Can you believe it’s already been three years since Nintendo launched the Switch? Boy, time sure does fly when you’re drowning in a backlog of unplayed games huh? I can remember the night clearly, standing in line amongst dozens of other dorks, freezing my mushrooms off in the San Francisco wind. The excitement was palpable as we watched that clock count down until midnight and I couldn’t wait to throw a nice chunk of change at a Switch console, copy of Breath of the Wild, pro controller and Zelda, Guardian, Link, Link Rider and Bokoblin amiibo (not to mention somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-7 Fieldwork IPA’s and probably a late night slice). To celebrate Nintendo’s hybrid console entering its middle age (in typical Nintendo system years that is), I thought it would be fun to take a look at precisely which titles I’ve spent the most time playing during these past 156 weeks.
Why yes, that is my idea of fun!
Ok kids, let’s jump right in there and waaaaait…before that, there is one caveat involved because obviously this list will be comprised of mostly “larger” games that simply require more time to play through. Maybe someday I’ll get around to writing up a list of my favorite short burst go to titles (probably not!) but until then, let’s have a look at these…my top 10 Nintendo Switch timesucks!
10. Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Total Play Time: 10 hrs ) = Well this one just barely squeaked in there since it only released this past Halloween! As a big fan of the series, seeing how beautifully this 3rd installment (and 2nd on a home console) turned out is a real treat. Having taken over development duties with Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon for the 3DS, Next Level Games have proven themselves to be a studio with formidable technical skills and a real eye for art design. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a sight to behold with stunning animation and gorgeous details oozing out from every corner of the screen. It’s a game that I actually haven’t made all that much progress in because I wanted to experience everything again right away. So really, I’ve only played it for about 5 hours but twice. I’ll be headed back to that haunted hotel to complete the adventure for sure, but not until this year’s Halloween decorations start going up. So it’s looking like late August.
9. Tetris 99 (Total Play Time: 15 hrs ) = I love Tetris. And man is this Tetris. If you haven’t yet played this Nintendo Online exclusive take on all the time classic puzzler then I strongly encourage you to…well, first finish reading this article and then get to downloading! The main mode throws you into an online room with 98 other challengers and you just gotta make those lines happen. This game redefines the word addictive and I’m fairly certain is illegal in some of the flyover states. Let me tell you, there is nothing…nothing more gratifying than the feeling of coming in at number one, and chasing that dragon just may be the reason I find myself currently single.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Total Play Time: 25 hrs ) = Being a remake of a Gameboy title, this really isn’t that long of a game. So I honestly think that the reason the hour record here is so high is because of how often I found myself setting down the controller every time the owl would show up. Man, with the music? That is some damn atmosphere right there my friends. In fact that’s really what this game has in spades, the charming environments and themes not to mention a borderline genius art style all add up to create a wonderful sense of otherworldliness. While I can’t say that the full price tag that comes along with all first party releases is justifiable given the brevity of this particular adventure, Link’s Awakening for the Switch certainly brings plenty to the table. And I mean if nothing else, the world was blessed with that downright adorable amiibo!
7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Total Play Time: 30 hrs ) = Now this is an odd one not because it made the list of my most played but due to how little time I’ve put in. Don’t get me wrong, SSB: Ultimate is an absolutely stunning piece of software with a jaw dropping amount of content. It reeks of polish, and the staggering amount of work put in by the developers is evident in every frame and menu. It’s just that for me, I’m a little…shall we say too familiar with the whole thing by now? I think that this series may have peaked with Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii as since then each new installment has brought more and more fighters and modes, etc. for sure, but also felt a bit “been there, done that.” That being said, if you’re gonna have one Smash Bros. game plugged in, Ultimate is the right title for this thing indeed.
Now where’s the dang Banjo-Kazooie amiibo.
6. Super Mario Odyssey (Total Play Time: 35 hrs ) = Oh man, ok guys we need to talk about Super Mario Odyssey. Now I know I’m in the minority here as upon release this game was greeted to absolute universal acclaim, even immediately entering the conversation on many websites as possibly the best Mario game of all time. But. it. just. doesn’t. do. it. for. me. I’m gonna say it, for a AAA, 1st party offering and a Super Mario game no less, the whole thing feels oddly…unfinished? Maybe it’s the completely disjointed themes of the stages or the odd soundtrack choices or maybe I’ve just been ruined forever by the John Holmes-level experiences of the 2 Galaxy games. I really don’t know what the deal is and have a hard time explaining it to myself when I’m lying awake late at night wondering what the Hell is wrong with me.
5. Yooka-Laylee (Total Play Time: 40 hrs ) = When I heard that a bunch of the old school developers at Rare had jumped ship from Microsoft and gotten together to form a new studio and they were designing a “spiritual successor” to Banjo-Kazooie, I couldn’t believe it. In fact, after apparently putting in 40 hours and 100%ing this thing I still kinda don’t believe it. Instead of a bear and bird, now we’re playing with a gecko (?) and a bat but the familiar mechanics and humorous tone from that N64 STONE COLD CLASSIC are all present and accounted for. That isn’t to say that Yooka-Laylee fully recaptures the magic found in Rare’s glorious late 90’s heyday. It’s fairly clear that Playtonic is lacking the budget and creative input that Nintendo no doubt provided them with back then. Still, when the game is working it really does manage to achieve a level of N64 era authenticity (for better and for worse).
*cough*Yeah,I like Yooka-Laylee better than Super Mario Odyssey*cough*
4. Hollow Knight (Total Play Time: 45 hrs ) = Oh, Hollow Knight. You beautiful, shining gem of an experience. You gorgeous, stunning crown jewel in the Nintendo Switch’s indie group of titles. When I heard all of the fuss over this game it was only a matter of internet connection speed before I had to get my hands on it and I have to say, it didn’t quite click at first. The graphics were pretty for sure and the controls were airtight. The atmosphere was unique and I really dug the art style but it took a little while before everything snapped together like a claw trap and had me hooked. Hollow Knight is one of those games that you never want to end because it just keeps getting better and better as it moves along. It has that perfect difficulty sense of fairness, where moments can become pretty rough for sure but the more you keep at it the satisfaction of finally moving forward hits that sweet, sweet spot in the pleasure zone of your brain. There’s only one first time with a game like this and I’m already nostalgic for the Summer that I played through it from beginning to end. The word masterpiece gets tossed around a lot, but with Hollow Knight…that might be an understatement.
3. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu (Total Play Time: 50 hrs ) = Y’know, I think that this just might be the perfect Pokemon game for someone that isn’t really that huge of a Pokemon fan. For the most part, I bought it because I really wanted that little pokeball controller (which is around here somewhere I think), but wound up really enjoying my time with it. It’s a great introduction to the world that keeps the entire affair nice and simple. Being a remake of one of the earliest GameBoy titles, it’s filled with all of the “classic” characters which is ideal because boy they sure have gotten weirder with the designs as the series has gone on, haven’t they? I’ve never gotten into the mainline series of games but dig the world enough to have sincerely enjoyed spinoffs like Pokemon Snap and their various Pinball entries. I’d place this one alongside those in terms of fun…a perfectly pleasant, breezy and vibrant diversion. Oh and my little sister LOVES it.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Total Play Time: 145 hrs) = Dearly beloved, blessed are Nintendo Switch owners gathered here today in the sight of Mr. Face and this .net, to join together a plumber and his kart in 1080p; which is an HD resolution, instituted by Nintendo in the time of countless nerd’s desperation. Signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt man and his controller, which holy estate Miyamoto adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in the 80’s; and was commended of the great Hiroshi Yamauchi to be honorable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy dork’s carnal lusts and appetites for video games. Like brute beasts that have no understanding but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of smartphone gaming; duly considering the causes for which this hybrid console has been ordained.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is some good shit.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Total Play Time: 245 hrs) = I think I may have actually made myself sick at one point playing this game. And by that I mean to say…made myself sick living this game. This is a tough one to write about because where do you even begin? The simplest way that I can think to describe it is Nintendo at their very best firing on all creative cylinders. It is as close to a perfect game that I’ve ever experienced in my life and it managed to effortlessly over and over again capture a feeling of wonder in a way that is absolutely specific to this company. Breath of the Wild achieves the feeling of experiencing a “leap forward,” much like seeing Mario run around in 3D on the N64 for the first time which is one that honestly, I never thought could be felt again. My favorite moment in possibly hundreds of memorable ones was hitting Rito Village and taking a bit of a moment to just soak it all in…watching the sun rise and then hearing that theme seep in. Man that music sounds like some kind of lost Brian Wilson demo circa 1965-67 and it hit me like a emotional brick to the chest…
FINE, I CRIED, OK?
So there you have it. A quick calculator consultation tells me that all told, these games add up to 640 hours total. That’s uh close to let’s see…27 days of my life y’know…gone. And good lord, I just remembered Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming out in less than a damn month! Ayyyyeee, time to schedule some of that PTO probably.
Happy Birthday Nintendo Switch…we sure do got a love thang going on, now don’t we!
Mr. Face say NINTENDO SWITCH BIRTHDAY IS AWESOME.
Mr. Face never wrong!
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