Nintendo Switch Ports Quick Impressions
The Nintendo Switch has been on a roll pretty much from its release date. This has naturally lead to a number of game ports: some great, some competent, and some that are better left forgotten. We take a look at some of the recent ports to see how they’ve fared in the transition (spoilers: quite admirably).
Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Battle Chasers: Nightwar was one of the many highly-rated RPGs of 2017, and quite possibly got lost among the many more high-profile titles. Based on a comic series from writer/artist Joe Madureira, it provides a new adventure for the cast of characters, rather than continuing the original story that notoriously ended with a cliffhanger. The game mixes isometric dungeon exploration similar in look to Diablo with turn-based combat that wouldn’t be out of place in any of the many 16-bit JRPGs from the ’90s.
It may be quite fortuitous that Battle Chasers’ Switch port required a bit more time in the oven. Now facing less competition, it may be able to find a bigger audience, especially with its turn-based combat being a perfect match for a portable system. The game doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects in the transition to the Switch, running smoothly even in portable mode. Its colorful comic book inspired world looks and sounds fantastic, making it a very interesting title for Switch RPG fans.
Darkest Dungeon is one of the now many Rogue-lites that have made the jump from PC to console. Focusing on exploring a horror-themed dungeon under an old mansion, players take their party of adventurers through randomly-generated dungeons, with the threat of permadeath constantly looming. Exploration is done in 2D side-scrolling fashion, with further navigation done by selecting different routes on a map. Combat is a turn-based affair not dissimilar from many JRPGs.
Like other ports of the game, it runs flawlessly and looks great even in portable mode. The gruesome turn based combat and challenging dungeon crawling are a good match for the Switch. There are even optional touch controls for those playing in tablet mode. The only problem is that while playing in tablet mode, the text on dialogue screens is a bit on the small side. It’s never as bad as some games notorious for this issue, such as Xenoblade Chronicles X, nor is it as noticeable as on the Vita version, but it is certainly worth mentioning. Some may find it a more major issue, and glare and other impediments may make it worse. On the whole though, this is largely a fantastic port.
Saturday Morning RPG
Saturday Morning RPG is perhaps more known for being brought to us from the folks that created Limited Run Games than anything else, but it is a fun little retro RPG. As the name implies, the story feels like something ripped right out of old Saturday-morning cartoons. The combat on the other hand, while it has a retro look, actually feels a lot more modern, using lots of timing mini-games similar to the Mario and Luigi series. It makes for an odd mix, but the game really nails its theme with lots of fun pop-culture references throughout.
Its retro inspired look hasn’t suffered in the slightest in the transition to the Switch. The game runs smoothly with nary a loading time to be found, and the text is easy to read when playing on the go. Of course, it feels much more like a small-time indie game than the other ports discussed here, but nonetheless it appears to be a flawless port. It may not have the artistic prowess of the previous games discussed here, but it still has its own charms.
Bonus: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This game obviously isn’t an RPG, but feels worth mentioning given its proximity to these other releases. One of, if not the, best Donkey Kong Country games, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is pure platforming bliss. There’s nothing all that noticeable about the port other than how silky smooth it runs. It does have a new mode from the Wii U version, featuring Funky Kong, which is basically easy mode. Instantly one of the best games available on the Switch, it should not be missed.