It is hard to believe that the Nintendo Switch is a year old. With it, we've received many amazing games that impressed us with their creativity and, more importantly, sense of fun. So to celebrate one year of the Switch’s life, I wanted to list my top 10 games for the system. Please remember that these are my personal favorites, the games I enjoyed the most, so this may feature some games that are otherwise hated, and may omit games that you love. With that said, here are my top 10 Switch games.
10: 1-2 Switch
1-2 Switch is more of a controversial favorite of mine. I know the game isn’t great, but I also know that Nintendo could have handled this game better. Yes, Nintendo should have included 1-2 Switch as a packaged-in title or as a cheap $30 game rather than a full price release, but this doesn’t stop the game being a barrel of laughs when a friend or family member comes over.
Despite the simple gimmicks found within 1-2 Switch, I can’t deny the amusement that the game has brought me, whether being stupid in Gorilla, or playing Quick Draw and laughing at who failed the most. This is a proof of concept which, like Nintendo Land and Wii Sports before it, I will keep coming back to and enjoying.
Snipperclips is one of the most impressive launch titles to grace the system. Not only is this game amazing to look at with its paper craft design, but the cooperative gameplay is equally impressive. The stages are deviously challenging with the mixture of clever solutions that stem from players cutting away at their partner’s character.
Sadly, this is one of those games that makes me feel dumb as I struggle to find the necessary solutions, and have to be dragged along by my partner’s brilliant answers. I am the dead weight but sometimes that is half the fun, letting the other player shine as you go along with their idea, only offering an occasional good idea yourself. This game is nothing short of brilliant with its expansive library of puzzling challenges and diverse solutions, all using simple paper characters.
8: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mentioning Mario Kart 8 in a best-of-a-console list feels strange to me. I often argued that Mario Kart 8 was a horrible game back on the Wii U, with its awful battle mode and limited replay value when you finished with the courses. Part of the problem back then was the fact that there was a better character racer on the platform in the form of Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed, but on the Switch, Mario Kart 8 earns its place.
Nintendo made some smart moves when they decided to update Mario Kart 8 for the Switch, fixing the battle mode. Racing in Mario Kart is fine, it’s fun to do, but it's one-half of the experience. A quality battle mode is the required second half in the Mario Kart experience. Actually, getting various courses to play on as well as a variety of different activities offers that much needed value to the game. Thanks to this, you can see the amazing race courses shine and have a great time with a complete package. Thank you, Nintendo, for fixing Mario Kart 8 in a way that shouldn’t have needed fixing.
7: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Who would have thought that such a strange concept as Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle would work? It is indeed a strange concept to take characters from two completely different worlds and merge them to create a wholly unique experience for both sides with a turn-based strategy game, but it worked. If Nintendo and Ubisoft had decided to make a platformer, or a silly party game, they might have been a laughing stock. But merging worlds with this concept allowed both franchises to shine in a new way.
The game is understandable to many players of tactical strategy games, but it’s the small charms that help this game to stand out. The comedic nature of the Rabbids helps get you excited for a new cutscene with their unpredictable antics, with the nature of the Mushroom Kingdom adding much needed charm and creativity. Traveling through the world was nice, but the use of the series' iconic pipes added a new layer of strategy to battles that changed the way you approached most situations.
Each battle was a fun struggle as you discerned enemy strategies and forged a path to victory often against great odds, utilizing fun special abilities that shifted the battle into the players' favor.
Mario + Rabbids is brilliant. I am not much for strategy games, but this one I will happily come back to. It was charming, and uniquely fun in a way only the Rabbids could provide.
6: Super Mario Odyssey
It may surprise people to see Super Mario Odyssey only at number six. I tried to put this game higher, but every time I did, I would remember a game that I just enjoyed more, or that I would be more inclined to play. That’s not to discredit Super Mario Odyssey, as this may not be my favorite Mario game, and I’d argue I enjoyed 3D World more, but Odyssey is a great game that did keep me engaged from start to finish.
From the brilliant and expansive level design, to the memorable locations, characters, and situations, Super Mario Odyssey is pure fun. I was engaged in hunting down moons, exploring the many corners of the kingdoms and generally enjoying nearly everything that Odyssey had to offer. The ability to take over enemies made certain objectives all the more engaging, and puzzle solving took a step forward in a way I hadn’t seen since Super Mario 64.
I do have to argue that Super Mario Odyssey isn’t perfect. A decent portion of moons are wholly unsatisfying to collect thanks to generally bad placement, though many are in plain sight. But for the most part, Super Mario Odyssey is brilliant and I am excited to see where Nintendo takes Mario next. A slightly dull feature doesn’t stop Super Mario Odyssey from being a fun game.
5: Super Bomberman R
Growing up I never had much experience with Bomberman, and this made the prospect of Super Bomberman R exciting. I had no past to relate the game to, this was an open book ready for me to write my thoughts in, and obviously I loved Super Bomberman R. While this isn’t statistically the strongest launch title for the Switch, this is the game from launch I still play the most today. If I have some spare time I will regularly play a little Bomberman, loading up the battle mode versus computer players.
I love the strategy and observation that this franchise entails which keeps me coming back. Having to watch your opponent’s moves, while also carefully considering your own, Super Bomberman R is chaotic fun. Even without the battle mode the story levels are fun as well, even if a little more predictable, and the story is so zany it's entertaining. I love this game and I am glad Konami is continuing to add to it.
4: Fire Emblem Warriors
Hyrule Warriors was a brilliant Zelda meets Warriors crossover that showed the fun of how the concept could be done with legendary franchises. Fire Emblem Warriors took the principles of Koei Tecmo’s series design and the Nintendo elements, and evolved everything. Fire Emblem Warriors is the most intelligent Warriors game I have played. It changed the series from a slightly strategic objective based button masher, to a strategic struggle of hero placement and character interaction.
I loved how Fire Emblem Warriors took the signature mechanics that made Fire Emblem special and mixed them with Warriors' basic mechanics. Using the Fire Emblem weapon triangle changed how you layered your characters forcing you to change your strategies on the go, as you considered which characters you needed to pull back and whom you could push onto the offensive. This also meant you couldn’t just use a team of sword wielders and had to utilize all manner of character types leading to plenty of variety. I love this game and I had fun with every battle, even some of the most challenging, especially once I transformed one of the weakest characters into my ace.
3: Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Another controversial choice, and I don’t blame anyone for calling me stupid for it, but among Nintendo’s AAA offerings Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was my favorite. It’s rare that a lengthy role-playing game like this can keep me invested and wanting to play more, but from the end of the first chapter I was hooked. I was immediately invested in the characters, be they good or bad, as they were surprisingly complex as secrets were revealed and stories progressed. I loved the charm of every cutscene, through the quiet moments of characters messing around, to the heartfelt moments that made me love each character more.
The world also enticed me with its seemingly limitless beauty and expansive worlds. I wanted to explore it all to see every manner of the various climates, and take in the various situations of the world’s citizens. Sure, I’m not a huge fan of the gameplay, it’s a little tedious for my tastes, with battles that take twenty times longer than they should. But that doesn’t matter, my love for this game comes from the story, world, and the wonderful characters that graced me with their presence. I have put eighty hours and counting into this game, making this my most played game on the system, outside of one game I have yet to mention.
2: Steamworld Dig 2
Steamworld Dig is one of my favorite games to arrive on the Nintendo 3DS. I have played it so many times and still love it. Knowing there is a sequel for the Switch, I had to see what Image & Form would do, and they surprised me with the lengths they went to. Steamworld Dig 2 brought a pretty competent narrative to the series with a drive that kept you focused as you progressed through the mines, and a snarky sidekick who was always there to make you laugh.
It was also nice that the different types of mine were not just layered on top of each other. There was a distinct adventure as you traversed the overworld to find the next point in your journey, utilizing the upgrades you received from your journey below to cross previously inaccessible places. At its core, though, Steamworld Dig 2 is still the same fun mining adventure that I loved the first time around, and I am pleased to say this is one of the best games on the Switch.
Before we get to my favorite game for the Nintendo Switch, lets have some honorable mentions:
Splatoon is great fun, the battles are chaotic and open to so much strategy. This sequel even had a brilliant single-player, but, for me, this game still feels too similar to the Wii U original. It's fun, but I don't play this anywhere near as much as I played the original.
This game is fun, with wacky characters, deadly level design, and a costly counting down death clock. 88 Heroes is a game worth playing for its sheer, overall randomness.
With that out of the way, the number one game on the Switch, in my opinion, is:
1: Stardew Valley
There are few games that excite and keep me playing as much as Stardew Valley. This game manages to make me happy in a way few games can, and if a game makes you happy, why shouldn’t you play it? While I play this, I am lost in the tranquil world that keeps me busy through simple activity.
For every moment I am at Stardew Valley, a smile is on my face and the troubles that plague me leave me until I am done. With the variety of activities and the simple pleasures of progress, it is hard not to be distracted and happy. From the stunning world to the beautiful music, to the charming townspeople, I always look forward to every part when I next return to this beautiful game. The fact I can take it with me anywhere on the Switch just makes Stardew Valley the best game on the system for me, and I can’t think of a single game I would rather play on my Switch.