Publishers clearing house too.
Normally this week would be filled with E3 goodness and Nintendo would accompany their offering with a wide-scale digital sale. There’s no E3 but there are still plenty of deals to be found for thrifty shoppers. We’ll run down some of the best games on sale through June 16, 2020 on the Nintendo Switch eShop including The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition, Murder by Numbers, Slay the Spire, The Messenger, LEGO City Undercover, Astral Chain, and many others.
It’s a rare enough sight to see a Nintendo first-party offering discounted let alone one that isn’t even a year old. This one feels a little on the nose given the events of the world–you’re playing as a sort-of police offer in a city built after a global disaster–but Astral Chain does so many things right, particularly with its combat, and Pokemon-esque sense of collecting. It’s also an example of a game that doesn’t overstay its welcome: At 12-15 hours a playthrough it feels just right.
Perfect for: People who want a stylish action-adventure.
If a game could be described as a hug wrapped in a warm blanket then Coffee Talk would be a leading contender. This is a heavy game dealing with real issues but it’s also appropriately chill and mellow, grounding its otherwise fantastical characters in situations that will feel normal. We could all use a bit of that feeling now.
Perfect for: Killing time on a rainy day contemplating life.
Just Dance 2020
You know what you’re getting when you pick up a Just Dance game. The aesthetic, the music, the obligatory flailing of limbs that aren’t being scored, and the high score chasing are what has made this a successful series for many years. I, personally, use gameplay from YouTube to make students gesticulate wildly, no purchase necessary, thank you very much. Just Dance 2020 is a fine release that’s packaged with 40 songs, eight kid friendly tracks, and gives you a month to try their subscription service with 400+ additional songs, Just Dance Unlimited.
Perfect for: Getting “Baby Shark” out of your head and Frozen II’s “Into the Unknown” into your noggin.
Kirby Star Allies
If ever there was a game that shows Nintendo’s reluctance to sell a product that isn’t up to snuff it’s this one. When Star Allies first released it felt half-baked; any of Kirby’s 3DS offerings felt like more complete, more innovative offerings. Nintendo didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel–this is standard pink blob–but its numerous updates have made the game feel fleshed out, complete, and full of life.
Perfect for: A day of family friendly platforming.
LEGO City Undercover
LEGO City Undercover remains one of the best written games of the past decade. It exudes charm and competence every step of the way and is a game I’ve pounded the pavement for since its Wii U release. The references to classic action movies and tv series are non-stop, the open-world sandbox is a delight to play in, and the puzzles are adequate. Just play this one already, won’t ya?
Perfect for: Scratching that Grand Theft Auto itch without the gratuitous violence and, uh, other stuff the series is known for.
Murder by Numbers
Part Picross and part Phoenix Wright, Murder by Numbers blends the sudoku-like puzzle solving of the former with the sharp wit and strong characterization of the latter. While fairly linear–there’s only a handful of cases to solve–this is a blend unlike any other that feels like the first chapter of an as yet unwritten story. The writing is solid (but oh so camp) and the puzzles themselves tickled this puzzle veteran’s fancy.
Perfect for: The overlapping parts of the venn diagram for visual novel fans and puzzle addicts.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
Another contender for best writing of the past decade, the original Ori is a moody, breath-taking game full of plenty of twists and turns. It’s hard to describe it all these years later–it’s a platformer but it’s so much more–but it is a challenging take on the type of adventures you’d expect Rayman to join in, just with a more moving story.
Perfect for: Grand adventures who love Miyazaki films or want a Last Airbender style ride.
Both Overcooked – Special Edition and Overcooked 2 are discounted and they exemplify the best couch co-op has to offer. It’s a frantic affair trying to cook all the orders that come in and we’re not sure even Gordon Ramsay would be able to handle putting out the fires (and stranger obstacles) in this kitched.
66% off and 40% off
Perfect for: Having an excuse to yell at your housemates, kids, or other co-habitants.
Reigns (Kings & Queens / Game of Thrones)
When Reigns first came to iOS it was an instant obsession for me. The political intrigue reminded me of the best–and shortest–part of Fable 3, where I was given the opportunity to rule within constraints. Reigns blends this idea with the addictive swiping nature of Tinder, and packages it within its own (or Game of Thrones’ borrowed) high fantasy. Each trip through, each failure, reveals new information. It’s not quite as tactile on Switch but it’s still a fun ride.
50% off both versions
Perfect for: The political minded and those looking for a different way of experiencing medieval stories.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil is having a franchise sale right now but Resident Evil 4 remains my favourite across platforms. It reinvented how we interacted with Raccoon City, upped the action ante, and messed with our minds as Ada flitted back and forth between sides.
Perfect for: Fans of both horror and shooters and people who think Leon’s hot.
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire combines deck-building with a procedurally generated progression that rewards attention to detail, measured risk-taking, and experimenting within the game’s classes. It is a simple game in its design with complex systems underpinning it all; after many playthroughs I’m not certain I know even half of the game’s secrets. Be prepared to invest countless hours into this one.
Perfect for: “Just one more round” late night play sessions.
I first set eyes on The Messenger at a PAX South play session. I was immediately hooked on the Ninja Gaiden tough-as-nails gameplay. Then the game did something special: It switched art styles and challenged me to explore the map from a new perspective. My eyes were wide and my mouth is agape. I’ve since shared that sense of wonder with many of my friends: It’s the type of magic trick that captures the imagination. Combat is silky smooth and the plot ticks along nicely. This is a retro revival of the best kind, one that creates something entirely new from old parts.
Perfect for: People who like a challenge and eating their steak raw.
The Walking Dead (various seasons)
The point-and-click adventure genre has been mastered by the now defunct Telltale, but The Walking Dead felt like it pushed boundaries. Its story–Clem’s story–is resonant in a world we’ve seen AMC thoroughly explore on the big screen. In many ways, this is the version of the world that remembers what first captivated fans: A smaller, poignant story, with shockingly high stakes.
75% off (Final Season 50% off)
Perfect for: Eating braaaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnnsssssss.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition
It’s hard to say much about The Witcher 3 when so much has already been written. In the five years since its launch it has racked in awards for pretty much everything but Roach’s physics. It is an epic in scope and scale whose fingerprints are all over modern games and many games yet to come. The game introduced players to a different kind of mythology, to its own inventive card game, and to a cast of characters so despicable you have to find someone to like.
Perfect for: Starting your next great adventure, or revisiting an old friend.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
This is really the only game in town if you’re a fan of the now iconic TCG. 9000+ cards are contained here. Storylines from all the anime series’ arcs. Online play that’s still active. It’s a full package that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than relapsing into buying booster packs from your local comic book store.
Perfect for: Yelling it’s TIME TO D-D-D-DUEL!