Top 3 Handheld Games of 2018

Pikodoodle’s Top 3 for 2018

The poll for Handheld Game of the Year is up on (Want to vote too? The link is here) so it’s time I gather my 3 favourite games for this year too. 

What my top three games have in common this year:

  • Extremely well-designed.
  • Can be played in short sessions.
  • Easy to learn and has a simple interface.

3. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

A great casual game for couples. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice communication skills with your significant other. And it’s just so cute!

In the two-player mode, one person controls Captain Toad, while the other person fires turnips at enemies and rotates the camera.

Each episode is short; you don’t have to carve out a whole hour for a satisfying session. Even 15-30 minutes is enough to feel you accomplished something.

2. Towerfall

One of my favorite party games, Towerfall came to Switch in 2018. In this offline multiplayer fighting game, each player is an archer. Developed by the maker of Celeste, the game features beautiful 2D backgrounds.

You can fight against friends in versus mode, or team up in co-op mode against monsters. Both modes are equally fun.

Confession: I have not played the Switch version, just the PS4 version. The Switch version comes with all expansions and allows up to 6 players in competitive mode (other platforms only allow up to 4 players).

It’s incredibly simply and easy to learn. There are only three buttons (shoot, jump, and dash). No combo moves. No visual chaos like in Smash Bros. I often introduce Towerfall to friends who don’t often play video games and they enjoy it.

1. Into the Breach

I’ve spent the last two months raving about this tactical game. While I’ve recently played games with compelling stories, it’s been a long time since I experienced such compelling gameplay. The mechanics came together in such a satisfying and challenging way. I’m a compulsive planner in real life, so the game scratched that itch.

I wrote this in our 11th “Pick n Mix” column:

Here’s one for fans of Advance Wars and the turn-based tactical genre. Read my review of Into the Breach here.

I think of it as “apocalyptic pocket chess”. You control three mechs defending humanity against giant insectoids called the Vek. Each mission is very small-scale, taking place on a 8×8 grid of squares. To win a mission, you must simply survive 5 turns – which only takes 5 minutes or less if you’re a quick thinker, or 10-20 minutes if you like to chew over decisions slowly.  

Put the game down any time you like, as it auto-saves. There are no manual saves, though, which means decisions should be made carefully and consequences carry over to subsequent missions.

The entire game can be finished in 2 hours (my shortest playthrough) or 8 hours (my longest), depending on how many “islands” you choose to battle on. Even if you finish the game, you’ll probably want to replay it with a new squad of mechs you’ve unlocked. I highly recommend Into the Breach for its addictive gameplay and high replay value.

So, have you already voted? What are your favourite three for this year?

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