As is usually the case, several publishers and developers have held their new Switch releases back until the festive reason, simply to get premium placing on the eShop – many younger gamers will no doubt find a shiny new Switch under the Christmas tree this year, and any eShop credit will likely be burning a hole in their digital pocket.

This week looks a little light on new releases. Next week, however, is surprisingly busy – we expected two or three games at the most, yet there’s a handful of intriguing titles.

In the run-up to Christmas, we can expect the arcade-style Horatio Goes Snowboarding – inspired by a certain now-controversial retro game – the well-received interactive thriller Twelve Minutes, gravity-based Metroidvania lite Carebotz, and the action rogue-lite Tunnel of Doom – which has ‘mostly positive’ reviews on Steam.

Casual puzzler Merry Christmas Snowball Bubble looks to be inspired by Puzzle Bobble, meanwhile.

Then next week look out for Cave’s arcade shooter bundle Deathsmiles I・II, Atari’s arcade revamp Asteroids: Recharged, the pixel art sci-fi adventure Lacuna – which boasts an impressive 88% Metacritic – and the promising sci-fi shooter Hollow 2, which is still showing as ‘coming soon’ on Steam.

Nintendo Life gave Deathsmiles a spin. “Driven by an excellent set of punchy organ arrangements and murky musical notes, Deathsmiles I & II is a very large Halloween-themed cake; an exuberant, gothic flourish punctuated by enduring bosses and a unique route-and-rank structure that encourages experimental replays,” they said before dishing out an 8/10.

The 3DS gets a new release too – Harold Reborn, a sequel to Harold’s Walk. It’s a Christmas miracle!

This week’s Switch eShop releases

Horatio Goes Snowboarding – £6.29

Paying homage to classic skiing and winter sports action of the past, Horation Goes Snowboarding is an arcade-inspired experience that’s straightforward and addictive, purely focused on thrilling gameplay without a story or complex mechanics to weigh it down! Start every run with a bunch of money and the urge to snowboard, then hire a board and head to the waiting chopper while avoiding traffic along the way. Once you’re airlifted the top of a mountain, it’s time to start your chaotic descent!

Courses are randomly generated to keep things interesting every time you play, and obstacles get increasingly tricky as you progress! Move your board left and right as you plunge downhill, racking up points by going through slalom gates and adding to your score multiplier as long as you don’t miss any. But watch out for the yeti! If you wipe out on the slopes, you’ll have to pay hospital fees, and running out of money means game over. It’s an endless cycle of snowy score attack fun, topped off with leaderboards to prove you’re the raddest boarder on the mountains!

Gardener’s Path – £4.99

Gardener’s Path is a top-down turn-based puzzle game, about fighting giant insects and protecting underground gardens.

Solve increasingly elaborate puzzles scattered throughout 60 handcrafted gardens, each one with their own set of friends and foes. Take the advantage in a fight by wielding powerful artifacts, allowing you to travel back in time and perform elemental attacks.

Fulfill your duty as a gardener, and fight against the pest of giant insects, to protect the ones you love.

Zombie Watch – £10.79

Welcome to the world of Zombie Watch! You are one of a few people who survived a virus that has infected most of the population and turned them into flesh-eating zombies. They may be dead but they are not resting in peace and they will come after you. Take on the challenge of survival in a harsh and brutal environment and prove you can conquer them all.

Zombie Watch is a top-down survival game that will take you to the post-apocalyptic world, where you are going to encounter numerous zombies and wildlife. Gather, mine, scavenge for resources and build a self-sustaining base with defenses to fend off the incoming zombie hordes. Craft or find weapons, armor, medicine, and much more.

Twelve Minutes – £19.99

TWELVE MINUTES is a real-time top-down interactive thriller with an accessible click and drag interface.

What should be a romantic evening with your wife turns into a nightmare when a police detective breaks into your home, accuses your wife of murder and beats you to death…

Only for you to find yourself immediately returned to the exact moment you opened the front door, stuck in a TWELVE-MINUTE time loop, doomed to relive the same terror again and again…

Unless you can find a way to use the knowledge of what’s coming to change the outcome and break the loop.

Featuring James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe.

Match Three Pirates II – £8.99

After Bobby has freed all pirates from the clutches of the ruthless Davy Jones, the pirates are finally enjoying a free life. They feel at home on their happy island, however without the joyful, carefree laughter of children, Pirate Island is awful quiet. Then, suddenly the clever Bobby has a brilliant idea. The pirate captain suggests building a theme park in the pirate world. This will be a 100% guaranty that laughter and joy will be all over the island. Help the pirates in this cheerful Match 3 Game to build an amazing amusement park to change the island into a world full of adventure and fun! 

Creepy Balls – £5.99

Help the mysterious cat to lead the pumpkin to its final target. To do this, you need to get all the same coloured balls together to get through. The more you can get, the better. There are no limits!

Carebotz – £13.49

Carebotz is a twin-stick arena shooter game spiced with metroidvania elements. You control BIBZ, a little maintenance droid. Collect the tons of blueprints, navigate the tight corridors, customize your toolset, learn to take advantage of gravity, upgrade, repair and encounter many different types of enemies! The journey is full of secrets, surprises. Discover the factory carefully as danger lurks everywhere, avoid deadly obstacles using your hover engine. The levels require investigation, and often patience and exploration are the key to survival.

Lynn, The Girl Drawn On Puzzles – £6.59

■ A Girl Drawn in the Oriental Art

Journey with 「Lynn」 the beautiful and magnificent world of oriental art created by the Nine-tailed Fox!

■ Tackle Stages full of Puzzles

Help 「Lynn」 escape the maze by strategically moving the rooms.

Challenge over 100 puzzles filled with unique gimmicks!

■ Traditional Aesthetics and Soundtracks of the East

Appreciate the unique beauty of the oriental aesthetics, and soundtracks containing both modern and traditional styles!

Will 「Lynn」 be able to escape the unknown world and find the Fox Orb?

And what Fox’s story will the drawings reveal?

Tunnel of Doom – £12.59

Tunnel of Doom takes place in 1903 at Goldcrest, a small mining town. Due to an unknown incident, the mayor has shut down the mine until further notice. With her husband trapped inside, Angel enters the mine to investigate and search for survivors. Little does she know, hordes of ghoulish creatures are lurking in the darkness…

An action rogue-lite hybrid, Tunnel of Doom mixes tower-defense with melee and ranged combat gameplay. Gather resources and use what you find to battle waves of monsters as you try to rescue survivors and escape the mine.

Teratopia – £8.99

Join Tucho in his quest to rescue his friends and liberate the colorfully grotesque lands of Teratopia! Traverse 13 unique zones packed with enemies bent on overtaking your homeland. But fear not! The power of friendship arms you with fellow Teratopians and a diverse set of skills to face a family of red invaders.

Immerse yourself in an adventure full of action, and strategize on-the-go to better overcome your foes! Play as either Tucho the brawler, Benito the shooter, or Horacio the trickster, each with their own strengths and skills.

Jigsaw Fun: Greatest Cities – £12.99

Enjoy 100 hand-picked, high quality, images to solve of cities from all around the world. Change the size of your puzzle for increased difficulty and solve jigsaws up to 600 pieces. You can also play with up to 4 players to solve jigsaws together!

8 & 9 Ball Pocket – £10.79

8 & 9 Ball Pocket brings you eight-ball pool and nine-ball pool, also known as American billiards. You can compete with up to 4 friends or against the AI in Versus mode, or challenge the best in the world in Arcade mode, where you can make combo shots and rack up points to become Number 1 in the online ranking. All of this comes in a setting with great graphics and Jazz music.

Merry Christmas Snowball Bubble – £5.39

While you play, create mythical ***Christmas*** characters by matching the bubbles that are the same colour.

You can make ‘Combos’ or get various special ‘PowerUps’, such as the guided rocket, the destructive bomb and the laser blaster, all with the aim of reaching the top of the scoreboard.

Beautiful and nostalgic graphics set in a charming toy store from long ago, which will take you back to your most retro childhood.

Relaxing and immersive game where you’ll be trapped until you discover which unusual character is hiding behind each snowball.

Pure Chase 80’s – £13.49

Travel through different locations around the world with “no loading times”. From the Egyptian desert to the snowy Alps, through cities, The american west, caves… and many more locations for you to discover on your adventure.

Real-time weather changes. You’ll go from day to night and back again, while going full throttle in harsh weather conditions such as fog, rain, snow, thunder, etc.

American Man – £8.99

Help a true American hero to defeat the evil forces of foreign countries that took over control of the poor animals, making them turn into frightful soldiers through advanced genetic experiments. That manpower, or rather, “animal power”, makes up the most fierce army against a one man army that could ever exist. That one man is known as American Man.

Planet Quiz: Learn & Discover – £10.79

Planet Quiz is a charming way to expand your knowledge about Earth, animals, culture… and a guaranteed fun time for you and your friends.

Cold Silence – £4.49

This is minimalistic horror platformer about survival at snowy mountains. Follow the mysterious voice from the radio, fight your fears and reveal the truth!

New on 3DS eShop

Harold Reborn – £10.79

Uncover the secrets in an unusual and mysterious realm by searching the overworld and 9 sub-worlds for over 90+ hidden objects and mysterious messages.

Harold’s new abilities will have him rocketing over hills and across wide gaps at ultra fast speeds.

Walk right into a new adventure.

Next week’s Switch eShop releases

Deathsmiles I・II – £35.99

Deathsmiles is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up game set in the alternate world of Gilverado, where girls known as “Angels” take center stage.

The game features an exotic world imbued with gothic horror themes, adorable character designs, and intuitive controls that will keep you coming back for more.

Asteroids: Recharged – £7.99

The original space shooter warps to the modern era! Asteroids: Recharged has been reimagined for modern gameplay, with vibrant visuals, powerful new abilities, and another original soundtrack from award-winning video game composer Megan McDuffee.

Asteroids: Recharged creates a familiar, but revitalized and modern challenge to both old school and new high score chasers. And 30 unique and creative challenge levels take the space shooting game play into new territory, complete with local and global leaderboards.

An entirely new collection of power-ups — including spread shots, rail guns, reflector shields, and more — will help stave off splintering asteroids and aggressive UFOs. Co-op play lets you play with a friend, and ramps up the intensity as players do their best to coordinate and survive.

Menseki: Area maze puzzles – £4.49

That satisfying feeling that comes from solving a puzzle! Presenting the novel Japanese logic puzzle game that’s been attracting attention from around the world!

Find your way to the solution, deducing unknown lengths and areas from known lengths and areas.

All you need is the “length x breadth = area” formula for calculating the area of a rectangle!

Lacuna – £17.99

Here’s the deal

You are Neil Conrad, CDI agent. Awoken by the news of a murder, you rush into a case that will soon turn your life and the whole solar system upside down. Ask questions, collect evidence, and put the pieces together until the ugly truth reveals itself… or not.

No takebacks

The story branches and ends based on your actions. There’s no going back. Sure, you can rush your way to the end – if you don’t mind paying the price. Play your cards right, and you might make it out alive.

Pawn of the Dead – £8.99

As Leonard the King of the White Kingdom, you have to defend your land against the marching army of the undead. With a help of your Queen Elona, the bravest warrior in the realm, you must overcome the threat. During your quest, you will face a sinister reflection you forgot a long time ago…

Explore the storyline through animated cinematics and complete the campaign mode which consists of 64 levels – or pick a side and play against a friend!

Pawn of the Dead is a 3D game based on chess, in the style of Battle Chess. The game is distinguished by unique mechanics: when the undead (Black Pieces) capture your soldiers (White Pieces), they turn them into Black ones too! But don’t worry, you have the most skilled men under your command!

Try the Random Level Generator – it provides you with procedural challenges. It’s possible to play as a Black side in this mode.

Hollow 2 – £17.99

HORROR

…wakes up again on decks of Shakhter-One. Once the history of Mark’s mental tragedy and family life comes clearer with every minute spent on Shakhter-One… depths of his emotions and pain are still about to explode in the worst possible way. Curse of the hollowed mining station is a never-ending loop of pain that could be only stopped by one thing… by the truth. However, all secrets are kept jealously by these dark corridors blended with Mark’s memories.

TO SURVIVE

…this nightmare! In Hollow 2, exploring and surviving won’t be enough to learn your past and unravel all secrets. With re-designed, fast and friendly mechanics, you will be forced to purge abandoned station in order to reach your goal. Use all weapons and tools you will find to make sure, that not even a single wanton can stand between you and the truth. Run, fight, hide, explore… do your best to destroy Shakhter-One once and forever!

If that is even possible…