“Exergaming” has been around for a while now; I can recall working up a sweat in Dancing Stage (aka Dance Dance Revolution) on PlayStation 1 back in university.
It was arguably Nintendo who really popularised the concept in the Wii generation, however, with Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus and subsequently Wii Fit U all setting a great example that a number of other developers and publishers strove to emulate. Exercising at home could be practical, said these games, and it could be fun, too!
The Wii and Wii U generations are behind us now — though I know some people are still religiously using Wii Fit, and all credit to them — so it’s time we had a successor, right? Enter Fitness Boxing for Switch.
Continue reading Fitness Boxing: Switch Fit
Atari may be a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of its former self considering the number of hands the brand has passed through since the ’90s… but it’s fair to say that it still has a hold of my heart.
The Atari 2600 was just slightly before my time — I grew up with the Atari 8-bit home computers before moving on to the ST — but I’ve always been interested in and respected the deep roots video gaming laid down in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Consequently, I’ve jumped on board with most Atari 2600 compilations that have been available for platforms over the years… and had a great time with them.
The latest to appear is Atari Flashback Classics for Nintendo Switch. Boasting 150 games that were originally distributed across three separate releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it certainly seems to offer astounding value for money on paper. But how is it in execution?
Continue reading Atari Flashback Classics: Know Your Roots
I’m not a big sports game guy, but I’ve always had a lot of time for Nintendo’s takes on tennis and golf.
The Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis in particular stole many hours of my life back in the day — as well as again a little more recently, I must confess — so I was rather excited to check out the Nintendo Switch incarnation of the series.
Among other things, the new game promised a return to something I had particularly liked about the aforementioned Game Boy Color version: a substantial single-player mode. So it’s that we’ll be focusing on today as I talk about my first impressions of the game.
Continue reading Mario Tennis Aces: Some First Impressions
A common criticism raised by people who have arbitrarily decided for one reason or another that they are “anti-Nintendo” is that the company relies too much on rehashing old ideas, particularly when it comes to its “big” franchises.
This is, of course, nonsense, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the company’s flagship Super Mario series. The portly plumber’s past few adventures have included a simple but enjoyable mobile game that eschews gacha nonsense in favour of accessible mechanics, a full-on construction kit with online functionality, a vast but highly accessible, level-based 3D platform adventure with the option to play in cooperative multiplayer and a challenging 2D platform adventure later expanded with an even more difficult set of levels. And this is to say nothing of how the series has continually reinvented itself over the years.
Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch continues Mario’s proud tradition of starring in an enormously varied series of games that cater to the tastes of both casual and hardcore gamers alike. And it’s one of his best games to date.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Super Mario Odyssey
One of the core attractions of a handheld games system is the fact that you can take it anywhere.
While it’s awesome to be able to play deep experiences like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the go, an important aspect of a successful handheld’s library is a selection of simple “pick up and play” games that can while away a few minutes rather than a few hours. If you’re out and about, you don’t necessarily want to get stuck into a sprawling RPG, after all, so it’s good to have something on hand to fire up when you just want to play something.
This corner of the market has been dominated by smartphones and tablets for the past few years. But the Switch is showing it has plenty of solid offerings in this department, too — and best of all, many of these titles don’t have exploitative free-to-play mechanics attached.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: SkyPeace
It’s quite peculiar, when you think about it — an awful lot of what are now regarded as Nintendo’s best games initially appeared on what turned out to be one of its most commercially underperforming systems: the dear old Wii U.
Given that games like Mario Kart 8 were universally well-received on the Wii U, it’s not altogether surprising that Nintendo would want to take the time to port them to a platform like the Switch, which has already absolutely crushed its predecessor in terms of sales.
And while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t a radical reinvention of its source material, it provides enough improvements over the original experience to make it a worthwhile purchase. Not to mention the prospect of having rather more people to play against!
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Splatoon was not only a great game, it represented Nintendo successfully giving a rather pointed middle finger to everyone who thought it relied too much on its old franchises.
Despite being on the Wii U, one of Nintendo’s least successful pieces of hardware, the game went on to perform extremely well worldwide, proving popular in both its native Japan and the rest of the world. By the end of December 2017, it had sold around 4.91 million copies — a pretty healthy proportion of the console’s entire user base, which stood at a little under 14 million as of December 2016. That means approximately one in every three Wii U owners had a copy.
A new generation of hardware was an ideal opportunity to explore the franchise further. And with the Switch performing much better in terms of sales than its predecessor pretty much from launch onwards, more people than ever before would be able to enjoy the experience of being a kid, then a squid, then a kid, then…
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Splatoon 2 (Part 1 – Single Player)