Since launching last year, the Switch has enthralled me. Never before have I been so happy with a system, its handheld nature and power perfectly matching what I've always wanted from a games console. It naturally found itself as my console of choice, leading to the repurchase of many games already owned on other systems. Be it Skyrim, The Binding of Isaac, or Stardew Valley, each of these purchases felt valuable and worthwhile, the new life provided by portability serving well to justify their often inflated prices. With little control on my purchasing habits (and a little help from a certain friend intent on feeding me the highest quality trash), I find myself with a staggering 64 titles on Nintendo's latest system. It's a bit ridiculous, even by my standards. With this in mind, I wanted to do something with these games beyond just playing them.
And so here we are! Welcome to the first of however many blog posts it takes for me to cover each of my purchases. I plan to provide a short overview of each game, with reasons why I might have bought it, and why sometimes, you'd be best not repeating my mistakes. With university now over, I also find myself with a plethora of free time, so if any of the games mentioned interest you beyond my limited description and you want a full review, let me know and I'll get to it when I can!
This first post will cover the games that started my library, those acquired within the first few months of launch.
There's a fun story behind this one. It's actually the first game I ever played on the Switch. Yep, even before the brilliant Breath of the Wild. Ever since its reveal in the Nindies Showcase before the Switch launched, it had me captivated. A magical girl on a motorbike; the concept still stands out to me as brilliant. It had the potential to be a fun take on the Pilotwings formula, and in some respects it succeeded. Controls are fluid once you have a good bike, and it's great fun to fly around the maps presented to you. I'll also give it credit for its use of HD Rumble in mimicking the feel of a motorbike engine. That's about where my recommendation ends. This isn't a good game. If it had adopted the Pilotwings formula of small missions across large maps, I may be singing a different song, but there's just not enough content to justify the purchase for your average end user. With eight maps and no objectives beyond flying through rings and reaching the goal, I doubt you'll be around for more than an hour. For the masochists among us, there are achievements to collect, but even those essentially boil down to monotonous grinding of the same level.
I feel like this of all games needs no introduction. I'm sure it's the reason many of you bought your Switches, and to some extent, it was the reason I bought mine. The mere idea of an adventure of such scale and grandeur being available wherever I was; the concept blew my mind. Just a year later, it's strange to think how used to this idea I've become. Something like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 no longer surprises me, it just feels like the Switch being the Switch. Until it hits me, that is. Until I remember this is a little tablet. Back on the topic of Zelda, it was radical. The weekend this came out, myself and a housemate spent almost every moment playing the game. Myself heading towards the desert first, and him to the north, we were blown away by just how different our experiences were. The world was unknown, brilliantly baffling, without any way of finding help online. It's a magical time you just don't see often enough. The open world nature of the game never felt particularly revolutionary, nor did it need to be. It isn't without its flaws, but along with its continued support via two DLC packs, it's managed to stay relevant and fresh.
After the last two games, I forget the order in which I bought them, but I do remember Puyo Puyo Tetris to be one of my earlier purchases. Having originally played the Japanese version on the PS Vita eons ago, I found it to be an incredibly enjoyable means of playing Tetris, and it is ultimately still very much that on the Switch. Bright and colourful with a great soundtrack, as well as a distinct lack of the EA trash that has found its way into traditional Tetris releases, it's probably the best way to play right now. Now this obviously isn't just Tetris, Puyo Puyo is a fantastic game in its own right, but it's one a little beyond my way of thinking. It requires far more planning and forward thinking than I am quite frankly capable of, often leading me to frustration. It's a shame, because a good deal of the game's brilliantly written story requires you to play Puyo to progress, and every so often, I'd just hit a wall. I got around this wall using an in-game cheat code to unlock every level, but I couldn't help but feel cheap in doing so. If you're thinking of picking this up, consider taking the time to do what I didn't. Get into the tutorials and you'll have one heck of a good time.
Unlike the previous games, I was rather on the fence when it came to buying The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+. Having owned the game on PC, I knew it was something I could get into any time. The Switch version also included the game's latest DLC pack, and with it, Greed Mode—the place I ended up spending most of my time on PC. It was portable, it was the complete experience, and the Switch's screen size felt great for it. But it was also $40. That is a lot. At the time, I'm not quite sure what swayed my decision, and I can't quite say whether it was worth it. Ultimately, it's exactly what I expected. It's Isaac, you know what you're getting. Each playthrough it random, each playthrough it fun. I can get really into it for a week, then not play it for a month. It is definitely a sterling game, but I question whether the $40 would have been better spent, and whether I should've just stuck to its PC release.
That's all I have for now anyway. Four down, 60 to go. Yeesh. I tried to put together little banner images for each game mentioned too, but forgive my lack of graphical prowess. Maybe I'll improve in future. Until then, ciao for now folks ♪
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