2021 Top 5 Japan Only Switch Titles - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Top 5 Japan Only Switch Titles

Compared to previous eras of gaming, nearly gone are the days when Japanese gamers would get their hands on games before the West. Although 2021 is still the same by and large, there are, believe it or not, a handful of games that have released exclusively in Japan with far off release dates or no plans to leave Japan at all. Here, we’re going to take a look at the top Japan only games of 2021 for the Nintendo Switch. 

Before we get started, just to note, we have reviews and/or extended coverage of most of these games discussed be. Just be sure to check the links listed under each game to see more. These aren’t ALL of the Japan only games that came out in 2021, but rather, the most interesting ones. If you’ve followed our YouTube channel or podcast over the past year, some of these may not be a surprise..or maybe they will be! At any rate, there are five games in total that we will be checking out. Let’s take a look. 

5. Kunio-kun no Sangokushi dayo: Zeiin Shūgō
Release Date: December 16, 2021
Developer | Publisher: Aplus | Arc System Works
Retail Price: ¥3,740 (Digital Only, My Nintendo Store Link)
Demo: Not Available

A late surprise that showed up in December 2021, this Kunio-kun (River City Ransom) and Romance of the Three Kingdoms crossover offers the tried and true gameplay that we’ve come to expect from the series with the added plus of a story mode based on the Chinese classic story. While there is a standard arcade mode in the game, the story mode is where you will keep going back to. There’s a leveling system, items to purchase and abilities to learn, this is a pretty complete package. If you’re in to beat ‘em-ups with a cool visual aesthetic, you’ll probably like this one. There’s a lot of Japanese to go through in the story mode (an added challenge as many of the names and locations are actually Chinese written in Japanese), but you don’t have to pay too much attention to that and still have fun here. 

Review (coming soon)
4. Crayon-shin Chan’s Summer Vacation
Release Date: July 15, 2021
Developer | Publisher: Millennium Kitchen | Neos
Retail Price: ¥6,580 (My Nintendo Store Link)
Collector’s Edition: ¥8,980
Demo: Not Available

A mash-up of the Boku no Natsuyasmi (My Summer Vacation) series and Crayon Shin-chan, this game is just what the title suggests. Taking control of Shin-chan, you wonder around the town of Aso during a summer vacation trip to the countryside with his family. There are a number of different things to do, including searching for and catching bugs, catching fish, talking with the townsfolk, uncovering some mysteries of the town and just genuinely enjoying the beautifully crafted world. It’s a very chill game that is mainly about just taking everything in and enjoying the world. Believe it or not, there is/was also a Collector’s Edition for the game which features interviews with the developers, concept art and more. If you’re looking for a game to chill out with, you might want to check this one out. 

3. eBaseball Pro Yakyū Spirits 2021: Grand Slam
Release Date: July 8, 2021
Developer | Publisher: Konami
Retail Price: ¥7,678 (My Nintendo Store Link)
Demo: Not Available

I know, I know. Not everyone is into sports games. But I think this one really deserved a sot here. Baseball games have definitely NOT been in short supply over the years in Japan. Not only that, but Konami is the company that has provided the most baseball experiences on the platform. For 2021, the company decided to bring its realistic baseball simulation to a Nintendo platform for the first time in a decade. For gamers that experienced that series on the PS4 in 2019, there’s really not too much to differentiate between the two. However, baseball sim fans should definitely have this game on their radar as it provides one of the most realistic experiences of the sport not only on the Switch, but any platform. Pickings are pretty slim for the sub-genre, so if you’re starved for some realistic baseball, you can’t go wrong here.

2. Buddy Mission Bond
Release Date: January 29, 2021
Developer | Publisher: Koei Tecmo | Nintendo
Retail Price: ¥7,128 (My Nintendo Store Link)
Demo: Available

A Nintendo published game that seemingly will never see the light of day in English speaking regions? This is something that you might have expected a few decades ago, but these days, it’s definitely a rarity. If you missed out on this one, Buddy Mission Bond was developed by Koei Tecmo and is basically an interactive manga where you take control of detective Luke Williams. Throughout the game, you come across a number of different characters during your investigation to bring down a criminal syndicate known as Discord. Along the way, you meet up with three other characters that join your team. These “buddies” help in finding clues, beating up enemies and more. While this is mostly a narrative experience, there are some more action oriented sections of the game as well. The story in the game is pretty fun, so it’s definitely a shame that this game hasn’t seen a release in English. 

Nintendo has publicized the hell out of this game in 2021. From limited edition goods, live events with the voice actors and more, they really didn’t want to see this game sink. Sales seem to have been pretty poor, with the game only selling through 11,000 units at launch. Still, it garnered enough attention to see a release outside of Japan…in Korea. Buddy Mission Bond launched in Korea on August 20, 2021, but as of right now, there are seemingly no plans to release the game in English. There IS a free demo available if you want to check out the game for yourself. If you download that, be sure to check out our English guide. 

1. Densha de Go! Hashirō Yamanote-sen
Release Date: March 18, 2021
Developer | Publisher: Taito | Square Enix
Retail Price: ¥6,380 (My Nintendo Store Link)
Demo: Not Available
Also on: PlayStation 4

There’s just something about being able to ride trains through Tokyo whether in real life or via a digital recreation. If you’ve ever wanted to check out Japan’s capital, look no further than Densha de Go!! Hashirō Yamanote-sen. While the game can be a little bit complicated when it comes to controls, once you get the hang of things, it can be quite an enjoyable experience. There are several modes to play through, but the main mode that you’ll likely spend the most time with is the Engineer’s Road, a mode that provides hours of challenging runs that increase in difficulty gradually. There are multiple trains to drive, multiple lines and tons of things to focus on while you’re driving to net high scores and unlock more content. This was probably my favorite game of 2021, even when compared to other greats like Metroid Dread. Sure, I’m probably in the minority there, but if you’re willing to tackle a bit of Japanese, you can have a blast with Densha de Go on the Switch or PS4 if you’re looking for something that looks a bit better visually.

Honorable Mentions
Super Nodage Party (My Nintendo Store Link | Review)
Power Pro-Kun Pocket R (My Nintendo Store Link | Gameplay)
Megaton Musashi (My Nintendo Store Link, Demo Available)

There was a good variety of Japan only games that hit the Nintendo Switch in 2021 spanning multiple genres. While the language barrier might be a bit much for many, there is a lot of fun being left out on the table for those outside of Japan. But let’s turn things over to you. Did you pick up any of these titles? Do you plan to? Were there any other games that you are/were into that I didn’t mention here (like Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 4th Heart…sorry, I was not interested AT ALL in that one)? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. 

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