There’s fun to be had on New Zack Island, although we wish it drilled down on two or three things rather than the assortment of slighter activities it offers. Ultimately, Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Scarlet is a minigame compilation that you play repeatedly to earn money to buy costumes for busty supermodels.
OlliOlli is one of those games you really have to live with; perseverance pays dividends, but so does taking a break and coming back in the morning to find muscle memory kicking in. Before you know it you'll be grinding elegantly and racking up impressive points, but you need to stick with it. With the skateboarding genre largely on hiatus, this is an easy recommendation to newcomers with the patience to master it. This version doesn't bring anything new to the table if you've played it before, but it's a fine game in fine form on Switch.
Despite threatening to fizzle under the weight of its reverence for Blade Runner, Observer manages to craft an impressive and affecting horror experience on Switch that doesn't outstay its welcome. It's arguably at its best when you surrender to the barrage of imagery and sounds rather than scanning pools of blood with detective vision. This port walks a technical tightrope and falters a little in docked mode, but fares much better as a handheld experience – its ambition and rich world-building are admirable enough to make up for any technical shortcomings. If Bloober Team doubles-down on the horror genre and keeps producing work of this quality, we'll gladly play whatever's next in the pipeline.
This is an excellent port of a game that feels like it's found a natural home on Switch thanks to a plethora of control options and the console's natural facility with vertical orientation. Short of popping your 4K TV on its side, Switch offers the very best way to play Downwell. Its roguelike structure and twitch platforming might not be for everyone, but you should really give it a chance. For our money, it's a modern classic that should be in everyone's collection.
Despite the logo giving the impression of a garish knock-off or mobile port, When Ski Lifts Go Wrong delivers some captivating simulation puzzling, with a light dusting of Excitebike helping to set it apart from the crowd. The UI and controls work very well on Switch and, although not being able to share or sample others' creations online is disappointing, the base game works beautifully to provide a very enjoyable package if you're after some rock solid, physics-based fun.
We struggle to recall a dystopia quite as cheerful as the one found in Pikuniku. It's a short game, but one packed with heart and imagination, with a great single-player component and excellent couch co-op that can genuinely be enjoyed by anyone. It makes us remember the fun we had cutting pieces from our friends in Snipperclips, but where we occasionally hit a brick wall with that game, Pikuniku sidesteps frustration in favour of a breezy and charming adventure; a perfect salve if you need a break from the backlog, but don't dive in expecting endless hours of gameplay.
Billed as a side dish, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes has been prepared with enough love and affection to become a filling meal on its own, packed with the spice and spirit you'd expect from Travis Touchdown. It's a fun, indie-inflected blast of hack-and-slash which doesn't change the world mechanically (and don't go in expecting No More Heroes 3), but its sincerity and energy are charming. It's an adult game – a gamer's game – foul-mouthed and dripping with style. If you're sitting on the fence, we'd recommend diving in, if only to support its infectious, celebratory spirit; Suda51 seems to have a real affection for Nintendo hardware and this makes you feel lucky to have him working on Switch.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is an impressive package if you skipped the original, offering the best of modern-era 2D Mario, madcap multiplayer and glimpses of the outrageous invention that was to come in Super Mario Odyssey. Only the most fervent fans will find enough new content here to justify double-dipping, though, especially if you already played the Luigi expansion.
Within its common-sense (and, thanks to Wii Fit, well-known) limitations, Fitness Boxing is a breezy, energetic success that gets your blood pumping. For the one-time price of a month's gym membership, it delivers some light CV and takes pointers from Just Dance and various rhythm games to provide a convenient and engaging workout. It's no substitute for hard hours at the gym, but there's certainly potential to tone up those arms and shed a few of the mince pies you put away while watching Groundhog Day over the holidays. It would be a mistake to buy this thinking you're getting a game or some magical antidote to your spare tyre. However, it kept us coming back and if you're after a reason to justify cancelling that direct debit to Gold's, this is as good as anything you'll find on a console.
There's no shortage of charming, artistic puzzle-platformers on Switch and Koloro is certainly a good one; there's much to like in its simple mechanics and narrative, and there's satisfaction to be found in its puzzle-solving. The problem is that you've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer somewhere before and, as much as it engages your grey matter while you play, it's unlikely to stay with you in the same way the games it evokes do.
Kingdom Two Crowns offers a hell of a view, but you may find its brand of light strategy too sedate if you're not one to ‘smell the roses'. Give it a chance, though, and it really grows on you. Disappointing framerate aside, it's a great introduction to the series, and valuable split-screen co-op adds a fresh, more relaxing dimension to its tower defence. If you bounced off New Lands, this won't win you over, but if the last game piqued your interest but passed you by, Two Crowns is a much easier recommendation.
While reminding us just how much we'd love to see FTL on Switch, Everspace manages to carve out an impressive identity for itself. With gratifying space combat, an addictive ‘rogue-lite' core loop and even some light, entertaining writing along the way, it performs admirably – if not flawlessly – on Nintendo's console. Overall, we had a hell of a time with it and this port does a cracking job of preserving the full experience on a handheld. If any of this sounds remotely enticing, we'd heartily recommend investigation.
This War of Mine remains an affecting survival experience on Switch and this edition is a comprehensive package. A couple of minor technical issues do little to diminish its power and, although the lack of touch controls is odd, sleep mode is a winner for squeezing in a few days as-and-when you can. Switch arguably helps make this downbeat game as accessible as possible, though there's little point in double-dipping if you've tried it elsewhere. It deserves to be played in whatever form you can find it, though, and is therefore a very welcome addition to Switch's diverse catalogue.
Harvest Life is not irredeemably awful, but it's rough and easily outclassed by the games it evokes. It feels dehydrated, with all the soul and polish sucked out, and a few pleasant tunes aren't enough revive it. Games of this ilk thrive on charm; this is subsisting on numbers and fodder. Harvest Moon fans don't have much on Switch at the moment beyond Stardew Valley, but life's too short to waste in Lohwold.
A few rough edges do little to disturb the tranquillity Cattails lulls you into with its fun mechanics, cheerful writing and lovely soundtrack. Despite the conflict at its heart, you could happily while away hours frolicking in the fields, catching butterflies and chatting with your feline chums. If you're after something light-hearted to relax with until Animal Crossing arrives next year, this fits the bill very nicely.
If it were a launch title, we'd recommend tactics fans investigate Mercenaries Wings: The False Phoenix, at least until something better came along, but something better did come along – several things, in fact. If you're an insatiable tactics fiend who's munched through everything else, including the previous collection, this is stodgy, competent filler that should keep you going for a while; it's a supermarket meal deal or a plate of cocktail sausages. It's no-frills and fine, but with a veritable buffet of tasty, interesting alternatives, who wants a sausage on a stick? Perfunctory, cliched writing and a lack of niceties make it a tougher sell when there are literally hundreds of hours to be had elsewhere.