nintendo switch

Pixelkin 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Nintendo Switch

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Make no mistake: the Nintendo Switch is the hottest video game product you can purchase this holiday season. The unique hybrid system offers both traditional home console use as well as complete handheld portability.

After a generally disappointing showing in the Wii U, Nintendo has roared back this year with huge titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Most impressively they’ve expanded their third-party support with lots of welcome indie titles like Stardew Valley and Shovel Knight. There’s also some more mature offerings courtesy of Bethesda with Doom, Wolfenstein, and Skyrim. Simply put, Nintendo has had one of the best console launch years in history, and it should only get better from here.

Younger Kids

Snipperclips – Cut it Out, Together

Nintendo Switch

A launch title for the Nintendo Switch, Snipperclips provides a unique puzzle design for two players. You play as both the paper and the scissors, cutting each other to form shapes in order to solve a series of puzzles. It’s simple yet brilliant game design that you can play solo with both controllers, but really shines cooperatively.

Also available on: N/A

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

mario kart 8

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is just 2014’s Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U plus all the DLC tracks and drivers and enhanced HD graphics. Mario Kart 8 happens to also be one of the best in the long-running series, featuring the refined controls, a huge assortment of drivers, vehicles, and tracks, and seamlessly integrated online multiplayer.

Also available on: N/A

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is a remake of a 1989 platformer on the Sega Master System. The remake offers new hand-drawn graphics, a female playable character, and the ability to switch between old and new audio and visual settings. It’s a solid side-scrolling platformer with classic design and modern features.

Also available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Arms

arms

A motion-controlled fighting game sounds horrendous but Nintendo may have stumbled upon something special. Multiple fighters and arms-styles can be configured to best suit your playstyle as you square off from a near-first-person view to swing your comically large but effective limbs.

Also available on: N/A

Splatoon 2

 

The first Splatoon was one of the few bright spots on the Wii U, and this Switch sequel provides more of the same great online multiplayer action. Transforming a third person arena shooter into a paintball match is a great way to make it family-friendly. Splatoon goes a step further by offering an intriguingly goofy world of squid vendors and a head-bobbing soundtrack.

Also available on: N/A

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

mario + rabbids

“It’s like XCOM but with Mario” is not a sentence I expected to see in 2017. Yet Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle presents a fantastic tactical strategy game when Ubisoft’s Rabbids drop into the Mushroom Kingdom unannounced.

Also available on: N/A

LEGO Worlds

lego worlds

LEGO + Minecraft is an easy sell, but LEGO Worlds ended up being less than the sum of its parts. Still, LEGO gameplay is always kid-friendly and intuitive, and offers split-screen and online multiplayer. LEGO Worlds lets you earn gold bricks through quests and exploration as well as build your world brick-by-brick.

Also available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Super Mario Odyssey

super mario odyssey

The moment we’ve all been waiting for: a new single player 3D Mario game. Super Mario Odyssey does not disappoint, with a wide array of beautiful worlds to explore, secrets to discover, puzzles to solve, and collectibles to collect. Super Mario Odyssey retains what makes Mario the king of gaming and also adds fun new elements, like turning Mario’s trademark cap into a sentient creature who can possess others, adding an entirely new dynamic to every encounter.

Also available on: N/A

Stardew Valley: Collector’s Edition

stardew valley

Charming, pixelated farming sim Stardew Valley was my personal Game of the Year last year. The Collector’s Edition, which released this year, is mostly an excuse to buy a physical version, which includes a pull-out map, digital soundtrack, and a guide book. Cooperative multiplayer is slated to arrive sometime next year.

Also available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2

lego

The LEGO games have consistently remained one of the best go-to family-friendly series over the last decade. If you’ve played any of them, you’ve played them all. Marvel’s tone and characters mesh particularly well with LEGO’s silly storytelling and style. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 tells a tale of time-travel, meshing together multiple realms from the modern MCU, including Asgard, Sakaar, and Wakanda.

Also available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Older Kids

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild was one of the most anticipated games of 2017. As a launch title for the Nintendo Switch it became an instant system seller, providing an enormous, detailed open world that let you tackle it however you wanted – including waltzing right up to the final area after the opening. It’s a hallmark of interlocking game designs that put as much freedom as possible in the hands of the player.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will go down as one of the all-time best games, Zelda or otherwise, and should absolutely be your first purchase on the Nintendo Switch.

Also available on: Wii U

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

One of the few games on this mega-list that’s not actually released quite yet, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is another big RPG coming to Switch, after the Wii’s Xenoblade Chronicles and Wii U’s Xenoblade Chronicles X. These games mostly stand on their own but feature giant open worlds and real-time combat, not unlike an MMO.

Also available on: N/A

Mature Teens & Parents

Doom

Doom

The hyper-violent first-person shooter wouldn’t seem like a good fit for a Nintendo system, but sometimes you just need to rip and tear your way through some demons. This Switch port of one of last year’s most satisfying remakes is mostly intact – minus the Snapmap editor, and you’ll need to download the multiplayer separately.

Also available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

skyrim

It’s usually not exciting to see a 2011 game ported into a different console, but Skyrim is anything but usual. Being able to play one of the best RPGs of the modern era on the go certainly has its perks.

Also available on: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

survival mode

Skyrim’s New Survival Mode Will Be Free for One Week

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Bethesda Game Studios announced a new Survival Mode for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. If you own the Special Edition on Steam you can opt in to the beta right now. Survival Mode will be added to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One “early next month.”

Here’s how to access the Survival Mode beta on Steam:

  1. Log into Steam.
  2. Right Click on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in your Library.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Select Betas.
  5. A drop down menu will appear. Select the available beta option
  6. Select OK.
  7. Wait for the game to update.

Survival Mode will be free for one week when it launches. Then it will be added to Bethesda’s controversial paid mod program, Creation Club, which was announced earlier this year at E3.

Survival Mode adds lots of challenging new features and gameplay quirks aimed to make Skyrim play more like an open-world Survival-Crafting game, which have become popular in the last few years.

Here are a few of the major changes Survival Mode includes:

  • Hunger – You’ll need to eat food to live, or risk some nasty penalties. You’ll also need to cook food to avoid food poisoning.
  • Disease – Speaking of food poisoning, diseases are much more harsh. You’ll have to donate money at a shrine to cure them.
  • Fatigue – You need to regularly sleep in a bed or suffer numerous penalties to magicka and stamina.
  • Temperature – Skryim is generally a cold place, and that will be reflected in this new mode. You can die from exposure. Campfires become your lifeline.
  • Fast Travel – Disabled. Pay for carriages and boats, or get a horse. Long journeys will leave you fatigued.
  • Health Regen – Disabled. Need food, potions, and spells to gain health.
  • Leveling – You’ll need to sleep in a bed to level up, as in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
  • Carry Weight – This one hurts. Carry weight has been significantly reduced, and encumbrance will cause fatigue.

The one bright spot in this harsh new mode – vampires and werewolves can feed on victims to restore hunger, and are more resistant to the cold weather. Embrace your dark side!

The Creation Club has been met with some harsh criticisms from the large Skyrim and Fallout fanbase. It’s a way for Bethesda to host mods on their website rather than the Steam Workshop, and make sure all mods are compatible, localized, and (mostly) bug-free. But mods have traditionally been purely community driven and curated, with the best modders often receiveing donations or even setting up Patreon accounts.

Much of what this Survival Mode adds can be found in an old mod called Frostfall, for example.

Skyrim Survival Mode is set to launch in Early October. Grab it while it’s free in the first week.

 

fallout 4

Fallout 4, Skyrim Mods Coming to PlayStation 4 – With One Big Exception

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Mod support on consoles has been an exciting new development. But after announcing full mod support for Fallout 4 and Skyrim: Special Edition for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Bethesda said that Sony had roadblocked modding with the PlayStation. It appears the companies have since compromised – mods are coming after all, but only if they use existing assets. Read More