Ho, ho, ho-ly crap, Christmas is right around the corner! And with the holiday season coming to a close, we say goodbye to the nightmare year that is 2017, which was actually one of the best years for gaming we have ever seen. It sure is a good time to own a gaming PC, or a PS4, or an Xbox One; but forget that noise, it is a great time to own a Switch and a 3DS because Nintendo sure took us on a wild ride this year! (Dare I say it’s cool to be a Nintendo fanboy again?) Our bodies just weren’t ready for the success the Switch saw in such a short time and it is incredible the 3DS is still viable…almost seven years later…so let’s take a look at what our friends, family, Italian plumbers, etc. are hopefully getting us for Christmas this year.
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
We’re starting off with the OG himself, Mario, who has stolen the spotlight once again with the best Super Mario installment since Super Mario Galaxy 2. He’s not spending too much time in outer space this time around though, but rather flying around on a top hat-shaped airship through various “Kingdoms” such as a desert, a city, and The Land Before Time, chasing after – you guessed it – Bowser who has kidnapped – right you are, again – Princess Peach. Bowser isn’t taking it slow anymore, he’s trying to wife Peach up in this story and you (as Mario) are speaking now and not forever holding your peace because that’s your woman!
The level design in Odyssey takes you back to Super Mario 64 basics with 3D, free-roam worlds and the game-play (think Super Mario Sunshine) is familiar too yet totally refined with the addition of Cappy, your trusty sidekick atop your head whom can be thrown at enemies like Koopas and freakin’ dinosaurs to shadow control them. You also collect Power Moons in additions to coins to purchase additional outfits so you can dress up like a chef or take Mario’s shirt off – in 1080p.
If the ability to play as topless Mario isn’t convincing enough, the game is Nintendo’s fastest-selling Super Mario game ever and it has received near perfect or absolutely perfect reviews by every respectable critic, because it damn well deserves it. Super Mario Odyssey is simply a must-have for every Nintendo Switch owner, and truthfully a sole reason alone to get your hands on a Switch!
Metroid: Samus Returns (Nintendo 3DS)
Let’s slow it down a bit now by bringing up a special lady/bounty hunter who seemed to be forgotten: Samus Aran. Remember Metroid II: Return of Samus? We back to that, but with improved graphics and now you have more controls such as firing at any angle and countering melee attacks. The game also introduces Aeion abilities which allow Samus to do new stuff like scanning the area for hidden items or routes as well as old stuff like Power Bombs.
Samus Returns isn’t so much a remake as it is a “re-imagining” of Metroid II and a solid one at that. Plus, after the garbage that was Metroid Prime:Federation Forces (and Metroid: Other M, to be honest), this installment is essential for Metroid fans. And it won Best Handheld Game at The Game Awards this year so if you’re into platform shooters, or just itching for something new to play on your 3DS, then voilà.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo Switch)
If you never played or even heard of the Xenoblade Chronicles series, fear not because this JRPG might still be for you! You play as a warrior named Rex who wield a sword that is also alive, her name is Pyra. Y’all are searching for a place called Elysium which can serve as the ultimate paradise for humanity because civilizations are currently living on the backs of a bunch of ginormous beings called Titans – no, not the ones from Attack on Titan (that would be terrifying). Also, although it is technically a sequel, the world is new and so are the characters and the story-line can be understood without having played Xenoblade Chronicles or Xenonblade Chronicles X.
The game plays like your typical open-world, action role-playing game (think Final Fantasy, or Kingdom Hearts even), the graphics are pretty stunning for what the Switch is capable of and the music will slay you, beautifully. It has been well-received by critics too; this is the JRPG to get if you were looking for one on this console, hands down.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon (Nintendo 3DS)
Here we are again, with another Pokémon. The second installments of the seventh generation of the main series titles Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are quite similar to its predecessors yet different enough to give you a fresh – or at least fresh enough – experience this time around. The game revolves around Necrozma, who is up to no good thanks to those pesky Ultra Wormholes, and introduces a new group called the Ultra Recon Squad as well as a familiar group called Team Rainbow Rocket. There’s also a few new Pokémon to catch and locations to explore.
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were reviewed positively and are definitely solid purchases if you missed out on Sun and Moon, but seriously who on Earth – Pokémon fan or not – missed out on those!? Therefore, it comes down to how much you love this franchise and how long you want to wait for the next, genuinely new main series title to drop…which, truth be told, is gonna be awhile. Besides, it’s Pokémon; it’s always fun.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)
We’ll end on a high note here, perhaps the highest of notes Nintendo has ever hit: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I feel like just mentioning this game, which won multiple Game of the Year awards this year, is enough…but I’ll go on, I suppose.
In Breath of the Wild, Link embarks on an adventure like never before after waking up from a hundred-year snooze to the sound of Zelda’s sweet voice to find out Ganon has unleashed evil upon Hyrule once again. However, this isn’t your ordinary Zelda; no sirree, this Zelda features an open-world environment for the first time ever, insanely complicated physics, breath-of the wild taking graphics that push the Switch’s limits, and Zelda talks!
Link’s core mission is to reclaim these gigantic metal animals called Divine Beasts located in each of the four corners of the map and then take on Calamity Ganon in the center Hyrule Castle. You use your Sheikah Slate (the poor man’s Switch) abilities to create bombs, control metal objects, freeze water, stop time AND take pictures – all of which helps you along your adventure…yes, even the camera app. There are also shrines (mini-dungeons) to clear which serve as warp points on the way, and they reward you with Spirit Orbs for upgrading your heart count or stamina limit. However, there are just so many side quests to complete, towers to para-glide off of, areas to explore, special armors to craft, unique weapons to find, meals to cook, friends to make, mini-bosses to pummel and Koroks to play hide and seek with that you will forget a monster like Ganon even exists!
I, and everyone who has played Breath of the Wild, can’t recommend this game enough. It is worth getting a Switch for, even over Odyssey (but, like, why not both?), although if you own a Wii U you should know there is a Wii U version – which I played through myself before getting a Switch and it’s just fine. And, Breath of the Wild recently received two pieces of downloadable content available to purchase, so it’s still relevant…even though it has been all the rage since release. Well, what are you waiting for? Zelda needs you!
Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch)
I wanted to give a quick shout out to Splatoon 2 because although it’s quite similar to its predecessor, Splatoon, it is still a solid game. The best parts about Splatoon are present in Splatoon 2 with the addition of a way better single-player campaign. There’s new weapons as well as a new type of weapon, dual-wield pistols, and a new co-op mode.
It basically is just Splatoon on the Switch but if you haven’t played Splatoon, this is a solid purchase as long as you enjoy shooters (think Overwatch I guess) and know what you’re getting into – which is playing multiplayer matches over and over and over with breaks in between to upgrade your weapons and gear. However, it’s the only shooter and one of the better multiplayer experiences on the Switch, for now…
Anyways, as always, let us know which of these games you have played, are playing or might be playing soon! And, Happy Holidays!
P.S. We at PokéJungle sincerely hope you didn’t wait this long to get your Christmas shopping done, but we hope this list gave you a a good idea.