NIS America has always been a company that’s always found its home traditionally on Sony hardware. Between the titles they produce, and the titles they publish, Nintendo was rarely a consideration. Of course, this wasn’t purely NIS’ decisions, Nintendo—after all—has always been one to keep quality control at a premium. Now with the Nintendo Switch, it seems much of that tightened grip has now loosened, and companies like NIS America are ready to make a move on the platform with Nintendo having much to gain.
Nintendo’s past few consoles have had a major deficit when it has come to courting more niche and indie titles. The Wii U had a general lack of titles across the board but still managed an indie and niche title here or there (Tokyo Mirage Sessions anyone?). The Wii suffered from an extremely large library, but one that was generally lacking in quality when looking at the entire catalog. In short, Nintendo has been in a position that has required Nintendo to do the heavy lifting. This is in contrast to the PlayStation Vita, a console that has been shunned by Sony practically since its inception. No game from Sony has been developed for it in years but has been kept alive through developers and publishers like NIS America, in addition to a strong indie presence. While the last Nintendo Direct certainly showed Nintendo is embracing these new niche games on the Switch, NIS America’s latest press release further affirmed this being the case.
Again, NIS America has always been one to deal in niche titles; games that not everyone will find appealing for one reason or another. Regardless of how you feel about a certain title, the point isn’t, in this case, your personal interest. Instead, it’s the fact that such groups are even being catered to in the first place on a Nintendo platform. A place where traditionally, this would never happen.
During the NIS America press event, we were reminded of several titles that NIS would be bringing to the Switch. Each filling in a void for Nintendo, but have always had a home on Sony consoles. Hopefully, all of the following will generate enough interest to propel the Nintendo Switch to be the keeper of many more niche titles to come to fill the voids in Nintendo’s lineup.
YS VIII out of all the titles that will be discussed perhaps has the largest appeal. Outside of some of the earlier titles in the series, it has been exclusively on PlayStation platforms up until its announcements on the Nintendo Switch. YS has many similarities between other JRPGs but what sets it apart is the fast-paced action. For those who played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on their Switch and thought it was a bit slow, that won’t be the case for YS, catering to the action RPG fan who wants a quick combat system.
The Nintendo Switch is still fairly new, so having yet another RPG in its arsenal and one that separates itself further aids Nintendo’s position.
Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded
Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded is a title that you would expect to see on the Vita (and is) or DS. A Roguelike that features a colorful cast of anime characters that is bundled into a budget-friendly title. But such titles being on the Switch are important as outside of the PlayStation Vita and PC, these titles don’t really have a home. Now that the PlayStation Vita is on its deathbed, making sure these smaller and niche titles are carried on the Nintendo Switch adds a variety that Nintendo sorely needs.
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy
Super Smash Bros is truly a superb fighting game, but it can’t be the only fighting game on a console. Even the introduction of ARMS leaves a deficiency in the “fun” fighting game. Ones that are not focused on the competitive nature of fighting games but ones that simply take their favorite characters and pit them against each other in an absurd way. Yes, they tend to be heavy on the fanservice, but its somewhat the point; they exist to be mindless fun and there is always a market for that. SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy aims to be exactly that, and can easily find a home on the Switch.
A title that was originally on the Vita has now found itself coming to the Nintendo Switch. A top-down brawler that uses money as its main source to affect battles through activating traps, reviving yourself, bribing enemies, and more. Again, filling a niche that the Nintendo Switch lacks, a top-down brawler.
The Longest Five Minutes
If there is one type of game that there seemingly can’t be enough of, it’s retro-styled RPGs. No matter what system or point in time of release, is there ever really enough of this style as each offers its own unique spin to the genre. In the case of The Longest 5 Minutes, the game’s story is told through flashbacks during the last 5 minutes of the final boss, eventually leading up to the game’s conclusion. Having another RPG with a unique spin in a portable setting serves to bolster the Nintendo Switch’s lineup even further.
Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory
Strategy games are typically sorely lacking when it comes to console games and the Nintendo Switch is no exception. Out of the many titles that exist for the Switch, Tiny Metal exists as the largest and most well-known strategy game on the Switch currently. Fallen Legion is looking to change that by providing action-oriented strategy games that combine both versions into one on the Switch. Portability and strategy always have been a good mix when it comes to games, making this a perfect fit for the Switch.
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk
The final important announcement made at the NIS America press conference was Labyrinth of Refrain, a dungeon crawler that features the Disgeae cast and characters. Once more, filling in a niche that the Nintendo Switch up until now had no answer for, but one that Sony has had filled for some time with other titles. And again, taking a genre that performs best in a portable setting, and making sure it’s on the platform that can provide that.
Why It’s Important
Everyone will have different feelings on each and all of these announcements, but again, those feelings are not the point. It’s that NIS America, along with other developers and publishers, is finding a home on the Switch. The struggle that the Nintendo Switch is going to face at this point isn’t going to be the games that Nintendo is making for the Switch. We know those will be the quality we have come to expect, even in regards to the many ports that are working their way over. It’s making sure that the Nintendo Switch wins on fronts that others can’t or won’t compete in as well. It needs titles like the ones shown above to really set itself apart. It can’t just be the place to play Nintendo games, it needs to be the place you can play all manner of games, i.e. portable. The titles above represent the many genres and types of games that the Nintendo Switch is currently lacking. Each fills its own specific niche that Nintendo was never going to fill on its own, making it important that companies like NIS America are the ones to do so.
It is for this reason that NIS America is important for Nintendo. Nintendo made its splash with the Nintendo Switch in 2017, but what’s going to keep that momentum going is smaller publishers and developers seeing opportunity on the Switch and turning it into something tangible. It’s not the games that push technical limits, it’s the games that are inventive, different, and just a little bit weird that will make the Switch the place to play games and for every gamer to have a title that fits their specific niche.