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Family Video Game Review: Graceful Explosion Machine

Sometimes a game just sneaks up on you and gives you everything that you wanted. Graceful Explosion Machines was that game for me this year. It came out right around the launch of the Nintendo Switch right in between two mammoth Nintendo franchises (The Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart). Just about any other game would have been forgotten amidst that kind of competition, but Graceful Explosion Machine was a neon pink sign that helped me find my way.

(Editor’s Note: The pink hat reference is perfect for ME, but definitely needs context. Back in the before times, when I was much younger, my family went to Disney World. My mother, in an effort to protect us, bought us these obnoxious, neon hats. This helped her easily pick us out of the crowd and find us as we pushed through the crowds.)

Graceful Explosion Machines is a classic space “shmup” (Shoot ’em Up) that is currently exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. It is also a spectacular video game.

Anyone who has ever played any sort of arcade game will recognize the gameplay loop immediately. Players pilot a ship around various colorful levels. The goal is to eliminate all of the enemies in each level as quickly as possible and without getting hit.

Eliminating those enemies requires careful use of the four different weapons at your disposal. Each of those weapons is assigned to one of the four face buttons. You have a standard blaster (that will overheat if you shoot too fast), a long range sniper blast that delivers continuous damage, a sword that swings around your ship, and a set of heat seeking missiles. The latter three of those weapons all share an energy bar. You cant just use those powers wildly.

This careful use of all of your different weapons while flying through the various levels pushes you into an almost meditative state as you play. It’s easy to get lost in the game during those brief moments. The longer you are able to play in that meditative state (without failing a mission) the more joyful that state it. This makes Graceful Explosion Machine one of those games where it actually feels better to play as you grow in skill. That is so rare in today’s market that some kids have probably never experienced it at all.

Fix that problem and buy this game for them. Trust me. It will be worth it.

Is it a kid’s game?

Graceful Explosion Machine is an arcade style game that is all simple shapes and bright colors. There is almost nothing to be concerned about with this game.

There is no narrative that expressed mature themes. The game does involve a spaceship blasting other enemy spacecraft, but all them are such simple designs that the inherent violence is very abstracted. This is a modern equivalent to Space Invaders.

Can a kid play it?

There is no doubt that GEM is a challenging game. But, it is still a very inviting experience. Failing at a level is painless and restarting is very fast.

The game does make use of all of the different face buttons on the controller and the should buttons as well so kids who aren’t used to that will have some difficulty.

Conclusion

This is currently the best game available for the Nintendo Switch not called Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Play this game.

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Mario and The Raving Rabbids to Team Up in a Switch RPG

Mario, Luigi and friends are reportedly teaming up with the raving Rabbids for an RPG coming to the Nintendo Switch.

Kotaku is a video game news website with incredible sources somewhere within the Ubisoft organization. They are  reporting that an RPG that brings the Super Mario and Raving Rabbids properties together is not only being released, but it is being released very soon. The game will apparently be called Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and will be announced during the E3 Nintendo Direct and will launch something in August or September.

The report was light on details, but indicated that the game would feature turn based combat, two player cooperative play, and all of the silly humor that we have come to expect from Mario and Luigi RPGs and the rabbids games. Players will be able to play as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, or a group of rabbids that just happen to look like them.

Nintendo has had some success with mash-ups before and their Mario and Luigi RPG series is a perfect place to inject the slapstick humor of the rabbids franchise. These games have also, typically, been reserved for the handheld market, so I find it interesting that they would put this on the Switch. It definitely makes me wonder what other commonly handheld games will find their way onto the Switch.

Will you be playing Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle this summer? Sound off in the comments.

Source: Kotaku

 

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Family Video Game Review: Has Been Heroes

Developer: Frozenbyte

Price: $19.99

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, also available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Has Been Heroes caught my attention right away when it was announced. It is a game about a group of washed up heroes given the task of escorting the king’s daughter’s to school. I am definitely a sucker for games with a sense of humor, but once I got over the humor in the game’s premise the experience turned sour.

You can’t really talk about this game without first defining the idea of a “rogue-like”. This is game genre where a  significant portion of the game play elements are random. Games in the genre are designed to be replayed over and over again chasing high scores. The random elements in these games are often combined with extreme difficulty.

Heroes exemplifies the rogue-like genre. Every time you start a game the map is random. The goal is to traverse the map and clear through five bosses to help the princesses get to school. To do this, players will have to navigate maze-like maps and try to reach as many locations that contain treasures as possible without having to backtrack. (Crossing over a piece of the map you have already walked through will end your game unless you have a special item.) When players die in the game they have to start over. The only type of progress that carries over are item and spell unlocks. The means that, in a way, as you “progress” through the game it gets more random as the vendors and treasure chests have a wider variety of items and spells.

The rogue-like elements definitely make the game hard, but the challenge involved in playing these types of games is part of their charm. They are popular because they reject some of the recent developments in game design that are there to help make experiences more accessible to players. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate well to gaming as a family.

The biggest problem with the game is the unintuitive control scheme. The combat is based on swapping the three characters in your party between three lanes on the screen. Yo have to swap them around in order to manage skill cooldowns and to have weaker characters that can attack multiple times soften up the defenses of various enemies so your more powerful teammates can take them down for good. The issue is that this is all done with the various face buttons on the controllers. The control scheme feels like it was duct taped onto the game to avoid using a touch based system.

In fact, the touch controls on an iPad might have made the game more enjoyable and, at least a little, less confusing and that gets to the heart of it. This feels like a mobile game that was full of potential that was switched into a console game during mid development.

Is it a family game?

Has Been Heroes is rated E 10+ by the ESRB. The content descriptors at: Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language (the word Damned appears in the text).

This is an action strategy game where players control a team of heroes, albeit washed up ones, as they do battle with fantasy monsters like skeletons and man-eating plants. The action is viewed from the side and is abstracted by the cartoonish graphics.

Damage dealt to enemies during combat takes the form of flashes of light and hit-point numbers floating up from the various monsters’ heads.

Can a kid play it?

This is, honestly, where the house of cards starts to fall down. The controls for this game are incredibly difficult to learn, Each of the games three lanes is assigned to a different face button on the controller. In order to proceed through the different fights you need to select one of the lanes, trigger an attack from the hero in that lane, and the swap people into that originally selected lane. The method used to facilitate these lane changes is confusing and often needs to be with extreme precision in order to make sure that enemies don’t reach you.

I have a difficult time imagining that many kids will dedicate the time needed to master the game.

Conclusion

Has Been Heroes has an awesome premise, but it is simply too awkward to play for it to be enjoyable.

Disclosure: This review was written based on a review code provided by the developer.

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The Nintendo Switch launches on March 3rd, 2016. It has a lean launch lineup, but the rest of the year looks much better. We showed all of the trailers for the launch window games to our stable of kid writers to collect their thoughts. This is a great way to take the pulse of some gamer kids and to see what they are excited about.

 

Launch Day

1-2 Switch

Evan – 10

I really like the idea of the game, but I have already played a lot of mini-game based video games like Mario Party, Wii Party, and Wii Sports. I still like the idea of being able to enter a saturated genre but with new hardware that lets you do more interesting stuff.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t see any Mii characters.

Jacob – 8

I think it looked cool. The coolest part of the game is that you can play it anywhere and with anyone. I can’t wait to play the sandwich eating mini-game. That looks funny.

Seamus – 11

This game is like a version of “Wii Sports” for Switch. Players hold the Joy-Cons and act out activities and games. I feel like it might be a way to introduce the uniqueness of the Switch but 59.99 definitely overpriced.

Just Dance 2017

Evan

I like that they will keep adding new songs during different holidays. But, I’m disappointed that they haven’t shown us anything special for the Nintendo Switch.

Jacob

It’s cool that they have an app where you can watch other people’s dances.

Seamus

This is your classic “Just Dance” game. There are no big changes and just a few new songs.  That’s all that changed. NOT!!! Just Dance is now on your phone and has access to 200+ new tracks!

But, overall it’s not something to be that psyched about in my opinion. I stopped after “Just Dance 2014” and I didn’t even buy that or ask for it. But I feel like I’m being too negative, because it’s not a bad game. If you liked the others buy it for sure!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Jacob

I think it looks really cool. I think it’s cool that some of the characters talk.  The monsters look pretty awesome too. I’m not a big Legend of Zelda fan so I’m not looking forward to this one too much.

Evan

First of all, my only question is: Where is the green tunic!?!?

But, aside from that, I think that is the highlight for the Switch in the year 2017. I think this is probably going to have the deepest story of any game that Nintendo has ever made. I really like that there will be voice acting.

The fact that it is an open world game is going to be really fun, but will make it a lot harder.

Seamus

<Time Passes>

Oh! Sorry! That took a while I was at the store… BUYING THIS GAME!!! Okay, not really.  But seriously that was an awesome trailer! CLICK IT RIGHT NOW!!! You don’t get much insight other than the graphics and some gameplay. But, those alone are enough to make me want to buy it right now! It’s also the first time Link can jump, I know it’s unbelievable but it’s true! Over 15 games and no jump until now! I saw many familiar characters such as The Great Deku Tree, the Rito,  Zelda (obviously), and much more! But seriously, CLICK THE TRAILER!!!!!!!

Super Bomberman R

Evan

I think it looks cool, but I think that it might be kind of insane as an 8-player game. Players will sabotage each other by accident while they try to play. But, I like the concept.

Jacob

I think it looks cool. I think it sounds fun to play a game with a lot of players and having bombs going off all over the place.

Seamus

I didn’t get a lot of information from that but It looks pretty interesting. I know this is lame but I don’t know anything about the Super Bomberman series and after a 30 second trailer of just gameplay I simply can’t say much more.

I am Setsuna

Evan

I am looking forward to playing this game because it was a PS4 exclusive, but when it came out we didn’t have a PS4. I’m looking forward to playing it on the Switch.

Jacob

I like role playing games like Pokemon, but I’m not a big fan of Final Fantasy though. This looks a lot like that.

Seamus

This is getting embarrassing, but this one was in Japanese and I don’t speak the language (except “Hi” and 1-10) so I don’t have much for you guys. But it seems like a good game, 3rd person, adventure, combating beasts. I’ll have to check the price.

Snipperclips

Jacob

I’m looking forward to playing this because I like puzzle games. I can’t wait to play a puzzle game with my brother. I also like crafts so cutting things to solve puzzles sounds fun.

Evan

This game looks and sounds super fun. The name is interesting. Also, puzzle games are fun but a multiplayer puzzle game sounds way more fun. This game looks insane!

I also like that you snip the other player and I can’t wait to see all the ways you can troll the other player.

Seamus

Now this looks good! It’s a two player puzzle game in which you control shapes to interact with each other and objects to solve the puzzle. It’s all about teamwork. Looks pretty good!

Launch Year

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Jacob

I like Mario Kart games. I like that they added the inklings from Splatoon and new cars for them to ride. I think the Splatoon map looks awesome, too. I can’t wait to play this game. This is the game I want to play on the Switch the most right now besides Splatoon 2.

Evan

For goodness sake, this is Mario Kart. Why wouldn’t I like it? I like they added new power-ups and I like that I’ll be able to play in balloon battle which is one of my favorite modes in Mario Kart 7. But, I’m really looking forward to racing as an Inkling, riding an inkling car, and racing on the inkling map.

I like they are keeping the DLC characters from Mario Kart 8 like Isabelle and Link. I also like that they are keeping the DLC maps as well.

Seamus

This looks sweet! I’m a sucker for Mario Kart but Nintendo stepped it up this time! It looks like they added some extra non-Mario characters,  too. But I’m not telling who! Nuh-uh! No way! Just buy the game! I will! Now go splat up that course! Oh shoot! I mean uhhhh… race it up! Yeah do that! You couldn’t splat it since there are Splatoon characters! Oh I mean aren’t! Shoot! Okay don’t say anything! (you didn’t read this!)

ARMS

Jacob

I’m not looking forward to this one because I do not like boxing games.

Evan

I’m really looking forward to playing ARMS, because I like the concept of boxing in video games and I like that ARMS makes you fight as Dhalsim from Street Fighter. I really like the added range because in Wii Sports the boxing was reallyweird  because you couldn’t move around too much. The longer reach gives you different strategies and more room for movement.

Seamus

This like boxing as Mister Fantastic! Your arms stretch all the way across the ring and are completely controlled by the joy-con in your hand! I don’t even want to know how Nintendo came up with this one!

Puyo Puyo Tetris

Evan

It looks good. I like that it is the combination of two games so you can play two games at the same time. That means someone who never played Tetris could chose to play Puyo Puyo. I like that concept a lot.

Jacob

It looks cool. I like that one person can play Puyo Puyo and the other person can be playing Tetris. I’ll be playing Tetris when I play it because I’ve never even heard of Puyo Puyo.

I really like the bright colors in the game too. It’s very cheerful.

Seamus

Huh? Tetris and Puyo Puyo? At the same time? Wouldn’t that be too hard? And why not just get the apps on your phone or ipad? I think that was a bad move. Probably not going to go anywhere.

Rime

Evan

I really like the artwork in this game. I think the world looked a lot like the world in Journey and I was a big fan of that game.

I don’t think I want to play this game though, because the trailer didn’t give me enough information about how the game is played to make me excited about it.

Jacob

It looks a lot like The Last Guardian. I think this one looks like it will be pretty hard. I don’t know if I’ll be able to run away and hide from all of those big scary monsters. But, I do like that the main character looks like a kid like me!

Seamus

Well now this looks interesting! The graphics are detailed but still cartoony but that doesn’t matter at all really, I mean we all liked Windwaker right? Looks like a puzzle game but I saw some action in there so probably half and half. Looks pretty fun but I’d recommend finding out a bit more before buying.

Splatoon 2

Jacob

Splatoon is one of my favorite games of all time. This looks cool because they added new ultimate moves like the raincloud. This means they added more weapons. I’m looking forward to playing this one a lot.

I wonder if they are going to keep Kallie and Marie.

Evan

First of all, I am looking forward to playing with the new ultimates. I’m looking forward to the new maps. I like that they are adding things from the single player mode from the original game into Splatoon 2. But, I’m really looking forward to seeing how many people use the new Splat Duelies.

Seamus

SPLATOON 2 IS COMING!!! I doubt I can even put to words the awesomeness of this! But I’ll try: Uh……………………………………….

Um……………………………

Nope.

I couldn’t do it.

You know what? Just watch the trailer and you can share the AWESOMENESS of it all. (Yeah I know that’s the second time I’ve said that) (Yes I know I’m being totally lame.) (But seriously watch it!!! It’s AWESOME!!! You will love it and thank me for making you!!! I PROMISE!!!)

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Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 73. This week we are talking about video games. Stephen, Jonathan, and special guest Nicole Tanner (the Host of Gaming with the Moms) are here to talk bout the Nintendo Switch one last time before it releases.

My name is Stephen Duetzmann: Editor and Chief of EFG Gaming. You can reach out to us via our community page at www.EFGgaming.com/community. You can also reach out us via Twitter: @EFGgaming, and our new email address: EFGpodcast@engagedfamilygaming.com. I am also a co-host of the Gaming with Mom’s Podcast and a contributing writer to Pixelkin.

Thanks for listening to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast.

And Remember: Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and support us on Patreon.

Below are all of our website and social links. If the links appear broken, then go to the social media site and search for Engaged Family Gaming. You’ll find us! Thank you!

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The Nintendo Switch event is behind us and the launch is imminent. We find ourselves in the quiet days where the die hard fans have already pre-ordered their Switch, and everyone else is left to make their decision. This makes now the perfect time to think objectively about what the device is, and whether or not is a good idea for your family to think about purchasing one.

It may seem odd for me to encourage people to think about “what the device is” considering Nintendo spent an hour showing us what it is. But, the Switch is a device that is hasn’t had any peers yet. That makes it worthy topic of discussion.

Nintendo is doing their very best to market the Switch as a home console that has the added functionality of being taken on the go. This is accurate. But, positioning it that way forces the comparisons to be made. The Switch simply doesn’t have the hardware power that the PS4 and Xbox One do. These kinds of comparisons don’t serve the Switch well.

Instead, I think it makes more sense to treat the Switch like a handheld device. The New 3DS XL runs for about $200 US right now. This makes the purchase price for the Switch only $100 more. That may sound like a high price. But,  when you consider the improved graphics, the home console quality games, and the ability to dock it and play on your TV it isn’t all that bad. I would make that trade any day of the week.

Comparing specs and costs is all well and good, but the real reason that I am recommending the Switch is the games. Hardcore gamers might lament the relatively small lineup of games compared to other console launches in the past. But, for families who don’t buy a new video game every other week the Switch lineup for 2017 and beyond is more than strong enough.

The system launches with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which could be one of the best games of the year. It also has a steady stream of games releasing by the end of the year. That list includes games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and a new 3D Super Mario Brothers game.

Even more? This is a list of the currently announced titles. Who knows what will be announced between now and the end of the year.

Conclusion… For Now

At the end of it all, I think that the Nintendo Switch is a worthy purchase for Nintendo fans. It is a very cool device that includes unprecedented technology. That said, I m sure there are people who may have doubts. EFG will be presenting our impressions starting on release day on March 3rd and throughout the weekend.

Stay tuned for more information about the Switch as we get closer!

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Nintendo held a reveal event for their upcoming home console/handheld hybrid on January 12th, 2017. They revealed a lot of details about the console including the release date, the price, and even a comprehensive list of the games coming to the platform. But, we don’t know everything. They refused to answer almost as many questions as they clarified.

The Recap

Here is a quick hits of what we DO know right now.

Price: $299.99

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Console includes: Switch tablet, 2 Joy-Con controllers, the Switch cradle, a USB-C cable for charging, and an HDMI cable.

Internal Memory: 32 Gigs (uses expandable memory so you can use Micro SD cards to increase memory.

Online: There will be a premium online service that will allow online play and voice chat among other things.

Games: I wrote a comprehensive article showing most of the games currently announced for 2017. You can view it here.

The Missing Info

Are families doing to be able to get one?

Nintendo has a history of limiting the supply of their products as a means of creating artificial demand. They have been doing this for decades so it is reasonable to assume that we will have the same problem with the Switch. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has stated to other outlets that they are aware of the previous issues and are working to make sure there is enough of a supply.

Here’s hoping he is correct, because there are only so many times that people will be willing to put up with struggling to give them money.

How durable is the device?

This is likely my wife’s number one concern. We have had phones and tablets that have shattered upon even the most casual drops. This is a $300 piece of equipment so she is very concerned about how durable it is.

I don’t know that we will get much of an answer about this one until the product is out in the wild and someone tries to break one for science. But, I know that Nintendo prides itself on the durability of its handheld devices. So I am hoping that continues here.

How much will the online service cost?

Nintendo has told us about us a few of the features of the online service, and confirmed that it will be free until this fall. But, they haven’t said anything about how much the service will cost. That is an important factor as potential customers attempt to weigh the costs and benefits of using the service.

What are the exact hardware specs of the device?

We know that the tablet itself is made using custom hardware developed by NVidia, but we don’t know what that means. Al that the gaming community has been able to do is make assumptions about the console’s power by comparing screenshots from the Wii U and Switch versions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

It would be nice to hear on the official specs from Nintendo sometime before we are forced to read them off the back of the box.

Where are the rest of the games?

Nintendo showed off a number of games during the event, but outside of Zelda, Splatoon 2, and a new Mario game fans across the board were underwhelmed.

Nintendo is a company that has some of the most popular video game characters in existence on their roster. It would have been nice to see a few more familiar faces at the launch of the console.

What is going on with the Virtual Console?

We know that the Virtual Console project is going to continue to be a thing on the Switch. But, we don’t know how Nintendo will be handling existing purchases on the Wii U and 3DS, or what additional games will be coming to the service.

There was even a rumor of GameCube games coming to the Virtual Console a one point. That would be pretty awesome, but until we hear directly from Nintendo that is going to remain a hopeful rumor.

These are just a few of the questions we have. What about you? Sound off in the comments and let us know what YOU want to know.

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Nintendo held a press event on January 12th, 2017 at 11pm EST. The event was livestreamed from Tokyo and provided all the of the details players would need about the upcoming console including the consoles hardware specs and the launch lineup.

It is well known that software is what sells systems so many gamers, myself included, have been waiting patiently to know what Nintendo was going to be bringing to the console at launch. The last year has been VERY light for Nintendo as only a few games came to the WiiU in 2016.

Take a look below for a list of the games that Nintendo has announced for the Switch.

Launch Day

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild is the real headliner here. We have known about the game for several years and to find out that the game will be releasing at launch for the Switch is a relief. I have to be honest when I say that I thought the game was going to be delayed again. I am very happy to have been wrong.

The Nintendo Switch is launching with arguably the most ambitious Zelda game in franchise history. This definitely bodes well for the console. Very few Nintendo consoles have launched alongside a game that has the potential to be a killer app.

Breath of the Wild is gorgeous to behold, grand in scale, and full of secrets to discover. The only question we have now is whether it will be fun to play. Fortunately, we’ll find all of that out on March 3rd, 2017 when the console launches.

1 2 Switch

1 2 Switch is a launch title that is intended to help show off all of the unique features of the Switch hardware and controllers. It feels like it is intended to help facilitate board game like experiences.

I have my doubts about this one even though it looks like it could be fun. First, why isn’t this game themed after Wario Ware? That is a known commodity with a certain cache with Nintendo fans. That would have added value to the game all on its own. Second, why isn’t this game bundled with the hardware? I don’t think we’ll ever get an answer to that question, but it feels to me like this would have been a perfect game to include with the console as opposed to releasing it at $60.

Just Dance 2017

As the world flies through space circumnavigating the sun, so to does a Just Dance game get released by Ubisoft. This was announced prior to the Switch reveal event, but even if it hadn’t been this would have been a safe bet. This series has always sold well on Nintendo platforms and I see no reason why it would stop now.

I actually think the Switch might be in a position to make this game better because players can take it with them and are no longer confined to your living room. The screen might be small, but that is, unquestionably, added value to the game.

Skylanders: Imaginators

imaginators_keyart

Imaginators is another game that I am not surprised to hear is releasing for the Nintendo Switch on day one. I have said it before, but it is worth repeating. This is in my opinion, the best Skylanders game in the history of the franchise, so seeing it on more consoles is great. This version of the game includes a neat twist though. You only need to scan your Skylanders toys into the system once and then they will be loaded onto your copy of the game permanently. That is definitely a useful feature. I’m sure my kids would love not having to lug their figures all over the place if they wanted to play a quick game.

Super Bomberman Z

Bomberman is a franchise that has lain dormant for a number of years. The last entry in the series came out in 2010 for the Xbox Live arcade. I’m glad to see it come back and I am especially happy to see it launch on day one for the Switch. This is a franchise that is built around multiplayer action and it is simple enough for just about anyone to pick up and have fun.

March

Snipperclips: Cut it Out Together

(Video from Gamersprey YouTube channel).)

This might be, quietly, one of the best games to launch for the Switch in its first year. This is a cooperative puzzle game with a very interesting art style. The puzzle aspect of the game is what makes the game cool though. Each player controls a different shape on the screen. When the two shapes overlap each other a player can choose to cut out a shape from their own piece. Players then have to complete different objectives with their newfound shapes. These objectives will include things like moving objects, popping balloons (after creating a sharp point, filling in a shape template, etc.

I can’t wait for this one!

Fast RMX

(Video from IGN YouTube channel)

Fast Racer Neo came to the Wii U last year and was a welcome addition to that consoles library. In a way, it was the F-Zero game that fans have always wanted, but never would have gotten otherwise.

This is another edition of the game that will be brought to the Switch. It will feature thirty new tracks and fifteen new ships while letting you and up to eight of your friends play in local or online races.

Just be careful, this game is absurdly fast.

Has-Been Heroes

(Video from GameSpot YouTube channel)

This is a new game from Frozenbyte Studios that feels right at home on the Switch’s tablet based platform. It is a strategy RPG where players control a team of heroes who are past their prime while going on an epic quest to bring their King’s twin daughters to school.

The premise is silly, but the gameplay looks like it will be remarkably deep. We can’t wait to give it a whirl.

April 28th

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The Switch trailer released in December of 2016 showed footage of a game that looked like Mario Kart 8, but on a track that wasn’t in the original game and featuring King Boo. This made a strong implication that a new version of the wildly successful kart racing game would be ported over to the Switch.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will include all of the characters and tracks from Mario Kart 8, including the two DLC packs. It will also include a number of new racers as well as an upgraded battle mode.

Spring 2017

ARMS

ARMS is a casual fighting game that plays like Wii Boxing, but with more elements from other fighting games. This was playable at an event at the Nintendo World Store over the weekend and it was compared, favorably, to Splatoon in that it simplifies the fighting game genre enough to make it accessible, while still having a lot of depth and interesting gameplay.

I know it is early, but I am keeping my eyes on this game. It looks like it could be really good.

Disgaia 5

Disgaia 5 is already available for the PS4 so this doesn’t really count as a new game. With that said, Disgaia is a strategy RPG that, I think, will fit in very well on a handheld device. The Fire Emblem series has done very well on the 3DS and I think this has a similar appeal as a game to take on the go.

Puyo Puyo Tetris

I never thought this game would ever see the light of day here in North America. Puyo Puyo Tetris is, essentially, two arcade puzzle games stacked into one. The highlight of this game is the head to head multiplayer where players can choose to play either Tetris OR Puyo Puyo against each other. Both of these games feature similar themes. Shapes (either Tetrominoes in Tetris or piles of jellies in Puyo Puyo) fall from the top of the screen and players manipulate those shapes to compete rows or match colors.

They play differently enough that it will be fun to be able to pick the game you play when competing without the games being so different that it is distracting.

Rime

Rime was announced as a PS4 exclusive back in 2014. Since then Sony dropped their support for the game and Tequila Works, the developer, had to seek a new source of funding. Fortunately, they were able to find it from Gametrust (then games publishing arm of GameStop) and are going to be able to bring the game multiplatform.

The game itself is stunning. Its art style evokes some of the same feelings I get when I look at video of The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker (which is one of my favorite games of all time). We don’t know many details about the game from a gameplay perspective, but it definitely includes extensive platforming, and puzzle solving.

I am sure we will hear more about this game as we get close to its launch.

Summer 2017

Splatoon 2

We knew that a Splatoon game was going to be coming to the Switch thanks to the footage included in the reveal trailer in December. We did not, however, know that it was going to be a sequel. I would have bet that it was going to be a port of the original game (and, honestly, would have been happy with that.

Splatoon 2 includes a number of new features like new weapons, new specials, new battle modes and new maps. It also solves the problem of requiring a second screen to see the game map by allowing players to simply tap the x button to bring up the game map at any time. The animation for the map coming up is slick and fast so skilled players should be able to use it without having to slow down too much.

My favorite addition to the game is a set of dual pistols that players can use. These pistols have a reasonable range and can cover a lot of area fast, but what is most interesting is that they change the way players can move. Instead of jumping, they give players the ability to use a dodge roll. Weapon changing the way a player moves around the map opens up a lot of interesting design space for new weapons specials, and gear. Here’s hoping that Nintendo takes advantage of it.

Autumn 2017

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Skyrim Special Edition screen grab

Part of me feels like this might be a bit late for the game’s release to make a splash. However, this will be the first time that players will have been able to take an Elder Scrolls game and play them on the go on a handheld platform. That could be just the hook that some players have needed to dive back into Skyrim again.

I will be very interested to see how this game continues its development over the course of the year.

Holiday

Super Mario Odyssey

One of the chief complaints about the Wii U was the lack of what some people would consider a “proper” 3D Super Mario Bros. game. Super Mario 3D World was most definitely a thing that existed, but I suppose that wasn’t good enough for them.

Fortunately for those folks, Super Mario Odyssey looks like the spiritual successor to Super Mario 64 that fans have been clamoring for since it came out. It features large, gorgeously rendered, and very diverse environments to explore. It definitely includes secrets buried behind platforming challenges. And it looks gorgeous to boot thanks to the Switch’s improved hardware power.

Unfortunately, we have to wait until Holiday 2017 to enjoy it, but this one looks like it will be worth the wait.

2017 (No specific window announced)

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Xenoblade Chronicles was a Wii exclusive that earned a lot of positive praise for its story and its action oriented gameplay. Unfortunately it was buried on the Wii so it was held back graphically. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looks like it is attempting to follow up on the original title while fixing some of the graphical shortcomings that tied the first game down.

Minecraft

You simply cannot release a console in the post Minecraft world without including it on your console. It is too big of a force in the gaming world to ignore. Minecraft won’t be launching on day one with the Switch, but it will be out within the 2017 calendar year. Here’s hoping they can get it on their sooner rather than later as this is another game that works incredibly well on a handheld device and I am sure that a lot of kids would love to have a Minecraft game that they can play both at home and on the road.

FIFA

FIFA 2017 Alex HUNTER

FIFA is the biggest sports franchise in the world. It comes as no surprise that EA will be bringing it to the Switch. I don’t really know how well hardcore fans of the franchise will take to playing the game on a handheld device, but I can imaging that casual fans will love the idea of being able to plug away at the games in their franchise modes while traveling.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

This is an interesting one. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers was released for the SNES many, many years ago. This is a sequel to that title that includes an option for an updated aesthetic (a beautifully hand drawn one at that) and two new characters (Evil Ryu and Violent Ken).

I am a huge Street Fighter fan, so this is easily one of my most anticipated games for the console even if it is only so that I can show my kids how Street Fighter games used to look.

Syberia 3

Syberia 3 is an adventure game that takes place in a Steam Punk setting. Players take control of Kate Walker, the hero from the first two games, as she embarks on a new adventure. The last Syberia game came out ten years ago and I am sure there are fans who have wanted to continue her adventures. This will be their chance.

NBA 2K18

nba-2k17-logo

My love for NBA 2K18 is well documented. I think it is a remarkable basketball game, but it is also a great RPG as well. I, personally, cannot wait to play this game on my Switch. The NBA season is quite long and having the ability to play while on the road will be a great way to sneak a few more games in.

I Am Setsuna

I am Setsuna released for the PS4 in 2016. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it was generally well received. I am excited to see it come to the Switch because I strongly feel that RPGs will have a great home there.

I am Setsuna was developed by the Tokyo RPG Factory (a subsidiary of Square Enix specifically built to make old school RPGs) and was intended to remind players of the fun they had playing Chrono Trigger in the late 90s. It did successfully evoke those feelings, but in a way that was to the game’s detriment as it didn’t live up to those expectations.

Dragonball Xenoverse 2

Dragonball is a franchise that refuses to go away. Xenoverse is an action based role playing game that heavily features fighting game mechanics.

The split screen multiplayer feels like it would be a great fit for the Switch in tabletop mode. I am just hoping that someone creates some sort of headrest mount so my boys can play it. This feels like a game they would appreciate, especially as the oldest starts to get into the show.

Sonic Mania

Sonic the Hedgehog has been around a long time and has evolved a lot over that time. Unfortunately, a lot of those evolutions have been for the worse. Sonic Mania is an attempt to bring Sonic the Hedgehog back to his 2D roots

Steep

Ubisoft released this game quietly on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC towards the end of last year. It was announced at E3, and received almost no marketing between then and its release. This surprised me because people who played Steep were enjoying it quite a bit.

Steep is billed as an open world extreme sports game that includes snowboarding, skiing, and wing-suit flight. The game’s big “thing” is that instead of being a linear set of courses like in SSX players are encouraged to explore a wide open world searching for new courses to run and zones to to be dropped in.

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The Nintendo Switch is, without question, a family oriented console. Part of this is based on Nintendo’s sparkling reputation and history. The other part comes from their upcoming Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app.

Nintendo announced at their Switch reveal event that they would be releasing an app alongside the Nintendo Switch that would give parents a significant level of control over the games their children play.

The app gives parents enhanced control over their children’s gameplay in three primary ways.

Age Limits/Social Media Access

Parents have the ability to limit the content that their children can access based on ESRB ratings. They can also limit what types of sharing they can do on social media channels that may be linked to their Switch.

Time Limits

First, it gives parents the ability to set a time limit on their children’s playtime. This timer can be set on a per day basis and changed at any time. For example, you could give your child more time to play on Saturdays and you can manually adjust the game time if you want to reward them for good behavior.

The timer just pops a message up on the screen by default. But, parents will have the option to have the game system go into a sleep mode when the timer goes off. That puts an end to the kid’s gaming session immediately.

Reporting

The app will also provide parents with reports about the Switch’s usage. This way you’ll know what games and apps were accessed during a given period of time. This may be somewhat less helpful if multiple people share the same Switch. But, families with only one user will be able to enjoy detailed reports. Knowing the games that your kids enjoy is a great way to help pick new games and to help discuss the games they love.

The fact that Nintendo has gone out of their way to create a legitimate app to help provide more control over children’s gaming is impressive. This puts them head and shoulders above the other gaming companies when it comes to providing a gaming experience parents can feel comfortable about.

Stay tuned to EFG for more info about the Nintendo Switch as we get closer to launch!

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Nintendo held a reveal event for the Nintendo Switch on January 12th, 2017. During the event they revealed the prices for several of the accessories that would be sold separately from the Switch console itself. This includes things like the Switch Pro Controller, extra Joy-Cons, and the Switch dock.

The prices revealed are:

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller — $69.99

 

Joy-Con Controller Sets — $79.99

Individual Left (L) or Right (R) Joy-Con Controllers — $49.99

Joy-Con Charging Grip — $29.99

Nintendo Switch Dock Set — $89.99

Joy-Con Wheel (Set of 2) — $19.99

These prices are pretty high, and I am sure that this will be a pain point for families. Here’s hoping that third parties come through with generic versions of some of these products sooner rather than later.

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