Nintendo's Labo is now out around the world, bringing a whole new dimension of creative and tactile play to the Switch console.
With Labo, you build temporary peripherals and toys out of cardboard, slotting in each element of the Switch console and using your creations to play simple tactile games.
But while I applaud this evidence of Nintendo's continued creativity and focus on fun, I can't keep but feel a little disappointed by its status in the Switch 2018 line-up.ENTITLED MILLENNIAL ALERT
At the risk of sounding like the whiny, entitled millennial that I just about am, where are all the Switch games for me?
Because make no mistake, Labo isn't for me. I suspect it isn't for you either, but I wouldn't wish to presume too much.
This isn't actually a criticism of Labo itself. It's just that Labo is specifically intended for young children who like to spend time making stuff. I, on the other hand, am a childless adult with time constraints and a general aversion to craft activities.
I'm not quite so self-absorbed that I'd resent this fact in isolation. I would praise Labo unreservedly if it were part of a strong and well-rounded 2018 Switch software line-up. But it's not.
After a stellar 2017, the Switch release roster for this year has been pretty underwhelming, to put it mildly. What's more, it looks set to make only a partial recovery.Break down
We also got a significantly enhanced version of Nintendo's best ever kart racer in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a brilliantly original brawler in ARMS, and a wonderful sequel to Nintendo's last new IP in Splatoon 2.
The Switch only launched in March, and the last of those games released in October. Astonishingly, all that first party brilliance occurred in just seven months.
Six months on from Super Mario Odyssey and four whole months into 2018, we've had Kirby Star Allies - an energetic but rather shallow 2D platformer. That's it.
Next up we have Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, pretty much a straight port of a decidedly niche (if brilliant) Wii U platformer. Following that we have Mario Tennis Aces, a new entry in a historically uneven spinoff series. Then we have Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a port of a fairly humble Wii U spinoff.
We know that Super Smash Bros. is coming some time in 2018, but the fact that it's likely to be the sole tentpole Nintendo Switch game of the year speaks volumes.
Metroid Prime 4 would go some way to redressing the balance, but as we haven't seen or heard a peep beyond a title screen it's highly doubtful this will arrive in 2018.
There'll be a New Fire Emblem, which will please a relatively small but dedicated fanbase. Oh, and there's also going to be a new Yoshi game in 2018. Moving on...Having your cake and eating it
There are loads of fine games being released on Switch in 2018, but few of them are from Nintendo.
Essentially, the Switch software release schedule has been placed in the hands of third-party developers. There's a formidable library of great indie games being assembled, in particular.
These are positive signs, and they address what have been traditional Nintendo weaknesses. But like Labo itself, the presence of third party games is contextualised by one simple fact: we buy Nintendo machines to play Nintendo games on.
Perhaps I'm being a grumpy old man about this, but I can't help feeling that Labo should be the sweet cherry sat atop the 2018 Switch software roster cake. As things stand, it's pretty much the whole cake - sponge, icing and all.What do you think? Has Nintendo badly front-loaded the Switch software roster, or does Labo and the rest of the 2018 lineup successfully balance that out? Let us know in the comments below.
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