“Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion” – June 14 for Switch
Starting off the month of June is the release of a giant expansion for the Nintendo-exclusive shooter “Splatoon 2.” The game regularly receives new maps, weapons and clothes for free on its multiplayer side, but with this DLC adding a new campaign of 80 levels, the inclusion of a price tag is understandable. “Splatoon 2” was one of my favorite releases of last year, making it into my own top ten, so a hefty story expansion like this at $20 is welcomed in my eyes. The lore of the “Splatoon” world is surprisingly deep and this expansion gives a look into the Octoling race and upon completion, allows you to play as one for the multiplayer side of things. If the games writing in the original campaign is any indication of DLC, then these new levels will be chock-full of hilarious dialogue.
“Mario Tennis Aces” – June 22 for Switch
Tennis has long been a staple throughout the “Mario” gangs foray into sports and this time it makes its debut on the Switch. The game is the first home console title in the series to receive a story mode, pitting Mario against a number of challenges and bosses with the added tennis twist. This iteration also features some new shots, including the zone shot which allows you to slow down time and aim your shot more accurately within your given stamina. Chain Chomp is also added to the roster as a playable character, which is just as funny to see on-screen as you would imagine.
“Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” – July 13 for Switch and 3DS
Another port from the Wii U, “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” is allowed another much-deserved chance to shine in the spotlight. The game was one of the few I spent time with on the Wii U and I have the pleasure to say it is one of the most charming and enjoyable games I have ever played. The gameplay follows Captain Toad across a variety of box-shaped puzzle worlds, with the added string that he cannot jump because of his pack, something not often explored in a series imbued with the instinct to jump. The game’s difficulty is smartly handled in that each level is easy to complete but going after the hidden gems in each one provides an extra level of difficulty. The music, visuals and overall aesthetic make this one of Nintendo’s underrated gems and one I highly recommend picking up if you have a 3DS or Switch.
“The Walking Dead: The Final Season” – August 14 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Wrapping up the list is the release of the first episode in the fourth and final season of Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” series, finally giving closure to the story of Clementine. It has been six years since the release of the first season of the series, and while I don’t think the subsequent seasons have matched the quality of the first, I definitely have found them worthy continuations of the story for Clem. It’s worth noting that if you have not yet played any of the prior seasons before, pre-ordering the game gets you access to the “The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series Collection” which includes seasons one through three as well as the “Michonne” and “400 days” episodes. The character of Clementine has become one of the most beloved characters in gaming, slowly changing from the scared child in a tree house to a full-on apocalypse survivor.