than normal budget, I decided to bite. The result? Well, to quote a little shit named Enzo from the game, "Un-be-fucking-lievable!" I was floored! This game was so much more than I ever gave it credit for. The action is deeper and way more fun than expected. The upgradeable move-sets, the dodge mechanic, Witch Time... it was all so fun to enact! The overtly sexualized protagonist? To my true delight and surprise, for me anyway, Bayonetta is a sexy woman for her strength first and foremost. She's not written like a damsel or written like a ditz. She may be curvaceous and unabashed but in even greater amounts she is confident, and coy, and clear-headed. She is in full control of her actions and her place in the world. Her sex appeal is completely intentional for the personality, not for gratuity. As for the blood and gore, I thought fighting angels might be hard to swallow. These things look so grotesque and unpleasing that it's truly just a fun anti-hero romp. Not really too bloody either. A fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch collection.
Bayonetta 2 Release Date: February 16th, 2018 Purchase Date: February 16th, 2018 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Action Played For: Half an Hour
It is almost unfair for me to write about Bayonetta 2 right now. I've only made it through the first chapter past the Prologue but at the same time this happened just moments ago. Thus it is the freshest memory yet. As I mentioned above, Bayonetta is a breathtaking character and a breathtaking game. Where the original title left off in terms of excitement, raised stakes, and set pieces, the sequel picks right back off. The story is engaging and the world a bit more colorful. It is appearing to tie into the plot of the original to some degree, which I think is great. I look forward to establishing things deeper within the Bayonetta Universe. The humor and coyness of Bayonetta is once again an attractive trait that helps the cinematic story scenes achieve their max enjoyment between action-packed battles. It seems this game does away with a 'quick-time' style event system of the original and already that seems to be a favorable choice. The screenshot below is taken from a cutscene but it very likely uses in-game models or is close to it. This game looks great. The music is wonderful too. I highly anticipate the euphonic tunes as I make my way further through. The fact that I was awoken to this series in the Nintendo Switch's first year despite the series existing for nearly a decade... I am completely thankful to Nintendo for their support of this franchise. Bring on Bayonetta 3.
Golf Story Release Date: September 28th, 2017 Purchase Date: September 28th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Sports, Role-Playing Played For: 15 Hours or more
Everyone who has console-gamed regularly knows how important console-exclusives are to your platform. They are games that help set you apart from the competition. They are reasons to favor on over another. Nintendo themselves (for obvious reasons) always bring exclusives to their Nintendo consoles but this means it is extra special when indie-developers do it. Golf Story is one of those special games. At its core it is a sports sim mixed with some role-playing elements. Splash in some look and feel from Earthbound for the SNES and you've got Golf Story. I have been particularly a fan of golf video games since Mario Golf 64. Perhaps its the action-mechanics that appeal to me. Easy enough for me to grasp unlike in the real world on a real fairway. Despite that fandom I still never had much experience on a 2D world when it came to golfing. This game does the golf-action quite well. Hitting a 'tee' literally anywhere was a really cool mechanic that took this to the next level. Unlimited balls in doing so also was a wise move. The course hazards and the character writing were enjoyable. The latter was a bit beefy and I'm not entirely sure it was in the best way. The game lasted just a little too long for my tastes as far as that main story, but I would rather find fault in that than to have too little gameplay. This is an indie worth investing in.
Due to character length requirements by Negative World, the remainder of this article will be posted below as additional posts.
Jackbox Party Pack 1 Release Date: August 17th, 2017 Purchase Date: August 18th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Party Played For: 2 Hours or more
I grew up loving the classic computer game, You Don't Know Jack. It was a trivia game that just had a great attitude, unique ways to answer questions, and was hella fun to play. The Nintendo Switch has now seen the release of all four Jackbox Party Packs. These are compilations of games that friends can play. When the room has more than my fiancee and I, this is a common series to go to. This edition has five games in it, which set the trend for the future. Most familiar is You Don't Know Jack 2015. It's classic YDKJ but distilled down a bit to allow for shorter matches. Next is Fibbage XL. It is essential group Mad-Libs but you're trying to write plausible but fake answers. See a sample below in the screenshot. I believe the answer was Janitors. After that is a drawing-based game, Drawful. Since everyone is supposed to use a phone or tablet for play, it's not too hard to draw 'something'. The lack of precision usually makes for hilarity. Fourth is Lie Swatter. It is a title about swatting fly-like lies. Unfortunately it's a bit of a dud. From Dud to Spud, Word Spud is a word association game designed to essentially keep on going. The last word in a phrase is the first word of the next. I found it fun to play with the right people. The trend you'll see through this blog post is how party-friendly this series really is.
Jackbox Party Pack 2 Release Date: August 17th, 2017 Purchase Date: August 18th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Party Played For: 3 Hours or more
The second Jackbox Party Pack isn't much different from the first in terms of premise. This was another chance for you to get your 'party' on via the Nintendo Switch. This is probably my second-most favorite of the four. The games on this one include Fibbage 2, which is a sequel to the one from the first with not much changed. Then there's Quiplash. I love Quiplash but I also love to throw quips. Quiplash has people writing answers to prompts but nobody knows whose is whose. Then everyone votes on them all (unless you wrote a given answer). It has brought me a ton of joy this past year and the screenshot below is one of (in my opinion) the funniest quips I've written, even though sadly the joke didn't land as well as I wanted it to when playing live. I was the second of the two answers. Say it out loud... Next comes Earwax. This is really unique game that is enjoyable enough but even better with younger players. You react to prompts by selecting two sound effects. Then one voter has to choose their favorite amongst the options people made. Next is Bidiots which is another drawing game where people vote on crudely drawn, cell-phone or tablet, images. The last one is Bomb Corp and this is a co-op experience where we all work as a team to diffuse a bomb. It's weird and quirky and really got my family and I working together wonderfully.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 Release Date: April 13th, 2017 Purchase Date: April 15th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Party Played For: 15 Hours or more
This is my first and favorite of the Jackbox Party Packs. This is what spoke to that sense of fun and trivia that I first dabbled in with the original YDKJ. First in the package is Quiplash 2. This is just a new version of the original and since I love the original, it is simple to understand why its inclusion is appreciated. Then there's Guesspionage which is a favorite of mine. Everyone gets a statistical prompt (such as "What percentage of beer drinkers prefer macrobrews to microbrewery beer?"). Then a leader votes their take and everyone else votes on how far they think that person missed their mark. For someone like me who enjoys stats, this was a fun one. At the time of purchase I was disappointed that classic YDKJ wasn't in the package. This was subdued when I realized what Trivia Murder Party was. Imagine YDKJ but mixed with a faux Saw-film series coating. It creeped out my youngest nephew but the 'murder' part of Trivia Murder Party was no more than a pleasant funny juxtaposition of concepts. The way the people move forward in the trivia contest is unique and different too from YDKJ. Tee K.O. was fun enough but I never really gravitated to it or other drawing games. Fakin' It is a fun game about lying without knowing what you're lying about. It is an enjoyable one but not the best for those who can't bluff.
Jackbox Party Pack 4 Release Date: October 17th, 2017 Purchase Date: October 20th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Party Played For: 2 Hours or more
The best part of this series is being able to bring these with us places. It is one of the main reasons my Nintendo Switch has gone international! Now, from where I call home heading to Canada isn't too challenging but still, it has been done and it has been fun. The only thing stopping this series from being everywhere is that it would be a bit harder to enjoy on the small table-top setup of the Switch. In this final installment (for now), Fibbage 3 starts things off. More Fibbage. More fun. Next is Survive the Internet. Here you reply to a prompt and then someone remakes the original prompt in order to twist your intent. Then people vote on their favorites. Monster Seeking Monster is a great high-concept game that admittedly would not be played much despite. You are monsters sexting and texting but for us it just devolved into weird chat threads and nothing more. Civic Doodle is another art game but is probably my favorite. In this drawings are made, but then whichever is voted as the best moves on to the next round and is voted on again after everyone makes new additions. This happens multiple times until you get a face with a penis for a nose, balls for a chin, and a grotesque smile. Well maybe not all games end that way. Bracketeering was the most unplayed since even with six players, it has too few to be fun.
Kamiko Release Date: April 13th, 2017 Purchase Date: May 24th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Action Played For: 2 Hours or more
In mid-May I had already tackled the games I owned but yet Splatoon 2 was still oh-so far away. I wanted something new and the eShop was quickly growing with gem after gem. This one spoke to me. Perhaps it was the price or the art direction or something different altogether but it was a unique and brief experience that helped define the beginning of the console for me. Kamiko is a game of a handful of levels where you enjoy top-down combat a la The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures but without four swords. The reason I bring that specific Zelda game up is because each area is on its own. You navigate, fight, hit switches, open up new pathways, then get to a final goal. There are three characters to choose from but I only played the first character. For me this was a nice diversion game but it lacked the depth I was seeking in meatier titles. I was able to enjoy my 2 hours with it over a couple of short play sessions but I felt I had gotten my fix. It was still one of the more impressive titles this early in the system's launch and to this day it still stands as one of the most visually and euphonically pleasing games in my collection.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Release Date: March 3rd, 2017 Purchase Date: March 3rd, 2017 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Action, Adventure Played For: 245 Hours or more
The one. The only. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This game changed gaming forever. It's not that some of the core mechanics were brand new to gaming, or that Zelda games hadn't ever looked pretty,... but no Zelda has done what Breath of the Wild does for the series. Link wakes up in a gigantic Hyrule. It is your job to relinquish evil from the land. The catch is that all the previous shackles from the series are gone. In the screenshot below from that point further in the game, you can walk, run, paraglide, and climb to any spot on that screen. The sense of wonder this game had took me away. I was on a vacation in a mysterious land and I didn't come back for days. I finally beat this game during a day when Splatoon 2 had one of its special demos. That was a magical Saturday. Having finally achieved my goal of freeing all the divine beasts, exploring every possible nook and cranny, and experiencing all of the memories I had forgotten, I went to finally explore Hyrule Castle and get to the source of the calamity that had befallen on Hyrule. No Zelda game has engaged my mind and my sense of wonder more than this. Light on overall story, there still could be some things done to the formula to make more improvements but without a doubt in my mind, this is the perfect Nintendo launch game.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Release Date: April 28th, 2017 Purchase Date: April 28th, 2017 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Racing Played For: 30 Hours or more
I was really torn about buying this. The Nintendo Switch felt so new (obviously) and here Nintendo was giving us an 'old' game I had already played a ton. To this day I'm still not sure if they handled the moment appropriately or not but I can tell you, there was some kind of premise to the madness. I understand the Wii U did not sell to the expectations it should have. Many people who would love this game did not simply play it. Bringing it to the Switch was a great thing in that regard and ultimately it was great for me too. They threw in some bells and whistles like the Squid Kid playable characters which was a nice touch for a big Splatoon fan like me. What sold me on my purchase though wasn't any new additions to the game itself but it was the ability to play outside of the couch. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the reason my Nintendo Switch has been to the bar on multiple occasions. I've spent afternoons there having lunch, sharing brews with friends, and then hearing that Luigi's Mansion balloon battle music all to loud despite trying to keep things quiet. So much fun to be had. Plus I recall there being a lot of positive attention our way as strangers/servers were enamored at the cool device. While waiting for friends once I even played Mario Kart in a parking lot with the system on my dashboard. Awesome.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Release Date: August 29th, 2017 Purchase Date: August 29th, 2017 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Tactical Role-Playing Game Played For: 50 Hours or more
Davide Soliani is a world treasure. He is the director of this 'come-out-of-nowhere surprise' title from Ubisoft. The guy was just so truly passionate about a game he really believed in when most did not (at first). The Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle game is one that nobody asked for and thus nobody knew they wanted it. When it was first discovered it was discovered via some leaks and the internet did what it does best... react badly. However once Ubisoft unveiled things fully, the world started to understand. I never liked the Rabbids as a character group but I love Mario and I enjoy tactics-style gaming. The game I received was one of craftsmanship, love, and Grant Kirkhope's wonderful musical score. The game oozes charm and Mario references. The weapons are funny and well designed. Most of all the game is just incredibly balanced while also allowing freedom to play to a style of your own liking. I damn-near 100%ed this game except for one challenge where I was a mere turn or two short. The only reason I didn't go for it again was how long that battle takes and the strong urge to keep playing other games. It is a game that came at the end of the summer and it certainly helped keep the Switch's momentum going forward. This was my fifth physical game purchase and it stands as a proud addition to this day.
Night In The Woods Release Date: February 1st, 2018 Purchase Date: March 2nd, 2018 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Adventure, Platformer Played For: 1 Hour
I have spent very little time with this game so far. Until recently this was not a game I knew anything about. I did not even expect it to hit the Switch's eShop which is something that makes the eShop so special. The Switch has high hype, thus nearly every Twitter post about a new game has fans demanding or politely requesting that it appear on Switch. It seems that Infinite Fall, the developers behind this title, happened to hear these cries. The game puts you as Mae, a detached college drop out, who returns home. I haven't made it much past this point. However I can see so far that the game is strikingly beautiful. Sharp distinct lines and colors make for a visually appealing title but it also allows organic platforming challenges that I expect to open up further as time goes on. The writing is also really different than I've experienced in past games. It feels more real... has more intent behind its words. This is not the canned ramblings of an RPG hero but instead a girl who has returned home after many years with realistic angst pouring from her and darting right back at her. It's like if Animal Crossing was a side-scrolling adventure but the animals had real human brains attached to them. This game clearly is going to be putting my emotional limits to the test as it won't just be my fingers tested in this game, but also my empathy as well.
Picross S Release Date: September 28th, 2017 Purchase Date: September 28th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Puzzle Played For: 35 Hours or more
I love puzzle games. Meticulously working around a problem, especially where deduction is required, is a great joy of mine. I eagerly anticipate any Picross title that graces the 3DS. So when suddenly, and without warning, Picross S came into view. I was stoked! While this version lacked the same touch controls I love about the 3DS series, I still felt it was a great game in it's own right. To be able to have Picross with me when my Switch was on me was fantastic. I didn't have any particular gaming lulls either at this time which is a great quality of the Switch and is actually a great quality of the Picross series. With so many puzzles inside, this is the kind of game best played when you want to break from the norm or relax in the evening. The game had just about the same amount of puzzles as the 3DS series if not slightly less. However it is still a very packed game. For those who are not aware, a Picross puzzle starts as a blank grid with numbers on the left spine and top edge. These numbers tell you how many colored in blocks exist and in what relative pattern. However the distance between blocks is not known. Thus you must deduce in order to work out the image, which always ends up being a cool pixel art of something. One particularly nice example is the Windmill below. Give this game a chance.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Release Date: June 8th, 2017 Purchase Date: June 8th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Platformer Played For: 10 Hours or more
I fell in love with the Shantae series in more recent years. It's a platforming title with some light metroidvania-style item usage and exploration. The latest installment released world-wide in late December of 2016 but within six months it was a staple for many fans on the Nintendo Switch. By early June the eShop had been in a constant acceleration. Shantae's modestly-sized levels, colorful art direction, and personable characters were a great fit for on-the-go gaming. The game admittedly feels like it relies too heavily on past games which may have done things the same or better, but this is no fault of the Nintendo Switch's. It is great to see a developer so eager to jump on the Switch bandwagon and work to get their game on it. I really believe that this title, along with some others like Tumbleseed and Overcooked, became staples in the diets of Nintendo gamers. Nintendo gamers were able to say, 'See, there IS more than just Zelda and Mario Kart on this thing.' Shantae: Half-Genie Hero had fun levels and some really enjoyable transformations. Some that stick out in my mind are the Spider and the Mermaid. I damn-near 100%ed this title but for perhaps one or two collectibles. My percentage was in the high 90 percentile.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove Release Date: March 3rd, 2017 Purchase Date: March 15th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Action, Platformer Played For: 20 Hours or more
Shortly after the launch of the Nintendo Switch, while I was certainly in no lull from the fun of exploring Hyrule, I wanted something else meaty on the table. I had played through and loved Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope from my Wii U days but when I had tried Plague of Shadows, the second campaign, I just didn't click with its uniquely different control scheme. I always had the feeling I made the wrong choice...that there was love to be had within that campaign. So that's when I purchased Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. The Treasure Trove is a compilation of all three current campaigns. I played through each of them back to back to back. Having it on the go made play way easier and the big beautiful screen looked great with the superior art style of this faux-retro title. I took time to finally get to know Plague Knight and it truly now is my favorite of the three campaigns. The unique magic/exploding mechanics make for traversal in a way I cannot recall seeing in past games. The story was also wonderfully interwoven into Shovel of Hope's. It was rewarding to see the story from Plague Knight's point of view. This kind of reward continued when I switched over to Spectre of Torment, the third campaign. I hadn't played it before so it was completely fresh. So much fun in one succinct package. This is a must for any fan of action platformers.
Snipperclips Release Date: March 3rd, 2017 Purchase Date: March 5th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Puzzle Played For: 3 Hours or more
As the Nintendo Switch release neared, there was a particular puzzle game that caught my eye and the eyes of many of my friends. It was a quirky and colorful puzzle game where two characters of a specific shape have to work together in order to find solutions to stages. The trick here is that your shape alone won't work in almost all cases. You need to instead align and overlap with your friend and work as a team to snip and clip each other into new shapes that would get the job done. This was a creative idea and something I feel would only really show up on a Nintendo console. It oozes their charm so it was not surprising that Nintendo ended up publishing it. Right at launch it released. It was a tight package complete with many different levels. There was the option to play alone if you so needed but the game only really shines when working together. I enjoyed it a bit but as I look at my game time one year later I am amazed at how short I really spent with it. My fiancee and I had a good time on a couple of sessions and I vowed to finish it with her. However her interest waned and eventually so did mine. I know many other folks who love it so certainly there is an audience here.
Sonic Mania Release Date: August 15th, 2017 Purchase Date: August 15th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Action, Platformer Played For: 5 Hours or more
Sonic is a character that so many people love... and so many people love to hate. Well, I think they hate his games anyway. After Sonic teamed up with Knuckles everything seemed to change. There were still some nice gameplay moments in his titles but once the new millennium came around Sonic had a bit of a distaste with people. Sonic Mania aimed to help squash the notion that no good 2D Sonic games would be released again. Sonic Mania is as classic Sonic as you can get. Much to the chagrin of the development team, some felt that this was 'too classic'. Luckily the general consensus is 'beloved'. Having Sonic on a Nintendo console is no longer taboo or surprising but having a great game on there is a bit more special. The game features a similar structure to the original trilogy with the different acts dividing up themed areas. Many stages are brand new and look and feel great. Some stages are new areas in old themes which is also delightful as it certainly makes for some nostalgic fun without being flat out repetitive. The music was grand and the game a good length for a Sonic game, this was another must-buy for Switch owners. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the other Sonic title that released later in the year.
Splatoon 2 Release Date: July 21st, 2017 Purchase Date: July 21st, 2017 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Third-Person Shooter Played For: 270 Hours or more
Splatoon is a series that has stolen my heart time and time again. After well over 650 hours put into the original on Wii U, I put in over 40% of that time on the sequel thus far. Splatoon 2 is a FANTASTIC sequel. It has tons of new gear, new ways to style yourself, all new stages, all new weapons, sub-weapons, and specials, and plenty of new modes. Splatoon 2 is also a game that keeps on giving with constant new updates. Just the other night a new stage released for example, Goby Arena. Come to think of it, we now have more stages in this game than in the last. In the first year of the Nintendo Switch, we now have 17 stages to choose from. There's an 18th called Shifty Station but it's different every time since it only appears in Splatfests. Some of these have been incredibly inventive since they all use assets and gimmicks from the single-player mode. My favorite stage that's new to the series would be Shellendorf Institute but honestly, my favorite stage from the whole game is some kind of tie between some revamped classics. Many Splatoon stages have returned but in much better fashion. Arowana Mall, Port Mackerel, and Moray Towers are all made that much better with zip-lines, revised surfaces, and adjusted sponge blocks. With Clam Blitz, Salmon Run, and so much more... this is a definitive Switch experience and I'm so glad it was here early in the Switch's lifetime.
Stardew Valley Release Date: October 5, 2017 Purchase Date: October 5th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Farming Sim, Role-Playing Played For: 90 Hours or more
Growing up I spent a lot of time with various entries in the Harvest Moon franchise. Eventually I felt fatigue and took some time away. Then before the Nintendo Switch was even a thing in people's minds, Stardew Valley was announced. I was eagerly anticipating it to hit on the Wii U, figuring better to support it on Nintendo than another system. Plus I couldn't play it on Mac since it was a Windows game first (for a while). When the game came out on Mac I still held off... and waited... and waited... then finally a glimmer of light... it was coming to the Nintendo Switch. It took the better part of the year but in early October, just as the weather was getting cooler, a quaint and sweet farming sim got released and it engulfed me for a whopping 90 hours. In-game time I only made it through the first two years of the campaign but that is because I always used my days to their fullest. Below you can see how my fields looked shortly before Winter of Year 2. I was truly wealthy in-game, I had a sprawling field that was constantly stocked with replenishing vegetables that watered themselves. I had a bunch of funky scarecrows, a small fruit orchard, and a loving wife named Penny. This game had me stepping out of one life and into another. I was able to enjoy it simultaneously with my fiancee who happens to be a huge fan as well.
SteamWorld Dig Release Date: February 1st, 2018 Purchase Date: February 1st, 2018 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Adventure, Metroidvania Played For: 5 Hours or more
I am currently still playing through my second play through of this game on the Nintendo Switch. It would be my seventh play through of this game since its original release on the Mac platform. Originally coming out on 3DS in 2013, this game has held a special place in the hearts of many. Image & Form, now known as Thunderful, has a vision and direction that is leaps and bounds above the other developers in the arena. They put care into each game they make and their social-media savviness is top shelf. The game itself involves Rusty, a Steambot who has to investigate what has been going on in the town his Uncle is from. His Uncle has died and so Rusty takes on the task of digging deeper and deeper into a procedurally generated landscape. The randomness makes subsequent runs feel different from each other. The similarities come in the form of smaller caves which are the same because they present the player with different ability enhancements that help exploration and navigation. That's where the Metroidvania part comes in. The music and graphics and gameplay all come together to really amaze me and tap into any addictive tendencies I might have. I need to find all the gems, sell that loot, and max out my stats. The world needs me to!
SteamWorld Dig 2 Release Date: September 21st, 2017 Purchase Date: September 19th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Adventure, Metroidvania Played For: 20 Hours or more
The SteamWorld games have continued to come out, sharing more and more about the world of SteamWorld. Having been a huge fan of the original, I had been clamoring for a sequel as politely as I could. The trend up until now was for Image & Form to make games in this world but make them unique to the point of being different genres altogether. I didn't have any awareness, presumptions, or hope that a sequel would surface. That's why when it did, and when it was an amazing game that surpasses the original, and this happened in the first year of the Switch... my mind was blown. I put 20 hours in over only a couple of days and I engulfed this title with every possible gluttonous moment. Determined to best this before completing it, I made sure to find every possible unlockable and beat any special areas before finally heading into the final battle. A continuation of the story to SteamWorld Dig, but in many ways a proper prequel to SteamWorld Heist, this game served an incredibly important role in my first year with the Nintendo Switch. Seen above, the original has made it out on Switch and unmentioned is that SteamWorld Heist also exists on the platform. This means Thunderful (formerly Image & Form) is free to make something else new and amazing for the Nintendo Switch. We know it'll happen and we know it'll be coming to Switch.
Super Mario Odyssey Release Date: October 27th, 2017 Purchase Date: October 27th, 2017 Ownership: Physical Copy Genre: Platformer, Adventure Played For: 70 Hours or more
Ever since the first true trailer for the Nintendo Switch, we had known about a new Mario game in the works. Speculation was rampant. Then the new system released with a new The Legend of Zelda game and everyone was satisfied. They knew a new Mario was coming and they expected it to be good. What wasn't expected was what we saw when Nintendo blew the lid off everything. Super Mario Odyssey was a Super Mario 64/Sunshine-esque game in that it was non-linear with plenty of collectible stars to find (or in this case, moons). Nobody really thought that Nintendo would release what would turn out to be one of the best games for both of their top franchises in the Nintendo Switch's first year. This is the kind of attention and effort people have wanted to see from Nintendo since the Gamecube era. Knowing this was on its way was a factor in ensuring Nintendo Switches were flying off shelves. They flew off so fast that last year it was named the fastest selling console ever in the United States. No doubt this is due in part to the success of Super Mario Odyssey and its wonderful stages, characters, costumes, and moves. The game is a must own for the system and many speculate that with it releasing so early in the Nintendo Switch's lifespan... we're just bound to see a pseudo sequel soon enough.
Yooka-Laylee Release Date: December 14th, 2017 Purchase Date: December 11th, 2017 Ownership: Digital Copy Genre: Platformer Played For: 30 Hours or more
Finally we have reached the last entry in my year with the Nintendo Switch. This game is monumental because of the build up it had. I supported and funded the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee back in May of 2015. Mind you, I had supported it since Day One as I was incredibly hyped for a spiritual successor to one of my favorite games of all time, Banjo-Kazooie. This was well before Super Mario Odyssey was on anyone's radar. When the game was finally seeing release in April of 2017, it was already known that unfortunately was not going to be on Wii U like they had planned. The development had moved to the Nintendo Switch, which was a great thing for some still hopeful to play it on a Nintendo console. However the April release date came and went and Playtonic Games was quiet about its development. Finally in December of 2017, the game released to some mild excitement but many had already experienced it on other consoles half a year earlier. As I did with Stardew Valley, I waited patiently for my time to game. Ultimately the title was not what I was hoping for but it had its moments. I am still happy to be able to share that my time with this eagerly anticipated title happened on the go and at home on my Nintendo Switch. For better or worse, it was memorable and I look forward to a future of Platonic Games on Nintendo Switch.
Wow. That's a lot of words and a lot of games. Averaging two games a month, my Nintendo Switch collection can be described as being a wide breadth of genres. At my count I feel there's thirteen different game types in this collection. Action and Adventure are common along with Platformers. However the collection has games I wouldn't typically or necessarily have in my actual collections like the Tactical Role-Playing genre or Third-Person Shooters.
In running through my count of all these games I decided to tally up the costs. All in all this past year, on my own games only, I spent $710.60 on games. Divide that by the 939 hours played and I've enjoyed a value of $0.75 per hour with my Nintendo Switch. If you toss the console itself and an early-adopted Pro Controller into the mix, the total cost spent jumps to somewhere around $1,113.38. This means an average of $1.19 per hour of enjoyment. I can't imagine any other form of entertainment taking such a large chunk of my time in a given year and so very few things provide me such joy per the hour as a Nintendo console does. Being able to move from the dock to taking it on the go at a whim has been incredibly opening to me. We have two Nintendo Switch launch consoles in the house and so even just moving from one room to the other for dock-play has been a breeze. I highly recommend multiple docks if you can manage it but a stand-alone dock is rather outrageously overpriced. Super Mario and my buddy Link have come with me to work, on the road, out of the state, out of the country.... and all the while bringing me enjoyment at every pass. Those moments at the bar enjoying party games with friends were my very own 'Rooftop Karen' moments.
My fiancee has enjoyed a plethora of her own games as well. She loves Zelda and Mario and even dabbles in Splatoon 2. However she's busy enjoying titles I didn't even mention yet like Fifa 18 or Yono and the Celestial Elephants. The latter I'd like to try my hand at as well as some point. I'd also like to buy a ton more games! There are so many I missed thus far, like Xenoblade Chronicles 2. A little known secret though is that'll be rectified shortly. Owlboy is on the eShop and is getting its own physical release soon. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King looks pretty cool and actually Magical Drop III (one of the Neo Geo games) looks pretty fun as well. Runner 3 is an upcoming exclusive (or at least temporary exclusive) that should sell quite well. Metroid Prime 4 was finally announced and for me that is a game franchise on the same level as Mario or Zelda. I have high cautious hopes. Then of course there is Bayonetta 3 which based on my experience with the franchise so far... it's going to be another stunner.
Nintendo is going to keep surprising me. As much as I take the more hopeful road when looking at the company as a whole there is a lot of mystery surrounding it. Shortly after the one-year anniversary of Splatoon 2 the true Nintendo Online service is going to go live requiring people to pay to play. We still don't know all the details about that and why it'll be worth the admittedly low cost they're asking. Then there's Nintendo Labo which releases in just a handful of weeks. I could do a whole different post on that thing. It uses the Nintendo Switch and some sturdy cardboard to do some really nifty things. Definitely check out a YouTube trailer when you have the time.
I'll end my blog post celebrating my first year with the Nintendo Switch on the notion of a simple Thank You. Thank You to Nintendo for being that company that has kept me out of trouble all these years. The company that has inspired many actions I've taken. The company that has allowed me the medium to make many friends. Thank you for well over 900 hours of gameplay time and cheers to another 900! Enough writing, let's go play some games!