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ISSUE 4 | JUNE 2017

Michael "Havok" @Havok_San

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Mark Boulton

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Jason Thompson

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Matt


Welcome to the forth issue of Switch Player Magazine! Has it been a whole month already? It’s been a difficult one if so, mainly because of these Nintendo Switch games that keep coming out to distract us! As you read this, E3 will have been and gone - and while we can't cover what hasn't happened, we will have the full recap for you in Issue #5. For now we will just have to keep our fingers crossed that it’s a good week! Back to the present, and this fourth issue of Switch Player is packed again with even more great Nintendo Switch content. It boasts seven reviews, including cover-title Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers - a game which crept onto our lovely hybrid at the end of May. As it’s the 452nd version of Street Fighter II, should you pick it up? We’ve got the definitive verdict on page 28! That's not all however, as we’ve also got reviews of Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition, Puyo Puyo Tetris, The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth+, and many more for you to get your eyes onto this month.

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Moving past the reviews, did you know that 2017 is the 30th anniversary of the Metroid franchise? Darren Kerwin certainly does, and he has contributed a massive ten page feature dedicated to the series in this very special issue. He’s worked tirelessly to give his views, and get the opinions of many others - including some of those that either worked on, or were inspired by, the series. We’ve also got the latest developer interviews, and this month we speak with Zoink Games to get the low-down on their latest title; Flipping Death. We also spoke to FDG Entertainment, and found out a little bit more about Oceanhorn and Monster Boy. Couple all that with the latest community features, news (including something monstrous on page six), and previews, and you end up with plenty to get stuck into this month. If you've got the time, we've got the pages - so dive in!

SPECIAL

ISSUE 4 | JUNE 2017

This month's incredible Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers cover was designed by Justin Paul. Follow him on Twitter via @castcuraga to see more of his work!

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

Switch Player

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Inside

Contents FEATURES 10 Family Disruption 12 FDG Entertainment Interview 14 Zoink Games Interview 16 Metroid 30th Anniversary 48 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Hard Mode 50 The Switch is a gamechanger 52 Community Voice Dystify PREVIEWS 08 Celeste 09 De Mambo 26 Arms REVIEWS 28 Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers 32 Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition 36 The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ 38 Tumbleseed 40 NBA Playgrounds 42 Thumper 44 Puyo Puyo Tetris

HOMAGE TO THE

OF METROID

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10 Family Gamer TV explains how their family life has been impacted by the Switch!

REGULARS 02 Patreon Stars 06 News 47 Directory 54 Next Time

26 Did you play the Arms Test Punch? We did! Find out more about the game!

12 FDG Entert about Oceanho


e the newest issue of

tainment tell us more orn and Monster Boy!

COM

MUN

ITY

e

c voi

14 Find more about the exciting Flipping Death from Zoink Games!

52 Dystify tells us what he thinks about the Switch!

Hard Mode

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28 Our Definitive Verdict

50 Miketendo64 explains why he thinks the Switch is a game changer!


Switch News Monster Hunter XX coming to Nintendo Switch If you were at all worried that future Capcom support could be dependent on the sales performance of Ultra Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, then we're happy to quell your fears with the announcement that Monster Hunter: XX is coming to the Nintendo Switch this August! Currently confirmed for a Japanese release on August 25th, this version of Monster Hunter is an upgraded port of the 3DS version released in March - which itself was an enhanced version of the original Monster Hunter Generations from 2015. With this new version we'll see a noticeable visual bump versus the 3DS version, which we’ve learned will be able to communicate with this Switch version in a variety of ways. It will seemingly allow for saves to be transferred between the systems, as well as provide connectivity for online multiplayer between the two. With no news on a Western release at this time, we are hoping that Capcom will bless us with some good news. If not, there’s always importing - which is made easier thanks to the Switch being region free! What do you make of this news? Do you love a bit of monster hunting? Would you have preferred a Monster Hunter built from the ground up? Get in touch and let us know!

Also revealed was this special edition Switch bundle, the dock adorned with a special design.

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Nintendo Switch Online Now Coming in 2018

As we went to press, Nintendo confirmed that the paid-online service planned for this year is now delayed and will remain free until 2018. With a US/EU price of 19.99 for the year to play online after that, you'll need a smartphone app to use voice chat and you'll get access to a library of classic games and exclusive promotions when it launches. We will have more details on this service in the coming months.

Launching 2018

RPG/Platformer Indivisible announced for 2018 release

Lab Zero Games (the studio behind fighting game Skullgirls) have announced that their hybrid platformer/RPG Indivisible will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. Back in December of 2015, Indivisible raised over two million dollars on crowd-funding site IndieGogo - originally targeting PlayStation 4, X-Box One, and PC for its initial release. The newly announced Switch version is due to launch alongside these versions in 2018, adding just one more primary platform to the mix. As for what you'll be in for with Indivisible, here's what the game's official website has to say;

Indivisible tells the tale of Ajna, a good-natured tomboy with a rebellious streak. Raised by her father on the outskirts of their rural town, her life is thrown into chaos when her home is attacked and a mysterious power awakens within her. Indivisible spans a huge fantasy world inspired by various cultures and mythologies. Throughout Ajna’s quest she’ll encounter many “Incarnations:” people whom she can absorb into herself and manifest to fight alongside her. There are many Incarnations to recruit, each with their own story and personality. By uniting people from far away lands, Ajna will learn about herself and the world she inhabits.

J une

Does Indivisible look like something you'll want to play? We will have more news on this title soon!

Shantae: Half Genie Hero June 8th Arms June 16th Cave Story+ June 20th Minecraft: Story Mode The Complete Adventure June 27th Mighty Gunbolt Burst June 29th De Mambo June 29th Switch Player

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PREVIEW

Celeste

From the creative talent that brought you Towerfall , Celeste is a game about climbing a mountain. Playing as the titular character, you'll need to traverse over 300 levels - using tight and expressive controls to overcome your limitations, and to eventually uncover the game's many secrets. With HD Rumble, a nuanced story, and a hardcore-mountain climbing theme, this game evokes many Super Meat Boy feelings. Are you looking for another challenging and interesting title? Keep an eye out for Celeste later this year. PUBLISHER Matt Makes

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DEVELOPER Matt Makes

NA: 2017 EU: 2017


PREVIEW

De Mambo

With inspiration drawn heavily from the single button mechanics of the Smash Bros. series, and a tremendous amount of fun promised too, De Mambo is a game where you attempt to defeat your foes by the simple press of a button. How long you hold the button down determines whether you poke, spin, or fire at your enemies - so there is definitely some skill needed to get good. With a single player campaign, destructible environments, and easy to use (but difficult to master) controls, De Mambo looks like an essential party game for the Switch. Check back for a review next issue! PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER The Dangerous Kitchen

AT A GLANCE

NA: June 29th EU: June 29th Switch Player

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FamilyGamerTV

familygamer.tv @FamilyGamerTV

If you’ve enjoyed Nintendo games in the family for a generation or two, you’ll be aware of their focus on disrupting the current paradigm with new ways to play. The Wii did this hugely successfully with its motion controller. The Wii U isn’t perceived as such a success, but had a similar disruption with its doubling down on the second screen experience. At first glance, it’s easy to assume that the Switch is less disruptive than its two predecessors. In fact, my children were more excited about the new Nintendo games than they were the novelties of the system. For the first few weeks the Switch stayed docked and we simply played it on the TV. On a recent holiday however, I packed the Switch, some spare controllers, and the charger. It was an unexpected revolution. Not only did it mean we could play a range of Nintendo games on the go — Mario Kart, Breath of the Wild, and Snipperclips to name a few, but other console titles we’d not considered playing while away from home were suddenly an option. The biggest game changer for us is access to the Lego games. We have 10

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a long history with the various Lego gaming franchises in my household, and while we played a few on home consoles we really like to play these games on the go (alright, on the loo too). This means that the 3DS and Vita offerings have been pawed over by my kids with each new release. The quality of the handheld Lego games has steadily improved, although multiplayer features seem to come and go. There’s also an interesting back and forth between the Vita and 3DS versions.

While the Vita looked better, it was usually just an upscaled version of the 3DS game. My son refused to accept why they couldn’t bring the console game to the Vita - which persisted no matter how much I told him about system limitations. “They got it working on the Wii, why couldn’t they do it on the Vita?” I had to admit, the question did have a certain logic. Playing Lego City Undercover on the Switch made his little face light up. “This is what I wanted! Finally,”


he said - and with good reason. The experience of playing this full console game while out and about is hugely different to its 3DS counterpart (or similar Lego titles on Vita). The world is full rather than sparse, the visuals are impressively sharp, the cutscenes haven’t been crunched to within an inch of their lives, and there is a full co-operative split screen mode. This high quality meant that we’ve played the game loads on Switch, even though we had already finished it on the Wii U and the 3DS. Coming back from holiday is when I realised that I hadn’t had to get out our tablet or 3DS chargers even once — they were still in my bag. The kids had hardly used them, so taken with playing their games on the Switch instead. Now, it's important to remember that the Switch is new and shiny, and we need more time to see whether this change in gaming habits will persist in my family. That said, first signs are that Nintendo has done its disrupting work once again. If they are able to slide the Switch in somewhere between consoles, tablets,

and handhelds, they have will done well toward bringing console gaming to the tablet loving masses - and if this continues, it will be interesting to see how other platform holders respond. With PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect extending motion gaming from the Nintendo Wii to Sony’s and Microsoft’s platforms should we expect the Switch to have a similar impact? With this in mind there is an interesting comparison to the PlayStation Vita, which offers many of the same features of the Switch when used as a second screen for the PlayStation 4. It wouldn’t take a lot of changes — TV out and support for PlayStation 4 games — for a PlayStation Vita 2 to offer an attractive alternative to the Switch. There’s no going back to a world where mobile or handheld versions of games can afford to drop features or reduce visuals of their console counterparts. Playing Minecraft: Pocket Edition on our iPad suddenly seems second rate next to Minecraft on the Switch, and the thought of starting up Terraria on the Vita suddenly seems less appealing now its planned for Nintendo's latest and greatest.

Now, the Switch isn’t perfect, and it still has questions to answer. Hugely significant for families is whether it will get the full Frostbite (PlayStation 4/Xbox One) version of FIFA 18 or a lesser Ignite engine (PlayStation 3/Xbox 360) version. The Wii suffered for a long time with novel and innovative renditions of FIFA while never actually getting the full game, and EA are once again talking about the Switch version being the most “immersive, social, and authentic sports game ever created for Nintendo players.” This kind of dancing around the bush worries me. We just want full-power FIFA, not bells and whistles. To be truly viable as the only console a family needs to own, the Switch must deliver the high end FIFA game alongside other titles like Minecraft and Terraria — otherwise parents will end up buying a second console for football fans. For the same reasons, it also needs a strong version of Roblox. These quibbles aside, we are still very much enjoying the Switch in our household. Not only has it got us excited about Nintendo franchises again, but it’s substantially disrupted how we play games together - very much for the better.

youtube.com/user/FamilyGamerTV Switch Player

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FDG Entertainment fdg-entertainment.com @FDG_Games

Hello FDG Entertainment! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? FDG Entertainment has produced quality digital downloadable games since 2002! We started with feature phone J2ME games, and managed to expand to the full blown console game experiences we deliver today. It feels great to work on games for the big screen now, as we've lived and breathed console games since our childhood. You are currently working on two confirmed Nintendo Switch titles, let's start by talking about Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. What is it about? Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is a colorful open world action adventure game, based on the classic Wonder Boy franchise that started 30 years ago. Together with the original creator Mr. Ryuichi Nishizawa, we aimed to create a true and modernized sequel of Wonder Boy in Monster World. Monster 12

Switch Player

OCEANHORN AND MONSTER BOY ARE BOTH HEADED TO THE NINTENDO SWITCH. WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO CATCH UP WITH THE TEAM AT FDG ENTERTAINMENT TO FIND OUT MORE!

Boy is a co-production between FDG Entertainment and French studio Game Atelier. We licensed all original assets by WESTONE and LAT Corporation. What exactly will gamers get to see and do in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom? First of all, you get to experience a dynamic and beautiful high resolution 2D action adventure with a great soundtrack! The game features a boy who can transform into 5 different creatures and use various abilities to explore the world in ‘Metroidvania’ fashion. How about dashing through walls with the power of a lion? The next moment you may want to transform to a frog and use its tongue to swallow mosquitos, or swing on floating hook points across an abyss. There’s even a snake form that can move upside down on a ceiling. The game will constantly surprise players with new features and ideas!

On top of all that, there’s a huge variety of equipment like weapons, armor, shields, and boots which add to the existing abilities. Imagine a sword that can freeze water, or boots that enable walking underwater. Players need to combine everything and use all their wits and skill to reach the end. The game is described as a spiritual successor to Wonderboy III: The Dragon's Trap. As that game is currently headed to the Nintendo Switch, what do the development team think about it? We would describe it more as a successor to the whole Wonder Boy in Monster World series as we combine multiple features of it. We borrowed the animal transformation mechanic from Dragon’s Trap, but added new forms. We also use advanced level and puzzle design inspired by Monster World III and IV from Mega Drive, and added to that. Monster Boy is like a new all-star game that features nods and ideas from all games,


but also brings them to the next level. We’re very proud about how it turned out in the end. The game is a blast to play, and a completely fresh experience for fans of the series and new players alike. You are also releasing Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on the Switch. What can you tell us about that? We can’t reveal too much about Oceanhorn on Switch yet, but I can say this version will be fantastic! Just like on PS4 and Xbox One, we will take full advantage of the hardware and aim for a high frame rate. What games would you say Oceanhorn is most like? By now, Oceanhorn is widely known as a game that was inspired by Zelda. We’d like to see it as a combined experience with an emotional journey just like in Final Fantasy games as well as action adventure elements like those found in Zelda and Seiken Densetsu. All these games inspired us to do Oceanhorn. What will gamers see and do in Oceanhorn? Players step into the role of a young boy who wakes up all alone. His father

left during the night and the only lead is a letter and a mysterious necklace. Players will sail the Uncharted Seas and try to find out what happened. If you ever played Zelda you know of certain key items that help you unlock new areas and rooms as well as abilities that allow you to fight new enemies. This is also present in Oceanhorn. Players will find new friends, items, and magic - but also face powerful bosses and enemies in a 10+ hour 3D action adventure. What made you want to develop the game for the Switch? How have you found developing for the Switch? We love the Switch concept and Nintendo! After all, we spent a good chunk of our childhood in front of a TV with a Nintendo console hooked up. Are there any games coming out for the Switch that you are interested in or you think look amazing? We can’t wait to play the new Zelda game, but are also looking forward to having a big catalogue of Indie games playable on the go. It’s very cool to have a powerful hardware that allows full console experience everywhere. Many games on the Switch look amazing!

What are your thoughts on the Switch hardware? It’s surprisingly powerful for a battery powered device, but we can’t give any specific details. When can we expect to see Monster Boy and Oceanhorn? Any plans for retail releases? We plan to release Oceanhorn in the 2nd half of 2017. We don’t have a release date for Monster Boy yet. Please stay tuned on that one. 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? A console to take out!

We would like to thank FDG Entertainment (and in particular Alexandra and Thomas) for their time with the interview! Will you be picking up either Oceanhorn or Monster Boy on the Nintendo Switch? Switch Player

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Zoink Games

zoinkgames.com @ZoinkGames

Hello Zoink Games thanks for talking with us. Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? Well, Zoink has gone through some changes since the start. It began with Klaus and a couple of other guys developing games for console and iOS (The Kore Gang for Wii anyone?), but after a while we actually dropped games completely and did stuff like music videos and animated shorts. The game industry was really tough there for a couple of years, but in the end we decided to give it another shot. So finally, Stick It to The Man was brought to life! Stick It got such an amazing response, so there was no question we should stick to(!) games after that, and the studio has grown to over twenty people! Previous years we’ve been doing work for Disney and other companies alongside our own titles, but now our whole focus is on our own upcoming titles - Flipping Death and Fe!

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WE WERE BIG FANS OF STICK IT TO THE MAN AND ZOMBIE VIKINGS, SO WHEN WE FOUND OUT FLIPPING DEATH WAS COMING TO THE NINTENDO SWITCH WE JUST HAD TO SPEAK TO ZOINK GAMES TO FIND OUT MORE! You recently announced Flipping Death at the Nintendo "Nindies" presentation. What exactly is Flipping Death? Flipping Death is a puzzle adventure game where you take on the role as Penny, who (so it happens) just died and got a job temping for Death - who is on vacation. Your mission is to help the ghosts on The Otherside - the world of the dead - with their offbeat problems so that they can move on. To do this, you can possess and control the living in your previous home town Flatwood Peaks! What gameplay will gamers experience when playing Flipping Death? As you might know, the world of Stick It to The Man was totally flat - literally. The same goes for Flatwood Peaks, but this time you can actually use your scythe to flip the world around. That tree in Flatwood Peaks could be a tall hungry monster on The Otherside! You use this mechanic to solve puzzles and unlock new areas of the town.

The game shares a very similar art style with your previous title, Stick it to the Man. Are they set in the same universe? They are! If you listen closely, you can hear a familiar last name in the trailer! What was the inspiration behind the flipping between worlds mechanic, and how does that impact on gameplay? It actually started when we were doing Stick It to The Man. Since everything in the game was painted on cardboard, people were joking about what could be on the other side of the pieces. That’s where the idea of Flipping Death came to life! When you possess a character and flip the worlds around, you can actually read and talk to the minds of the person you’re possessing (which each character reacts to in their own way). This is also a way of getting to know the characters, which is helpful when trying to solve the puzzles.


What made you want to bring the game to Nintendo Switch? We’ve been interested in the Nintendo Switch since we got the first news of it, and when we were lucky enough to be one of few European developers to get the chance to start developing for it early we (of course) took it! We’ve really enjoyed working with Nintendo previously, so it was a no-brainer. Will the game make use of the Switch's HD Rumble or other features? Yeah, we’re working on using HD Rumble when possessing characters! Is there anything new you can share with us about the game? You might meet some familiar faces. How does that make you feel?

What about Stick it to the Man and Zombie Vikings, are we likely to see those on the Switch? We’re working on a Zombie Vikings port! It actually only took us three days to port the first levels - Unity is great in that way. If everything runs smoothly, we’re hoping for a summer release! Regarding Stick It, there are no plans for that at the moment, but we’re getting more and more questions about it. Would you like to play it on the Switch? When can we expect to see Flipping Death release? We’re hoping on releasing this year, but we also want don’t want to rush it if we feel like we need more time. As such, we don’t want to set a date in stone until we’ve gotten further in the development. Finally, if you have to choose one answer, what is the Switch? A console you take out or a handheld you plug in? A console you take out, which is a truly awesome feature!

We would like to thank Alexandra and Zoink Games for their time with this interview. We played Flipping Death and EGX and though it was great fun and full of potential, so we can't wait to see more. Will you be keeping an eye on how it turns out? Switch Player

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HOMAGE TO THE Darren Kerwin

Community Manager, Shinesparkers/MetroidFans shinesparkers.net

OF METROID ON AUGUST 6TH 1986, NINTENDO INTRODUCED THE WORLD TO METROID; A SIDE-SCROLLING, ACTION-ADVENTURE GAME WHERE YOU PLAY AS A GALACTIC BOUNTY HUNTER NAMED SAMUS ARAN. YOUR MISSION IS TO TRAVERSE THE VAST OPEN WORLD OF THE PLANET ZEBES, ON A MISSION TO ELIMINATE A HOSTILE GROUP KNOWN AS THE SPACE PIRATES. THEY'RE LED BY MOTHER BRAIN, AND HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF DEADLY LIFEFORMS CALLED METROIDS. CAPABLE OF LATCHING ONTO A LIVING ORGANISM AND DRAINING IT OF ITS LIFE ENERGY, METROIDS ARE A PLAGUE TO THE GALAXY THAT SAMUS NEEDS TO ERADICATE. SINCE THE RELEASE OF THE ORIGINAL METROID ON THE FAMICOM DISC SYSTEM, THE SERIES HAS SPAWNED TWELVE GAMES IN THE METROID SERIES. THEY PREDOMINANTLY FOCUS ON CORE ELEMENTS SUCH AS ISOLATION, BACKTRACKING, AND PUZZLE ELEMENTS. THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN A COUPLE OF SPIN-OFF GAMES, SUCH AS METROID PRIME PINBALL AND (MOST RECENTLY) METROID PRIME: FEDERATION FORCE. FEDERATION FORCE OFFERS A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE GAMES, AND TELLS A STORY FROM THE GALACTIC FEDERATION'S POINT OF VIEW - THOUGH AFTER THE EVENTS OF METROID PRIME 3: CORRUPTION IN THE METROID TIMELINE. TO MARK THIS HISTORIC MILESTONE IN METROID'S HISTORY, I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE MY OWN PERSONAL MEMORIES OF THE FRANCHISE, AND HAVE BEEN JOINED BY NOTABLE PEOPLE FROM THE METROID COMMUNITY, THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY, AND PEOPLE WHO WORKED ON THE FRANCHISE THEMSELVES. My introduction to Samus Aran was in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the GameCube back in 2002. At the time, that orange robot looked pretty cool - but I can't say I chose Samus very much in Melee, opting to fight as Link or Mario instead. It wasn't until I started to read the trophy descriptions that described Samus as 'she' that I realised that Samus wasn't a robot, but a woman! I am sure it was a bigger deal to those who first played Metroid in the 80s, but for me it was a total surprise. Even so, my interest for the character and the series was pretty much non-existent for quite some time. It wasn't until 2004 that I played my first Metroid game. A friend from Illinois in the United States sent over his copy of Metroid Prime on GameCube to me, emphasising strongly that I needed to play it. For someone to go through that much trouble to get me to play a video game, I felt that it had to be worth checking out. I was able to purchase a Freeloader to allow me to play region- exclusive GameCube games, and I popped the game in.

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I was greeted by the eerie title screen music and played through the game's prologue on board the Frigate Orpheon space station. That prologue served as an opportunity for me to learn and understand the many different abilities that Samus and her Varia Suit had. After a short while, I knew I wasn't alone on this space station and came face to face with the game's first major boss, the Parasite Queen. Her defeat triggered an autodestruct sequence, leaving me minutes to escape the Frigate Orpheon before it crashes into the planet Tallon IV below. The game was getting exciting. I was on the edge of my seat. I was hooked! The more I played Metroid Prime, the more I started to discover the exploration and puzzle-solving aspects of the game. I spent a while trying to find a way to reach an inaccessible item, only to find out later that I needed a certain powerup in order to obtain it. Recovering my abilities within the game and gaining new ones was very rewarding. I loved how I was becoming stronger and more capable as I progressed through the

varied environments of Tallon IV - from the frozen wastelands of Phendrana, to the fiery hell of Magmoor Caverns. I even admired the smaller details, such as raindrops splashing onto Samus' visor, and the reflection of her face whenever I fired a charged power beam. One of the highlights of the game for me was that final showdown against Meta Ridley, which came about after collecting all


twelve artifacts required to enter the Impact Crater. It was easily one of my favourite moments in the entire game. As the years went on, I discovered my devotion to the franchise; obtaining and completing each game as they released, and going back to complete the games I had not yet been introduced to. My passion for the franchise led me to create my own Metroid community known as Shinesparkers, and then interview developers who worked on the Metroid games, as well as members of the Metroid community - talking enthusiastically about the projects they wanted to share with the world. I was also responsible for organising two Metroid-themed albums, bringing my love and enthusiasm for music and Metroid together. They hold a very special place in my heart. My other contributions include a number of campaigns attempting to have Metroid music inducted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, and (most recently) even an attempt to get Nintendo to create a book about Metroid. It was to be in the same vein as Hyrule Historia, which was received well and noticed by a well- known publisher.

As for the future, I would love to see a new Metroid game on the Nintendo Switch. I feel strongly that the game should be a "classic" 2D side-scrolling game that takes place after the events of Metroid Fusion. It should reference lore, music, and characters from all parts of the series - not limiting itself to just the classic and Prime games. In terms of story, Samus is likely to be on the run, wanted by the Galactic Federation after blowing up the BSL Research Station in Fusion. Her arch-nemesis Ridley is dead, and there are no Metroids remaining (not counting the group within the Federation who are trying to propagate them). Metroid Fusion referenced how great military minds were uploaded to computers after their death, which is how Samus became reunited with her Commanding Officer Adam Malkovich. It's also possible that Ridley could make a return, as his remains were frozen on the BSL research station. Perhaps his mind could have been uploaded to a database in order to use him as a powerful ally, which would ultimately end with him being set free to cause havoc in an entirely new form (maybe a virus). This allows Nintendo to bring back Ridley in a unique way, retaining all of his original memories and military mind. He could become a very different

type of antagonist moving forward, which would be refreshing. The only companions Samus would have are her ship's computer (Adam Malkovich) and her animal friends (Etecoons and Dachoras) to guide her through whichever isolated planet or space station she would be present on. Perhaps there could be an emotional ending where one or some of these characters give their lives to save Samus - a throwback to Super Metroid. In thirty years, Nintendo and its loyal following of Metroid fans have supported the franchise through a variety of memorable and beloved games. While not all of its games have been well received, I hope both Nintendo and its fans look back at its legacy and remember why the series has been so important to them. For me, I will continue to support the Metroid series and encourage everyone to see why the Metroid series is worth exploring.

Switch Player

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Mike Wikan

Senior Designer Metroid Prime Trilogy

Normally, I don’t talk about the internals of games I have worked on over the last couple decades, but in the case of the Metroid Prime series of games I have a unique viewpoint - having been the only Designer who was involved before there was a Metroid Prime all the way through the creation and release of the Trilogy revised bundle. I was very fortunate to work with an extraordinarily talented group of people, and I think we created something very special. I also want to take a moment to say up front that what I will discuss was prior to Nintendo’s acquisition of Retro Studios. I loved working for Nintendo, and I still truly feel that of all the major hardware and software developers, they are the only ones that really “get” that our first and last service is to our players. I was involved in the Metroid Prime series since well before it was called a series. I was originally hired by Retro Studios to help develop an original IP first person shooter for launch on the Nintendo Gamecube. The protagonist of this game was a non-human who had been raised on Earth and trained to combat an Alien menace threatening humanity in cooperation with the US Armed Forces. This was well before Nintendo acquired Retro Studios, and as such the studio had its own peculiarities and challenges (as such startups often do). In this case, there were several titles under development (Ravenblade, Car Combat, Football, our product, etc.) and a primary “engine team” that was tasked with creating a game engine that would act as a foundation to run all of these disparate game types. When I came on board, the Engine group was significantly behind schedule and there was no way to create gameplay demonstrables in an effective fashion. I was told (quite literally) by leadership that designers would “design the game on paper, then hand it off to Engineering and Art to create it.”

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In my opinion that was insanity. All development was behind schedule and ran a high risk of failure. Fortunately, in my previous years developing games I had participated in the development of a few object-based game authoring systems. In particular, at Accolade (now a long defunct studio bought out by Infogrames in ‘99) we had created a scripting module for use in 3DSMAX that allowed us to script complex gameplay (we used this to create Slave Zero for the Sega Dreamcast and PC) within the actual world geometry files. We could roughly create environments, script the gameplay, then export the file to run in engine very rapidly. At Retro, working with my fellow Designer Karl Deckard, we convinced engineering to start a code branch and build an authoring module for 3DSMAX - allowing us to manually script gameplay content. In very short order, we created the first level of the game (a secret base on top of and inside a Mesa in the Arizona desert), we had a scriptable first enemy (the Parasite you see in the first level of Metroid Prime is that legacy creature), and - of course - we had a demonstrable way of scripting and creating gameplay. We showed this to the other groups, but their leads did not want to adopt our editing system, preferring to continue the way they were. When Nintendo arrived suddenly, wanting to see demonstrables of all the games that the teams were working on, only our FPS had demonstrable real-time scriptable content.

"I THINK THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE A MORE LIVING “WORLD” FOR SAMUS TO EXPLORE." - MIKE WIKAN


Nintendo liked what they saw and proposed we adapt that game and viewpoint, but restart it as a Metroid Game. There NEVER was a third Person Metroid Game in development at Retro. It never happened or was attempted, and we discussed it internally for maybe 24 hours. Shortly thereafter, without real demonstrables or progress on the other products, those teams were shut down. Some of their personnel were moved to the Metroid Team, while the rest were let go. The moral of the story is that if you see a problem, work to solve it; don’t assume someone else will take that responsibility on. As with any project, there are many perspectives and stories - but I feel that that moment before we actually started Metroid Prime is what defined the development and success of the Metroid Prime series of games. Our teams were very small for what we created (35 people on Metroid Prime), but we lived and breathed that creation. I think there is an opportunity to create a more living “world” for Samus to explore. By maturing the visual guideposts within the world to match and enhance the “lock and key” systemic exploration that is at the heart of the Metroid Prime Series of games, there would be an

opportunity to enhance those elements that make the Metroid Games unique - the isolation, the wonder, and the fear. When I look at what the new Zelda game is doing on the Switch, it really seems clear to me that there is an opportunity to push the elements that are keystones in the franchise toward their logical gameplay constraints. Imagine cyclopean bosses pursuing you under the skin of a verdant moon across kilometers of terrain, scattering buildings and native life in its wake until you finally lure it to a battlefield of your choosing - a ringed gas giant dominating the sky overhead. Imagine an alien ship whose wreckage is scattered across hundreds of miles of terrain, your goal as the player being to pull the data cores from each section and reassemble the Gravitic Compression Cannon to face the final boss. Imagine collecting the Wing Suit, allowing you to fly to near orbit and rendezvous with the orbital defense satellite - retargeting it on the surface below to breach the shields of a space pirate stronghold. Not just creating isolated pockets suggesting a world, but creating a world and playing within it and perhaps even bringing a friend.

Community Voice The major appeal of Metroid games are their Ryan Barrett non-linear game play. Co-Director at In most of the titles, Metroid Database there is never a clearmetroid-database.com cut path, so one may become lost or stuck – a very rare occurrence in many modern games. This not only forces a player to explore, it gives them an incentive to do so (which keeps them engaged). This game play technique is crucial in nearly all adventure games, and is a staple of Metroid. Super Metroid reshaped this staple to near-perfection, and it was further refined in first person with Prime. It is the main reason why I love the series so much.

DoctorM64

Project Director at AM2R

The moment I finally played and finished Super Metroid, I was surprised for how well the atmosphere and player progression was done; playing as an awesome character, being part of an even

Games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Guacamelee!, Shadow Complex, and countless other modern indie titles (with plenty more on the horizon) have proven that the "Metroidvania" genre is not only alive and kicking, but is an extremely diverse and popular genre that's capable of capturing the imagination of players all over the world. I truly hope Nintendo realizes that a new 2D Metroid game (be it 2.5D or strictly 2D sprite- based) is in high demand, and that the Switch would be an incredibly qualified platform for that title. It would no doubt be a system seller. Every day that goes by, the fans are holding their breath for a new Metroid game! Please, Nintendo; GIVE US WHAT WE WANT!

bigger story, and all of that with a futuristic sci-fi setting. That's the moment I became a Metroid fan. Nintendo showed us that an immersive exploration experience where you trust in the player's intelligence (without hand holding) is possible. If it worked with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it could also work wonderfully in a sci-fi setting - at least, that's what I imagine Metroid on the Switch would play like.

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Kynan Pearson

Senior Designer Metroid Prime Trilogy

I remember when I was younger and I picked up the original Metroid on the NES; it was unlike any game I'd played before. It captured a true sense of being isolated in an alien world where anything was possible, and getting the morphball so early in the game set the tone that this was something truly unique. Metroid and Zelda were both about huge worlds, filled with secrets, that let you have a freedom in how you explored them. They were difficult games that treated players with respect. Fast forward to Super Metroid and I was excited before the game even came out. Super Metroid was an unbelievable sequel and became my go to game, spawning a play through at least once or twice a year. My first time through I played with my best friend, and we would take turns based on reaching new sections. Everything about that game felt so expertly crafted. The abilities, the progression, the art, the music, the surprises, the controls, the map, the story, the exploration, and the ending all came together to create a game that was such a perfect package. No game at the time even came close to achieving the tone and quality of Metroid. It really felt like the key moment in the creation and refinement of a new genre. It was the type of game that I aspired to make some day, so when the opportunity to work on a game in the Metroid franchise came about I was beyond excited. I'd have to say working on Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was my favorite experience in game development. The studio was filled with so many talented people, and it was still a small team so everyone put in so much effort to make it the best game it could be in the time we had. We knew then that MP2 was going to be a different experience, and while I know it's not the most popular game in the franchise, it definitely has its own thing going. The people that do love Prime 2 really love it, because there's not really anything else like it. We set out to create a new world and populated it with all new creatures, mechanics, and characters (I still really love the Luminoth and the Ing). I think the game captures the essence of being stranded on a strange world

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where you have to truly discover how to survive. It was a blast to create such an elaborate connected world, in a franchise we loved, with such fantastic friends and colleagues. I do love the Metroid Prime series and would love to see a modern sequel on the Switch. That said there are a bunch of different things I'd love to see happen with the franchise that aren't related to Metroid Prime specifically. My dream Metroid game on the Switch would be a 3D side-scrolling successor to Super Metroid, though I'd love to see a fully realized 2D/3D sequel or reboot of the franchise. I've even fantasized about creating a new Metroid game, using the same techniques we had used when making Donkey Kong Country Returns. At this point it's the Metroid game I want to play the most, especially if a passionate and talented team makes it. DKCR and New Super Mario Bros. both saw great success in re-launching a classic franchise while still retaining elements of the classic feel, so I hope Nintendo makes it directly or lets another talented developer take the mantle. Since the world, enemies, and characters would be 3D, the game could have many new elements built around taking advantage of lighting, or things moving in and out of the background. I'd love to see an increased focus on building around the mysteries surrounding the Chozo. Metroid has always been a mechanics driven game, so I'd love to see a whole slew of unique mechanics to play with. More bosses, more significant world changing events, more mechanics, and more suit and weapon customization options would go a long way.

"I'D LOVE TO SEE AN INCREASED FOCUS ON BUILDING AROUND THE MYSTERIES SURROUNDING THE CHOZO." - KYNAN PEARSON


I'd also love to see a completely new, fully 3D, third person re-imagining of the Metroid franchise utilizing the philosophies used to create The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It would be wonderful to have a fully realized planet featuring a vast surface and a deep subterranean world to explore. I'd love to pay off on the concept of freely exploring a dangerous world that's filled with surprises and unique abilities, which players could tackle without guidance. To see them really play up elements of trying to survive in a world filled with undiscovered dangers, difficult enemies, bosses, and truly alien terrain. Metroid was always about gaining strange powers in a fully connected and dangerous world, so I hope they create a game that captures the heart of that concept. This type of game could present architecture and bosses at a grand scale that surpasses what players had experienced in the Metroid universe to date. I'd love to see Ridley realized as a massive space dragon that could engage players dynamically in different locations of the world. While it would feel open world, there would have to be a deeply crafted sense of discovering new parts of the world using the abilities the Chozo left behind. Lastly I'd love to see a new Metroid first person adventure that wasn't part of the Prime series. I think it'd be great to potentially reboot Metroid 1 or 2 so the game could focus more on the

Metroids themselves. It would be great to see a Metroid game with a strong focus on survival and horror elements where the Metroids could be terrifying threats. The Switch would allow for a more realistic take on the worlds with dramatic dynamic lighting options and better materials. Metroid has always been inspired by the Alien films, so it would be exciting to see something in the franchise represented with a more mature tone to the world. I also think it would also be great if Nintendo also pursued indie developers and gave them a chance to create official, classic style Metroid games. I want to see official Metroid releases from developers like Konjak, Moon Studios, or the AM2R team. I'd love to see Nintendo embrace the community and allow more to happen with franchises that they aren't actively working on internally. No matter what Nintendo chooses to do with the Metroid franchise on the Switch, I hope that they represent Samus with the sense of mystery, strength, and respect that the character deserves. Metroid has always held a soft spot in my heart and is one of the key franchises that inspired me to get into game development. I can't wait to see what happens with Metroid on the Switch, and beyond.

Community Voice My first beautifully memorable experience Falcon Zero with the Metroid Webmaster at series began at Super Metroid Recon Metroid. This was back metroid.retropixel.net when Samus only had three games under her belt! It left such an impression on me that for almost twenty years I've joined Samus on countless other adventures. The atmosphere and exploration captured my imagination and has proven itself completely timeless to the point where I still find myself going back to spend two hours on planet Zebes!

For the future of the saga, I would love to see a new first-person Metroid on Nintendo Switch. Nintendo, follow in the footsteps of Metroid Prime and make it a game to remember - going back to Samus' adventuring roots with utterly stunning visuals. Pair that with a traditional 2D title on Switch and/or the Nintendo 3DS, and it'd be 2002 all over again!

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Jeff Skalski

Senior Producer at Ubisoft Québec

Where to begin with such a classic franchise? My first encounter with Metroid, along with a few other timeless games, was when I was first inspired to get into video games. I’ve always had a love affair with Nintendo platforms and games. Each release, each amazing game...I associate with a critical moment in my life. It’s my gaming track of memories of which I often reminisce. I think it was destiny that on my 7th birthday --October 18, 1985 -- the NES was released in North America. No better time to be introduced to an Italian plumber and the many more memorable characters to come. I wasn’t lucky enough to get that for my birthday, but my uncle in NY did have a console that I was fortunate enough to play. The following year - in May of ’86, before moving to Athens, Greece for my father’s next tour in the Navy, my Grandmother gave me a farewell present; a Nintendo Entertainment System. That year, and every year after, I would just ask my relatives and family to chip in together to get me one game for my birthday and one for Christmas. That’s all I wanted.

be unwrapped. I was in the 4th grade, still adjusting to living in a new country, making new friends, and learning a new language, but there I was rushing home after school to play Metroid. Long before the internet, smart phones, YouTube, and even Nintendo Power - there I was, nine years old, solving what I could each day, and comparing notes with my friends at school during recess. What blew my mind the most about Metroid was the multiple endings and the big reveal I had for my fastest play through; Samus Aran was a woman! My reply at the time was simply “That’s cool.” One blue bomber and seven years later, I found myself in the spring of 1994 - a sophomore in high school, and living in Maryland. I was anxiously awaiting the release of Super Metroid on SNES. With money saved up and in hand, I rushed over to my local Electronics Boutique and bought it. Wow, what a game! The visuals, the level design, the story - I simply can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed Super Metroid. It’s one of my favorite games of all time, and I still find myself playing it again from time to time (@ Nintendo; let's get this on Switch ASAP). From the intro cutscene to the emotional ending, I was hooked. It was the benchmark to beat at that time, and another title that fueled me to learn more about the process of making games. Baby metroid, your sacrifice will never be forgotten!

Eight years later in the fall of 2002, I was 24 years old and five years into my professional career as a Level Artist and modeler at Mythic Entertainment working on an online MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. So much was going on for me Year one was simple, Castlevania and Zelda. While I enjoyed the challenge that during that time; I just got married, DAoC Castlevania brought to a platform game was having tremendous success, and and Zelda blew my mind as an adventure there I was again - grabbing a Nintendo controller, and firing up my next Metroid game, I was itching for something more adventure with the inspired Metroid Prime. - something with a sci-fi taste. Fast This time the game came from an unknown forward to year two. October 1987, two months after release, a shiny brand new group called Retro Studios, and I wondered if they could pull off the dramatic change copy of Metroid was waiting for me to

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to first-person. Well, I had that answer within the first few minutes of play, and quickly lost track of all time thereafter. I was in awe of how they strengthened the core DNA of Metroid from a 2D platformer to a first-person shooter. It translated so well. The level of detail in the environments was so well-crafted, and everything supported the design and fantasy. Each corner, each room, every ceiling, every rock; all handcrafted to an exceptional amount of detail, especially given the technical limitations of that time period. This pushed me even further in my work and gave me a new benchmark to strive for. I will forever have respect for that team and the work they still do today. So as you can see, the Metroid series has played an important role in my life, and there’s so much more I can say (I'm looking at you Fusion and Zero Mission). Metroid will always be fused with key moments of my past, and I look forward to what future memories it will bring to me as a developer, a gamer, and a father. Thanks to all the developers who’ve worked so hard on this franchise, and to Samus; I can’t wait for our next adventure. Perhaps the VR launch title for Switch? Now that would be something…


Back in 2016, Yacht Club Games ran a poll reaching out to fans to ask what they wanted to see from the company next. On that list was the suggestion of a sidescrolling platformer/shooter title in the style of Metroid. Can you share some of the conversations and ideas you had for this concept, and how do you think Yacht Club Games could approach this genre of game? You have been working in the games Most game designers probably think industry for over a decade and worked about how they’d make a Metroid-style in a variety of roles, including animation, Sean Velasco exploration platformer game, but instead design, and as a director. How has the Yacht Club Games of a specific concept I think we’d initially Metroid series impacted your work in Director identify some important principles to these areas? stick to; things like making the world feel My favorite game structure has real and connected, and trying to make it historically always been Metroid’s interesting to go back and forth through lock-and-key kind of gameplay where powerups gate the world. At WayForward, that world repeatedly! Backtracking can get tedious, so maybe we would focus on almost all of my game pitches were for a making the map interesting to traverse “Metroidvania” style of game - whether Sean, you from multiple directions. I think these it was appropriate for the license or not! expressed to me types of games also have trouble giving It always seemed to be the holy grail; an that Metroid is one of your favourite video interconnected world of mobility upgrades gentle guidance, so it would be great to balance that with exploration in a way and cohesive levels! Because they game franchises. How that feels natural. seemed too scope-y, these ideas were were you first introduced to the series, often left on the cutting room floor - but and what are your fondest memories of I also looked to Metroid for lessons about Yacht Club Games have been working the series in its thirty year history? hinting at gameplay ideas through visuals, with Nintendo for Shovel Knight: I was introduced to Metroid on the Specter of Torment and Shovel Knight: or the actions of NPCs. Super Metroid NES. I played it as a kid and I think it Treasure Trove. With your experience of is my gold standard for creating an was too hard, and too open. I didn’t development with the Nintendo Switch, immersive world, so I guess I always look even really beat Metroid until I was an how do you feel the hardware could be up to it in that way. The Metroid series adult, but by the time Super Metroid utilised to offer a unique experience we has been the inspiration for a number came out I was 12, and pretty much haven't seen with the Metroid series of video games outside of Nintendo, the exact target audience (even though previously? including titles such as Guacamelee!, I didn’t care about the original). I had Working on the Switch was cool, and Shadow Complex, and Axiom Verge. played all of Nintendo’s action games, I think the Switch’s best feature is and the Nintendo Power hype machine supporting cooperative play anywhere. Do you play other Metroidvania style had me pumped for Super Metroid! I How about a Metroid game that had a games, and which ones do you have the was studying screenshots and reading cooperative element? Maybe you could fondest memories of, and why? previews over and over again. I was play as either Samus or a metroid and I have played all of the games you listed, already poised to love it, but I think it and a few others like Cave Story, VVVVVV, it could be a co-op game! Like you blew me away anyway. It felt so real, and La Mulana - all of which have similar have to float over as the metroid, and visceral, foreign, fresh, and immersive! Samus has to shoot you with the Ice elements. I loved Cave Story’s shooting, Once I finally got my hands on it, I Beam to make you into a platform and aesthetic , story, and music so much! was glued to it - and spent months jump on you? You could be like best When I look at these titles, that is the discovering all of the secrets, trying to friends! Hmm.. would that ruin the get 100%, trying to beat it under a certain one that sticks out to me as one I love... time, and wringing every bit of enjoyment but I love Spelunky more, even if it’s not a immersiveness and isolation though? out of it that I could! Back then we didn’t Metroid style game! have huge Steam libraries of unplayed games, or Gamefaqs, so I ended up thoroughly exploring Super Metroid. I’m not surprised that it has left such a last impression on me! I later enjoyed the Metroid Prime games and the new 2D Metroids as well, but nothing like Super Metroid.

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Ole Ivar Rudi Art Director at Rain Games

My greatest memory of Metroid is probably that pitch perfect simple silent storytelling arc of meeting the baby Metroid again towards the end of Super Metroid. The foreboding atmosphere, the panic when it grabs hold of you, and the relief when it recognizes you (and you realize why it let you go). It sets up the ending really well, and felt pretty sophisticated back in the mid 90s!

I’m in love with Metroid as a video Nathaniel Tabit game series, but it was the community that made me realize I wanted to Webmaster at Metroid Headquarters spend the rest of my life talking about it. It wasn’t important if a game had metroidhq.com come out recently or not, there were always people playing the Metroid games. Whether speed running, sequence breaking, or just goofing around, the community made a great series better, and elevated my experience with the games.

The biggest draw to the Switch for me is the portability, over everything. Because of this, I’d like to see a side-scrolling Metroid game with a world size that takes advantage of all the extra space a Switch game has over a GBA cartridge. It doesn’t necessarily have to be made with sprites, but I’ve been aching for a properly massive Metroid game in the classic style, and those game have always felt much more at home when I’m playing them on the go than the first-person titles. The Switch offers an exciting opportunity to make that leap.

Community Voice

Andrew 'FastLizard4' Adams

Administrator at Wikitroid

metroid.wikia.com

Super Metroid. From there, my fascination with the series lead me to discover the then-inactive Metroid wiki (Wikitroid) very nearly a decade ago (August 2007). Even after all these years, every time Nintendo schedules an event, I await with baited breath any news of the beloved series I have so many fond memories of.

Like many fans, I was rather disappointed by the two most recent entries into the franchise; Other M, and Federation Force. Though perhaps they could be considered good games when taken in a vacuum, they pale in comparison to the likes of Corruption and Super Metroid - victims of (in my opinion) questionable storytelling, design, and gameplay decisions. I also felt rather stymied by Nintendo’s response to the series’ 30th anniversary, in which we saw an American fast-food restaurant chain pay a better homage to the series than the series’ creators themselves. Then there’s Metroid Dread, the Half- Life 3 of our franchise - rumored for years upon years, but not (yet) forthcoming.

Despite this, I am hopeful. The Metroid series has always been something of an underdog as game franchises go. To me, the current problem facing the series is a lack of direction. With the Prime sub-series concluded, there’s really only one direction I think we can go from here – forward, continuing the story from where Metroid: Fusion left off. This is an amazing storytelling opportunity for the series, with the potential twist that Samus is no longer on the best of terms with the Federation, and there are absolutely no limits on where the story can take us. Even if it takes time, I'm sure that if Nintendo takes a moment to listen to what the fan-base has to say, learns the lessons of the mistakes made with Other M, and finds a proper direction to take the series, we will one day have the continuation we’ve all been waiting for. If they do all that, it will have been worth every minute of the wait.

CREDITS Justin Fairfield (Omega Metroid) justinfairfield.artstation.com Joel Sousa (Dachora) joelchan.deviantart.com Kate McElroy (Crocomire) facebook.com/katemcelroyillustration Joel Sousa (SAX vs Samus) joelchan.deviantart.com Joel Sousa (Meta Ridley) joelchan.deviantart.com Kate McElroy (Etecoons) facebook.com/katemcelroyillustration Billy Lundevall (Metroid Baby) billylundevall.se

SPECIAL THANKS Karston "Sylux102" Vasquez Stephan Wells The Metroid Fan Community @MetroidFans

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THE METROID FAN COMMUNITY Metroid Database - metroid-database.com Metroid Headquarters - metroidhq.com Shinesparkers - shinesparkers.net Metroid Recon - metroid.retropixel.net Wikitroid - metroid.wikia.com


TWEETS FROM THE METROID FAN COMMUNITY

Phazon @Phazon4G The unique atmosphere, sense of isolation, thrilling soundtrack & bounty hunter Samus made Metroid into an unforgettable experience for me.

Elias Thompson @eliasthompson The Metroid series and online community I came to know from it changed my life in more ways than I ever would've thought. Happy anniversary!

Renan Greca @RenanGreca Metroid fuels my passion for video games and music. Thanks to the community, I made many great friends. See you next mission, Samus!

Bernard Kempf

@QuantanamoBay4K

Having played and grown up with Metroid, I can say this: it isn't just a game. It is an experience, one that everyone must at least try.

Torbjørn M. Brandrud @TorbofThrones Metroid has led me to important friendships from all over the world, and it shaped my life into that of a musician. Forever one of the best!

Darts @NoruDarts Metroid is so important to me. Games like Zero Mission and Super have inspired me to study game design, and maybe one day make my own games!

Helloween @Helloween4545 Samus Aran was my Hero growing up, 30 years in and the best games ever keep staying strong!

Amwolf-Music @Amwolf_Music One of the most important series in gaming history, it showed children that women could do anything like men, without any world wide issue.

Baked Sphincter @DarkLight08 Metroid is one of my greatest inspirations and has always been some of my favourite games. I can't w ​ ait to see the future of Metroid!

John @SJtheguy Super taught me how impactful a story can be; Prime solidified my love for the series. To anyone who worked on Metroid in N E way, thank you

Tron @TronTheGamer Metroid is one of my favorite games of all time. It's fun, exciting, and always filled with that sense of the unknown danger lurking within.

Timothy Huneycutt @timothuney The Metroid franchise is compelling because it is so unique. You can feel Samus' isolation as you get lost in the music and atmosphere.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR GUESTS IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY AND THE METROID COMMUNITY FOR HELPING US PUT TOGETHER THIS EXTRA SPECIAL FEATURE FOR METROID'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY. SEE YOU NEXT MISSION! Switch Player

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Written by Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

When I first heard about ARMS, I absolutely thought Nintendo was reaching. I thought the game was going to be a cheesy, no fun, flop of an attempt that wouldn't work well with the features they were offering. To be blunt, it simply seemed to gimmicky to persevere. I'll be the big man here, and admit straight up that I was absolutely, positively wrong. Running the weekend of May 26th and the weekend of June 2nd, Nintendo offered us a chance to get our hands on a very limited slice of what ARMS has to offer in exchange for stress testing their online mode for them. The ARMS Global Testpunch was twelve sessions of an hour each, which played out much like the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire - only more numerous in sessions and choices.

Modes on the first weekend included one-on-one fights, three way "everyone for themselves" style fights, two-ontwo fights, and V-Ball (volleyball with explosives). Modes on the second weekend offered a change up to threevs-Hedlok (a multi-armed beast of an enemy), a versus style target practice mode, and Basketball (where you throw your opponent into a hoop) - but retained the two-on-two and one-on-one modes as well.

As for the way the game plays, it has you choosing from three arm types a pair of two (which can be the same) to use. While the full game will offer more arms, and those arms will be upgradeable, we were locked to just a chosen three for each character. Once you've chosen your arms, you'll be sent in to take on your task - which is usually punching the I actually missed the first and second to last rounds due to some minor issues on heck out of your opponent, but always my end, but I played the full hour (actually revolves around punches or throws. a few minutes more) on all the other rounds. With over eleven hours total into The arms however, offer different characters (who each have their own the Testpunch, I like to think that I got a decent handle on what was offered - and unique ability tweaks) ways to augment their gameplay further with unique arm I absolutely loved every minute of it. skills. Some arms are heavy, or exhibit a special element - like electricity. Other Allowed to choose from seven fighters arms are lighter, and some of those light the first weekend (including Spring Man, items exhibit a boomerang-like effect Ribbon Girl, Ninjara, Min Min, Master Mummy, Mechanica, and Helix) and eight which is good for attacking at angles. Those lighter arms also allow you to fighters the second weekend (with the addition of Twintelle), the Testpunch had curve your punches as your arms extend, while the heavy punches can you pick a fighter and jump into a ten only be moved just slightly player lobby for some random gameplay due to their momentum. modes and matching.

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Arms can even be charged to offer a stronger hit to the player, which can be done through holding the action buttons (L and R in thumbs up motion controlled gameplay). Some characters can also charge their arms via other methods, so be sure to vet your choices for the option if you need it. Speaking of options, in a good balance choice it seems that all arms are capable of being used to throw your opponent - and if you throw both arms out like a double punch you'll grab for your enemy. A successful grab will have your enemy pulled to you and then batted away with spectacular force, or in the case of the Basketball mode you'll toss your opponent into the hoop. Aside from punches and grabs, the other item in your arsenal is your special attack. Once you've charged your special meter such that it lights up with a yellow triangle, you'll be able to activate your special - which is unique to each character, and has execution that's augmented by the arms you've chosen. Once unleashed upon an enemy, it can't be easily stopped - and only being hit first, or grabbed will screw you out of finalizing the execution of the move. That's not to say it can't be dodged, but that doesn't cancel out the action or activation.


Other aspects of the game include the lunge and jump abilities, which can be used together to dodge and move more efficiently. As with most of the aspects of the game, character choice will matter as to what your lunge and jump actually do so once again you'll have to be sure to try them all and find a set that works for you. "What works for you" is a good way of describing what your approach should be to this game, as there is very clearly no ultimate character or arm choice (at least from what I can tell). While I tended to stick with a boomerang type arm and a heavy type arm as my standard choices, others fared better with other options - and I never played two people who seemed to come at me with the same "feel" to their approach. Unlike some fighting games, this one doesn't have a move-set or approach that you can anticipate, leading to some frantic style anything-can-happen showdowns.

All these things lead me to the notion that you've really got to give it to Nintendo for what we've seen from ARMS so far. Like Splatoon 2 before it, it takes a genre you expect to operate inside the box and tosses away the box entirely - opting for something completely unique that's also highly addictive and polished. It's because of this, that ARMS might even be their next big thing - and the first new Nintendo IP to generate a real fuss. I know it's grabbed a hold of me, and now I'm just waiting for that June 16th knockout punch.

That's the kicker, this game feels fresh every time you play. ARMS is a game where no matter how many times you jump into online, you can never predict the result - even against the same opponent with the same arm and character choices. With the way you're able to move and the rules of motion (including the area you have to move in), the options are much more varied here than your standard fighting game.

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REVIEW

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

It’s probably a testament to how good Street Fighter II was back in the day that it’s still somewhat relevant today. It was long considered to be the benchmark of what a good fighter was, the game that every console manufacturer wanted on their system, and the scourge of many a week’s pocket money down the arcades. When arcades were still a big thing, that is. There have been more revisions, releases, special editions, and remasters of this one game than I care to remember, and yet Capcom have seen fit to house this on yet another platform. They’re not bringing Street Fighter V, or Marvel vs Capcom Infinite – just another 28

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Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

version of a game that is over 25 years old, but with the promise of a new mode and two new characters. Is this the definitive version of a timeless classic, or simply an example of pushing your luck too far? Let’s dig in further. If you haven’t picked up on it thus far, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is the latest and supposedly definitive version of arguably THE standard for a one-on-one fighter. The traditional arcade mode featured in the game will have you pick a character from an enhanced roster of nineteen, and then do battle against the other challengers on your quest to be the “World Warrior.” This occurs across eight standard fights, before the four boss characters come into play.


With a variety of punch and kick options – Weak, Medium and, Strong for both – you’ll need to defeat your opponent in a best of three match-up. Using the directional inputs in addition to the attacking buttons, you’ll even be able to execute one of many different special moves. Flaming punches, kicks, fireballs, spinning kicks, teleporting, or spinning lariats are at your beck and call however, so if you want to demolish your foe in style you’ll probably find a character to suit you. In-battle, striking your opponent repeatedly will build a combo together and you will also charge your “super” meter, which when full, will allow you to access an additional special move, usually to devastating effect. New to this version are “grapple breaks” which can interrupt combos. As well as the classic line-up, the bosses and the “newer” characters from Super Street Fighter II, The Final Challengers sees the Street Fighter II debut of Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. These characters come with a little back-story of revenge and mind-control, but essentially are just re-skins of the two standard variants – though it seems that Violent Ken could be a little over-powered. The legendary Akuma is also present, rounding off that roster.

Arcade isn’t the only way to play, there is also another mode called “buddy battle.” It’s a scenario which allows you and another player (AI or human) to face off against Evil Ryu, Violent Ken, M. Bison, and Akuma in turn. Then that’s it. A blank “Game Over” screen and a return to the title later (about 10 minutes later depending on your skill level) you will likely feel a little underwhelmed as the mode would have been quite interesting had there been more to it. I did notice a bit of slow-down when playing though, it very much seemed like it wasn’t properly optimised for the additional character and also seemed that it only registered one player attacking at a time, which somewhat missed the point, I felt. The game’s presentation is top-notch, and you’ll have a choice when playing through the standard modes of using either the original sprites or the enhanced, hand-drawn efforts from the more recent re-master. As nostalgic and welcome as the original graphics are, the newer visuals are superb and look a treat on that Switch’s screen. The audio has received a boost since the original days and can also be switched, although neither can be switched at will. You’ll have to go into the settings from the main menu and then you are stuck with it for the duration.

At this point, I must mention that I was slightly disappointed with the backgrounds for the stages. Back in the 1990s you can understand why there was limited animation from behind the scenes, but in 2017 (and indeed in 2008 when the version this is based off was released) you’d expect better animations from the watching crowd then jerking fist-bumps and stroking chickens. If this was a budget or indie title you’d be more forgiving, but this is Capcom and the game is released at a premium. For that premium you’ll also get a new way to play called “Way of the Hado,” a first person mode which sees you as Ryu facing off waves of enemies by using the motion controls of the Nintendo Switch. Holding a Joy-Con in each hand you’ll be executing the moves yourself by punching and fire-balling and so on. That’s the theory anyway, but in practice this new mode really doesn’t work too well. I spent most of my time randomly sending random fireballs when I was trying to dragon punch. The whole thing is a complete mess, when it could have been something very unique and special – especially factoring in the skills you can upgrade, and the potentially endless battle mode. If a fighter with motion controls is what you want, you might be better off going for something else.

Switch Player

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Rounding off the modes you’ll find an online component where you can face off against another player. I’ve spent most of launch day playing a few match-ups and it all seems to run reasonably well; most of the fights were fluid, lag-free, and completely enjoyable. Coming back to the controls, it’s notable that they’re easy to pick up, but difficult to master – and it certainly doesn’t help that the best way to play the game isn’t available as standard. You can play with a Joy-Con each in multiplayer, but the most effective way is with a traditional D-pad (which is only offered officially on the Pro Controller). That’s essentially another £65 on top of your initial purchase of the game in order to play it “properly.” There is a cheaper way, although this reviewer has not experienced it first hand. 8Bitdo offer a range of controllers stylised as retro Nintendo console controllers, and I’m told that these are very good. It’s something to consider if you were looking to pick a controller up specifically for things like this (or even the NEO GEO classics), but it’s still more money on top of that initial bloated price.

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Kyle repeatedly tells me that I shouldn’t focus too much on pricing when reviewing, as it’s subjective and not relative to everyone. While I do recognise his point for the most part, in this case I think it’s entirely relevant. Although not a true port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix from nine years ago, it does share a lot with that release – all except the price. This is a game that is being released at a premium, for over THREE times the asking price of that 2008 title. Sure, you get a fancy plastic cartridge, a case (if you go physical), a couple of new modes, two recycled characters, and a huge art section which is impressive – but the trouble is that even with these additions it’s hard to justify that cost. If this game released for half the price, or didn’t have a physical release to bump up that entry fee, you’d probably be far more accepting of the price.

That price is easily the biggest caveat here. It may be basically the same version of a game that first released 25 years ago, and the additional modes packaged in are a bit pants, but the core arcade mode and playing with others can be undeniably fun. I hadn’t played Street Fighter II for many years, but soon I was right back to being fourteen again; sitting at my SNES, throwing fireballs all over the screen. I hadn’t forgotten the moves, and it still felt just as fresh. Back then I was fleeced for my cash though, and I am loathe to recommend anyone to do the same again.

VERDICT A lack of a current alternative and bags of nostalgia may see you go for Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers and both outlooks will probably be satisfied by what's here. However, releasing it at a premium is shocking, and Way of the Hado is pretty rubbish. If you MUST have it, wait for it to go on sale.

If you are a fighting fan and want a 2D fighter, you may be better off grabbing on of the NEO GEO titles at a fraction of the price. If you want something fresher, and more suited to the Switch’s capabilities, then wait for ARMS. If you love Street Fighter II and the nostalgia is too much for your inner child however, then you’ve probably already decided to buy it. Just don’t pay too much for your copy – if you can help it.

PUBLISHER Capcom

AT A GLANCE

NA: 26th May EU: 26th May

3.5 GOOD

DEVELOPER Capcom E-SHOP PRICING £34.99 | €49.99

2.9 GB Switch Player

31


REVIEW

Minecraft

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

What can you say about Minecraft that hasn’t already been written? It’s a franchise so gargantuan and relevant to wider gaming spectrum that it resulted in Microsoft shelling out $2.5 BILLION to obtain parent company, Swedish studio Mojang AB. The title has been released on almost everything that can run it, so it’s no surprise to see a version arrive for the Nintendo Switch. Allow me to indulge the few that may not know what Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition is all about. It’s a game about breaking the blocky world around you to craft resources,

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and ultimately do whatever you want. Not to be confused with Minecraft: Story Mode – a story-based adventure game from Telltale Games, this version is the original (vanilla) one. It puts you in an open-world sandbox where the sky (and your ability to visualise the world around you) is the limit. Initially, you’ll be launched into the world with nothing, and it’s up to you to start foraging around in order to survive. Literally everything around you can be deconstructed into usable materials, so that’s trees becoming wood, wood becoming planks or sticks, planks and sticks making tools, and so on. Start combining these with other things around you, and you’ll soon have access to higher quality tools, and items like stone, coal, iron, glass, or bricks. You can dig down into the depths below you to locate some of the rarer materials – like gold, silver, and diamond – or you can even build a portal to a ghastly underworld known as the "Nether". Whatever it is you want to do and however you wish to play, Minecraft will have you covered. There are three ways to play, and the first is survival. You have a health bar and a hunger bar. As you can imagine in a large open-world environment, you are NOT alone here. There are a wide variety of creatures known as "mobs" to contend with. Not all are aggressive – such as cows, sheep, and chickens – but some are unfriendly, and they mostly come out at night. Mostly.

Zombies, Skeletons, Spiders, and even the dreaded Creeper – a being which can detonate itself and your valuable creations – are attracted to your very presence. As such, having an abode and somewhere to sleep (thus moving ahead to the next morning) will be essential to your survival… hence the name of the mode. There’s no specific story to speak of, but there is a point to the game and that’s to reach "The End" and to defeat the Ender Dragon. How you actually go about achieving that (or not) is entirely down to you. If resource gathering is not your thing and you’d rather be able to play and create with an unlimited amount of resources, then creative is the way for you. With access to every in-game item at the press of a button, this is where

you’ll want to spend your time if creating elaborate creations is your thing. You can also play in adventure, which is where some elements of the gameplay like destruction and removal of the world’s blocks are deactivated. If you are playing with others and don’t want them to “grief” your world (Minecraft speak for smash your stuff up), then this is where you’ll be playing. As fabulous as crafting your own creations can be, there’s no denying that games are much more fun with others. Minecraft looks after that multiplayer need brilliantly. If you want to engage in some 4-player split-screen shenanigans – including in table top mode – than you can do so, providing you have enough controllers that is. There’s no Joy-Con sharing here, and everyone will need their own full controller (pro or otherwise). You can also take your creations online with up to eight other players, and you can customise the options somewhat to protect your pride and joy. Working together on projects not only speeds up the process, but it can also be a good laugh – at least in my experience elsewhere. The Switch version suffers somewhat through a lack of communication options, as no text/voice chat options are available. You’ll need to find an alternative means of conversing with your friends to be effective here. Whether that’ll improve when the online service launches with it’s voice app is anyone’s guess, but for now it’s “fend for yourself.”

Switch Player

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If you're looking for something more than just crafting and block-breaking in your group sessions, then Minecraft also packs in a couple of mini games for you to get stuck into as well. Battle throws you into a small arena with chests, the aim being to grab some weapons and kit, seek out your opponents, and defeat them (before they do the same to you). With some cleverly designed dungeon-styled levels, you’ll be either running with your fists/ weapons flailing, or mastering the shadows and

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striking when the opportunity is there. The levels are not destructible either, so your focus is solely on combat – and it’s a huge amount of fun. It isn’t – in this writer’s opinion – the most fun you’ll have however, as that’s reserved for the other mini-game; Tumble. Again there’s a small arena, but this time the idea is to destroy the ground under your opponent using either a shovel or snowballs. It sounds incredibly ludicrous, and in all fairness it probably is, but it’s also an absolute blast. My children and I laughed for hours.

Minecraft is presented in your typical first/third person fare. The left stick controls your movement, whilst the right controls your camera and orientation. The LR and ZR triggers control placement/destruction of blocks or the use of weapons, whilst L and R cycle the items on hand. A is your jump, B discards whatever you are holding, and X opens your inventory. The Y opens a basic crafting ability, and you can run


by pushing forwards with the left stick sharply. In creative mode you can fly to gain a better perspective of your surroundings and this is activated by pressing A twice. Pressing it yet again will let you climb higher, and depressing the right stick will let you decrease your altitude. Best described as featuring an 8-bit 3D world, you are either going to love or hate this game’s look (depending on your graphical preferences). There are skinpacks available which take the visuals and put a different spin on thing, some of which – such as the City pack – make a huge difference to the way it looks. Not all of these skins are free however, and you could spend a few quid easily trying to find a flavour you like. On the technical side, the game runs at 720p both docked or undocked at launch, and we are told it also runs at sixty frames per second. 4J Studios are apparently looking how to get the docked experience up to 1080p – and though that’s not available as of this review, if it’s implemented in the future then it will undoubtedly enhance the experience even further. From a performance perspective, console Minecraft has always had pop-up when moving as new “chunks” of map appear before you, but this is much more noticeable when playing in handheld mode on the Switch. It’s certainly not enough to ruin the experience, and enough of the world is in view at times to really make you feel immersed in your surroundings, but it’s worth mentioning.

Also worth mentioning is the sound, and luckily the traditional Minecraft sound is present and correct. Again, you’ll either like the simplistic chirps, beeps, and notes that play out around you – or you won’t. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the atmosphere it creates.

So, the game provides you with hundreds of hours of entertainment, bags of nostalgia and fun, and the ability to Sticking with the theme of atmosphere, one of the best things about this package create anything that you can think of – is the Super Mario pack (which is bundled albeit in a block-based form. You’d think it was an essential purchase, right? If with the game). With everything taking you’ve never played Minecraft before on a distinctly Mario flavour, the blocks, items, and even the music are fabulously then I’d easily say yes, although with a recreated in an 8-bit styled representation word of caution; there’s surely a reason of a 3D world. Playing on the specifically you haven’t purchased it yet. If you’ve created Mario world is an absolute joy, just been waiting for the perfect platform with recreations of many Mario moments, to play it on, or just didn’t get around to pixel art of popular characters, and much it, then now is absolutely the perfect time more. Warp pipes even connect you to grab it. If you have played it elsewhere, quickly to other parts of the map. It felt and – perhaps more importantly – you’ve amazing to be part of this world, and I played it for hundreds of hours, then you must tip my cap to the team; they must may find it a little stale. have spent countless hours recreating this representation of the Mushroom Kingdom. If you own a Switch, you’ll probably be only too aware that Nintendo decided against a visible trophy/achievement system for your Nintendo account, but that doesn’t mean that games can’t implement their own. In that vein, Minecraft is packed full of achievements to unlock. Sure, you aren’t going to be able to show it off easily like your would on other systems, but at least you’ll get some sort of internal acknowledgement for your progress. There are eighty achievements in total, and they vary from simply using tools and crafting basic blocks (easily completely by completing the tutorial), to excavating some of the more precious commodities from the ground beneath you. Making signs or lengths of rail will also be rewarded, as will defeating enemies in certain ways. Battle mode rewards are

PUBLISHER Mojang AB

AT A GLANCE

also looked after well, and recognized with in-game achievements -though conversely, you won’t earn achievements in creative mode (for what I hope are obvious reasons).

NA: 12th May EU: 11th May

DEVELOPER 4J Studios Ltd.

VERDICT

If you don't already own Minecraft elsewhere and it appeals to you then there's no question, buy it! If you do own a copy on something else then you'll be needing to justify that double dip. It's the most practical and probably best portable version of Minecraft you can buy and that added Super Mario content really adds to the charm. You'll be playing this for a very long time and the only real limit will be your imagination.

4.0 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £19.99 | €29.99

551 MB Switch Player

35


REVIEW

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

Written by Ryan Brown

@Toadsanime

If you’ve never played any version of The Binding of Isaac, welcome and take a seat friend; you’re in good company. I too had never actually played any version of this cult-classic game before it was ported to the Nintendo Switch. Originally released on Steam way back in 2011, The Binding of Isaac is the lovechild of Edmund McMillen (best known for Super Meat Boy) and Florian Himsl. Initially created as a part of a week-long game jam, it has received multiple updates and incarnations over the years – largely thanks to its hugely positive critical and commercial success. Additional characters, items, chapters, and even modes have been added to the game across these various versions of the game, but it goes without saying that Afterbirth+ represents the most complete, up-to-date version so far. As a collector, I’m particularly impressed by it having received a physical cartridge release, which of course also helps to alleviate any internal storage issues on the Switch. Controlling the titular Isaac or one of six unlockable characters, players navigate a procedurally-generated dungeon in the manner 36

Switch Player


of a rogue-like game. Generally speaking, combat comes in the form of firing tears at enemies in a twin-stick shooter fashion – but a plethora of power-ups and items can be found throughout the dungeons. Based loosely on the biblical story of the same name, The Binding of Isaac follows the story of a boy who is attacked by his devoutly-religious mother after apparently receiving a message from God, which leads him to escape to the hellish basement of his home. The game is filled with dark imagery; many enemies are fetus-like abominations, Isaac is seen curled up crying during level transition screens, and… you are literally crying throughout the entirety of the game as a form of attack. It perhaps comes as no surprise that Nintendo initially rejected a Nintendo 3DS port of the game due to “questionable religious content,” though the Rebirth incarnation of the game did eventually release for the Wii U and 3DS in 2015. It’d be easy to misinterpret this game as basic and brief, but to do so would be doing it a disservice. There is a very good reason for why this game single-handedly reinvigorated the rogue-like genre. There is an almost unlimited amount of variety here. I still play a run or two of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ during my daily commute to work, and it’s easily my most-played Nintendo Switch game. There are more than 500 basic items, many of which stack and modify your attacks and the game in creative and interesting ways. When accounting for cards, runes, pills, and trinkets, the

amount of items reaches truly mindblowing numbers.

at any given moment can – at times – be frustrating.

Variety is this game’s bread and butter. Even after pouring countless hours into it, I’m still coming across new enemies, bosses, and items which are keeping my runs as entertaining now as when I first picked the game up. The replayability here is truly staggering, to the point that I’m astounded by how the developers could feasibly have even come up with so many variables for a dungeon-crawler game.

Running at sixty frames per second both in handheld and docked modes, The Binding of Isaac is perfectly suited to the Nintendo Switch. I’ve seen some long-time players express a disinterest in the port – but given the ease of using additional Joy-Con controllers for drop-in co-op, and the wonder that is portability, that really seems a shame. I’ve seen criticism of the controls, but given how comfortable even the default controls are for me with the Joy-Con (and that all buttons can be easily reassigned), it was never a point of contention for me.

If I’m honest, I’m not exceptionally skilled at the game. I’ve still yet to unlock all of the characters and endings, and I’m nowhere close to completing a Greed mode run. That said, I’m having more than enough fun playing run after run with the character Magdalene – who can be unlocked after obtaining more than seven heart containers in a single run. Beginning with four red hearts and the Yum Heart item gives me the boost necessary to successfully complete a run. There’s not much more to be said without gushing over all of the items, which would somewhat ruin the fun of discovering what everything does. If I was pushed to make a criticism, it’s that I’ve frequently had to pull my phone out whilst playing on my commute to check what certain items do. There are simply too many items to remember the effects of every one of them (some of which actually have permanent negative effects), especially after having not played for a period of time.

VERDICT Without a doubt, The Binding of Isaac is the most varied, addictive dungeon-crawler ever made. As the most definitive version, Afterbirth+ is perfect both as a portable game for quick runs and as a docked game for lengthy plays. A must-have for Switch owners.

Yes, I’m aware that sentence seems like a complete contradiction of itself. Discovering the wealth of variety The Binding of Isaac has to offer is its strongest asset, but never truly being able to remember what everything does

PUBLISHER Nicalis

AT A GLANCE

Ultimately, this is the perfect package for newcomers, and for experienced players it’s an excuse to update your Switch library with a portable version of a game you already love. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is a tough game, but it rewards you with seemingly infinite variety and replayability.

NA: 17th March EU: Q2 2017

DEVELOPER Nicalis

4.5 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING €39.99

610 MB Switch Player

37


REVIEW

Tumbleseed

Written by Adam Cook @jebusf

We’re all guilty of making lazy comparisons: every game is hard “like a Souls game,” or has “Ubisoft Towers” (okay, that last one is probably fair enough); but Tumbleseed offers something rare, as it’s unlike anything I can immediately think of. It’s a mighty strange game, too. You don’t actually have direct control over your avatar, yet somehow you’re immediately and inexplicably emotionally attached to the little seeds that will either make it to the top of the mountain, or die trying. As a Switch game, this is the perfect fit. A single face button (A) and both analogue sticks are all you need to play, with the sticks controlling either end of a big, straight vine that covers the entire width of the screen. Perched upon the vine is a seed, and by moving the sticks up or down together, you lift the seed higher or lower. Moving the sticks at opposite angles (one side higher) means you can also roll the seed left and right; your goal being to fight gravity and reach the top before you die. On that note, not dying is bloody hard. The procedurally generated levels are monstrously difficult. Potholes on the way are up are the least of your worries, as this mountain is littered with foes that will push you to breaking point on your journey to the summit. Perhaps it’s the spider that bounces around who’ll get you, as its jump is almost always landing either on or near you. Maybe it’s the absolute scumbag snake that is not only fast enough to cause panic and make you change course (slithering towards you no matter where you go), but will also respawn when you kill it – reappearing as soon as you move up the screen. Hell, it could be the bird enemy; the one that floats slowly from side to side, but the instant you cross its path it will go million miles an hour to harm you. Christ, this game is stressful. Thankfully, you have health. Hearts that will be knocked down at an alarming rate as you progress, to the point where – on some runs – you’ll take a hit and know right away that this is not “the run.” What does help though, is the fact you can switch seedtypes with the tap of the A-button. You start with the default one which plants a flag. Among all the holes, you see, are small circles that you can plant yourself in. Planting a flag means that if you fall you’ll respawn (health permitting) at that flag. These starting seeds are split into categories that basically amount to attack, collect, regenerate, and continue. 38

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The heart shaped seed will slowly collect heart portions to regain health, while the attack seed grows a spear that spins around you as you climb – meaning you can attack enemies. The most important one is the gem collecting seed, as for every three times you plant one you’ll get a few gems. Gems are important as they are what the other seeds use to actually work. Yes, that means if you don’t collect them on the way up you won’t be able to grow a spear, recover health, or even plant a flag. Elsewhere, there are seeds you can collect from underground areas that vary in how helpful they are. I don’t know if it’s coming across how bloody hard this game is, but some of these new seeds seem great at first; one firing around a ball that attacks everything it sees. It’s only when it hits you – causing damage to the one who fired it – that you realise this game kind of hates you. Split into five procedurally generated levels, you’ll probably only see two of them – and that’s if you’re dedicated and stubborn. Tumbleseed simply requires a level of patience that you don’t see from many modern games. You have to proceed with caution, every movement on the sticks a calculated risk. You’ll hope and pray that you don’t lose control of your momentum for even a few seconds, because that’ll be you down a hole if you do. Plus, you probably forgot to plant a flagseed – meaning you’re going way, way down (if you even survive at all).

AT A GLANCE

The problem with the difficulty here, is that the carrot on the end of the stick just isn’t great enough. Seeing a new area is nice, but the sense of accomplishment is soon a distant memory when you encounter your new most hated enemy. You can mix things up with the seeds, and it’s genuinely cool switching midrun to a more defensive effort, but your tactics will eventually feel set in stone; new efforts met with failure.

Tumbleseed is a new kind of game to many, and offers up a lovely experience that is both brilliant and frustrating. Were it just a tiny bit easier, it’d be so easy to wholeheartedly recommend – but as it is, people will be wowed by the look and sound and then quickly annoyed by the lack of progress and brutal difficulty. Those that persevere however, will eventually fall for its charms.

This is a game that won’t quite let you fall in love with it, because it punishes you at every corner. Take the attacking seed, for example. You can spend half a level building it up with gems and have a veritable murder-seed sliding up the hill. Then you slip up, and down a hole you go. You don’t die, but you lose a heart and every one of the six spears that were surrounding you. That’s beyond punishment, that’s a game throwing two very angry fingers up at you. Elsewhere, you might finally unlock fast travel that allows you to skip the first level and start on the second, only to realise you have to roll up that first level again with an item attached. The added stress means you’ll take another four or five attempts at unlocking that level skip. All said however, Tumbleseed is beautifully and intentionally designed. The audio is phenomenal; a plethora of squidges, pops, and squelches popping out of the little Switch console. It’s got lovely music, personality in spades, and it feels cracking in handheld mode. In fact, you could argue the Switch is the best version of the game, as the HD Rumble shakes you so hard you can feel every death. It’s one of those games that makes a real case for the Switch offering something unique, actually.

PUBLISHER aeiowu

DEVELOPER Team TumbleSeed

NA: 2nd May EU: 2nd May

E-SHOP PRICING £11.99 | €14.99

VERDICT Tumbleseed is a good pick up and play game that feels perfect for Switch, but will frustrate as much as it pleasures. While it certainly feels fresh and new, it’s simply going to be too hard for most to enjoy in any long term fashion.

3.7 GOOD

428 MB Switch Player

39


REVIEW

NBA Playgrounds

Written by James Harvey @AgileHarvey

HE’S ON FIRE! As a 90s child, that phrase would often ring out as I frantically spent my pound coins at the local MegaBowl arcade. Later, that same cry could be heard from my bedroom as NBA Jam became a firm favourite in my SNES’ cartridge slot. When details for NBA Playgrounds started to surface, many people made the connection between it and Midway’s exceptional NBA Jam series – and rightly so. Two-on-two style, over-the-top arcade basketball action featuring ridiculous dunks and super-charged players? Sure sounds an awful lot like Jam, and truth be told it also feels an awful lot like Jam.

NBA Playgrounds is very much an arcade game at heart, and the small number of gameplay modes available to you from the offset surely highlights that. You’ve got Exhibition, Tournaments, and… that’s about it. There is an Online Match mode option there, but it’s greyed out as it isn’t available right now (though it has been promised as part of an update due “very soon”). Other than the options regarding your player card collection, Exhibition and Tournament modes are all you have to play with for now. The meat of the game comes from the Tournaments mode. Here, you take your duo through four increasingly difficult matches, looking to win the tournament and progress to the next. Each one takes place in a different city (Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo), and each captures the stereotypical scene very nicely. Once you’ve won each of the six tournaments on offer, you can go back and complete specific challenges in each game – such as getting so many dunks, which do add a bit of depth. The gameplay is as simple as you’d expect, which is no bad thing; this is an arcade sports game after all. It’s very easy to pick up and play, but it’s also difficult enough to master that experienced players will really feel like they have an advantage over someone who has just picked up a controller to play for the first time. Playgrounds is pure fun to play in bursts – of that there is little doubt. Like every basketball game, the shooting mechanic in Playgrounds requires the player to release the ball at a key moment during their shot. Normally this would be at the top of the players’ jump, but here it’s a little different – and hard to pinpoint and explain (to be honest). A sweet spot does exist, but it is more trial and error than perfecting your throw. This can make shooting feel a little frustrating and unrewarding, as often a 3-pointer will seem more like luck than skill. 40

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To unlock players which you can use, you must earn card packs from leveling up your profile. Playing and winning games grants you experience points – and when you hit a new level, you get a new pack of cards to open. Win a tournament and you get a gold pack, which gives you a chance of the rarer legendary players (such as the cover-star Allen Iverson). There is no other way to unlock these players, so you’re completely in the hands of the RNG Gods if there is a very specific player that you’re hoping to unlock. An odd design choice, for sure. Despite having a huge number of players to unlock via packs, once you’ve got your two guys who compliment your play-style (do you want to dunk lots, shoot 3-pointers or block everything that comes your way?), unlocking the remaining cast offers very little incentive. The only way the cards will keep you playing is if you’re a real fan of a specific team, or just want to collect every card for completion sake.

Presentation-wise, Playgrounds just isn’t quite there. The whole experience just feels a little cheaper than it should, and you can’t help but feel that it just needed that smidgen of extra polish to take it from being a decent game to a great one. Small details like the lack of on-screen score graphics, poor repeated commentary, and a terrible soundtrack are things that could have been remedied very easily. Visually, NBA Playgrounds has a vibrant feel to it (much like the Jam games of old). It’s nothing special to look at, but it is certainly serviceable – that is until you remove your Switch from its dock. NBA Playgrounds is the only Switch game that I’ve played which has a significant decrease in graphical quality when you’re

playing it handheld versus on your TV. I’ve grabbed my Switch mid-session on Zelda or Mario Kart and not noticed a difference, but this title really suffers graphically if you play it in handheld mode. It’s a disappointing and surprising result, especially considering what other games are already achieving on the hardware.

NBA Playgrounds is great fun whilst it lasts. Without the ability to play online, and given the fact that the tournament is over in a few sittings, there just isn’t much right now to make it a lasting experience. If you’re a huge basketball fan and you’re planning on playing a lot of local multiplayer, it’ll be far more appealing – but for everyone else, it’s probably best to wait and see how the post-release patches pan out. Some games can be greatly enhanced via patching, and it would be a shame if this wasn’t one of them.

VERDICT

With such few options available, it’s the multiplayer where this game really shines. Cooperatively take on AI teams with your buddy, or go head-to-head against each other; either way you’ll have a great time trash talking, whilst simultaneously performing ridiculously unrealistic dunks. For a brief moment, it’ll feel like you’re back in that 90s arcade with your pound coins rapidly disappearing from your pocket. With any luck, the upcoming online multiplayer option will simply add more opportunity to enjoy this game with friends.

NBA Playgrounds is a game that is instantly playable - but the more you chip away at it, the more you're disappointed by the lack of content at release. It can be fantastic to pick up and play when you’re with a group of friends, but the lack of online multiplayer at launch means you’ll find yourself enjoying Playgrounds less and less very quickly.

3.4 PUBLISHER Saber Interactive

AT A GLANCE

NA: 9th May EU: 9th May

DEVELOPER Saber Interactive

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £17.99 | €19.99

8 GB Switch Player

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REVIEW

If you’ve ever been curious as to what it feels like being chased by a serial killer while piloting a space beetle along a rollercoaster into the mouth of hell, then look no further. Thumper is bound to make your palms sweat with its selfproclaimed “rhythm violence” on the Nintendo Switch. At its core, Thumper is a rhythm game. An array of tunes pulses in the background while you – the player – combine button presses and tilts of the analog stick in time with its dreadful beats. I’m sure that sounds familiar to just about anyone, however what the two-man development team at DROOL have managed to create here is anything but ordinary.

Thumper stimulates the senses. It fills you with dread while you unknowingly white-knuckle your controller and forgo blinking, and does so in a rewarding way that makes you want to come back for more. I gradually noticed my skills 42

Switch Player

Thumper

Written by Bradley Keene

improving throughout each session, memorizing turns and jumps; yet despite subsequent playthroughs, I still found myself debilitated with a rush of anxiety that I’ve rarely felt in my thirty years of gaming. Thumper isn’t just about memorization and playing along with the music, it’s about survival. It’s about slowly improving your reactionary skills while being drawn into its visual miasma, which made for one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in quite some time.

Thankfully, your beetle is equipped with an exoskeleton that can absorb one “mistake” before shattering to pieces – be it an unbraced turn, or crashing into barriers prior to boosting. This essentially gives you a single mulligan between checkpoints, which will restore the beetle’s exoskeleton if the A button is pressed the moment they cross the threshold.

As a metallic space beetle, you find yourself rocketing down a trail riddled with bends and hazards crafted to work in tandem with Thumper’s unsettling tracklist. Each beat is typically met with a button press or an illuminated wall signaling a turn, braced against by pressing the A button while turning away using the left analog stick. Future stages ease you into new obstacles like floor spikes and lane changes, and even sprinkle in boss encounters to keep things interesting. Unlike most rhythm games where missing beats segues to the game over screen, Thumper only penalizes the player by applying mistakes to their overall level rank. Or, of course, you could die. Which you will. Probably a lot.

@CheapBossAttack

To say that Thumper is challenging would be an understatement, but its generous checkpoint system serves to make the game as accessible as possible to anyone determined enough to persevere. All nine levels are broken down into numerous bite-sized stages, separated by the aforementioned checkpoints. Dying within a stage merely drops you back at the previous checkpoint, though there is a Play+ mode that unlocks after completing the third level which increases the game’s speed and adds perma-death. DROOL’s unique take on the rhythm genre shines on the Nintendo Switch, with a solid 720p display and 60 framesper-second in handheld mode – which is bumped to 1080p when docked. Having Thumper in the palm of my hands (and thus closer to my face) seemingly provided more clarity, and assisted in making otherwise split-second decisions


a bit easier to read. It plays just as well on the TV, but I always struggled to adjust to the spacing between my eyes and the TV after having played in handheld mode for extended periods of time. This is largely due in part to a developmental decision that adjusts the game’s perspective in handheld mode to accommodate for the smaller viewing area. A few failed attempts are all it took to re-acclimate myself, but I never struggled to transition from TV to handheld (only the opposite). The Switch’s fragmented D-pad on the left Joy-Con has been one of my least favorite aspects of the controller’s design since launch, and I found that most of my mistakes in Thumper stemmed from using it over the analog stick. This is a non-issue in TV mode where I used the Pro Controller exclusively, but in portable mode I opted for the analog stick instead. The analog controls offered a muchimproved, more responsive experience than the d-pad ever did; something which proved crucial when playing in handheld mode (and away from my precious Pro Controller).

Where Thumper falters a little is in its repetition, mostly in terms of visuals. There’s not much in the way of color variety, so the game’s levels rarely stand out in any way – aside from their personal brand of obstacles. You’ll zoom down stretches of road populated by tunnels, tentacles, and other menaces, but each ends up as more of the same (visually, not by design) from checkpoint to checkpoint. This isn’t necessarily bad since most of my attention was drawn to the small stretch of track in front of my beetle, but a little variety wouldn’t hurt. There’s also not much in the way of replay value if you’re not into chasing S-ranks or venturing into the brutally difficult Play+ mode, but the game is challenging enough on its own that you’re bound to spend at least eight hours working your way through the core experience.

Thumper is intense, fast-paced mayhem; a game where the sense of speed and ever-looming threat of danger is equally exhilarating and relentlessly terrifying. It provides one of the most uniquely satisfying experiences on the Nintendo Switch, and exists somewhere between a disturbingly oppressive rhythm game and a nightmare-fueled solo racer. Everything gels together incredibly well, however – from the haunting visuals and meticulously crafted stages, to Brian Gibson’s evocative composition, and the overall feel of the gameplay. For those of you looking for something different to pry yourself away from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, look no further. Thumper is an absolute must-play on the Nintendo Switch.

VERDICT Thumper offers an extraordinary rhythm experience on the Nintendo Switch, and is heightened by its well-oiled reactionary gameplay, haunting soundtrack, and unique aesthetic. As one of the most enjoyable games on the console there's very little it does wrong, but it must be noted that there's not much staying power for those uninterested in chasing S-ranks.

Also in regards to the controllers, it’s important to note that Thumper takes advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s HD rumble feature – which provides different levels of feedback depending on the situation. I could truly feel my beetle scrape along walls, crash through barriers, and send damaging pulses toward distant boss creatures. HD rumble is one of the Switch’s features that hasn’t been used effectively by much of the console’s ever-growing library, but Thumper is certainly one of the brightest examples of its implementation.

4.6 PUBLISHER Drool LLC

AT A GLANCE

NA: 18th May EU: 18th May

DEVELOPER Drool LLC

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £15.99 | €19.99

730 MB Switch Player

43


REVIEW

As someone who has been playing Tetris in one form or another for pretty much all of his life, I was excited to hear that Puyo Puyo Tetris was headed to Switch – and that excitement turned into delight when I learned that it was receiving a Western release. I was more interested in the Tetris aspect for sure, but there was something alluring about the Puyo Puyo aspect as well. If someone thought these similarly styled series were a good idea to mix, who was I to disagree? It even seemed to be selling well on other platforms, so I was at least a bit more hopeful than going into this mash-up completely blind. Starting the full game for the first time (I was a demo player too), I was so gung ho to get to it that I immediately jumped at the Tetris option that comes up even prior to the main menu. A few tries, and a full run of 150 line breaks in Marathon mode was mine… but then there was all this other game to play! 44

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Puyo Puyo Tetris

Next I tried Puyo Puyo mode, which has you playing a “first to two wins” game against a CPU opponent. Every time you drop multiple breaks in a row you fill your opponent’s screen with additional drops of garbage puyos, which can get interesting especially once you get near the top of the play area. Fill the area where drops happen from and you lose, so it’s about playing better than your opponent for a longer period of time.

Written by Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

As for how all these extra modes work, it’s important to note that some of these modes can be played in either Puyo Puyo or Tetris styles – though the Swap and Fusion modes are all about mixing it up as a staple of play. The single player challenge modes are split between Puyo Puyo and Tetris focused, and of course the Adventure mode switches between options as necessary for the narrative. Looking closer at what these modes offer up for play, you’ll find that they all vary in Finally, I took on Fusion; a mode which style and gameplay at least slightly – and blends Tetris and Puyo Puyo for a both on sometimes even majorly. the board type experience that has Versus mode is a standard one-on-one tetraminos crushing any puyos beneath mode where players can choose their them. Traditional rules apply for both style, and then fight splitscreen style in a separate types of drop, the only “don’t fill the board” type endurance test. difference is that you have to deal with Clearing lines (filling a full horizontal line them both at the same time and in the same playing area. Tetris style) or getting chain combos (multiple sets of four puyos popping in Things seem simple enough so far, right? Puyo Puyo style) will add garbage lines to Well those are just the options available your opponent’s screen, making their job to you before the main menu. There are just that much harder. also Versus, Party, Swap, Fusion, and Big Bang modes (all multiplayer capable) – Party mode is where power-ups can be along with a story campaign called won, these rewards leading to one of two Adventure, and the six single player things; either buffing your personal challenge modes of Endless Fever, gameplay, or making it harder for your Endless Puyo, Tiny Puyo, Sprint, opponent. Unlike the more traditional Marathon, and Ultra. It’s safe to say that Versus however, filling the board doesn’t there are tons of ways to play here, and necessarily mean you’ll lose, and score is that’s definitely one of its strengths. the only thing that truly matters in the


end. If you fill up the board, it’ll simply reset to a less crowded state and penalize you for it – no “game over” here. Swap mode is where players regularly switch between Tetris and Puyo Puyo styles, each style of play occurring on their own board (of which only one is shown properly on screen at any one time). You lose when just one of your boards gets filled, which ends up making it a bit harder to keep everything going. Fusion here is the same as Fusion on the main menu, but Big Bang offers something different – combining Fever mode from Puyo Puyo with Lucky Attack mode from Tetris. You’ll be given waves of pre-arranged puyo or tetramino shapes, and have to clear as many as possible in a set time limit. At the end of each countdown, players are given “damage” for being slower – with players eliminated once they run out of a predetermined amount of health. As for the single player challenge modes, they’re split evenly between Puyo Puyo and Tetris styles – as stated previously. Endless Fever, Endless Puyo, and Tiny Puyo are all Puyo Puyo based modes. Endless Fever is a pre-set playing mode where you need to clear it waves as quick as possible, Endless Puyo is a high score mode where you keep from filling the playing area as long as possible, and Tiny Puyo is a standard mode with very tiny puyos – making for a ton of area to play with.

As for Tetris modes, there’s Sprint, Marathon, and Ultra. Sprint has you clearing 40 lines as quick as possible, Marathon has you clearing 150 lines with the highest score (as the speed increases every 10 lines), and Ultra is a three minute round focused around getting the highest score you can in that time. The final of the main modes available to take on is the Adventure mode, which is the strangest mode I’ve ever played in a game like this. It weaves character interaction into the set up for a bunch of different challenges and unique tasks, having you take on ten levels with ten challenge stages each. The story bits are voiced in English and portrayed with text bubbles, so the full shebang is in effect here. If all this seems a little over your head, or you haven’t played either of these games before, don’t worry; there’s also a Lessons mode for teaching you how to play. You can choose from Puyo Puyo, Puyo Tetris Fusion, and Tetris tutorials – with Beginner, Advanced, and Expert level skills to be taught depending on your need. If you don’t know how to play, need more information, or just want to maximize your knowledge of the game, then Lessons is a great place to start playing. But wait, what about online modes?!?! Good news, as they’re available as an extension of the local multiplayer options. Selecting Online from the main menu allows you to connect over the internet and play Versus, Party, Fusion, Swap, or

Big Bang with friend (there’s even a “join friend” option) or random people. Matches can be ranked (Puzzle League) or not (Free Play), so you can choose get down to business or simply practice up with someone human. Speaking of ranking, you’ll have full access to your statistics and rating via the game’s Stats menu – located in options and data. It’ll give you a breakdown of your best runs at each mode, as well as details on your online standings. There are even in-game trophies to earn for things like playing modes a certain amount of times, or meeting a set time or score. Through the various modes and options given to you in Puyo Puyo Tetris, I can’t really find any fault with what they offer you – though I do think that Adventure mode is the least enticing of a mode to a player like me. That said, it’s not a bad mode or a useless mode; it’s simply not what I’m looking for when I play this kind of title. I can see how it might be interesting to the younger players, those who’ve been following the characters through their various titles (yes – they’ve got backstory!), or those just learning the game… but that’s not me. Through the various modes and options given to you in Puyo Puyo Tetris, I can’t really find any fault with what they offer you – though I do think that Adventure mode is the least enticing of a mode to a player like me. That said, it’s not a bad mode or a useless mode; it’s simply not what I’m looking for when I play this kind

Switch Player

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of title. I can see how it might be interesting to the younger players, those who’ve been following the characters through their various titles (yes – they’ve got backstory!), or those just learning the game… but that’s not me. Personally, I’d much rather be trying to beat my Marathon score, or playing Tiny Puyo for hours at a time – and because of how the game is structured, anyone can absolutely do just that (even right out of the gate if you want). There’s no real obligation to play any of the modes if you don’t want to, and you can earn enough currency from any one of the modes to buy all the puyo, tetramino, and voice skin options from the game’s meager and fairly useless “shop” (though some are Adventure mode exclusive unlocks). The game doesn’t lock you into anything, lock anything important out, or force you to play things you don’t like (or in ways you don’t like); there are simply plenty of options at your feet, and various ways to tweak them to your liking. What’s not to appreciate about that? As for how the game actually runs, it seems to hold up very well in any of the Switch’s modes. In docked and undocked modes there is a crisp, clean picture of what’s happening on the screen – and I never noticed any negative effects like slow-downs. Even at some of the higher speeds things look smooth, so it’s likely that aficionados can rest easy on those kind of worries.

The audio is as you’d expect from a game like this, offering plucky background noise and sound effects to go with your line completions and puyo pops. As stated before, the game does have an English voice over – and though some have found it annoying, it didn’t bother me too much when used as encouragement or exclamation here and there. In Adventure mode the voice could get a bit on my nerves though, so it’s lucky for the picky ones like me that Sonic Team included speech bubbles (and by extension, that the Switch developers included a volume button). As you’d expect from this type of game, the controls are quite simple – and it’s all about rotation and speed. Buttons (they’re customizeable) initiate rotation clockwise and counterclockwise for each piece, while up and down on either the analog stick or the directional buttons will instant-drop (Tetris only) and speed up the drop respectively. You can move the piece back and forth with left and right, or hold (and swap hold) pieces from your hold box using yet another button. It becomes second nature quite quickly, which is kind of the point. Speaking of the point, I’ll get to it; Puyo Puyo Tetris is a welcome addition to the Switch’s game library, and will be a permanent staple of mine. Being light on space (especially if you get it physical), having tons of options to play, and offering a quality presentation are all good reasons to pick it up – and how ridiculously addictive the underlying games are will only solidify your love of this mash-up. Plus, with the Switch having two controllers built right in, it’s also perfect for getting your friends and family playing – something that sets it apart from every other iteration of the game currently available.

PUBLISHER SEGA

AT A GLANCE 46

Switch Player

NA: 25th April EU: 28th April 1 GB

DEVELOPER Sonic Team E-SHOP PRICING £34.99 | €39.99

Should you get Puyo Puyo Tetris for Switch? If you’re even the slightest bit interested, then the answer is simply an emphatic “yes.” There’s no beating around the bush here, this is simply a great game with tons of longevity; something everyone could use in their gaming roster.

VERDICT A mash-up seemingly made in heaven, Puyo Puyo Tetris is a delight to play in almost any manor - depending on your taste. The bonus here is that the Switch version of the game adds to that mantra via two immediately available controllers wherever you go, making this the version best suited for including others in the fun. If you like Puyo Puyo, Tetris, or just puzzle games in general, then this is simply a must have.

4.6 EXCELLE

NT


Switch Directory Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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

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Fast RMX

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13.6 GB

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Puyo Puyo Tetris

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NA: 25th April EU: 28th April 1 GB

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4.6

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4.0

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4.1

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

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Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!

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Kamiko

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4.0

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EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

3.6 GB

Switch Player

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Hard Mode

Dan Thompson @ShadowForks

By the time you are reading this, you may have beaten The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You may reminisce over the respectful difficulty the game had, or how the game introduced a variety of things to the Zelda franchise; an open- world, a non-linear story presentation, and hopefully a legacy which will resound in the franchise for years to come. What’s surprising however, is that your adventures in Hyrule might not be over yet. With the inclusion of a DLC Season Pass, and the first of two DLC packs releasing later this summer, there’ll be more Cave Trial challenges, more map features, and more interestingly a Hard Mode of some nature.

DAN THOMPSON CAN BE FOUND ONLINE; WRITING FOR NINTENDO LIFE AND PUSH SQUARE, AS WELL AS CREATING CONTENT ON YOUTUBE. WHILST HE DREAMS OF BEING THE NEXT SEAN MURRAY, HE ALSO TOOK SOME TIME TO WRITE ABOUT BREATH OF THE WILD - LETTING US KNOW WHAT HE WOULD EXPECT FROM A HARD MODE. Like many factors of the Season Pass, we’re currently in the dark about the particular details. When reminiscing over the previous Zelda game hard modes, we can glean that this may not be just a worthy addition to the title, but an incredibly fascinating one. For right now though, we only have this wishful thinking.

Enemies and Link As for the expected changes in this new hard mode, it’s easy to say that enemies will be much more difficult to face. They might deal more damage, have higher health, and even be more prominent in the game world. As for Link, his personal differences might include factors of lower health, the tendency to take more damage, lower weapon difficulty, or other handicaps. These changes may make it incredibly important to create food items for different situations.

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As for changes in enemy placement, one of the more notorious enemy encounters for many people were the Lynel. They’re incredibly difficult to face when you first find them, and without much preparation they can melt your hearts away with a single hit from their weapons. After facing even a handful of them however, you eventually find yourself in the trappings of using a variety of tactics. You'll be dodging, predicting their movements, stunning them with a lucky arrow shot into the head, and most importantly exhibiting tons of patience. While it certainly would be challenging to

see them in earlier parts of the game, or being more prominent in the game as a whole, it would be much more interesting if they created a separate enemy entirely. We could use another enemy with the same design choices of the Lynel - one which requires the memorization of their moves, higher investment on gear, and reliance on the status effects system (which was highly underutilized).

The speculation that’s about to be brought up will be the reasons as to why we will go back to Breath of the Wild and face its new challenges. In Breath of the Wild there’s a gradual difficulty system; one in which progress and better gear will make enemies much stronger, and where drop items with higher damage and defense will come along as you need them. You can see this in full effect when you return to the opening areas of the game, where some of the standard red Bokogoblins will be replaced with black or sometimes even white Bokogoblins. This repopulation of the world happens during each Blood Moon, and if the system is incorporated to accentuate this gradual difficulty in even more ways we’ll be incredibly excited.

While it would also be too much to ask for all the Shrines to be overhauled, it would be realistic to assume that there would be a great change in where the Shrines would be placed (the same could be stated for Korok Seeds). It would be much appreciated if a New Game + was incorporated as well, with our progress amongst collectibles such as Korok Seeds carried over so we wouldn’t have to go hunting the second time around.

Nintendo could also just make the entirety of Breath of the Wild rainy as well, but only if the designers of this hard mode decide to be incredibly mean.

Also, more wishful thinking comes in the idea of an extra boss - one which would set the systems apart, and present the same sort of looming threat that Guardians and Lynel have.

Conclusion Whether the hard mode changes up the way The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild works in regards to pure difficulty, or simply changes the constructs of the game reflective of the spectacular difficulty design, it’s one of many exciting pieces of additional content which will be coming to the Expansion Pass for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The history of Zelda hard modes This isn’t the first time Nintendo has tried their hand against a more difficult mode in Zelda titles. Even all the way back to the 80s, The Legend of Zelda for the NES featured a second quest which could be accessed after completing the game (or by entering ZELDA as the player’s name). This addition was the result of a misstep in design created by Takashi Tezuka (who would later be a strong asset in the development of Animal Crossing), in which only half of the memory on the original Zelda cartridge ended up being used for the dungeons. At this point, Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that the team should incorporate double the dungeons and separate them into this second quest - which also featured more frequent boss battles. The Legend of Zelda wasn't the only game to exhibit this however, as there were many other titles in the Zelda franchise which would add a ‘Second Quest’ or ‘Hero Mode’ (such as Wind Waker and Skyward Sword). One of the most notable overhauls of an original Zelda game was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest. Originally conceived to be an expansion to be released the Nintendo 64 via the 64DD, the title would never be available to be played until a special edition of Ocarina of Time would release for the Nintendo Gamecube. This special edition included the original N64 version of the game alongside the long-since scrapped Master Quest, the special game disc included as a pre-order bonus for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. It set a precedent for many difficult modes in the future, almost as a precursor to the concept of New Game + in terms of how many games use difficulty. Switch Player

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Miketendo 64

miketendo64.com @miketendo64

The moment I realised just how much of a game changer the Nintendo Switch really is! Since January of this year, gamers across the globe have been able to go hands on with the Nintendo Switch at various gaming events, whilst a lucky minority was fortunate to buy. Since I got mine back in March , I never realised just how special it is - until the 19th of April and the events that followed. Why is the 19th of April such a special date? Well it was the day I was in my living room, spread out on my nice black leather sofa, playing LEGO City Undercover with a friend who wanted to do co-op. After about eighty minutes or so, everything went

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dark as the power went out - only to immediately pop back on, returning as quickly as it left. Now, despite knowing full well the Nintendo Switch is a home console that can be played anywhere (at any time, with anyone, and has its own battery), I still looked over at my Player 2 with the look of dread. We both had wide eyes and the compulsion to give an overused expression the light of day once more, only to then realise all was not lost! Just because the TV went off all was not lost. The Switch was still on, and our recent progress was still there too.


I immediately breathed a sigh of relief and slumped into the sofa I had just vacated. I know the Switch can go handheld and have played it in such a manner many a times now, but when I play it in TV mode with the Switch docked all thoughts of it being a handheld just fade away. I become solely able to picture it as being a home console, so to actually have a home console that is unaffected by power- cuts is just incredible. It was not as incredible as what happened the very next day, though! Following a knock at my door, I went to answer it. Stood on my doorstep was the postman with an envelope for me, that envelope coming straight from the States. When I say States , I mean Konami.

It took it’s time, but my promotional copy of Super Bomberman R had finally made its way from California to my place of residence in Spain. What would follow was just the most incredible thing to happen to me when it comes to gaming. I know the Switch is region free; we’ve all known this fact for ages, and it's rather easy to download games and demos from other eShops - but in my hands I held the NA physical version of Super Bomberman R, and when I put the cartridge into my European region Switch it worked with no issue at all. I would be lying if I said it worked straight away, because as soon as the game was in it had to update to version 1.2 (version 1.3 became available the next day), but once

the update was finished everything was good to go. A few simple steps, and I have been enjoying the game ever since. I do of course realise I’m getting over excited about something that could be considered as nothing, but to me it is everything! It is one thing to just download a game from an eShop of another region, but to actually get the physical version of that game and have it play and work with no issues at all... that’s just something completely different altogether. For me, it was the moment I realised just how much of a game changer the Nintendo Switch really is. Now, no other console can come close! Bravo Nintendo, you really did create something magical; something that I know I will enjoy for a long time to come!

Switch Player

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COM

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Dystify

@Dystify dystify.com

Hello Dystify, thanks for talking to us! Can you tell us a little bit about your history with Nintendo consoles? Heya! I should be the one thanking you instead. Thanks for letting me be a part of your amazing magazine! I've been into Nintendo ever since I was a child. It all started when my parents bought me and my siblings a Super Nintendo sometime in the 90s. I still vividly remember spending hours upon hours on games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, or Super Mario World. After that, we naturally got a Nintendo 64, but what really cemented my love for Nintendo was PokĂŠmon (specifically PokĂŠmon Red) on my Game Boy. Taking my Game Boy to school where I traded and battled with friends was really one of the highlights of my childhood. It never really stopped from there, even during my youth. I used to live next to my school so some friends and I went to play Super Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart: Double Dash almost every single lunch break. Now that I think about it, it's actually quite amazing how Nintendo has been such a big part of my life for so long, even before I decided to try to make a living with it. The games and communities around Nintendo are something I definitely do not want to miss out on. You have been a prominent voice on social media channels and NeoGAF about the Switch. How have you found the system over the last couple of months? It's been a blast, really. I have to say I never felt so positive about a Nintendo system before. Being able to play these awesome games however and wherever you want has been great. My Switch happens to connect to the same monitor as my PC, so when I play a game on PC and I need to step away from it I keep taking out my Switch, trying to continue the game on it. Yeah, it's that bad for me 52

Switch Player

DYSTIFY IS A LONG-TIME NINTENDO FAN, AND HAS RECENTLY BECOME POPULAR AS A NINTENDO NEWS REPORTER AND CONTENT CREATOR. HE DREAMS OF DEVELOPING HIS OWN GAMES, AND HAS QUIETLY BEEN WORKING ON A 2D ZELDA-INSPIRED TITLE. already. Going forward I'd love to be able to play every single game on my Switch instead of any other hardware. What games have you been playing the most? How many games do you have? If you know me at all or have been following me on Twitter for a while you know one thing; I love The Legend of Zelda series. Many of personal favorite games of all time are Zelda games. I absolutely adore this franchise. Naturally, most of my time on Switch has been spent on Breath of the Wild. I didn't collect all Korok seeds, but finished pretty much everything else - on two profiles even, 'cause I just can't get enough. I'm really excited for the upcoming DLC as well.

thing that makes this feel like such a good console though is its operating system, it's just amazingly fast and responsive. If you've played Switch before you know what I'm talking about. Going from sleep mode right to the game is only a matter of seconds, and it's the same for browsing the eShop or the various system menus. Coming from Nintendo 3DS and - to a lesser extent - Wii U, the OS on Switch is really a stand-out factor. Not having to wait for the system and games to load lowers the entry barrier, so you end up playing games a lot more frequently - even if only for a few minutes at a time.

Is there anything you don't like about the system? What would you change if you could make one change? I'm not a guy with high demands, and I I do own a few other games besides can't think of anything that I don't like Zelda, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and about the system. I bought it to play a bunch of indie games. You really shouldn't underestimate the indie games games and it does exactly that. I would on Nintendo Switch. They really make it a say however, that the online service is kind of lacking at the moment. well-rounded system. Fortunately, the "real deal" is already What is it that impresses you most about announced to arrive later this year. It'd be great if it comes with cloud saves and a the Switch? I mentioned the portability of Switch, and decent way to interact with friends. it's definitely a big factor for me in making this system great. One other


What game are you most excited to see come to the Switch, and why? Nintendo Switch's first year is just blowing me away as it has entries in many of my favorite franchises. The games I'm most excited for right now are Splatoon 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I didn't know what to expect when I first played Splatoon on Wii U, but it quickly became one of my most played games. I hope to repeat this experience when Splatoon 2 launches this July. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has not been announced at the time of writing this, but I've seen and heard bits and pieces about the game and I think it's going to be quite a gem. I hope the announcement at E3 shows you the potential it has. Super Mario Odyssey is a no-brainer. A new 3D entry in the Super Mario series, and a sandbox game like Super Mario 64 and Sunshine nonetheless! Who wouldn't be excited for that? Finally, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - where its predecessors are both amazing games. Xenoblade Chronicles' story and world were incredible, as was the open world of Xenoblade Chronicles X. I hope all of the best elements of these games will be combined and deliver the ultimate Xenoblade experience! What franchise do you hope will come to the Switch? That's an easy question. F-Zero! It's a real shame we haven't gotten a new entry since F-Zero GX on the GameCube in 2003. Games like Fast RMX and the soon to launch Redout show there's still room for futuristic racers. Get to it, Nintendo! (Please...?)

How far do you think the Switch can go? In my opinion, Nintendo Switch definitely has the potential to outsell Nintendo 3DS while simultaneously having a higher attachment rate of games. It got the home console and portable market all in one, and for me it's the ideal gaming system. That said, the actual end result will depend on quite a few factors. Can Nintendo keep the current momentum and hype going? Will they be able to keep the quality of their games high while also releasing a decent amount of them per year? Do they have a decent long-term plan in place to prevent Switch's hardware from being outdated too quickly? What about the third party support? If you miss out on most big third party games, are first party and indie games enough for a well-rounded system long-term? There are many more questions like these that will ultimately decide the fate of the system. I'm confident Nintendo can pull it off though; they've been doing a lot more right than wrong lately, and I'm excited to see what the future will hold for them. Tell us a little bit about your website, what do you cover there? I'm fairly new to being a Nintendo news reporter and content creator, so many of you reading this may not have heard of me before. Only in the months leading up to Nintendo Switch's release I started to become more active on Twitter (and YouTube). It's been an exciting few months though. The general excitement for Nintendo has been rising to really high levels lately, and I was fortunate enough that my social profiles were able to grow alongside it. Being involved with

the Nintendo community in this way has been an absolute joy, and my dream is to be able to make a living with this. I say "this" because I'm actually struggling to find an accurate description for what I do. Right now I'm just someone on Twitter, but I want to change that, so I'm planning to create a website that's fully focused on Nintendo. I'm taking my time planning to make it somewhat special. These past few months have shown me that there's definitely still room for new Nintendo focused content creators, and I'm going to try my best to make this a successful venture. I hope you will look forward to it! Finally, what is the Switch to you? A handheld you plug in or a console you take out? Having played a ton of Zelda: Breath of the Wild these past months, Switch to me is more of a home console I can take out. Most of my gaming time is spent on the big screen, but whenever I'm not at home (or feel like playing for a bit before sleeping) I also take the system with me. Being able to play these home console games wherever you want really is a game changer. As soon as more traditional portable games such as the rumored PokĂŠmon Stars are released, Switch may also become a portable console I can also play on the big screen. I have to say Nintendo absolutely nailed the hybrid concept. As someone who has been a fan of both Nintendo handhelds and home consoles for a long time, there really is no better console out there than Nintendo Switch.

Switch Player

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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


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Switch Player #4  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this fourth issue covers Ultra Street Fighter II, Metroid and more!

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