Nintendo is certainly having a banner year with new hardware and software, but not since the Switch’s launch has a month been as anticipated as October, thanks to the impending release of Super Mario Odyssey. Whether one is a Mario regular expecting the same wacky fun or a newbie interested in the ancient art of 3D platform games, Odyssey looks set to impress. Of course, Mario’s latest outing makes this list, but look for these other interesting games hitting the Nintendo Switch this month before the portly plumber and his hat-related adventures arrive.
YONO AND THE CELESTIAL ELEPHANTS
Plenty of indie games hit the Switch eShop every week, so why care about Yono and the Celestial Elephants specifically? First of all, a cohesive, cartoony art-style and easygoing isometric perspective make the game very easy on the eyes. Yono himself is a cute Elephant (note the capital E), beings who descend from the stars every thousand years as mighty protectors of the world.
For Yono, becoming a mighty protector is easier said than done, as the world he must travel across is populated by humans, robots, and the undead, all with their own problems. The game is heavily implied to be a Legend of Zelda-esque adventure with towns, dungeons, a little bit of combat, and plenty of side-quests and treasures to find, but developer Neckbolt promises lots of dialogue, history, and lore as well.
With so many games claiming inspiration from A Link to the Past and other classic Nintendo titles, Yono and the Celestial Elephants will have to work hard to stand out, especially with a Mario game also releasing in October. Thankfully, the trailer shows that the game’s dungeons will involve more than just block-pushing and beating up skeletons. For fans of isometric Zelda-likes, the game combines mechanics that both the Nintendo hardcore and casual gamers will find appealing, with stylish and polished visuals that should work across handheld and TV modes.
Yono and the Celestial Elephants comes to Nintendo Switch and Steam on October 12.
FIRE EMBLEM WARRIORS
Early in the 2010s, Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors was not really losing popularity, but the series had certainly hit a sales slump. The introduction of crossovers—One Piece, Dragon Quest, and The Legend of Zelda—has helped the franchise expand its potential audience, while at the same time avoiding the repetition of releasing multiple Dynasty Warriors sequels in a row.
Many gamers (some who may never touch a Dynasty Warriors title) have since tried the musou/hack-and-slash genre, thanks to their favourite characters and worlds being featured. However, games such as Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes are never simply Dynasty Warriors in new skins; rather, Omega Force has worked to incorporate a few key mechanics of each franchise. The former included puzzle-bosses alongside the usual armies of enemies, and the latter tipped in favour of RPG systems including crafting and weapon proficiency.
Even with new mechanics, though, a musou game can only offer so much. Fans who want to see more than slashing through wave after wave of enemies might not find as much fun as those who just want to see the musical, visual, and dramatic trappings of a series they love. This brief history leads to Nintendo and Omega Force’s latest crossover, Fire Emblem Warriors.
Here, the hack-and-slash mechanic has been expanded to reference Fire Emblem‘s weapon triangle: a kind of rock-paper-scissors where swords have advantage over axes, axes have advantage over lances, and lances have advantage over swords. For gamers already on board with Hyrule Warriors’s hack-and-slaction, this new partnership means another polished variation on the games they already enjoy. For gamers who loved the two most recent Fire Emblem games, Warriors will also feature plenty to delight in its anime-style presentation and Awakening/Fates-heavy character roster.
Tactics-RPG lovers or fans of the old school Fire Emblem titles, on the other hand, might have a harder time embracing this one, and that is okay too. Fire Emblem Warriors attacks Nintendo Switch and New 3DS on October 20.
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
Attempting to summarise the world’s feelings on Nintendo’s biggest franchise is utterly fraught. For some, Mario has become old news: a game past its 2D prime and just reliving the glory of better days. For others, the lure of coins, goombas and Bullet-Bills is enough for an instant buy.
For those in the middle, Super Mario Odyssey looks fresh, silly and maybe the next must-play adventure in a year already packed with memorable titles, including Nintendo’s own Breath of the Wild. Departing from the timer-and-flagpole structure of the 3DS and Wii U entries, Odyssey heralds a return to Super Mario 64‘s open worlds.
Except … not quite.
Rather than sets of floating mountains, desert ruins, and flooded caves cordoned off behind paintings, Super Mario Odyssey comprises larger, seamless worlds with cohesive themes (Snow Kingdom, Seaside Kingdom, Sand Kingdom etc.). Additionally, the Stars and Shines of previous games—that dumped players back to the start of a level when collected—have been replaced by Power Moons, whose collection leaves Mario in the same place as before.
Nintendo has promised many more Moons than Stars, rewarded frequently for puzzle solving, exploration and defeating tough enemies. Combined with the seamless levels, this bite-sized structure should make playing in short bursts just as rewarding as a marathon session. This formula switch-up resembles nothing more than the changes made in the latest Zelda, suggesting a Game-of-the-Year worthy reinvention of another classic series. Will Odyssey be able to pull it off? Not long to wait now.
Super Mario Odyssey voyages to the Nintendo Switch Kingdom on October 27.
Nintendo Switch owners will be the first to play the medieval beat-em-up Wulverblade when it releases later in October—and despite delays caused by problems with the Unity engine, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is still on track for an October release on Switch as well. In other late-port news, the excellent teen horror-adventure Oxenfree comes to Switch on October 6.
3DS owners do not have a megaton release such as Metroid coming their way this month, but they do have Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, the remake of the original Game Boy Advance RPG, along with the puzzle game Layton’s Mystery Journey—both also on October 6.
Do not forget to check our monthly PlayStation, Xbox, and PC lists for other games that might be coming to your Switch as well, and if there is a game you are looking forward to, why not share it in the comments? As always, thanks for reading OnlySP and we will see you next month for more single-player games.