I have all these great Nintendo Switch games but I can't stop playing Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition


It’s a permanent fixture on my Switch

When word got out that Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition would make it over to Nintendo Switch, I had mixed emotions. The original Wii U version of the horde-clearing, fort-capturing action game was a revelation for me: it was the first time I truly “got” a Musou / Warriors game, and not for lack of trying. Playing as and fighting familiar Zelda characters made all the difference. I was hooked.

I’m not much of a handheld gamer, so Hyrule Warriors Legends came and went. On-the-fly character switching, new story segments based on Linkle and Wind Waker, and a new My Fairy system to further bolster The Grind all sounded like fine additions. But it doesn’t take long for my hands to cramp while holding a 3DS, and at that time, I was still feeling burned out from the Wii U game. No thanks!

Flash forward to the launch of Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition back in May, and you could see my conundrum. It’s a question plenty of Hyrule Warriors players faced: “There are so many other great games I could be playing on Switch. Do I really need to get caught up in this time sink again?”

The answer for me was “no,” but that didn’t stop me. I’ve forced my way through the admittedly drawn-out story mode and now I’m working my way through the Adventure maps. There’s no end in sight.

Adventure Mode is ingenious. It’s made up of nine different maps, each inspired by a different Zelda game and each with their own gimmicks. Every tile on the map represents a level with varying goals, win/defeat conditions, and rewards. You might need to slay three King Dodongos as Ghirahim (within a certain time limit, and without taking too much damage) to earn him a Heart Container. Or maybe you need to clear out 400 enemies before the AI does to unlock a colorful new Great Sea outfit for Link.

The levels are usually short and rewarding enough that I can knock out a string of them in one sitting and not know where the time went. They also make me bounce around the 29-character roster rather than just stick with Link and the Master Sword all the time. I may not want to play as the bug-loving Agitha, but if I invest some resources into powering her up and I earn an A rank on this particular level, I’ll open up a path on the map to a far-off tile offering a higher-tier weapon for my boy Volga.

Hyrule WarriorsAdventure Mode reminds me of doing jigsaw puzzles. It’s not too mindless or taxing, and if you’re ever stuck or you aren’t motivated to tackle a tricky section, you can move onto something else and still make progress. The overall goal of completing the puzzle can be daunting, but if you break it up into digestible chunks, you’ll eventually get there. You’re always moving forward.

That light and breezy gameplay loop existed in Hyrule Warriors before Definitive Edition, but it’s even more potent on Nintendo Switch because the system is just a joy to play on. It’s so convenient to pop out my Switch, play a few levels while watching a show, and then slide it back into the dock.

With that semi-justification out of the way, it’s only right that I think about the games I haven’t finished because Hyrule Warriors hogs all of my Switch playtime. It pains me to read this list:

All that, and I’m neglecting my chickens in Stardew Valley. Poor little Shupa and Pino!

By putting this out there for prying eyes, maybe I’ll feel enough guilt to resume working through my backlog. But that’s a big maybe. Hyrule Warriors will always have a spot on my Switch home screen.

If you can commiserate, please do. I want to hear about your biggest backlog busters.