Nintendo held a showcase of independent titles coming to the Nintendo Switch across the next few months, and even though the term "Nindies" still makes me shudder a little, some cool stuff was on display.
While most of the games aren't exclusive to the Switch, many are coming first to Nintendo's handheld / console hybrid, or have timed exclusivity. What the Nintendo Switch lacks in third-party support, it makes up for in indie support. Really, it's shaping up to be an incredible little indie game machine; most indie titles are perfect for taking on the road, and the Switch doesn't ask you to choose between portability and high-quality graphics.
Take the upcoming Steamworld Dig 2, for instance (coming to Switch on September 21! Clank, clank, clank – that's the sound of robots clapping). You can play the original Steamworld Dig on the Nintendo 3DS, but a very pretty HD upgrade was performed for consoles and PC a little later. With the Switch, there's no compromise. Want to play Steamworld Dig 2 on the TV, in HD? Done. Want to play it on a handheld, in HD? Also done.
The industry is changing: Now games like Stardew Valley, Night in the Woods, and Undertale generate as much discussion as million-dollar releases. The Nintendo Switch has never had a better chance to show off its unique features.
Here's the lineup that featured in the Nindies presentation, which was about 20 minutes from start to finish. I'm excited.
Super Meat Boy Forever
Meat Boy and Meat Girl had a baby-meat, as sentient hunks of beef tend to do. Unfortunately, junior is kidnapped by the evil Dr Fetus, and the Meats must rescue their progeny from the doctor's grip. Don't worry, it'll be easy – ha ha. Psyche. This platformer is filled with death traps galore, and your path to baby-rescue only becomes more difficult to travel as you progress. If you're at PAX West in Seattle this weekend, you can try Super Meat Boy Forever and other Nindies games at the Nindies@Night event. It runs from 8:30 PM to midnight at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) on August 31. Look for the complete Super Meat Boy Forever to hit the Nintendo Switch in 2018.
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
Here's a big deal: Kentucky Route Zero is coming to consoles, starting with the Nintendo Switch in early 2018. "TV Edition" contains all the episodes and interludes this surreal adventure game has to offer, including the yet-unreleased episode five.
Shovel Knight: King Knight's Royal Adventure
The final chapter in Yacht Club Games' esteemed Shovel Knight story features the glorious (and garish) King Knight. Look for new worlds, new levels, and even a card game. The last bit of Shovel Knight's journey comes to the Nintendo Switch in early 2018.
Golf Story for the Nintendo Switch is an RPG focused around golf. Man, I am all about this. There's supposed to be a dramatic story in addition to intense challenges and lots of collectable equipment, but will anything in the game's narrative match my story about the time I nearly tipped a golf cart over after taking a corner too quickly? We'll see. We'll see. Coming in September.
If you're in the mood to beat up waves of foes across ancient Britain (I know I am), you'll want to keep an eye on Wulverblade. This 2D weapon-based beat-em-up can be enjoyed by one or more players, and it features beautiful hand-drawn graphics. It comes to the Switch in September.
Mom Hid My Game
Ah, a game we can all truly relate to. Mom Hid My Game is a humorous puzzle / escape game, wherein you must retrieve your portable game system from wherever your mom stashes it – including from the mouth of an alligator, if it comes to that (and it will). Mom Hid My Game is coming to the Switch and the Nintendo 3DS in late 2017. Will it be as intense as the "Gamer" minigame from Game & Wario? Seems moms in Japan are very serious about their kids not going over their allotted game time.
Floor Kids. It's like Floor Pie, but not as delicious. Okay, actually, it's a breakdancing rhythm game for one or more players. It looks and sounds pretty funky: Definitely in Caty's wheelhouse, I think. Coming to the Nintendo Switch this fall.
This physics-based puzzle / building game lets you build bridges across huge gaps, allowing motorized vehicles safe passage. Build carefully; you have a lot of lives in your hands. You don't want anyone to – oh no, look at what you've done. You monster. Coming to the Switch in Holiday 2017.
Earth Atlantis is all about exploring – and shooting your way through – the sunken ruins of an underwater world. It's just you and your armed sub against machines gone mad, dangerous sea animals, and weird hybrids of the two. Coming to the Switch in the fall.
Next Up Hero
Though video games constantly try and assure you otherwise, saving the world isn't a one-person job. Next Up Hero is an action adventure game that lets you recruit the lingering spirits of fallen players and gradually form an "echo army." You stand no chance of saving the world on your own, but maybe a bunch of angry ghosts can do something. Coming to the Switch in early 2018.
Mulaka is an interesting-looking 3D action / puzzle game that combines low-poly character models with lush colors. The setting is based on land and lore important to the indigenous Tarahumara people of northwestern Mexico. The Tarahumara are legendary for their expertise at long-distance running, which is your warrior's preferred mode of transpiration in Mulaka – though he can also turn into an eagle or a bear when the situation calls for it (when is it never a good time to be an eagle?). Mulaka is coming to the Switch in early 2018.
Steamworld Dig 2
Steamworld Dig 2, the next chapter in Image & Form's excellent Steamworld series, is coming to the Switch on September 21. We'll find you, Rusty.
Yono and the Celestial Elephants
If there's an award for The Cutest Title Shown at the 2017 Nindies Summer Showcase, Yono and the Celestial Elephants walks away with the belt. This isometric puzzle / action game stars an elephant who's adorable beyond words, and it's coming to the Switch on October 12.
Dragon Marked for Death
Inti Creates is still fully committed to delivering great 2D games. Its upcoming side-scrolling RPG for the Switch, Dragon Marked for Death, brings back team members who worked on the cool-but-overlooked Mega Man ZX games. You and up to three other players forge pacts with dragons for deadly powers. Sign me up – for the game and the dragon pact. What? "Ill-advised?" Get outta town. Coming in winter.
Battle Chef Brigade
What's more important: Food preparation, or defending everyone and everything you love? Trick question. They're both super-vital. Battle Chef is about fighting dire threats, but it's also about cooking up meals with love, care, and whatever character bonuses your fighter brings to the table. This 2D action oddity is coming to the Switch this holiday season.
This intriguingly odd 4-vs-4 shooting game isn't just about gunning down your foes. It's also about stealing their body parts, attaching them to your person, and making yourself bigger and badder. Whichever team has the biggest "Morphie" at the end of a match is the winner – but bigger warriors also mean bigger targets and slower movements. Wild. Coming to the Switch in winter.
Sausage Sports Club
What happens when you take a bunch of cute animals, remove their bones in a horrible experiment, and make them play sports? You get Sausage Sports Club, a cute (if unsettling) sports game coming to the Switch this fall. Well, the animals seem to be enjoying it.
Light Fingers is a procedurally-generated board game that supports up to four players. Play as a thief and grab loot while simultaneously trying to avoid traps (and stay away from the interested gaze of your rivals). Due to come out on the Switch early in 2018.
It's time to re-visit the Trine universe. We've been gone way too long. Nine Parchments is a cooperative "Blast-em-Up" game where up to four players (ahem, wizards) work together to find the titular Nine Parchments. As you might expect from important-sounding documents with numbers attached to them, the path isn't easy. This is going to take a lot of cooperation. Coming to the Switch this holiday.
Travis Strikes Again