A few weeks back, one of the announcements I was hoping for finally revealed itself. Not the speedy hedgehog or blocky space adventure, but the sedately paced business management game. After skipping out on a release last year, the new game is coming this year, numbered as usual with the year after its release.
For a series I’ve only been playing since 2019, it’s massively captured my attention, keeping me invested like no other game I can think of (except GTA Online, of course). 17 on the Switch has seen the most attention, obviously, but with both 17 and 19 on the Xbox, I’m close to the hours I’ve put into the Switch version. Still a massive distance away from GTA Online, but I have been playing that longer.
Enough talk of playtime, though. The new game has been announced, and I want to talk of it. For the first time within the base game, we’re getting seasons. There’s a mod that allows such in both 17 and 19 which the team at Giants were inspired by. I’ve got no experience with that mod, but seeing the world change across time is something I’m ready to experience, and will do so with the new game.
I’ve talked quite a bit about this game, with various ideas of what I’d like to see. Through those, you’ve read of some of my ideas for how a few areas of these planets will appear. With twenty-three planets confirmed for a total of twenty-eight locations to visit, there’s a lot within this open world to explore.
But just how big will these places be? Not all of them can offer a lot, after all. Some planets only have a few known areas to them. To speak of the Endor system, for example, the Forest Moon can easily be packed with the ewok villages, the Imperial bases, and a lot of the forest with interesting discoveries to be made. With Kef Bir however, there’s the ruins of the Death Star and the grasslands.
But just because an area is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be filled with interesting things to be doing. I’ve already talked before about how races could be added across the galaxy as one of the various activities to take part in, and there are the orbaks on the moon that could be used for a race, and a starfighter race can also be there. Since the place is home to Jannah and her band of warriors, there’s a few people to talk to that can offer quests.
Considering they have boats, it’s also possible to allow travel between islands, and maybe TT can expand what we know of the moon – even getting such implemented as canon. After all, there’s the Angkuadi islands and the Shoduah continent that have been mentioned in canon, so maybe we could see those. Doesn’t matter if quests take you there or not, it’s all about exploring these locations in a way we haven’t really been able to do before.
I haven’t exactly been the longest fan of the series, having been one of many people who played a demo of a previous game and struggled to get the hook of it. With 4 Ultimate and the lure of a second stick, the demo of that game finally got its hook into me, and so it was I upgraded to a New 3DS and bought 4 Ultimate with it.
That game is what got me into the series, but then arrived Generations Ultimate on the Switch. I could forgive some issues with the 3DS game, but a 3DS game on the Switch (which Gens Ultimate technically was) made it harder to overlook such issues. Four years from when the Switch launched, a truly new Monster Hunter has arrived – building on from what World – the powerhouse console game – delivered.
I’d played the demo, but too much Hyrule Warriors had made me lose the Hunter edge. The commitment to any move you made. As such, I was failing very easily (and while live), but with time I relearnt what it was to be a hunter, and so when the full game released and I was back on the GRcade Twitch channel for a first play, it went a lot better. Too bad I never got much chance to show that, but I’ll be returning this Friday for a second play of it live, having now progressed to three star quests.
When I saw that this game was coming, I knew I’d be getting it. From way back on Harvest Moon DS, I’ve loved the Farm Story games with their business management-like gameplay as you aim to build up a great farm that can earn hundreds of thousands per month. And maybe get to know the townsfolk along the way. Since I knew what I’d be getting into with the new one, I stuck only with the one trailer that showed off some gameplay until the Japanese release.
That was when Marvellous had been kind enough to give early access codes to streamers of the full game in English so the rest of the world could at least get to experience some of the game. I’d tuned in to watch KattStrike tackle the first few days, where she had fun getting started with her farm. It was a fun stream, and whenever I do tune in to watch whatever she’s playing, there’s always a good time had.
Back on track, and the release arrived, where I had my own fun with streaming the game. Even after that stream had concluded, I continued playing well into the night. And the same again on Sunday, and then again on Monday. It had got me invested, so that’s a great start for it. But what exactly is getting me invested?
I woke up this morning and looked out at the island I had helped shape. The community I had helped shape. Had it really been a year since this journey had started? That magical night of arriving on the island for the first time and seeing the sparse, messy landscape that would be our home? I continued to stare out at the island, reliving that night, gripped in nostalgia.
This island has come a long way since those first days. The two who had arrived here with me have moved on, but the island is as lively as ever. Melba and Apple are still here, with other villagers having moved out for new ones to come in. Some have extended stays while others only stay for a month or so before moving on again, but variety is the spice of life.
I’ve enjoyed a good theme park creation game, with even the not so great ones offering at least a decent amount of fun. The one game that I enjoyed the most – aside from the RollerCoaster Tycoon series – is Thrillville. And the reason for liking it has little to do with the theme park side of things. Well, that is part of why I like it, but the major reason is to do with one thing. Everything available within the parks can be played in some form.
Built a ‘coaster? Ride it or play a score-chasing game. Need to restock the burger shack? Here’s a puzzle game to help you do so. Even the training of the staff had you playing some sort of game. But the best part about it was every attraction having a game attached, with some feeling like full old-school games. Games such as Sparkle Island and Bandito Chinchilla have multiple levels to them, while others only have one level but offer a lot of replayability.
As one single package, it was absolutely worth it, with multiplayer also offered on many of the games. There was a range of genres on offer, and with the ability to create your own race courses to zoom around on, the theme park management side of things could easily be overlooked. But even that theme park management offered its own fun, what with the on the ground management style. In other words, you had a player character who could freely wander the parks.
Thrillville has been left in the dust since Off the Rails released in 2007, but the core of the game – in fact all of it – could offer a games publisher who controlled a vast library of IP the ability to use most of it in one single game in a much greater capacity than any other collection could. Think Nintendo Land but magnified a hundredfold. And that idea is exactly what I’m concepting in this article.
This fourth year of Switch I had hoped would bring a lot. I had hoped it would be on par with 2017. Whether COVID-19 affected things or not, it seemed this year was destined to be another 2018. What that allowed was for me to experience quite a few games I wouldn’t otherwise have touched. That has also meant that I’ve bought a lot more games in this fourth year.
These first two games I had covered at the start of 2020, within their respective Directs and in First Impressions articles. Then throughout the year, there have been others that have been featured in articles, videos, or even on livestreams. Even so, it that time where I take a look at my experiences of the Switch’s fourth year to celebrate its anniversary. And it will be a long one.
Right at the beginning of this fourth year of Switch – in the month of March – three games arrived. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake of the original games of Red and Blue Rescue Team. I was happy to get my hands on this one and relive the memories of the past with a new coat of paint. It’s been an enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Then came Animal Crossing: New Horizons near the end of the month, and this one became an instant hit. The ability to place anything where you want. The ability to mould the island to how you want it looking. And still the same cosy, relaxing life simulation to enjoy. Some things might have been cut back a bit to fit the island life, but it has still become my most played game of the series, and that playtime will still be increasing into this fifth year.
When a Pokémon Presents was announced for today, I was expecting… not a lot. Pokémon Snap was a cert for getting new information, and it was possible we’d get a new spin-off of some kind. It was even possible for a remake. After all, it was time. But how much of an evolution was that remake going to offer? Well, turns out not much. But it doesn’t have to.
What we got was a second return to Sinnoh, but one we’ve never seen before. A Sinnoh where nature is abundant, with a world that is freely explorable. Seeing the Pokémon in the wild, capturing them while within the world and getting into battles where hopefully a transition doesn’t need to happen. As for the remakes, they opt for a chibi-style to faithfully capture the look of the original games.
I’m okay with it. It looks a little awkward upon first seeing the people in the overworld, but it is faithful to how they would look in the original games. I do think that in a world of remakes on the scale of Crash, Spyro, and Final Fantasy VII, people expect everything that gets remade to be on that scale. There’s nothing really wrong with how Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl look, as – just like people always say with other remakes – they look exactly as you imagined they did back when they first released. And that’s not a bad thing.
Earlier on this month, a new Hot Wheels game appeared on the Microsoft Store, touting the most exciting track creator ever. With the ability to bend and stretch the track to how you want it, adding in loops and other special elements, it sounded like it could be just what I was hoping for. All that was missing was the price and release date.
Yesterday, a countdown to a trailer appeared, and it seemed like it would be time to see just what this game looked to be. And in that one minute trailer, I saw what I needed to. While it started all fancy showing a car looking out at a city during the night (or so you’d think until it got lit up), it then gets into showing off what the game is to be like. Loops, oil slicks, a variety of vehicles slamming and bashing into each other, and then… everything we see is a custom created track.
Just from a few seconds of cycling through a few of the special pieces to then arrive at the standard track – which then gets curved before it gets placed, gives a good idea of just how versatile the creator will be. Well, along with the routes seen throughout the trailer. Another feature available is to make track that runs upside down and have the cars stick to it with special strips. If a car gets pushed out from that strip, it falls.
In lieu of an experiences or first impressions article, I felt it would be worthwhile instead doing this. An ideas article that draws from what I felt about Bowser’s Fury. Just as with the remakes of older Mario and Luigi titles, an additional story has been included with Super Mario 3D World, and like with those Mario and Luigi remakes, that additional story has been included as part of the title.
But the thing is, those Mario and Luigi games were remakes. 3D World is just a port with a bit of additional work to make it run better on the Switch. So why would Bowser’s Fury be here? And be given the importance of being included as part of the game’s name? It’s not like 3D World was in the hands of millions originally. It would have sold well regardless, even if it never hit the 190% sales difference from that original version.
But Bowser’s Fury has been included, offering something different from 3D World’s gameplay even if it shares the same mechanics. It could be said that such was to entice new fans from Odyssey to buy into the game, but when every new Mario game has changed things greatly from the previous one, that hardly seems necessary. What I see it as is introducing the concept of the next big thing to come to Mario. A full open world platforming adventure.