The Nintendo Switch is finally here, and for me, it’s like being a kid at Christmas time. Despite multiple attempts by my more professional demeanor to keep it in check, my childlike enthusiasm keeps bubbling over at the possibilities of what Nintendo can bring with its console-handheld hybrid machine. And it seems I’m not alone with my excitement either.
But what excites me the most, aside from a brand new Zelda, are the indie games. Nintendo has made it loud and clear how easy it is to develop for their new machine just through the sheer volume of interesting and diverse games that are coming its way in such a short amount of time from a multitude of talented smaller devs. And since the eShop is now online and trailers are out in the wild, here are my personal Fanatical Five indie games for the Nintendo Switch I am excited for.
A quick addendum. As much as I love Shovel Knight and Yooka-Laylee, they will not be making an appearance on this list. Shovel Knight premiered on the Wii U and the upcoming Spectre of Torment, while looking absolutely excellent, is still just an expansion pack for that adventure. As for Yooka-Laylee, it just wouldn’t be fair considering Playtonic Games is made up entirely of ex-Rare developers and their success via Kickstarter gives them a higher profile than most on the list.
5 Indie Games on Nintendo Switch I’m Excited For
Release Date: 2017
Zoink Games got on my radar with the launch of Stick it to the Man on PlayStation 4. It was a zany and surreal puzzle platformer about a guy who mysteriously obtained psychic powers and gets chased down by a shadowy government organization. The game became all about escaping The Man and solving puzzles by reading people’s minds and putting ideas and thoughts in their heads. Imagine if Double Fine’s Psychonauts got deep fried in the sensibilities of Rocko’s Modern Life and you can get a decent idea of the game’s humor and style.
Flipping Death seems to be a continuation of that wackiness; the game even has the same art style. The plot seems to revolve around a young woman who winds up dying in some accident. But instead of being swept away into the great beyond, The Grim Reaper decides to take a vacation and hands his job over to her, helping the restless ghosts of the afterlife reconcile their unfinished business in the real world. Which of course means more puzzle-platforming, with the ability to “flip” back and forth between the world of the living and the dead, and a supernatural element of possession thrown into the mix.
The trailer shows that they’re still keeping things light with its sharp and oddball sense of humor. The heroine even comments that working for Death shouldn’t be too hard since she used to temp at a Kindergarten, which got a chuckle out of me.
Release Date: April 2017
From the studios Team Shifty and tinyBuild comes the top-down action game, Mr. Shifty. When this game was shown off at Nintendo’s Nindie Showcase I felt like there was some mismarketing going on. The spokesperson said the game would be a stealth action experience, but the minute the gameplay trailer started all I saw was a different flavor of the ultra-violent Hotline Miami. As the trailer continued, however, I started to see the game’s true personality.
The game appears to be an intense action experience where you play as Mr. Shifty, a man who has the ability to teleport across small distances. The objective of the game? Pull off a heist on one of the most secure locations ever, complete with death traps, laser wires, and armed guards. All wrapped up in a stylized cel-shaded atmosphere, akin to an underground comic book.
The gameplay all appears to be fast-paced, relying on reflexes and muscle memory, which is right up my alley. The trailer even mentions you will die in one hit if you mess up and it appears you can’t just teleport everywhere all the time. So I’m expecting a lot of masochists giving this game a look. I should know, I’m one of them.
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Shin’en Multimedia is better than us for one simple reason. While I and many other Nintendo fans kept wondering when the heck the studio was going to make a new F-Zero game, this team actually took matters into their own hands and actually made a spiritual successor to the sci-fi racing series. The Wii U had Fast Racing NEO and now the Nintendo Switch is getting Fast RMX at launch.
This high-octane racing game is built around a simple mechanic. Collecting blue and orange orbs and hitting the responding colored power strips on the race track for a boost in speed. Everything else after that is just a matter of keeping control as you jet across at blistering speed.
This is also a Nintendo Switch launch game that is confidently aiming for 1080p resolution, both in Console and Handheld mode, and a buttery smooth 60 FPS framerate. More power to them!
Release Date: March 3, 2017
What is one of the major selling points of the Nintendo Switch? Its portability and how it can allow for local co-op at the drop of a hat with its Joy Con controllers. So of course, there has to be a game at launch that is all about local co-op, and it is here in the form of Snipperclips. And it looks absolutely adorable.
In a game world made entirely out of paper and office supplies, the game is a co-op puzzler where you and a friend control two sentient shapes of paper. In order to solve various puzzles, you and your partner have the ability to snip pieces of each other, in order to make a new shape. This can range from getting your friend into the shape of a cup in order to transport water, or make a square hole in your chest in order to turn a screw.
It’s the kind of co-op game that begs for communication and teamwork, which perfectly suits the Nintendo Switch’s attempt to bring the good old days of couch co-op back into the modern era.
Release Date: April 2017
Vblank Entertainment made a follow-up to their 8-bit gaming homage Retro City Rampage. Fittingly, it’s a love letter to gaming’s 16-bit era called Shakedown: Hawaii. The trailer appears to be just a prettier version of Retro City Rampage but with a lot more bells and whistles thrown in, and I’m totally fine with that. Retro City was a gonzo gaming experience full of references, inside jokes, and gameplay gimmicks it felt like a concentrated cocktail of gaming’s golden age. A bona fide acid trip that was something between old school Grand Theft Auto, Contra, and an amalgamation of every single nostalgic platformer under the sun.
In addition to the usual grab bag of gameplay ideas: collecting coins, stealing cars, shooting people, racking up a high score, etc., the game also brings a territory control system where you can set up your own cartoonishly evil pixelated empire while driving out the more dangerous gangs.
In a way, this game can be seen as confidently presented interactive junk food the way it just slaps a bunch of ideas and in-jokes at you. But, much like Retro City Rampage, if it’s taken in small doses I get the feeling Shakedown: Hawaii is just the right amount of chaotic nonsense to relax with anywhere.
And those are my top 5 indie games coming to the Nintendo Switch I’m excited for. Were there any I missed or do you disagree with my choices? Let us know in the comments below and tell us your thoughts on the launch of Nintendo’s latest console.