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.
For fans of SteamWorld Dig we suspect the recommendation isn't needed as they'll buy this anyway. For those that skipped the first game, however, Dig 2 is a must-have - its charming aesthetic and cast set the scene for a tightly designed and clever exploration game. Now the wait begins for SteamWorld Dig 3.
Sine Mora is an intriguing, stylish shooter that's well worth a punt at a budget price. Sine Mora EX, however, is a trickier sell; the underlying quality is still there and it can be a memorable experience, but the additions are sloppy and add little, making it tough to justify at its full price. On Switch it has portability going for it, with the game looking handsome on the handheld or TV - it's understandably sharper and easier to play than in the previous Vita version, for portable fans. It's a fascinating game, and may draw you back for plenty of repeat plays or even score-chasing runs to climb online leaderboards. Its flaws, however, mean it's not currently among the best of its genre.