Barebones in organisation and structure but absolutely joyous in its presentation, Musynx is pure rhythm game fun. Excellent, upbeat music that focuses on lesser-exported areas of Asian pop, charming, cleverly creative visuals, and rock-solid gameplay in both button and touch modes all come together in a lovely, personality-filled package. If you like a strong sense of progression in your music games, Musynx's straightforward setlist approach will leave you wanting; but if the idea of booting up into a free-play menu of 90+ songs and working to beat your personal bests sounds like your idea of a good time, you'll be in rhythm heaven here.
With fun, fast-paced combat, likable characters, and an enjoyable story that takes full advantage of its beautiful shipwrecked setting, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a top-shelf action RPG. Exploring the Isle of Seiren is as rewarding as mastering the character-swapping, hack-and-slash battle system, and both fit into an addictive feedback loop of adventuring that keeps everything moving at a quick clip. Editing issues and inconsistent image quality in handheld mode are small blemishes on an otherwise polished production, but don't let them deter you; Ys VIII is a true gem.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition is a wonderful example of a licensed adaptation doing just about everything right; if you've ever read or watched One Piece and thought, "this would make a great video game!” this is that game. While it doesn't spend nearly enough time on its story beats to fully immerse new players into its world, we'd still recommend it even if you're new to the Straw Hat Crew — there's plenty of rollicking fun to be had throwing elbows (and swords, and staves, and…) with Luffy and co., and longtime readers will have a blast revisiting their earliest days. A recommended romp for One Piece and Warriors fans alike.
From its demon collecting and killer combat to its sci-fi South Pole setting, Strange Journey Redux is a fantastically engrossing adventure, and an excellent reason to get lost in your 3DS once again. As a remake of a DS classic, Redux adds in enough new content to make a replay worth your time, along with plenty of welcome accessibility tweaks to help let newcomers in on one of Shin Megami Tensei's best kept secrets. The lack of stereoscopic 3D and English voiceover is disappointing, but these are small complaints; Strange Journey is a can't-miss trip for JRPG fans.
An emotional experience that's as much about loneliness and letting go as it is about rockets, OPUS: Rocket of Whispers captivates from start to finish. It's darker and bleaker than its predecessor, and scavenging for rocket parts isn't as immediately appealing as stargazing, but it's still every bit the affecting combination of narrative and gameplay that defined The Day We Found Earth. If you like curling up with a good book as much as sitting down with a good game, Rocket of Whispers is a perfect way to spend an enjoyable afternoon.
An indie adventure with a lush world, fun characters, and enjoyable battles, Earthlock brings the soul of PS1-era JRPGs to the Switch with excellent results. Inconsistent dialogue and notable load times are among its few missteps, but as a package, it captures the appeal of the epoch wonderfully. If you're looking for a fresh-feeling JRPG that still calls back to the classics, this is a lovely choice.
As the first otome game on Switch, Men Of Yoshiwara: Kikuya is both excellent proof of concept and an enjoyable piece of electronic erotica in its own right. With a memorable cast of courtesans, a generous amount of content split over several discrete routes and sub-scenarios, and affection-based unlockables, there's plenty here to keep you busy and blushing. The backgrounds and music give off a bit of a budget feel, and occasional text encoding issues and some steep (but infrequent) quality drops are blemishes on an otherwise well-written script, but overall, we'd certainly recommend a trip to Kikuya for otome fans.
CA roguelike at heart with a rhythm-game soul, Crypt Of The NecroDancer is a sublime experience that's a must-play for fans of the genre(s). Its upbeat, uptempo take on dungeon crawling is infectious, and there's enough content here to last even the savviest of spelunkers for many, many dance-fuelled dives into the depths — if you've never tangoed with the COTN, this fully-featured Switch edition is the perfect way to jump in.
Bite-sized but very tough to chew, Yōdanji is a devilishly tricky roguelike with a fun theme, addictive, goal-based gameplay and massive replay value. Its 21 unlockable characters are the key to the latter, with each yōkai essentially acting as its own unique class, and discovering and trying to master the mechanics of each monster is pure old-school joy. Its anachronistic presentation won't be for everyone, and clunky controls make for a sometimes confusing crawl, but anyone looking for a tough-as-nails good time with plenty of personality will get more than their money's worth here.
Opus: The Day We Found Earth is a lovely little game. At more or less the length of a movie, it's not going to keep you entertained for the weekend, but it's perfect for a quiet night in. Digital stargazing is a surprisingly compelling pursuit, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with OPUS - it's charming, affecting and proof positive that the Switch can be a wonderful storyteller.
Hiragana Pixel Party is a welcome rarity: an educational game that's both good fun and an effective learning tool. If you've ever wanted to read Japanese — whether for language study, travel, or playing import games — this is a great way to get started, and an enjoyable rhythm-based runner with an excellent chiptune soundtrack besides. がんばって!
Dizzyingly stylish and crazy fun, Floor Kids is an absolute joy. Its DIY-dancing gameplay grants players a freedom seldom seem in rhythm games, and that gamble completely pays off; instead of tapping along to the beat, you're tapping into a sense of flow, creativity and fun to make your own moves, and that's both immensely satisfying and wholly unique. Whether you're a wannabe breaker or a music game guru looking to dance to a different drum, Floor Kids is a killer cut.
With a club-ready soundtrack and brilliant rhythm gameplay, Superbeat: Xonic is an excellent addition to the Switch's growing music game hit parade. It's stylish, fun, and challenging in all the right ways, and does a great job easing players into its frenetic charts with forgiving timing and balanced progression. Some frustrating touch-control issues mean that VOEZ or Deemo are better bets for touchscreen tunes, but if you're onboard with button-based beats, Xonic is a super choice.
New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star is a gem of a game, combining fun fashion, addictively creative gameplay, and brilliantly quirky writing into a truly engaging ensemble. A few missteps — including the absence of stereoscopic 3D and a less lively city — means it won't render its predecessors passé, but we love the unique personality this latest entry brings to the series, applying its trademark fashion-as-magic motif to the music industry with sparkling results. This is a must-play for fashionistas, but you don't have to be invested in vestiture to see the appeal; no matter your fashion sense, Styling Star is a perfect addition to your 3DS' winter collection.
A fast-paced hack-and-slash with fun, combo-heavy combat and an anime-after-dark aesthetic, Nights of Azure 2 is a great time. Strong characters, endearing interactions, and an interesting plot kept us excited to play more throughout, even if the repetitive missions and environments make for an experience best enjoyed in smaller chunks. There are some noticeable performance issues in handheld mode, and a few interface woes reflect a lack of overall polish, but if you're looking for an enjoyable action romp with plenty of blood-sucking style, this is an excellent choice.
Revenant Saga sets out to offer a simple, throwback JRPG on Switch, and while it certainly ticks those boxes it doesn't actually end up being very fun to play. An unremarkable story, uneven presentation and interface issues hold this already unambitious effort back, and while it brings some excellent ideas to the table — like battle Transformations and single-handed control — they're not enough to recommend the experience. If you're starved for an old-school RPG on the Switch, I Am Setsuna is still your best bet at the moment — otherwise, the 3DS' treasure trove of turn-based adventures awaits.
Whether it's your first foray into Yggdrasil or your fifth, playing Etrian Odyssey V is a true pleasure. Its addictive central gameplay loop combines engaging exploration, strategic combat and DIY cartography, all wrapped up in a charming presentation and a lush, organic aesthetic. It's gorgeous to look at it, beautifully balanced, and polished to a sheen, but perhaps best of all Etrian Odyssey V feels like the culmination of a concept that's uniquely tied to the 3DS. With its touchscreen mapping and masterful use of stereoscopic 3D, it feels utterly at home here, and while the little handheld may have plenty of life in it yet, we still can't imagine a more fitting swan song for this extraordinary era of dual-screened RPG wonder. A must for any aspiring adventurer.