It’s been a big year for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s new hybrid and extremely awesome video game console. It outsold its predecessor, the Wii U, in under a year, prepared us for a revolution in cardboard gameplay, and delivered some awesome games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. We know the cardboard fun times promised by Nintendo Labo are coming this year, and Kirby is about a week from making his debut, but we’ve been wondering what else was in store for the Switch in 2018. We just found out thanks to the one-year Switch anniversary Nintendo Direct!
Nintendo Directs are presentations that Nintendo streams every once in a while to make major announcements — they used one during E3 last year to reveal that Kirby game, along with a Yoshi game coming in 2018 and big teases for Metroid Prime 4 and a Pokémon game for the Switch. Today’s presentation revealed a ton of news, including updates to existing games, ports of games currently on other platforms, and one big surprise at the end that we have major questions about.
We’ve got no idea what to make of this, other than that we’re super excited for Smash on the Switch. We know we desperately want that paid Nintendo online service to finally, finally deliver a solid online multiplayer experience! Nintendo added their Smash tease to the end of the presentation without context, so it’s a mysterious title for now. The main question is whether this is a brand new game or a port of the Wii U version.
There are good arguments on both sides. Smash for the Wii U came out in 2014, so quite a bit of time has gone by. The strongest argument might be that the teaser featured the Squids from Splatoon, who have never made a Smash appearance, and Breath of the Wild Link (doesn’t look like Mario has Cappy from Odyssey, though). But, Nintendo has added DLC characters to Smash for the Wii U, so it’s not out of the question that they’re simply re-releasing the Wii U version, adding a few new characters, and throwing in some new skins. And, while four years is a while, longtime Smash director Masahiro Sakurai was famously exhausted during the previous development cycle — it’s hard to imagine he’d have jumped right into making another one. It’s possible that someone else is directing this time, but altogether, a new Smash in 2018 is not what anyone was expecting — and the end of the teaser did indeed confirm that it’s coming in 2018.
Indie darling Undertale was one of the most talked about games of 2015 when it arrived on PC, and for good reason. The RPG had a terrific story and endearing characters, but the gameplay twists made it truly fascinating — players were treated to radically different experiences depending on whether they killed enemies or hashed things out with them peacefully, and the game directly questioned player motives for wanting to play the game both ways in the name of completionism.
Since 2015, the game has made an appearance on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, and now Switch owners will get to find out what all the buzz was about. Nintendo did not have a release date, but when it does come out, you should absolutely give it a try if you haven’t played the game yet (or even if you have!).
Well, I’ve finally reached the age where I can date myself with what’s left of my memories, because I can definitely remember that Crash Bandicoot was the PlayStation mascot back in the ’90s. Crash was the PlayStation’s Mario, and yet here we are — against all odds, he’s making a Nintendo appearance. Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped make up the trilogy, all remastered for the power of today’s consoles (hey, 20+ years is a long time). The collection is arriving on July 10., and on that day, we’ll live in a world where both the original Sega mascot and the original PlayStation mascot have made appearances on Nintendo consoles. I guess now all we need is Master Chief on the Switch.
The second of Ubisoft’s South Park RPGs is coming to the Switch on April 24. I haven’t gotten around to playing it on other platforms (guess I might give it a look now!), but the first one, The Stick of Truth, perfectly captured South Park’s humor in video game form, even if the RPG gameplay itself was a little light. Reviews have praised The Fractured But Whole‘s gameplay as being deeper and more varied, so it sounds like a must for South Park fans who haven’t gotten in on this RPG action yet.
One of the most surprising announcements from last year is that the legendarily difficult action RPG Dark Souls is coming to the Switch. We now know Dark Souls Remastered will arrive on May 25 with an Amiibo in tow. Of course, your random player character isn’t really suitable for the Amiibo medium, but Solaire of Astora sure is. He’s in full, glorious Praise the Sun form, and incidentally, that’s exactly the Amiibo’s in-game purpose — scan it, and it’ll make your character do the Praise the Sun salute. The Amiibo itself will cost $16, and is another excuse for us to mention that Nintendo has gotten really, ridiculously good at making these figurines.
The best Mario sports game, non-Mario Kart division, is getting a Switch version! Mario Tennis Aces will introduce a bunch of new gameplay elements like Zone Shots and Zone Speed, which players can use to smash the ball exactly where they want it to go — and yes, opponents have plenty of chances to counter accordingly. Those special moves depend on energy gauge that fills up when you rally or hit trick shots that require perfect timing, so it looks like some balanced tennis awesomeness. Or, you can shove all the window dressing to the side and just play pure tennis, which is made for the same people who turn off items in Smash. Also, you can break your racket (but like durability break, not John McEnroe style rage break it). I’m here for all of it.