Exciting exclusives releasing on Nintendo Switch this year

David Escobedo and David Escobedo

This year has been relatively silent so far when looking at Nintendo Switch exclusive games. A port of a Wii U title was brought to the Switch in the form of “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” and the top-down action game “Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes” made its debut. Apart from these, not many other titles made a lot of buzz for the start of 2019 for Nintendo. But the rest of the year is looking to change that with lots of new, exclusive titles being released for the Switch. Take a look at what games will be making headlines for the remainder of 2019.

‘Yoshi’s Crafted World’

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Release Date: March 29, 2019

Originally announced over two years ago, “Yoshi’s Crafted World” finally got a definitive release date earlier this year. The game is a pretty simple 2D platformer with its cuteness factor ramped up to 11. The game’s art direction is craft-inspired, hence the title, with many buildings being made out of cardboard and most of the characters looking like they could get their own plush line of toys. A demo was released near the middle of February that allowed players to try out a few game levels before making a decision to purchase the game. My only personal worry is that the game will overly rely on how charming it is without offering much in its gameplay. However, I can’t tell without playing the full game first, so any judgements will be saved for now. The game promises fun and smiles galore when it releases at the end of this month.


‘Super Mario Maker 2’

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Release Date: June 2019

Some, including me, were awaiting a port of the first “Super Mario Maker” to the Switch. Nintendo has ported over a handful of its original Wii U titles to the Switch already. This was a good strategy as it gave an opportunity for the people who didn’t buy a Wii U to play some of its hidden gems. However, once a 3DS port of the first “Super Mario Maker” was announced, it looked less likely that it would come to the Switch. That dream was totally killed, but happily, by the announcement of a sequel in development in Nintendo’s February Direct. This sequel looks to add a lot more elements to the Mario Maker formula such as the Super Bell from “Super Mario 3D World,” adding the ability to put in slopes and water to level terrains and the infamous sun from “Super Mario Bros. 3.” I probably won’t make anything too interesting, because I’m not that creative, but I can’t wait to see the insane levels that other people make and get frustrated at how many times I die in them. Look forward to being a level editor when “Super Mario Maker 2” launches sometime this June.

‘Fire Emblem: Three Houses’

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Release Date: July 26, 2019

Fire Emblem is one of my favorite Nintendo franchises of all time. I played “Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon,” a remake of the very first game in the series for the Nintendo DS, at a young age. I had no idea what I was doing at first because at the age of 12, I barely understood the concept of a ‘strategy game.’ But either due to me being patient or having nothing else to play, I continued to try at the game and eventually fell in love with it. I’ve played a handful of games in the franchise since and almost every one offers something new and unique to the series.

The Fire Emblem franchise is a straightforward tactical role-playing game, where players move units across a gridded map trying to defeat enemy units without losing their own. However, every unit of your own is a character with a unique personality, their own stats and their own abilities, raising the stakes of every battle, since you don’t want to lose them. “Fire Emblem: Three Houses” was announced last year at E3, showing off the new setting of the game: the continent of Fódlan. This new game sees the continent divided amongst three different kingdoms, with your character being able to choose a closer alliance with one of the three. This could add replayability to the game since the story could easily split into three different paths. Though, I hope the three stories are handled better than “Fire Emblem: Fates,” a 2016 3DS entry that had a muddled plot and featured one too many unlikeable characters. Command your own army when “Fire Emblem: Three Houses” rides on to Switch on July 26 of this year.

‘Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order’

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Release Date: Summer 2019

PlayStation got an impressive, exclusive Spider-Man game from Insomniac Games and now Nintendo is answering with a different long-awaited title for Marvel fans. I’m sure Xbox players will have their moment at some point too. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order” was originally announced at the Game Awards back in December of last year, exciting fans that had been eagerly awaiting a new game in the series for almost 10 years. This time around, players are tasked with taking down Thanos and his Black Order before they unleash the power of the Infinity Stones on the universe. The game will also feature an online multiplayer function, allowing players to venture through the story with friends. My only caveat with the game is that it seems as though it has been influenced heavily by the Marvel Studios films. This isn’t necessarily a bad influence, but it could still limit the scope of the game to just characters mostly featured in Disney-owned properties. However, Wolverine is shown quite a bit in the game, who isn’t officially part of the MCU yet, so that could just render this point totally invalid. Just give us Deadpool and everything will be fine. Create your own alliances when “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order” makes its marvelous debut sometime this summer.


‘Animal Crossing Switch’

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Release Date: 2019

Not much is known about the new Animal Crossing game except that it will be released on the Switch sometime this year, and I will be playing it for a copious number of hours. The game was originally announced back in September of last year when Isabelle, a character in the Animal Crossing games, was revealed to be joining the “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” roster as a new character. Animal Crossing is a breezy, casual, simulation game where players live in a town surrounded by animal neighbors all with quirky, distinctive personalities. The activities players can participate in range from catching bugs, to shopping, all the way to getting a loan on a new house and being indebted to a smug tanuki. Get into crippling debt and try to pay it all off sometime later this year when Animal Crossing comes out on the Switch.


‘Luigi’s Mansion 3’

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Release Date: 2019

At this point, I’m starting to think it’s a trend to announce games without a release date. Unlike Animal Crossing, “Luigi’s Mansion 3” got an actual gameplay trailer, albeit a short one, in September last year. The setting appears to be some sort of large hotel area. The gameplay looks to be very similar to the second game, released on the 3DS in 2013, as well as the look of it. But since it’s releasing on a more powerful system, the animations look better and the game seems to have a nice polish to it. One of my questions is whether there are multiple ‘mansions’ in the game like the second or if there is only one big one like the first. I found nothing wrong with the 3DS sequel, but the first game felt like a more tight experience with a great atmosphere. If I can pet the ghost dogs, affectionately called ‘polterpups,’ in this third entry though, I’ll love it forever. Become a bonafide ghostbuster when “Luigi’s Mansion 3” releases sometime later this year.


‘Pokémon Sword’ and ‘Pokémon Shield’

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Release Date: 2019

Pokémon has turned into such a massive franchise that whenever a new mainline game is announced, it receives its own Nintendo Direct stream. This time, the dynamic duo of games was announced less than a month ago near the end of February. Fans got a glimpse of the exciting new areas that they’ll be exploring and the new starters featured in the game. The new areas and locales where players will be trekking look gorgeous. The starters are the standard types that are always in the Pokémon games: a fire type, a grass type and a water type. Random encounters are back, which might not excite everyone, and gyms appear to come back to the games in some form. At this point, The Pokémon Company could barely change anything but the settings of new Pokémon games and I’d buy them. Catch ‘em all when “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” land on Switch later this year.


‘The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’

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Release Date: 2019

This Switch title is actually a full remake of the original Game Boy Color title of the same name. This Zelda is definitely one of the more ‘out there’ games in the franchise. I remember playing the game when I was younger and getting frustrated at not being able to open a door to a dungeon. I scoured for clues, some sort of key, a secret switch. Lo and behold, I just needed to throw a pot at it in anger for it to open. The game is not filled with moments like these, but it’s just an example of how against the grain Nintendo went with this one. However, I’m looking forward to re-exploring that little island and going through its dungeons once more in this new, miniature-like art style. Out of all the Zelda games, this one’s art direction could be described the most as ‘kid-friendly.’ The world looks straight out of a toy box of some sort and I love it. I’m also glad that Nintendo is still making 2D, top-down perspective Zelda games, or at least remaking them. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” was a fantastic experience that I still occasionally go back to and get lost in. But having something in the vein of “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” is always a nice, welcome change of pace. Accompany by far the cutest Link when “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” marches on to the Switch later this year.

All these titles are expected to be released before the year’s end. I’d also be surprised if these were the only titles from Nintendo to be released for its system this year. E3 is still looming in the distance for this summer, where we’ll hopefully learn the release dates of some of these titles, and also maybe learn about some unannounced ones as well. For now though, Switch owners still have much to look forward to this year.