Can Nintendo top The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey in 2018? In terms of game quality, we’ll have to wait and see, but one game on the horizon is just as big, if not bigger than both of these titles. Outside of this juggernaut release, Nintendo’s 2018 lineup currently focuses on cult-classic returns, ports, and characters you may see joining Mario on an adventure.
We left Metroid Prime 4 off of the list since Nintendo has listed it’s release window as TBA, meaning it’s likely looking like a 2019 release, given other games were listed as 2018. We also don’t know what to make of Nintendo Labo as a game at this point. Plenty more Switch games will be announced over the course of 2018, but these are the standout titles so far:
10. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release: May 4
Nintendo fans were hoping to see a new Donkey Kong title on Switch this year, but a Wii U port of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will have to do for now. Nintendo has a great track record of enhancing games when moving them between systems, and Tropical Freeze is sure to be no exception. For people new to the series, this port features a new beginner mode featuring Funky Kong as the playable character. Funky can double-jump, hover, and infinitely roll on land and corkscrew underwater. The game also features local cooperative play, including the ability for both players to use a joy-con.
9. Project: Octopath Traveler
The team behind Square Enix’s Bravely series has a new story to tell, and it’s only coming to Switch. Project: Octopath Traveler may not have an official name, but players have already vested a couple of hours into it thanks to a lenghty demo released last year. The demo drew mixed results, with some praising the classic design and combat, and others questioning the story and dialogue. No matter where you stand on the demo, the turn-based combat looks fairly deep, and we still have no idea what the stories will be like for the characters that haven’t been revealed. Octopath Traveler is somewhat unique in that it allows players to pick from one of eight characters from the outset of play. No date has been given at this point other than “2018.” For those of you who have your hands full with Xenoblade Chronicles II, we hope it comes a little later in the year.
8. The World Ends With You: Final Mix
A new epilogue is being added to this beloved Nintendo DS and iOS title, which just happens to be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The Switch version features the single-screen format and touch-screen functionality similar to the iOS version, but can also be played with the joy-cons or controller.
7. Kirby Star Allies
Release: March 16
Up to four players can unite in this side-scrolling Kirby adventure. The pink puff can now throw hearts at enemies to recruit them to his cause. Kirby can also wield the elemental properties of wind, fire, water, and electricity to unleash a variety of powers. He can also give the elemental powers to his followers, which can be used for combat or puzzle solving. When a team of four is united, they can come together in various formations, including the shape of a wheel, which can be used to roll at great speeds across the terrain. Kirby Star Allies looks absolutely bonkers, and could be another reason for Nintendo fans to game together.
6. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
10 years after Travis Touchdown made his debut in No More Heroes, he’s being reacquainted with his creator, Suda51, who hasn’t directed a game since then. Travis Strikes Again takes place seven years after the events of No More Heroes 2, and pits Travis against The Bad, the father of Bad Girl. This sequel will also boast a number of collaborations with indie studios. The trailer for Travis Strikes Again shows ties to Dennaton Games’ Hotline Miami. Following the destruction of a game console called the Death Drive Mk. 2, Travis will be transported to six distinct worlds. In true Suda51 fashion, we’re confused by Travis Strikes Again, but that confusion looks fun and weird as hell. Again, no solid date other than “2018” was given by Nintendo.
Rocky, Creed, Yoshi. As much as we love the idea of Yoshi’s name standing on its own, Nintendo has stated it is just a working title. Each world in this colorful game is designed like miniature dioramas made of cardboard that can be explored right-side up or upside down. Players will be forced to rotate the world to make progress or unearth hidden secrets and paths. The entire adventure can also be played cooperatively
4. Mega Man 11
Mega Man fans have had a long wait since the Blue Bomber’s last adventure. Fortunately, Capcom hasn’t forgotten how it’s done in the interim. Mega Man 11 might look modern, but it remains true to the series’ roots. Eight new robot masters give Capcom’s adorable blue robot a hearty challenge, but four difficulty modes should make it easier for newcomers to adjust to Mega Man’s traditionally unforgiving action/platforming. Capcom also has one new mysterious mechanic up its sleeve, which we’ll hopefully learn more about later this year.
3. Dark Souls Remastered
Release: May 25
Dark Souls Remastered isn’t exclusive to Switch, but the mobile aspect of this version makes this version the most exciting. We don’t know how Bandai Namco will handle Dark Souls on the go yet, as online functionality is a big part of the experience, but even if it reverts to offline play when a connection isn’t present, questing from a bus or plane should be awesome. The Remastered version features the complete core game along with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC.
2. Bayonetta 1, 2 & 3
Release: February 16 (Bayonetta 1 and 2), TBA (Bayonetta 3)
There’s a chance Switch owners could get their hands on three different Bayonetta games this year. We know ports of Bayonetta 1 and 2 arrive on February 16, but haven’t heard when Bayonetta is slated to release. The gap between February and holiday is sizable, however, giving players (and Nintendo) plenty of time to prepare for the sequel. Bayonetta 1 and 2 are exciting additions to the Switch library, and both will feature Amiibo support, using the Bayonetta figure from the Smash Bros. line.
Release: 2018 “or later”
Of all the games on this list, Pokémon Switch has the slimmest chances of coming out this year. An investment report pegged the release window as “2018 or later,” which could literally be anytime. However, we’re willing to bend our own list criteria for the sheer potential of a console Pokémon game. Fans have been dreaming about a supersized monster-catching adventure for decades, and now it’s finally happening! We can’t wait to see how Game Freak incorporates the added horsepower and unique features of the Switch for its next outing – even if it doesn’t happen in 2018. (shot shown from Pokkén Tournament DX)