Despite the massive popularity of the Wii, Nintendo hit a bit of a rough patch with the release of the Wii U. A poor marketing strategy and an overall weak launch lineup gave Nintendo a hard few years as it tried to make the Wii U an appealing product next to the PS4 and Xbox One. The 3DS made sure Nintendo didn’t fall into irrelevance during that time, but if they wanted to survive the console race they needed something bigger and better; and so the Switch was born.
With a little under a month until the Switch launches worldwide, Nintendo has already managed to generate an unreal amount of hype thanks to some of the best marketing they’ve had in ages and one of their better non-Direct presentations in recent memory, but the success of the immediate success of the Switch will rely entirely on launch titles.
A good launch can make or break a console. The Nintendo Wii launched bundled with Wii Sports and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess available at retail, but the Wii U only had Nintendo Land and yet another New Super Mario Bros. game as its most appealing titles. The 3DS was able to pick itself up after a few years, but suffered immensely early on from an incredibly weak launch lineup.
The Switch’s launch lineup is already stronger than the Wii U’s thanks to the highly anticipated Breath of the Wild, but there are some other gems hidden on day one along with some less than admirable launch qualities Nintendo has kept in the background.
The Nintendo Switch Does Not Come Bundled With A Game
Yup, you read that right, the Nintendo Switch does not come with a game. It’s not a matter of Nintendo offering a lower version of the Switch with no game, either. In general, a regular purchase of the Switch will not include any games. For what it’s worth, GameStop does seem to be offering Switch bundles, but they’re long since sold out and none of them are part of Nintendo’s official marketing strategy.
It’s baffling, really, especially when taking into account how much good the Switch seems to be doing for Nintendo’s image. They’ve finally embraced an image that targets casual and hardcore gamers alike but, at the same time, stripping away certain qualities that made Nintendo such a friendly alternative to Sony and Microsoft.
The Wii came bundled with Wii Sports and the Wii U had Nintendo Land bundles at launch. It wouldn't be difficult for the Switch to include a similarly simple bundle game, but Nintendo claims it would force them to raise the price on the already pricey console.
14 1-2-Switch is $50
When Nintendo showed off 1-2-Switch in their Switch presentation, it looked like they were unveiling the next Wii Sports, causing many people to believe it would come bundled with the console. Nobody really would have been wrong to assume so considering how simplistic the actual premise of 1-2-Switch was, but it was sadly announced as its own separate game.
Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For $10, or even $20, the party game could be worth its while, but Nintendo somehow deemed it appropriate to price it at $50.
It’s below standard retail pricing and there’s certainly a possibility that 1-2-Switch could have hours upon hours of content hidden underneath its minigame ensemble, but Nintendo has only shown off reasons why it SHOULDN’T be priced so high.
They should have foreseen some backlash towards 1-2-Switch’s price tag, especially considering how it was presented as the next Wii Sports, but they failed to present any justification with the content.
13 The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ Is a Terrible Investment
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + is already getting a fair amount of backlash on Steam due to some less than impressive design and just paling in comparison to the fan made Antibirth mod, but it has another problem altogether on the Switch: It’s $40.
For comparison, the base version of The Binding of Isaac on Steam is $5, Wrath of the Lamb is a $3 add-on, and the Rebirth bundle which comes with all the current expansions including Afterbirth + is $35. There is just no scenario where buying The Binding of Isaac on the Switch is a smart investment and that’s a problem.
The Switch doesn’t have an amazing amount of titles coming out at launch, but the ones that are need to be priced appropriately and be able to hook players in. A $40 retail copy of The Binding of Isaac is neither priced appropriately nor is it enticing. It’s not Nintendo’s fault that TBoI is overpriced currently, but it is a problem and it only serves to hurt the Switch.
12 Super Bomberman R Will Have Microtransactions
Bomberman is a series that has been in desperate need of more love, so it’s nice to see another title coming out, especially at a console’s launch, but it’s not without its own share of problems. During the Nintendo Treehouse following the Switch’s formal presentation, it was unveiled that Super Bomberman R would have a point system that could be substituted with real money.
For what it’s worth, points can be earned through just playing the game and are primarily used for cosmetic purposes, but they also double as Super Bomberman R’s continue system. When a player runs out of lives, they can continue by spending their points or they can take a game over.
Arcade style mechanics aren’t unusual, but Super Bomberman R actually incorporates real life money, which is a bit problematic. It’s a good thing that points can be earned in game, circumventing any reason to pay money, but the fact that the option exists keeps microtransactions alive.
11 I Am Setsuna Is Going To Take You Back To The SNES Era of RPGs
I Am Setsuna is the first of many games in Tokyo RPG Factory’s lineup of titles that seek to invoke the feeling of playing an RPG in the 1990s and, aside from a few atmospheric issues, it does an admirable job at fitting in with those early RPGs.
It utilizes an Active Time Battle system not too dissimilar to Final Fantasy IV through VI or, more appropriately, Chrono Trigger. Storywise, it’s a dreary tale set in an endless winter that captures that experimental somber tone that many 90s RPGs had.
It’s worth noting that I Am Setsuna has been out on Steam and PlayStation 4 for almost a year now, but a title like this that so blatantly takes inspiration from SNES RPGs deserves to be on a Nintendo console. More importantly, I am Setsuna is one of the few announced first year ports that not only justifies its price, but also comes out right at launch, giving Switch adopters RPG access immediately.
10 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Is Locked At 30 Frames Per Second
First thing’s first, 30 frames per second? That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, most PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 games ran below 30 fps, so it’s certainly livable. More importantly, every 3D Zelda game that’s come out since Ocarina of Time has run, at most, at 30 frames.
This generation’s technology is incredibly advanced, so it makes sense that some people favor 60 fps and even demand it from developers, but it isn’t a complete necessity, nor has it been a fixture for The Legend of Zelda.
Would Breath of the Wild have been a good starting point? Of course, but from everything Nintendo has shown off, there’s little reason to believe that 30 fps for an open world Legend of Zelda is anything to laugh at. Taking into consideration that a higher framerate doesn’t make a game run faster, but smoother, it’s safe to say Breath of the Wild will be just fine at a respectable 30 fps. Even though 60 would certainly be nicer.
9 Just Dance 2017 Will Give Players Three Months Access To Just Dance Unlimited
Subscription services are becoming awfully popular this generation, especially with Ubisoft. Just Dance Unlimited, however, actually manages to offer a pretty decent incentive for its price: access to songs from previous Just Dance titles. Obviously each installment of Just Dance isn’t going to carry over its song roster, but it’s nice to have a service that makes sure those songs don’t get lost to time.
In a very sweet and appreciated move, Ubisoft is offering three months of free access to Just Dance Unlimited with every Nintendo Switch copy of Just Dance 2017. It’s smart, really, because it not only gives more incentive for newcomers to try Just Dance, it also gives series veterans a reason to switch to the Nintendo Switch.
With over 200 songs to choose from on the service and a rather frequent update schedule, it just goes to show that not all paid subscriptions are bad for the medium.
8 Nintendo Is Getting Indie Support From Day One
Here’s the deal, the Wii didn’t get much in the way of indie support and the Wii U promised indie support and, to its credit, it did deliver, but not as well as it should have. Thankfully, it seems like Nintendo’s wised up and is bringing over some rather high quality indie titles for launch day.
World of Goo, Little Inferno, and Human Resource Machine are all going to be available on the Switch’s eshop on March 3rd. On one hand, it’s great because all three are fantastic and cheap indie titles that genuinely play with game mechanics. On the other hand, just buying one game is a nice investment to go alongside a major retail title.
This is perhaps one of the smartest decisions Nintendo has made in regards to promoting indie titles. It doesn’t even matter that each game has been out for over a year since, as with the Switch’s controls, they’re all guaranteed to feel innovative and fresh. Bravo Nintendo, you’ve finally figured this whole indie game thing out.
7 Snipperclips Is The Multiplayer Underdog That’s Flying Right Under The Radar
One of the greatest features the Switch has going for it is that it effectively comes with two controllers thanks to how the Joy-Cons work. Two controllers also means instant multiplayer access out of the box. In a generation where controllers go for $60, this is great news all around since this isn’t something that can be removed. Every Switch ever sold, from now until the end of time, will come with two controllers. It’s beautiful, really.
1-2-Switch showed off what the Switch was capable of multiplayer wise, but Snipperclips went pretty under the radar and it shouldn’t have considering how much of a better multiplayer alternative it is to 1-2-Switch.
Priced at $20 as a digital title, Snipperclips is a cooperative puzzle game that actually seems to offer a semblance of challenge. With an incredibly charming aesthetic and geometry based puzzles, Snipperclips feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch.
6 Super Bomberman R Is Going To Take The Series Out Of A Seven Year Hiatus
The last time a main Bomberman game came out was in 2010, exclusively for Xbox Live and it wasn’t particularly impressive. Bomberman Live: Battlefest was your typical Bomberman game plus some online, but it suffered from weak design and an uninspired feeling that tainted the whole experience.
Seven years later, Bomberman is finally back to redeem himself in Super Bomberman R. It’s fitting that Bomberman is coming back on a Nintendo console because some of the best Bomberman games were SNES staples. Super Bomberman 2 through 5 are downright classics with great singleplayer and multiplayer alike.
It’s yet to be seen if and how Super Bomberman R will breathe new life into the series, but after seven years, it’s safe to say all it really has to do is exist and be good. Super Bomberman R already has confirmed a cooperative single player campaign alongside 8 player multiplayer, so there’s really nowhere to go but up.
5 You Can Face The Final Boss Right Away In Breath of the Wild
Every Zelda game, whether it’s 2D or 3D, builds up to that final confrontation. A Link to the Past has Ganon terrorizing Hyrule in the first half through Agahnim, Ocarina of Time opens with Link dreaming about his first confrontation with Ganondorf, and the moon is constantly looming over Link as he races against time in Majora’s Mask. Getting to the final boss is a satisfying and tense feeling as hours of gameplay are rewarded with one final challenge. Breath of the Wild thinks that’s a bit overdone though, so you can just go fight the final boss right away.
In an interview, series head Eiji Aonuma revealed that as soon as the game begins, Link will be able to rush right up to the final boss and challenge them. This is obviously some sort of trap and Link probably won’t be able to make any real progress against the final boss, but just the fact that this is, at all, possible is a testament to how experimental Nintendo is being with Zelda which is a nice change of pace.
4 Skylanders Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon
Whether or not Skylanders is your cup of tea, it is worth noting how it being a launch title effectively guarantees longevity for one of the Switch’s launch games. The Skylanders franchise has consistently gotten new updates via Amiibo-like toys that add new content and playable characters to the game.
Disney Infinity had a similar premise, but was canceled last year, so the state of Skylanders was stuck in limbo, though it seems it’ll be pushing forward without any roadblocks.
Skylanders: Imaginators stands out particularly due to its character creation which adds a fair amount of creativity to the already massive roster. Keeping in mind that Amiibo are a strictly Nintendo product, the Skylanders figures fit in perfectly.
Skylanders definitely isn’t for everyone, and this newest entry is going to change any minds, but it’s nice to know one game at launch will be getting content for months to come.
3 Has-Been Heroes Is Pure Chaos In The Best Way Possible
Has-Been Heroes is primarily being advertised as a Roguelike, which makes sense considering its emphasis on permadeath and procedurally generated levels, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Has-Been Heroes is less your standard Roguelike and more an amalgamation of turn-based and real-time strategy games, emphasizing fast paces thought work, but allowing players to pause, catch their breath, and evaluate their options.
In offering a system that both encourages real time strategy and turn based strategy, Has-Been Heroes has a skill floor that’s incredibly accessible for newcomers of the genre and a skill ceiling that actively challenges veterans.
It’s a nice marriage of both genres since players aren’t punished or rewarded for how they choose to play. Those who need a little bit of hand holding and time to think get an engaging turn based strategy game and those who like the rush and difficulty of having to decide what to do in the moment get a legitimate challenge. Neither one compromises the integrity of the design.
2 Arms Is NOT In The Launch Window
Remember that really exciting fighting game that was shown off in the Switch presentation? It looked like a fully developed Wii Sports in action and took advantage of the Joy-Cons in the best way possible? Yeah, it's not a launch title.
Not everything shown off during the Switch presentation was confirmed to be a launch title and that’s not really something that should be expected, but Arms is in a similar position to 1-2-Switch where it was presented in a relatively deceptive way. Arms’ reveal made it look like a successor to Wii Boxing, but it didn’t show off much else to the point where there was no real reason to think it wouldn’t come out at launch or come bundled with the Switch.
Arms is still likely to be an incredibly fun game that captures the fun of Wii Boxing with some added depth, but it does hurt the Switch that such a friendly title won’t be available at launch.
1 Breath of the Wild Will Have Dual Audio, But Not In The Way You’d Hope Or Think
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is going to be the first game in the series to have actual voice acting. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword introduced the concept of voice acting to the series, but very selectively and always in gibberish. Breath of the Wild, on the other hand, is fully voiced in English, Spanish, Japanese, German, and French. It’s a respectable variety, but there’s one small problem: language is tied to the Switch.
You can manually change your Switch’s region to Japanese if you want to play Breath of the Wild with the Japanese audio but, in doing so, all the text will turn to Japanese as well. This goes for any and every language available in the Switch’s lineup.
It should go without saying that the Switch being region free is undeniably a good thing, but it is a bit of a disappointment that this does mean audio options needs to be included in the game itself.