The Switch has almost always had a steady flow of smaller titles but it hasn’t received many marquee releases since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But the last quarter of 2019 is looking to change that with its huge influx of titles that’ll coincide at or around the launch of the upcoming Switch Lite. From new games like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword and Shield to remasters like Link’s Awakening and Dragon Quest 11 S Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition to ports like The Witcher 3 and Ori and the Blind Forest, the system has a healthy lineup of various kinds of titles, judging from recent hands-on time with each game at PAX West 2019.
The New Switch 2019 Games | Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi’s Mansion 3 has a lot in common with its predecessors but very few people will complain about more Luigi’s Mansion because of its charm and ingenuity. The game seems to use its limited toolset quite well as all the gadgets interact with each other in a variety of different ways to solve puzzles.
Gooigi, the game’s disgusting booger version of Luigi, is ever-present but figuratively and literally takes on new life when playing in co-op. It streamlines the process since two people can tackle two tasks at once. For example, Luigi can clear a path for Gooigi and slime boy can press switches while meat boy opens up his exit. Fights are also a little easier since one player can distract ghosts while the other tries to suck them into their ghost vacuum from behind. It’s technically the same game but made better with co-op. With equal level of charm and inventive puzzle mechanics, it looks like Luigi’s Mansion 3 will be exactly what players want, nothing more or less.
The New Switch 2019 Games | Pokemon Sword and Shield
Pokemon Sword and Shield doesn’t line up to what many assumed the first big console entry would look like. Environments are sparse, character models are simplistic, and the whole thing looks a bit like an HD remaster of a 3DS game. In some aspects, it’s disappointing but it still is Pokemon and collecting and battling those little creatures hasn’t lost its spark.
Gyms now require puzzles as the Water gym shown had multiple faucets blocking the exit. It wasn’t a difficult puzzle but it was something that shook up the formula of going in battling a bunch of trainers before taking on the Gym leader. Battles are the same as ever too but use the extra screen real estate to convey more information to the player with more intricate menus.
Dynamax Pokemon are the newest addition and seem cool in theory but their true impact won’t be felt until the game is out in the wild. After all, the Water gym’s Drednaw was mighty powerful and hopefully these new big monsters will be strategic and balanced and not overpowered and cheap. With its familiar feel and nominal steps forward, Sword and Shield will probably please those with appropriate expectations for a new Pokemon game and not those who wanted this to be the Breath of the Wild reimagining its concept might have initially entailed. Not every game needs to be a developer’s opus to be a decent time and Pokemon Sword and Shield might be prove that.
The Switch 2019 Remakes | Link’s Awakening
Link’s Awakening is cute enough to warrant a look even if you have no nostalgia for its Game Boy original or Game Boy Color remake. And judging by the game’s age and relative obscurity, that unfamiliar audience is probably going to be pretty big. The slight touch-ups let those people experience the true brilliance of the title that might have been restrained by the portable platforms it was initially on. The playable dungeon in the demo still worked because of the timeless puzzle design and freeform approach that let players figure out what’s going on without blatant tutorials.
There are a few new features planned like customizable dungeons and amiibo support but it’s likely that the core gameplay and beautiful visual overhaul will be the most beloved features. Nintendo has such an impeccable track record with Zelda remakes that it’s almost impossible to imagine this turning out poorly.
The Switch 2019 Ports | The Witcher 3
Everyone who is going to play The Witcher 3 Switch port is going to be looking for the seams. And they are obviously going to be there as there’s no feasible way for it to look even on par with even the consoles.
But even under scrutiny, it looks great and runs surprisingly well on the smaller platform. Animations are still fluid, especially during cutscenes where characters are constantly moving to keep the scenes lively. The frame rate appeared to have held up while parading around the open world as well as during combat. Paying full price for the least good version of a four-year-old game is a bit off-putting but if you’re want a portable version of one of the most revered RPGs of all time, The Witcher 3 Switch port seems like it’ll do the job against all odds.
The Switch 2019 Ports | Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the best Xbox One games, full stop. Lovely art, a touching story, and hard but fair platforming made this a standout game in the admittedly weak Microsoft lineup. And on Switch, it’s still that awe-inspiring with very little in terms of setbacks by the inferior hardware. Controls are responsive, the frame rate appeared to be steady, and even though it was a hair less saturated than its counterparts, it still retained its timeless, vibrant art style. Given Cuphead and now Ori, Microsoft not only picked some of its best games to put on the Switch, but ones that were more suited to gracefully make that transition.