We’re pretty sure Nintendo didn’t originally plan their major Christmas release to be a Zelda spin-off developed by an outside studio (Koei Tecmo), but then, 2020 has scrubbed plans across the board. Our guess is that at least one other first-party release was due around now, pushed into 2021 for the obvious reason. Nevertheless, it’s a busy week with a handful of big third-party games due.

First, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity review scores. The Dynasty Warriors alike has, predictably, gained mostly favourable reviews – IGN, GameSpew and TheSixthAxis felt it was worthy of a 9/10 while God is a Geek opted for an 8.5. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, with some middling reviews dragging the Metacritic down. GameSpot was disappointed by the number of grinding missions and some performance issues. Likewise, VCG claimed it’s crying out for better hardware with the humble Switch buckling under the strain. The Metro, meanwhile, simply found it too simplistic. It’s worth noting that they aren’t too keen on the Dynasty Warriors series, mind.

Sniper Elite V4 has been getting great reviews too, boasting an 80% Metacritic. “There may be some slightly rough edges, with duff writing, naff characters and gameplay that doesn’t change much from start to finish but, overall, this is playful sniper’s paradise that lands on Switch in a truly impressive port,” said Nintendo Life before dishing out an 8/10.

Nintendo Life also gave Wales Interactive’s FMV rom-com Five Dates a going over, resulting in a 6/10. This hour-long dating spree takes around an over to finish, offering 750+ possible outcomes. While they found the execution commendable, they were at a loss over who it’s actually aimed at.

Then there’s the strategic construction sim spin-off Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, which The Xbox Hub took a look at. They ultimately enjoyed slaughtering the festering undead: “Killing walkers by conjuring up weird contraptions is fun, while the new hero commands add a whole extra layer to the strategic affair,” they said.

After a week delay, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is finally out too. We’ve mentioned (and even reviewed) this one already. In short, it’s a brilliant mix of rice farming, demon hack ‘n slashing, and home cooking – the three gameplay types somehow work incredibly well, and it’s accompanied by smooth visuals including a day/night cycle with picturesque views.

Others to consider include the rogue-like Star Renegades – which went down well on PC – the three game-strong Serious Sam Collection, space agency sim Mars Horizon, pixel art platformer Micetopia, and Big Ben’s Monster Truck Championship.

Something called Fall Gummies is out too, presumably so-called so that it appears whenever someone searches for ‘Fall Guys’. Cheeky or smart? We’re undecided.  

New Switch eShop releases

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – £49.99

Play as Link and Zelda, along with Impa and the four Champions of Hyrule, as they try to stop the kingdom from being brought to ruin by Calamity Ganon. Together, battle against the encroaching darkness and rewrite the kingdom’s destiny!

Experience a unique story featuring familiar faces from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and see Hyrule from a different perspective – before the Great Calamity struck.

Sniper Elite 4 – £34.99

Experience tactical third-person combat, gameplay choice and epic sharpshooting across gigantic levels as you liberate World War 2 Italy from the grip of fascism.

Unrivalled sniping freedom. Complete the campaign your way

Epic longshots with bone-crushing X-ray kill cam

Team-up or go head-to-head with local & online multiplayer

Feel every shot with HD rumble & pan the battlefield with gyroscopic controls

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin – £34.99

Spoiled harvest goddess Sakuna finds herself banished from her opulent celestial home to an island overrun with demons. In the untamed wilderness, she must rediscover her birthright as the daughter of a warrior god and harvest goddess by weathering the elements, fighting monsters, and cultivating rice, the source of her power. By her side in this forbidding place is her guardian Tama and a group of outcast humans. Together, these unlikely companions must join hands to tame both the soil and the demons of Hinoe Island.

Developed by Edelweiss, the indie team behind the acclaimed Astebreed, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin combines side-scrolling action with deep crafting and farming simulation in a powerful tale about finding one’s place in the world.

Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead – £11.99

Experience the fun of KILLING WALKERS using the POWER of your BRAIN!

Prepare for the ultimate mashup experience! Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead combines the legendary and challenging puzzle gameplay of Bridge Constructor™ with the post-apocalyptic zombie universe of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Join a group of survivors as they fight against hordes of undead walkers and a hostile human community. Build bridges and other constructions through bleak landscapes and ruined structures. Team up with fan-favorite characters like Daryl, Michonne and Eugene, and create safe passage for iconic vehicles from the series.

Use movable level objects, explosives and baits to your advantage as you lure walkers into lethal traps and guide your survivors to safety. Enjoy the physics-based frenzy and ragdoll animations as walkers succumb to the forces of gravity.

Serious Sam Collection – £26.99

Experience one of the most explosive shooter game series of all time as you save the world from a merciless alien invasion. Visit the ruins of ancient Egypt and roam through the vivid arenas of South America fighting seemingly never-ending hordes of enemies using an extremely destructive arsenal including shotguns, heavy lasers, rocket launchers, a huge cannon and an iconic minigun.

Tired of playing alone? Go to war against Mental’s horde with up to 4 players in local co-op, blasting your way through the campaign or the stand-alone survival mode. Finally, put your skills to the test against other players in classic multiplayer modes including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and more.

Serious Sam Collection includes all content from Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter and Serious Sam 3: BFE, including The Legend of the Beast and Jewel of the Nile expansions.

Travel Mosaics 6: Christmas Around the World – £7.19

The festive season is here, and the Walkers have prepared the most adventurous celebration imaginable! Do you know where Santa’s residence is? What is the most common Czech Chistmas treat? Where can you find the largest floating Christmas tree? Learn these fun facts and more in Travel Mosaics 6: Christmas Around the World!

The holiday special edition of Travel Mosaics features your favorite nonogram puzzles mixed together with the festive spirit! Each puzzle is handcrafted and features a recognizable Christmas-themed picture that is revealed as you play.

The game is suitable for players of all skill levels: choose the easy mode for relaxed gameplay or test your skills in the difficult mode. As you play, you can collect cute souvenirs from all over the world to decorate Walker’s living room. All of this and much more awaits you in the holiday special of Travel Mosaics!

Mars Horizon – £14.99

In Mars Horizon, you take control of a major space agency, leading it from the dawn of the space age through to landing astronauts on Mars. Guide your agency through the space race and write your alternate history of space travel – any of the agencies can be the first to land on The Moon if you make the right choices.

You’re in charge of every element of the journey into space: success rides on your decisions.

Will you push to stay ahead of the other agencies, or focus on testing and research? There are multiple ways to ensure the first person on Mars is under your command. Every choice matters: will you invest in the most advanced technology or take risks in the rush to the red planet?

Truck Driver – £44.99

When you inherit a truck from your father, you decide to take your chance and move to a new city. Here, it’s up to you to make a name for yourself and earn the respect of the local community. Drive through a seamless open world, work with all kinds of people ranging from a constructor to a lumberjack and honor your father by making it as a Truck Driver!

Flatland: Prologue – £1.79

Run as fast and precise as you can through Flatland, a minimalist neon-style world that is about to change forever. This is a fast-paced hardcore platformer with hand-crafted levels and challenges.

Five Dates – £9.99

Five Dates is an interactive rom-com about the unpredictable world of digital dating. With five potential female matches, Vinny explores whether compatibility, chemistry and connection is still possible in a world where physical touch is no longer an option.

Vinny, a millennial from London, joins a dating app for the first time while living in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. With five potential female matches, Vinny must pluck up courage to video date with wildly different personalities, starring Mandip Gill and Georgia Hirst.

Pure Pool – £12.49

Enjoy the most realistic and immersive simulation of cue sports on Nintendo Switch, with stunning 1080p visuals and more ways than ever to play pool and snooker!

Nexoria: Dungeon Rogue Heroes – £4.49

This game is a unique mix of rogue-like with dungeon exploration, RPG, turn-based tactics and collectible card game. At the base of the turn-based system are not turns, but time. Find and improve new heroes and get coins to buy new spells. But remember, a hero’s death will be fatal.

Karma Knight – £6.89

Karma Knight is a fast paced 2D side-scrolling platform action game with stylish combat.

Find hidden items in the stages, collect different spells, defeat the enemies as you gain more experience and enjoy the overall platform action game style.

Eldrador Creatures – £31.49

Plunge into the world of Eldrador® Creatures in this turnbased strategy game. Go into combat together with your favourite Eldrador® Creatures in the Battle for the 4 Worlds and defeat the other teams so that you can call the mighty Superweapon your own and rule over Eldrador!

Art Sqool – £8.99

In ART SQOOL you are Froshmin, and it’s your freshman year. Create art, explore the beautiful, mysterious, sprawling campus, and complete tasks given to you by the professor.

The professor is a neural network, an art-trained A.I., as well as your faculty advisor. He uses his high-tech capabilities to objectively grade your work. The campus is spread over a number of floating islands and filled with bizarrely shaped objects and bizarre plants. In addition to that, you can fly around.

Brawl Chess – £8.99

Are you ready to become a champion? Choose your hero and challenge other players in this family-friendly game with a lively cartoon style. Train your brain and bond with your loved ones at the same time.

In this fantasy world, one of brave heroes leads your chess army to victory.

Cartoon visuals make the game accessible to everyone. What’s going on there! Arrows fly above heads and swords break in the heat of battle. Or maybe you prefer classic chess? You can always change your pieces to traditional ones.

Brawl Chess connects generations in a multiplayer, but a single player will also appeal to players of all ages. There are 5 levels of difficulty. The first is great for children to learn. The fifth is suited for chess veterans who are looking for a serious challenge.

The Casino -Roulette, Video Poker, Slot Machines, Craps, Baccarat- – £8.99

Play Roulette, Video Poker, Slot Machines, Craps, and Baccarat all in one collection!

Experience the thrill of earning coins at an affordable price!

Micetopia – £4.99

Welcome to the medieval, magical kingdom of Micetopia, where mice live in freely an idyllic country village. Unfortunately as the story begins forces of evil have taken away all the mice except for the one elder remaining. Can you become the hero of Micetopia and save your villagers from the dark minions?

In Micetopia you play as a brave mouse who must fight, jump, and explore its way through a world of mystery. Overcome enemies, gain new powers and rescue your compatriots from the clutches of their captors. Do you have what it takes for the elder to bestow upon you the title “Hero of Micetopia?”

Fall Gummies – £6.99

Fall Gummies is a relaxing, colorful 3D puzzle game. The story takes place in a fantastic world of happy jellies. Unfortunately one day a huge meteorite hit the planet pushing it towards the black hole. It sucked all the emotions out of the planet and then collapsed. Help our little friends to regain their happiness by collecting the magical essence through the labyrinth!

Ramp Car Jumping – £13.49

Flip – spin – careen – and barrel roll!

The faster you go, the further you fly and the more stuff gets demolished!

Santa’s Xmas Adventure – £7.19

Santa had an accident! He lost his way, and all the gifts. Help him get to his goal by sliding tiles to form a path.

A classic puzzle game which is harder than it looks! 720 levels across three modes to master.

Test your skills and join Santa’s adventure! When you’re stuck, use a hint. The game is accessible to players of all ages and abilities through the Hints system.

Are you up for the challenge?

Fantasy Friends – £24.99

Fantasy Friends takes place in a gorgeous fantasy forest where anything is possible! With the help of Aurea, the magic fairy, you will care for 12 adorable new pet friends! Take care of them and make sure you give them all the love they need. If you do, your pets will grow up and play with you!

The more you care for them, keeping them happy and healthy, the more mana you will earn. Use your mana to get new creatures, buy them new clothes or even cooler toys to play with, and decorate the forest with incredible fun items!

GRISAIA PHANTOM TRIGGER 05 – £13.49

Several years after Yuuji Kazami and his friends fought for their lives in a fierce battle, a new generation of heroines gather at Mihama Academy, which has been reinstated as a ‘specialist training school’.

Taking place in the same world as The Fruit of Grisaia, new characters bring an exciting fresh take in the fifth story of this brand new series!

This thrilling story, which unfolds at the reborn Mihama Academy, will undoubtedly excite not only those who have played previous releases, but those who are new to the series as well!

Educational Games for Kids – £11.95

You are a parent and you are trying to relax a little by playing your favorite game. Your child keeps asking you to let them try it…

But this game is not suitable for children (because it’s a little scary and not educational at all). Does this situation sound familiar?

At last: a well thought-out, smart, polished, ‘console quality’ educational game pack is out for your kids.

Outbreak – £11.69

Explore a nightmarish environment, scrounge for supplies, and battle the undead in Outbreak — a hardcore survival horror game. The clock never stops as you attempt to manage an extremely limited inventory with a murderous horde on the hunt. Choose between acquiring additional weapons, healing items, or necessary tools for progression. Play through the Campaign and Onslaught Modes alone or with a friend in local co-op, including the option for AI teammates. Also experience small survivor horror vignettes in the Nightmares mode. You have only one life. Make it count!

Azurebreak Heroes – £6.29

Escape the Prison-World!

Through the bizarre, colorful, yet dark areas of Heldia, Heroes look for a way to escape a demonic grasp.

Azurebreak Heroes is a 2D RPG with roguelite elements. Battle otherworldly creatures, enhance your skills, unlock new heroes and choose the upgrades you want while looking for a way to escape a prison-world of Heldia.

Star Renegades – £19.99

A service robot named J5T-1N has arrived in your dimension to warn of impending doom from an overwhelming force known as the Imperium.

Fight for survival across a procedurally generated and emergent mission-based campaign through reactive, tactical turn-based battle system that emphasizes interrupts and counters. Standing in your way is an intelligent Adversary system with enemy officers that evolve and move up in the ranks.

As your band of heroes fall in the fight against invading Imperium and hope is all but lost, J5T-1N must be sent to the next dimension with everything you’ve learned to give the next group of heroes a chance to prevail. Each dimension, and each playthrough is unique, challenging, and never the same.

Monster Truck Championship – £34.99

From Las Vegas to Orlando, go head-to-head against experienced drivers in drag races and freestyle competitions! But before you can pull off doughnuts, wheelies and bicycles, you must first tune your truck to perfection. These machines are spectacular and impressive yet highly technical to drive. The game faithfully reproduces all the unique demands of mastering these powerful trucks, including independent front and rear wheel management, mass transfer anticipation in bends, and predicting bounces after jumps.

But what’s performance without style? Customise your Monster Truck to reflect your style and show it off to your 7 opponents in online mode.

Dreamo – £13.49

DREAMO is a puzzle-solving journey through a shifting landscape of recollections.

In DREAMO, you wake up on an island as Jack Winslow. Guided by the voice of Tara Moreau, an inventor/therapist, you set out to piece together your missing memories. These fragments are locked in “Artifacts”, which manifest in your mind as cubes with misplaced gears. As you delve deeper into your mind, the puzzles grow more complex in an effort to keep your memories locked away.

Can you decipher them and unlock the secrets of your mind?

Next week: Tracks – Toybox Edition, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues, 2URVIVE, Out of Space: Couch Edition, My Aunt is a Witch, QV, Sky Mercenaries Redux, Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition, Maid of Sker, The Explorer of Night, BFF or Die, Tiny World Racing, Girabox, More Dark, and Grindstone