Is Football Manager 2024 Touch on Switch the best way to experience the franchise this year? Probably not, in light of the various other versions and platforms available. However, it is a solid version of a strong entry in the series, with the convenience of being on Nintendo's marvellous little machine whether you want to play on the go or pop it up on the TV. It strips away some of the immersive depth from the 'main' version on PC, but adds interesting nuances of its own while keeping the experience snappy. If you can figure out the quirky physical controls, along with how to get your 4-3-2-1 formation humming, you can sink plenty of hours into this one.
Wild Card Football is an ambitious take on the sport, with a decent mix of modes and pleasing depth for those keen to go all in. The offline Season mode may keep a lot of Switch players going, but once you dive into the Ultimate Team-style 'Dream Squad' you'll eventually feel the pull to take your hard-earned fantasy roster online. That's where a lack of fluidity and clarity in gameplay can really bite. A sport as frantic as American Football needs a slightly slicker performance level than we found here. However it's only just short of a first-down, so if you're happy to live with the compromises then this may still be worth a punt.
Legend Bowl is a game packed with charm; an interesting hybrid of retro style and attempts at Madden-esque depth in the playbook and mechanics. It's full of heart and raises a smile with its humour and attention to detail; sadly it doesn't convert all of these positives across the board. Performance is improved following patches but still has space to get better, while some odd design and UI choices are hard to ignore. If you can look past the flaws, which could be dealt with in future updates, there are some real merits to Legend Bowl for fans of the sport; it just needs to get over the longest yard to reach its full potential.
Soccer Story delivers a colourful, charming take on the 'sports adventure', bursting at the seams with earnest effort and care from the development team. It's a fun experience, though it doesn't reach the heights of the genre's most famous release. Bugs and hitches pop up occasionally too, but if you're seeking some light entertainment and happen to love football, its cute visuals and charming world make it worth consideration.
Retro Goal is a distinctively light and fun take on football, coming at a budget price and having enough depth and charm to get players hooked. It has a stylish look and will raise a smile among enthusiasts; in fact, the only way it fails to match its brilliant predecessor - Retro Bowl - is in the gameplay department. The team-based complexity of football makes it hard to recreate that backyard sport feel, but it is still excellent and irreverent fun that feels at home on Switch.
NieR:Automata is a modern classic. Most importantly for Switch owners, this is a top-notch port that has clearly been produced with respect and focus, often surpassing our expectations in both visuals and performance. Finding a comfortable seat and a pair of headphones makes the Switch version a wonderful way to experience the game, and it is an unforgettable journey. Nothing is as it seems, either in the story or gameplay, and it's one of the finest gaming achievements of the last decade. If you haven't played NieR:Automata yet, now is a great time.
Easy Come Easy Golf is, all taken into account, very easy to recommend for fans of golf games, and a great Nintendo debut for the Everybody's Golf series. It's enjoyable and polished golf with some fun twists while offering a huge amount of content to unlock and solid multiplayer options. Even with minor performance hitches and some iffy audio, we found ourselves having plenty of fun and kept coming back for a few extra holes. It's certainly under par, in a good way.
Sunbreak is a success in multiple ways, with enough that's new or different to make it a must-have expansion for Monster Hunter Rise fans. New mechanics and content are enjoyable, the challenge is turned up, and it's still an audiovisual treat. It's a welcome reminder that there's nothing else quite like Capcom's monster-slaying franchise, and even in moments where it's 'just more of the same but harder', that's still more than enough.Now excuse us as we get back to the hunt. That fashionable armour isn't going to craft itself.
The ultimate question is whether you should play MLB The Show 22 on Switch. Well, it depends. If it's your main or only platform and you're happy playing CPU and offline games, then yes, it's not bad and holds things together just enough for gameplay to be enjoyable. If you want an 'on-the-go' version to accompany a more powerful home console version, perhaps on Game Pass, then it's another yes. If you want to mainly play online in Diamond Dynasty? No, this isn't the way to go. MLB The Show 22 is admirably packed with content and features, but it's not entirely comfortably packed into the diminutive Switch. It lacks the fluidity and crispness found elsewhere, which is perhaps expected but doesn't change the fact. If you're happy with the compromises, though, then step up to the plate.
MLB The Show 22 is another brilliant arrival in the series, and once again delivers fluid and gorgeous presentation on Xbox Series X|S. The gameplay remains highly satisfying, while Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty remain compulsive modes. While 'no money spent' is still pleasingly feasible in the latter, it feels a little more grind-heavy this year, so hopefully that will ease off. Elsewhere new commentary is welcome, but is too short on lines this time around.MLB The Show, as a series, does feel like it needs a leap at some point; as another steady iteration, though, this latest entry is still a standout sports sim and a must for baseball fans.
Overall, Wave 1 of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass is enjoyable and gives a modern classic a thrilling new spark of life. After blasting through the race classes, it's likely the itch will be back and we'll be back in the online lobbies once again, eagerly awaiting the five further waves to come between now and the end of 2023. That's the key takeaway we took early on while sampling the Booster Course Pass - you can't go far wrong with 'more Mario Kart'.
That's the key with this game — it's addictive but most importantly simple, immersive fun. A reminder that getting hooked on a game can be due to its design rather than complexity or realism. There are a few flaws — the game has an obsession with fumbles that give you possession on your opponent's 18-yard line, and opposition coaches never seem to use time outs to help their chances. But as a game to play regularly in short bursts, or occasionally in longer sessions, Retro Bowl is a hoot. It's backyard football disguised as the NFL in 8-bit form... and that's brilliant.
Happy Home Paradise makes Animal Crossing: New Horizons feel like a 'definitive' edition, especially when considered alongside the substantial free additions of version 2.0. It's beautifully polished - and that's not a reference to the ability you earn here - and provides even more variety and depth to your daily AC island life. You may discover new villagers to call friends, and perhaps even learn a little about how to better decorate rooms and homes. Most importantly, it simply makes us smile - that alone is the best recommendation we can give.
By the time the credits roll you'll likely still have some hidden paintings to find, and even if you leave them behind, this is a thoroughly pleasant and satisfying experience on Nintendo's system. With smart puzzles, beautiful presentation and a story full of emotive moments, Inked: A Tale of Love is well worth your time.
Despite those technical issues (and the disappointing lack of accessibility options) this is still a visual novel worth experiencing for fans of the genre, or those drawn in by its blend of coffee shop setting and paranormal quirkiness. This Switch port, however, doesn't necessarily show it in the best light.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin deserves to find a sizable audience. It's full of charm and boasts depth that can immerse the committed or be dabbled with by those eager to simply experience the story. As a blend of Monster Hunter with a traditional RPG approach it's an accomplished effort, and offers the sort of meaty experience that'll keep most players busy for weeks. Switch owners will need to tolerate some disappointing performance, unfortunately, but the overall experience shines nonetheless. It's a game of bright colours and wholehearted optimism, which is very welcome indeed.Oh, and you can name your Monsties; trust us, you're gonna love these companions.
Mario Golf: Super Rush is a game that in many respects hits its marks. Golf Adventure has plenty of charm and offers a fun way to learn various mechanics and unlock courses. Away from that solo endeavour there are decent options and customisation for multiplayer games, local or online, button controls or motion-based swinging. It's not a premium effort, however, with a nagging feeling of corners cut and at times an absence of creativity. However, many players should get a good amount of fun out of this one, both solo and with friends. This ain't the Masters, but for Mario Golf fans it is a solid par.
Before I Forget is a short, beautiful experience that nevertheless approaches a challenging and rather sombre subject. It takes creative bravery to share a game that represents the impact of dementia, and to do so sensitively and as accurately as possible; it achieves this goal. We not only suffer the disease with Sunita, but engage with the successes and joys of her life. Before I Forget finds a careful balance that is to be commended.
Sonic Mania was a true return to form for the mascot, in his 2D 'Classic' guise at least, and celebrated the glory days of the original games while also enhancing their qualities and taking on new ideas. From new areas, imaginative second acts and some delightful boss encounters, the development team poured a lot of passion and talent into the project. Sonic Mania Plus takes that solid foundation and - in all honestly - doesn't do a great deal to mess with it. The new characters and modes are welcome, and there are some neat tweaks which iron out some of the kinks present in the original release, but on the whole this is an enhanced edition of the game rather than a feature-rich update. If you've still not sampled the delights of Sonic Mania then this is clearly the version to get, but if you're an existing owner then the low asking price of the DLC update make this well worth a look; we'll take any excuse to dive back into one of the best 2D platformers of recent memory.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the Switch won't disappoint series fans, especially those that love the Wii original (or even experienced it on New 3DS). It's a new cast and world, with some fresh mechanics and ideas, but much is still familiar. The story has high points, the world and its varied Titan lands is intriguing, and it draws you in for many dozens of hours.It's Monolith Soft doing what it does best, albeit without shaking off the occasional flaws of the series. It's ultimately an important part of an incredible launch year for the Switch - a reminder that while system concepts change some things are constant. This is another Xenoblade gem, and a must-have for the most dedicated of adventurers.