Here we go again
Here we go again Nintendo

The next few months of Nintendo Switch releases look a lot like the first few years of the 2000s. This afternoon, Nintendo gave us a little sneak peek at the biggest games hitting the platform this spring and summer, and while there are a handful of new titles in there (Monster Hunter Rise, yes, very exciting, very good), there’s also a lot of “hey, I remember playing that on PS1.”

For example, 1999’s Legend of Mana is back, with lovely art. Capcom’s giving us an "Arcade Stadium," available to buy today, which includes Forgotten Worlds, Bionic Commando, Ghouls n Ghosts, and so on. And jumping forward in time just a bit, we’re getting a re-release of Skyward Sword … and maybe this time they’ve fixed the control scheme so you’re not constantly frustrated by the motion control misunderstanding what you want from it?

Anyway, we can break today's reveals into two categories, “New Games” and “Games You’ve Already Played.” I’ve picked three of my favorites from each that I think are worthy of your attention.

NEW GAMES

Of everything coming out on Switch in the next few months, Monster Hunter: Rise is probably the most hotly anticipated. This series is huge huge huge in Japan, and Monster Hunter World landed in a big way in the US, bringing lots more fans into the franchise. I have a writeup over here about what’s fun about Monster Hunter, but the short version is that it’s like a series of giant boss fights, interspersed with cute little dress-up dolls. In today’s direct, we got a peek at some new maps (desert and volcano environments) a bunch of new monsters, and a bit more of a glimpse at the new “rampage” mode in Rise. It looks like it’ll be a tower-defense setup, with online multiplayer teams trying to stop monsters charging through gated arenas. Thumbs up all around to that.

I’m also intrigued by Project Triangle Strategy, and not just because Square Enix has truly outdone themselves in the terrible-naming department. The game comes out in 2022, but they’ve already made a demo available to play, which is nuts; it looks like an extremely pretty tactical RPG — essentially an evolution of Final Fantasy Tactics, you play on a tiered grid with team members taking turns to choose their positions. You know, like chess, but more complicated. Go pick up the demo today; I’ll be absolutely shocked if it isn’t fantastic.

The other upcoming game that caught my eye is Splatoon 3, about which we know virtually nothing. It looks like you’ll be getting a “Little Buddy” — a small customizable lizard — which is enough to get me excited. Nintendo teased new weapons and areas, as you’d expect. This is another one coming in 2022, so no need to get too worked up about it yet.


GAMES YOU’VE ALREADY PLAYED

The infrequent new titles were a bit overshadowed in this Direct by all the games you’ve already played. Or, if you want to look at it more generously, games that you’ve meant to play and just haven’t gotten around to in the last two decades.

I think the game most folks will be excited to see is Fall Guys. Available on various other platforms, it’s finally coming to Switch this summer. I’m not a huge Fall Guys fan; it’s all a bit too random for me, with a skill ceiling that I just find frustrating. But that’s not really the point of the game for most players! In the last year, it’s proven an invaluable time-sink for friends who can’t get together in person, and I hope it can continue to fill that need now that it’s on an additional platform. No word on whether it’ll offer cross-play, so Switch players can play with their friends on PC. (I’m skeptical that a feature like that will be available at the Switch launch, but you never know.)

I’m also tickled to see new content coming for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This time, they’re dropping new Mario-themed content into the game, starting on March 1. Most of it is just very very very cute, but the true game-changer is the introduction of warp pipes. They’re functional! Soon you’ll be able to warp around your island without having to drag your adorable ass across half a dozen bridges. I’m looking forward to seeing the cute innovations that this will make possible. (If you’re looking for inspiration, go follow my favorite Animal Crossing streamer, Mike Cheb.)

Hades is coming to Switch as well, but not just Hades — Nintendo boasted that it’s coming with a “physical release,” which is a coincidence because that’s what the game has been providing me since it launched. Dropping March 19, the game will come with a lovely art book featuring pretty prints of the pretty Prince of the Underworld and all his family members. It’s nothing you couldn’t have produced yourself with some high-gloss paper and a color printer, but it’s a nice little fetish object to be able to hold.

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And then there’s Skyward Sword. When this game came out ten years ago, they really wanted to prove that the motion controllers were a vital component of gameplay, so you had to swing the controller to use the sword and poke the air with the joycon to raise your shield. It worked … okay. Not great. When I played, the game always misinterpreted my inputs, making Link seem kinda sorta drunk, waving his arms around in weird ways that didn’t fully make sense. With this re-release, they’ve added the option to switch from motion control to button-based control, which… thank GOD.

There’s a bunch of other games dropping over the next few weeks — almost all re-releases of back-catalog titles — and I’ll have more writeups and recommendations on those as we get closer to street date.

For now, I’m reminded of the time I was poking around the Oculus store, looking at the games available to play in VR, and rolled my eyes (which made me extremely dizzy inside the headset) when I saw that Myst is available for $30. I feel like I’ve been re-buying that game once a decade since before some of you were born; and while I am happy to see vintage games coming to Switch, I do feel a little twinge of “not again” every time I open my wallet for a game I already own on another platform.