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The Nintendo Switch launched with a decent collection of games, headed by the incredible The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While Zelda is a massive adventure that you can easily sink hundreds of hours into, eventually you’ll want to pick up some other games for your Switch, right?
Well, new Switch owners won’t have to worry about having enough games to play. An awesome lineup of games is coming your way, and we’re here to tell you all about the essential titles coming to Nintendo’s system in 2017.
Puyo Puyo Tetris (April 25)
Here’s one that you won’t have to wait long for. Sega’s Puyo Puyo Tetris combines the two eponymous puzzle franchises. You’ve certainly heard of Tetris, but Puyo Puyo is new to many Western players as it hasn’t seen many releases outside of Japan.
While Tetris has you filling in rows of blocks, Puyo Puyo requires you to connect four or more jellies of one color to remove them from your board and send them to the opponent. When your screen fills with pieces, you lose!
Puyo Puyo Tetris combines the two puzzle games for a great experience with friends or solo. Local multiplayer lets you play with up to four people in games of either style. Or, try the Swap mode (a Tetris and Puyo Puyo board swap at random) or Fusion mode (you’re playing with both rules on the same board) for a tougher challenge. There are a story mode and online matches for single players, making this a well-rounded puzzle package.
Interestingly, the first Puyo Puyo game localized for non-Japanese audiences was 1993’s Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine on the Sega Genesis. Puyo Puyo Tetris is actually the first game released overseas with its original name. If you’re curious, a demo for this game is available on the eShop now.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28)
Mario Kart 8 is the best entry in the series, and it’s about to get a lot better. The Deluxe upgrade adds new characters, including King Boo and the Splatoon Inklings. All the original DLC is also included — such as the Zelda pack — and you won’t have to unlock anything as it’s all available from the start.
Probably the biggest change is the reworked Battle Mode. In the original game, Battle Mode inexplicably took place on a normal Mario Kart course instead of a confined arena. The Switch version restores the classic Battle Mode with new items and arenas.
If you’ve already played Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, there isn’t a lot here to entice you — try another kart racer. But if you missed that version, Deluxe provides the definitive edition of the best Mario Kart game — and you can take it on the go. What’s not to love?
Arms (June 16)
One of the games that Nintendo showed off briefly in January’s presentation, Arms is a fighting game with a twist. Up to four players can fight using extended arms in a 3D battle ring. It’s a title that definitely makes use of the Joy-Con controllers — one to control each arm. Several different fighters feature varying strengths and weaknesses, leading to strategies depending on who you’re up against.
Nintendo hasn’t released many further details yet. It sounds simple, so we’ll have to wait to see if this game ends up being worth playing. It might be a great puzzle-fighter like Punch-Out!!, or could end up as a glorified tech demo like 1-2 Switch. Chances are it will shine as a couch multiplayer game.
Splatoon 2 (July 21)
The first Splatoon was a surprise hit on Wii U. It took the tired shooter genre and put a Nintendo spin on it — instead of racking up kills, you compete to cover an arena in your team’s ink color. While not as impressive as other team-based games like Overwatch, it’s still a fine shooter and unfortunately suffered from being on the Wii U.
Details are scarce on the sequel. We know that it will feature new maps, weapons, and tweaks on old favorites. It also features local multiplayer, which is great for the Switch’s portability. The Global Testfire beta in March gave us a small taste of the gameplay — at this point, it seems like more Splatoon and not much else, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Sonic Mania (Q2 – Q3)
Ever since Sonic went to the 3D realm in Sonic Adventure, fans of the Genesis games have wished for a proper return to form. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 didn’t quite scratch the itch, but it looks like Sonic Mania is the 2D game fans have wanted for decades.
It promises to have all the great parts about classic Sonic without any of the nonsense — awesome music, tight controls, expansive level design, and ultra-fast speed. Combining a retro style with modern conventions is a winning combination that’s worked for games like Shovel Knight. It’s likely that Sonic Mania will be successful if it follows a similar layout.
Sonic Forces (Q4)
Sonic fans have experienced a bumpy ride over the last several years. Titles such as Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Lost World received mixed critical reception, but there was one gem among them — Sonic Generations. This game combines both eras of Sonic, with Classic levels playing in 3D and Modern stages in a 3D view. Pleasing fans of both Sonic styles, it’s one of the best titles in the series in years.
Now, Sonic Forces looks to repeat that success. It will also feature the Classic and Modern Sonic characters and play styles. While not a sequel, initial impressions suggest this game will be of a similar caliber. Combined with Sonic Mania, 2017 looks like a great year for fans of the blue hedgehog. Hopefully, these two games will both hit home runs and make up for some of the crappier Sonic games we’ve suffered through over the years.
Super Mario Odyssey (Q4)
Probably the most anticipated Switch title after Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey marks a return to the early 3D Mario style. Recent games, like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D World, featured 2D-style levels in a 3D environment, and only required you to reach the end of the levels. Odyssey, however, will be akin to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, where you explore large open-ended levels to complete objectives and earn stars.
Based on early trailers, this adventure will feature levels based on real-world locations, like New Donk City. Mario can also throw his cap in this game, which looks like an important feature for exploration. This will be a welcome return to open-ended 3D Mario, and we can’t think of a better way to close out the Switch’s first calendar year.
Here’s a fun fact: assuming Odyssey isn’t delayed, 2017 will be the first time a mainline Mario game and a Zelda game released on the same console in the same year since 1988!
We’ve covered the big games arriving in 2017, but there are all sorts of other games to look forward to. Here are some others to keep an eye on:
- Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition (2017) — An enhanced port of one of the best 2D platformers of the decade. If you haven’t already played this on another system, it’s a must-play.
- Minecraft (May 11) — The explosively popular sandbox game that lets you mine for materials and build anything you can imagine. You probably already own this, but the Switch version could tempt for new players or those who want portability.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017) — A sequel to the fantastic Wii original Japanese RPG, complete with a massive open world to explore.
- Disgaea 5 Complete (May 23) — A tactical RPG with plenty of action and all the DLC from the original.
- Fire Emblem Warriors (2017) — Like Hyrule Warriors took the Zelda franchise and mashed it up with the Dynasty Warriors for some hack and slash action, this title will do the same with Fire Emblem.
What Switch Game Are You Waiting For?
The Wii U had a big problem with games, so it’s imperative that the Switch doesn’t suffer from the same issues. After looking at this lineup, we’re optimistic for what’s to come in the Switch’s infancy. In addition to the mega-adventure of Zelda, you’ve got a great puzzle game, the best kart racer in years, two new promising Sonic titles, and a mainline Mario platformer. What else could you want in a year?
Now we ask you for your thoughts. What Switch games are you looking forward to? Do you have a “dream game” not on this list? Share your outlook for 2017 in the comments!