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.
Snipperclips was a lovely launch game perfectly suited to puzzle-solving multiplayer, and in its Plus guise you get more content to enjoy. This is still not particularly suitable for solo play - though it's possible - but it's a game that is clear about its status as a multiplayer experience. When playing with friends and family it's still charming, humorous and also challenging, and the extra price for the DLC content is well worth the investment. As a definitive version of a high quality game this is worthy of any Switch collection.
Chess Ultra is a welcome arrival on the Nintendo Switch; it's a visual treat, while also soothing you with pleasant music as you engage in a tough match. There are plenty of options and variety for online and offline matches, with the former being particularly enjoyable if you're able to get into a real-time contest. With Tournament play and some well constructed Challenges on board, along with Tutorials for newcomers, it ticks most boxes. It's another checkmate for the Switch eShop.
Super Mario Odyssey represents a shift in direction for Mario. For about a decade we had exceptional but tightly structured 3D series entries, but this new arrival's building blocks go back to Super Mario 64. It's a very modern take on ‘sandbox Mario', however - Cappy and his abilities are key additions that freshen up the formula, and we have a sizeable and diverse set of lands to explore.Odyssey will, inevitably, now enter the discussions about the ‘best' Mario games. In the second half and post-credits - in particular - it takes on a life of its own, showcasing incredible design and development flair. It's also a wonderful showcase for the Switch, and could introduce a whole new audience to the wonders of Mario in three dimensions. For the veterans among us, meanwhile, it's yet another special release to remind us of why Mario is still gaming's number one.
Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaire's Conspiracy feels rather comforting, the video game equivalent of a warm blanket.