If you’re a Nintendo Switch owner, you’ve got a lot to look forward to this year. And if you’re not a Switch owner, then why the hell not? Even disregarding 2017 and 2018 releases, this year alone, Nintendo has already treated us to New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Yoshi’s Crafted World, with a whole cavalcade of other first-party titles set to release throughout 2019. What are those games, I hear you ask? Well, first off: I shouldn’t be able to hear you, so that’s creepy, mate. Second: read on to find out about the biggest Nintendo developed and/or published games coming to Switch over the next eight months.
Boxboy! + Boxgirl!
26th April 2019
Developed by: HAL Laboratory
After three outings on 3DS, Boxboy returns to make his debut on Switch... and this time, he’s brought his missus with him in Boxboy! + Boxgirl!. The 3DS adventures of Boxboy were an enjoyable trio of 2D puzzle-platformers in which you must use Boxboy’s ability to spawn boxes from his own body to solve a variety of environmental puzzles. Different constraints placed upon you in each level determined the solutions to each puzzle, with the later stages really taxing that grey matter. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! will feature 270 new stages (all playable cooperatively) alongside an additional brand new adventure starring anthropomorphic rectangle Qudy.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda
Developed by: Brace Yourself Games
Cadence of Hyrule is a rhythm action-adventure game that mashes up the randomly generated dungeon crawling of Crypt of the NecroDancer with a healthy dose of The Legend of Zelda fan service. As per the first game, you need to time your movement, attacks and defences to the beat of the music, only this time you’ll be tapping your toes to over 25 remixes of classic Zelda tunes. Cadence of Hyrule will also feature an arsenal of iconic weapons and items with which to take on the biggest, baddest bosses Hyrule has to offer… Crypt of the NecroDancer style.
Super Mario Maker 2
Developed by: Nintendo
What was undoubtedly the Wii U’s most essential title returns with a brand new instalment on Switch this June in the form of Super Mario Maker 2. As before, you’re able to choose from a variety of aesthetics, only this time the visual stylings of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. are joined by Super Mario 3D World. The original Super Mario Maker servers were a treasure trove of imaginative and deviously designed custom levels, and Super Mario Maker 2 is adding even more construction tools. New additions such as slopes, multi-directional moving platforms and a plethora of new enemies, items and costumes join the first game’s already impressive toolset.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
26th July 2019
Developed by: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo
The latest in the long-running turn-based tactical RPG series, Fire Emblem: Three Houses tasks the player with becoming the newest professor at the Officers’ Academy. You’ll pick which of the three noble houses - the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions or the Golden Deer - you’ll head up and train your students in the way of weaponry and magic. The story you’ll unfold and characters you meet will also change depending on your choice of house. Expect to be strengthening bonds with your pupils to unlock character-specific abilities and prepare yourself for a series of intense turn-based battles with life-and-death consequences.
30th August 2019
Developed by: PlatinumGames
In the near future, disaster strikes in the city of the Ark when an interdimensional rift opens up, unleashing waves of otherworldly creatures upon its citizens and polluting the land. As a member of a new strike team, Neuron, it’s up to you - in true PlatinumGames fashion - to hack and slash your way to victory with the help of the Legion, a brand new weapons system that will both help you in your investigations and provide you with incredible abilities in battle. Depending on which character you choose - one of two twins, male or female - your opposite will accompany you as an NPC and alter the narrative. If you’re hungry for more of PlatinumGames’ trademark breakneck speed action and Bayonetta 3 seems like an eternity away, Astral Chain looks like it’ll tide you over nicely.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Developed by: Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja
After a 10-year hiatus, Marvel Ultimate Alliance returns with a brand new cooperative action RPG, and as a Marvel aficionado, I really couldn’t be more overjoyed. Choose from a huge roster of heroes - including characters from the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men and the Inhumans - then take on Thanos and his Black Order as they attempt to gather the Infinity Stones and unleash chaos on the universe. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 allows for drop-in/drop-out offline and online cooperative play, as well as introducing the new over-the-shoulder “heroic perspective” camera mode, getting you closer to the action than ever before. Expect flashy action, plenty of loot and more super-villains than you can shake an Infinity Gauntlet at.
Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch (working title)
Developed by: Nintendo
It’s time to go pay Tom Nook another visit and get fleeced out of another few hundred thousand bells in the newest instalment of the fan-favourite Animal Crossing. I’ve never been a fan of the series myself, however, its leisurely pace and real-time activities and events to participate in have won millions of fans the world over. Expect the Switch version to be more iterative than revolutionary, but if you’re eager to befriend another neighbourhood of cute animals and relax with a spot of fossil hunting or bug catching, Animal Crossing’s got you covered.
Daemon X Machina
Developed by: Marvelous
If you like mechs (and realistically, who doesn’t?), then Daemon X Machina is definitely a title to look out for this year, although maybe tentatively so. A limited-time beta was released earlier in the year that gave players a sneak peek at what to expect from the full game. Having spent a chunk of time with it, I left with mixed feelings. The visual style - while fairly spartan - was sleek and smooth, while the potential customisation options for your mech are mind-boggling, with a ton of boosters, weapons, sub-weapons and armour parts earnable and ready to be bolted on to your three-story death machine. Conversely, I wasn’t overly impressed with the movement speed of the mechs themselves and the combat lacked any real weight or tactile feedback. That being said, Marvelous has stated that it’s taking note of any and all player feedback received from beta participants, so here’s hoping that it’ll tweak Daemon X Machina’s gameplay accordingly.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Developed by: Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a reimagining of the beloved Game Boy title, completely rebuilt from the ground up for Switch. How closely it will end up adhering to the original release remains to be seen, but so far numerous characters, enemies and locations from the 1993 classic are set to return. If the more open-ended and expansive freedom of Breath of the Wild wasn’t to your tastes, Link’s Awakening should provide you with some of the more structured, traditional, tried and tested Zelda gameplay you were missing.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 (working title)
Developed by: Nintendo
Mario’s hapless scaredy-cat brother returns for a third instalment of ghostbusting in Luigi’s Mansion 3. Very little of this game has been shown off since it was announced, so there’s not a whole lot to go on right now. However, given the widened scope of Luigi’s Mansion 2 when compared to the original, expect to be hoovering up spectral miscreants (and a shit-ton of coins) in a variety of spooky dwellings, each with their own set of hazards and gameplay mechanics.
Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield
Developed by: Game Freak
The eighth generation of core Pokémon RPG’s will finally arrive later this year. Pokémon Sword and Shield will whisk players off to Galar, a fictional take on the UK featuring rolling countrysides, bustling cities and snow-capped mountains. Game Freak has thus far remained tight-lipped about a lot of the finer details concerning Sword and Shield, but of course there’ll be new challenges to conquer and mysteries to uncover, along with a host of new Pokémon to catch and train, which will surely give the competitive scene plenty to sink their teeth into as they devise new team rosters and strategies.
And that’s your lot. Of course, there’s still the matter of whether or not two other announced Nintendo-published games will release in 2019. Bayonetta 3 could very well drop before the year is done, although so far it’s not been given even a vague release window, so only time will tell. It is, however, highly unlikely that Metroid Prime 4 will release this year given its slightly turbulent development; the highly anticipated fourth instalment was recently scrapped and the studio behind the original Prime trilogy was brought in to oversee the project.
To be honest though, releasing these two games this year alongside the already stellar lineup of first-party software seems like overkill. Consumers can only play so many games and only have so much money to spend, after all, so Nintendo would probably be wise to hold off and release them at a later date. We don’t want 2020 being bereft of Switch exclusives, now do we?