Does Nintendo Rely Too Much On Indies?

Nintendo has a strong digital offering, but is it overlooking store shelves?

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Monday saw Nintendo release a presentation of its ‘2018 Indie Highlights’, while Thursday brought the news that next Tuesday will bring another online presentation focusing on Indies. Tuesday’s offering promises to focus on unannounced independent games, while Monday’s highlight reel gave us updates, release dates and even a few launches. While the Switch can hardly be considered to be suffering a drought of games, with new titles seemingly being announced every day, Indie titles nevertheless continue to be an important part of the Switch’s line-up. Does Nintendo rely toZo much on digital offerings though, when the system needs more AAA titles or system sellers? With a marketing campaign that seems to focus on families, particularly in the UK, is there a place for games that are not visible on store shelves?

There’s a vertiable horde of quirky and ingenius looking titles showcased in the Indie highlights trailer, so its worth watching in full, but here are a few worth taking particular note of. Two titles became available immediately: Morphies Law and Bad North. If you go by review scores then Bad North is the one worth picking up – described as a ‘charming but brutal real-time tactics roguelite’ it looks fantastic, through ‘brutal’ certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Morphies Law looks exactly the type of game that would have graced a Nintendo console in past console generations. While its launch has been marred by some online teething problems, hopefully these get ironed out quickly. The core concept is wonderful – as you shoot your enemies you ‘steal’ their mass; meaning your grow as they shrink. Not only does this make you an easier target, but bigger limbs also give you enhanced abilities. The games art style is also worth singling out for praise, and makes the title really stand out! If you’re intrigued the trailer below should clear things up a little more:

For the retro-minded, the classic Windjammers is getting a Switch release in October, with the big surprise being that a sequel is always in the works. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is a spiritual sequel to the Wonderboy series of adventure/platformers from the Master System and Megadrive. If you’re someone who uses your Switch mostly for multi-player then Streets of RogueAs the title suggests, the game mixes beat ’em up and roguelike elements but in a four-player co-op package.

The issue of physical releases of e-shop titles continues to be a popular topic. The success of specialist retailers like Limited Run Games that produce highly-limited editions of digital titles shows the demand for physical games among Switch users. Its clearly been the case that the very successful titles, like The Binding of Isaac, Snipperclips and SteamWorld Dig 2 received retail copies on popularity alone, and sell at a much more attractive price point that AAA release. Furthermore often these physical releases receive extra content, or at least all previous DLC, to make them a definitive version – usually signified by an addition of the word ‘plus’. Hopefully this will become more popular as the Switch continues to see phenomenal Indie release.

 

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Matt Crofts
Matt is the SFFN's Retro Editor, focusing on all things old but interesting, including (but not limited to!) books, movies and video games. As a researcher in Gothic literature Matt also has an affinity for black cats, Hammer horror, and all things Dracula.