With ‘Secret Of Mana’, The Switch Is Almost My All-Time Favourite Console
It represented barely a whisper amidst the roar of E3 2019, but the announcement that Secret of Mana was coming to the Nintendo Switch, as part of the three-game Collection of Mana, was easily one of my standout moments of the show.
Collection - which is available now, having been revealed during the E3 Nintendo Direct and released on the same day - includes Final Fantasy Adventure, originally released for the Game Boy in 1991 and titled Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan, and 1995's Seiken Densetsu 3, localised for the West as Trials of Mana.
The latter has never had an official English translation before, only originally coming out for the Super Famicom in Japan, and will also receive a remake in 2020. Trials is the game of the moment, then. But for me it's the old familiar, the middle child of the then-trilogy, that I wanted to play the most on seeing Collection of Mana appear on the eShop, despite having two copies of it at home already.
I'm not going to bore you with why Secret of Mana is special, on a personal level. But I will still, always, celebrate its gorgeous art, sublime music (that I actively choose to listen to, outside of the game), great co-op options and more to anyone who wishes me to bend their ear in a boozer of choice.
Square's superlative role-player of 1993 was like A Link to the Past given a shot of glorious technicolor, a one-boy-and-his-sword adventure that was actually as much about young love stretched to desperate actions and sacrifice, and lost memories returning through pain and hardship. Except: that makes it sound sort of depressing, when it's actually a joyous journey across a huge and detailed world, where fast travel isn't via airship or galleon, but by dragon or cannon. And you can bring a pal - two, even, when played on consoles that support three pads at once.
Secret of Mana - like A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI - is one of those Super Nintendo RPGs that doesn't need a fresh lick of paint and a rerecorded soundtrack to feel relevant in 2019. It still plays brilliantly, a few AI quirks and a sometimes-distracting border aside, and it's a delight to have it again - especially on the Switch.
The Switch has been my console of choice ever since it launched in early 2017. Its flexibility is so important to me, for me to keep up with games new and old. I rarely play it docked - but when I do, it's usually to enjoy multiplayer games with my kids. As someone who commutes for up to four hours each workday, handheld mode is how I most often engage with my Switch - but even beyond such on-the-move play, it's a console that actually fits into my life, rather than me having to fit my life around it.
Which is precisely why I hardly use the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One under my TV, these days (or the rest of the consoles down there, covering everything from a Dreamcast to a Wii U). It's just so rare that I have an hour to myself at home, where I can plop myself down on the sofa and play something on the big screen. A couple of hours per week, maybe. A few more, if I have to play a game for work purposes. So I buy whatever I can for the Switch, when a multi-platform option is available. Celeste, Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Night in the Woods, Cuphead, Minit and more - I only properly played these modern-day indie classics once they became available on Switch.
While TV time is rare nowadays, back in 2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt absolute dominated my evenings. I've put over 400 hours into the game and its expansions. And the confirmation that CD Projekt RED's fantasy epic was coming to Switch, in 2019 no less, was another of my own E3 highlights (spoiler: I already knew, but seeing the trailer run during the Nintendo Direct was still a moment of absolute jaw-agape magic).
For a game like The Witcher 3 to be coming to Switch (still amazing), joining so many other of my all-time favourites - Secret of Mana, Streets of Rage 2, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta, Breath of the Wild, Resident Evil 4, Skyrim, ABZU, Oxenfree, Brothers, Out Run, Night in the Woods, Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario Odyssey, DOOM (and I really could keep going, here - and Virtua Racing is just days away!) - is further evidence that it's well on the way to becoming my most-loved console. I've played my share of hardware over the years, starting with the Spectrum, but the Switch... I think it's the one, you know.
All it needs now is ports of Chrono Trigger and Snatcher - and that Breath of the Wild sequel, and the Link's Awakening remake, and maybe an old-school NBA Jam - and the deal will be sealed, I reckon. For me, at least, this being an entirely subjective thing of course. But what about you? Can you say, with confidence, what your favourite games console (or computer) of all time is?
Featured Image Credit: Square Enix