This is a partnered post.
When looking for a perfect Christmas gift for kids, it can be hard to know where to start. The way kids play is now closely connected to technology, and the toys they want are changing every single year. The latest arrival is the Nintendo Switch, a revolutionary gaming system released this year. In the Switch, Nintendo combines all the best aspects of gaming, creating a new system that does incredible things. The Nintendo Switch is at once a home gaming system which connects to your TV, a portable system which means you can take even your TV games with you everywhere, a motion-sensitive platform much like the Wii, and a multiplayer system which lets you synchronize up to eight Switches, or split your controller and play with a friend. Naturally, this game console will be top of the list for most kids who don’t already have one. But whether your kids have one already or are getting one for Christmas, for many parents the next question is “What Nintendo Switch games do I get my kids this Christmas?”
There is no shortage of great games available for the Nintendo Switch console right now, that’s for sure. The medley of Mario games are among my personal favorites, simply because they are bringing the fun of traditional Mario games into a new and interesting system which enhances them and allows for new and exciting ways to play. But a game universe that has gone completely crazy (in a good way) on the Switch is the universe of Zelda. The latest installation of The Legend of Zelda is Breath of the Wild. For a long time Zelda games have been trying to be something big and bold, trying to compete with online fantasy games, MMORPG, and games like the Elder Scrolls series. However, they have never been quite as big and bold as the creators seemed to want them to be. And that’s perfect, because the beauty of the Zelda franchise is in its simplicity. The slow but steady journey of Link through the kingdom is the enjoyable part of this franchise, and a gritty reboot is the last thing it needs.
Which is what makes Breath of the Wild so charming. Rather than trying to go big yet again, Breath of the Wild returns to the franchise’s simple roots, focusing on a more traditional, fantasy story which the players of Zelda most enjoy. The game starts out with you stuck on a wall-surrounded plateau, completely shut off from Hyrule, sort of aimlessly there. It takes a while playing to finally gain a hang glider which will carry you safely to the ground and your adventure can begin. This sort of sets the tone for the rest of the game. You find yourself faced with puzzling and complex challenges, having to work hard to keep yourself moving forward. This is drawn out enough to be a challenge, but not so much as to become frustrating.
The main mission is to rescue Hyrule from slowly falling apart after Ganondorf, a sort of infectious evil and decay, took over. You learn that your Link has died and been brought back to life for this express purpose. Your progress towards your goal is slow and steady. Your objectives are spread out far and wide and you spend a lot of your time just travelling and taking everything in, which is actually pretty fun in and of itself. You get to see all the work that has been put into the game at your own leisure, and enjoy the little details.
That said, some of the features seen in larger fantasy games have made an appearance here. The game world is much more open than before, allowing for wandering quests and missions of self-discovery along the way to saving the kingdom. This means that you are no longer stuck in choreographed events and forced to play the game like a long walkthrough, the way some previous Zelda games were. Now you can explore and discover in new ways, without sacrificing the charm of the series.