2017 has been a big year for Nintendo, and even though the Nintendo Switch hasn’t even been out a year, it already has a strong library of games to play. But there are still more to come in 2018 on both Switch and the 3DS; from a new Fire Emblem to the next Yoshi game, Nintendo has already announced some of the upcoming year’s games.
In this gallery, we’re looking ahead to the Nintendo games we’re most excited about. If you’re curious about the biggest games to play in 2018 on other platforms, check out our individual features highlighting the most anticipated PS4 games, Xbox One games, and PC games. You can also check out our feature focusing on the biggest games to play 2018 in general.
If you want to see our choices for the best games this year, check out our Game of the Year 2017 Top 10 List. And for more on our picks of the best games of the year across various categories, as well as features focusing on the year’s performance for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, check out our Best of 2017 hub.
Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night (Switch)
Castlevania has changed a lot over the years, but there was a time when game after game followed a familiar formula to great results. The developer largely credited for the series’ past greatness is Koji Igarashi, who is presently working on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a spiritual successor to Castlevania games of yore.
Early impressions of the game from events like E3 and Tokyo Game Show are positive. Igarashi’s handiwork is on full display, meaning that you will explore 2D, gothic environments while fending off demonic enemies and gather new abilities to extend your reach and open new pathways.
It’s the familiar “Metroidvania” formula, but the fact that it’s coming from the person responsible for popularizing it in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (after Super Metroid laid the foundation) eases the concerns that Bloodstained is just a simple nostalgia trip. Igarashi has been out of the game for quite a while after leaving Konami, and our hope is that his return to 2D action games comes with improvements and innovations. The sub-genre has been approached by many developers in his absence, and we can’t wait to see if Igarashi is able to rekindle his old flame in the light of the many great games his earlier works inspired.
Dark Souls Remastered
We only know one thing about this Switch port of Dark Souls: it’s coming out on May 25.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Continuing the tradition of updated Wii U games that get Switch ports like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Pokken Tournament DX, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is due out for Switch on May 4. The game will add a new playable character, Funky Kong, who introduces his own unique twist on the original’s platforming gameplay.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age (Switch, 3DS)
Unlike Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest games never quite reach the same fevered level of excitement in the West as they do in Japan. That’s unfortunate, because it means there are a lot of people missing out on one of the most iconic and fun RPG experiences out there. And the upcoming Dragon Quest XI is set to continue the previous games’ traditions of sweeping musical scores, epic stories, and turn-based combat against colorful (and sometimes wacky) enemies.
DQXI already released in Japan back in July 2017 on PS4 and 3DS, but the upcoming international release is notable because it should bring the series to a new platform: Nintendo Switch. That doesn’t mean you should rule out the other versions completely, though. On 3DS, the game introduces a unique twist where the lower screen is an exact representation of the regular 3D gameplay, but redone in a classic, pixelated style.
And if this entry in the mainline series does well abroad, that raises the (very, very slim) possibility that the Dragon Quest MMO, Dragon Quest X, could also get a release in the West! Okay, now that might be too much Dragon Quest to ask for at one time.
Fire Emblem (untitled) (Switch)
Nintendo announced a new mainline Fire Emblem game for the Switch during a Direct presentation in January 2017. While the company hasn’t given many details about the still-untitled game, it will be the first time a main Fire Emblem has been on a Nintendo console since 2007’s Radiant Dawn on the Wii. Plus, it’ll be playable on the go! Recent Fire Emblem games (including 2017’s Echoes) have been popular on the 3DS, so the potential for a Fire Emblem experience that’s both console-scale and portable-ready is exciting.
Side-scrolling action RPG Indivisible comes from the same team that brought us 2012’s insane fighter Skullgirls. Indivisible follows the story of the rebellious Ajna. She and her father live just outside a quiet little town, but things take a turn for the worse and a mysterious power awakens within her: the ability of “incarnations” to recruit different people to help her along her journey.
Indivisible is largely inspired by a number of different cultures and mythologies, which hopefully opens the doors to positive and meaningful representation. This also means that the game could run the risk of mishandling the sources from which it draws its inspiration, but it’s worth having a little faith and hope for a game that’s trying to pull from perspectives we don’t see often. Everyone likes to have something they can see themselves in, and Indivisible may be one of those games where its representation could make it or break it.
Kirby Star Allies (Switch)
Kirby sucks. No really, Kirby sucks–that’s kind of his thing. And the next installment in the Kirby franchise, called Star Allies, is coming to Nintendo Switch next year. This new title was the same one originally announced as simply “Kirby” at E3 2017, and it looks promising. Kirby can utilize abilities such as Sword, Fire, and Water, as well as his trademark vacuum move. You can also mix those skills together to create even cooler powers.
The whole game is designed for up to four-player multiplayer, with each player able to use a single Joy-Con. Alternatively, if you have enough Joy-Cons and Joy-Con grips, you can each play with a more traditional setup.
Following the likes of Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Kirby Star Allies has a lot to live up to when it comes to Switch exclusives. Here’s hoping it becomes the console’s next big thing when it launches in Spring 2018.
Mario Tennis Aces
A new Mario Tennis game from developer Camelot–the team behind the GBA game Golden Sun as well as numerous other Mario sports titles–is heading to Switch this Spring. It will be the first Mario Tennis game to include a story mode Mario Tennis: Power Tour on GBA.
No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again (Switch)
No More Heroes and its sequel, Desperate Struggle, were some of the best action games on the Nintendo Wii, featuring gratuitous violence, crazy boss designs, a strong sense of style and attitude, as well as some, uh, interesting implementations of motion control. That was over seven years ago, and though developer Grasshopper Manufacture has had a number of cult hits (and misses) since then, talk of another No More Heroes sequel has always been a point of conversation for CEO Goichi Suda, aka Suda51.
Well, now it’s happening. After skipping the Wii U, protagonist Travis Touchdown is coming back to Nintendo consoles with Travis Strikes Again on Nintendo Switch. We got a quick teaser trailer at the Nintendo Indies Showcase in 2017, where we were reintroduced to Travis in all his self-referential glory and learned of the game’s primary conceit: A dangerous console that sucks players into video game worlds. Though these worlds will be original game concepts, Travis Strikes Again is also collaborating with other indie game titles, though this might only be superficially in the form of the game’s always-extensive t-shirt wardrobe. We always expect off-the-wall ideas from Grasshopper Manufacture, so we’re looking forward to seeing what Travis Strikes Again will surprise us with.
The critically acclaimed PC-exclusive Owlboy is finally making its way onto consoles. While the console ports are receiving no major changes from the original, the Switch version bears notable mention given its portability. The game’s endearing 2D twin-stick shooter action seems a perfect fit to bring on the go. Given the high praise it received when it released (GameSpot gave it a 9), it’s certainly one of the more highly anticipated indie ports in 2018.
For the uninitiated, Owlboy is an action-adventure game set in a sky world where the lands below were torn apart by a catastrophic event many years prior. You play as Otus, an owl-human hybrid who sets out on a journey to save his village from a band of pirates. A charming and heartfelt adventure in its own right, Owlboy’s upcoming console ports are well worth keeping an eye on, especially if you missed out on the original back in 2016.
Persona Q2 (3DS)
Fans of both Persona 3 and 4 were treated to an endearing collaboration between the casts of both games with Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth in 2014. In a wacky series of time-bending events, both Inaba’s Investigation Team and SEES (Special Extracurricular Execution Squad) crossed paths and joined forces to back home from an alternate dimension. All characters received an adorable chibi redesign which drove home the fun, lighthearted interactions between the two squadsBut with Persona Q2 coming out next year, we’re hyped up to see how the Phantom Thieves fit into the mix (and what their chibi versions will look like) and what Atlus will do with crossover casts. The only thing that was revealed for Persona Q2’s announcement was a cartoony rendition of the phrase “TAKE YOUR HEART” with the Arsene top hat logo. Of course, this indicates the return of the Persona 5 crew, but whether or not Q2 involves past characters has yet to be shared.
We anticipate another dip into Etrian Odyssey-style first-person dungeon-crawling where you’re expected to draw out maps manually on the 3DS touch screen. The turn-based combat system also differs from the main series; in Persona Q, actions are chosen for the entire turn before anything unfolds, changing how you strategize in battle.
We should also expect another stellar soundtrack. It’ll be pretty tough to top the introduction song “Maze of Life” and battle theme “Light the Fire Up in the Night” from the first game, but with a bar set so high and coming off the Persona 5 soundtrack, it’s hard to imagine Persona Q2 without the proper music to back it up.
Project Octopath Traveler (Switch)
Project Octopath Traveler on Switch evokes the qualities that are bound to please fans of classic Japanese RPGss. Its “HD 2D” pixelated visual style offers a unique take on the much-used JRPG aesthetic, combining 16-bit style character sprites and textures with polygonal environments and high-definition effects. Combat is involved and utilizes weakness exploitation much like the Shin Megami Tensei games. And its ensemble cast of playable characters even calls back to early SaGa games. There’s already plenty of strong characteristics at play that make Project Octopath Traveler a promising adventure.
It’s worth noting that the game is being worked on by Tomoya Asano, a Square Enix veteran developer who served as a producer on both Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV for Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Bravely Default, and Bravely Second: End Layer. While we’ve only gotten a demo of the game since its initial announcement, we’re eager to see what else it has to offer. Heck, we’re still curious what the game’s final name will be, seeing as Project Octopath Traveler is technically a working title. Time will tell.
The World Ends With You
Stretching into the Nintendo DS’ back catalog, the cult hit The World Ends With You is getting a re-release on Switch. The game will let you choose from either touchscreen or traditional controls, and it will include a “sizeable new scenario.” No specific release date was announced, but the game will be available sometime this year.
Nintendo’s upcoming Yoshi game was revealed during E3 2017. Simply titled “Yoshi” for now, the announcement trailer showed some gameplay similar to 2015’s Yoshi’s Woolly World but with an emphasis on flipping the stage around to see behind walls and find secrets you wouldn’t be able to notice from the initial angle. It would appear from the trailer that there will be co-op as well, though that hasn’t been confirmed. The papercraft style is definitely suited to the adorable feel of a Yoshi game, too, so it seems promising as a cute, feel-good platformer on the Switch in 2018.