Here Comes Niko! Collector's Edition review: Cosy game feels at home on Switch
There's an inherent importance to bringing a game to the physical medium, in an era where it seems as though console developers want more and more for us to leave discs and cartridges behind.
Online storefronts have changed the way that we find, buy and play games, but there's a certain impermanence to them - in an era when new-gen consoles will offer you a cheaper console to go without a disc drive and the likes of Netflix and Ubisoft will remove their entertainment from their storefronts never to be seen again, it becomes more and more likely that the games we love will become inaccessible by the time our current generation is long behind us.
It's for this reason that the mission statement of Super Rare Games is so important - not only to bring games that deserve more love into the physical realm, but to provide fans with the ultimate packaged experience that reflects the game itself. They've done it before with A Short Hike and other indie gems, and they've done it once again with a package that is able to reflect the atmosphere of its game to a tee.
A book full of friends
Here Comes Niko is one of those games that inspires whimsy without ever trying. Putting you in the trainers of Niko, the latest addition to the team at Tadpole Inc., tasked with being a professional friend to everyone you find on your bright and colourful adventures in a collection of large stages. Our conversation with solo developer Stijn Van Wakeren illuminated it best - the game was designed to make for the cosiest and most carefree experience possible, and the game delivers simple controls, charming dialogue and an atmosphere of pure comfortable excitement.
The softness of the game is exactly what Super Rare Games seems to reflect with many of its choices for physical issuing - the likes of Grapple Dog and Lil' Gator Game all share the very same whimsy and excitement for the process of creating a game in the first place that makes them perfect not only for the Nintendo Switch but for the physical world in the first place.
And Super Rare has done an incredibly good job of reflecting the title with its collector's edition.
Going Pro(fessional friend)
Super Rare clearly knows what indie game fans want, and they know that the novelty of seeing a game on a physical cartridge along with a host of goodies is too good to pass up. It's clear from merely opening the Here Comes Niko! Collector's Edition that nothing but love has been poured into the package, reflecting A Short Hike's release with a full map of the game's playable area, and coming packed with a "friends book," where you can either document your favourite characters from the game or even pass it off to your real-life friends and adorn it with characters from the box's sticker pack. Childish? Maybe - but it's letting go of real-world woes and entering a world without any real strife that's what Here Comes Niko! is all about, and it's bright-eyed holiday-making that Super Rare has focussed on here.
Since the package also comes with a CD of the game's wonderful soundtrack, a pack of postcards and a heavyweight real-life Friend Token, there's something so passionate about this collection of items that helps you to understand that Super Rare gets this game. It's wonderful to see the game get the love it has deserved for some time now anyway, but to such a degree is really something to behold.
With their Collector's Editions, Super Rare have proven time and time again that their love for the lesser-loved indie titles isn't just skin deep, and with the appearance of Here Comes Niko!, they've done it again with another beautiful package. It might be a little pricey, yes, but when you're looking at an edition of a game that you're likely to want to keep forever, it's an investment that makes perfect sense.
The game was always worthy of fanfare, and was destined to make it to the Nintendo Switch - so for it to do so in this way feels truly special. Super Rare Games have done it again. We didn't have much doubt, to be honest.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher.