There have been jokes that the Nintendo Switch is the successor to the PlayStation Vita. Plenty of visual novels are making their way to the console, and it also has become a haven for RPGs. In fact, it’s even starting to find itself the home for a certain specific sort of RPG, the first-person, party-based dungeon-crawler. There were loads of them on Sony’s handheld and now Nintendo’s system is starting to build up its own library.
Some of them are going to look incredibly familiar. For example, let’s start with The Lost Child. This Kadokawa and NIS America first-person dungeon-crawler appeared on both the Switch and the Vita. So, people who enjoyed some of El Shaddai’s lore and fights between heaven and hell could go ahead and go through this game’s dungeons while recruiting divine beings as though they were Pokemon. The experience is the same on either system, so someone who played on one wouldn’t have to pick it up on the other. Well, unless they wanted to.
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is another “why not both” situation. In Japan, this first-person dungeon-crawler first appeared on the Vita. It was only later that it jumped to other systems, like the Switch. In it, Dusk Witch Dronya and her assistant, Luca, use puppets to explore Refrain’s cursed labyrinth to find keys and discover a secret waiting at the end.
We also have one Switch first-person dungeon crawler that hasn’t been released everywhere yet, but would be familiar to people in every region. It’s another multiplatform release. Class of Heroes: Anniversary Edition is an updated version of Class of Heroes, a PlayStation Portable game. In it, players help their group of Particus Academy students train to become the sort of competent adventurers capable of surviving any labyrinth. In addition to all of the classes, dungeons and experiences from the original entry, this updated release included three difficulty levels, an arena where past fights could be challenged again, a dressing room that let you change party members’ clothing and the ability to change the music.
Mary Skelter 2 is another option. This is a special case, because it is giving first-person dungeon-crawler fans something old and something new. Mary Skelter: Nightmares, the original game, appeared on multiple platforms. (The Vita was among them!) Outside of Japan, you can only get the sequel, Mary Skelter 2, in this compilation that includes both games. The second game takes place in an alternate timeline with two newly added characters, Otsuu and Little Mermaid, and the adventure looks at how their inclusion and some alterations could completely alter the course of the story.
If you haven’t noticed the trend yet, this last game will help cinch it. Sega Ages: Phantasy Star is yet another first-person dungeon-crawler on the system. This remastered version of the Master System classic has a number of convenience features, like the ability to consult an actual on-screen map. Players follow a young freedom fighter, Alis, as she teams up with others across multiple planets to overthrow a corrupted monarch. It’s a perfect example of how something old can still feel delightfully fresh.
So, what’s the current common theme? It’s that what’s old is new again, when it comes to first-person dungeon-crawlers on the Nintendo Switch. Now, this won’t always be the case. We have games like Mary Skelter 2 paving the way for new games in this genre. But for now, people with the system can catch up and prepare for what’s to come.