With another year come and gone, I shall be looking back at the various video games it offered us and selecting my top ten.
All ten games here will be titles available on the Nintendo Switch, though a few of them are multiplatform. As long as the game was released or re-released or whatever during 2018, it is fair game for this list.
With nothing more to add here, let’s dive in – my number one choice may surprise you (it won’t.)
No. 10: Kirby Star AlliesKicking off this list, we have a game that admittedly lacked content when it was first released. However, free updates added new modes and characters, and Kirby Dream Allies became a must have for Kirby fans. In Kirby Star Allies, Kirby is able to team up with enemies in order to carry out his quest – or, you can take control of those allies themselves in Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go!, and have them be the hero instead of Kirby.
No. 9: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! (and Let’s Go, Pikachu! as well) is a remake of the first generation of Pokémon games, bringing everyone back to Kanto where it all began. With either Eevee or Pikachu at your side, you become a Pokémon Trainer and set out on a journey to collect eight gym badges and earn the title of Pokémon Master.
Catching Pokémon in these games has been lifted straight out of Pokémon Go – in fact, you can no longer battle wild Pokémon, with a few exceptions. Trainers and gym leaders still wait to challenge you, though, so catching every Pokémon you run across to earn experience for your team is a fairly wise idea.
It was fun to roam across Kanto again, even encountering a few familiar faces along the way. However, this is pretty much just a stopgap before the eighth generation of Pokémon arrives in 2019.
Also, you may ask why Eevee over Pikachu? The answer to that is simple: Aoi Yuuki provides the voice for Eevee.
No. 8: BlazBlue: Cross Tag BattleArc System Works actually released two mighty fine fighting games for the Switch this year – BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle which I have chosen to feature here, and Dragon Ball FighterZ. Honestly, both deserve this spot here, but the addition of RWBY to the lineup of fighters is why I have chosen BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. It might’ve been a different story if Caulifla/Kale/Kefla had been added to Dragon Ball FighterZ…
Anyway, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a 2-on-2 fighting game, featuring characters from BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY. Arc System Works tend to know what they are doing when it comes to fighting games, and this one is no exception. It’s just a blast to play.
No. 7: Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!I’ll always enjoy rhythm games, and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! is an excellent addition to my collection – I even got the plastic taiko drum controller with it, because why not? Actually, the drum controller is arguably the best way to play the game – button controls suffice as well, but probably steer away from using the Joy Con’s motion controls.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! has an extensive selection of songs, including a few that anime and Vocaloid fans will no doubt be familiar with. A few of my favourites include Train-Train, CHA-LA HEAD CHA-LA, and Grip & Break down!! -Tatsujin Edit.-. You’ll also find some Nintendo music, too. On top of the rhythm stuff, you will also find a collection of minigames that feel like they have been lifted straight out of the Rhythm Paradise.
No. 6: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DanaThe Ys series makes its debut on the Switch with its eighth game, and it is a lot of fun. It begins with a shipwreck, leaving you to take control of lead character Adol and explore an uncharted island. Whilst the beginning of the game is mostly centred on exploration and protecting your makeshift home village from monsters, you will uncover secrets about the island you are on and delve into its history. That’s when the story starts picking up. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see the little village grow over the course of the game.
Ys VIII is an excellent addition to the Switch’s ever growing library of RPGs.
No. 5: Valkyria Chronicles 4You know what, numbers 5 and 4 on this list could go in either order – I just need to put them down in some arbitrary manner, and it was a coin flip that decided that Valkyria Chronicles 4 should take this spot.
A tactical role-playing game, Valkyria Chronicles 4 tells the story of the Federation Army fighting the Empire during the Second Europan War. As a Fire Emblem fan, this game scratches that tactical itch, at least until Three Houses is released in 2019. Valkyria Chronicles 4 has more military tech, such as tanks, but it does share quite bit with Fire Emblem. Most notably, you can permanently lose allies if you are not careful with them on the battlefield.
Winning battles using your own wits and intelligence is satisfying, but nothing quite matches the feeling of taking control of a sniper and nailing a headshot. Well, blasting infantry from the safety of a tank is also quite fun…
No. 4: Octopath TravelerA Nintendo Switch exclusive RPG, Octopath Traveler has eight different stories to tell; one for each of its main characters. I started with the hunter H’aanit, before eventually forming a party with all the female characters: Ophilia, Tressa and Primrose. The beauty of Octopath Traveler is that you can tackle quests in any order you want; if you want to attempt a solo playthrough of a character’s story, then you can. If you want to recruit everyone and swap people out based on the situation, that’s a possibility as well.
Octopath Traveler has random encounters, and it is during battle that you can make use of Boost Points to attack multiple times or increase the power of abilities. Hitting an enemy with their weaknesses enough times will also break that enemy; that is when you want to go all in with those Boost Points and deal massive damage.
This is all presented in such a gorgeous way, that words can’t really do it justice. If you are an RPG fan and own a Switch, you owe it to yourself to pick up Octopath Traveler.
No. 3: Monster Hunter Generations UltimateWe now enter my top three games of 2018, and they are all games that I will always find myself returning to, spending hundreds of hours playing. Monster Hunter Generations makes the leap from 3DS to the Switch, bringing along with it the fearsome new monster Valstrax.
Whilst Monster Hunter games tend to be a bit of a slow burn at first, once you actually start fighting the large monsters, it becomes such a satisfying experience. Each large monster you hunt is effectively a boss fight that usually takes place over multiple areas, and conquering bosses has always been one of my favourite parts of playing games.
There are fourteen different types of weapon to wield in Monster Hunter Generations; I favour the Bow myself. In addition to that, there is also the Prowler mode where you are able to play as a Felyne.
Once you have chosen a weapon, you can also equip Hunter Arts. These are effectively special skills that you can activate after filling up a gauge, letting you do stuff such as increasing your power or just launching a stronger attack.
With a huge selection of monsters to hunt, plus plenty of different weapons to master, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate has plenty that will keep you coming back for more.
No. 2: Hyrule Warriors: Definitive EditionA game that was first released on Wii U, and then the 3DS before the definitive version finally arrived on the Switch. It is definitive, because it brings together all the content from the previous entries, including characters that were previously only available as DLC. Hyrule Warriors is an excellent celebration of the history of The Legend of Zelda, presented in the form of a Dynasty Warriors game.
There’s a very healthy selection of characters, and they all play in their own unique ways, unlike say, Fire Emblem Warriors, which had four archers (including DLC) who are practically identical when it comes to combat.
Hyrule Warriors Legends has quite an extensive story mode, spread across the various eras of the Zelda games, and then there is its Adventure Mode. A selection of maps containing numerous challenges which unlock new characters, costumes and weapons amongst other things. The sheer amount of content within Hyrule Warriors is incredibly impressive.
I also really like the original characters that were designed for the game; Linkle is my go-to character when I play, and Lana tends to be my second choice. I would love to see more from them; maybe one will be lucky enough to make it into the game at the number one position on this list.
Before I get to that inevitable number one spot, I just want to take the time to highlight some games that didn’t quite make it into my top ten. This will also include a couple of DLC things.
– Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2 – A pair of absolutely fantastic action games from Platinum.
– Dragon Ball FighterZ – From Arc System Works, an excellent fighting game that is arguably the best Dragon Ball game out there.
– Dragon Quest Builders – Take Dragon Quest, and mix in some Minecraft whilst maintaining the feel of the classic RPG series.
– Mega Man 11 – The blue bomber returns for the 11th time, making use of the Double Gear System to increase his power or speed.
– Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion – A single-player expansion for Splatoon 2, where you take control of an Octoling and overcome various challenges.
– The World Ends With You: Final Remix – The classic DS RPG is given a new lease of life on the Switch, along with some extra content.
– Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country – A DLC prequel spinoff of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, set 500 years before the events of that game and focusing on Lora and Jin.
No. 1: Super Smash Bros. UltimateI really doubt that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate being at number one will come as a surprise, but that’s just the way it is. Super Smash Bros. has always been a celebration of Nintendo’s history, but with characters like Bayonetta, Cloud, Ryu, Ken, Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Richter Belmont and Snake being playable, it may be more apt to call Super Smash. Bros. Ultimate a celebration of video game history. Even more so with Persona 5‘s Joker joining the battle as DLC. Not to mention the Spirits you can collect in the game include the likes of Rayman, Shantae and Shovel Knight.
If you thought the amount of content in Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition was impressive, the amount in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will blow your mind. The number of playable characters, the number of collectable spirits, the number of music tracks… everything about this game is… well, ultimate.
Of course, multiplayer is one of Super Smash Bros.‘s biggest draws, but if you’re the type to prefer single-player adventure, World of Light has got you covered. Starting out as Kirby, you embark on a quest to free spirits from Galeem, including other fighters. World of Light has some absolutely brilliant nods to some gaming franchises that are present within Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
You can just feel the love for video games oozing from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where even the tiniest detail tends to be something that is lifted straight out of a character’s original game.
Looking back over this past year, 2018 has been such an incredible time for gaming. Month after month, there has always been plenty on offer and I never struggled to find something that I wanted to play. The Switch has built itself quite the momentum, and that only looks to continue in 2019 with generation eight of Pokémon and a new Animal Crossing – as well as whatever else Nintendo has in store for us.
That is my top ten games of 2018, but I bet if I look back over it in a few months’ time, I’ll start wondering why I didn’t include games, or if the order is right.
None of that matters, though: this is the list that I am committing to the internet, and therefore my definitive top ten video games of 2018.