Control is Remedy at the height of its abilities. Finally, the studio's expert handling of tone and story is met with gameplay that's just as engaging and refined. As an experiment in nonlinear world design, Control doesn't just stick with tried-and-true waypoints and forests. Its Oldest House is a brutalist masterpiece, and the characters inhabiting it are just as unforgettable. All told, it's going to be one of the most memorable games of the year.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze makes another strong case for the argument that Nintendo needs to port every single one of its Wii U games to the Switch. DK's latest adventure is one of the most clever, joyful platforming experiences I've had in a while, and it adds just enough newness to the series to keep the formula engaging without going overboard. There might not be enough (or anything) to convince Wii U owners to play it again, but long-lost Nintendo fans who came back for the Switch have another must-play game to add to their growing libraries.
The formula that has kept Rocket League fresh translates exceedingly well to Nintendo's hybrid system, whether docked or portable. Less polished visuals are a small price to pay to be able to play Rocket League anytime, anywhere, at a performance level that never quits, though the notable jaggies and (through no fault of its own) a hindered party system mean that the Switch version isn't the most competitive version of the game.
Monster Hunter: World has found a way to lower its barrier of entry for newcomers while still delivering an immersive experience that long-time fans of the series crave. The combat has a bit of a learning curve, and multiplayer could use a few tweaks, but no matter your experience level with the series, this will be time well spent for all hunters ready to pick up a sword, bowgun, or gunlance.
Laser League's simple concept belies a ton of hidden depth in its character classes and map-specific strategies—It's the definition of easy to learn and hard to master, without requiring mechanical godliness to succeed. While its core mode is somewhat lacking in variety and its basic gameplay might get too repetitive for some players, it already feels like a concept that's been around much longer than it has, and manages the tall order of balancing for casual and competitive gamers alike.
The Missing's clever innovations on the platforming genre are more than just gimmicks. They underline the game's deeply emotional core and create a uniquely affecting experience. Like any Swery game, you might run into some technical difficulties, but those are easy to overlook when the experience as a whole is so fully realized. The Missing is like a dream in every sense, but it's one that you won't forget after you wake up.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a must-have for Switch owners who skipped the Wii U. Packaged with two complete games and a plethora of challenges to complete, the Deluxe version will give you plenty of bang for your buck. Even if you already owned the game, it's worth trying on the Switch, if only to have a mobile, 2D Mario game at the ready. It might not be as difficult as past Mario games, but it's never not fun.
My Friend Pedro is an enthusiastic, stylish take on the shoot 'em up genre that's elevated by its complex level designs and clever puzzles. It combines so many mechanics from so many games that you might lose track, but these elements all come together to create a unified, singular experience. If you ever wondered what you'd get by crossing Hard Boiled and Super Mario Bros., it would look a lot like My Friend Pedro.
Pit People offers a ton of game to chew on, and while it might not be the deepest tactical RPG, it manages to translate The Behemoth's distinctive style while providing an entertaining, often engaging strategic experience. It might not reach the insane heights of BattleBlock Theater's take on the 2D platformer, but Pit People almost does something even more impressive, by taking an often opaque genre and turning it into an enjoyable romp.
MLB The Show 18 offers a ton of options for new players to craft their own experiences while still giving veteran players the level of depth they'd expect from the latest entry in a series that's been totally refined over the years. Some of its modes might seem a little dated, and only time will tell if MLB The Show 19 can finally be the game that makes Franchise mode a little more exciting to manage, but Road to the Show's new RPG mechanics and The Show 18‘s overall great gameplay will give players new and old plenty to enjoy.