It’s been a wonderful 8 months of gaming with the Nintendo Switch and with the recent release of Super Mario Odyssey, there’s a big yellow question mark over what comes next for the console.
There have been some huge wins for the Switch since March – as well as incredibly well received Nintendo titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there’s been some fantastic additions to the console’s repertoire in the form of indie games and ports. Stardew Valley definitely deserves a notable mention here – porting this Harvest Moon love-child to the Switch has given the platform yet another addictive portable title that fits so perfectly with the console’s capabilities.
The underlying issues haven’t changed much since the consoles initial release, with moments of lag in some of the big titles going unresolved. It’s still a huge frustration that Nintendo’s own titles have some of the biggest issues – the necessity to use motion controls in titles such as BotW and SMO can ultimately negate the benefits of the Switch as a portable console – believe it or not, we don’t necessarily want to be waggling around joycons on an 8AM commute just to get past one puzzle.
The burning question for the Switch team now, however, is what the hell comes next?! Q4 of 2017 is bringing some new ports and indie games that are definitely exciting, but with no new releases really confirmed in Nintendo’s pipeline, there’s a bit of a gaping chasm for Q1 and Q2 of 2018.
So let’s look at what we do know. It was confirmed at E3 2017 that two Nintendo Classics will be returning to our screens next year in the form of the perhaps tentatively titled Yoshi and Kirby. Both will be side-scrolling adventures featuring the well-loved eponymous protagonists, and both have unconfirmed release dates for 2018.
From what’s been shown in the game trailers released earlier this year, it seems as though Kirby is bringing back the “helper” feature and a few classic Kirby moves such as the Stone-Ice curling and ability combining. There’s also been speculation surrounding the return of Marx Soul to the narrative, as the release may coincide with the 10-year anniversary of Super Star Ultra – especially when fans spotted the mysterious purple aura surrounding Whispy Woods in the trailer…
Yoshi seems to pack a bit more punch, bringing new game mechanics and exciting design elements to the table. Fans were surprised to learn that Unreal Engine 4 will be supporting this new title, and it’s definitely exciting to see Nintendo outsourcing more when developing new titles. Interestingly, the design element they seem to have gone for is cardboard, perhaps hearkening back to the success of Paper Mario… or perhaps they’re just out of ideas. This title has definitely had some mixed responses from fans, with some comparing it to the aforementioned Mario title, as well as Little Big Planet, but as we have so little information on the title as of 2017, it’s a waiting game to see where Nintendo will take our favourite green dinosaur.
Other than these titles, Nintendo also created a stir when they announced the release of a mainstream Pokémon game set to release in 2018 for the Switch. We’ve not seen much regarding this since then, but if they follow suit with a 3D masterpiece akin to recent releases, fans could be in for a game that completely revolutionises Pokémon mechanics.
It’s clear that the Nintendo Switch has big plans for 2018 and indeed the years to come, but it’s definitely a big risk to leave such a gap between confirmed titles. The last 8 months has taken the gaming market by storm, with the Switch now being the ‘it’ place to play indie games, and the portability taking fans and newcomers alike by storm. As long as developers don’t lose sight of the console’s capabilities and resort to ‘easy’ options, the Switch could continue to be a fan favourite for 2018.