Hands On – Nintendo Switch at EGX Rezzed


The Nintendo Switch has quickly risen to become a powerhouse in recent times, and a lot of reasoning for this can be owed to the stellar library of games on the platform. Although the fantastic range of in-house games is a great part of this, I would argue that the intense focus on Nindies on the Switch is what has allowed it to soar as high as it has. Speaking of which, I had the pleasure last week of attending EGX Rezzed in London’s Tobacco Dock, at which I got to play the best and brightest indie games coming to Nintendo Switch. With games coming to the Switch in all areas of the show, it’s in little doubt that Nintendo dominated Rezzed, but how were the games on display?

Clusterpuck 99

This silly ice-hockey themed party game was one of the first games I played and I was instantly sold on how simple the base game was and how fun it was to play. The basic premise is that you have to team up to score goals against the other team by gaining the puck on the stage, while tackling and avoiding the opposing team, but the slippery movement and obstacles such as spikes littered around are determined to make that more difficult for you. This game is already out on Switch, so if you want a fun party game for up to eight players, you’re looking right at one.

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Moonlighter

I sat down to play this game based simply on the aesthetic of it, and I was surprised at how much fun I had in the remarkably short time I had with it. The game itself is a wonderful dungeon crawler with rogue-lite elements, and the moment-to-moment gameplay is that of tightly controlled hack and slash combat. The high definition pixel art is beautiful both in all of the work surrounding it, and in motion. My short time with the game was incredibly enjoyable, and when I found out that it was coming to Switch I couldn’t think of a better fit for a game like this, the short, sharp dungeon exploration will be a fantastic fit for on-the-go play.

Dead Cells

I want to cover this game more in a full hands-on report, but I definitely want to relay that this game is definitely not adequately covered by reducing it to a single sentence. The Dark Souls comparison is understandable, but utterly reductive as Dead Cells is far quicker, more responsive and beautifully frenetic. The template feels far closer to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, with a sprawling set of interconnecting areas, with set items to find to unlock further progress. The futuristic aesthetic is utterly stunning without being overpowering too, with everything being clear and easy to follow. This is definitely one to watch for when it comes to Switch.

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Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

Any concerns I had about a lack of depth from this game from earlier footage was blown away by a highly stylised and tightly focused slice of hack and slash ludicrous nonsense. The demo level, complete with boss encounter was a self-referential, fourth wall breaking romp through a short but packed environment and was tremendous fun. However, the highlight was the humour of the dialogue, which could only have come from Grasshopper Manufacture and even referenced the show it was at and future shows that the demo is due to visit. If the full game retains the humour and tight gameplay, it has proven that a reduction in scale is no bad thing.

Wargroove

Now this is one of those games that scratches an itch. There hasn’t been a decent and difficult turn-based strategy in a while and the initial impression from the gameplay shown last time we saw Wargroove showed a wonderful appreciation of the classic (and under-appreciated) Nintendo series, Advance Wars, however this project has clearly blossomed out from this initial influence. Playing the game does feel a lot like Advance Wars, sure, but the creativity and sheer charm on display here really marks out Wargroove as something beautiful to play. Also, speaking to the staff working on the game and hearing that local and online multiplayer functionality is planned as well as other enhancements raises this game, like a lot of the games Nintendo had on display, to being a potentially essential purchase.

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These games were not all Nintendo had on display, the Nintendo stand itself had a multitude of gems to play; including fighting game Pocket Rumble, silly pencil drawing game West of Loathing, and the wonderfully strategic Bad North. In fact, these games were so popular that I could not get to play them as the queues were always too large. Furthermore, there were Switch games elsewhere in the venue, showing games like the recently released game, The Adventure Pals, and the incredible co-op party game Catastronauts, which is quite noticeably made in the vein of Overcooked. The simple fact is that Nintendo have a lot of great games ahead for Switch, and anyone would be a fool to ignore that a lot of those are indies.

Thank you to EGX Rezzed for the press access to the event, there will be more coverage of the games at Rezzed as this week progresses.

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