Paradox Interactive’s critically acclaimed city building game Cities: Skylines might be available on almost every platform (PS4, Xbox One, PC) but Nintendo’s console/portable hybrid has been devoid of the city building/management genre for the past year and a half. All of that has changed with the unexpected release of Cities: Skylines on the Switch.
Skylines is pretty much a spiritual successor to EA abandoned Sim City franchise (and no the waiting clock that is Sim City: Build It does not count) – as Skylines makes use of several core mechanics that originated in EA’s games. Concepts like zoning (industrial, residential and commercial), building parks and other leisure activities, managing city policies and budgets are all present. The base game alone improvements like definable districts, custom bus routes and even bonuses for making your municipality run on 100% green energy.
Above: The PC Version of Cities: Skylines
The PC version of Cities: Skylines has been out for years now and has had six paid expansions to date (After Dark, Snowfall, Natural Disasters, Mass Transit, Green Cities and Park Life). Each of these expansions add things like new weather patterns (Snowfall), a Day / Night cycle (After Dark) or massively overhaul the transit options available within these virtual cities (Mass Transit Add-on). This means that the version of Cities: Skylines is very different from the initial launch. On Nintendo Switch owners are given the base game, the After Dark Expansion and the Snow Fall expansion. Paradox also overhauled the user interface and controls to intuitively with Joy-Cons.
I reviewed the base game of Cities back in 2015. Here is my conclusion on the game from that time:
“Despite a few nitpicks here and there – including the lack of an ability to automatically bulldoze abandoned buildings and no pre-defined end game – Cities: Skylines is an absolutely fantastic city simulator. If you are looking for a city simulator with moderate system requirements, large maps and a lot of micromanagement including the ability to plan bus routes than Skylines is the game for you. It is easily to get lost for hours in the planning and perfection of your own metropolis. “
Paradox Interactive has provided a digital copy of Cities: Skylines for Nintendo Switch for our consideration. We will have more coverage about this unexpected port later on this month.
Surprise! The fan favorite mayoral assistant, Isabelle, from the Animal Crossing franchise is joining Nintendo’s upcoming Super Smash Bros Ulitmate. Her reveal footage actually starts off like an actual Animal Crossing game – misdirecting fans to think that they were actually watching the reveal trailer for a brand new entry in the series. It is only once she receives an official letter asking her to join the grand melee is it obvious that she is the latest newcomer.
Isabelle is not an echo fighter (direct clone) of the already existing Animal Crossing Villager, but the pair do share a few moves between them. Watch in this 30 second video above as she uses a bug net to swat at opponents, captures Luigi with a fishing rod and most importantly builds an entire city hall for her final smash.
Needless to say the internet absolutely adores her and will do everything they can to protect her. From her previous appearance as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros For Nintendo 3DS, to racing in Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Isabelle has been making the rounds in Nintendo crossovers for awhile. It’s nice to see her take a break from all of that civic work and find time to kick some butt!
If you’re a “Tales of” fan like myself you’re probably really looking forward to the upcoming HD Remaster, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. Bandai Namco never officially gave ToV: Definitive Edition a solid release date in the west when it revealed the game at Xbox’s E3 presentation this past June. Many fans and even some retailers expected the game to drop sometime this November but it appears the publisher had other plans for Yuri, Estelle, Rapede and Karol for their current generation debut.
The gang’s going to get back together for their 10th anniversary when Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition releases worldwide on January 11th on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and digital only on Windows PC.
RPGSite.net had a run-down of features for the game that looks like it comes from the official press release:
A Beloved Tale Returns — The tale of a young hero on a quest for justice that captivated Tales fans returns to Xbox and makes its way for the first time to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam!
Everything in One Edition! — Dive into the definitive version of this game with updated full HD graphics, brand-new music tracks, exciting mini-games, bosses, and a collection of unreleased costume DLC!
The Party Grows Stronger! — Yuri sets sail on his adventure with Estelle, a young noble woman; Karol; a boy in pursuit of a guild to call his own; Rita, an eccentric scholar; Raven, a laid-back archer; Judith, a mysterious dragoon; and Repede, a pipe-smoking dog… and now two more playable characters join the fray!
Patty Fleur, a cheerful and tough young pirate girl in search of treasure, adventure… and her forgotten memories.
Flynn Scifo, Yuri’s best friend and an Imperial Knight, now joins the rest on their journey!
Fight with Flair! — Assemble your favorite team and enjoy exciting real-time battles with all new Mystic Artes and skills!
Alongside the release date, Namco Bandai also revealed that the Definitive Edition will be receiving a special Steel Book physical edition. The case features the loyal woofer Rapede on the front cover and the backside features every “Tales of” fan’s favorite doggo striking quite a few poses. In 2009 Bandai released a similar physical Steel Book edition that included a separate soundtrack CD. No word yet on what extras will be included in the 2019 special edition, but you can be sure I’ll write about it as soon as I do.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which originally launched for Wii U back in 2014, has been ported and released for both the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS. While some have been critical of Nintendo for doing this with several of their games from the Wii U era, I’m grateful for the ports. Captain Toad is one of the games that I had always been interested in and had been meaning to play, but for one reason or another never got around to checking it out. And let’s be fair – it’s unlikely that I’m going to go back and look for a Wii U copy of the game. With the limited battery issues I have with my Wii U gamepad, that system isn’t seeing much use these days.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle platforming game where you take control of Toad. The game’s narrative is split up into levels which are strung together in a book. The game starts off with Toad and Toadette finding a power star before the monstrous, greedy bird, Wingo grabs the power star and Toadette along with it. It’s up to Captain Toad to reclaim the treasure, Super Gems, and Power Stars and save Toadette.
Unlike the play style of Mario and Luigi, you won’t be able to jump with Captain Toad. Gone is the play style of hopping to and fro and you must instead figure out how to reach the goal and capture the power star. Here’s a tip – you’ll be doing lots of running around and away from enemies.
With the game coming right around the time of Super Mario 3D World, the look and feel of the game is taken right from that game. You’ll find many enemies from 3D World, and some of the game mechanics from classic Super Mario Bros. 2 are in here as well, like plucking up turnips to throw at your enemies. Though it’s ironic since, in Super Mario Bros. 2, Toad could jump the highest of all of the playable characters.
The game is also filled with a lot of classic, retro, and iconic Super Mario music which is great. There is also plenty of new and unique music in the game, which is also very well done.
The game has a lot of content and is full of quite a few levels to play through. Actually after you finish what seems like the end boss level of the game, a second book opens up with even more levels to play. And (spoiler) you’ll get to play as Toadette through the second book. Each of the levels you collect not only the power star to finish the level, but also three power gems are also hidden in the level. They aren’t essential to beat the level, however later levels need to be unlocked with these gems.
Each level also has another optional challenge objective, like finding a hidden item, getting through a level unseen, or collecting a set number of coins. These optional tasks add to the replay of levels. There is also another “Find Pixel Toad” challenge for each level where you replay the level without the power star as the end goal. To complete the level you’ll need to spot and tap the tiny pixelated Toad. He can be surprisingly tough to locate, but when you’re close you can hear him call out.
As with many adventure games in the Mario series, there are a wide variety of level types in the game. There are underground levels, underwater levels, and of course ghost house levels.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was released for both the Switch and 3DS with the former having some small control issues to deal with depending on whether you’re playing in handheld or TV mode. For example in the game you will come across cranks which you will need to turn to rotate parts of the level around. When Toad is on the right spot a large crank wheel will appear in the centre of the screen. If you’re playing in TV mode you need to hold [ZR] and rotate the right analogue stick. When you switch to handheld mode, for some reason you can’t use this control. Nothing will happen if you do this. Strangely you are forced to use the touch screen, similar to what you would do in the 3DS version of the game. It’s really awkward to let go of the Switch with your right hand to do this motion.
Another oddity between the two modes, when you are in TV mode you can set the camera to react and move around with the gyro sensor so that you can move the camera by moving the whole controller. This can’t be done in handheld mode which makes for a frustrating adaptation when you go to handheld after playing in TV mode for a period of time.
Other than these minor control oddities, the game is pretty slick and fluid to play. Maneuvering Captain Toad and Toadette around the level, and moving the camera up and around the level soon becomes a breeze.
A new addition to the Switch/3DS version of the game includes new miniature courses based on various Kingdoms in Super Mario Odyssey. They can be unlocked with Super Mario Odyssey amiibo or through regular gameplay. The Toad amiibo can also be tapped in game to unlock an invincibility mushroom into the level. All other compatible amiibo figures & cards can be tapped any other compatible amiibo to receive an extra life.
The game also has a two player assist mode thrown in with use of both Joy-Cons. The second player can stop enemies, move objects, and throw turnips at enemies.
If you’re not sure which version of the game to check out there is a demo for both in the Nintendo eShop. And to top it off, both the Switch and 3DS versions of the game are the same price of $49.99 CAD. I’m impressed that Nintendo chose to give this Switch title a value price and not charge the standard $79.99 CAD for a first party AAA Switch title.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is great fun to play. It feels oh so familiar and yet so different at the same time. The levels are classically Super Mario 3D World and are both fun and challenging enough to keep you interested.
SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy is a fast, colourful tag-team fighting game from NIS America. While the game is a little bit light and has a few small flaws, it’s an enjoyable and unique fighting game that is pretty fun to play. It’s not an instant classic that is going to become a tournament staple, but it holds its own.
The game has a brief single player story mode. The heroines suddenly awoke to find themselves in a strange mansion they’d never seen before. And to top it off they find themselves dressed in strange new outfits as they begin to explore the mystery mansion. So begins their battle to discover the truth behind these strange events. They have been summoned to this pocket dimension by a strange hooded figure who is pitting the heroines against one another.
It’s a weird but simple story. Kudos to SNK and NIS America for leaving the clearly weird Japanese story and characters in tact. It’s strange but satisfying.
Each team has an Attacker and a Supporter character for a total of 4 characters per battle. You’ll control one character at a time and swap in the other character as needed. You share a total life value through the battle, though each character has a unique special charge meter. While this meter depletes as you use special moves during the battle, it will slowly regenerate through the match. The character which isn’t in the active role will have their meter charge more quickly, so tagging between characters can be key to winning the battle.
Interestingly you don’t win a battle by simply getting your opponent’s life gauge to zero. When their life gauge does fully deplete they will become stunned but the match won’t be over. When your opponent’s gauge turns red, you can end the match with a Dream Finish. The winner of the match is the first one to whittle their opponent’s health down to red and land a Dream Finish. You’ll need to have your special gauge charged up enough to execute the move though.
Most characters have a basic control scheme for moves like punch, kick, special, etc. With very limited deviation it makes it easy to play any character. Each character also has two different Dream Finish moves, one with just the button press and another by pressing down plus the finishing button. The various dream finish moves for each character also have different ranges, from up close to distance strikes, so it does take some practice with each character to perfect necessary these attacks.
It’s a little disappointing though that not all button combos are utilized for different movesets, i.e. pressing the punch button plus up, down, front, or back does the same move. It would have been nice to have a little bit more variety for moves.
In all there are 14 playable characters available right off the bat, with more being planned for release after release. The characters have four different coloured skins for their default costume but you can also purchase two additional costumes in game using coins that you earn by playing. These alternate costumes are, for the most part, significantly different from one another so when you do change a costume it feels essentially like playing with an entirely different character.
The game also has a pretty healthy customization mode as well. There are a ton of different costume elements and decorations to choose from. While some of these are downright silly (who wants to have a ringing phone on the top of the character’s head) there are a quite a few great ones. Plus as you purchase / unlock alternate costumes from the various characters, some of those costume elements become available for use in other characters. Not only that but each costume unlocked has four different colour skins to choose from.
The customization is pretty fun to play around with, even if you can’t do the same with the movesets.
Overall the characters and environments look beautiful. The only glaring oddity that doesn’t look beautiful comes in a strange place. For some reason the hands on the character models all look too large. Hands are one of the hardest things to draw, but I’ve never noticed character models with such large hands. I’m not sure if they are the same way during battles, and the drawn art looks flawless, but during cutscenes the large hams are laughably noticeable.
The one thing I love about playing this sort of game is the Japanese language track. In all honesty I usually like the original Japanese better than the dubbed English – it just feels more natural. Well, in SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy there isn’t even an English language track to choose from so all of the cutscenes are subtitled in one of five languages. There is only one small issue – the subtitles are tiny on the screen. While it’s a very small problem, and the story isn’t really all that important in the story mode, it would have been nicer to have an easier time reading the text. Thank goodness for handheld mode, though the text is even smaller on the smaller screen.
Speaking of handheld mode, why isn’t there touch screen support for the menus? It seems like the large on-screen icons are wasted as they look like they’re meant to be tapped.
But enough of the negatives – SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy is incredibly fun to play. The game has scaling AI difficulty which can be amped up or turned down if you’re finding battles too easy or too tough. Grab a friend and enter the SNK dream match in this frenetic fighting party game featuring everyone’s favorite female fighters.
SubaraCity is a city-making puzzle game, giving a fresh spin on the block-matching genre. It’s simple to play and addictive, but needs a little more variety of play.
SubaraCity on Nintendo Switch offers a new twist for puzzle game fans, combining careful planning with relaxing gameplay. You’re not just matching blocks, but you’re city building at the same time.
The game has the same concept as many match-three puzzle games, however in the game you can also match just two adjacent tiles. The goal of the game isn’t to pass a level, but build the largest city you can.
Each of the coloured tiles (three different ones in casual and four colours in normal mode) represent the population of a city. At first the population is low, but as you connect like-coloured tiles they will build up to a denser building. This will grow your “population” and build your score. When you consolidate onto a single plot, other coloured tiles will drop from the top of the screen. You repeat this step to keep building up your city.
Once you connect enough tiles tiles to reach a level 10 space, they will turn into a special building which will be a white. These white tiles can only be joined with another white tile, however once you join white tiles together into gold plots they can’t be joined again.
The game is pretty relaxing and has feels very zen, especially when playing with the relaxing music in the background. As someone who has a lot of fun with city building I easily got lost playing the game.
The game can be played with either the buttons or the touchscreen. It can also be played either on the TV with a controller, tabletop mode or in portable mode.
While you can customize what some of the tile buildings look like, it would have been nice to have a little more customization. Perhaps entire themes based off of different regions with accompanying music. There is also a lack of multiplayer, online, or something in the vein of a time-attack mode.
While the game is pretty light on the extras, SubaraCity only $5 USD in the Nintendo eShop so it’s a good game to pick up if you want to pass the time with a relaxing match game.
SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ – The SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ game brings the party home! Play online or with friends as SNK’s iconic heroines in this new 2-v-2 fighting game. Choose one of the many heroines from SNK’s history, like Athena, Kula and Shermie, and customize her look before letting her battle it out. Who will be the Belle of the Brawl? SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ is available on Sept. 7.
NBA 2K19 – The NBA 2K franchise celebrates 20 years of redefining what sports gaming can be, from graphics and gameplay to unique game modes and an immersive open-world “Neighborhood”. The NBA 2K19 game continues to push limits as it brings gaming one step closer to real-life basketball excitement and culture. NBA 2K19 is available Sept. 11 and the NBA 2K19 20th Anniversary Edition is available Sept. 7.
Hyper Light Drifter – Special Edition – Explore a beautiful, vast and ruined world riddled with dangers and lost technologies. Echoes of a dark and violent past resonate throughout a savage land, steeped in treasure and blood. Hyper Light Drifter is an action-adventure-RPG in the vein of the best 16-bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.
Gone Home – You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something’s not right. Where is everyone? And what’s happened here? Unravel the mystery for yourself in the Gone Home game, a story exploration game from The Fullbright Company.
The Messenger – As a demon army besieges his village, a young ninja ventures through a cursed world to deliver a scroll paramount to his clan’s survival. What begins as a classic action platformer soon unravels into an expansive time-traveling adventure full of thrills, surprises and humor.
Into the Breach – The remnants of human civilization are threatened by gigantic creatures breeding beneath the earth. You must control powerful mechs from the future to defeat an alien threat. Each attempt to save the world presents a new randomly generated challenge in this turn-based strategy game from the makers of the FTLgame.
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season – Play as Lee Everett, a convicted criminal, who has been given a second chance at life in a world devastated by the undead. With corpses returning to life and survivors stopping at nothing to maintain their own safety, protecting an orphaned girl named Clementine may offer him redemption.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – This critically acclaimed action RPG series makes its debut on the Nintendo Switch system. Choose from 14 different weapon types, mix and match them with unique Hunting Styles and Hunter Arts, or even play as an adorable but ferocious Felyne in Prowler Mode. The Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate game features the largest cast of monsters for any game in the series, from returning fan favorites to mysterious never-before-seen monsters. Monster Hunters Generations Ultimate will be available on Aug. 28. A free demo of the game is available to download now on Nintendo eShop.
Blade Strangers – A malevolent force known only as Lina is devouring data from a vast, interdimensional network of servers overseen by sentient computers called “motes.” In desperation, the motes summon heroes from a variety of parallel game worlds to face off against each other in one-on-one combat. Fighter roster includes popular characters from previous Studio Saizensen and/or Nicalis games, including Code of Princess EX, Cave Story+, the Umihara Kawaseseries, and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+. Other surprise entrants include the well-known indie superstar characters, Shovel Knight and Gunvolt. The Blade Strangers game will be available Aug. 28.
Prison Architect: Nintendo Switch Edition – In the Prison Architect: Nintendo Switch Edition game, you will see the impact of your grand design on the lives of your inmates, be it a utopic center for rehabilitation, a brutal Super Max Prison, or anything in between. Acting as both architect and governor, you control every detail of your Prison – from building new cells and facilities to hiring staff and creating reform programs – all while dealing with informants, contraband smuggling, gang warfare, full scale riots and more!
Telltale’s The Walking Dead has been going for 6 years now, you’d think that it’d been ported to every platform imaginable but there’s still at least one that hasn’t caught the undead plague – the Nintendo Switch. Potential survivors will be able to play Telltale’s inaugural season when the whole thing drops onto the E-Shop next Tueday – August 28th. Purchases of The Walking Dead: Season One on Switch will also include the previously DLC only add-on 400 days and upgraded visual performance.
Season One isn’t the only chapter in this long running series to get the Switch treatment. The Walking Dead: Season 2 and The Walking Dead: A New Frontier will both be ported to Switch by the end of 2018 with further details being released in the future. Earlier this month The Walking Dead: The Final Chapter episode 1 was released on all major consoles including the Switch!
Tencent games confirmed today via an official trailer that their free to play MOBA Arena of Valor (known as Honor of Kings in China) will be officially launching on the Nintendo Switch this September. Features enhanced from the original mobile phone release for this Switch port include enhanced graphics, physical controls via the system’s Joy-Cons and the option to play a single world wide server.
Having played the mobile version of Arena of Valor quite a bit, I’ve found the gameplay to translate fairly well from other MOBAs on PC, which arguably have much more fluid control options than on touch screens. Offering over 30 heroes, several of which are unlockable for free with minimum grind thanks to the ‘Road to Glory’ tutorial system, Arena of Valor does make a genuine effort to make AOV accessible for those of us who do not wish to put down any cash initially. Each hero has a unique set of abilities and passive traits, as you would expect – from ranged assassins that utilize physical weapons to dangerous spell casters capable of attacking multiple enemies from afar, a lot of different archetypes within the MOBA genre are present and accounted for. One other thing that has stuck out about AoV when compared to other games like Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends is the number of different modes on offer. Only have 5 minutes to play AoV before heading out? No problem there’s a 3v3 deathmatch mode for that! AoV does a good job of offering up a number of different modes that offering varying lengths and objective types.
Arena of Valor will launch on Switch this September.
Later this year, the definitive version of Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III will come to the Nintendo Switch, including all the features and content from every expansion and update as well as exclusive bonus items.
The Eternal Collection is the definitive edition of the action RPG, and includes the original Diablo III, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer pack. With seven powerful character classes, a five-act campaign that spans the lore-rich and demon-infested world of Sanctuary, and an endlessly replayable Adventure Mode, the Eternal Collection is the perfect all-in-one package to introduce newcomers to a lifetime of adventure.
Up to four players can also band together to engage in grand multiplayer crusades, whether they’re sharing a screen on a single Nintendo Switch, linking their consoles together wirelessly, or teaming up through the Nintendo Switch Online service.
Exclusive content for the Nintendo Switch system includes bonus items like The Legend of Ganondorf cosmetic armor set, inspired by the iconic villain from The Legend of Zelda series.
OKAMI HD – Take the role of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess who inhabits the form of a legendary white wolf Shiranui. Use magical abilities, attacks, and Celestial Brush techniques to restore the land of Nippon to its previous glory full of life and color.
Minit – Minit is a peculiar little adventure played 60 seconds at a time. Journey outside the comfort of your home to help unusual folk, uncover countless secrets and overcome dangerous foes, all in the hope of lifting a rather unfortunate curse that ends each day after just one minute.
2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL – When Turing, the world’s first sapient machine, teams up with a struggling journalist, the unlikely duo find themselves drawn into the shadows behind the dazzling lights of Neo-San Francisco. The secrets they uncover could shake the very foundations of society. 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL fuses a classic-style adventure game with lush pixel art and a catchy electronic soundtrack that explores modern-day issues of individuality, freedom and identity. The 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL game will be available on Aug. 14.
DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ – Open Beta – Go head to head in VS Online* with no fewer than 23 characters and 13 stages. Don’t forget to also stop by the Battle Tutorial to sharpen your skills and master all kinds of devastating techniques. The Open Beta servers are scheduled to be on between 9 p.m. PT on Aug. 9 and 11:59 p.m. PT on Aug. 11.
Nintendo has annouced that there will be a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate planned for Wednesday.
The Direct will be a worldwide presentation and the brief notice states that the direct will start on August 8th, 2018 at 10:00am ET. The direct will feature new game information delivered by game director Masahiro Sakurai.
Will there be an announcment of any new fighters for the game? While the game features the return of every fighter from previous games, and there have already been a few new fighters already announced, the addition of even more fighters would be welcome.
The presentation will likely touch base with how the game will integrate with Nintendo Switch Online, which launches next month.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released for the Nintendo Switch on December 7th.