Gaming

Play These Nintendo Switch Games In 2019


It’s new year so you know what that means. It’s time for a new list of Nintendo Switch games to check out. We’re not talking about the big games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Super Mario Odyssey or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You don’t need us to tell you those are worth playing. No, we’re talking about the countless other cool games on the console/handheld hybrid that might get overlooked because they’re smaller, more niche, or indie. Besides, you need to play something in-between these upcoming exciting 2019 Switch releases like Yoshi’s Crafted World, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Animal Crossing. So give these Nintendo Switch games a shot!

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

The No More Heroes games (and really any Suda51 game) have always been “good” but with qualification. They simply care more about their aggressive punk style than fully fleshed-out gameplay ideas. This isn’t to say the gameplay in Travis Strikes Again is bad. Far from it. The chunky hack-and-slash beam katana action totally feels like the original game just with a top-down camera and co-op. Plus mild RPG elements like different equippable skills (lightning blasts, bombs, healing fields, powers taken from bosses like Robot Masters) add a light but appreciated layer of strategy for what mostly boils down to crowd control.

But the gameplay gives up all its tricks pretty early. Even the whole “sucked inside of indie games to collect wish-granting Dragon Death Balls” premise only offers slight variations on the core combat. Slash enemies in a sidescroller. Slash them in a racing game. Slash them in a deep cut Suda51 reference I never saw coming. The game’s real creativity comes from everything surrounding it like glitch enemies called Mark Zuckerbug and Bug Gates, the still stylish art direction, the inexplicable visual novel interludes, appearing nude when entering a game Terminator-style, and of course the dozens of real-life indie game t-shirts Travis can wear. Playing this game while rocking a Papers, Please or Floor Kids or Treachery in Beatdown City shirt is extremely aesthetic.

I had fun with Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes in a Dark Void Zero kind of way, a budget handheld retro spin-off that nonetheless captures (and in some ways improves) the spirit of the console original. But more than anything else it makes me want No More Heroes 3 on Switch, along with Hotline Miami.

Everything

In keeping with Everything’s theme of everything being connected, I would describe it as a combination of No Man’s Sky, Katamari Damacy, Minecraft, Ghost Trick, drugs, and weird 1970s documentary film grain. More than all that though, it’s an interactive exercise for the beliefs of philosopher Alan Watts and how we need to let go of the illusion that things are separated from each other. As far as gameplay goes, this means shifting effortlessly between the bevy of things to be found in the impressively large (and small) scale simulated world. In seconds you can go from being the sun to being an ice continent to being a penguin to being a blade of grass to being a subatomic particle and all the way back again. It’s more about being than doing. I dug it in a therapeutic way. Plus it’s hilarious how the animals just roll around instead of walking and “dance” to reproduce.

The Shrouded Isle

The Shrouded Isle is like a nasty little subversive B-side to simulation games like Civilization or Cities: Skylines. Instead of efficiently planning a nation or a town, you’re ruthlessly running a backwards cult with the religious fervor of a pilgrim who burns witches. Question citizens about their commitment to “virtues” like ignorance and obedience. Discover their secret “vices” like wearing unique clothes and going to libraries. Keep the town in balance not just by upholding these virtues for your dark god but also managing the political climate between the various families. And in the end, someone must always be sacrificed. It’s just up to you to figure out which death will create the most “good.” It feels like a video game version of an H.P. Lovecraft board game adaptation, with its sickly green art style and vaguely cosmic horror coastal setting.

Pikuniku

With its basic shapes and colors, Pikuniku looks like a cartoon for very young children. But then you see it’s a Devolver Digital joint and all of a sudden you’re fighting back against an evil oligarch showering citizens with “free money” while stealing their actually valuable resources. It makes you expect things to get real weird real fast. But they never really do, at least not for a while. Much of Pikuniku is spent in this chill middleground where you explore the open, interconnected, nonlinear map solving mild puzzles with your wobbly long legs. You might stumble into a toast dimension full of tough platforming, or use a watercan on your head to reach previously inaccessible areas. But Pikuniku is almost a hangout game, and the sooner you adjust to those relaxed expectations the more fun you’ll have.

Rain World

Rain World is a prime example of a game I respect the hell out of but just can’t get into. The developers want players to feel like the lowliest and most ignorant of creatures in a grand yet confusing society, “a rat in a subway station.” So everything in this world is out to kill you for who knows why and you barely know how to get around. You’re just trying to get enough good to hibernate. But while I recognize being super vulnerable and having no power is the point, it’s just no fun to play, even with the gorgeously fluid and depressing animations for the pitiful, lovable Slugcat creature you control. At least this isn’t roguelike, and with enough patience you can learn and thrive in the environment, which I assume would be satisfying for someone.

Fitness Boxing

With the Nintendo Switch possibly on path for Nintendo Wii levels of success, it makes sense for it to get a fitness game just in time for New Year’s resolutions. But Fitness Boxing is a very strange exercise game especially if you’re used to the more subtle quirk of Wii Fit. It’s all about getting your body moving by punching in rhythm with high-tempo tracks like a mix between Wii Sports Boxing and Dance Dance Revolution. Also like DDR, Fitness Boxing’s deep Japanese roots are so barely hidden its funny between the choice of songs and the uncanny Simple 2000 Series-esque budget mistranslation of the helpful instructors. These are features though, not, bugs, with the right mindset. The earnest weirdness keeps your spirits high as you work off those extra holiday pounds.

Looking for more Switch games? Check out our previous Switch indie game roundups Play These Nintendo Switch Games Before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Play These Nintendo Switch Games After Super Mario Odyssey, and Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda.

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