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.
Right at the end of the month came Star Wars: Jedi Academy, which I felt improved on Jedi Outcast slightly by giving the lightsaber and Force powers at the start, while also not throwing a million enemies at you. The multiplayer mode gave a break from the story, even if it doesn’t have the same staying power of Battlefront. The control mechanics still felt very loose, so the game was quickly retired, though I have picked it up for a session or two on occasion.
Not soon after I’d bought Worms WMD, having seen that a new one was set to be announced soon and wanting to play some handheld Worms. WMD I’ve played before on the Xbox One, and enjoyed it. I created a few custom teams and role-played in local multiplayer, as I often do with Worms. I always enjoy a good role-play session in Worms, and WMD is a pretty good game to do that in.
Enter May, where I wanted something to compliment my play of GTA IV on the Xbox One. I knew of the Saints Row series, and saw that The Third (as it is aptly titled) was available on Switch. Yes, the remastered version was soon to release, but I wanted the handheld experience for it. And that experience was a great one. The driving felt stiff, which made for a few frustrating moments in missions, but otherwise it’s a great game to enjoy. I’d covered this one within an experiences article, so you can read more of what I got up to there.
51 Worldwide Games arrived early June, and I enjoyed getting introduced to a few classic games I hadn’t played before, such as Mancala and Hare and Hounds, along with playing those I’m more familiar with like Ludo and Dots and Boxes. The collection is well worth playing, even if it can be messy to swap the number of players and the restrictions on certain games in terms of players. However, for a solo experience, it is a good one.
I wanted to try a flight combat game, having seen Star Wars Squadrons announced and wanting to enjoy some before that game. Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers was recommended on GRcade, and it was on sale, so it was an easy decision to make. I might not have been the best at it, but I did enjoy the flight mechanics and the free play mode.
A few days later, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer released, having been pushed out of its original release date. It was a first time experience for me, and it was a good one. A fun one. But all it made me dream of was a modern experience that could really make one feel like they were really behind the controls of a pod-racer, with the physics engine to match.
Summer in Mara capped off June with a relaxing island-hopping adventure with a quest-based gameplay loop. Along with a Harvest Moon styled one in growing crops and other items to sell for money. Despite its faults, it was still a nice game to be playing, but it was never going to hold attention for long when a new Story of Seasons was around the corner – even one that’s a remake of one of the older games.
Friends of Mineral Town captured me slowly. Despite being a great game, I couldn’t escape the feeling of limitation that the older Farm Story games had. It hit especially hard when winter came and there were no crops to grow. My winter month of streams got me back to playing, where I’ve played through another two years of the game and have got quite a farm going. Almost feels a shame to have to move onto Pioneers of Olive Town.
All-Star Fruit Racing was bought merely as a curiosity. Call me part of the problem, but it was on sale for less than a quid and had topped the sales chart on the eShop thanks to it, thus bringing more attention to it. The game itself isn’t much to look at or enjoy, even if its item system is a novelty. I daresay plenty of people were the same as me in that I played it for an hour and never touched it again.
For most of the year, I’d been playing various LEGO games in anticipation of The Skywalker Saga on my Xbox. Around August time, I was thinking of how I’d barely touched any third generation LEGO game, along with double-dipping on The Skywalker Saga so I had it handheld as well. So I bought LEGO The Incredibles to see how it ran on the Switch. I enjoyed what I played of it but couldn’t help but feel it was lacking somewhat compared to older games.
I’ve already explained about this one in an experiences article, in that I found this to be something that interested me when looking on Nintendo Life for that week’s latest eShop additions. Mask of Mists interested me enough that I continued streaming it to make it my first full playthrough live. Even though I was oblivious to the obvious plenty of times, I still enjoyed solving the puzzles that it offered, and certainly want to return to it again.
There was a lot of hype around the Mario 35th anniversary celebrations, and the major reason for that was the collection of previous games, along with the game that ends this article off. The Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection included Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and the one that excited me most – Super Mario Sunshine. It was the game I had not played before on my favourite console, so the collection was worth it to me for that alone. And I enjoyed my time with it.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete’s announcement in September came as a great joy to me, since I had loved it all those years ago when it had originally released on PC. With the expansions within this version, I had something new to experience, and had immediately created a park to test that stuff out. The joy of creating parks on a handheld might have been short-lived due to other releases taking my time, but I’d always try to return to add a bit more to one of my parks.
I’d played the first Assassin’s Creed when it was made available with Games With Gold, and while I enjoyed what I played, it was only played a few times. There’s been a few Assassin’s Creed games released on the Switch since that time, and with The Rebel Collection being cheap, I decided to buy it. The story was the same. I loved what I played of it, but it’s only been touched a few times. I do intend to get back to it, as there’s a whole world still to be explored.
Truck Driver is an interesting one. I’d been craving a trucking experience having been talking of the differences between farming and trucking games while playing Farming Simulator. I’d remembered an article of one coming to Switch, and Truck Driver was that game. Despite its shortcomings, it is still an enjoyable experience.
Hyrule Warriors did double duty for me. First with Age of Calamity, which I’d been interested in since it was first announced. An alternate prequel to Breath of the Wild, it captured me from the moment I played it. I couldn’t get enough of it, with the ease of combat. With plenty of characters, each with their own unique combat style, it was easy to choose favourites. I enjoyed it so much, I was ready to finally jump into the first game.
The Definitive Edition of that first game was slashed in price in the New Year sale, so I jumped on that price to give it a go. The same style of combat greeted me, with a different set of modes to enjoy and a wider variety of characters to play with. Despite playing it for less time (at present), I found it a very enjoyable experience. I’ll soon find the time to experience more of what it has to offer.
The last game I’ve experienced within the fourth year of the Switch is the second large game of the Mario 35th celebrations. And now with an extra addition in Bowser’s Fury. Experiencing Super Mario 3D World again has been great, but I really enjoyed Bowser’s Fury. An open experience – more so than even Odyssey. One that allowed a lot of freedom with its mainline quest. It’s something I’m really hoping gets built upon for the next main game.
This year has been a great one for games, but this next one looks to be even better. At the end of this month, a new Monster Hunter and Story of Seasons, at the end of the year two Pokémon games, and plenty of others in between that have got me interested. And that’s only those we know about. It’s possible some big stuff – of both first and third parties – is waiting for announcements throughout the year, and I’m sure I’ll be enjoying those as well.