Friday, August 11, 2017

The Best Nintendo Switch eShop Games Released So Far

Despite only being out for a handful of months now, the Nintendo Switch library has amassed quite the collection of games. While many focus on what's on store shelves, which currently isn't that large of a roster of games to select from, it's important to note just how impressive the indie and digital library of the Nintendo Switch has become. The awareness is mostly not there. Well, that fault lies somewhat with Nintendo, its failure to market indies properly, and the crappy layout of its Switch's eShop.

Nonetheless, for this Friday, SuperPhillip Central celebrates and looks at some of the best Nintendo Switch eShop games, those that can only be purchased digitally. That means no Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, or Splatoon 2, as they all can be bought at a store despite also being on the eShop.

So, let's get to it! Once you've seen SPC's picks, which Nintendo Switch eShop games do you think deserve shoutouts?

Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition


How could I not start off this list with some Minecraft--this time on Nintendo Switch? Finally, we have third-party support on a Nintendo console from Microsoft! (Har-har, lame joke.) Regardless, Minecraft sells well no matter where it is, and it's no surprise to see the phenomenon do well on the Nintendo Switch. Being able to use your imagination and creativity to sculpt the landscape to your desire either alone or with friends is certainly an appealing proposition. Throw in some Mario-related goodies, exclusive on the Switch and Wii U, and you have some goodness going on. I'm using a technicality here with including the Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft, as the game is due to see a retail release in the future, but currently, as of this article's date, if you want Minecraft on your Switch, you can only buy it digitally on the eShop.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove


A compilation of four crowdfunded campaigns featuring various characters with different play styles from 8-bit indie sensation Shovel Knight, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove first saw a release on the Nintendo Switch at the console's launch. The following month saw the compilation get brought over to other platforms. Each campaign included (the fourth will feature King Knight) has a unique campaign for each starring character, and each also offers varying gameplay mechanics to keep things fresh and enjoyable. Whether it's Specter Knight's Mega Man X-styled wall climbing or the potion-hopping that Plague Knight employs, each campaign is gold in this highly worthwhile collection.

Snipperclips: Cut it up, together!


The Nintendo Switch is in no shortage of multiplayer games. The launch of the Switch brought a limited number of games to choose from. Perhaps the most interesting and innovative of the slim pickings we received is Snipperclips. Available for play by one's lonesome, the fun only multiplies with the addition of other players. By cooperating through levels, cutting and snipping your friends to help them form the correct shape to solve the multitude of puzzles, Snipperclips offers a roaring good time--literally--as you and your friends with be roaring with laughter or aggravation because one of you screwed things up. ...But mostly laughter.

FAST RMX


Another launch title seen only on the Nintendo Switch eShop is an upgraded port of the Wii U's FAST Racing NEO. Developer Shin'en Multimedia shows off their small team's amazing ability to draw power from Nintendo hardware once again with blistering fast speeds, intense velocities, and superb and thrilling racing excitement. If Nintendo won't give us what we want, a new F-Zero on their system, the fine blokes at Shin'en proved they were more than up to the task to create a suitable supplement in the meantime.

Overcooked: Special Edition


Order up! One of the most recent releases on this list for the Nintendo Switch eShop is Overcooked: Special Edition. Currently, the frame-rate of the Switch port is far from stable, but that isn't stopping plenty of players from enjoying their wacky adventures in cooking nonetheless. The amount of coordination between players needed to make sure you satisfy the condition of each level brings plenty of panic and tension. It's like working in an actual restaurant's kitchen except without the threat of burning your hands on the stove or scalding yourself. Unless that's what you're in to...

Graceful Explosion Machine


What's better than colorful explosions? Why, colorful explosions that you, yourself, are causing, of course! As the titular ship, you pilot it through over 30 individual levels, bursting at the seams with vibrant colors as you shoot down and blast away your foes with no mercy and incredibly O.P. weaponry. Side-scrolling shmups on the Switch are few and far between, but don't just express an interest in Graceful Explosion Machine because of that. Do so because it's simply an amazing game and exhilarating experience, Nintendo Switch or not.

Blaster Master Zero


It's a blast from the past! Blaster Master's presence in the gaming scene has been rather light lately to say the least, but Inti Creates--developer behind the Mega Man Zero games--brought the series back to life with a retro revival for the Nintendo Switch and 3DS. Utilizing both 2D side-scrolling gameplay in tank form and overhead "dungeon" crawling as Jason, this Metroid-like adventure is packed to the brim with action and excitement. The boss battles are the highlight of the game with the impressive spritework and situations put on display, but all around regardless, Blaster Master Zero is a retro wonder from Inti Creates, a developer that knows their stuff.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst


Well, most of the time--at least when they're given a proper budget, two versions of a single game to work on instead of how ever many Mighty No. 9 had, and didn't work under Keiji Inafune. Mighty No. 9 might have been a low point in Inti Creates' history, but the team more than made up for it with a successor to the Nintendo 3DS-only Mighty Gunvolt. This game is none other than Mighty Gunvolt Burst, which like Blaster Master Zero, also released on Switch and Nintendo 3DS. This game is such a brilliant ode to Mega Man-like titles (even eclipsing many of them, in my opinion) that if THIS game was the one that was released instead of Mighty No. 9, then I think public opinion would have been much kinder. Mighty Gunvolt Burst, a game that stars both Beck from No. 9 and Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt, is simply a great game and heartily recommended by yours truly.

Implosion: Never Lose Hope


Let's continue the trend here of high octane action for just one more game before we move on temporarily. Rayark Games may not be a household name or anything to many gamers, but this South Korean studio has a lot of talent inside it, as evidenced by this and the next game on this list. Implosion: Never Lose Hope was a mobile game at first that is now on Nintendo Switch. This hack-and-slash feels like a damn good deal with its production values in presentation--in both visuals and voice acting--and that's because it is. Implosion's backed by super-satisfying gameplay and an immense amount of content. Running through the bite-sized missions attacking and evading enemies and bosses with the hopes of staying alive and/or completing level-specific objectives is a glorious and stimulating experience. Implosion: Never Lose Hope was quite a surprise for me in regards to how much I enjoyed playing it.

VOEZ


Here's another import from Asia and developed by Rayark Games--this time it's the very first handheld-only Switch game, VOEZ. VOEZ is a rhythm-based music game that may appear as a steep purchase for a digital release compared to the competition on the eShop, seeing as it has a $25 cost of entry, but with that you get a full-fledged story mode and over 150 individual pieces of music with three levels of difficulty each. Thus, you will spend plenty of time playing and perfecting these songs as you tap, touch, and hold your way to high point totals.

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas


If you're lusting for a more traditional Zelda after playing the open world, dungeon-less Breath of the Wild, perhaps you're willing to accept a substitute for now. Like VOEZ, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas was originally a mobile title before reaching home consoles and even the PlayStation Vita. It's an isometric game that certainly was influenced and inspired by several Zelda titles. Oceanhorn is hardly a carbon copy or strict imitator, though. There are various original ideas implemented, such as discovering new islands on the world map by speaking to the right person or examining a specific sign or object, the puzzles later in the game show creativity, and the isometric view brings some thoughts of how to move through the various lands' topography successfully. And for less than a tenner, Oceanhorn is at least worth a shot.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap


We have another adventure on our hands here with Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, a game that remakes the Sega Master System's Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, originally released in 1989. Despite the game showing its age a little bit, this Metroid-style title prides itself with an astonishing art style, but if that's too new school for you, you can switch to a retro 8-bit style at any time. There are definitely old school design philosophies at play in Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap regardless, such as invisible doors that most would need a guide to find unless they press up at every opportunity, as well as a hefty challenge, but with patience and perseverance comes a delightfully retro romp.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero


Like many of the games on this list, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero saw a release on plenty of platforms before its arrival on the Nintendo Switch. In this case, however, no physical version is currently available unlike other consoles. The newest Shantae brings with it some of the most gorgeous art the series has ever seen, including amazing backgrounds and terrific character animations. Though, I'm not personally too fond of some characters' needless over-sexualization, but there's obviously a crowd for anything, and I'm a prude anyway. What I'm very fond of, however, is the jolly good gameplay and platforming fun to be found with Half-Genie Hero.

NBA Playgrounds


It's not unusual to see some indie developers struggle a little with a Nintendo-related release. We've seen it with Overcooked earlier, and that game is bound to be patched according to the developer. NBA Playgrounds once suffered issues, this time in the form of a lengthy delay of a patch that other systems received earlier than the Switch version. It just goes to show how stellar NBA Playgrounds is when the game is so good that the wait wasn't an overly huge deal. It just made the payoff all the more sweeter with all of the new patch's content and bug fixes. If you're looking for a game that riffs off of arcade style basketball games like EA's own NBA Jam and NBA Street, Saber Interactive's NBA Playgrounds is your home court.

Infinite Minigolf


We're moving on from one sport to another! I've never really cared about playing real golf like those rich wieners play in the PGA, but I have always found playing mini golf fun and engaging. I also love when the weather's too cold or uncomfortably hot (the latter being more prevalent considering the season here as of the timing of this article), so I can sit on my butt and play mini golf in video game form. That's where the wonderful Infinite Minigolf comes in, offering enjoyable pre-made courses, a customizable avatar system, and yes, the big one, a hole creator that is highly versatile. Though recently removed from the North American Nintendo Switch eShop due to some ESRB rating snafu, once Infinite Minigolf reappears on the storefront, give this lovely mini golf game a try!

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