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Nintendo Switch Is Getting A Ton Of New Indie Games (Including Ori And The Blind Forest)

Image: Microsoft (Ori and the Blind Forest)

There are a bunch of indie games newly coming to the Switch, including the Microsoft-published Ori and the Blind Forest, which will be coming to the platform on September 27, Nintendo announced in its “Indie World Showcase.”

It will join Cuphead, which released on Switch earlier this year and was also previously a console exclusive on Xbox One. But there was a lot of other info on a variety of games crammed into Nintendo’s 20-minute “Indie World” stream, so let’s break it down.

Out Today

Screenshot: Hotline Miami Collection
  • The time-slowing first-person shooter Superhot that mixes puzzle solving with bullets will be out later today.
  • Both Hotline Miami games are finally coming to Switch by way of the Hotline Miami Collection.

Out Soon

Screenshot: Risk of Rain 2
  • Risk of Rain 2, a really fun co-op roguelike, came out of Early Access on PC earlier this year and will hit Switch sometime in the next month.
  • The Diablo-like game from 2012, Torchlight II, comes to Switch on September 3.
  • Creature in the Well, the dungeon-crawler with pinball mechanics, is coming to Switch on September 6.

Out This Fall

Screenshot: Freedom Finger
  • Freedom Finger, a side-scrolling shoot-’em-up where you steal enemies’ weapons to use against them, is out this fall.
  • The gruesome side-scrolling action game Blasphemous comes out September 10.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition will make the jump over to Switch on September 27.
Screenshot: The Touryst
  • Previously unannounced, The Touryst is a voxel puzzle adventure game that looks reminiscent of Star Tropics. It’s coming to Switch sometime in November.
  • Comedic hack ’n slash Skellboy lets you swap out body parts in addition to equipment and is out December 3.
Screenshot: Munchkin: Quacked Quest
  • Munchkin: Quacked Quest is a party game where you try to survive a dungeon by undermining your friends. It will arrive sometime before the end of the fall.
  • Northgard is a viking strategy game that comes to Switch on September 26.
  • The cooperative fantasy puzzle game Trine 4 will bring whimsical problem solving to Switch on October 8.
  • One Finger Death Punch 2 is a minimalist fighting game that will be out on December 2.
Screenshot: Sparklite
  • Sparklite is a pretty-looking top-down action role-playing game that looks heavily inspired by Zelda and will be out sometime this fall.
  • Cat Quest II is also coming to Switch this fall because the cats clearly didn’t take care of business the first time around.

Sometime This Winter

Screenshot: EarthNight
  • EarthNight is a side-scrolling platformer where you can fly and run along the backs of dragons while listening to a chiptune-inspired soundtrack that’s coming out sometime before the end of the year.
  • Close to the Sun is a first-person horror game, while Kine is a comic-book-looking physics puzzler, both of which are due out before the end of the year.
Screenshot: Röki
  • Röki is an atmospheric game that takes place in the snow among both friendly and menacing creatures, which is fitting since it’s set to release sometime over the winter.
Screenshot: Youropa
  • Youropa is a 3D puzzle platformer where you seemingly play as a delightful little person with a blob for a head. They’re protected by paint, though, and they die if it gets scraped off from falling too much.
  • Hypercharge: Unboxed is a co-op shooter where you take control of toy soldiers and pretend to be plastic badasses, sort of like the Army Men games.
  • What The Golf? is the golfing game for people who actually can’t stand it, like Putt-Putt on drugs.
Screenshot: Dungeon Defenders Awakened
  • Dungeon Defenders Awakened is a spin-off of the first game, which was absolutely wonderful and deserved better than its ill-fated, already-released sequel. It will be a timed console exclusive when it comes to Switch in February.
  • Do you want to pet the dog? Of course you want to pet the dog. Best Friend Forever will let you pet all the dogs when it comes to Switch on February 14, 2020.

Sometime In 2020

Screenshot: Eastward
  • Eastward is a new game being published by Chucklefish that has the looks as pixelated and beautiful as you’d expect.
  • Skater XL currently in Early Access on PC, where it’s had a mixed reception. We’ll see how it ends up looking on the Switch when it comes there next year.
  • The boat-making exploration game Spiritfarer is planned to arrive sometime next spring.
Screenshot: Phogs!
  • Phogs! is colorful and adorable and you play as a double-ended dog. It’s also slated to arrive in the first half of 2020.

Source: Kotaku.com

Tactical Strategy Game Mutant Year Zero Looks Like A PS2 Game On Switch

Screenshot: Funcom Oslo (Mutant Year Zero)

What the duck am I looking at?

Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden was one of last year’s surprise delights. Now it’s out on Switch, which should be a great thing. There’s just one problem: It looks really bad.

A brooding, grid-based strategy game inspired by a Swedish tabletop series, Mutant Year Zero accomplished a lot with very little when it came out last December. It squeezes post-apocalyptic world building and anthropomorphized-animal wit into a series of levels fraught with violent ghouls, human survivors driven mad by the fall of civilization. The visuals never struck me as especially noteworthy on PC, but they got the job done. Playing the game now on Switch, I realize just how helpful that extra bit of polish was for making the environments and stealth gameplay click into place.

Everything’s darker on Switch, including the moon light.
Screenshot: Mutant Year Zero (Switch)

I’m only a few hours into the Switch version, and already I’ve seen more than my fair share of textures that look straight out of the PS2 era. Flat rocks, shallow puddles, and jagged fauna abound in the opening levels. A thick haze permeates everything, making almost anything that’s not in the foreground slightly blurry. These phenomena are especially noticeable in portable mode, where objects and menus all have a slight halo of rough, white pixels, as if coated in a thin layer of digital chalk dust. 

These visual downgrades aren’t the end of the world. Despite a few frame-rate hiccups and one instance of my game freezing, which may or may not have been caused by my Switch being docked and on for most of the day, the overall experience of the game remains intact. I did find it harder to lose myself in the world, though, which is one of the bigger successes of Mutant Year Zero’s hybrid real-time system: It’s possible to explore areas freely before switching to combat mode to ambush enemies in traditional, XCOM-style encounters. The nuts and bolts of scavenging for scrap, chipping away at enemy mobs, and finding map exits as fast as possible feel much more exposed while the small details of environmental degradation and rebirth get lost in the hazy mess that appears on screen.

Screenshot: Mutant Year Zero (PC)
Screenshot: Mutant Year Zero (Switch)

It’s a shame because the game is an otherwise perfect late-summer addition to the Switch. The console has Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and now Fire Emblem: Three Houses but is otherwise not swimming in great tactical strategy games. In lieu of an actual XCOM game on Switch (even the Vita has one), Mutant Year Zero is a good substitute. I actually prefer how it controls on Switch compared to PC, and being able to think through its combat puzzles from anywhere I please is great. The Switch version also comes with the new DLC expansion Seed of Evil, which I haven’t had time to try yet but expands the end of the game, adding new areas and an additional party member.

If only it didn’t look so terrible. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Looks Like The Original Doom Games Are Coming To Switch As Soon As Today [Update]

Image: Bethesda (Doom )

Earlier this morning listings for the original Doom, Doom II, and Doom III briefly appeared on the Nintendo eShop, suggesting the trilogy is set to come to Switch, potentially as early today.

Spotted by Nintendo Life, the listings for the iconic first-person shooters appeared on the Nintendo UK Switch website. While none of the games had an option to buy them, they each had prices and full descriptions.

The original Doom and Doom II were both listed for £4 (approximately $5) and included four-player deathmatch and co-op. The first Doom was also listed as coming with the Episode IV: Thy Flesh Consumed expansion, including nine extra levels, while the listing for Doom II said it would come with Master Levels add-on. Doom III was listed for £8 (approximately $10) for the base game and the Resurrection of Evil and The Lost Missions expansion packs.

This news also marks the first time Doom III will have ever been ported to a Nintendo console. Hackers had previously been working to bring every Doom to the Switch themselves, but it appears like Bethesda, which owns the Doom franchise, is saving them the trouble.

While the listings have been taken down, it seems likely they simply went up early and will be officially announced during the Doom Eternal keynote at this year’s QuakeCon scheduled for noon ET today.

[Update – 12:07 p.m.]: The three games are currently live on the PlayStation Store as well.

[Update – 12:29 p.m.]: Bethesda officially announced the ports during the QuakeCon Keynote, and in addition to Switch and PS4, the games will also be coming to Xbox One and smartphones, but only Doom I and II on mobile.

Source: Kotaku.com

Games Are Better When You Come To Them Late

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Image: Nintendo
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney first came out in 2005. I’m finally playing it in 2019, courtesy of the recent Nintendo Switch port. I’ve never played a Phoenix Wright game before, even though I love mysteries and my friends spent the past decade or so telling me to play one. You know what? I’m glad I waited.

There are a lot of benefits to waiting an incredibly long time before finally playing a game. The biggest upside is that, by this point, I definitely know the game is good. Another upside is that this is the best possible version of the game that I could be playing.

Games that are old have been thoroughly tested. I didn’t play Assassin’s Creed: Origins until a year after the game came out, so I didn’t have to wait for any big patches or DLC; I got to go ahead and enjoy it all in one super-packed dose of delightful side quests. In the case of Phoenix Wright, I waited so long that the game has been ported multiple times. I get to play it on the Nintendo Switch, which has a much bigger and nicer screen than the game had in its original Game Boy Advance version. (That’s right, this game first came out on the Game Boy Advance. A lifetime ago.)

The downside to waiting a long time before playing a game is that its twists might get spoiled, but to me, that’s not a big deal. I recently played and loved another old mystery game, Danganronpa, which came out in 2010. Because I occasionally go on the internet, I had already learned the identity of the game’s main mastermind, which is the biggest plot twist. But I didn’t know the solutions to any of the individual mysteries in the game, so I still had a blast.

There are also some benefits to a game’s spoilers already being a known quantity, as I soon learned in Phoenix Wright. Early on in Ace Attorney, the game introduced me to Maya, the young assistant to the protagonist. She’s only 18 years old, and her first storyline in the game is about a personal quest she’s undergoing that, to her, signals that she is truly entering adulthood. I’m not sure why Phoenix hired a literal child to work for him in the events before the game started, but whatever, she’s an adult now. When another character made a comment that suggested a romantic storyline between Phoenix and Maya, I felt disgusted. Am I supposed to believe that Phoenix Wright, a very charming and funny character who I immediately liked, has sexual designs on his teenage assistant? Please, no!

This game and its plethora of sequels came out so long ago that I could easily search for the answer to my question. Guess what? Phoenix Wright and Maya end up with more of a brother-sister relationship that never goes anywhere sexual, at least not within the canon of the games. There is plenty of fan fiction about the two of them getting it on, of course, but the games don’t go there. It was very easy for me to look up this information, because this game came out 14 freaking years ago.

So far, Phoenix Wright has aged like a fine wine. The mysteries are tricky, and the jokes are funny. I’m finally meeting characters I’ve heard about for over a decade and learning what everybody else was talking about. The game controls great on the Switch, and it looks good, too. The only way it could be any better would be if I had waited another 10 years for the inevitable port of the game directly into my central nervous system. I guess I’ll just have to replay it when that version becomes available.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Switch Version Of Mortal Kombat 11 Has Its Ups And Downs

The Switch port of Mortal Kombat 11 plays like a champ but looks like jaggy ass. It’s pleasingly portable but incredibly finicky about its internet connection. I want the Switch version to be my go-to, but it keeps pushing me away.

As noted in my Mortal Kombat 11 review, I spent most of my time with Netherrealm Studios’ latest on the PlayStation 4. It’s the code the studio offered for my review copy, it’s the easiest version for me to capture for footage and screenshots, and the PlayStation 4 is in the living room, so my young children can wander in while I am playing and be traumatized for life. The PlayStation 4 version, along with the Xbox One version, was developed by Netherrealm directly, so it’s a good baseline for the game.

While Netherrealm worked on the PS4 and Xbox One versions, Miami-based Shiver Entertainment was working on the Switch version. It’s a semi-realtime port that is almost but not quite up-to-speed with the regular console version of Mortal Kombat 11. This slightly staggered development process might explain why the Switch release was delayed until May 10 in Europe, and why the North American version, released on April 23, was not feature complete on launch. One of my favorite features of Mortal Kombat 11, the character-specific tutorial lessons, were missing from the Switch version on its release day and got quietly added in over the weekend as part of a massive patch.

(Gameplay Trailer)

Performance-wise, the Switch version of Mortal Kombat is pretty amazing. The transition from pre-rendered cutscenes to gameplay may stutter, but once a match gets going, it nails that 60 frames per second target. Sacrifices were made to achieve that feat, of course. The visuals are fuzzy and jaggy. Draw distance is drastically reduced. Lighting effects are dialed way back, giving everything a slightly more drab appearance. This is all noticeable when I watch my gameplay footage, but I rarely notice these things during the heat of battle.

It does look bad, though. It looks like a tablet trying to emulate a console game, which given the Nintendo Switch’s relatively modest specs, isn’t that far off the mark. Between the game’s extreme violence and its demand on hardware, it’s amazing there’s a Nintendo port at all. But there is, and it plays quite well. That’s what matters.

The only time the graphical downgrade took a real toll was during the game’s Krypt, which is the vast, free-roaming adventure mode that serves as Mortal Kombat 11’s means of rewarding players with new skins, concept art, equipment and the like. The third-person action in this mode runs ridiculously poorly. The frame rate chugs. The draw distances are laughable.

Here’s a screenshot from the PC version of the Krypt.

And here is a shot from the same location on the Switch version.

That is some Nintendo 64 era fog in play.

Again, graphical compromise is to be expected on the Switch, and honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much. What truly gets me riled up about the Switch version of Mortal Kombat 11 is how this wonderfully portable version of a great fighting game is so tightly tethered to online servers. Like its PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 counterparts, Switch MK11 saves players’ progress and rewards to online servers. Winning battles, completing single-player towers, completing the story mode and even progressing through the game’s tutorial each require an online connection to be validated.

If a player disconnects while playing Mortal Kombat 11, they are warned that they will not earn rewards for progress until they are reconnected.

It’s not a huge issue when playing with an always online console. But the need to stay connected becomes a problem when playing on the Switch in portable mode, which is where I do most of my Switch game playing. For one, I can’t put the system into sleep mode, because it disconnects. If I am in the middle of going through a solo tower and I pause and put the Switch to sleep, I come back to a network error and get kicked back to the main menu.

What’s worse is once I disconnect, there is no easy way to reconnect. I’ve just been exiting out of the game completely and restarting it. This morning I found a workaround—trying to launch a local wireless match and then canceling it seems to get the game to connect to the internet again.

It’s little more than a mild frustration, but it does also go against the whole idea of having a game ported to the Switch. Sure, third-party games on the Switch might not be as pretty as they are on the Xbox One or PS4, but I can take them with me wherever I go and play hassle-free. That’s the idea, at least. That’s a little lost on Mortal Kombat 11.

Source: Kotaku.com

Castle Crashers Remastered is coming to PS4 and Switch this summer.

Photo: Behemoth

Castle Crashers Remastered is coming to PS4 and Switch this summer. The remastered version, currently out on Xbox One and Steam, has better graphics and runs at 60fps. In addition to making the game portable, the Switch version will make use of the HD Rumble and single Joy-Con for multiplayer.

Source: Kotaku.com

Five Free Switch Games Worth Playing

There’s no shortage of great games you could buy on Switch, but there are also a handful that are free. There was a time when a game being free-to-play marked it as subpar in some way. Now, free games can often be every bit as good as the paid ones and sometimes they aren’t even full of intrusive microtransactions. Here are a few of the ones worth checking out on the Nintendo Switch.

Warframe

Digital Extremes’ online shooter arrived on Switch at the end of 2018. Although this is a port of a massive game that originally got its start on PC, the developers cut almost no corners. The sci-fi environments are still gorgeous and the fun, twitchy combat feels just as precise. The basic premise sees you level up and customize alien exosuits as you travel the solar system fighting through rival enemy syndicates who have taken control of different regions.

Since the game originally launched in 2014, it came to Switch with years of additional content and new updates still coming every couple months. It’s the kind of game you could take on a desert island and spend years working through, at least if the desert island happened to have WiFi.

Brawlhalla

Before Nintendo released Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Switch had another great platform fighting game called Brawlhalla. While not as big as Nintendo’s fighting game, Brawlhalla still boasts 40 characters, a bunch of different stages, and quite a bit of nuance in its seemingly straightforward combat.

Each character has two unique weapons giving them multiple fighting styles. They all still follow the same system of combining light, heavy, and special attacks to keep things relatively simple. What makes the game feel extra good, however, is the aerial freedom. Fighters have three jumps and can grapple up walls at will, opening up lots of possibilities. And even though the game is free, the art style and combat animations all look great.

Paladins

Overwatch isn’t on Switch, but Paladins is and it costs nothing to start playing. The class-based team shooter has been maligned as a copycat since it was revealed in 2016, but the fundamentals are all sound. The game has three modes—capture-the-point, team deathmatch, and one that’s a hybrid of the two—and a few dozen heroes who all have unique abilities you can augment by equipping cards with bonuses that you earn through playing.

What Paladins really has going for it is an impressive 60fps, even in handheld mode. It sacrifices some visual fidelity for smoother, more responsive action, but it’s a trade-off that’s worth it. There are enough characters unlocked from the start and free ones constantly being rotated in that you can experience a good chunk of the different defensive and offensive roles without spending the $30 it costs to buy them all.

Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor is a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, that got its start on mobile where it blew up in China. Last year, Tencent ported it to Switch, making it the best game in the genre that can actually be played on a console—unlike competitors Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, and League of Legends.

Like in those games, two teams of five battle across a map in an attempt to destroy the other’s base, all while leveling up, earning gold, and purchasing better equipment. For people who haven’t played MOBAs before, it can be intimidating, but it’s really not, especially in Arena of Valor’s case. Characters auto-attack as you move them while the shoulder and trigger buttons deploy special abilities. Matches are short, letting you get the satisfaction of going through a normal role-playing game progression in just 20 minutes or so.

Fortnite

Almost every week there is something new to do in Fortnite. Even though the fundamentals of parachuting down onto an island, finding guns to shoot people with, and building your own cover haven’t changed, other things like special items and the map itself are always changing. There’s also plenty to do even outside the general battle royale loop of shooting other people until you’re the last one standing.

Sometimes it’s fun just to stroll across the map looking for new secrets or completing challenges to rank up the game’s free battle pass for unlocking new emotes and skins. There’s also a Playground mode where those who just want to build can do so in peace, essentially making Fortnite double as a free mini-version of Minecraft as well. And since Epic Games recently implemented cross-play, you can join up with friends no matter what platform they’re playing on.

Source: Kotaku.com