We were all a bit surprised that Nintendo elected to do a straight-up sequel to 2017's seemingly unsurpassable Breath of the Wild, and we were shocked to see it would reuse the same open world. But any concerns we might have had about revisiting the same version of Hyrule were quickly shattered upon release, and now, six months on, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom continues to dazzle and amaze. In this case, lightning really did strike twice.
Like Final Fantasy VIII's gunblade or Gears or War's active reload, Dust & Neon knows that a solid, satisfying mechanical input can make or break otherwise rote gunplay. It's a small distinction, sure, but it lifts David Marquardt's twin-stick, sci-fi Western out of the metaphorical dust.
In a world where 2014's Mario Kart 8 is still going strong, on the face of it, it seems hard to justify a third full fat Splatoon game in the same time frame. While it might not be groundbreaking, Splatoon 3 is nonetheless a high watermark for the series, and is a welcome premium product in the era of battle passes and microtransactions.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a thrill for the senses and will frequently tickle your nostalgia bone. However, it lacks creative spark and is content to regurgitate its source material instead of building something new. A Kyber pass, just about.
Triangle Strategy takes time to unfurl, but your patience is rewarded with an intricate narrative and finely crafted tactical combat. The impressive visuals, music, and storytelling ensure the game will live long in the memory and demand multiple playthroughs.
Despite some scruffy visuals, Pokémon Legends: Arceus feels like the first game in the series to be designed for a home console platform. It’s a magpie of a game, but every borrowed element comes together to create a coherent and fresh experience that reinvigorates the franchise.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl straddle the line between old and new by giving two beloved heirlooms a polish that avoids tarnishing treasured memories. These are buoyant, accessible RPGs for fans and newcomers alike.
WarioWare: Get It Together! isn’t the overhaul the series probably needs, but it’s another propulsive and compulsive blast of fun. The multiplayer modes are modest but well implemented, and the variety added by each character’s abilities adds longevity.
Boxing is one of the least served sports in video games – even Handball has an annual franchise – so any competent adaptation will get some attention. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions isn’t a champion of the genre, but its lean, focused design makes it a strong contender.
After one hell of a year – one in which I haven’t been able to socialise with friends in real life – it’s an absolute joy to escape to this cosy little bolthole and shoot some pool. Pure Pool is exactly what its name suggests and an essential purchase for all fans of the sport.
Lost Ember wears its influences proudly but it doesn’t surpass them. Nonetheless, it’s a personal tale told with style on a large and frequently beautiful canvas. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch version suffers from performance problems that are detrimental to the overall experience. If they can be fixed – and we’ll update this review if they are – you can happily add another half-point to our score.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a limited time release in both physical and digital formats. We can only guess at the reason but whatever misgivings you have about the nature of the collection – or its position as Nintendo’s big fall release – it’s still an essential purchase. The three included games look better than ever and provide hours and hours of exquisitely designed, eye-bleedingly inventive gameplay.