Of the new games announced, the strangest was possibly Tetris 99, which could be best described as a block puzzle take on the battle royale genre popularised by Fortnite. Nintey-nine players take on the classic game at the same time in an online match, inflicting handicaps on others when they make big combos, until only one is standing. This is a free-to-download game available today, and is clearly meant to drive interest in the Nintendo Switch Online service, a paid membership that allows online play.
Elsewhere Nintendo gave extensive new looks at its other 2019 games including Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Yoshi’s Crafted World and Daemon X Machina, with the latter two receiving downloadable demos today. There was no sign of the Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion or Gen 8 Pokemon games which are expected to launch late this year, but a new exclusive from Bayonetta and Nier Automata developers Platinum was revealed in the form of Astral Chain.
Taken together the announcements paint a picture of a strong, if unconventional, first-party lineup for the Switch’s third year. After a blockbuster debut which saw both brand new Zelda and Mario games in the same year (as well as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe; currently the system’s highest-selling game), 2018 saw new entries in the comparatively smaller Kirby, Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. series propped up a Pokemon spinoff, ports of older games and an incredible influx of indies.
Though Zelda and Mario returning this year, albeit in throwback formats that speak to the company’s long history, the rate of indies and third-party ports to the system don’t seem to be slowing. During the direct Nintendo showed off Switch versions of Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed III, Dragon Quest XI, Dragon Quest Builders 2, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Rune Factory 4, Unravel 2, Deltarune, Grid Autosport and Dead by Daylight.
The company also revealed new indie games Oninaki (from the developers of Lost Sphear) and Boxboy + Boxgirl, announced that the old-school favourite Final Fantasy IX is releasing for download on Switch today, and teased new content add-on content for 2018 games Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Starlink and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.