Amy Kay Purcell
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is everything a remake should be. It retains the nostalgia of the original game while celebrating it in an entirely new way. The map is small but dense, filled with side quests, interesting character designs, and a surprising moral dilemma. This charming, toy-like world is the perfect way to experience Koholint Island, regardless of it's your first visit or your 50th time washing ashore.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole captures the very best of South Park. The creators have woven irreverent and offensive humor seamlessly into an outrageous and entertaining RPG adventure. By making the leap to the Switch, the Coon and Friends can now be played on the go, but at the cost of slower load times. Even so, this is a raunchy superhero epic no fan should miss.
Burly Men at Sea is a lesson in simple elegance and whimsical storytelling. Almost more of an experience than a game, it's intended to be enjoyed, soaked in, rather than beaten. This short yet fantastic tittle is a fantastic addition to the Switch lineup, and a must-play for everyone's inner child.
Symphony of the Machine is the epitome of what a virtual reality experience should be. It nails everything from visuals to sound, from challenges to object interaction, all without a hint of motion sickness. This peaceful puzzler will calm your mind, challenge your brain, nurture your green thumb and leave you wanting much, much more. It's rather light on content, offering one to two hours of gameplay, but scores perfect marks in literally every other regard. While the short gameplay may be disappointing for those looking to squeeze every minute of entertainment out of their dollar, Symphony of the Machine is a must have for those dedicated apostles who seek to spread the gospel of VR.
The Gardens Between is a masterpiece of minimalist storytelling, weaving a wordless tale of friendship and time. By drawing upon a few, nearly-universal childhood events, it allows the player to fill in the story with their own emotions and memories, creating a shockingly moving, personal experience. Featuring a gorgeous, surrealist style and challenging but fair puzzles, this is a must-have title for anyone who enjoys puzzle games.
The Gardens Between was one of my favorite Switch games of 2019, and with its mobile release, it is now one of my favorite mobile titles. The Voxel agents have done a great job of optimizing sound, controls, and graphics, making the gameplay and story just as solid, if not a tiny bit better, on a cellphone than it was on the Switch.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is easily the best Animal Crossing game to date. This life simulator is the most immersive, feature-filled, and customizable to date, having exponentially amplified all the charm and addicting qualities of New Leaf. A must have for any fan of the series, or anyone who simply needs a distraction from the current state of the real world.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is more than just a remake. It stays true to the core elements of the original game, while also exploring, expanding, and breathing new life, depth, imagination, and personality into an already outstanding world and cast of characters.
Charming and fast paced, Anarcute is a delightfully quirky little game. Light on story but high on style, this addicting riot simulator offers five to six hours of adorable destruction and cute, colorful animals. As challenging as it is fun, Anarcute requires tactical thinking and quick reflexes. Anarchy has never been this adorable.
Pokémon Sun and Moon are the most refreshing and exciting updates to the Pokémon franchise to date. Having found an impressive balance between old and new, providing both nostalgia and innovation, Pokémon Sun and Moon are a must-play for any Pokémon fan. With depth which is surprising and not obvious early on, a new path to becoming the best, and entirely new ways of getting around, there are plenty of reasons to explore the Alola Region.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns brings all the charm of the Bokujō Monogatari games, along with a whole new cast of characters animals, and a number of improvements. With a more colorful and stylized look than the previous game, a new part-time job system, and a revised, more strategic approach to tool upgrades, Trio of Towns is a welcoming, forgiving, and addicting game. One of the biggest Boku games yet, Trio of Towns is loaded with characters, features, and objects to unlock, and is a must-have for fans of life down on the farm.
Interkosmos is a short virtual reality experience which places you in the hot seat of a space capsule returning to Earth during the Cold War. Combining an incredibly high pressure situation with a great deal of humor, Ovid Works has crafted a truly unique, narrative-driven experience. While the game is only around 30 minutes long, it has branching storylines, two successful endings, and makes death incredibly fun with a whole host of ways for you to perish. It's highly interactive, it makes incredibly satisfying clicky noises when pressing buttons and flipping switches, and it's over the top, colorful, retro graphics make it a unique and fun experience. Climb into the Interkosmos cockpit, make history, and show the world that Major Tom has nothing on you.
While the lack of tutorial and clearly defined goals can potentially lead to frustration and some difficult first starts, Kingdom's simple controls lead you right into an incredibly engrossing game. The gorgeous pixel graphics shine on the Switch's screen, and the changing of day to night, and summer to fall is not only visually stunning, it's an ever present reminder that winter is coming. Based upon the principle that nothing lasts, with each new game Kingdom asks: How long can your crown survive?
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a gorgeous RPG, with expansive randomly generated dungeons, compelling combat, unique characters, and an amazing soundtrack. Teleportation across maps and within dungeons encourages exploration, and the ability to select dungeon difficulties, as well as the fact that essential game elements, such as crafting and fishing, can only be done inside dungeons creates meaningful replayability and naturally sends you crawling through completed dungeons again and again. Featuring animated comic panels, and avoiding long-winded lectures about history and lore, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an indie game which delivers a top-tier JRPG experience.
Episode 3, the final installment of Bear With Me, is the darkest and most narrative-driven yet, filled with surprising depth and humanity. What started out as a silly little point-and-click adventure game has retained all its quirks and charms while telling a touching story with themes of acceptance and forgiveness. It serves as an unexpected but incredibly satisfying end to a truly memorable gaming experience.
Knockout League is an extraordinary VR experience. It's tough, it's exciting, and it's incredibly rewarding. It delivers exciting, demanding gameplay and requires observation, timing, and endurance. Great mechanics paired with over-the-top characters will leave you entertained even as you're pummeled into blacking out. This is a must have for anyone who likes to box or who would benefit from using a videogame to supplement or motivate their workout routine.
Minit is a tiny gem of an indie title, easy to overlook but not to be missed. It's overflowing with secrets to be found, mysteries to be solved, and adventures to be had 60 seconds at a time. The bite-sized nature only adds to the charms and addictive nature of this 1-bit action-adventure game. With the small price tag of $9.99, it's more than worth a minute of your time.
Creed: Rise to Glory is an exhausting, sweaty, thrilling brawler title. It requires observation, reaction, and no small bit of stamina, as you read your opponent, dodge blows, create openings, and swing your way to victory. The story mode may be a little short and fragmented, but the PvP mode, allowing you to step into the ring with real people, more than makes up for it. It's brutal, it's highly responsive, making it the best VR boxing title, and one of the most addictive VR experiences I've encountered thus far.