The best mobile game of 2020 is out on Nintendo Switch

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a phone taking a photo of some hawks

Image: Ustwo Games

I wrote a story in January about Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, an Apple Arcade mobile exclusive that helped ease the pain of waiting until March for New Pokémon Snap. I’ve since played New Pokémon Snap — for hours upon hours — and I’ve realized something: I liked Alba: A Wildlife Adventure much, much better. And maybe you will, too: For those who missed it on Apple Arcade or Windows PC when it was released last year, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on Wednesday.

Yes, I New Pokémon Snap, but Alba: A Wildlife Adventure really excelled at creating a story that encourages curiosity and generous exploration. Mostly, it’s about Alba and her best friend, reunited on a summer vacation to the island Alba’s grandparents live on, as the island faces a crisis: a massive corporate resort hotel that threatens the island’s wildlife preserve.

Alba and her pal do what they can, small deeds that add up to a major environmental movement. A large part of the gameplay is centered on taking photos of the birds that live around the island, and that’s where the Pokémon Snap influence comes in. But there are other tasks the two can do to help, like pick up trash and patch up old benches and signs. These small things — stuff these two children can do — add up to a petition-driven movement, island-wide, to stop the construction and save the island’s wildlife.

You’re free to wander around the island as you please, following bird sounds to seek out the nests and perches. It’s very lovely, and if you liked New Pokémon Snap, you’ll like this, too. And the Nintendo Switch is the perfect platform to play it on. (But it’s coming to other consoles, too!)

 

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