December tends to be a quiet month for the video game industry, as most publisher race to release their games in the months leading up to the Christmas holidays. However, there are usually a few noteworthy stragglers, and this year is no exception.
The Switch received a range of new games, both digital and physical, that are absolutely worth playing. From spinoffs of major franchises to indie titles, there are a lot of options for every type of gamer. But best of all, wave 3 of the new Mario Kart tracks is out, so get ready to start racing.
#1: Dragon Quest Treasures
Dragon Quest Treasures is a nice spinoff from the Japanese RPG Dragon Quest series. It has a slightly different focus that is certainly more lighthearted than the more complex main titles in the saga. However, that isn’t to say Treasure is a bad game because, in fact, it excels at being a simple-to-play RPG that anyone can pick up.
- A variety of ravishing riches await
- Locate loot with your monsters’ unique abilities
- Fend off attacking monsters and rival treasure hunters
The graphics are also very nice, with a combination of cell-shade animation that feels very deep despite being pretty two-dimensional. The gameplay is pretty basic for an RPG, as it doesn’t feature some of the more complex combat mechanics.
Again, this isn’t a bad thing, and it helps set the title apart from other Dragon Quest games. Similarly, Treasures feels more imaginative and casual than the rest of the series.
#2: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
- All graphics fully remastered in HD, bringing the game to the latest console generation
- Renewed 3D models, including characters and backgrounds, enriching the visual experience
- Improved battle system providing a vastly smoother gameplay experience
- Fully voiced dialogue in both English and Japanese
- A newly arranged soundtrack from the original composer, Takeharu Ishimoto
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was originally a PSP-exclusive title that was a spinoff from the main Final Fantasy series. With that in mind, it did take many gameplay elements from the full Final Fantasy VII game.
But this Switch version is just a remaster of the PSP version rather than the full Final Fantasy VII game. The game features a lot of combat and battles, but it does have a strong narrative with cutscenes that are still impressive on the Switch.
The good news is that the combat works very well and is improved from the original version. Regardless of whether you’ve played the full game or not, Crisis Core is still a decent choice that will provide some good entertainment on the go.
#3: Kukoos: Lost Pets
- Collaboration is the Name of the Game - Play as twelve different Kukoos and team up with five unique pets, using their abilities to solve puzzles and defeat enemies
- Invite Friends Along for the Journey - Play with up to 4-player multiplayer co-op to quadruple the fun
- Vibrant Locations to Explore - Discover vast, colorful worlds each with their own unique biomes, hidden secrets, dangerous residents, and environmental wonders
- A Charismatic Cast - Meet a group of charming and memorable characters as you traverse the worlds of Kukoos, and watch the story come to life via beautifully rendered cinematics and fully voiced...
- Continue the Fun - Unlock extra levels by collecting enough coins in each world and replay the adventure with different pets to discover new secrets
Kukoos: Lost Pets is a 3D platformer that is really unique and looks quite adorable. But beneath this fun-looking exterior are some really odd gameplay and story elements.
You set off on a quest to rescue pets that were brainwashed by a robot frog. To do so, you need to explore a variety of worlds where you meet some unique characters.
The character interactions are also really good and really help drive the story. But the shining part of this game is its graphics and gameplay.
The graphics are pretty basic animations, which are perfect for what it is, offering varied landscapes and levels. Meanwhile, the gameplay mostly consists of 3D platforming with some puzzle-solving and boss battles.
Wavetale is a fantastic-looking platformer that delivers plenty of fun. It was formerly a Google Stadia exclusive that has since been released on not only the Nintendo Switch but also the Xbox and PlayStation. It really is the perfect game for the Switch.
The gameplay is very simple, but there are some nice story elements that explain your abilities. Your main ability, and one of the most unique ones, is that you can walk on water.
There are even people and characters throughout that you can interact with. Besides the standard 3D platforming, there are plenty of places to explore and puzzles to solve.
#5: Chained Echoes
Chained Echoes is an indie game that takes some of the best facets of older games from the 90s, but adds in a modern perspective. It can be difficult to recreate these older games that were very much two-dimensional without the game feeling dated.
However, Chained Echoes does a very good job of combining several ideas into one game. There are several characters that you can choose from, and each has its own story elements.
The story also has some comical and memorable moments, despite resembling games like early Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger titles. The gameplay primarily consists of a turn-based RPG, but there are also some exploration and mini-game elements.
#6: Samurai Maiden
Samurai Maiden was previously released overseas, but it is finally making its way to the North American Market. It is only available digitally here through the Nintendo Switch’s eShop. The story is unique, following a schoolgirl who is sent back to Sengoku, which was a time of civil war in Japan that lasted from the 1400s to the 1600s.
The gameplay consists primarily of hacking and slashing your way through, similar to games like Dynasty Warriors. The combat is really fun but rather basic. However, you can switch between other female protagonists who each have their own special abilities.
#7: Lil Gator Game
Lil Gator Game is definitely one of the strangest games on the list, but it has some really great moments. You play as a young gator who wants to play with his sister. You must gain the help of other characters in the game to convince your sister to play.
The world looks really good as it is designed as a 3D platformer with basic cell-shaded graphics. The gameplay consists of a lot of exploration and completing missions.
It feels like a great game for kids, but it is also a lot of fun for people of all ages with some interesting story points. There are also a lot of nods to other games like the Zelda series, which it loosely resembles.
#8: Mario Kart 8 Booster Course Wave 3
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch is easily one of the console’s most popular titles, and for good reason. It manages to combine many of the great aspects of previous Mario Kart games and puts it in a hybrid format that you can play on a TV or on the go.
However, the game is starting to show its age, having been first released back in 2014 on the Wii U. To keep things fresh, Nintendo started releasing new waves of tracks last year.
While not full games, these add some much-needed features and tracks to the aging game. However, you must have the base game to get this new wave. Also, you will need to purchase the Mario Kart Booster Course Pass or Nintendo Switch Online+Expansion Pack.
#9: Super Kiwi 64
The Nintendo 64 was packed full of 3D platformers. The technology had finally advanced to the point where these types of games were not only playable but also looked really good.
However, Super Kiwi 64 is particularly a unique name as the game was designed from the ground up to pay homage to the games of the Nintendo 64 era. Obviously, the graphics are a bit lacking, but that is sort of the point.
Gameplay is what really stands out since it plays like a modern game rather than one from the late 90s. The premise is a typical collect-a-thon, like that of Banjo Kazooie. But there are also some parts that focus on combat with bosses.
#10: The Outbound Ghost
The Outbound Ghost is an RPG in which you take control of ghosts who roam freely throughout a town where everyone has died. Despite its ominous tone, it is actually quite fun and lighthearted, with the game using an art style that is similar to Paper Mario.
- Colourful characters: Meet a lovable cast of spooks along the way, each with their own story to unravel
- Combat encounters: Unlock figments of your past personality, such as Regret, Benevolence, and Jealousy and use them as party members in turn-based battles
- Badge system: Craft materials earned by winning combat encounters into badges, which can be equipped for various effects and stat boosts
- A world in 2.5D: Adorable, paper-style characters inhabit a world with depth and detail to create a distinctly eye-catching visual style
The gameplay consists of battles between ghosts and other apparitions in the world. The battles are turn-based, so you have a lot of options to upgrade.
Bosses can be very difficult to beat and may take over ten minutes to defeat in some cases. Overall, the world is very large and looks really good, but it could benefit from more to do.
Inscryption is a unique horror game that is a rarity on the Nintendo Switch, which is known for its more family-friendly titles. With that said, this is not the usual gruesome horror game.
Instead, it is spooky in nature. Gameplay consists of playing a card game where you play against AI. However, you are sitting across from an in-game player who is usually a creature that adds to the game’s creepy nature.
Elements in the game start getting darker depending on whether you are winning or losing. There is also an overworld where you can upgrade your deck and abilities in the game. Another neat aspect is that you are asked to explore the room, which has elements that affect the game.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Wachiwit/Shutterstock.com.