For the past few years, Nintendo has been in stasis. Sure, t


imageFor the past few years, Nintendo has been in stasis.Sure, the Switch has seen no shortage of terrific games recently, but Nintendo’s annual slates have lacked the incandescent marquees that defined the hybrid console’s first year or two.The dry streak comes to a halting stop in 2022, which is shaping up to be a potentially banner year for Nintendo—one that’ll even see some noteworthy exclusives falling outside of the fiscally reliable sequels, remakes, and remasters tent.Let’s break it down.


Screenshot: Nintendo Pokémon Legends: Arceus What was Pokélife like before the invention of the Pokédex? That’s the question at the core of Pokémon Legends: Arceus , a spinoff of Nintendo’s signature creature collectathon series.

Set eons before the modern Pokémon games, Legends: Arceus explores the Sinnoh region, the setting for Pokémon Diamond and Pearl versions (which just received the remake treatment on Switch).Following its initial reveal, folks compared Legends: Arceus to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , but subsequent gameplay footage thus far has indicated a role-playing game with a bit more structure, something closer to Monster Hunter .

Release date: January 28, 2022

Screenshot: Square Enix Advertisement Triangle Strategy Triangle Strategy has already proven itself.Last February, Square Enix made a demo available for its new role-playing game, back when it was known as (brace yourself) Project Triangle Strategy .

Ostensibly, Triangle Strategy , which is done up in the same visually magnificent “2D HD style” as throwback games like Octopath Traveler , is a medieval-inspired tactical game à la Fire Emblem .But if the demo is any indication, you’ll spend as much time in castles and war rooms as you do on the battlefield, underscored by an unexpectedly unique conversation system that has you trying to convince allies to steer narrative branches toward outcomes you’d prefer.

Advertisement Release date: March 4, 2022

Screenshot: Nintendo Advertisement Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp Despite its name, don’t call it a reboot.Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is a compiled remake of two totemic tactical RPGs from the Game Boy Advance: 2001’s Advance Wars and 2003’s Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising .Most of the fundamental mechanics remain in place, but both games have received a graphical overhaul.Re-Boot Camp was initially planned to release on December 3, 2021, which would’ve marked the second year running in which Nintendo closed out its year with a re-release in some form of an old tactical RPG.

But in October, Nintendo pushed its release .

Advertisement Release date: Spring 2022 officially, though the eShop page lists April 8

Screenshot: Nintendo Advertisement Kirby and the Forgotten Land If Kirby Air Ride 2 is a warp pipedream, an open-world-styled Kirby is the next best thing.Kirby and the Forgotten Land , first unveiled at a September 2021 Nintendo Direct ( well, officially ), gives everyone’s favorite sentient ball of cotton candy the BotW treatment: wide-open areas, a post-apocalyptic vibe, and an impressively deep toolkit.Among the vast array of shape-shifting abilities in Kirby’s arsenal, Forgotten Land appears to feature the power of…journalism, which means this game is worth checking out if only to see how exactly that manifests.What, is Kirby gonna “Do you mind if I record this call?” enemies to death? Or maybe leveling up unlocks the “We’re publishing in an hour, if you’d care to comment” ability? Yes, Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks intriguing , even though I’m still mad at Nintendo for not titling it The Last of Puffs .

Advertisement Release date: Spring 2022

Screenshot: Nintendo Advertisement Splatoon 3 Nearly a year ago, Nintendo officially revealed Splatoon 3 not with the effervescent vibrancy so commonly associated with the series but with a striking landscape more reminiscent of, oh, a pop-art Fallout .But it’s true: the Splatoon series of shooters, this year’s Splatoon 3 included, is apparently set in the wake of a climate apocalypse .In addition to the competitive literal paintballing that’s largely defined the series, Splatoon 3 will launch with a single-player campaign.

Advertisement Release date: TBD 2022

Screenshot: Nintendo Advertisement Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope As if there weren’t already enough enticing tactical RPGs hitting Switch this year, gaming’s oddest mashup makes a comeback.

It’s almost instinctual to write the entire Mario + Rabbids gambit off as a cash-grab mashup of two megawatt franchises, but those who played the first game, 2017’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle , can attest to the quiet brilliance of its formula: XCOM -style battles mixed with Mario -patented traversal methods, like warp pipes and the secret art of “stomping on an enemy’s head.” Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is poised to further shake things up, primarily by abdicating Kingdom Battle ’s grid-based battle system in favor of one that’s more freeform in its movements.

Advertisement Release date: TBD 2022

Screenshot: Nintendo Advertisement The Sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild No, the sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild still doesn’t have a name , currently being labeled by Nintendo, in all pre-release assets, as The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild .Supposedly, the real title is under wraps so as not to preemptively reveal spoilers , but imagine how freakin’ funny it’d be if Nintendo actually just ran with “ The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ” as the title for the game that’ll be the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild .Think of all the folks who write about games every day, the people who will immediately tire of The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by sheer frequency with which they have to type out “ The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild .” (See? One week into January and I’ve exhausted my annual quota in a single paragraph.) Anyway, yeah, no title yet, nor much concrete info either, but if it’s anything like the first game—widely regarded as one of the best of all time—people will be talking about it for years.

Advertisement Release date: TBD 2022

Screenshot: Nintendo Advertisement Bayonetta 3 It’s hard to believe, given how long the tease was drawn out, but Bayonetta 3 is real , and it’s coming out on Switch later this year—five years after its development was first announced .The first trailer showed off more hack-and-slash action and giant monsters.Plus, early peeks suggest the story will be suitably bonkers, in line with the Wikipedia-mandatory complexity for which the series is known.Fans are convinced , for instance, that the player character is Cereza, rather than Bayonetta, the protagonist of the first two games; others seem to think Bayonetta 3 will feature a Devil May Cry cameo of some sort.

Advertisement Release date: TBD 2022

Far: Changing Tides .

Screenshot: Frontier Foundry Advertisement Non-exclusive games Of course, some of the most promising Switch games of 2022 aren’t developed by Nintendo—and aren’t always Switch exclusives.

Here are some standouts:

Advertisement Bear and Breakfast is a management sim in which you play a bear striving to turn a dilapidated shack into the ne plus ultra of woodside BnBs.No specific release date, but it’s also coming to PC.Dark Deity , which is currently playable via early access on PC, is a Fire Emblem-inspired tactical RPG (yes, another one) planned for a Switch release some time this year.Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is as close to a sequel as the law will allow for Jet Set Radio, a beloved 22-year-old platformer that Sega has criminally neglected for decades.When it launches at an unspecified date this year, it’ll also come to PC.Far: Changing Tides , a follow-up to 2018’s meditative and captivating Far: Lone Sails , is a sailing game with a painterly art style so gorgeous it belongs in a museum, or, like, one of those stupid-fancy galleries in Chelsea.It’s “ coming soon ” to basically all of the platforms, but seems like the sort of game you’d want to curl up with by a window on a rainy day—i.e.

on the Switch.If nothing else, 2022 will be the year of the tactical RPG.Metal Slug Tactics , a spinoff of the classic Metal Slug series of run-and-gun games, hits Switch and PC later this year.Neon White eludes easy categorization, but that’s what makes this genre-bending speedrun shooter so enticing.

It’s slated for release on Switch and PC “early 2022.” Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is the first game out of Night School Studio since Netflix bought the outfit last September.Lost Signals doesn’t have a release date yet, but the developer swears that infusion of Netflix cash won’t impact its release, currently slated for Switch, PC, and PlayStation.Breath of the Sonic Frontiers , the first open-world Sonic game, is coming to all of the platforms, including the Switch.Screenshots shown thus far indicate a game sporting the fidelity of next-gen console games, for which 4K resolution is de rigueur.

Just sayin’.(No loop-de-loops seen thus far, however.) TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge , a beat-em-up starring the biggest pizza lovers of the ‘90s, is planned for a Switch and PC release later this year.


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