During the recent Nintendo Switch™ presentation, we received a lot of information about the console itself, but we also got a look at some of the upcoming games that will be available as well. Here is a look at some of the titles that have been announced.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – March 3, 2017 (Launch Title)
This is perhaps one of the most anticipated games for the Switch. A new Zelda game is typically a big deal, but this one in particular seems like something special. Breath of the Wild is an open-world action adventure game filled with places to explore, monsters to fight, horses to ride, and much more. The sense of scale is impressive, and it has been said that anywhere you can see in the game, you can get to. It isn’t just the scale though; what I find particularly impressive is the attention to detail. The world is filled with tall blades of grass, animals, trees, people to talk with, monsters, and curious places to explore. You really get the sense that this is a living world filled with mystery, intrigue, and vitality.
More impressive still is the way that Link interacts with the world. We know from various videos that Link is able to hunt animals, gather items, cook food, and climb things like trees and rock faces. He also has a personal hang glider that allows him to soar over vast distances when jumping off of a mountain, cliff, or tall hillside. You can also tame horses and add them to your collection in a stable. Horses not only allow you to get around more quickly, but you can fight from horseback as well. There has even been video footage of Link chopping down a tree to collect wood, only to have a gust of wind carry some of the branches into a nearby fire. The branches then caught on fire as the wind carried them into a field, which then also proceeded to burn out of control. When you add all of these types of things together, you start to see how you can interact with the world and the flexibility that it gives you to exercise creativity when solving problems, exploring, or entering combat.
Speaking of combat, Link will have access to a wide range of weapon types in Breath of the Wild. You’ll be able to use swords, shields, clubs, spears, axes, bows, and even things like pitchforks, to name a few. Each of the different weapon types will behave differently, too. Whether you’re slashing quickly with your sword, slowly swinging a big axe around, stabbing with your spear from horseback, or shooting explosive arrows from your bow, you’ll have plenty of options to deal with the different types of enemies that you encounter.
Not everything in Breath of the Wild is going to be solved by brute force, there will be plenty of dungeons and puzzles to solve along the way too. Clever use of physics means that you’ll be able to push large blocks around, drop heavy objects on enemies, and watch how things react to the weather, which should make a lot of the puzzles more interesting to solve.
We don’t know a whole lot about the story for Breath of the Wild, but Link has apparently lost his memory, or something to this effect, as he is unaware of events that have taken place over the past 100 years. Your guess is as good as mine at this point, because Link doesn’t look a day past 17. All of the footage and information available for Breath of the Wild has consistently shared the same message though – that this game is epic. The world, the story, the drama, the exploration, everything seems to be dialed up to the max. I suspect that this is going to be a game that people talk about for many years, not unlike Ocarina of Time.
Arms is a new IP from Nintendo that is based around boxing. Unlike traditional boxing though, all of the characters in Arms have long extendable arms that fly several meters away to assault your opponents. In this easy to play but difficult to master competitive fighter, you’ll find yourself dodging, jumping, and pummeling your opponent with the weapons that you’ve chosen. That’s right, there are multiple weapons that each character can choose from at the beginning of each round. Further, you can choose one weapon type for your left hand, and an entirely different weapon type for your right. By having a good selection of different characters, and different weapons to choose from, Arms looks like it will be able to accommodate a wide range of playstyles.
You’ll have the option of either using the Joy-Con motion controllers to punch, or a traditional button-pressing setup with what I assume will be the Pro Controller or the Joy-Con Grip. When you punch using a Joy-Con controller, you can also twist your fist so that your punch curves in the air (it hasn’t yet been explained how punch curving will be done with the Pro Controller). This means that you can connect more easily with a moving opponent, or even punch around obstacles. In addition to punching, dodging, and jumping, you’ll also be able to block and grab. This is setup in sort of a rock-paper-scissors scenario. If an opponent tries to grab you, punching will knock their hands down and stop the grab. If they try to punch you, blocking will stop the punch, and if they try to block, you can grab them. This means that you’ll not only have to watch what your opponent is doing, but you’ll have to understand their playstyle and get in their head if you want to win. And if you find a big opening, unleash a flurry of blows in a devastating special attack.
Arms will support single player against computer opponents, as well as split-screen multiplayer. If you and a friend each have your own Switch, you can also bring them together and play against each other that way. Finally, Arms will have online multiplayer made possible by Nintendo’s new subscription-based online matchmaking service.
Battle. Mode. Is. Back. Mario Kart 8 was released for the Wii U in 2014 and received a fair amount of DLC after release. The DLC included things like new tracks, characters, and vehicles. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will come with all of the DLC that was released for Mario Kart 8, AND they’re bringing back battle mode. I don’t know about you, but some of my fondest Mario Kart memories are from playing battle mode on Mario Kart 64 with my friends. If you’re familiar with battle mode, you should already be excited. If you’re new to battle mode, let me break it down for you. In battle mode, you and your opponents drive around an arena with various obstacles and structures that you can drive on or jump off. Each of you will have several balloons attached to the back of your car, and each time you hit an enemy they lose a balloon. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the winner is the person that has removed the highest number of balloons from enemies. It may sound simple, but trust me when I say that battle mode is addicting, frantic, and fun.
You’re also going to see new characters and new vehicles in Deluxe, on top of the ones added from previous DLC. New characters will include Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl (both from Splatoon), as well as the ghost King Boo, and a skeletal Koopa named Dry Bones. One of the other key changes is that you’ll now have two item slots: one that is ready to use, and one item in reserve that you can use after you use your first item. When you’re filling those item slots, you’ll also notice two returning items. First, they’re bringing back the Boo item which will turn your kart invisible and simultaneously steal an item from another player. And second, they’re bringing back the Feather item that launches you up into the air.
Other than all of the changes, it’s Mario Kart 8, which was very well received back in 2014 and has been very popular. And while we don’t have confirmation of performance for all of the Switch games yet, it has been confirmed that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will run at full 1080p 60fps on the Switch when in TV Mode.
Splatoon 2 is a brand-new sequel to the wildly popular Wii U title, Splatoon. For those that aren’t familiar, Splatoon’s main draw is a multiplayer 4v4 battle mode. The main objective is for each team to try and cover the map in as much colored ink as possible. The team with the most ink coverage in the end is declared the winner. Oh yeah, and any surface that has your color ink on it, your character can turn into a squid and swim through it. Yeah. Splatoon 2 takes this concept and expands and improves upon it.
It seems that many of the changes in Splatoon 2 are intended to provide additional mobility and versatility for players. For example, one of the new weapon choices that we’ve seen is called the Splat Duelies. These are dual-wielded automatic guns that fire rapidly. When using them, you’ll have two targeting reticles, and you’ll also be able to do a dodge roll. When you dodge roll, not only are you able to get out of the way of an attack, but it combines your two targeting reticles into one and increases your firing rate. Returning weapons such as the Splattershot, Roller, and Charger will be present as well, though they will have tweaks made to them. For example, the Charger is typically charged up and then fired when the charge is full. With the new tweaks however, you can actually save your charge. This means that you can charge your weapon, move around, and then fire a fully charged shot.
We’ll also be seeing all new specials in Splatoon 2. So far, we’ve seen lock-on ink missiles, guns that shoot through walls and obliterate anyone that gets in the way, a hover ink-jet pack that launches you into the air, and an ink explosion that can be used where you stand or from mid-air when you jump to a teammate.
As we get closer to Summer, I’m guessing we’ll see other weapons, specials, and maps confirmed. Splatoon 2 is more Splatoon, and I think many people will agree that this is a good thing.
Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine set Mario in open world environments and totally blew people away in the process. Unlike some of the other recent Mario titles that we’ve seen, Odyssey is returning to the open world format and aiming to wow people all over again.
There are a few questions that we don’t yet have the answers to, but we do know that Super Mario Odyssey will take place partially in several fantasy-inspired worlds, but also partially in what looks like the real world. If you like the idea of bouncing off of taxi cab hoods and swinging from street lights in New York City (or at least what resembles New York City) as Mario, I have good news for you. As I said, some of the game will also take place in more fictional settings, so we’ll still see plenty of beautiful, artistic, surreal environments filled with robots, and plant creatures that are sort of like dinner forks, and floating paths made of leaves.
We’ve also seen that Mario can use his hat in a few new ways. It appears that it can be used as sort of a boomerang weapon, and that Mario can throw the hat out and use it as a stepping stone to jump across large gaps. Also, his hat is now alive and has eyes. I’m not even going to speculate at this point, but I promise that this is true.
Super Mario Odyssey looks like a return to greatness, and I look forward to getting my hands on it towards the end of the year.
While there are many more titles that will be available for the Switch, I thought that this was a good representation of some of the games that we can look forward to throughout the rest of this year. For more information on the Switch, head on over to the official Switch website.