Skyward Sword HD might lack the freewheeling nature of Breath of the Wild, and it might also be bereft of a seamless overworld, but it does so many things right with narrative, gameplay, and visuals to make up for its shortcomings. There is a ton to see and do here. I found myself transfixed on countless sights—the enormous waterfall outside the entrance of the Ancient Cistern, the fluctuations between sand and sea in Lanayru Desert, and the final battle’s eerie, surreal battleground remain burned into my mind’s eye. Skyward Sword HD is a brilliantly designed game, full of dungeons packed with clever puzzles, numerous plot elements that serve to enrich the franchise’s lore, and a control scheme that is as refreshing now as it was in 2010. This is a must-have for Switch owners on a very long list of must-have games—don’t let that stop you from rushing out to try Skyward Sword HD today.
Unto the End does a great job at capturing the struggle of survival and returning home, but is the struggle worth it? There isn’t a huge epic within Unto the End. There is no dialogue and the story is simple. The actual game in length is fairly short, but the repeated deaths due to brutal combat significantly lengthens the experience, if you even finish it. The story’s depth comes from the player’s emotions as they struggle to master the gameplay mirroring the hero’s struggle to make it home. But not everyone plays a video game to feel that kind of frustration. I sure don’t and though there were aspects to like about Unto the End, the combat was overall what ruined the experience for me.
What sounded like the combination of a management game, Animal Crossing, and The Sims turned out to be barely influenced by all three. If you’re looking for a relaxing Switch game where you can collect clothing, decorate your home, and hang out with animals, there is already the perfect game for you: Animal Crossing New Horizons. If you’ve already played it to the point of needing new joysticks, then there are plenty of other indie alternatives to pick up before giving Calico consideration.
So how does Thomas Was Alone hold up today? Well, it’s excellent, thank you for asking. I recommend it to anyone interested in trying out a bit of indie gaming history, any fan of the science fiction genre, anyone who enjoys platformers, for those who enjoy short, sweet stories, and to everyone looking to see how anyone could make a bunch of rectangles a memorable part of my adolescence.
Monster Hunter Rise is a perfect example of what can be done with Switch. It runs incredibly smoothly and only slows down a little when there’s a lot happening all at once, even during a Rampage with a full lobby. It has been some time since I have played World, but Rise looks almost as good. While some textures here and there are a bit rough, I highly doubt you’re going to be inspecting the wall textures with an angry Rathalos chasing you down. Monster Hunter Rise brings a lot of great new features for fans of the franchise while making it more accessible than ever. With the amount of future updates planned I can’t wait to see what Rise can become.
There’s one other feature that is fun and worth mentioning, which is that it’s also possible to play the black and white versions of these games thanks to the color filter options. If you’ve yet to read our history of NeoGeo Pocket Color feature, SNK originally launched a colorless version of NeoGeo Pocket—only to be aghast to learn that Game Boy Color would debut soon after. Not wanting to be instantly outstripped by Nintendo’s latest handheld, SNK swiftly updated to NGPC soon thereafter, and the rest was history. SNK has been doing wonders keeping its back catalogue of games alive through retro hardware and compilations like NGPC Selection Vol. 1, and we sincerely hope that fans take the time to pick this one up for themselves.