What's Left for Nintendo Switch?
The Nintendo Switch has had quite a life, but it has to eventually come to a close, and its end is likely sooner than later. But what does the system have left to offer with its remaining time in the spotlight? What games and series haven't made their way to Nintendo's little hybrid that could? Let's take a look.
Transcript of the video:
We may be entering the Switch’s final year as Nintendo’s primary platform, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this system has been one heck of a ride for Nintendo fans like myself.
The NES, Super NES, and Game Boy were near limitless sources of amazement for me, but as is the way of all things, the video game industry changed quite a bit around when games went 3D. The Nintendo 64 was home to some really great stuff, but the number of games I loved on the system was far lower than previous generations. The GameCube righted the ship for me personally, but the gaming audience at large abandoned Nintendo during the N64 era in favor of the undeniably cooler PlayStation ecosystem. Nintendo followed up the Cube with the Wii, a system that I also have no small amount of love for, but also one that had lots, and I mean LOTs of problems built in. Then came the Wii U, which again is a system I love but had numerous hurdles preventing it from being truly successful meaning that with the exception of their handheld platforms which were always pretty great, Nintendo hadn’t had a home console that was a genuine slam dunk since the 90s. That is, until the Switch showed up.
It wasn’t bogged down by any sort of gimmicks, instead focusing on accessibility, leaving things like motion controls and HD rumble to take a backseat to the one thing that matters above all else, gameplay. The Switch isn’t perfect, but then again, no system is. But this is the first platform I’ve good and truly loved the way I did my NES, SNES, and Game Boys since those halcyon days, and that's largely thanks to its amazing game library. Just about all of my favorite series have had incredible new entries and remakes. Mario got Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Mario RPG. Zelda got Breath of the Wild, Link’s Awakening, and Cadence of Hyrule. Kirby got Forgotten Land and Dream Buffet. Metroid got Dread and Prime Remastered. Mega Man 11, Blaster Master Zero, Runner 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Double Dragon Gaiden, Sonic Superstars, Pikmin 4, Streets of rage 4, Advance Wars Reboot Camp, Cruisn Blast, the list goes on, and that’s to say nothing of incredible new games that have absolutely joined the ranks of my all time favorites like Ring Fit Adventure, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Horizon Chase Turbo, The Messenger, Bomb Chicken, Dadish, and West of Loathing. The Switch is a very special platform, and will have likely earned the title of my favorite game system of all time when its lifecycle eventually comes to a close.
But there’s still something missing. Well, several somethigns really. For as many amazing games the Switch has played home to, there are some really big names that are still conspicuously absent from its library.
First and foremost is Donkey Kong. It’s absolutely shocking to me that the Switch hasn’t had a single original Donkey Kong game in its lifetime. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is nothing short of a masterpiece, but that’s an enhanced port of a Wii U game. Mario vs. Donkey Kong looks like a fantastic remake of the GBA original, but again, it isn’t a new game. How in the world has a brand as important as Donkey Kong not seen any actual new games for so long? 2D or 3D, I just want a big, high quality, all new Donkey Kong adventure to sink my teeth into. It’s been far too long.
On a much spookier front, what’s going on with Castlevania? Don’t get me wrong, the Castlevania collections that currently exist on Switch are great, but why hasn’t there been a new Castlevania game? Bloodstained is really quite good, but it’s not Castlevania, a series that ‘s desperately overdue for a new iteration. But more than that, where the heck is Symphony of the Night? It’s seriously one of the best games ever made, and that there hasn’t been a port of any kind to Switch is a real head scratcher.
Star Fox I almost understand because Star Fox Zero was kind of a disaster. The thing is, it didn’t have to be. None of the Star Fox games since 64 needed to be the mixed bags that they were. All Star Fox fans want is another Star Fox game, darn it! Just make a super fun, flashy, rail shooter where you get to zoom around in an Arwing and blow cool stuff up! We don't need on foot missions, tactical maps, and certainly no unintuitive second screen experiences. Just make a really fun, clever Star Fox game.
And what about Street Fighter? 5 was a PlayStation exclusive, which stinks, but I get it. 6 though? There really wasn’t any way to get 6 up and running on Switch? Street Fighter 6 is a great-looking game, but Street Fighter doesn’t really need to look much better than IV to be great, and there’s nothing about 6’s gameplay that the Switch isn’t inherently capable of. So pair down the visuals and make it run on Switch! If Mortal Kombat can do it, so can Street Fighter. Okay, maybe MK isn't the best example, but you know what I mean.
Now, Kid Icarus was at one point one of Nintendo’s most important brands, right alongside Metroid and Donkey Kong. But after its Game Boy sequel (that was weirdly never released in Japan) the series went silent until Sakurai revitalized it on 3DS with Kid Icarus Uprising. The game did well, but nowhere near as well as it could on Switch. It needs some serious work in the controls department, but if Metroid Prime remastered proved anything it’s that taking a bananas control scheme and just letting players have the option to play with something more traditional is almost always a good thing. I’d be thrilled with a brand new Kid Icarus game, but a remake of Uprising would make me happy as a clam too.
Ninja Gaiden has been neglected for far too long. The trilogy was released for Switch which was nice, but that’s not the Ninja Gaiden we need. We need a proper revitalization of the original 2D games. Hits like Cyber Shadow and The Messenger exist because of the unbridled cooless that was Ninja Gaiden for NES, and the fact that Tecmo hasn’t seen fit to revive that franchise in so long is beyond my comprehension. Ryu Hayabusa is awesome. His games are awesome. His world is awesome. And I want more.
Punch Out is another one of Nintendo’s longest running franchises, and while the Switch has been a great platform for the series in that it’s the first place people have ever been able to purchase the original arcade releases in the series (even though Super Punch Out is only available in japanese for some reason) Next Level’s sublime Punch Out for Wii is right there, positively begging for an HD upgrade. It’s one of the best looking Wii games ever made, and all it needs is an HD coat of paint to be one of the best looking Switch games too. But past that, why hasn’t there been a new Punch Out yet? Punch Out for Wii was successful enough to become part of the Nintendo Selects line! Let’s get some fresh fighters to face down Little Mac in the ring already!
And finally, we have to discuss Wario Land. WarioWare now has two, count em 2 completely new entries on Switch. And don't get me wrong, I’m VERY happy about that. Would I trade them both for a new Rhythm Heaven, absolutely, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to talk about Wario’s other franchise, Wario Land. Wario Land games are super fun, and just like Punch Out, there hasn’t been a new one since the Wii. Wario Land Shake-It was a revelation when it released for being a 2D Nintendo platformer with hand drawn animation, but the brand has been completely dead since then. I love WarioWare, but Wario Land games are so good, and it’s such a disservice to the character to not have a new, proper adventure in the wings for him. Wario is great, and he needs a new game, pronto.
We just got a Metal Gear Collection that finally brings the Solid games in their original form to Nintendo platforms, as well as the NES classics that have been absent for decades, and there’s a brand spanking new Contra game on the way that looks like it’s going to be a heck of a lot better than that disaster from a few years back. There’s so much good, even Bubsy got a new Switch game that wasn’t half bad! So believe me when I say I really don’t mean to come off as taking the incredible feats the platform has already thrown my way for granted. It’s an amazing library that I’ll likely return to many times for years to come, but with very little time left before the Swich’s inevitable successor drops, I’d love to see these other names find their way to my favorite little system. But will they? I guess time will tell.