It’s been an incredible year for Nintendo Switch owners, with an array of console exclusive games that have been a complete joy to play.
Joy – that’s the first word that comes to my head when it comes to playing the Switch. Part of it has to do with the fact that Biff Bam Pop!’s Princess gets so much joy from her Switch lite. She’s absolutely enamoured with games like Animal Crossing and Splatoon 2. Along with playing solo, she’s also got various friends she talks to while playing; hearing their voices in the midst of a splat battle or contemplating island maintenance, well, again – it’s a joy.
Meanwhile, there’s me, who has been having an incredible time diving into the latest Nintendo Switch exclusive, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. This prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a hack and slash game that takes place 100 years earlier. In it, Link and Zelda gather allies from across Hyrule to take on the forces of the game’s big bad, Calamity Ganon and his evil minions.
Let’s get this out of the way – this is the first Legend of Zelda game I’ve really got into, and that includes Breadth of the Wild, which is hailed as one of, if not the best game on the Switch. My cartridge is still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be played and has been for a while. I’ve waited because I know it’s a real commitment and I just haven’t found the right moment. Truthfully, both the Princess and I actually think this decision wound up being the right one because I am absolutely loving Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which says a lot about its strengths as a standalone adventure. Even with minimal background and knowledge of the franchise as a whole, the game has completely drawn me into its world. The storytelling is clear and the stakes understandable, regardless if you’re an old school Zelda gamer, or a new one to the franchise.
Even better, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is incredibly easy to pick up and play. The controls are intuitive and take no time to figure out, and the RPG elements of the game, levelling up, fusing your weapons and all that is so much fun to do. I’ve played lots of RPG games in the past, and usually get frustrated and/or bored with the logistics of it all the deeper the title wants me to. Those aspects, which are core to Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, are delivered in a manner that just makes sense to me, and to the Princess as well. Speaking of her, we both also love the two-player aspect of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – it didn’t take us long to get us cutting a swath across the huge horde of monsters we came across, and we let out some serious shouts of joy (there’s that word again) everytime we K.O.’d a legion of Moblins or Lizalfos.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has been such a great game to play, and it’s the big one for Switch users this December, but there are lots of others to choose from, right Princess?
Princess: Right, like Animals Crossing! I love that game. It’s always being updating with new content, and I love visiting my friends’ islands.
Andy Burns: You were obsessed with Animal Crossing for most of 2020, but you’ve also gotten into Splatoon 2 so much this year, I hardly see you!
Princess: Splatoon 2 is a game where you play as an Inkling, which is half human, and half squid. It takes place 12,000 years in the future from now. I love it because there’s a lot to do and collect, and I can’t name it all, actually.
Andy Burns: Now, if we had one more game to recommend to Switch players this holiday season if they want to play with others, I think we’d both pick the same game, right?
Princess: Well, I would pick Splatoon 2. But you would pick Mario Cart 8 Deluxe, even though I always beat you when we race!
And those are just a few titles the Princess and I enjoyed this year. Between the two of us, we also played lots of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Pikmin 3 and Pokémon: Sword and Shield. There are so many great games to choose from for the Switch, you’re sure to find the perfect one for someone this season.