2018 is off to a busy start for Nintendo’s hybrid console as it is receiving a huge influx of games. It’s now blurry in memory that at the time of its initial release, players were only given a handful of choices. It’s nice to see that Nintendo’s latest has finally caught up with the tides. However, with the increase in game volume, players are now getting headaches over what to get. So to ease a bit of this year’s first headaches, here are the Top Nintendo Switch Games of January 2018.
Author’s Note: Games included were those that received generally good reviews from critics and gamers alike.
Although big in number, January only had one major title release. That is not to say that the minor releases have no gem among them. One of these releases might even already be a contender for Game of the Year.
Dubbed as the spiritual successor to I am Setsuna, Lost Sphear is yet another 90’s inspired JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) from developer Tokyo RPG Factory. The game’s story centers around the premise that the world is slowly disappearing, and the only way to save it is by restoring memories. Players will take control of Kanata as he travels the world with his allies, Lumina and Locke, to save the world from being lost forever.
The game makes use of the “Active Time Battle” system which games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy brought to life. Basically, the player and AI take turns in combat, although time doesn’t stop. Which means players and enemies can attack and be attacked at any time. There is no real turn sequence. Other than that, Lost Sphear is a pretty straightforward RPG that brings back the nostalgia of the classics from the SNES era.
The game received generally good feedback from critics and gamers, although it was argued that it lacked to bring anything new to the table or improve on what I am Setsuna already had. In any case, it’s still considered to be a solid RPG with good sound, story, and action. The physical copy of the game is available at DataBlitz and GameOnePH/iTech for Php 2,695, while the digital copy is available at the Nintendo e-shop for $49.99 (~Php 2,548).
Minor Releases or Ports
A platforming video game with pixel graphics, Celeste jumped its way into the gaming world on January 25. It puts players in the shoes of Madeline as she climbs the Celeste mountains whilst battling her inner demons. Along the way, players encounter other characters residing and visiting the titular mountain.
The game is a classic platformer wherein players would have to run, jump, climb and air-dash their way through intricately crafted levels. Although, these levels are not your simple “jump over the ledge” type, as they provide quite the hardcore challenge. There are collectibles to grab should players wish to do so, but these items won’t affect progress or unlock anything. Aside from that, the game has a “B-side” where it ramps up the difficulty to insane levels.
Celeste has received critical acclaim from reviewers and gamers for its amazing gameplay, superb music, breathtaking story, and good amount of challenge. It is currently the highest rated Switch game of 2018 and might very well be a candidate for game of the year. If you wish to fill up that rage meter or feel the satisfaction of beating a hard challenge then head on over to Nintendo’s e-shop to get a digital copy of the game for $19.99 (~Php 1,028).
Darkest Dungeon is an RPG that was first released on Windows and Mac OS X on January 26, 2016, and at a later date on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Linux, and iPad. During the second half of January 2018, the Switch received its own version. The game’s story revolves around an Estate, which the player inherited from a relative, with underground dungeons, catacombs, and surrounding lands. The first inhabitant of the Estate unearthed dark portals during his explorations that lead to the spread of evil across the land. During the course of the game, players encounter memoirs of their relative detailing the dreaded deeds he had done. The ultimate goal for the player is to reach and traverse the Darkest Dungeon.
Players are given the task of recruiting a group of heroes and adventurers to send out to face off against the spreading evil. Before heading out to dungeons, players can take advantage of various facilities in a nearby Town. With these facilities, they can recruit or dismiss heroes, heal their party, reduce stress levels, remove afflictions, and buy and sell equipment. Improvements to the facilities are also available which would open new and improved services.
Up to twenty-five heroes and adventurers can be added to the roster at any given time. Each of these characters belongs to one of the fifteen classes the game has to offer and have varying stats and abilities. One thing to note though, is that once a hero or adventurer falls, they are gone for good. The dungeons are procedurally-generated and increase in difficulty. Exploration of the dungeons are done in a side-scrolling manner while, combat transitions into turn-based battles.
One unique system in the game is Affliction, which is basically the stress level of heroes. The stress of heroes increases based on different factors, and when it reaches a certain level the character gains a positive or negative Affliction. While most of these afflictions can be removed, some will become permanent traits.
Other than that, the game has three different modes — Darkest (Normal), Radiant (Shortened version of the game), and Stygian (Hard). During Stygian mode, players are tasked to complete the game within 86 in-game weeks or else they’ll fail. Another condition of failure in this mode is having 13 or more heroes killed. Failure in Stygian mode will result in the deletion of the current save file.
The game has received high praise from critics and gamers alike for its punishing yet brilliant mechanics, rewarding gameplay, and wonderful execution. It also received numerous game award nominations. If you wish to experience a heart-pumping party-based adventure, then head on over to Nintendo’s e-shop to get a digital copy of Darkest Dungeon for $24.99 (~Php 1,284)
Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is a platform game and the successor of Team Meat’s Meat Boy flash game that was released way back in 2008. The game was first released on the Xbox 360 on October 2010 and to other systems in the course of the following years. This month, the Switch finally gets its very own version. The story focuses on the protagonist Meat Boy, a boy without skin, as he attempts to save the love of his life, Bandage Girl, from the villain known as Dr. Fetus.
The gameplay is very straightforward. Players take control of Meat Boy as he runs and jumps across 300 challenging platform levels. Apart from traversing the normal 300 levels, players have the opportunity to unlock special and harder stages. If players attain a grade of “A+” on a playthrough, they unlock a harder version of the level in the “dark world”. Alternatively, hidden stages called “warp zones” are found by accessing portals in specific levels.
Players are also given the chance to unlock other characters with different abilities once they collect enough bandage items scattered around levels and warp zones. There are also instances where warp zones and boss battles can only be played by a certain character.
The game became an instant hit for critics and gamers and received almost perfect review scores. Its difficulty was both praised and criticized but it was generally applauded for its level design, visual style, and soundtrack. If you wish to experience a quirky, unforgiving, but fun platformer, then head on over to Nintendo’s e-shop to get a digital copy of Super Meat Boy for $14.99 (~Php 770).
Earth Wars was first released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows back in 2016 as Earth’s Dawn. It’s a 2D side-scrolling beat’em up RPG with unique hand-drawn visuals. The game’s setting is in a post-apocalyptic Earth where aliens, known as E.B.E, have taken over. Players are given control of the planet’s last line of defense dubbed Special Enhanced A.N.T.I troops. In the game, players go toe-to-toe with the E.B.E to take back control of Earth.
As players progress, they’ll be given the chance to unlock new skills and equipment, and even craft some gear and cosmetics. The game has a lot of repetitive grinding in it in order to unlock and craft most of the content, so players new to this kind of gameplay might be turned off. It has 100 missions spread out in seven levels.
The game received generally average reviews when it was released on the PS4, Xbox One, and Windows. It was criticized for its repetitiveness and general lack of story direction. Although, it was praised for its visual art, fluid character movement, and heart-racing action. Now, you might be thinking how it made the list when it generally received average reviews. Well, what sets the Switch’s version apart is that it’s way cheaper than the other platforms’ iterations.
Earth Wars was originally priced at $29.99 (~Php 1,542) on other platforms but surprisingly, only $4.50 (~Php 231) on the Switch. For that price, the game is certainly worth the try, so if you want a quick and fun beat’em up RPG, then head on over to Nintendo’s e-shop to get a digital copy of the game.
That’s a wrap! If you think we missed a game, do give us a heads up in the comments section below. Once again, stay tuned at the end of next month for our top list of February.