2019 is shaping up to be an unusual year for the console game industry, as Microsoft and Sony seem to be winding down the production of games for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, looking ahead to the next console generation, all while the Nintendo Switch is still only two years into its lifespan and has a plethora of exclusive games on the way.
The release schedules of all three consoles are jam-packed with third-party titles that are appearing on multiple systems, but the most important games will be the exclusive titles that are limited to a single system, as those are the ones that prompt people to choose one console over another.
Nintendo entered 2019 with a lot of games on the schedule that had shaky release dates. The retooling of Metroid Prime 4 has also made some fans nervous that other first-party titles might be delayed until 2020. The latest Nintendo Direct helped to fill out some holes in the Switch's schedule for 2019, but will these games be enough to help the system overtake PS4 and Xbox One?
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Available Now
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is available to purchase right now. The game includes both New Super Mario Bros. U and the New Super Luigi U expansion, as well as the ability to play as Toadette, which spawned all kinds of unsavory memes. A lot of critics and fans who first saw footage of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe thought that it wasn't going to sell very well, as it didn't offer much in the way of new content over the original. The allure of Mario (and the desire to see Bowsette) were strong, however, as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe sold way more during its launch week than the original did on the Wii U.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes - Available Now
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is another Nintendo Switch exclusive that is currently available for the system. The story involves Travis Touchdown being hundred down by Badman who is the father of an assassin that Travis slew in the first No More Heroes game. Travis and Badman are both trapped within a gaming console and have to fight through several different video games in order to survive. The concept of having to switch through different genres of video games is novel, but the game received a mixed reception from critics due to the execution of its premise involving a lot of repetitive kinds of gameplay.
Yoshi's Crafted World - March 29
Yoshi's Crafted World was one of the only first-party Nintendo titles with a solid release date in 2019 for a while, but the latest Nintendo Direct added a few more games to that list, so the burden is no longer on Yoshi to carry the rest of the year. There is currently a demo available for Yoshi's Crafted World on the eShop and the game is reminiscent of the other games in the Yoshi series, as you still turn enemies into eggs and fire them at parts of the stage in order to progress. The visuals and world design of Yoshi's Crafted World are stunning, with everything look as if it was made by hand and the levels containing numerous secrets based on how the creative materials can interact with each other.
Super Mario Maker 2 - June 2019
Nintendo opened their latest Direct with the announcement for Super Mario Maker 2, which had previously been leaked online. A lot of fans expected the original Super Mario Maker to be ported to the Switch, but it seems that Nintendo is going the extra mile with a full sequel that adds new playable characters, new kinds of hazards (including automatically scrolling stages), new kinds of puzzles, new power-ups, and most importantly of all, slopes!
Super Mario Maker 2 will be adding the evil sun from Super Mario Bros. 3 to pursue the player through the stage and will allow levels to scroll vertically, which just goes to show that Nintendo has been listening to what the fans wanted from the original game. Super Mario Maker 2 will now include elements from the New Super Mario Bros. games, though it's still lacking representation from Super Mario Bros. 2.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses - July 26
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is shaping up to be one of the biggest Switch games of the summer. The plot of Fire Emblem: Three Houses has gone in an unusual direction for the series, as it has combined elements of Hogwarts from Harry Potter with the warlike setting of the Valkyria Chronicles series. The protagonist of Three Houses is a mercenary who is chosen to teach at a military academy that houses three sets of students from different nations.
The setting of Fire Emblem: Three Houses is different from the one used in earlier games and you will now control groups of units on the battlefield instead of single characters, which means that the game has the capacity to include battles of a much larger scale than those seen in previous Fire Emblem installments.
Astral Chain - August 30
Astral Chain, by PlatinumGames, was also recently announced; it's a fast-paced action game that involves controlling two different characters at once. Astral Chain is reminiscent of the Xenoblade titles in terms of visuals, but the action itself comes straight out of Platinum's playbook. The story of Astral Chain takes place in a city called Ark, which is under siege from extra-dimensional beings.
The only thing that can stop the monsters invading the city is a police unit whose members use the power of a new kind of weapon called the Legion, which you will control in battle alongside your character in order to fight two-on-one against the enemy.
The announcement of Astral Chain was a huge surprise, especially as fans were expecting to hear more news about Bayonetta 3, but a fast-paced action game made by Platinum is welcome on any system and Astral Chain looks amazing in the footage we have seen so far.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order - Summer 2019
The Marvel Ultimate Alliance series is making a comeback on Nintendo Switch, with a new storyline that focuses on the heroes of Earth battling Thanos and his Black Order, in a manner similar to that of the plot of Avengers: Infinity War, except that the X-Men are now involved.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is bringing back the four-player teams of the previous games, which you can now form with your friends using local or online multiplayer. The trailer for the game shown during the Nintendo Direct put a lot of focus on Captain Marvel's role in the game, which is likely due to how the Captain Marvel movie is going to be released in March and how she is going to have a role in Avengers: Endgame.