Nintendo Switch: What a Great Time for Online Multiplayer!

How much do y’all play online multiplayer games these days? I play them pretty much all the time. I play them so much, I can’t even find time to play the Breath of the Wild DLC. Now, I can only speak from my personal tastes, but I already know I’ll be overwhelmed by the multiplayer options on my Switch by the time this year ends.

I don’t mean to act like the Switch is all that special for this; anyone with a PS4 or a PC should be more than happy to play games like Overwatch, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, Rocket League, Lawbreakers, Quake Champions, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and so on and so forth, with their friends. There’s really no shortage of multiplayer goodness no matter where you look – But we are here to talk about gaming on Nintendo systems, and right now, the Switch is killing it.

The Games We Have so Far

Right off the bat, we got the definitive Mario Kart game, possibly the best racing party game of all time. Pretty much on any day between now and the heat-death of the universe, we should be able to pop in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and talk trash to our 5th place buddies and have a good time of it.

Luigi wants haters to put some respeck on his name
“Put some RESPECT on my name.”

But just before Mario Kart 8 came out, we also got Puyo Puyo Tetris. Action puzzle games might be quite niche these days as they require a decent time investment from their players before they offer a truly fun, competitive experience – but Tetris is Tetris, and everybody and their mother already knows how to play it. Some of my best multiplayer matches on the Switch have been with Puyo Puyo Tetris, and I haven’t even touched the ranked online mode the way it deserves.

Then there’s Ultra Street Fighter 2. Some of my friends tell me that it reminds them of their younger days, of getting salty with their fireball-spamming friends and deciding to throw them over and over again until they learned their lesson. For me, who never had a chance to get good at fighting games in my infancy but has picked them up properly more recently, USF2 offers me a fun ranked experience that keeps me hitting the ranked match search button “just one more time”. I’ve put in over 50 hours into it already, and being a game where every character has outrageously designed, broken, overpowered techniques, it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’ll continue seeing something new every match for potentially hundreds of hours.

Yet now I’m forced to split that fighting game time between USF2 and ARMS, since that turned out to be a great game as well. Surprisingly, it’s also turning to be pretty popular, at least among my friends. I expected the salt mines of fighting games to naturally push away most Switch players, but in my circle of friends this salt is being appreciated, so much that we’ve had discussions with each other about the nature of the salt. I’ve heard more than a couple of my friends say they’re ashamed to have (almost) thrown their controllers at the wall. But there wouldn’t be salt if the game didn’t have meaningful depth. Whether this depth is comparable to that of Street Fighter or even Super Smash Brothers, nobody can say yet, but it’s a hell of a game to play and learn with friends so far. With more free content being added to the game periodically, I just can’t see it dropping out my rotation.

SEGA guy punching big controller
When you lose to a cheating, jumping Ribbon Girl…

The Games to Come

Then there’s the beastly sensation of modern Nintendo multiplayer games: Splatoon 2. All they had to say to me was, “it’ll be more of the same,” and I’d have known I’d put in over 300 hours into this game just like I did with the last one, most of them with online friends. But they have actually added a meaningful horde mode, improved ranked modes, and created a host of new weapons and specials to go with the new maps. And yet again, it will have free content added periodically, which makes me wonder why Nintendo would even bother making new multiplayer games after this.

But of course Nintendo still had Pokken Tournament DX hidden up their sleeves. I’m lucky enough to have skipped it on the Wii U so that I’ll have a completely fresh game to get into when that comes out in September 22. How I’m going to find time to play it, I don’t know, but I sure want to.

There is another super secret monster of a game that some of us hunt fiends are looking forward to. Can you guess it? Maybe you’re thinking, “but Alejandro, surely you don’t mean that game? The one that isn’t being localized?” Yes, Monster Hunter XX may not be getting localized, but ask yourself this question: “Am I ready to give up hundreds of hours of intense monster hunting action just because Capcom doesn’t care about me? Are menus in Japanese that much of an obstacle? Am I going to let my dreams be dreams?” Well let me tell you, while some people dream of localization, I’m going to wake up and work hard at figuring out what all those moon runes mean. Listen, at the end of the day, Monster Hunting is a game about hunting monsters, not about reading the guild sweetheart’s quips or your palico’s puns. Any information regarding armor skills, monster weaknesses, and weapon damage values will be posted online by very capable people who have been doing this stuff for well over a decade. So if you care about monster hunting games, I encourage you to not overlook this potential gem, and follow this tutorial to buy the game from the Japanese Nintendo eshop.

Shia Labeouf Do It

That may be all there is from Nintendo this year, but we now also have FIFA 18 and NBA 2k18 in September, and Rocket League sometime in the holidays. I expect all of them to be good multiplayer games, and at the very least I already know Rocket League will have a solid spot in my rotation. My friends are already sending me “top crazy aerial shot compilation” videos, and they haven’t even played the game on other systems like I have. Let me tell a little secret to y’all that haven’t played Rocket League: it’s even more fun than you think.

And the Ones that I’m Missing

Amidst all this, there are a number of games that I haven’t even mentioned: Minecraft, Super Bomberman R, Jackbox Party Pack 3 (and 4, sometime in the future), Pocket Rumble (which seems to be coming out sometime north of never), and a number of indie games with multiplayer in mind. I mean, we’ve known that the Switch was going to be a good system for multiplayer gaming, but I never thought the online side of it would hit the ground running quite like this.

The only downside I can find to multiplayer gaming with Nintendo right now is the fact that we’ll have to pay for Nintendo’s online service starting in 2018. I am not one of those perfect happy people who have a group of friends ready to play local multiplayer at any time, so having an online service is a necessity for me. That said, there is no question about the value for me: at $20 USD for a year of online gaming, I could pay Nintendo $100 right now for five years if they asked me to.

But what about y’all? Are you taking advantage of this deluge of great multiplayer games, or have they not caught your eye yet? And are you down with the $20 per year for the online service? If you want to find more opportunities to play online games with fellow Nintendo gamers, just hit us up in our new Discord server. But if not, let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section down here.

Alejandro Balderas
AKA Juegos Magicos. "You killed my father. Prepare to die."