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THE BIG LAUNCH GAMES REVIEWED! OUR OPINION ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH!

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Definitive Verdict

ISSUE 2 | APRIL 2017


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Welcome to the second issue of Switch Player Magazine! It’s finally here! Of course, I could be talking about the Nintendo Switch - but instead, I'm talking about our fabulous and long-awaited second issue of Switch Player Magazine! I’m kidding of course. By now, you’ll either have spent the last month exploring a vast and expansive Hyrule, moving Joy-Con around like crazy folk, or simply playing those launch titles in whichever way you can. Then again, maybe you’ve been looking frantically at various information and fretting over whether you should buy Nintendo’s latest machine. That’s assuming you can find one, of course! Yes, the Nintendo Switch is finally here, and this second issue of our magazine will explain a lot of what we've experienced since launch. Packed into even more pages than our debut issue, you’ll get our definitive verdict on the hybrid system, as well as reviews on many of the games released for it so far.

UNCOVERED!

If that's not enough, we have even more features for you - with the Daily Mirror’s Ryan Brown talking us through the launch line-up, and Family Gamer’s Andy Robertson looking at the child-friendly experiences (and playing games with his little ones). We’ve also got the Daily Star’s Meg Bethany Read in, as she explains what she wants to see from a Nintendo Switch version of Animal Crossing. With hands-on features for many games that arrived as we went to print, and a brief look at many more still to come, there’s plenty of Switch related content packed into this 60-page issue!

THE BIG LAUNCH GAMES REVIEWED! OUR OPINION ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH!

our

Definitive Verdict

Additionally, we've listened to a lot of your feedback from Issue #1, and hope that our minor tweaks and adjustments will help you to enjoy this dedicated Switch magazine even more! So - if you can - put your Switch down, or maybe even hold off buying one for a little bit; in these pages you'll surely see what's in store for the newest console on the block.

ISSUE 2 | APRIL 2017

This month's beautiful The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild cover was designed by Justin Paul. You can find more of Justin's work at www.artbyjustinpaul.com

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

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Inside

Contents FEATURES 06 Nintendo Switch Review 12 Launch Verdict 14 A Switch in the Family 22 Frozenbyte Interview 24 Lizardcube Interview 52 Community Voice Nintendaan 54 A Look at Animal Crossing 56 The Switch and Nindies! PREVIEWS 16 Splatoon 2 18 LEGO Worlds 19 Shakedown Hawaii 20 Yooka-Laylee 21 Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers REVIEWS 26 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 32 1-2-Switch 34 Super Bomberman R 36 Fast RMX 39 Vroom in the Night Sky 40 I Am Setsuna 42 Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment 44 Snipperclips Cut it out, together! 46 Just Dance 2017 48 Blaster Master Zero REGULARS 02 Patreon Stars 50 Directory 51 Downloadables 58 Next Time 59 At the Flagpole

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12 Ryan Brown gives us his thoughts on the Switch's launch titles

14 FamilyGamerTV takes us through some Nintendo Switch family time thoughts

22 Frozenbyt upcoming


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24 Lizardcube talks about the remake of Wonder Boy on the Switch

52 Nintendaan's impressions on the Switch and its games

54 Meg Bethany Read gives us her Animal Crossing hopes for Switch

Review

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Our Definitive Verdict

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AFTER WHAT SEEMS LIKE AN ETERNITY SINCE THE LATE SATORU IWATA ANNOUNCED NINTENDO’S NEXT PIECE OF HARDWARE, WHAT WAS PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS THE NX IS FINALLY HERE. AFTER MONTHS OF EXCITEMENT, HYPE, AND DISAPPOINTMENT, FOLLOWED BY MORE HYPE (REPEAT AD NAUSEUM), THE SYSTEM IS NOW AVAILABLE AND QUITE LITERALLY IN GAMER’S HANDS. IT’S ALSO THE FIRST TIME THAT I’VE GENUINELY BEEN EXCITED FOR A NINTENDO SYSTEM IN MORE THAN A DECADE. HAS IT BEEN WORTH THE WAIT?

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What’s Included? Opening your Switch box for the first time you’ll be presented with the tablet and the two Joy-Con, with the other bits and pieces underneath. Also packaged with the new handheld are a USB-C charger, a dock for playing on the television, a HDMI cable, and two little straps for using the Joy-Con freehand. You also get the Joy-Con grip, which can be used as a more traditional (and somewhat surprisingly, comfortable) controller. This doesn’t allow your Joy-Con to charge however, and you’ll need the (sold separately) charge grip for that.

Design One of the first things that grabs you with the Nintendo Switch is just how tiny everything is. Diminutive is a word that I’ve not had much use for, but it’s incredibly apt as almost every review outlet around are also finding. The Joy-Con are tiny. The Switch unit itself – which is the tablet element, and all the required components that are contained in this module – is small. Even the plastic dock bundled in the package seems very tiny in comparison to normal hardware. It’s all incredibly well packaged in an equally small box, and really gives the aura of a high end product. Given that this new hybrid system is retailing for £279.99, you’d expect that. When all connected together, the system is more long than it is big; it’s certainly bigger than a PlayStation Vita and wider (but shorter) than a Wii U gamepad. It’s also incredibly thin – perhaps not pocketsized, as many naysayers are suggesting, but certainly portable. If being able to fit in a pocket was a requirement for being classified as portable, the whole thing would have fallen apart at the Game Boy, Game Gear and Atari Lynx era. Modern day laptops, tablets and phablets would also then be exempt… unless people are trying to apply different rules. Nintendo haven’t revealed specifics for the Nintendo Switch’s internals, but we do know that it runs on a customised NVidia Tegra chipset. We also know that the system is more powerful than the Wii U and the PlayStation Vita, but not quite at the same level as a standard PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Moving on to more specific specifications, the Switch is packed with 32GB of on board storage – although only ~25.9GB is available to you on first boot. As such, 8

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if you plan on downloading games then you’ll need to invest in a Micro SDHC/ SDXC memory card to increase your storage (up to 2TB). For reference, Breath of the Wild is a 13.4GB download; and although it’s vast in size compared to most, it gives a general indication of how quickly that internal memory could be gobbled up. Currently save game files are stored to the internal memory with no way of transferring them over, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.

an absolutely stunning visual display. Despite not being full HD in portable mode (the ability to upscale to 1080p on the TV is available), it really looks fantastic.

The system ships with a 4310 mAh 3.7 V lithium-ion battery, and official longevity in handheld mode varies from 2.5 to 6 hours. Using Breath of the Wild as the benchmark, Nintendo has said it’ll run for around three. Obviously how bright the screen is, the volume level, and the computational intensity of the game will affect this.

There are a few niggles with the design though, and one of them follows the fact that the unit features a kickstand for using the console in “Table Top” form. This kickstand is made of plastic, feels flimsy, and in use you tend to fear it may break. It’s easily removable (and replaceable) it seems, but you can’t help but look to solutions like the one the Microsoft Surface uses with envy. Another issue is the flimsiness of the cover for the game cards; it’s literally thin tabs of plastic securing this to your console. I genuinely fear for the long term life span of this likely often-used cover.

It’s not often Nintendo have nailed the design of their hardware at the first iteration, but the Switch is one sexy machine, and it all feels so incredibly premium. Despite weighing in at around 400 grams in its completed form, it never feels heavy as a handheld – and with the Joy-Con in the grip whilst playing on the TV it’s barely even noticeable. The unit has a 6.2 inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 with 237 pixels per inch, which means that you get

The dock also needs a mention here: it’s a slab of plastic with two external USB slots, the lone outward ports complimenting internal USB, USB-C, and HDMI connections. This thing is expected to retail for $60-$90 and essentially transfers the video signal to the TV. In complete contrast to the Switch itself, the dock feels quite cheap – and there are more than a few reports the dock is scratching screens, although it’s not something that has affected me.


Set-up and Accounts Turning the device on for the first time you’ll be prompted to connect the two Joy-Con to the tablet; the now familiar finger snaps echoing satisfyingly around you, and those tiny controllers effortlessly – but solidly – gliding along the rail and locking into place. Any worries I had about removing or attaching them instantly disappeared. The system then prompted me to set the date, time, language, and a nickname for myself – all accompanied by incremental audio prompts letting me know I was nearly done. All taken care of, I was up and running in less than ten minutes. Admittedly I had no online functionality at the time of set up, as when Nintendo sent this reviewer his unit the day one patch had not yet gone live, though subsequently I was able to easily link my newly created account with my Nintendo Network ID with no issues. The interface is very basic, but also very fluid, clean, and easy to navigate. Anyone that has spent time with the 3DS system will be happy to hear that!

The Switch uses friend codes for online play – despite suggestions that it wouldn’t, although it isn’t as bad as before. If you have someone else’s code you can enter it, and rather than exchange theirs too they simply need to approve the request. Nintendo will be rolling out paid online later this year, and many details are scarce.

There are no apps, internet browser, YouTube, Netflix, or other such programs currently available – and no word on when many will arrive. There’s also no Virtual Cconsole; although since it’s said that a Virtual Console title will be part of the paid subscription, you can bet it’ll arrive at some point down the line.

Hybrid How excited you’ll be for Nintendo’s newest hardware will depend on many factors, not least of all how you view it. Nintendo’s eschewed marketing stance places this new technology firmly on the fence with a “unique” ability to be both a handheld and a console in one; and it really changes the way you can play. Whether on a big screen session before work/school/other before transferring the play instantly to the handheld, or just playing it free hand; the opportunities to play are endless. 1-2-Switch is essentially a game you can only play docked or on tabletop mode whilst Voez is the first handheld-only game so games that work on all modes are not guaranteed. We could see a wide range of games with some specifically tailored to a certain way of playing.

Me? I’m firmly in the camp that this is a handheld and will be how I play most of the time, save for party scenarios or late night playing. The added convenience of being able to play in other ways enhances its worth, but for me it’s a handheld/portable device first and foremost and looking at it this way greatly enhances it’s place in the market. Switch Player

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The real beauty with how the Switch works is those little detachable controllers, the Joy-Con. Despite the obvious gimmicky nature, these little paddles slide on and off the unit/Joy-Con Grip with ease and work really well. With a great weight, balance and size – as well as cleverly hidden “shoulder” buttons on the side, these controllers are also designed to work well as two little controllers for multiplayer gaming. Although no real substitute for a full sized controller, it works very well for short sessions. Built into the technology are motion controls, and as such can operate in a similar manner to a Wii remote. It also has a fabulous rumble system dubbed “HD Rumble” which works incredibly well. Nintendo claimed that the rumble is sensitive enough to detect multiple ice cubes simulated within, and you’ll certainly get to test that theory in titles such as 1-2-Switch: it definitely works, and works well.

Of course, one of the more publicised elements of the Switch itself has been the reporting that the Joy-Con can experience communication problems. It seems that the Bluetooth signal from the little controllers – the left in particular – aren’t particularly strong, and there’s further speculation that distance, electrical interference, and even human skin could cause the signal to drop. While this is a problem that many

are having, I can tell you that in over 70 hours of playing I’m yet to experience it myself; though I play around three meters from the TV, there’s a direct line of sight between the docked unit and the controllers, and I tend not to play freehand. It is something to be aware of, however – though it’s also notable that Nintendo currently regards the issue as within regular failure limits.

As mentioned above, the miniature controllers slide effortlessly into the surprisingly comfortable Joy-Con grip, but the biggest issue with the grip is that it has no means to charge the controllers. Instead, you’d have to shell out additional cash to get the version with a USB port in it if you prefer (or need) to charge separate. The Joy-Con also lack a traditional D-pad, so for those requiring something with this input, you’ll need to get yourself the Switch Pro controller. Retailing for around £60+ RRP at the time of launch, this is one of the finest controllers I’ve ever used. Packing in all the functionality found within the Joy-Con and having that D-pad, it’s also important to mention that the buttons on the Pro controller are also slightly larger. I found that despite the Joy-Con Grip being more than competent for the job, this is a fabulous way of playing too – so I tend to play the Switch docked this way, leaving the Joy-Con attached. In terms of battery life, Joy-Con are said to last for around 20 hours each and can charge just fine through the unit when docked. The Pro controller apparently lasts for around 40 hours (!), and I am yet to recharge it at the time of writing (even though it’s been through some heavy use).

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Games Systems rarely ship with a complete complement and variety of titles, but it has to be said that the Switch’s launch line up is less than stellar. Of course, Breath of the Wild is no ordinary game – and the launch also possesses some little gems in the form of Snipperclips, Fast RMX, and Shovel Knight. The system has over 150 games announced already, and with a fusion of first party titles, third party efforts, and an abundance of indie developers all getting behind the system, it won’t be long before the Switch has too many games to play! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the next big Nintendo release – though Arms, Splatoon 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Super Mario Odyssey are all expected before the end of the year.

Are you are looking for a new system for either at home, on the go, or even both? Do you have money burning a hole in your pocket? Can you see games that you’ll enjoy playing from the launch and upcoming line-up? If you answer positively to these questions, then undoubtedly yes. Nintendo aficionados that fall into this bracket will no doubt already have one, but I cannot sing the praises for the hardware and its potential enough. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is such an amazing experience, and arguably one of the best launch titles that a console has ever seen. No console is worth buying just for one game, but if there was

Breath of the Wild would be that game. With the best part of 150 titles inbound already, a mix of classic Nintendo First-party, some token third-party, and a whole host of exciting indies, there is plenty to keep you occupied. If you own a Wii U then the question becomes a little more difficult. Is it worth shelling out £340+ to play the game on the Switch when you can just play it on the Wii U? That’s a hard sell to make. The Wii U is not going to continue to get big-name titles (and the writing is on the wall for it), but if it’s only Zelda that appeals to you then you might be better off waiting for now.

Otherwise, it’s a resounding yes from me. As a predominantly handheld focused gamer, the Switch is almost everything I’d want from a portable console, and it has the added bonus of doubling up as a system I can play on the TV as well. It has a few little niggles on the whole and certainly feels that it’s been rushed out, but with the promise of some spectacular games and the return of split screen party fun, I’m fully on board. Are you?

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Ryan Brown

@Toadsanime

RYAN IS A FULL-TIME GAMES JOURNALIST, AND HE WRITES ABOUT GAMES FOR THE DAILY MIRROR AND OTHER VARIOUS OUTLETS. WE ASKED HIM TO TELL US WHAT HE THOUGHT ABOUT THE NINTENDO SWITCH'S LAUNCH LINE-UP.

When I first thought about writing this piece, I expected it to be coming at a completely different angle. I expected to be telling how, in spite of this being a magazine focused on the Nintendo Switch, you should expect to sometimes see harsh criticisms of the consoles, its games and Nintendo's business decisions. Whilst you should certainly still anticipate balanced opinions in this mag, this piece in particular is in no way as critical as I originally anticipated it to be. You see, from January into late-February, I was one of the many people voicing concerns over the Switch's launch line-up. I considered it to be weak - at the time, the line-up consisted of Zelda (also available on the Wii U), 1-2 Switch (something I still believe should have been a bundled title) and only a few ports.

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However, with days remaining before the Switch hit stores, my outlook changed somewhat. Here in the UK, 19 titles were released on the Switch at launch, many of which were announced mere hours before launch. Thanks to the easily-accessible foreign eShop stores, that number is vastly improved with the likes of Disgaea 5, I Am Setsuna and Puyo Puyo Tetris available on day one. Many will still criticise this Switch launch line-up, and they're not wrong in doing so - unless you're a big Zelda fan, putting money down on a new console for what is otherwise still mostly ports right now may not be worthwhile - but for me, those few extra additions at launch make all the difference.


SWITCH PLAYSTATION 4 XBOX ONE WII U WII By comparison, the PlayStation 4 launch had 26 games, the Xbox One had 22 games, and the Wii U had 31. As for the Wii? Well, the Wii had 20 games available at launch, and I'd argue the options then were even weaker. Bar the bundled-in Wii Sports, the Twilight Princess port, and perhaps Red Steel, it was practically barren. Seeing as the Wii still managed to sell more than 100 million units in its lifetime, it's clear to me that the actual line-up of titles at launch is not an indicator of success. We don't yet know whether the Switch will be a commercial success, or to what level if it is, but what we do know is that the way a console is marketed at launch is vastly more important. The Wii succeeded because its marketing campaign, aimed at the family market, was executed wonderfully and the console saw a steady release of games. The PlayStation 4 has succeeded for almost the same reasons, except for that it targeted a more 'hardcore' gaming market.

The Wii U failed, in my opinion, because its marketing failed. Its name confused consumers and its message was all wrong. Those of us who have worked at retail stores in the past will be all to aware of customer confusion over the console - parents typically saw it as a re-model of the Wii. The Switch, as most of us can agree, has been marketed excellently so far. Its line-up may not be the best in the world, but it's not out of the ordinary, and it's the overall console message and future releases that will determine its worth. If you've bought a Switch already, I sincerely hope you're enjoying it and are looking forward to the likes of ARMS, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey. If you've yet to buy one, I hope you're looking forward to getting it when the library fills up a bit later on in the year - and, of course, I hope you enjoy many of the launch games reviewed in this very magazine!

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FamilyGamerTV

familygamer.tv @FamilyGamerTV

Experts, avid gamers, and Nintendo faithful are largely unanimous about the Switch’s launch. Review scores and even early sales make this one of the most successful new consoles in Nintendo’s history. The bigger challenge for the Switch is beyond these familiar shores to those who don’t follow gaming closely, but enjoyed discovering the Wii with the family. It’s that long-tale that will determine how successful the Switch is seen to be in the future. We’ve had the Switch in our family for almost a month now, and there are some surprising things about it - and the games - that give it a great shot at connecting to that wide audience. The hardware itself was the first surprise. Not only is the main unit more diminutive and portable that I had expected, but it also offers a range of ways to play for different family members. Whether you want to deal out Joy-Con halves to play Bomberman R, dock them in the JoyCon grip for Skylanders Imaginators, or even attach them to the screen to play Zelda on the loo (not that I would ever do that you understand), there’s something for everyone. The Joy-Cons are small and this will irk some I know, but this really hasn’t been a problem for us - even for those of us with out-sized man mitts. 14

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In the palm they fit well and have an ergonomic feel. You do need to get used to the offset of buttons and stick, but again this soon becomes familiar.

charge while you play, but we simply haven’t given charging the Joy-Cons two thoughts. They are always charged and ready to go, even after long play sessions.

Getting the Switch out of the box and set-up is also a revelation. I’m used to a good few hours of downloading and updating and loading and installing (and then often more updating), but the Switch was good to go in a matter of minutes.

The battery of the main unit isn’t amazingly long - but when I tested it against our iPad Minis and PlayStation Vita, the Switch more than held its own. We’ve invested in a battery charger for when we go on long journeys and can’t plug into the mains, but so far haven’t needed to use it.

There was a snappy system update and around ten minutes to configure the Wi-Fi and parental controls, but after that it was super quick. Families will also appreciate that games load quickly too. On the Wii U we were used to waiting for games to get started — in fact I could make a cup of tea in the time Lego City Undercover took to load, but the Switch gets you playing really quickly. This may sound like a small thing but when children of various ages are itching to play, reducing the amount of time waiting makes a big difference. Also good in this respect is that the Joy-Con controllers charge when they are attached to the screen. You no longer to you have to scurry around looking for batteries when you want to play some Bomberman R. I had expected to invest in the premium controller grip that lets you

I should mention the games. If you haven’t heard about the sheer epic nature of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild you must have given the internet up for Lent. It’s already being touted as game of the year, and with good reason. We’ve been playing it in our family - each with different save files - and it’s been fascinating to see just how different our paths through the game have been. It's also been a lot of fun helping each other out and talking Zelda strategy over breakfast. Snipperclips is more of a surprise. I’d not heard a lot about this before getting the Switch, but it is a lot of fun. With a simple paper-craft aesthetic, the game challenges players to work together to snip each other and solve ingenious and devious puzzles. As a parent I’ve loved seeing my two competitive boys come


together and work (with only occasional shouting) together on the game. Skylanders Imaginators was another surprise for us. We’d already played much of the game on the Wii U and had expected the Switch version to be an upscaled re-release of this, however Activision have really embraced the Switch’s portable nature to create what (for my family) is the definitive Skylanders experience. Not only has it done away with the need for a plastic USB portal (you use the right Joy-Con to scan in Skylanders), but you can also store a whole bunch of characters on the system for when you are out and about. It’s a clever move that shows just how different of a console the Switch is. 1-2 Switch has been the other hit with our family, but not how I expected. Rather than it being the kids who embraced the silly challenges and creative use of Joy-Cons, it’s been us parents and grandparents who’ve played this most. I’m not

sure if we’ll see it spread to care homes like Wii-Sports Bowling, but it certainly has some of that DNA. It’s easy to overlook as a triviality, but in actually 1-2 Switch is as revolutionary as the PlayStation Move powered Johann Sebastian Joust was before it. Simply because the action happens in the room rather than on the screen, it’s a videogame that’s as much fun to watch as it is to play. There’s a real sense of theatre to many of the challenges, and the detailed feedback of how each player performed does away with the frustrating vagueness of many similar Kinect games. The crown jewel for parents is the Switch Parental Control app. Not only does this make it simple to set and control access to older content, but it also shows you what the kids have been playing. I hadn’t realised my son had got so into Zelda until I saw the report on my phone while running errands around town. This led to us playing the game together for the

youtube.com/watch?v=T6Rqaf9lMrg

afternoon — something that might not have happened without the app. I would like to see the stats and time limits be tied to different users. Currently my twelve hours with Zelda on Saturday somewhat dwarfs the kids’ two hours a day. Maybe we’ll see these features appear in a future update. Perhaps the best sign of how well the family has taken to the Switch is how quickly it’s become part of family life. It’s already the first device on in the morning, and has been the subject of many drawings and animations — and even the creation of their own Lego Mario unboxing video. It’s still early days, and we need to try more games to really know how much longevity the Switch can sustain, but already the pattern of play in our house is reminding me of when we first played the Wii.

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Globfairle Test As I sat down to play the first round of Splatoon 2‘s recent global testfire event, I admit – I didn’t quite know what to expect experience-wise. There are some games that are easy to read from a very short bit of explanation or gameplay video, but while I had seen Splatoon played before I wasn’t someone who had any real-world experience under my belt. A veritable virgin, I was going in – tool in hand – with no idea what to do. Within the first few minutes, and after the quick tutorial, I was covering the map in ink… but while I was expecting to be running around and attacking like I would in any multiplayer shooter, this game seemed a bit slower at first glance. I was simply not used to the mechanics of the two forms, and the most of my first map was spent wasted as I wasn’t quite attune to the idea of using your team’s ink trails to move fast and rebuild ink in squid form. Time, ink, and lives were lost to the learning curve that match – but it only took a few before I was accustomed to the hook, strategizing and moving up the result page on a regular basis like the others. I found that while Splatoon 2‘s mechanics might be jarring for a moment, even with the motion controls it’s quite easy to pick

up for a new player; especially if you’ve already gotten some practice in with Breath of the Wild. Sure, it doesn’t work quite the same – but in a few minutes I was circling and motioning without extended mental effort, and that was all that mattered to me. If you prefer to turn or tune the motion controls that option was there as well, but I only tried it to make sure it worked. Spoiler; it did. As for the content of the testfire, we were allowed two obstacle-laden maps – The Reef and Musselforge Fitness – and one mode by the name of Turf War. The map choice was random (it did not alternate), and lobbies were four-on-four with a mandatory wait until the lobby filled up – which meant that at times (i.e.; the nighttime testfire rounds, or at the end of the sessions) you were booted back to the main menu after waiting two or more minutes for nothing. Aside from that little “quirk” of the system however, the entirety of my playtime appeared to be simply flawless. Not once did I get kicked from a game that managed to make it to the afterlobby stage, and there was no choppiness to the way that the game moved when playing against other players – either in frame rate or connected player

movement. The entirety of my actual play time was smooth and seamless, and at times I was even uploading videos to YouTube while playing; something that usually cripples my chances for quality online gameplay. People like tweeter @ octobyte_ – who have the tools to measure such things – are reporting that the tick rate (how often it sends and receives data) is much lower than most games of its sort at 12.5Hz, while @ Wario64 (among others) tried tethering to confirm that it doesn’t use much data at 130-150MB/hour. Maybe that’s where the special sauce in this one is hinted at, but either way it’s clear that the quality of the connected experience was fantastic. But what about the actual gameplay, right? Well that’s yet another positive aspect in my opinion, as my bad self was able to pick it up and get involved in all the right ways. Over the course of my six hours in playtime, I tested out the four weapons and their special attacks – figuring out just how the pieces of this puzzle come into play, and why there is no “perfect weapon” in the process. I found that while all the choices were indeed very different (okay, maybe the Splattershot and Splat Dualies are close), they’re also limiting in their own unique ways. Some weapons fire quickly and unload ink like it’s going out of style – with very little fine control, and others are very sparing and use ink both wisely and precisely. For example, the Splat Dualies are more geared towards a combative barrage of ink blobs from a distance; while on the other hand, the Splat Roller is more conducive to painting large areas quickly and taking out enemies close-up. Both of these can put you at a disadvantage to each other when in direct competition, though both are very useful in upping those points. While we’re on the weapon choices, I should probably outline them for you – as they’re not as simple as a one-pumpchump. They all have primary, secondary, and special uses which can be quite different from each other as well.

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Switch Player


Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

The first weapon you’re offered in the Splatoon 2 global testfire is the Splattershot. It’s a fast-firing, single barreled machine gun that can empty your ink in just a few moments, and it’s an easy first time choice for those looking to get into the action. Aside from its primary mode however, the secondary usage is actually a giant ink splat in the form of the burst bomb – though it uses an excessive amount of ink (it’s indicated on your ink meter how much you need). Finally, there’s a special attack that only activates once a certain amount of points have been gathered in a single life; it activates an ink-based Tenta-Missile (rocket launcher with lock-on) launch with this load-out. Weapon number two is the Splat Roller, and it’s kind of unique in that it offers very little in the way of distance attacks in its main usage. The Splat Roller is good for efficiently and thoroughly covering a large swath of ground with ink. It lays out a blocky pattern of in ink front of you, and lasts a fair amount of time between charges – but its secret weapon is that it’s an insta-kill on any squid kid you happen to touch directly. Aside from its main usage, it also allows you to fling a narrow stream of paint when in the air; a move that seems quite deadly in its own rights. The secondary option here is a curling bomb, and it bounces about like a timed (and one-hit-lethal) grenade when you let it go. Finally, the special attack isn’t quite like the others, as it has the player jump up into the air for a Splashdown – which is a fancy word for a ground-pound-like splat that acts as an insta-kill over the immediate area.

by one of two of these players, but I was pretty useless with this one. The secondary mode for the Splat Charger is pretty good however, and acts like both a timed and proximity ink grenade; toss the splat bomb, watch it blink, and wait for the boom. I was only able to bust out the special for this one once, but it’s a laser-like penetrating shot that will take out enemies through walls and at a distance. Ouch! The final equip we were able to play with in the testfire was the Splat Dualies. They’re a rapid-fire two gun solution, that will have you coating enemies or surfaces with quickness and the possibility for distance. That said, it’s one of the weapons you need to hit the enemy multiple times with to take them out; so it’s not ideal either. The secondary attack here is a suction bomb, which sticks and goes off with a timer for an insta-splat in range. Finally, the special is the inkjet jetpack – which launched you into the air for floating attacks from above. While it leaves you open with nowhere to hide, it also allows you to insta-kill anyone you hit from the air, and it flings you back to its activation point once it runs out. Aside from the Splat Charger, I found all

of the weapons very easy to jump in and use as a new player. While some were more useful for protecting and covering area – like the Splat Roller, others were good for taking area forcefully with quick covers (at the cost of ink) when you do – like the Splat Dualies. They’re all deadly with a practiced hand however, and I don’t feel like the game is unfair if you’re proficient in any of these options. That could change as we see how people exploit the quirks of the system, but I never cried “nerf it” – not once. Instead, I simply played happily through all of the six testfire hours; getting better for the most part, but fumbling as one does when places up against unseen challenges and new worlds. I made some incredible kills, took lots of land under my colour, scored nearly 2000 points a few times, and even had a round where I only died once (a personal best). I basked in the glory that was Splatoon 2 – and though it was neither the full thing, nor quite what I was expecting it to play out like, it was absolutely an experience that has won over some attention from my wallet. Take my money Nintendo, the withdrawal is already kicking in…

The third equip on the roster is the Splat Charger, and by far it’s the hardest to use. In the form of a sniper-rifle, this weapon is deadly to anyone caught in your path – but it’s also not that easy to accomplish in practice. I’m sure a team-based event where players can coordinate would change that drastically, but as a “disconnected” part of a team you need to be crazy good to pull it off. I was killed Switch Player

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PREVIEW

LEGO Worlds

Do you love LEGO? Do you think a LEGO-styled version of Minecraft would be incredible? If you answered yes to one - or both - of those questions, then you should definitely keep your eye out for LEGO Worlds. It will unleash upon your hybrid console the ability to create almost anything you can imagine in an open world representation filled with virtual Danish plastic bricks. With LEGO Worlds and the Switch, anything is possible - even taking the game on the go! LEGO Worlds has recently released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and although it's confirmed for a Nintendo Switch release, development only started early this year. We could be waiting for this one a while, but rest assured; it's coming. PUBLISHER Warner Bros

AT A GLANCE 18

Switch Player

DEVELOPER TT Games

NA: TBC EU: TBC


PREVIEW

Shakedown Hawaii

If you played Retro City Rampage - Brian Provinciano's homage to the 8-Bit era of games and movies, then you'll definitely want to look at Shakedown Hawaii; his 16Bit follow-up. Launched FIRST on the Switch as a timed exclusive, our blurb says " Shakedown Hawaii parodies big business and the white collar crimes that go alongside. Build your empire, monopolize the markets and collaterally re-zone the island's destructible sandbox." Are you excited for this one? We are too! PUBLISHER Vblank Entertainment

AT A GLANCE

DEVELOPER Vblank Entertainment NA: April EU: April

Switch Player

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PREVIEW

Yooka-Laylee

It was teased a little earlier this year, but now it's confirmed; the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie is headed to the Nintendo Switch! This game is a 3D platformer where you control two characters - a chameleon named Yooka and a bat called Laylee - as they embark on their quest from Shipwreck Creek to the halls of Hivory Towers. Only these two can work together to beat the devious Captain B and his dastardly plan to absorb the world's books for profit, and you're the puppet-master that'll get them there. Are you ready to take a ride down Nintendo 64 lane? Yooka-Laylee is headed our way "as soon as possible" according to the developers, so keep an eye out! PUBLISHER Team 17

AT A GLANCE

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Switch Player

DEVELOPER Playtonic Games NA: TBC EU: TBC


PREVIEW

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

If you are a fan of fighting games and grew up in the 1990's, there's a good chance you played a version of Street Fighter II - or have at least heard of it. One of the more surprising announcements for the Nintendo Switch is yet another new version of Capcom's classic fighter, which is set to add exclusive gameplay content alongside the new characters "Evil Ryu" and "Violent Ken." Combining classic visuals and the newer art, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers could just be the most definitive version of Street Fighter II, and the best part of all is that it's headed our way. Who wants to fight? PUBLISHER Capcom

AT A GLANCE

DEVELOPER Capcom

NA: 26th May EU: 26th May Switch Player

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Frozenbyte

frozenbyte.com @Frozenbyte Hello Frozenbyte! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? That’s quite a long story but it all started out with two high-schoolers who wanted to make games many years ago. Our CEO Lauri and Senior Programmer Juha founded the company back in 2001. They started making games basically at home, then moved the company into a garage and so on… eventually releasing our first game Shadowgrounds back in 2005. Since then we’ve made a number of other games, with the Trine series being the most well-known of the bunch. You are currently working on Has-Been Heroes. Can you tell us a little bit about what it is? Has-Been Heroes is a roguelike game of strategy and action, where a band of heroes are on a quest to take the King’s twin princesses to a faraway academy. The heroes used to be legendary champions but are now a bunch of has22

Switch Player

FROZENBYTE ARE A FINNISH GAME DEVELOPER, PROBABLY BEST KNOWN FOR THEIR WORK ON THE TRINE SERIES OF ACTION/PUZZLE PLATFORMERS. THEIR CURRENT PROJECT IS HAS-BEEN HEROES FOR THE NINTENDO SWITCH, SO WE HAD A CHAT WITH THEM ABOUT IT! beens, retired and worn out and with only two members the original group left – the warrior, Crux, and the monk-mage Metacles. They’re joined by a young rogue by the name of Tam on the daring quest! Players control three characters during the journey, and must use a combination of melee attacks and powerful spells in order to defeat the incoming onslaught of enemies in their path. The game has a huge pool of 300 spells and 200 items that are all randomized on each run, along with the enemies and regions. It has permadeath, so you’ll die a lot, but beating the boss fights will allow you to progress on a bigger scale. The game is a mixture of real time and turn-based strategy. How does that work? It runs real time, but automatically pauses after each melee attack you make in order to allow for lane swaps between characters. There is also a toggle button

for pause that you can use at any point, to give yourself time to think about your next move and cast spells more efficiently. Will there be any differences between the Switch version and the other formats? Gameplay/content-wise the game is identical on all platforms, and if you put any of the console’s controllers in your hands it plays pretty much exactly the same, but the buttons are just named differently. On Switch we have the HD Rumble for spells, and you have the ability to continue the game on the go in portable / tabletop mode due to the hybrid nature of the console - which is pretty cool! What made you want to develop the game for the Switch? How have you found developing for the Switch? It was something we thought about even when the only thing we knew about the


platform was the codename NX. Once abilities, where to swap your heroes next it was revealed, we thought Has-Been etc. Heroes would be a great fit for the Switch. Players control three heroes on three Development has gone well, the Switch lanes, and use melee attacks and spells has been a pleasure to work with, and to destroy the incoming enemies. You we’re very impressed with how wellneed to keep in mind the cooldowns of thought out everything has been from a the different abilities, how many hits, developer perspective. and how much damage the heroes make compared to enemy stamina and health, What games would you say have inspired as well as what spells to use and in which development of Has-Been Heroes? order, and which enemies to prioritize. A lot of roguelike games like FTL, Binding of Isaac, and those types of titles have Spells, for example, have very cool effects been an initial inspiration, although the when combined together, e.g. water gameplay in Has-Been Heroes is quite spells with wind creates ice, fire with different. lightning makes an explosion and so on. There are 300 different spells in the game, We mainly wanted to create something and the ones you get are random on each challenging that you could sink a lot of run, so you need to adapt your strategy time into, but still be able to play in short every time you play! bursts. When you first start out with Has-Been What gameplay will gamers encounter Heroes, the controls will take a few when playing Has Been Heroes? minutes to get used to, but once you’ve There’s definitely a lot of strategy got those figured out the game starts involved, thinking about your next moves, flowing faster and faster and you’ll be what enemies to target and with what thinking several moves ahead.

Are there any games coming out for the Switch that you are interested in or you think look amazing? Zelda is looking like a must-buy! I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I’m pretty sold based on what I’ve seen. What's next for Frozenbyte? Has-Been Heroes and Nine Parchments are coming out this year, and we’re also working on some other projects that we’ll reveal more about at a later time. Finally, if you have to choose just one, what is the Switch to you? A handheld that you can plug in or a console you can take out? If I had to choose just one, that’s pretty tough but I think I’m mostly going to play it in handheld mode. We would like to thank Frozenbyte - and in particular Kai - for their time with this interview. Has-Been Heroes is out now and we will have a review for you in the next issue! Switch Player

23


Lizardcube

lizardcube.com @lizardcube Hello Lizardcube! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? Omar: Hello, and thanks for having us! Lizardcube was formally founded at the end of 2015 by Ben Fiquet and I. We are based in Paris. We actually started working on the game earlier than that, but starting the company was us transitioning to working on it full-time. I’ve personally been working in games since early 2000. I’ve worked on games such as Evil Twin (Dreamcast) for the earliest, Soul Bubbles (NDS) along with Ben, Pixeljunk Shooter (PS3), Tearaway (PS Vita), etc. Ben: Hi, I’m Ben working as the art director of Lizardcube. Omar being a super multi-talented programmer is officiating as the tech director. We both come from very different backgrounds, but manage to blend together for a long loved project which is Wonder Boy. I have been working in Art and Animation for more than a decade, sometimes working on video games ( Soul Bubbles) but mainly comics and animation. 24

Switch Player

WONDER BOY: THE DRAGON'S TRAP IS A REMAKE OF THE 1989 CLASSIC TITLE, AND IS COMING TO THE NINTENDO SWITCH SOON. WE CAUGHT UP WITH LIZARDCUBE'S FOUNDERS - OMAR CORNUT AND BEN FIQUET - TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT. You are currently working on Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap. Can you tell us a little bit about what it is? Omar: The Dragon’s Trap is part of the classic Wonder Boy/Monster World series which was popular on the Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis. This episode originally released in 1989, and it is mostly an action/exploration game but combines various types of gameplay. It is among the earliest “Metroidvania” type of game. It was particularly popular with players at the time, and is also a game that is still resonating for many. You start the game as Wonder Boy in his regular Hu-Man form, but quickly get cursed and turned into a half-human half-lizard character. The game revolves around you chasing exotic dragons and getting turned into new animal forms. Each form has different abilities and allows you to explore the game world. Ben: Also, art wise, I wanted to have something who feels traditional and lively. This is why the game is fully hand drawn animated and filled with a painterly look.

The game is a complete remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap which was originally published by SEGA for the Master System. How did you get around to this version? Omar: Well the reason we are doing it is because we love that game! Love is hard to explain, but we think the game is still fun and relevant. It is such a classic for retro Sega players and we are happy to bring it to a larger audience! Ben: It is a brilliant game, considered by many as one of the best master system games. But mainly, we loved it so much as children that we wanted to share with as much people as we could. Will there be any differences between the Master System version and this new version? Omar: We are aiming at making an accurate remake so the game will be structured and mostly be the same as the Master System version. We are however adding various new secrets (which I can’t reveal!) and a Hard mode.


What made you want to develop the game for the Switch? How have you found developing for the Switch? Omar: We think it is a perfect fit for the Switch because this is the sort of game that Nintendo players love most. Developing for the platform has been very smooth and pleasant!

What gameplay will gamers encounter when playing Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap? Omar: The game combines action, platforming and exploration. It also sometimes feels a little RPG-ish.

FDG Entertainment are publishing Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, which will also be coming to the Switch. It's touted as a "spiritual successor" to Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. Are you familiar with the game and what are your thoughts on it? Omar: We are of course familiar with the game, in fact the team at Game Atelier and us know each others, and we are both in Paris! It’s really cool that two different games evolving around the classic licence are coming almost at the same time. As their game is sort of an homage to The Dragon’s Trap, we are super eager to play it ourselves!

Are there any games coming out for the Switch that you are interested in, or you think look amazing? Omar: My personal favourite from the line-up is Snipperclips! I’m also eagerly waiting for Mario Odyssey.

Ben: And you can fight big Dragons !!!

Ben: I’m waiting for Zelda and Mario, but everybody who is buying a Nintendo console is waiting for those. I think there will be a good chunk of indie games that might really be good to play on Switch. I’m probably gonna buy The Binding of Isaac again. When can we expect to see Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap on the Switch? Any plans for a retail release? Omar: The game will be out this Spring.

So that’s pretty soon. We are working on narrowing down the release data right now. Finally, if you have to choose just one, what is the Switch to you? A handheld that you can plug in or a console you can take out? Omar: Hard question! It is really a continuum. If I really had to choose, I would say it is a handheld that I can plug in. For me being a handheld is a superb thing. Ben: A console I can play in my bed or at work, few sessions at a time. This is exactly what I needed.

We would like to thank both Omar and Ben for their time with this interview, and also Jessica fro DotEmu for arranging it! Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap will be out on April 18th. Are you looking forward to playing it? Switch Player

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REVIEW

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Written by Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

I have never been a Zelda fan. Before Breath of the Wild, I’ve never owned a copy of the game on any platform (nor have I ever beaten any significant portion of it). I have played some of the older ones in passing, but I’m talking pre-Gamecube era stuff as it’s been that long since I’ve owned a Nintendo console. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never really spent much time with Link or the princess, and as such I’m coming at the series like a newbie – with no fan roots or nostalgia to draw on.

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Switch Player


I tell you that now however, because I want you to know why you should trust me when I say that this is very easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece, and if for some reason you need a primer before picking it up I’m here to lay it all out for you. This is one game you don’t want to miss, and it all starts with an amnesia-ridden champion that has been sleeping for a very long time. As the game starts, our hero Link awakens in a special location somewhere in Hyrule. Then – only moments after the game opens – you’re given control and allowed to roam free. It’s here in this simple “have at it” moment that your adventure begins, and it’s right here in the first few moments of running around that you start to realize just how vast (in every sense of the word) this open world is. Simply by looking around with your spyglass (a quick click of the left stick) you’ll begin to notice that the sprawling land of Hyrule is not a free and prosperous place. Instead, it’s undergoing an all-out attack of gargantuan proportions as our ultimate enemy has infected the world with his sinister power. For over a hundred years this enemy has controlled the powerful Divine Beasts which roam the land, and he regularly summons a blood moon to re-populate it with monsters. Haunting Hyrule Castle, the bad-ass Calamity Gannon has nearly taken over; the only thing stopping him is the princess for which the game is named.

So without giving away anything past the premise, there lies your long term mission; fight Calamity Gannon, save Zelda, and restore the land to its final glory. This mission – like most of the game – is yours to take on as you will, and you can rush there with four hearts and a tree branch if you like. That said, I doubt that’ll get you far without some champion-tier skills (or a miracle), but you have the option should you so choose! Instead, I recommend exploration – which should quickly yield some health-bestowing consumables, a (weak) weapon, a conversation with a non-player character, and a nice fire to sit beside and pass the time. Abilities like cooking, paragliding, riding animals, and more will become apparent with a little (okay – sometimes a lot) of messing around, but the beauty of it all is that the game opens up as your own ingenuity and perseverance do.

Speaking of areas, the land you’re free to explore is a large and complex place. You’ll find grassy fields, swampy marshes, sandswept deserts, snow-covered mountains, and lava-filled pools on your travels – all of these places holding their own unique variations of enemies, habits, tactics, and collectibles. You’ll inevitably stumble across everything from lone enemies riding around on horseback, to giant area-roaming enemies, or even parties of monsters sleeping around a fire. There are towns, ruins, towers, shrines, mazes, unique features, and stables all over – and it’s your job to find and explore them all. Learning through exploration is going to be the only way you’ll be able to prepare for what comes next, and man is there a lot to see.

Aside from the geographical bits, the bits that are more looks than function, and the self explanatory bits, are the towns, towers, shrines, and stables. These are the most prominent features on the map, and they’re also some of the most important places in Soon, you’ll even realize that things in the the game. world can have effects beyond what you expect at a glance. You can light arrows The towns are often home to shops. or wooden weapons ablaze on a nearby These non-player character owned fire for free burn damage, you can attract establishments usually include an armory, two enemies with different motivations a general store, and an inn – but may and have them fight it out to the death, also include a dye shop, a jeweler, a or or you can even use the time-stop rune various stands depending on the location. to make freezing effects last longer. The Additionally, towns often include statues world of Breath of the Wild is bound by that you can pray to for additional hearts or a lot of the same rules you might expect stamina, cooking stations (a cauldron over a fire-pit) where you can combine ingredients from real world physics, so it’s best to think like an action movie choreographer into new items with new effects, and even some characters with missions for you to and use what you’ve got. Likewise, it’s take on. Towns are where it’s happening a good to keep an eye out for possibilities lot of the time, so keep an eye out for them. whenever you enter a new area.

Switch Player

27


There are brand new amiibo figures which have some great BOTW unlocks. We got the team at amiibo Alerts to tell us little bit about them!

As for towers, they’re sort of like scouting locations. Climbing them (which is often much easier said than done) will allow you to sync up and receive a piece of the map – but only the topography. Towns, shrines, and other landmarks will not be noted on the map until visited, so be sure to head for them if you scout them from up high. Oh, and did I mention they’re fast travel enabled? They are! ;D Moving on to shrines, it’s good to see them sort of like trials – and their completion can earn you spirit orbs. Four of these orbs will allow you to pray to one of those statues (found in the towns) for either an extra heart or extra stamina, so completing shrines is a good way to gather your strength for the ultimate goal. As for the way shrines are presented, there are a few; with the ones I’ve been able to differentiate being trials of mental ability (puzzles), trials of fighting skill (versus a guardian), or simply as reward centres for completing a rather daunting task or venture on the map. The best thing about finding a shrine isn’t the immediate pay-off however, as unless you’re hitting four orbs the real pay-off is that you now have another location for fast travel. Finally, there’s the stables – which are sort of like a micro-town if we’re talking about function. While you won’t find any statues or armories at the stables, you will find a rather friendly fellow with a big backpack full of stuff he’s willing to sell. You’ll also find a place to lay your head, a place to cook, usually a mission or two (via the non-player characters), and some

LINK ARCHER

Spawns a chest which can contain a special bow, as well as food to help you on your journey!

items to pad your inventory. Stables are a good place to stop when you’re far from anything else, and though they aren’t fast-travel enabled they will look after any animals you happen to leave there (hint, hint). With all these locations to visit, it might seem like the game could be a bit overwhelming – and it can be. That said, the developers have provided you a very good way of keeping track of your missions and duties via an adventure log. This adventure log is actually a menu which provides a list of all the missions you’ve been given (completed or not ), along with a list of your recovered memories. It’s split into main (story), shrine, and side quests – with memories all bunched into a fourth column. Here you’ll be able to recall information about given quests you’ve yet to complete, and check on past exploits to make sure they’re done (or remembered in the case of memories). It’s sort of like a to do list, but it also lists things that have already come to pass. Also very important is the pickup inventory. This grid-based list of everything you have on your person will include anything you’ve picked up in the game, be it clothing or the multi-tool like Sheikah Slate.

Switch Player

There are sections for melee weapons, bows and arrows, shields, armor (clothes), materials (including raw food and other non-weapons), food (including cooked items and elixirs), and finally key items. Those first three categories have the option of equipping or dropping their items, while the fourth is equip only (armor). Key items have unique options, while food of any sort can be eaten, and non-food materials can be held – which is useful for dropping the items, or cooking. Mentioned previously (in passing), cooking is an action that allows you to turn materials into more useful forms by using either a lit cauldron or an open fire (for non-combination items). Lit cauldrons will give you the option to “cook” and will allow you to combine up to five held items into a dish or elixir, while an open flame will simply cook individual (raw) foods to bring out their inherent properties. Cooking food can bring out its healing, staminagenerating, or element-protecting properties – so cook often and wisely in order to enhance the properties of your items. It’s worth noting that you can only add one

Darin Harr @realdern

Zelda Informer zeldainformer.com @ZeldaInformer

Specialist View 28

LINK RIDER

Spawns a chest which could have a unique saddle, as well as food for recipes/recovery. You could also get a unique weapon!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been a wild ride since March 3rd. At the time of this writing, I've long since "beat" the game, but I am overwhelmed by the amount of content Breath of the Wild still has to offer. I mean this in the best way possible. I was slightly saddened when I had beaten the game, as usually this means the experience is over. This simply isn't true for what is most likely my game of the year for 2017.


You should also check out various other amiibo figures, especially the 30th Anniversary Zelda ones, Wolf Link and the Zelda-themed Smash Bros. ones to see what else you can get!

ZELDA

This chest could contain the Hylian Shield (AKA best shield in the game) as well as recovery items!

BOKOBLIN

Generates a chest which contains Bokoblin-based weapons, as well as more nourishment items!

status effect to any cooked dish (and Link himself) however, so don’t waste ingredients trying to make the ultimate food as it simply doesn’t exist. The only other abilities and limitations of note have to do with how you get around the world. Stamina will rule your consecutive exertions (like swinging a weapon, running, or climbing), while your hearts and your armor will rule your ability to exist without status effects in the various environments. As previously noted, stamina and hearts are upgraded through the completion of shrines – with four shrines equal to one of those items upgraded by one step. Stamina upgrades at five or so chunks to a “full unit,” while hearts upgrade one full heart at a time (each having two halves). Keeping an eye on, upgrading, and understanding how much leeway these two variables offer if up to you and where you’re at in the game; but these (along with the weather and your armor) are things you must always worry about.

There is little to no handholding, a common complaint regarding the last canon console Zelda game, Skyward Sword. The story, which can be explored in any order you wish (I won't go into detail about that because of spoilers), is my favourite Zelda story of all time. Veterans of the series won't be disappointed in the game's main "dungeons," and the mini-dungeon-like Shrines are very enjoyable to conquer. Bosses at the end of dungeons and around the over world are unique and threatening, although a tad simplistic at times. Concerns regarding how much content is in Breath of the Wild's gigantic world

GUARDIAM

Spawns a chest which contains ancient weapons and items. There's also the chance you'll get Ancient Arrows!

Ah yes, the weather. In Breath of the Wild, the cold or hot – when not prepared – will nip at your health, and carrying around metal objects in thunderstorms (or wooden objects in the extreme heat) can be dangerous. You must stay vigilant as you explore, and exploration is basically the entire basis for the game so that’s a 24/7 sort of gig. That said, this isn’t the kind of game you’ll feel is being unfair – and you’ll soon be either upgraded or trained into staying alive. The sheer adventure of it all is enough to guarantee that small advancement towards the end, in one way or another. Speaking of adventure, this isn’t your typical open world playground, and you’ll often find yourself coming across new bits by accident. This is one of the biggest charms of the way the systems and environments have been meshed together, and even at eighty or more hours in – as I was when I finished the main goal – there are always new things around every corner. Abilities, small tricks, little things, and even one-off surprises lay littered throughout every

are warranted, because - as with any open world adventure - it can be hard to fill it with content amusing enough to keep exploration fun. Put away these concerns. The climbing and paragliding mechanics have been so brilliantly executed that exploration is indeed a great activity to keep yourself occupied with, and because of the game's 120 Shrines, you'll be hard pressed not to run into any along the way. Visually, I very much enjoy Breath of the Wild. On the Nintendo Switch, the game runs at 900p with 30FPS while docked, however there are frame rate drops here and there. The scenery is "breath"taking, and I did not mind the fact this game misses the standard 1080p mark;

venture in Breath of the Wild; it’s just that packed with possibilities. As for the controls, they’re fairly straightforward in use. Your top right trigger (R) is the button you’ll use for throwing things – including weapons and bombs, while your bottom right trigger (ZR) is utilized in shooting an arrow with your bow. As for the top left trigger (L), it’s there to activate your chosen Sheikah Slate rune. The bottom left trigger (ZL) however, is your lock-on. Both right trigger actions are hold-enabled for increased effectiveness, while the left trigger actions are simply click to activate. The left controller’s face buttons (the awkward D-Pad) are mostly relegated to quick selection menus. The left button lets you choose a shield, while the right deals with swords. As for the up button, it lets you choose between your (up to) six runes – while the down button simply makes Link whistle. The right controller’s face buttons are your action buttons however, and you’ll use them to jump, swing your weapon, sprint, and act – that last one only available when prompted.

it shouldn't impact your gameplay much at all. While undocked, Breath of the Wild tends to perform even better on the handheld unit, with pixel density showing off the stunning views on the 720p screen. I played about half of the main quest this way. I can confidently say that in my opinion, Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda title to date. It is definitely my favorite game of all time, dethroning Astro Boy: Omega Factor for Game Boy Advance, and Team Fortress 2 for PC. Combining the story, visuals, gameplay, and more, Breath of the Wild comes about as close to perfection as any game can be. If I had to come up with a number, I would cautiously give this game a 10/10.


Finally, the left analog stick allows you to move and (when clicked) crouch, while the right stick controls the camera and (when clicked) your spyglass. The only other buttons are the minus and plus symbols, which are relegated to proper menus. Minus brings up the full rune inventory, map, photo album, and Hyrule compendium menus – while plus offers the adventure log (quests), full pickup inventory, and system (save/load/ options/etc) menus. Learn these buttons, and learn them well – as a quick thumb or finger on the right one could very well keep our little hero alive for a bit more action. Dying may only bring upon a re-load of the last save, but staying alive is always the best way to reach whatever goal your after. Be quick, or repeat yourself; it’s your choice. As we move on past my painting of this grand picture for you however, I must note that while the game is certainly beautiful in composition, concept, and execution, it’s also not without its issues. The biggest of those issues happens to be related to the frame rate in certain areas or conditions, as it drops well below thirty frames per second under many different circumstances. In addition, there seems to be an issue whereby the frame will lock in place for a moment and interrupt the action, though it’s thankfully less common than the slow-downs. Aside from that, there is also some colour banding (especially in the sky), and a hint of a jagged edge here and there – but these are fairly minor issues compared to the frame rate one. They honestly aren’t that noticeable in the moment, and

were mostly only noticed when reviewing raw footage from my captures. If colour banding and a hint of the “jaggies” was all I had to worry about this review would slide even closer to a perfect score, but alas – it’s not the case. Speaking of perfection, the audio cues, sound effects, and ambient noises are spot on – and the only thing I can call upon as “not entirely as I’d like” is the lack of voice-overs for non-player characters and the somewhat weak voice-overs otherwise. The grunting and odd noises the NPCs make instead of talking would have better been left out in my opinion, though they’re hardly an issue as much as me nitpicking. I’d say the same goes for much of the voice-over. As for the music, it’s superb – and though I’m no Zelda follower I noticed at least a few familiar tunes (modified as they may be). The Zelda theme is used quite perfectly to create a sense of emotion, and when it started playing I actually smiled to myself. I may not be well versed in the history of the games, but there are some things that simply transcend the games they come from – and that’s a big one. The rest of the tracks used are almost just as fitting, though I can’t say anything for how original they were. Moving past the parts, a look at the sum of them reveals a very well put together game. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild offers an experience that puts you in the adventurer’s seat, and lets you take it on as – and how – you wish. You can run through the field and collect mushrooms for hours, or make a bee-line for Calamity Gannon right after you get your paraglider; whatever the way you want to approach Breath of the Wild it’s open for you to do so. Additionally, due to the way everything in the game works much as the real world might if presented with

PUBLISHER NINTENDO

AT A GLANCE 30

Switch Player

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March 13.6 GB

DEVELOPER NINTENDO E-SHOP PRICING £59,99 | €59,99

the same situation, the MacGuyver in you is allowed to shine like never before. These developer choices and systems work together to deliver a game that is as easy or as hard as you like, as short or as long as you like (within reason), and so filled with possibilities that you’ll still be finding cool new things dozens of hours in – all in the same single mode and single difficulty option. As I said before; I am not a Zelda fan, but I am a fan of games… and with the way all these little things come together, this is an absolutely amazing one.

VERDICT While other open world games offer a path you may stray from only slightly, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild offers a path that is as wide and far-reaching as the eye can see. In this way, it stands apart from almost the entirety of its genre - and it does so in a way that makes it more than just a game. Breath of the Wild is simply more akin to the breath of life; after which you can live in their world however you like. Breathe in, and let your heart(s) guide you where they may... I know I did.

VERDICT

4.8 EXCELLE

NT


Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

It has been almost two decades since I was last truly "wowed" by the Legend of Zelda franchise. Sure, there have been many great titles in the series, and I certainly enjoyed my time with Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Minish Cap, and many others, but that last time that I was truly mesmerised by a title in the series was Ocarina of Time. As with many titles on the Nintendo 64, that step into three dimensions was incredible, and the first time you ventured into Hyrule Field, encountering Ganondorf, becoming the Hero of Time, riding Epona; there are so many moments that we could be here all day. The funny thing is, Ocarina of Time isn't even my favourite: it's actually Link's Awakening. It seems that Breath of the Wild has been evoking similar feelings among many gamers, and has been receiving incredible review scores and plaudits, but there's actually a fair few things I don't like about it. The combat is clunky and hasn't really evolved at all since the N64 era. The weapon degradation - whilst a welcome addition to the series - is far too aggressive and puts you under pressure immediately. The story is rather weak and despite there being more than 100 shrines around you, all filled with devious puzzles the game has a lack of traditional style dungeons that the series in renowned for. On top of that, the game is so big that there's a tremendous amount of distance to traverse.

Yet, the game is magical. It looks absolutely stunning especially (and perhaps, surprisingly) on that 720p screen and will completely immerse you in everything that is going on. I've been trying to cover this launch with the Switch Player team and it's been impacted by how incredible this game is, and how much of a time sink it is. It doesn't hold your hand like other games in a similar vein may, and you are left to your own devices to explore and find your way. It's actually quite refreshing and a very bold - and brave - choice for Nintendo, who are not normally known for taking extreme risks with their flagship franchises. Having to worry about my clothing (or weather protection) is a novel concept, and learning the hard way that having a metal shield and sword in the middle of a thunder storm while atop a mountain is bad are experiences that I've never encountered before in a game. Picking and choosing which fights to get involved in (or not) and trying to come up with ingenious ways to solve problems, or even just climbing trees/mountains to get a good look at your surroundings; it's all breath-taking.

Breath of the Wild has been a long time coming; both in terms of development, and as a statement for a series which - in my opinion - desperately needed something new. A lot of what is actually in the game isn't new of course, but the way it is all presented, and the way it comes together just feels right. For the first time, it feels like you are actually in a living, breathing world in this universe... and it's an absolute joy to play within it. So, it's with heavy heart that I have to let my nostalgic feelings for Link's Awakening pass, for not only has Breath of the Wild surpassed it as my favourite Zelda game, it could just be the best game I've ever played on a Nintendo system. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a couple of motion-controlled shrines to beat which have been doing my head in.

Switch Player

31


REVIEW

1-2-Switch

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

There was a brief moment during Nintendo’s January Switch presentation where, in my sleep deprived stupor, I thought that the Western styled video that was playing in front of me was actually Red Dead Redemption 2. As I exclaimed my surprise to Kyle, any excitement was quickly quelled when not only was it revealed to NOT be Red Dead Redemption 2 (of course it wasn’t), but it was instead confirmation of what we had all suspected all along; here was the gimmicky stuff that the Switch had, in the form of 1-2-Switch.

1-2-Switch is a series of 28 different mini-games all themed around showing you just how awesome these expensive little controllers are. The game mistaken for a cheesy Red Dead teaser was actually the mini-game Quick Draw, which sees two competitors in a standoff – waiting for the command to shoot with a single Joy-Con as your “pistol.” It’s essentially a tech demo, albeit one that Nintendo actually want you to pay more than £35 for here. That said, I’d like to get the elephant in the room out of the way; I’ve actually had a lot of fun with 1-2-Switch over the last few days. Between myself, my better half, and my children, I can tell you that we had a great blast with copious amounts of giggling and laughter thrown in for good measure. My first thought as we got into it was about how this game truly demonstrates how excellent (and accurate) the Joy-Con controllers are… but let’s back up a bit.

1-2-Switch is a party game where two players to face off against each other, and it includes quite a wide range of different mini-games to choose from. Some are interesting and very good, like Ball Counting – where you need to work out how many “balls” are in a box. Others, like the very amusing Gorilla, require you to actually beat your chest like an over-sized great ape. Then there’s the downright ridiculous, like Milk. All of them play in a similar manner, with the Joy-Con removed and in your hands, generally with one each for you and another player. Following the on screen prompts, you’ll need to use the features within the little controllers in a very specific way; whether it’s drawing a revolver, rotating a safe combination, slicing with a samurai sword (or clasping said sword), answering a telephone, or even milking a cow’s udders. There are plenty of options here to get you and a friend competing. 32

Switch Player


As for how to play together, there are a few basic modes to play the games in. There’s the ability to pick games as you choose, play games randomly via shuffle, or participate in a Team Battle. Team Battle allows for up to 20 players to get involved, but you are still limited to only two at a time as you progress through a game board or randomly assigned games. Spinning a dial will determine not only the game you’ll play, but also move towards the goal – and it’s certainly a fun way for larger groups to play together. The games will all track your fastest times, but unfortunately it seems that they don’t keep a running tally of battles. Initially, there are only a few games available; the game slowly easing you into the mechanics of it all. Before long however, all 28 will be unlocked for you to get stuck into. There’s a lot of variety in the games, with simulating a telephone ringing, baseball, dancing, sword-fighting, air guitar, and even cradling a baby to choose from – the latter being the only title that utilizes handheld mode at all. The vast majority will require you to play with an opponent in tabletop or docked mode, with each of you taking a single Joy-Con and following the on-screen prompts to repeat the required actions. It’s all very accessible and easy to follow, with my children (aged 7-12) and my non-gaming wife able to pick them up with ease. After spending most of the last week with the game, it’s clear that people are gravitating towards different games. My favourites were either Quick Draw, or Fake Draw which plays the same but with other words being used instead of “Fire!”

to catch you out. My son enjoyed Wizard the most, which seems more than a little inspired by a certain boy-wizard series, and has two foes facing each other in a wizarding duel. My youngest daughter loved Milk, a curious simulation where you use the SR and LR buttons on the Joy-Con to replicate squeezing a cow’s udder – allowing the milk to flow out in a competition to see who can collect the most.

Looking back, 1-2-Switch is rather addictive and is probably best described as a cross between Wii Sports and a real life incarnation of Wario Ware or Mario Party (if you can imagine such a thing). The biggest issues that the game has include the lack of any real long-term playability, the fact that some of the games are pretty similar (or downright boring), and – more importantly perhaps – the fact that you had to pay for it.

All of the games beautifully show off the wide-ranging abilities within the Joy-Con. Whether it is motion controls associated with the Wii, the fabulous HD Rumble – which is sensitive enough to simulate objects within the controller or sense subtle vibrations when needed, or even using the infrared camera to detect your mouth moving in the bizarre Eating Contest. Nintendo boasted in January that these controllers are sensitive enough to relay the number of ice cubes simulated inside if shaken, and it was no exaggeration.

Also, if any game screams out “tech demo” and “should have been a pack-in” it’s this. Sure, you’ll impress your friends somewhat, and that intrigue might translate into another Switch sale… but then it’s effectively just a marketing ploy that you paid for.

After playing all the games in turn, I got to thinking about how I could actually convey the madness unfolding around me into words. Normally I’d assess everything that’s happening around me, but this is more of a series of experiences than actually a “game” as such. Visually, 1-2-Switch isn’t much to shout home about because the presentation is more functional than anything else, and everything is geared towards the actual activity more than any audio or visual aesthetics. In fact, most of the time you are actually encouraged to forego looking at the screen; instead facing off against your competitor. It works, but when doing something like milking a virtual cow it also makes for some very awkward and uncomfortable eye contact!

PUBLISHER NINTENDO

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

DEVELOPER NINTENDO

The bottom line; if you buy 1-2-Switch you’ll definitely have a laugh with your friends and family, but once the novelty wears off it doesn’t have much else to offer.

VERDICT 1-2-Switch is guaranteed to generate more than a few laughs in social situations, even if some of the games will only be played once or twice. It's definitely THE title to show off the Switch's features, if you wanted to show them off. It lacks any real long term sustenance, though, and definitely should have been a pack in.

3.5 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £39,99 | €49,99

1.3 GB Switch Player

33


REVIEW

Super Bomberman R

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

The Bomberman series has been around almost as long as I've been alive; and as my kids often like to remind me, that's a long time. Back in the day I knew it as "Dynablaster," and had any great experiences with my friends playing this party title - where you set down bombs around a maze-styled arena attempting to explosively eradicate your foes. My Bomberman adventure began initially on the Commodore Amiga, before having more fun later on the Super Nintendo where I considered Super Bomberman 3 to be the finest in the series. Despite the fun I've had with Super Bomberman R, it still is. That's not to say this one isn't worth a look, though. Far from it. Super Bomberman R, like most of the core Bomberman titles, is very much a game of two halves. The first half is a story mode, which is set across five planets and a total of 40-odd levels. Its campaign sees you aiming to defeat the five dastardly bombers, followed by a double-header with our devious enemy, and then returning peace to the galaxy. In the story mode you'll learn the basics of Bomberman, which are essentially move around the grid, plant a bomb, and safely 34

Switch Player


avoid the blast radius as you attempt to destroy enemies. Initially limited to a single bomb and explosions two blocks wide (and high), removing the blocks in the arena will often yield power-ups to enhance your abilities. Bombs and flames will increase your explosive capacity and range, while kick and glove icons allow you to move any charges away from you (or tactically place them in the way of an enemy). Your progress across the worlds will see different challenges come into play, with the levels featuring different requirements to pass. These vary from simply defeating enemies and collecting keys - to activating switches, or escorting other Bomberpersons to the exit. With each world comes different mechanics too. Switches, platforms, springs, and ice come into play here; making your progression through each world that much more difficult. Successfully completing the main levels on a planet rewards you with a two stage boss fight with a Bomber-nemesis - your foe initially using their special bombs against you, before then piloting a machine to take you on. Successfully besting them sends you on to the next world, so you'll have to get serious if you want to continue on. The levels are presented in 3D, whilst still possessing that top-down charm the series has always been known for. This doesn't always work in its favour, as at times it can be difficult to see where you are, where you need to go, or even where your explosions may go - something which can be quite frustrating, and lead to at least a few deaths. The campaign can also be played in co-op, which can greatly enhance the amount of fun you

have and reduce the time needed to compete the game. The second half of the game is the infamous "Battle Mode." Playing with others is what Bomberman has always been about, and the real explosive gameplay is contained within this iteration of the classic mode. Here, up to eight players can face off in the quest to be the best; putting all of the skills learned in the campaign to good use across a variety of mazes, each with different gimmicks and tricks. It's probably where you'll spend the most of your time should you play yourself, and is where the game truly shines. This is a game perfectly suited to the Switch in many regards, at least in local multiplayer, and along with Fast RMX it's one of the first titles to take the Switch online. I can't say it's been particularly effective - the game has some terrible input lag online (far worse than the offline play) and finding a full match has proved difficult at times, but I'm sure that it'll get better as the number of players grow.

Super Bomberman R is playable across all three forms of play on the Nintendo Switch, but it's definitely more suited to TV or handheld play. In tabletop mode the worlds are a little too small to see effectively and it can get a bit cramped with multiple people around the Switch. Every mode you play will earn you credits which can be spent in the shop, allowing for your characters to be customised in a variety of ways. This can certainly be fun, but it doesn't really add to the game - and as someone that played a version with a higher degree of customisation, I was a little disappointed. Something else that disappointed me was the control scheme; Bomberman has always been incredibly fluid and responsive but something feels off here. It's not easy to play accurately using the analog stick, and the lack of a traditional D-Pad on the Joy-Con (which

PUBLISHER Konami

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

DEVELOPER Konami

to be fair isn't Konami's fault) means I was relegated using the awkward directional face buttons to move around instead. There is also a momentary delay when moving your character, which takes some getting used to. A lot has been made of the fact that this is the first new console Bomberman game in the best part of a decade, and while it's a welcome return for the series what isn't as welcome is the price. With a RRP of £49.99 (although it can be found cheaper online) it's one of the worst examples of "new console tax" I've seen. Despite the fun that's on offer difficult to swallow; especially when other versions of the game are available at a much more friendly price point. If you find yourself in desperate need of an alternative game to play on your Switch or fancy a party game, then Super Bomberman R could just be for you. It's just a shame that it doesn't really hold a candle to previous iterations.

VERDICT It's a welcome return for Bomberman with an unwelcome price, but you will have a lot of fun with the game - especially with others. For me it isn't the best game in the series, but if you've never played it before that won't matter. If you are looking for a party style game or just something different, then Super Bomberman R is worth a look.

3.5 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £39,99 | €49,99

2.1 GB Switch Player

35


REVIEW

Fast RMX Review

Written by Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

I’ve always wanted to go fast; I’m talking so fast you’re reading your speed in Mach numbers. With Fast RMX you can do something quite close to that, and man does it ever look good while it’s happening. With speeds approaching 700 miles per hour (the speed of sound – Mach – is ~768mph in Earth’s lower atmosphere) without the use of boost, this is one hell of a fast paced racing game. It features fifteen racing pods to choose from, thirty tracks to speed around on, two single player modes, three multiplayer options, and a partridge in a pear tree. This is a game with some quality options – and being that the single player bits also come in three difficulties, it also gets harder the further you get. Before we get into how everything works however, first you’ll need to know about what you’re racing with. The vehicles in this game seem to be maglev (magnetic levitation) enabled racing pods with jet engines; each pod given ratings in acceleration, top speed, and boost categories. At the beginning you’ve only got a few options to choose from, but they grow as you complete championships with a podium finish – opening up options that will cover the entire scale from each balance angle. There is 36

Switch Player


no ultimate pod here however, so don’t think that because you’re unlocking more options you’ll eventually end up with a hideously unbalanced game. This is a racer with fair options for everyone, and that’s a significant part of what makes it good. Next, you’ll want to know how you’re racing – and that too is a bit different than what you might be familiar with. In Fast RMX you’ll be racing the aforementioned pods at speeds of around 600 to 800 miles per hour, magnetically levitating above a unique rollercoaster-like course. Of course, like other racers you’ll still compete with seven other racers, trying to be the first person to cross the finish line after three laps. It’s a mix of futuristic flair and what you know… but it’s also a little more complicated than just “petal to the metal” racing. During the course of any race you’ll mostly be propelled by your own fuel, however by matching one of two possible phases (orange or blue) with the glowing phase strips placed along the course you’ll be able to get free boosts. Switching phases can be done with the X button, and it’s a quick and smooth process – so take advantage, and be sure not to collide with a strip using the wrong phase (as you’ll be slowed down instead). Additionally, you can get boost by filling a boost meter; the fuel for this usercontrolled boost coming from the collection of orbs placed around each course. Boosting will increase your acceleration, and can even push your top

speed to crazy heights if used right; it’s an important part of your arsenal, so learn how to use it! Lastly – with regards to how to race anyways – it’s important to note that while there are no weapons in the game, there is the ability to knock your opponent into a spin using the power of speed. Boosting into a slower opponent will cause them to spin out, while dealing no real effect to you as the faster party. As such, the lesson soon becomes to be aggressive, or at least to try and be aggressive when you can. Moving onto the courses themselves, as I said before they’re littered with phase strips and boost orbs, and designed sort of like roller coasters. The one difference here is that while roller coasters must worry about losing the passengers, in Fast RMX you’re strapped in a pod and maglev-ed to the track… so you can do some crazy things. Most courses include track transfers – where you jump between pieces of track, multiple paths – where you can take a different route with different obstacles, and crazy twists – where you take to the track in a way that you’d never manage in a car. Other courses up the ante with cylinder-like tracks, weather effects (like rain or wind), phase-based jumps, moving obstacles, and more. The courses have tons of differentiation, and it makes them all very unique and fun to play. Finally, there’s the modes – which there are few of at launch, but they’re all very good. Champion Mode and Hero Mode are for single player play; while

splitscreen, online communication, and local communication are for multiplayer play. They all offer something different in their makeup, so to truly understand what the game has to offer you need to understand the difference in gameplay modes. Champion Mode is the standard single player racing mode, and has you completing three races which each earn points towards a final score. If your final score makes the top three, then you’ve done good enough to earn the rewards from beating the level (which may include new pods and always include new championships) – and once you’ve unlocked all the levels in one difficulty you’ll open the next. It’s a simple system, and it works. The other single player mode is called Hero Mode, and has you start the race with full boost – which also acts as your shield. Your goal is to get first place (and to make it to the finish in the first place) by using that boost wisely; emptying the bar will mean a game over, as will crashing. This is the hardest single player mode, and just like Champion Mode you need to progress through the levels in order to unlock the harder difficulties. That said, it’s also the best way to get good… aside from multiplayer. Multplayer modes come in three varieties; two-to-four player splitscreen, online communication, and local communication (system link). The first and last of these modes deal with offline play and multiple local players, while the other mode is of course online only.

Switch Player

37


Splitscreen (on-system) gameplay is suitable for between two and four players only. You can use a single Joy-Con to play, so you should have everything you need for at least two players right out of the box – something you should most definitely take advantage of. I found that with a very small bit of practice I could play just as well with a single Joy-Con controller as I can with the other JoyCon based control methods, and I’m sure you’ll find this to be true for you as well – at least for this game. Additionally, splitscreen multiplayer is a bit more customizeable than single or online multiplayer, and offers modes spanning from head-to-head single track to CPU aided full-size championship. Splitscreen is your game to set up as you will, so you should be sure to take advantage of the options when some friends are down for some fun. Online communication however, requires an internet connection. That taken care of, it will connect you with up to seven other players for some all out gameplay. Online players will choose the next course to race on via a quick vote, and races will earn you points (which show off your prowess). It’s a simple and effective system, and I had no problem finding a game at almost any time of day – though I’d like to note that at launch the game doesn’t include the ability to play with online friends. This is definitely a bit of an annoyance for some, however it’s being patched in via the title’s first post-launch update, and will soon be a moot point.

As for local communication (system link), it has up to eight switches link up for local play that is said to work very much like splitscreen. I didn’t get a chance to test it as I don’t know anyone personally with a Switch, but it’s there for you as an option and I hear it works. That’s good news if you’ve got a lot of Switch-bearing gamer friends in real life (unlike yours truly at this point). So that’s what it lays out as, but how does it run – right? Well it runs quite well. Gameplay always looks smooth and clear, with what I’ve been told is dynamic resolution going on to keep things running well in the frame rate department. There are very few times when this is noticeable, and overall the graphics look quite amazing for the system. Basically, Fast RMX offers quite a fair bit of graphical “wow” in its sub900MB package, and it does so without too many compromises. The audio follows suit in step, and brings the whole package together with some believable sounds and quality background music. Not once did I think that a track or sound was intrusive to the gameplay, and the music was often a good way to get into the tension of the race. While none of it is particularly memorable in any way, it’s not a bad set of inclusions at all. Controls are no different, and there’s both a full set of options to swap them around as well as plenty of options to play. Fast RMX is compatible with portable, tabletop, and TV modes – and can use either a single or both Joy-Cons, or the Pro controller for gameplay. It’s simple to pick up and play, and the single Joy-Con option isn’t crippled like it could be with games that have more actions. It’s kind of the perfect meld of all options, and that’s saying something as it’s one of the first games to offer them.

PUBLISHER Shin'en

AT A GLANCE 38

Switch Player

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March 838 MB

DEVELOPER Shin'en E-SHOP PRICING £16,99 | €19,99

As this review winds to a close, you might have noticed that I’ve got a lot of good things to say about Fast RMX. It’s a racer that has tons of different play options, does well to include everyone who wants to play, and ends up doing a bang up job at everything it attempts. I would’ve liked a straight up single player practice mode (unlimited laps) available out of the gate, but for what it offers I can’t complain one bit; Fast RMX is one hell of a solid game, and it offers features and options that make it a perfect fit for your first digital buy. So what are you waiting for? Pod racers, start your engines!

VERDICT Fast RMX is a blistering fast racer with a very balanced set of vehicles and a nice selection of tracks. It's perfect for some single player score chasing or some multiplayer competition, and it looks great while doing it - though it could've used a few more options here and there. That doesn't really hinder what we've been offered however, and Fast RMX is a racing game I'm happy to recommend to absolutely anyone who might be looking for one. It's just that good!

4.7 EXCELLE

NT


REVIEW

Vroom in the Night Sky

In general, I love indie games. The vision. The passion. The dedication, the blood, sweat and tears in bringing their idea to life. That’s not to say that I love all of them, or that they are all great. If you needed a reminder of that fact, I kindly present to you Vroom in the Night Sky. A game that made the Switch’s launch line up – when many notable developers interested in porting games to the Switch haven’t even got a devkit yet – the game is about a Witch, who for some reason flies around the evening sky on a motorcycle, thinking she’s some sort of Rubeus Hagrid or something. Over the course of 8 stages you’ll need to navigate the skies, collecting the stars required to unlock the exit. Also littered around the night sky are “stardusts” which act as the in-game currency, which can be spent in the store to unlock even more flying motorcycles, or even more ludicrous flying objects too.

doing. Any dialogue that is present is translated poorly, although sometimes amusingly as you may have noticed from some of the screens. Around a minute into each level your rival will arrive, trying to steal the resources on screen but the game (and the witch herself) pose very little challenge at all and you’ll have done the whole thing in no time. The game is in 3D but has incredibly poor visuals with blocky shapes and rudimentary buildings proving most of your surroundings and the audio is not enjoyable. The levels do look different to each other and you’ll experience cities, factories, oceans, deserts and more which do provide a bit of variety when playing, but it’ll matter little; this game is just no fun. I suppose that one good thing about the game is that it uses the Switch’s HD Rumble. Although it seems to be a constant vibration of the Joy-Con paddles as you are playing, if does send feedback to you as you are playing, especially when you crash. Which, given that these things handle awfully, will be a lot in the higher spec machines.

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

Vroom in the Night Sky does possess an internal trophy system, with numerous challenges which give the game some sort of lifespan but the truth is that because it lacks any sort of fun or enjoyment at all you’ll give up long before you’ve done them. There’s not much else that I can add, really. It’s easily the worst game in the Switch’s launch line-up, arguably the worst game I’ve ever played and if you are looking to spend some money on grabbing a new game for your Switch, playing nothing and looking at a blank screen is probably more fun.

VERDICT The most amazing thing about Vroom in the Night Sky is that it was actually greenlit at all. It's ludicrous that someone at Nintendo thought it would be a good title for the launch line up over some more notable games. You have to wonder if they played it at all. Because it's simply not good.

There’s no story to speak of, nor any reason why you are doing what you are

1.5 PUBLISHER Poisoft

AT A GLANCE

NA: March EU: 3rd March

DEVELOPER Poisoft

POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £7,99 | €8.99

810 MB Switch Player

39


REVIEW

I Am Setsuna

these demons. Let me save you the obvious leap, as it doesn’t.

With the Legend of Zelda launching alongside the Nintendo Switch, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the other titles gracing the launch line up – but by overlooking these games you’ll be missing out on some gems. One such gem is Tokyo RPG Factory’s I Am Setsuna; a dark and sprawling JRPG which fits Nintendo’s new system like a glove.

Endir’s mood is hardly helped by these circumstances, so when a mysterious figure approaches him asking that he assassinates the latest Sacrifice, an 18-year-old girl by the name of Setsuna, he doesn’t think twice. In a perhaps unsurprising twist however, he fails his quest and ends up accompanying Setsuna and friends on a journey to give up her life for the greater cause.

While the story could be described as quite minimalist, the action certainly isn’t. As you wander the vast lands on the way to the final destination, you’ll come across all manner of monsters to It’s not often you’ll come across a eliminate – and you’ll be able to do so protagonist who doesn’t really care so using the game’s active combat system. much about his objective. A character Combat is time sensitive, therefore if who spends more time being sarcastic you take too long to attack the enemy than trying to make friends, but in his will take advantage, and there are often own way still out to help those in need, even if he did start off by trying to kill one times where they get a few hits in before you do. This is fine against smaller foes, of them. however the time factor means it’s crucial It’s probably no wonder our hero – Endir – to use your attacks more efficiently comes across the way he does; the winter against larger monsters. world of I Am Setsuna is one gripped with When it comes to combat you have a few sadness. Monsters rule the land, and to make matters worse it’s inhabitants have different options to make use of. There’s melee combat, making use of inventory got it into their heads that sacrificing items, or a tech option; the latter allowing 18-year-old girls will somehow appease 40

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Written by Joe Anderson @_wotta

each of your characters to carry out more powerful attacks, or alternatively cast healing, attacking, or defensive boosts which benefit the whole party. Tech is an essential part of combat and you won’t defeat powerful enemies without it, so making sure you have the correct combination of attack, healing, and defense between your party members becomes the most important part of the game. Another combat feature which comes into play is momentum. As you fight your momentum gauge will fill up, and once full it can then be triggered at the beginning of an attack. Once active, Momentum gives you random benefits such as dealing multiple versions of the attack, recovering health, or dealing critical damage. Any of these benefits could easily turn the tide of the battle in your favour. You’ll spend plenty of time in I Am Setsuna encountering all manner of enemies; some similar to the last, and some new. While this could be considered repetitive, defeating these creatures serves the purpose of gaining your party experience, which in turn makes them all the more powerful for the epic key encounters. Failure there will see you restarting the game, cursing your luck for


sneaking past the last set of monsters, and missing out on the little bit of experience which might have made all the difference. Outside of the combat, I Am Setsuna offers something a little different in that it splits into two sections. The first is in a world, where you’ll wander through woods and mountains – encountering random enemies and finding collectibles. You’ll also visit villages and meet NPC’s to trade for new equipment and tech, or to progress the story. While you’ll spend a decent amount of time in these areas, getting to know the residents and gaining some much-needed background information on the world around you, sadly the story hardly feels very fleshed out. As suck, you’re not likely to gain much sympathy for the plight of the land… although you may certainly appreciate the work which has gone into creating it. The other section of the game takes the guise of an over-world view. It’s here you’ll traverse between areas as often as you like, exploring each path and (crucially) taking the opportunity to save your game. There is no auto-save feature here; a lesson I was taught after playing for two hours, only to lose all my progress and have to start again.

Due to the map being so snowy, these collectibles are often very hard to spot. The only hint is an occasional glimmering, which means they are much more easy to see if you are standing still. Of course, standing still for shiny objects offers yet another excuse to slow down the pace and take in some of the fantastic sights. There are snowblanketed forests with rivers running through them, and even snow covered mountains – which you just know will be full of hard to defeat enemies. No matter which area of I Am Setsuna you frequent however, the developer seems to have struck the right balance between art and music. The graphics often seem like they have been painted on the screen, while the music feels comforting and safe in its nature; almost reassuring you that no monsters are about to jump out and surprise you. When you’re in action however, there are some dramatic changes. There’s a faster and more urgent pace to the music, and you genuinely feel inclined to take care of the enemy before it takes care of you. Things change graphically too, thanks to the screen lighting up with every hit and spell cast.

As we move past the parts of the whole, I must take the time to note that I Am Setsuna is a game which feels as if it were made with Nintendo Switch in mind. Nearly all of my time has been spent playing in handheld mode, and in my opinion the game seems to suit the system perfectly there. There’s something about the graphics and soothing classical music which lose a little sparkle when transferred to a bigger screen, however – although no matter which way you play, it’s hard not to be impressed with the colourful – yet subtle – art style. Not many games look just as good in motion as they do when standing still, but this is certainly one of them. Yes, it’s true that there’s a lot to love about I Am Setsuna – and while the story could perhaps have offered more, the combination of presentation, a deep combat system and other classic JRPG elements will certainly keep you satisfied. Plus, even if your not the biggest fan of the genre, the easy-going nature of this game could mean it’ll still be one to draw you in. It’s just that enjoyable.

VERDICT I am Setsuna is an enjoyable and more than competent JRPG, which while weak in story more than makes up for this with a strong combat system and fantastic presentation.

Other than giving you the opportunity to save your game, the over world map also allows you to chance to see shiny objects clearer. Generally, these collectibles consist of ingredients which can be gathered to help provide boosts to your health – something which comes in especially handy during battles.

3.4 PUBLISHER Square Enix

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

DEVELOPER Tokyo RPG Factory

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £29,99 | €39,99

1.3 GB Switch Player

41


REVIEW

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Written by Sandeep Rai

@2_Old_4_Gaming

I first played Shovel Knight on my PS Vita and I loved it. It took me back to the days of playing 2D platformers on my NES but Shovel Knight incorporates modern mechanics and some very smart level design that sets it apart from other modern 2D platformers. I wasn’t a fan of the Plague Knight expansion that was released last year (the jumping and attack just felt off to me) but I was excited to play Specter of Torment to learn more about the world that the developer Yacht Club Games has built and also to see how the Specter Knight’s move-set would change the game. This expansion is a prequel to the main game and follows Specter Knight as he takes on updated versions of the stages from the original game and faces off against the bosses from Shovel Knight to recruit them into the army of the evil Enchantress. During the game, 42

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you learn more about Specter Knight’s origins and how he became the undead servant of the Enchantress. I thought the story was excellent and made the original game’s story richer by filling in some of the gaps. The story unfolds through sepia coloured playable scenes in between stages and I really wanted to finish each stage to learn more about Specter Knight. By the end of the game, he had become my favourite character in the Shovel Knight series. There are some new control mechanics in the Specter Knight’s expansion – including the ability to run up walls and wall jump. However it was the ability to perform a diagonal mid-air dash attack that had the biggest impact on the game. It makes Specter Knight a much more agile, faster and more fun character to play. Traversing levels and killing foes with a diagonal slash was very satisfying, although this attack did make the boss fights a bit too easy. Shovel Knight was more restricted in his attack patterns so a lot of the fights required more skill, patience and timing. When you connect with Specter Knight’s diagonal slash you can chain them for multiple attacks – I could often get 3 or 4 hits on bosses at a time. Aside from one boss, I beat all of them on my first try. After finishing Specter of Torment, I went back to try Shovel Knight again and found I much preferred playing with the more manoeuvrable Specter Knight. Although the diagonal slash made the game more fun and fluid, it was also the cause of a lot of frustration when

it resulted in me accidentally speeding into a chasm. This happened quite a lot, particularly in a couple of areas of the game where slight mistakes in timing resulted in certain death. As you progress in the game, you can buy new skills using red skull collectibles. These new skills aren’t mandatory but they definitely help if you are finding some of the platforming difficult. I barely used some of the abilities, but I did find that the ability to float was especially useful in avoiding death. The graphics and music are excellent, just as in the original game, but the hub town is now in the Enchantress’ castle – where you will find merchants to buy new armour and abilities. It was a nice contrast from the sunny town in the original game and you still had the random NPC’s that you can speak to, just with a darker twist – like the skeleton looking for the skull of his wife or the witch that wants to give you the kiss of death! You no longer have access to the Super Mario Bros. 3 style overworld map and instead use the castle as the hub to access each level, more in the style of choosing a stage in the Mega Man games. The levels can be tackled in any order, although the game gives you an indication of the difficulty based on the gold you earn for beating each boss. I found it best to play the easier stages first to collect enough red skulls to buy abilities and make the difficult stages more manageable. Something that really impressed me was the level design, with the opening level especially standing out! The first stage was signed perfectly to teach you the mechanics of the game without needing to bog you down in instructions and tutorials. It felt refreshing to have that in a game today.

PUBLISHER Yacht Club Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

DEVELOPER Yacht Club Games

The Specter of Torment expansion is not particularly long. It took me five and a half hours to finish although I think many people could finish it faster. There were two areas where I died far too many times and they alone added an extra 45 minutes to my playthrough. Despite greatly enjoying the game, I don’t see much reason to replay it. It is impressive, when you consider Yacht Club Games created a 2D platforming, new IP that pays homage to old-school games with lore rich enough to deserve an expansion. Specter of Torment may not be the longest game, but the story, gameplay and charming presentation make this an excellent addition to the Switch’s library.

VERDICT The Specter of Torment expansion really added to the game series with a better story and more fluid gameplay. Its not particularly long, but the fun, challenging, old-school platforming makes this a game worth playing. I would recommend buying the Treasure Trove edition with the original game and the two expansions and playing them in the order of release. It's a great package and Specter of Torment is the strongest of the set.

4.1 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £8,99 | €9,99

147 MB Switch Player

43


REVIEW

Snipperclips Cut it out, together!

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

If 1-2 Switch was designed to show off and demo the marvellous technology within the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, then Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! is almost certainly the game designed to showcase the new console’s multiplayer functionality. The premise is simple; you and up to three friends each take control of a paper-craft character, and then you cut each other into whatever shapes you see fit in order to solve the various puzzles the game throws your way. The cutting mechanic in Snipperclips works really well. By moving one of the characters – Snip and Clip – over the other you will see an outline showing what the outcome of any ‘snip’ will be. Once you are happy with what the result will be, a tap of the A button will cut your fellow paper-craft friend a new one – so to speak. Don’t worry if you get it wrong though, as this game is all about experimentation; if you need to reset your character back to normal you can simply hold Y until they pop back into shape, or you can even toggle between the last two shapes used by tapping the Y button. The game really is that forgiving! The difficult part, and arguably the part that makes Snipperclips so much fun, is that you are left to your own devices to figure out how best to solve each of the game’s 45+ levels. The game’s opening tutorial and the name of each level are the only hints that you will get to assist you along your way to success, so make sure to pay attention to them. That said, it is quite refreshing to be left to your own devices to solve these puzzles, as it means that you are left to experiment – which almost certainly means that hilarity and friendly arguments will ensue as players discuss and attempt the puzzles thrown at them. You will soon learn that there is no correct way to complete a level, so you can be as creative as you like. I found during multiple plays of some of the stages with various friends that different people have different ideas of how to get to the end goal. One example was with a stage where you have to get a basketball from one end of the screen and score a basket with it at the other end of the screen. The first time it was played the two characters were used together to roll the ball across the top of each other’s bodies to form a path to the target. The second time ’round however, a bowl shape was cut into one character to allow the basketball to sit perfectly still – allowing for the ball to be simply walked from one end of the screen to the other. The beauty of this game is that there will be many other players who have found other ways to complete the same goal. It really does draw on your creativity, making you use your initiative and play with the game’s simple mechanics to get inventive. 44

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Snipperclips utilises all three of the Nintendo Switch’s play styles, so if you are worried about it being multiplayer only then fear not! There are three worlds – each filled with fifteen stages – that are designed to be played through using two characters, and these can either be played solo (which also works in handheld mode) or with a friend via TV or Table Top mode. It works just as well in handheld mode as it does in single JoyCon multiplayer; you have options here, so use them. Although not as fun as playing with a partner, flying solo in Snipperclips is still good fun. You can switch between the two characters with a simple tap of the X button, although it certainly does make some of the stages a bit more difficult. There was one stage in particular I found rather annoying where you had to use both characters at the same time, and having to switch between them constantly made it a hell of a lot more difficult then it would have been if there would have been a second player lending a hand. There are some great levels amongst the forty five as well. “Princess Powerup” – for example – has you create a safe path for a princess, avoiding obstacles to collect diamonds and then moving her using an in-game joystick. It’s a particular highlight. That said, it won’t take you long to get through them all once you have figured out a solution to each type of puzzle – and it’s perfectly possible to complete all the stages in one sitting if you were determined enough!

There is more to the game than these forty-five stages however, with an additional fifteen levels designed for party play with two to four players. These levels are more of the same, but use four characters rather than two, and really will test your co-operation and communication skills. Another welcome addition are the three “Blitz” (competitive) modes available, so if you do find that the tension between friends is getting too much you can take it out on each other here. You can choose from either Hoops – a basketball game where you have to score in your opponents basket, Hockey – think air-hockey with your character as the paddle, or Dojo – where you win by cutting your opponent into oblivion. Although Hoops isn’t that great and you tend to lose the ball off the sides more often than you can score points, Dojo and Hockey are both really good fun. I only tried these modes out with one friend, but I can imagine Dojo would be chaos with three or four players (and a great way to settle any arguments caused by the co-operative levels). To say the game has a certain charm about it would be an understatement. As you can see from the screens above, the game has a nice, paper-craft aesthetic to it – with the levels looking like they have all been drawn out on paper and the characters cut out and placed on top. The game’s soundtrack is also very catchy, with inoffensive tunes that repeat and loop until you find yourself humming along to them while playing.

Another thing that adds to the overall feel of the game is the personification of the paper characters that you take control of. It is often hilarious watching their little faces recoil in horror as you chop chunks out of them, or watch the expression of pain and struggle on them as you balance a heavy bowling ball on their bodies. It goes a long way to show that attention to detail (and a lot of care) has gone into making Snipperclips, and that attention is much appreciated.

Snipperclips is definitely worthy of a purchase, especially if you are looking for a game to play with friends! Although there probably isn’t much in the form of replay value (Blitz mode aside), you will certainly get your money’s worth with all the fun you will have trying to complete each of the stages whilst trying to remain calm. Whether you are planning on cutting your way through it solo or cutting it out together, Snipperclips is a game that gets the seal of approval from me!

VERDICT Snipperclips - Cut it out, together! is great fun for all the family! It may be a little on the short side, but with two or more people playing those hours will be both frantic and funny! Arguably the second best game of the Switch's launch, I cannot recommend this eShop title enough!

4.1 PUBLISHER Nintendo

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

DEVELOPER SFB Games

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £17,99 | €19,99

1.6 GB Switch Player

45


REVIEW

Just Dance 2017

Written by Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

As someone who was overactive as a kid, I can appreciate what Just Dance 2017 is bringing to the table as much as any casual fan; an opportunity to get moving, enjoy doing it, and make a game out of the activity. That’s where Just Dance 2017 for the Nintendo Switch comes in, as it’s one of the easiest ways to jump in on this craze. Armed only with what comes in the base Switch package and Just Dance 2017, you can play immediately – no extras required. Even better is the fact that you’ve got two Joy-Con right off the bat, so multiplayer is also possible. While I didn’t get too much into that aspect of the game, I feel that by playing every single song I can speak for single player and the mechanics with confidence. Regarding the most standard of play modes, this iteration of the game has you choosing from over fiftysix songs and taking them on motion-controlled style; a handheld Joy-Con (or your cellphone when paired with the app and Wi-Fi) your connection to the screen. As you watch the dancers move to the songs you’ll have to copy them as close as you can, paying extra attention to the coloured hand of your chosen dancer as it’s what you’ll truly have to emulate. Mirror the dancer closely and you’ll be rewarded with a congratulatory exclamation – but fail to copy to the game’s satisfaction (it’s pretty lenient) and you’ll instead get an “X” and fail that move. While it seems impossible to fail a song, getting a single star seems like a poor consolation prize for your bad dancing. Other modes include the three-round CPU battle “Dance Quest,” the cardio-fueled “Sweat Mode” that tracks your burned calories, the YouTube like “Just Dance TV” where you can see the uploaded videos of people (not on Switch obviously) performing the songs, and the musical-like “Dance Matchup” which mixes songs together. As for “World Dance Floor,” it’s the equivalent to an online leaderboard mode and will contribute to a world ranking of sorts should you care to take that route. New in this iteration however, is the “Just Dance Machine;” a mode where you use your dance power to help fuel a strange alien ship, unlocking further dance styles as you progress, and mixing it up with different modes and a less recognizable soundtrack. It’s a novel idea, but in practice it’s a little lacklustre as a play mode – though might be a good as a future tutorial type mode. Props to Ubisoft for trying something new, but the hook just isn’t there in its current form.

46

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Looking at what’s offered, there are plenty of options to play – though they’re mostly just variations on the main theme; copying the songs. Scored or ranked in different ways, the only real outlier modes are the viewer-like Just Dance TV and the awkward and lacklustre Just Dance Machine… and man, are they ever outliers. Okay, so how about the songs right? Well they’re not disappointing, but they are a bit limiting on the base end. Fiftysix seems like a big number, but when you only enjoy the music or dance to about half (or less) then it’s really not as enticing. I consider myself a pretty eclectic person, but to me it seems like they chose songs that were popular and not just songs that worked well; as evidenced by the extreme selection of awesome songs that come with the Unlimited subscription. Ah Just Dance Unlimited – the service of which you get a free three month trial on Switch, but have to pay $29.99 a year thereafter. It’s an awesome little service that offers over 200 additional songs, though being that the game itself is fairly expensive I definitely think they could’ve done with a little longer of a trial. I’d be more inclined to pick it up for a year had I been given six months to play around, but three months is barely enough time to get used to the base songs (let alone try the others).

As for how the game plays and works, it does so well enough for not having a camera to track your movement in space. The Joy-Con are quite accurate motion controllers, and moving the way the dancers do on screen works if you’re even remotely close – but therein lies the rub, as while it’s pretty accurate in theory, the game can be a bit skewed on its forgiveness. Sometimes you’ll make a move perfectly and get a fail marker, while other times you’re a little slow or not as accurate as you meant to be and it’ll register as perfect. These issues are mostly edge cases however, and I found that for the songs I could get nearly perfect on I could do it consistently – though even for the songs I couldn’t, I managed around the same score each time. It’s definitely not perfect, but it works much more often than not. Looking past the mechanics and options, Just Dance 2017 is a game that presents itself well enough in action and sounds pretty great while doing it. While the graphics you see on the screen aren’t the highest quality, they’re always perfectly usable and never do they obstruct your gameplay. There are “jaggies” here and there, but this isn’t the kind of game that’s ruled by its graphics. Sound quality, accuracy of motion detection, and being able to discern the moves the dancers on screen are making are the most important parts – and they all work as well as can be expected given the limitations of the system. So it’s simple to follow, easy to join in, there are some good songs – but they aren’t all to everyone’s liking or fun to dance to, and the Unlimited subscription you get for buying should be longer. The presentation and instructions are good for the most part, and the songs are high quality and sound just as they should even at high volumes, but the question remains; should you buy it?

PUBLISHER Ubisoft

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March 12.5 GB

Speaking as someone who has spent over ten hours of solid gameplay taking on all the Just Dance 2017 base songs (and some of the Unlimited songs) to compile my review, I’d have to say this game is a definite buy if dancing games, exercise games, or simply competition are your thing. Fun for all ages, guaranteed to have at least a few songs you’ll like to dance to in the base game, and expandable if you’ve got the want and/or need, Just Dance 2017 is most certainly a game worth playing – just don’t expect it to be perfect, or cheap.

VERDICT Just Dance 2017 is a good way to introduce new players to the game, or to get friends in the game with you - but as for accuracy, it's not the best. That said, you'll probably be having so much fun dancing to the Sumo version of "Hips Don't Lie" that you won't even notice the hiccups.

3.8 GOOD

DEVELOPER Ubisoft E-SHOP PRICING £49,99 | €59,99 Partial

Switch Player

47


REVIEW

Blaster Master Zero

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

Blaster Master Zero, for those of you – like me – who have never heard of the game before, is a remaster of a game originally released in 1988 in both Japan and America. For some reason it never released in Europe, so unsurprisingly this is my first experience of Inti Creates nearly 30 year old franchise. Before you sneer and start complaining about how remasters are bad, or that developers should be focusing their efforts on new games however, you should know that this isn’t another cynical cash-in. Blaster Master Zero is a game that definitely deserves some attention for all the right reasons! First off, the game’s story is utterly bonkers. You play a young boy called Jason who follows a frog named Fred through a portal in order to save him, and what follows thereafter is a series of inter-linked worlds for you to explore on your way to reuniting with the little green fella. To navigate these worlds you have a tank called SOPHIA III at your disposal. You can exit the tank to go on-foot at will with a press of the 48

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X button, and you will definitely need to do so to enter some of the dungeon style areas. These areas are important as they’re where you will find boss battles and upgrades (for both Jason and your tank). The main worlds in Blaster Master Zero use a 2D, side-on viewpoint – and the exploration of these areas is reminiscent in many ways to a Metroidvania-style experience. Entering the dungeons with Jason will switch to a top-down perspective, and the gameplay switches to that of a top-down shooter. Here you will blast through rooms, avoid environmental obstacles, and defeat all sorts of mutants on your way to finding the boss chamber. Once you take on and defeat the boss you’ll earn a power-up; which can give you access to a previously unreachable area, or add a new weapon modification to either your tank or Jason. The aforementioned environmental obstacles are also prevalent outside the Jason-only dungeons, with most of the game’s eight areas having an elemental theme that adds identity to the different stages you will work through. These range from an ice covered area that causes both Jason and SOPHIA III to slide around – making it a bit more difficult to control, to an underwater area that you will not be able to explore properly until you locate a modification for your heavy vehicle. These certainly did make each area more interesting, and offered enough of a challenge to make the gameplay more varied without becoming too much for the player.

There is a cooperative multiplayer element to the game also, but this doesn’t really add much to the game. The second player can control an aiming reticule, and is able to shoot different kinds of bullets at enemies on the screen. Nothing really to write home about, and probably something you will not bother with – especially when the Switch already has a few games that really excel when it comes to fun multiplayer. I must admit at this point that Blaster Master Zero didn’t give me the best first impression, and I found it a little hard to get into. An hour into the game however, my views had changed completely and I found it quite difficult to put down. The seven hours it took me to beat the game ended up both fun and enjoyable once I got past the hook, but once you have seen the credits roll there really isn’t much else for you to do. Looking past the enjoyability factor however, Blaster Master Zero is also surprisingly easy – and not many of the game’s enemies put up much of a fight. Only a few of the bosses posed a challenge, and even they were rather easy to defeat once I learned their attack pattern. When you combine this with the generous checkpoint system that has been added to the game, and the fact that health and weapon power-ups litter the areas you explore, you shouldn’t really run into much trouble while playing. This will surely please some gamers, whilst others may feel a little disappointed by the lack of a real challenge.

In the end, the sum of my experience makes me think that Blaster Master Zero is a good game – albeit a short one – that will certainly appeal to those that are familiar with the original. Newcomers to the series will find a retro title that looks and plays great on the Switch, but as mentioned above you may find it a little easy compared to other retro inspired games or remasters that have been released in the past few years. For under $10/£10 however, you cannot go wrong – Blaster Master Zero is a great little time waster, and one that will give you a fun-filled afternoon chasing down a rogue frog!

VERDICT Blaster Master Zero is fun while it lasts! With a bizarre story and fun gameplay, this is one Metroidvaniastyle game that can be played by both fans of the series and newcomers alike. The only complaints about this remaster are that it is short and rather easy, but the seven or so hours it will take you to get to the end are certainly entertaining while they last!

3.6 PUBLISHER Inti Creates

AT A GLANCE

NA: 9th March EU: 9th March

DEVELOPER Inti Creates

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £8,99 | €9,99

180 MB Switch Player

49


Switch Directory

THESE ARE THE HIGHEST-RATED SWITCH TITLES SO FAR. HOW MANY ARE IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Fast RMX

The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of The Wild

Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!

4.8

AT A GLANCE NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

EXCELLE

NT

4.7

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £59,99 | E59,99

13.6 GB

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

EXCELLE

NT

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March 147 MB

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £8,99 | E9,99

Just Dance 2017

AT A GLANCE NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March 12.5 GB

Blaster Master Zero March 9th World of Goo March 16th Human Resource Machine March 16th Little Inferno March 16th Binding of Issac: Afterbirth + March 17th Snake Pass March 28th Has-Been Heroes March 28th

Switch Player

E-SHOP PRICING £17,99 | E19,99

Blaster Master Zero

3.6

3.8

M arch

50

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

EXCELLE NT

1.6 GB

4.1

AT A GLANCE

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £16,99 | E19,99

838 MB

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

4.1

GOOD

GOOD

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £49,99 | E59,99 Partial

NA: 9th March EU: 9th March

E-SHOP PRICING £8,99 | E9,99

180 MB

A pril Graceful Explosion Machine April 6th LEGO City Undercover April 7th Jackbox Party Pack 3 April 7th Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap April 18th Puyo Puyo Tetris April 28th Mario Kart 8 Deluxe April 28th Constructor HD April 28th Shakedown Hawaii April


Downloadables Not so expansive...

Launching alongside Breath of the Wild is the "Expansion Pass," which - further down the line - will offer additional quests, content, and a hard mode. Initially however, it offers just three chests to aid in your early exploration of Hyrule; one of which includes an exclusive "Nintendo Switch" tee for Link to wear. It's available now for ÂŁ17.99/â‚Ź19.99/$19.99, have you picked it up yet?

Going down the arcades...

Heard of the Neo Geo before? It was one of the most powerful consoles available in the 1990's, and offered the closest thing to an arcade-style experience that money could buy. Thankfully, some of these titles are available at much more reasonable prices for the Nintendo Switch's eShop; with names such King of Fighters '98, Metal Slug 3, and Shock Troopers - along with many others - making the jump.

Switch Player

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COM

MUN

ITY

e c i vo

Daan Koopman nintendaan.com @NintenDaan

Hello Daan, thanks for talking to us! You've had the Nintendo Switch for a few days now, what are your early impressions? So far so good! I adore the diversity of what the system brings to the table. While I got glimpses of it at various preview events, you don't really understand until you have it sitting next to you.

DAAN KOOPMAN WRITES ABOUT GAMES AT GO NINTENDO, NINTENDO WORLD REPORT, AND MANY OTHER NINTENDO VENTURES - NOT TO MENTION MAKING VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE. AS A PROMINENT NINTENDO FAN IN THE COMMUNITY, WE WANTED TO GET HIS REACTION TO THE SWITCH. effort in. I feel more dedicated while playing. Multiplayer games are a fine endeavor as well. We played some fine rounds of FAST RMX, 1-2-Switch, and Puyo Puyo Tetris (Japanese version) among others.

At the center of all this are the various control options - and honestly, I think that this aspect stands out more than I To give some background and context, I'm thought it would. The Joy-Con in particular are very capable controllers. a handheld gamer first. Nintendo has given us a lot love with the Nintendo 3DS They are a little tiny for my huge hands, but I learned to appreciate them. It is fun and they were praised for their efforts. Nintendo Switch can be seen as the next to hold them freely in your hands and evolutionary step in many ways. With the play certain games that way. That being said, I think that functions like HD option of bringing console experiences with you, it allows for one ultimate version Rumble need to be highlighted more. There are only a few games that make that can be played anywhere. Similar to usage of this feature. the Nintendo 3DS, it is also easy to connect consoles together and play My final criticism is a very personal one. I multiplayer games that way. FAST RMX think that the HOME Menu and Nintendo and Super Bomberman R are perfect examples of this. It allows players to have eShop feel emptier than they should be. I their own 720p display that feels personal am not saying that these elements NEED music to be good looking, but it certainly and inviting. wouldn't hurt. This is something that new themes could potentially fix. Next to that, Naturally, it is fine as a home console as I just feel that the digital storefront isn't well. Just throw it in the dock and very well designed. The tiles don't really everything will be done for you. My invite me to purchase anything. I am also television was turned on automatically not sure how Nintendo is planning to and I could immediately start playing where I left off. This perfect for games like highlight games here. What true impression can you really get when you I Am Setsuna or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They are pretty lengthy see a tile, a picture, and a price point? I titles that require you to put the time and simply don't get that. 52

Switch Player

What games have you been playing? Anything stand out to you? Currently I have 29 games (as of March 17) on my Nintendo Switch, which includes both domestic games as well as titles from other regions. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is definitely worth playing, but we will get back to that in a little bit. As far as other stand out titles are concerned, I value those by the amount of time I played them. Let us highlight four of them. FAST RMX is absolutely one of them. It is fantastic racer with 30 tracks, 15 cars and a fine amount of options. It is true that not all the features are there at the time of writing, but it doesn't undermine the quality. This is the game I showcase to my gaming friends if they want to see a game running solely on the console. Nine times out of ten they get excited about the possibilities, even if they aren't too fond of racing games. Snipperclips is one of the best co-op games I've ever played. The way you work together with a friend is amazing. You need to be there as a team, debate possibilities, and snip into another to make it work. The clever puzzle design makes the experience a very inviting one, which I wouldn't trade for the world. Next to that, it has a fantastic sense of style and is a game that anyone can understand after a little bit.


While Puyo Puyo Tetris isn't out in Europe nor North America yet, the quality of the experience can't be understated. Simply put, this is one of the best puzzle games in the last few years. Alone or with friends, the game allows you to explore various modes that elevate and compliment both franchises. With the simple nature of the Joy-Con, it is also great to hand each other a controller and start playing right there. In time, this will quickly outlive Super Bomberman R as the perfect local multiplayer game. It has everything you want in a game plus more. For another solo experience, I pumped a lot of time into Blaster Master Zero. This game is the perfect follow-up to the NES and Game Boy titles that released ages ago. The moment you start the game and hear the Sophia III's rumbles in the Joy-Con is a magical thing. Plus, Blaster Master Zero is quite faithful to source material as you have sidescrolling and overhead gameplay sections. Inti Creates did a spectacular job thinking it all through! What do you make of the launch line-up; and the general reaction to it? I can't exactly blame people for looking at the line-up, and thinking: ''yeah, I'll wait.'' Truth be told, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the thing that is currently selling consoles. We can be kind and name one or two additional games, either digital or physical, but it doesn't change reality. If you want the best way to play Zelda, you likely already bought one. If you are on the fence with Zelda, purchasing a new console can't be exactly in the cards. The other four retail games that are available in Europe and North America can't make up the difference. The Nintendo eShop started strong right out of the gate with a solid number of games, so current owners do have stuff to play. Next to that, and if you are eager enough, you can net additional games by going to digital stores in other regions. I think that owners will find things to do until the next first-party game releases. As far as newcomers are concerned, I think they will hop in once '''their game'' bursts to the scene in style.

How have you found The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to be? Worthy of the critical reception? I'm taking my time with the game. There are more capable colleagues with more drive that have finished Zelda before I ever will. That being said, there is plently to say on Breath of the Wild. Without a doubt, this will be one of my favorite Zelda games ever. I think that the open-air concept, which was pitched to us ages ago, has really come into its own. The world of Hyrule is an inviting place to explore and offers a ton to the player. At the beginning, I thought that I certainly would follow a certain path. Within ten minutes of leaving the Great Platue, I threw that idea straight into the garbage can and started searching for Shrines. The Shrines are fun and snappy challenges that I'm always excited to endure. There is a solid variety when it comes to the puzzles and the ways that you can make them work. I went out of my way to finish them in a strange ways and the results were way funnier than I would like to admit. On the flipside, I can't say that I am too fond of the dungeons in the title. They are over before you know it and don't seem to challenge me in any particular way. Maybe the biggest dungeon is simply that huge open world. At that, it is the best dungeon that a player could hope for. The fights that you will partake in, the quests that you need to do, and the little things that make it all work. Even when it comes to cooking or observing what monsters do, there is a lot that the player will need to keep in mind. Every element feels extremely well crafted and it is something that the development team deserves all the praise for. You've been a long time Nintendo fan, how do you think the Switch's launch fares compared to other launches? While older launches way back were more barren, I did expect slightly more on the first day. Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U launched with a larger array of packaged software that instantly struck a cord with me. If you compare that to the five

Nintendo Switch retail games in the West, you do start to question it all a tiny bit. Outside of Zelda, I don't think that any games have the chops to blow away Nintendo's audience. They are nice additions for the right type of player, but each of them has individual issues. That being said, I think Nintendo has marketed the console quite well. Zelda and 1-2-Switch constantly pop up in the commercial block and it triggers people into contacting me about it. I've had folk come up and ask if it is worth picking up. I show them a few games, see how they react to it, and usually they walk away impressed with it. In all seriousness, I do really think that Nintendo has given us a system with a ton of potential. It is their job to continue to build its library and convince new people to hop in! What would you say to someone looking to pick up a Nintendo Switch? If you are looking to play Zelda, then there is no question that you should get a Nintendo Switch right now. If not, while I am sure that you will have fun, you might want to wait until a game comes out that you would be fully satisfied with. This can be Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, or any other given title that is currently in the pipeline. At that point, your experience is already elevated. You have both a game you really want and a fun system to play that and other potential curiosities on! Finally, where do you think the Switch sits? Is it a handheld that you plug in or a console you take out? Nintendo says is that it is a console that you can play on the go. I think that it would have been more impressive to call it a powerful handheld that can be docked. Ultimately, I still play it both ways and nothing is stopping you from playing it one way solely. The diversity of the system is what is so key about it, so the Nintendo Switch is whatever you want it to be. That will define Nintendo's direction for the next number of years.

Switch Player

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Meg Bethany Read megbethanyread.co.uk @triforcemeg

With this year being the fourth year since the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS, I can’t help but yearn for a new Animal Crossing title. I still play the 3DS version religiously on a near-daily basis - but after so long, it’s difficult not to want something fresh. With one of the main debates with fans being whether Animal Crossing is better suited to a home or handheld console, the Nintendo Switch would be the perfect fit for a new adventure because it yields the option for both. If a new title was to come to the Switch, it would be interesting to see what scenario Nintendo would throw the player into, and how it would differ from its predecessor. For example, New Leaf was the first Animal Crossing to make the player mayor, giving you power over ordinances and public works projects that let you customise your town like never before. In all the other previous games, Tortimer was mayor which meant you had no influence over the nitty-gritty of how your town was run. I imagine a Switch version wouldn’t revert that mayoral change, but I’m curious to know what new features and changes would be implemented. I think that the best change Nintendo could make in regards to town customisation would be to give players even more control over what items

54

Switch Player

MEG WRITES FOR THE DAILY STAR AND LOVES ANIMAL CROSSING. SO MUCH SO, THAT SHE WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT IT AND TELL US WHAT SHE HOPES WILL HAPPEN FOR A FUTURE NINTENDO SWITCH VERSION. can be placed around their town and where; sort of like Happy Home Designer on the 3DS. In Happy Home Designer, various objects such as fences, garden furniture, and play areas could be placed outside villagers’ houses to create their own front garden – something you can’t do in any other Animal Crossing game. You can place public works projects such as street lamps, sculptures, and benches around your town in New Leaf, but I feel like the customisation options need to be opened up even further.

I’ve even seen some players create nonpath patterns such as staircases and allotments, which add an even deeper element of personalisation. Something I’ve never liked about patterns however, is that you can’t place a pattern directly outside a door, which leaves an oddlooking space in your otherwise beautiful path placement. If Nintendo could make it so you can just throw your patterns down anywhere, it would make planning where your paths are going to go a lot easier and would avoid any unnecessary eye sores. In terms of the pattern design itself, I’m not the most artistic person, One thing I love about the current town so something else I’d love to see is the customisation is the ability to place return of the option to scan codes to gain patterns on the ground to create paths access to other people’s pattern designs, for your town. This feature was first introduced in Wild World for the Nintendo like in New Leaf. It’s truly a godsend DS, and has since become a staple because I can’t design my own patterns component in making to save my life. your town unique.


Nintendo brought out the “Welcome amiibo” update for New Leaf back in November which added a plethora of new features such as the RV campsite, Meow Tokens, and the ability to scan amiibo and amiibo cards in order to get new villagers and items. For me though, I still don’t feel as though Animal Crossing amiibo functionality has reached its full potential, and I think that the Switch version could bring further improvements. Instead of just having a certain NPC’s RV show up in the campsite when you scan their amiibo figure, it would be cool if it unlocked a specific shop or public works project rather than just items. Imagine scanning a Capp’n amiibo and unlocking a shop for furniture for your island, or scanning an Isabelle amiibo and unlocking a public works project shop. The possibilities are endless. I just don’t think Nintendo should stop here in terms of amiibo functionality and instead should strive to make it as fun as possible. In terms of amiibo cards, having them unlock villagers is a fantastic idea and I don’t think Nintendo needs to change that much. However, one small improvement could be that not only does

scanning a card give you the option to move the villager in, it could also unlock various town customisation items such as bushes, trees, fruits, and flowers obtainable only with that specific card. Another tiny addition I’d love to see in the Switch version are new fruits. Originally, there was just a basic selection of apples, pears, peaches, cherries, oranges, and coconuts but when New Leaf came out, it brought bananas, durians, persimmons, lemons, and lychees with it. Annoyingly, these additions are exotic fruits you can only obtain from the island - which is frustrating if you’re trying to have all the different fruits in your town. Having new fruits that are available in your town straight off the bat would be wonderful, and would be even better if they made it so you could have fruit bushes as well as trees. Imagine being able to plant pineapple trees on the beach, or pick blackberries and strawberries from bushes. Just the thought fills me with excitement! A wider variety of flower species and colours wouldn’t go amiss either. Something that fills me - and no doubt the whole fanbase - with curiosity is the Animal Crossing mobile game that was

announced but is yet to be shown off. It’s got me thinking – what if you can somehow link it to the Switch? Obviously we have no idea what the mobile game will entail, but we already know that Nintendo are making a series of mobile applications specifically for the Switch, so it would make sense if you could connect the mobile game to an Animal Crossing Switch game to unlock exclusive items or even villagers. This could work the other way around too, unlocking items for the mobile game through the Switch. Nintendo announced recently that the release of the mobile game has been pushed back to the next fiscal year, so hopefully by then we might know something about an Animal Crossing Switch title. Having Animal Crossing release on the Switch would be a dream come true for me, as being able to "switch" between playing at home and on the go is a wonderful feature - perfect for those days where I’m feeling indecisive about whether I want to play a game on a big screen or not. If Nintendo did bring the series to the Switch, and made some of the changes highlighted here, I think it could potentially be the best Animal Crossing title to date; shoving my firm favourite Let’s Go To The City out of the water. We’ll find out eventually, but until then we should keep our fingers (and toes!) crossed for an E3 announcement in June.

Switch Player

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Scott Berlin

justpause.us @justpausegaming

Nintendo famously does not have the best track record working with third party companies. This is an issue that dates back to the days of the Nintendo 64 and the decision to go with cartridges while the industry shifted to discs, something contrary to the wishes of major partners such as Square Enix. This has hobbled the support of games on Nintendo’s home console systems, yet handhelds have thrived due to the ability to develop smaller, more focused games. In the past decade we have seen a resurgence of the small game development shops with the rise of indie game developers. Has Nintendo shown the love to these developers, or have they left them behind to be swooped up by the competition? The Nintendo Switch marks an interesting turning point in the relationship between Nintendo and third party developers, specifically the indie developers. While we have seen estranged, large companies such as Square Enix coming back to a Nintendo console, the most impressive feat is the level of outreach Nintendo has taken with indie developers. Not only is there a management-level outreach to indie developers, focus on creating easy-to-use development tools, and an inexpensive development kit, but Nintendo has purposefully spread out 56

Switch Player

SCOTT BERLIN IS A POLITICAL CONSULTANT AND MARKETING EXPERT, SO NATURALLY HE LIKES TO SHARE HIS OPINION. IN HIS HIGHLY LIMITED FREE TIME, HE ENJOYS PLAYING A PLETHORA OF NINTENDO PLATFORM GAMES. IN THIS FEATURE, HE LOOKS AT NINTENDO'S RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIE DEVELOPERS, AND HOW IT'S A GOOD THING FOR THE SWITCH. their launch year game release schedule to allow third parties to shine. Last year, Nintendo promoted Damon Baker to run the Publisher & Developer Relations department at Nintendo of America. In just 6 months, there has been a marked public shift in the relations between Nintendo and these small studios. Previously, Baker had noted that indie developers shied away from releasing on a Nintendo platform due to the strength of first-party releases, and that is why his primary focus has been to ensure strong relationships and promotion for these releases. In his own words, "We just think that if the content makes sense to be over on our platform then it should be on our platform.” Not only is Baker dedicated to ensuring smooth releases, he is actively courting titles that fit the Nintendo philosophy. Richard Atlas, CEO of Clever Endeavor Games said, "Nintendo is traditionally quite closed about information and working with indies, but they’re doing a better job now and have pushed pretty hard for us to come out on Switch.” Some companies may pay lip service to the idea of reaching out to other developers, but the sign of success is when new partners sing your praises. In itsfifirst year, Nintendo has already

established quite the indie lineup for the Switch, boasting over 60 indie titles coming to the system. While some games are indie classics like Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games, others are the newest entires in longstanding franchises like Runner3 from Choice Provisions. Some games - such as The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ from Nicalis - are simple ports, others - like Stardew Valley from Concerned Ape - are highly enhanced, and bring new features to the table. Nintendo is running the gamut and not leaving any stone unturned. It is not just a matter of creating new relationships, Damon Baker has taken existing relations and dialed them up to eleven. ”Nintendo has done a better job year after year of seeking out great indie developers and helping them build bigger and better games for their consoles,” according to David D’Angelo from Yacht Club Games. There is more to development than just having Nintendo reach out and say please. With the Switch, Nintendo has taken the steps necessary to create a developerfriendly environment. While talking to Kai Tuivonen at Frozenyte, he said that it "has been a pleasure to work with the Switch due to how nicely everything has been thought out from a developer perspective."


Previously, developers had been highly critical of the Nintendo development kits. Legendary developer Suda 51 quit developing games for Nintendo systems over half a decade ago due to these difďŹ culties, but even he is coming back to the House of Mario with the ease of development. Creating easy to use development tools is one step, but in the past it was prohibitively expensive to get licensed to develop games on a Nintendo platform. Not only would a developer need to pay the associated costs for the development hardware, but also have a dedicated office, business registration, and a large portfolio of prior work to demonstrate value to Nintendo. Starting with the

Wii U, Nintendo began to loosen their requirements, and they have taken it one step further with the Switch by charging only $500 for a development kit, and working with developers who may have developed only a single games as a lone individual.

you covered with titles like Hollow Knight and Steamworld Dig 2. Feel the need to scratch your Advance Wars itch? Look forward to WarGroove. Miss the glory days of Rareware and their Nintendo 64 3D platformers? Yooka-Laylee and Snake Pass have you covered.

While Damon Baker and indie developers may have been concerned in the past about going up against first-party game releases, it seems that it is no longer about what games are being released, but about what games are not being released. Indie games on the Switch have found a niche fulfilling voids created by gaps in Nintendo’s lineups. When was the last time Nintendo released a 2D Metroid game? Indie developers have

History has a funny way of rhyming. World of Goo - one of the first indie games on the Nintendo Wii, launching 6 months after WiiWare began - is now one of the first indie games on the Nintendo Switch. With Damon Baker now at the helm, this should not be a simple repeat of history, the keys to the future at laying at his feet. It is up to him to ensure the environment of support and outreach he has spent years building may come to fruition.

Switch Player

57


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Definitive Verdict

ISSUE 2 | APRIL 2017

www.switchplayer.net Issue 2 | April 2017 Editorial Executive Editor Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

Contributors Andy Robertson @GeekDadGamer Ryan Brown @toadsanime Joe Anderson @_wotta Meg Bethany Read @triforcemeg amiibo Alerts @amiiboAlerts Zelda Informer @ZeldaInformer Charlie Large @CharlieLarge Daan Koopman @Nintendaan Sandeep Rai @2_Old_4_Gaming Just Pause Gaming @justpausegaming Print and Back Issues Subscriptions - patreon.com/switchplayer Back Issues - switchplayer.net/shop

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Coverage Are you a developer/publisher? If you are working on a Nintendo Switch title and want to get it covered for FREE in the magazine and/or website then we want to hear from you! Send an email to press@switchplayer.net and add us to your press lists. Whether your game is coming out soon or in the future, we want to help get that news out there so get in touch! Advertising To advertise in this magazine please send an email to paul@switchplayer.net. For a very low price we can promote your game to thousands of print and digital customers! Disclaimer Switch Player is an independent Nintendo Switch enthusiast website and magazine. All content featured is used with permission, or is considered fair use by our access to official channels and is used to promote existing and upcoming content for the Nintendo Switch. We are not endorsed or affiliated with Nintendo or any of the companies featured. Š 2017 Switch Player


at the

Flagpole U ARE NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE

There has been a lot of debate raging on the internet over the Switch as a large portion of an extremely vocal group rages on about the calibre of the Switch’s announced titles - a fair few of which are actually Wii U games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Little Inferno, Human Resource Machine, The Binding of Issac (I know it’s not quite the same version), Mario Kart 8 (again - not quite the same), Shovel Knight, Rayman Legends, and LEGO City Undercover are all getting the Switch treatment... and "damning" of all, I am sure many more will follow. This has left many Wii U owners feeling quite aggrieved, and you can somewhat understand their frustration. The thing that makes this a good business decision however, is that there are only 15 million of them. The Wii U - by far - is Nintendo’s worst performing console ever. Arriving too long after the X-Box 360/ PlayStation 3 generation, too soon before the X-Box One/PlayStation 4, and not having the capability to challenge either with the library of games didn't help. Having a confusing moniker and message was - of course - the lynch pin. All of this is of course a massive shame, because there are some tremendous games on the system. Here’s there thing, though; despite the somewhat baffling messaging coming from Nintendo that the Switch is more of a home console, it’s not really. This is a completely new system, with its own ecosystem that reached beyond

its predecessors. It’s not really Wii U owners that Nintendo want to attract, it’s everyone that DIDN’T buy a Wii U that is the primary focus. They already have those 15 million paying close attention, so it's the rest of the potential pool they want to draw from with the Switch. Even if you look just at the 3DS' sales, there is about a 45 million customer discrepancy between the two. That’s a lot of people that didn’t buy any of the games listed above as ports, and it’s a lot of people that may well be tempted by that new Zelda title simply because they can play it on the go. That leads us into the other key point to note; handheld. Portable gaming has always been Nintendo’s bread and butter, and at its core that’s what the Switch is - only you can plug it into your tellybox and play at home if you want to. The Switch also has a similar mechanic to the Wii, with the Joy-Con acting like a more modern day Wiimote. It’s worth noting that nearly nine times as many customers purchased a Wii versus the Wii U, so the potential gimmicky nature of the Joy-Con may well appeal to a similar audience. Nintendo clearly want to attract more people to the Switch - and that includes the casual crowd and the core gamers, alongside their dedicated and loyal audience. The only ones they don't really feel that they need to appeal to with those ports are those that that bought the Wii U, which makes sense as they already seem to know what they want.


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Switch Player #2  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this second issue covers the system's launch!

Switch Player #2  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this second issue covers the system's launch!

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