The recent January Nintendo Direct has finally arrived! While it may have been a “mini” direct, the amount of information was anything but. Too much of our surprise (me included) there were announcements for Dark Souls, Ys and even an SNK fighting game. But out of all of the games that were shown, there was one—seemingly insignificant announcement—that is arguably the most important, The World Ends With You: Final Remix. This hidden gem of a DS game represents so much for the Nintendo Switch, and yet for most, it most likely doesn’t seem like much.
The Value In Small Games
In a previous article, I had made the assertion that the Nintendo Switch needs to consume the Vita to thrive. By taking advantage of not only indie titles, but also more niche titles, the Nintendo Switch would be in a position to combine the previous portable console markets of both the 3DS and the Vita. After the Nintendo Switch’s release, it didn’t take long to see many titles that made their home on the Vita, work their way onto the Switch. What we didn’t see, however, were other portable titles such as the 3DS work their way over to the system. The only exception to this rule was with Azure Striker Gunvolt, the only 3DS exclusive game to work its way onto the Nintendo Switch so far.
It begged the question at the time if and how the Nintendo Switch could handle such games. That is, titles that won’t take full advantage of the Switch’s power, or for a lack of a better term, budget titles (in reference to the Switch). Would these titles succeed? Would they fail? Or would they find something else that hasn’t been considered? Thankfully, with the announcement of The World Ends With You: Final Remix it looks that the Nintendo Switch will be taking a route none of us expected by placing value in smaller budget titles.
These types of games having a home on the Nintendo Switch enables a new aspect that other consoles typically struggle with that being smaller games. This isn’t to be confused with strictly indie games, but rather, games that simply take on a smaller scope. Think of all the titles that have existed in the portable console market. Many of these titles take an existing concept or game and are forced to distill it down into something a bit more…pure. This doesn’t always achieve the success many are hoping for. The Game Boy Advance, for example, was home to many portable versions of console games that were poor in comparison. However, for the games that did succeed they managed to create a fantastic distilled version of either their console counterpart or of the genre they existed in.
The success of this doesn’t simply benefit indie developers; it benefits game developers and publishers of all sizes. It means AA, AAA, $20, $40, and games of all various sizes of budgets and scopes can find a home on the Nintendo Switch, a feat that arguably only exists truly on PC. Unlike PC, the Nintendo Switch does have one extra edge, and that’s its value of being portable.
The Value In Portable
Small games are nice to have, but there is another value to be found in having many of these focused experiences in a portable setting. Having another Breath of the Wild is fantastic, but with the Nintendo Switch being a hybrid console, the other side of the coin is just as important. Titles that focus on smaller or non-traditional console experiences need to thrive just as well to open up the variety that the Switch can take on.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix exemplifies this by containing two controller schemes, one for portable that uses the touchscreen and the other that uses the Joycons as a pointer. As this title is an original DS game obviously limits the scope of the title itself, however, this isn’t a bad thing, but rather allows for a shorter but more focused experience than traditional games that are highly valued in a portable setting. Here you have a game taking advantage of the platform it is on by providing a different and unique experience in each setting.
Compare this to the way Sony has taken some of their most popular PSP games such as LocoRoco and ported them to the PS4. While the games maintain their original charm, playing them on the big screen takes on a different effect than playing them in their original portable setting. It gives a different experience, and arguably, a worse one in comparison to their originals. A certain charm is lost by not being able to play these titles in the settings they are created for and suffer because of it.
With the Nintendo Switch creating a space for these types of the games and having them succeed, it enables traditionally smaller portable games to thrive on a hybrid system. Games that would be forced to make a home on traditional consoles or phones can exist on the Switch while still being a traditional game but on a smaller scale than the portable market thrived on. The World Ends With You: Final Remix marks that the death of these games won’t anytime soon, as long as the Nintendo Switch is around.