NintenRave I: Nintendo’s Ace Up Their Sleeve

I’d like to start this by saying that I still stand by (almost) everything I said in NintenRant VI. I still believe that the message given about Switch from Nintendo themselves at launch is mixed at best, especially with the pricing of games such as Super Bomberman R. However, despite all of my frustration with the console and its launch, I have to admit I made one mistake … The launch for Switch was far better than I thought. Basically, I have to give credit where it is due and Nintendo definitely had not shown its final hand for the Switch launch at the time I was writing my last rant.

A few days before the launch of it’s new infant console, Nintendo had a Direct for the indie games coming soon and later in the year to Switch. Much like the last Direct (you know, the one I tore into), it was slick, clever and really showed off the future indie titles. However, it wasn’t the set-up of this broadcast that shone for me, it was the games. This is precisely what Nintendo needed, a showing of more fun and experimental games for people to get their teeth into instead of over-priced “AAA” nonsense. Furthermore, the whole thing felt like Nintendo were back; the whole broadcast was lacking in the gimmicks of modern Nintendo and just concentrated on brilliant gameplay experiences.

What’s more, the games exclusivity (or timed-exclusivity) to Switch showed an arguable faith in the console and the concepts surrounding it from some of the best developers and publishers around. Albeit this could, from a cynical perspective, be Nintendo paying to get these games earlier or exclusively for Switch, but then I have to applaud Nintendo for cherry-picking from the vast indie pool and pulling it all together to create an incredible line-up for their new console.

Speaking of which, what games were on display then? Well: the ludicrous, and very seemingly very funny Flipping Death; the hyper violent sequel to Hotline Miami, Shakedown Hawaii; and the upcoming (and fantastic looking) indie darling Yooka-Laylee to name just three of the seventeen shown during the broadcast. All of these looked incredible and cater for very different audiences, but all of which are united by a single concept – fun. Even the games that I don’t think I would personally enjoy from the showcase I have to concede look fun to play, just not a genre I would play.

Then, freeze-framing the final image of the Direct, even more gold could be found. The final logo-filled screen (which you can see above) showed a large amount of previously unannounced titles coming to Switch, including some returning favourites. Key ones that stood out for me were the widely revered indie gem Little Inferno and an evident revival of one of my favourite retro franchises Toejam & Earl. But honestly, sitting here now looking at this image I keep seeing titles I had no idea were coming to Switch or had forgotten were announced. If Nintendo keep this up, they will likely become my go-to unit for indies just solely because of the portability of the console. Also, just saying, a remaster of the first two Toejam & Earl games wouldn’t go amiss either, if you’re listening Nintendo.

Furthermore, the last minute announcement of various other games coming on launch day, such as Snipperclips and a selection of Neo Geo titles (including the incredible King of Fighters ’98 and Waku Waku 7) goes a long way to counteract my previous assertions about a lacking launch line up. Sure, the Neo Geo titles are essentially Virtual Console releases but the games chosen are geared towards two-player local play, which is perfect considering the portability of the console. So, people like myself that enjoy fighting games can play them, with friends, anywhere. Also, at £6.29, the pricing isn’t too bad, especially compared to the wonky pricing of other games on the console. Speaking of pricing still, Snipperclips is an absolute steal on the eShop too at £17.99 for something truly unique and fun to play (also, check out Conor’s amazing review of the game here).

Truth be told, this all surprised me. I’ve gone from being completely unenthused about Switch to being slightly disappointed in myself that I didn’t get one on day one. I still believe that a lot of the decisions surrounding the console are dubious at best, but I should have known that Nintendo would have such an incredible ace up their sleeve. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have some King of Fighters ’98 to return to. I hope you all had a great Switchmas.

Any thoughts on my first NintenRave? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, @reuthegamer.

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