It wasn’t long after we landed in Seattle for PAX West 2018 that we had to hustle over to Redmond, Washington for a Nindies Showcase at Nintendo’s North American headquarters. Going to Nintendo HQ is a dream come true for little kid Jared, and my only regret is that I wasn’t able to show up there sooner to visit the exclusive Nintendo Store on the premises and spend hundreds of dollars on stuff I probably don’t need. Maybe next time! The event itself was super comfortable and casual, with twelve games on display and playable in one of the large multipurpose rooms at Nintendo. We made our way to each of the game’s little booths to check out the Nindies that are coming (and in one case what’s already come) to Nintendo’s Switch platform.
Into the Breach
Into the Breach should be familiar to readers of TouchArcade as we covered the original announcement of the game back in February of last year. It’s by Subset Games, the makers of FTL: Faster Than Light, which is one of the most popular ports on the iPad. Nintendo and Subset, being the rascals that they are, conspired to surprise launch Into the Breach on the Switch eShop during the Nindies Summer Showcase 2018 presentation this past Tuesday. It’s a turn-based strategy game with a sci-fi theme where you fight off invading aliens using bad ass looking mechs, and it’s from the people that made FTL. Do you really need to know more than that? Into the Breach is available now for $14.99.
Our old friends Liv Games, makers of the fantastic but woefully out of date trilogy Legendary Wars, Monster Wars, and Stellar Wars; and Halfbot Games, makers of the sadly no longer available The Blocks Cometh, have been working together off and on for several years on a really promising action platformer called Bullet Age. In fact one of the game’s beta testers even coined the clever term “Contravania" to describe it as it’s very much an action combat focused game but is also set up like a Metroidvania. Great stuff. The standout feature, especially with the Nintendo Switch in mind, is the couch co-op that lets you and a buddy team up to work your way through the game. Bullet Age should be arriving on Switch in November.
Untitled Goose Game
Everything at this Nindies Showcase was awesome to check out, but there wasn’t a game that captured my heart more than Panic and House House’s upcoming Untitled Goose Game. You might recall early clips of the game making the rounds on social media some time back, and it’s not hard to see why. This game is just utterly charming. The entire goal is to play as a goose and basically wander around a small village wreaking havoc on the locals. The game has a really clever mission system that is constantly tasking you with completing various goals, like dragging a farmer’s rake into the nearby lake. Almost everything in the game is interactive in some way and figuring out how to accomplish those weird tasks is sort of similar to solving puzzles in a point-and-click adventure game. I absolutely can’t wait for Untitled Goose Game to launch early next year.
Hyper Light Drifter: Special Edition
Heart Machines retro homage top-down action game Hyper Light Drifter likely doesn’t need an introduction. After arriving on PC and consoles back in 2016 it became an instant hit, and could be described as a blend of old-school The Legend of Zelda mixed with elements of Diablo. Um, yes please! Ever since the Switch burst onto the scene last year people have been clamoring for a port of Hyper Light Drifter, and at long last the developers are obliging with a special enhanced edition which runs at a rock solid 60fps and features exclusive new content along with all the previously released additional content from other versions. Best of all? Hyper Light Drifter is launching on Switch in just a couple of days on September 6th.
King of the Hat
King of the Hat is a game that plays right into the Nintendo Switch’s wonderful conduciveness to local co-op play. It’s an arena-style brawler and, as you can tell from the above trailer, it certainly doesn’t take itself very seriously. Each player’s character has their very own hat, and for whatever reason that hat is your key to survival. If an opponent can crush your hat, you die. At the same time, you use your hat as a weapon, thus increasing the risk of it getting crushed and killing you, but also increasing your chances of getting the upper hand on your opponent. It’s hat-based madness, I tell you! King of the Hat will be arriving on Switch early next year.
The Butterscotch Shenanigans folks certainly don’t need an introduction around these parts, as their previous release Crashlands was our Game of the Year back in 2016. Back at GDC this past March they gave us a hands-on demo of their new project LevelHead, which is an action platformer with a huge focus on creating and sharing your very own levels. One of the standout features of the Nintendo Switch version is, as expected, local cooperative play where you can not only team up with up to 3 other friends to play through the game but also to create your own levels together. We took a closer look at LevelHead during PAX so be on the lookout for more videos soon, and we should be seeing the game launch before the end of this year.
Samurai Gunn 2
Back in 2013 Beau Blyth, one of the creators behind the aforementioned Hyper Light Drifter, released an absurd multiplayer battling game called Samurai Gunn. It featured samurai characters equipped with both a sword and a gun, and the abilities to deftly dash around and deflect bullets coming from your opponents. It was a hit at parties, and now the sequel Samurai Gunn 2 will bring back an expanded and polished take on that multiplayer mayhem along with a full-blown story-driven adventure mode. This is again a game that is well-suited to the multiplayer capabilities of the Switch and is set to arrive early next year.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
It was at PAX West last year that Nintendo and legendary game designer Suda51 officially announced Travis Strikes Again, a new entry in the No More Heroes series, and this year they had Suda51 present alongside a fully playable version of the game ahead of its release this January. This is a pretty big departure from the previous No More Heroes games, and is not in fact a sequel to No More Heroes 2. Rather it’s something of a spinoff where Travis and his nemesis Badman get transported into a video game console and must play through various mini-games that are all homages to some of the most popular indie games around. It’s a really cool idea and as expected from Suda51 the entire game is absolutely bonkers. Look for it to launch January 18th.
I used to spend hours upon hours battling my roommates in 4-player couch co-op Tetris on the Nintendo 64 back in the early aughts, so I am always down to see some multplayer puzzling. Treasure Stack has that same sort of competitive vibe and its actual game mechanics are inspired by one of the more underrated games of the ’90s, Wario’s Woods. Matches are made using platforming as you run around the game board and snatch various types of blocks from the air using a grappling hook and then group them together. There’s an absurd amount of characters to unlock and customize, and in addition to 4-player local co-op there’s also head to head online multiplayer. This one should be coming out in December.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, multiplayer party games are definitely a theme on the Nintendo Switch, and Zarvot is no different. Despite its unassuming, cubey look, this is actually an action-packed top-down shooter where you can battle against up to 3 of your buddies in a number of different arenas. Beyond the multiplayer aspect, Zarvot also has a “Charming singleplayer campaign about two cubes putting together a birthday present to cheer up their best friend." As you can see from the trailer above, Zarvot is a really unique looking game and you can look forward to checking it out this October.
Bastion and Transistor
Last but certainly not least, Supergiant Games are bringing two of their legendary releases to the Nintendo Switch platform: Bastion and Transistor. Chances are you’ve had the opportunity to play these games on another platform at some point over the past several years, including the excellent iOS ports of each, but you know what? These games are so damn good I will totally buy them again, and continue buying them on whichever platforms they continue to release them on. The Switch has gotten a bit of flack for being the home to so many ports from other platforms, but honestly I’m among those who are super stoked about having such a wide collection of some of the best games ever all in one magical little system I can hold in my hands. Bring on more ports, I say! Bastion launches on Switch September 13th with Transistor following just a couple of weeks later on November 1st.