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Reviews

System: Switch
Release date: June 11, 2019
Developer: King Art
Publisher: THQ Nordic


Nintendo has always stood apart in the games industry for its dedication to creating games that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. Brilliant titles like Super Mario Odyssey can spark joy in players regardless of whether they’re five or fifty-five years old. However, there are also developers who adopt a contrasting mentality. Their games aren’t designed for everyone – instead, they’re created for very specific audiences with very specific preferences. Battle Worlds: Kronos is a prime example of this. This turn-based strategy game is designed explicitly for longtime fans of its genre, featuring hardcore difficulty and massive scale. Its sprawling complexity is sure to please its audience, but it doesn’t do much to appeal to anybody outside this demographic.

System: Switch
Release date: May 21, 2019
Developer: Gust
Publisher: Koei Tecmo


Since 1997 the Atelier series has seen yearly installments that have given us a world of magic and alchemists alongside the adventures they go through. Each game has followed a new character and her evolution into becoming a legendary alchemist while learning about themselves along the way. Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland continues that trend but also changes things up in a lot of ways compared to other titles by introducing fresh new mechanics with its synthesizing, exploration, and battles, while also incorporating quality of life enhancements from the recent entries in the series.

System: Switch
Release date: May 21, 2019
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft


Do you remember your first experience with Assassins Creed? The inaugural entry in Ubisoft’s hit series was a driving force of the Xbox 360 and PS3’s launch – a bold new idea with ample room to innovate and expand over the course of a generation. Since then we’ve sliced and swan-dived our way through key moments in history, with a personal highlight being the swashbuckling antics of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. We’ve also seen a near complete shift in the franchise’s framework with recent entries Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which renewed interest considerably for current-gen console owners. With such a wide ranging suite of ideas, concepts and executions at hand, it strikes me as odd that Ubisoft have chosen to bring such a divisive snapshot of the series’ history to the Switch.

System: Switch
Release date: May 21, 2019
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: SEGA


By its very nature, a Sonic racing game is a strange prospect. If Sonic can run around at the speed of sound, why would he even need to use a racecar to go fast in the first place? However, this discrepancy hasn’t stopped SEGA from pumping out Sonic-themed racing games over the years, from Sonic R all the way back on the ill-fated Sega Saturn to 2012’s acclaimed Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Team Sonic Racing is the series’ latest motorsports effort, and while it certainly won’t challenge Mario Kart’s status as the supreme kart racer on the market, it still provides plenty of racing thrills for everyone to enjoy, as well as some special nods for longtime fans.

System: Switch
Release date: May 28, 2019
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America


Games are often praised for the depth and variety of their content. Nintendo fans will surely remember how Breath of the Wild was widely praised for shaking up the Zelda series by providing incredible amounts of different things to do and experience. But not every game has to provide such diversity; some can thrive by doing a single thing and doing it well. Lapis x Labyrinth, the latest anime action RPG from Nippon Ichi Software, aims to be an example of the strength of streamlined game design with its single-minded emphasis on loot grinding combat and character-stacking party formations. Unfortunately, while there is a solid core gameplay loop to be found here, it’s let down by the game’s incredibly repetitive structure and boring level design, leading to an experience that frequently feels more frustrating than focused.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: May 19, 2019
Developer: Noble Muffins
Publisher: Forever Entertainment


Its 2 AM, it’s dark, and I’m trespassing on my neighbor’s property (again). Quiet as a mouse, I delicately paw my waist until I’m met with the familiar shape of my flashlight. In the interest of decibels I apply as little pressure as I can and like magic (or torches), the room is illuminated in a divine glow. “Remarkable”, I mutter to myself. “Everything I stole three hours ago has already been replaced.” As I slowly survey the room I’m immediately drawn to the prize catch – a flat screen TV. “That’s a flat screen TV,” my internal monologue confirms. As I stand there slack jawed and aghast, I fail to take heed of my surroundings for a single crucial moment – I’ve been spotted. How could I have been this stupid? I had surveyed the house, taken note of the tenant’s routines and I was absolutely certain they wouldn’t be home until 4. None of that matters now. I gather myself momentarily before making a run for it.

System: Switch
Release date: April 30, 2019
Developer: Square Enix / Virtuos
Publisher: Square Enix


If you’ve ever watched the Star Wars prequel trilogy and thought “Man, this would be so much better if it were a Japanese role playing game,” then Final Fantasy XII is the game for you. With its fusion of medieval and sci-fi ideas in its setting and its heavy political overtones, it easily draws plenty of comparisons to George Lucas’s iconic space operas – it even comes complete with an evil Senate-led Empire and a plucky young orphan destined to take it down. Also like the prequel trilogy, Final Fantasy XII has been a point of contention for its series’ fans ever since its first release on the PS2 in 2006. Its unconventional real-time combat was a far cry from the classic turn-based battles that had defined the franchise up to that point, and the entire core structure of its politically charged storytelling and combat management felt like a dramatic change from traditional Final Fantasy experiences.

System: Switch
Release date: May 10, 2019
Developer: Volition / Deep Silver
Publisher: Deep Silver


There are certain genres that Nintendo consoles have historically missed out on. During the Wii generation, the Call of Duty style shooter was sorely missed – if not for an actual lack of ports (and well-forgotten games like The Conduit), then at least for the Wii’s inability to impressively render HD set piece spectacles. Open world games in the vein of Grand Theft Auto found similar enough success to spawn countless formulaic imitations, but the open world genre saw almost no representation on the Wii, and a handful of really bad ports on the Wii U. Perhaps the Wii’s greatest legacy was the perception that Nintendo consoles are bound to miss out on those “hardcore” blockbuster experiences.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: May 2, 2019
Developer: Landon Podbielski
Publisher: Adult Swim Games


Duck Game has definitely taken its time finding its nest on Switch. First developed as an Ouya exclusive all the way back in 2014, it’s seen numerous upgrades and re-releases over the years, including the announcement of a version for Nintendo’s hybrid console in 2017. After a two years’ incubation, this chaotic brawler has finally hatched onto the Switch. But after all this time, is Duck Game still all it’s quacked up to be?

System: Switch
Release date: April 23, 2019
Developer: Square Enix / Virtuos
Publisher: Square Enix


It’s just another ordinary day: Hell has frozen over, pigs are soaring across the skies, and you’re playing Final Fantasy X on a Nintendo console. What was once thought impossible has become a delightful role playing reality. The series infamous for its break with Nintendo has come back home with plenty of classic games in tow, and this remarkable trend continues with the release of Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel on Switch. So many years after these games defined a generation of RPGs, they continue to hold up in fine form on Nintendo’s newest system, retaining every bit of their strategic and storytelling brilliance with a few modern enhancements thrown in to sweeten the deal.