This has been an incredible year for the Nintendo Switch. When it launched, it had a mere 12 games. Within just 7 months over 200 games had graced the system, and those numbers are still climbing drastically. In such a hectic year full of quality games, it can sometimes be difficult to determine where you should invest your money. Top help you out, here are Switchwatch’s top 5 Nintendo Switch games of 2017.
* Note: I will not list any one of the big four titles because between 25-50% of Switch owners already own them. Those are Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8, Zelda Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey.
Nintendo’s brand-new IP may not have exploded in terms of popularity like the fantastic Splatoon series did, but it is an excellent new take on the fighting genre. In Arms, you have one primary objective: to punch your opponent really, really hard. What initially looks like a fairly simple fighting game reveals a deep and complex game which will force you to take your reaction speed and aiming skills to the next level in order to compete.
There are two primary ways to control this game: traditional button controls and motion controls. Most people will tell you that you cannot compete with motion controls, but don’t write off them off just yet. I am level 14 in Arms’s ranking mode using my guy, Spring Man, and I exclusively use motion controls. The key to playing well with motion controls is to stand and use every muscle in your body to react. It is truly an exhilarating experience, and every match leaves my adrenaline pumping.
Just as Splatoon receives frequent updates, Arms has received several updates since release as well. This has included 4 fighters, 12 new weapons, 4 stages and a few new game modes. There is a fifth fighter on the way, and it looks like Nintendo’s support of this game is still only just getting started.
4) Fast RMX
This next game on this list which goes all the way back to the launch of the Switch. Fast RMX was originally released exclusively on the Wii U under the title Fast Racing Neo. Once hailed by the tech wizards at Digital Foundry as the most visually stunning portable game ever released, Fast RMX came to the Switch with drastic improvements made over its Wii U counterpart in almost every way.
Fast RMX is a four-player futuristic racing game similar to F-Zero, and as the name implies it is a very fast game. Your reflexes will be tested as you swerve sharp curves and change your vehicle’s color to take advantage of the numerous boost strips along the game’s 36 race tracks. Matching the color of those strips will give you a nice speed boost, but be wary that if your color is wrong, then you will get a massive speed reduction.
Unfortunately, there are not many people playing the game online anymore, but there is still a robust single player game here with time trials, three difficulty levels for the Championship mode and a Hero Mode which takes the game back to the difficulty of classic futuristic racers. In Hero Mode, the race tracks are mirrored, your boost meter also counts as your health bar, and if you crash once, you will need to restart the race. If you love old-school F-Zero games, then you can’t go wrong with this one.
3) Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the third installment of the Xenoblade franchise, and it is a worthy successor. It is a Japanese RPG in which you take the protagonist, Rex, across the world of Alrest along with his companions to save humanity from extinction.
Alress is a world with no continents. People and animals live on the backs of titans: giants with arable land capable of supporting life. However, the titans are beginning to die out. Once all of the titans are gone, people and land-based animals will no longer have a place to live and will be doomed. There is a massive tree in the center of the world, and legends say that a continent exists atop that tree called Elysium. Once Rex meets a certain young lady who confirms for him the existence of this legend, he decides to help her reach Elysium and save humanity.
My review of this game is still on the way, but I am trying to complete it before writing it. The full review will come rather late, but you can check out my Xenoblade Chronicles 2 first impressions here.
Unepic is a quiet little game that most people will not have heard of. I noticed it on the eShop leading up to its release and thought that it looked interesting. To my pleasant surprise, I found an absolute gem. It is a $10 game that achieves more than most other games being sold for twice the price.
Unepic is a Metroidvania-style dungeon crawler set in a sprawling castle. You control a young man named Daniel who was unwittingly transported into an ancient castle inhabited by monsters while playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. You will fight using a wide variety of magical weapons with unique effects, dozens of spells and your wits. Setting over 12 items to hot keys allows you to mix and match your play style while changing to whatever item suits the situation you find yourself in.
Unepic completely surprised me, and it has quickly risen to being my personal top indie game of 2017 on the Nintendo Switch. This game is of top-notch quality, and the perfect pricing makes this an absolute no brainer. You can check out our Switchwatch review of Unepic here.
1) Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is the definition of a modern classic, and it is truly what one would call an essential experience. As of 2016, Skyrim had already sold over 30 million units, and the sales are still building with the recent release of the vastly upgraded remaster on the PS4 and Xbox One as well as the Nintendo Switch version.
Bethesda did a phenomenal job porting this game to the Switch. What was once called impossible has been made a reality on the Switch: Skyrim on a handheld gaming system. Not only that, it is the special edition, and it holds up to the PS4/Xbox One versions in almost every way. The only way to really tell a difference is to place this version side-by-side with the others, and even then it is only splitting hairs over small shadows, some extra lines and slightly jagged edges. The most noticeable downgrade for the Switch port is that draw distances on grass and foliage is drastically reduced, but that is a small price to pay.
The Switch port of Skyrim does almost everything right. It has a sharp resolution in both handheld and docked modes, rarely drops frames, has quick loading times and it incorporates Switch-specific features. It is one of the few third-party games which utilizes Amiibo, it has very functional motion controls and gyro aiming, and there is a beautiful set of equipment from the Legend of Zelda series to be found: the Master Sword, Hylian Shield and Link’s Champion’s Tunic from Breath of the Wild.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the greatest games ever made, and it comes with my easiest recommendation. If you want to know more details about it, we have a comprehensive review of Skyrim which can be viewed here.
And that is our list of the top 5 Nintendo Switch games of 2017 excluding the aforementioned big four titles. Do you already have any of these, and if not, do you plan to pick any of them up?