Season of Switch: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Over a month has gone by since the debut of the Nintendo Switch (the inspiration for Season of Switch), and it looks like it’s a runaway success – Nintendo’s latest console has sold around 1 million units since March 3, making it the fastest-selling Nintendo console! Also, the company announced some new games for the Switch in its April 12th Nintendo Direct.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (also known as Luigi’s Mansion 2 in some regions), released for the 3DS in 2013 as a part of the Year of Luigi, had some big shoes to fill as the successor to Luigi’s Mansion for the GameCube, released in 2001. The original brought Luigi out of his brother’s shadow as he explored a haunted mansion, guided by Professor E. Gadd (pun intended), inventor of the Poltergust 3000 (another pun intended) that Luigi uses to capture ghosts inhabiting the mansion. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon brings Luigi to the aptly-named Evershade Valley, where he is recruited again by E. Gadd to explore not one but five different mansions (Gloomy Manor, Haunted Towers, Old Clockworks, Secret Mine, and Treacherous Mansion) to capture ghosts that went out of control after the Dark Moon was shattered.

Part of the beauty of this game is that there are all kinds of secrets and surprises scattered throughout each mansion. Unsuspecting pots may contain money (in the form of Mario-style coins as well as bills), Boos, or nothing at all, and Luigi can use the new-and-improved Poltergust 5000 to suck up carpets on the floor and “fake walls” that can lead to treasure or secret rooms. There are also gems hidden in each mansion; some are obvious, but others require quite a bit of searching. In fact, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon takes secret-searching so seriously that the Poltergust even has a new function: the Dark-Light Device, which can uncover hidden objects and Boos.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a worthy successor to the original and adds even more enjoyable aspects to Luigi’s ghost-hunting adventure. Check out the first mission of the game in Gloomy Manor:

Season of Switch: Xenoblade Chronicles

Until a few years ago, Xenoblade Chronicles (2010) wasn’t very well-known; it wasn’t advertised too much, and it almost didn’t come to the US. In 2014, however, that began to change when Xenoblade’s main character Shulk was added to the roster of playable characters. Since then, the game has seen a New 3DS remake, a sequel (Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U), and another sequel (Xenoblade Chronicles 2) for the Switch later this year. So what makes this game so critically acclaimed yet almost unnoticed at the same time?

The main premise of Xenoblade Chronicles is that the Homs (basically humans) of the titan Bionis are fighting the Mechon (machines) of the titan Mechonis. Mechon armor is invulnerable to all weapons except for one, the Monado, wielded by a Homs named Dunban. He swiftly beats the Mechon back, but a year later the Mechon invade Bionis again, this time with larger units that have faces; these Face Mechon can’t be hurt by the Monado. One Face Mechon, the creatively-named Metal Face, attacks Colony 9, the home of Shulk and Dunban, and seems to have killed Dunban’s sister Fiora. Shulk (who now wields the Monado) and his friend Reyn seek vengeance against Metal Face, so their adventure begins.

Xenoblade wouldn’t be an RPG without some form of combat. You explore the world with three characters (one you control and two others that follow) even when more than three join Shulk on his quest, and those three battle enemies and bosses. To me, one of the most interesting battle mechanics is the Monado itself. Even if Shulk isn’t one of the three active characters, you’ll sometimes receive visions of what the enemy will do, and you’ll have a bit of time to do something to change the future.

The beauty of the world of Xenoblade comes from the fact that nothing you think you know is really true, and many questions emerge: Why were Bionis and Mechonis created? Where did the Monado come from? Are Mechon really the enemy? Why can Shulk see the future? And most importantly, why do Bionis and Mechonis have to keep fighting? Sure, the graphics may be a bit blocky, but Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best RPGs I’ve played to date.

Here’s the opening of the game:

Season of Switch: Super Mario Galaxy

Welcome to the first-ever Season of Switch post! Kicking off this season is, of course, the launch of the Nintendo Switch itself four days ago; it’s been sold out almost everywhere since then. In fact, it’s said that the Switch has sold faster than the Wii did in its first few days after launch! While there have been a few hardware (screen bezels scratching when docking) and software (Joy-Con syncing) issues, reviews are mostly positive. The console has real potential, and that will continue to be shown through software fixes and new games that will be released over time.

Anyway, it’s time for the first game feature: Super Mario Galaxy!

Super Mario Galaxy, released in 2007, holds special significance for me: it’s the first Mario game I ever played. I was drawn in by its stunning, bright graphics, motion-control-powered gameplay, and the story, and I had to know more about and play more of the Mario series. Plus, two years after its release, I created The E Club, which was (and still is) about Mario.

While the story is rather simple, it is compelling at the same time: Bowser attacks the Mushroom Kingdom during the Star Festival and kidnaps Peach. Mario is thrown out into space where he wakes up on a mysterious planet. Eventually, he finds his way to a crippled Comet Observatory, the hub of the game. He learns that Bowser stole its power supply, Power Stars, to travel the universe. Peach is in the center of the universe with Bowser, and the only way to get there is to restore power to the Observatory by getting the Power Stars back. It’s not the most complex plot, sure, but throughout the game it’s not only Peach you’re trying to save – the fates of Rosalina, the creator of the Comet Observatory, the Lumas, her star-shaped companions, and the entire universe (which Bowser’s trying to conquer) are in your hands. Plus, Mario (and, if you do enough, Luigi) utilizes his new spin power to travel across galaxies and planetoids within those galaxies, discovering unique life forms, anomalous Prankster Comets, and yes, Star Bits to collect. But Super Mario Galaxy still feels like a Mario game – just on a more cosmic level.

Though the Wii and one of its flagship titles may seem aged at this point with the launch of Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Galaxy (along with its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, released in 2010) hasn’t aged at all; no other game quite captures the mixture of the lightheartedness of Mario, new 3D gameplay mechanics, and a surprisingly epic and intense story embodied by Super Mario Galaxy. But when Super Mario Odyssey comes out later this year, we’ll see.

To finish off this feature of Super Mario Galaxy, here’s one of my favorite galaxies in the game: Buoy Base Galaxy.

It’s the Season of Switch!

Tomorrow, March 3, 2017, is a very significant day for all of us Nintendo fans. That’s right – one of Nintendo’s most hotly-anticipated consoles, formerly known as NX, will finally be here: Nintendo Switch. Seeing this, I decided that it’s finally time for The E Club to have a piece of the action for the first time really since the early Wii years: Here on E’s Blog, it’s the Season of Switch.

What is Season of Switch? Well, back in June when The E Club 3.0 was first released to the public, I outlined a new feature on the site called Games of Note, where I would cover a variety of Nintendo games, Mario among others. Now, this idea has evolved in order to celebrate and more effectively cover the release of Nintendo Switch – (almost) every week, a Nintendo game will be featured right here on E’s Blog, as well as news and release dates about the Switch itself and new games! And the games I feature don’t even have to be for the Switch; in fact, the first game I’m going to feature this week was (and still is) one of The E Club’s very inspirations back in 2009: Super Mario Galaxy. And who knows – you may discover a game you’ve never heard of before.

How long will Season of Switch be? There are so many games to feature that I can’t put a definitive end date on it.

Make sure to check in every week for a new entry in The E Club’s Season of Switch!