When the Wii U performed poorly in the market, many feared that the glory days of Nintendo were over. Luckily, this fear is far from the truth, with 2017 releases like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey solidifying the Nintendo Switch’s trailblazing status. The time for games that use fantastic hybridization of console and mobile device has never been better. Thanks to the massive sales of these 2017 titles, 2019 has been a time for experimentation.
The best games of 2019 so far can be divided into three categories. There are the classic Nintendo brands, like Mario and Donkey Kong, with new features and adventures. There are old PS3 and Xbox 360 classics that updated for the Wii Switch. And then there are the wholly original titles of 2019. Thanks to the success of 2017 Wii titles, this year has allowed for more experimentation with some titles. On this list we rate the best Nintendo Switch games released so far, so you know which purchases are worth it.
How Do We Rate the Nintendo Switch Games on this List?
We try to take the ranking seriously on this list. As such, for each game, we like at three distinct elements that determine the overall score of the game. These three elements are the total critical score, the playability and the originality of the game. For each of these elements, we ask questions that help us determine what makes the games right? By answering these questions, we learn the best Nintendo Switch games of 2019.
Best Nintendo Switch Games
17 Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2019 Ranked
Here are our favorite games released during 2019. We are writing this list in September, so we may not catch all of the crucial releases before the year is up. But, regardless, here are our favorites so far:
If anyone is a fan of fast-paced 2D pixelated adventure games with rich stories, then they are going to love Celeste. Beautiful art direction and a well-conceived tale make for a great game. Combine that with a gorgeous soundtrack and tight controls, and you have one of the most original retro gems of the year. With that said, Celeste is not for the faint of hearted. The level designs are rigorous and hard. But this challenge makes it all the more rewarding to progress through the game. A tour de force of a game.
2) Hollow Knight
2019 is a good year for 2D platform jumpers. Like Celeste, Hollow Knight is a switch game that features a visually flat protagonist. However, the game differs dramatically regarding art and design. Indeed, parts of the game seem to open up an entire underground world for the character to explore. You travel at your own pace, collect loot and battle bosses according to whatever direction you go in. Another wholly original title for the Nintendo Switch this year, just shy of being a masterpiece.
3) Bayonetta 2
The esteemed game Bayonetta 2 is the first crossover title on our list that deserves a significant distinction. The game takes the best elements of the consoles it has already been released on and translates them flawlessly to the Switch controller. The result is a game that is hard for anyone to put down. The engaging combat system, gorgeous design, and emotive story create a true masterpiece that invites new players and old ones alike.
Ikaruga is a classic cult arcade shooter reimagined on the Nintendo Switch. Refined graphics and streamlined controllers make it a gratifying experience. In addition to a puzzle element, the game also features a rich science fiction story. Fans of the original game will rejoice. But new players can also hop in on the fun.
5) Owl Boy
Owl Boy is another vertical platformer with bright colors that bring a pixelated world to new heights. The old-school feel of this game does not stop at the visual elements though. The story is also well-made and features a richly researched lore. The game is made primarily for free play; the game is fun and addictive. You should not miss this game. It is a shame; not all games portray themselves as caringly as Owl Boy.
6) Crypt of the Necrodancer: Nintendo Switch Edition
Though this indie darling of a game was widely released on other platforms, it is still definitely worth your time. The addictive rhythm-based movements of this pixel prison game lend it a distinctly original feel. Get ready for good music and intensely random dungeon generators. Those with an ear for chiptunes will no doubt be avid fans of this game’s soundtrack. Crypt of the Necrodancer: Nintendo Switch Edition is back from the dead.
7) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was one of the Wii U’s redeeming title. The sideswipe game sticks to the franchise’s formula while adding new and enjoyable creative elements. The funky gameplay mode, in particular, is worth checking out. If you love classic Nintendo, then this new version of the game is an excellent way to jump back into the old school character.
8) Night in the Woods
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Night in the Woods is another 2D with enjoyable characters, incredibly relatable dialogue and distinct art style. But it still feels different from other games on this list. Perhaps the most notable distinction in this game is the number of extra activities you can partake in throughout the story. You can explore the confines of power lines, or pick up the bass and lay down a sweet lick. This freedom is a very different spin on your traditional 2D platformers, opening up bold new avenues for the future.
9) West of Loathing
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West of Loathing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those who are open to its unusual art style will reward themselves with a delightful gaming experience. The artists portray the character in West of Loathing as stick figures. The games are hearty mixtures of turned-based grid combat, engaging RPG dialogue, and story development. It is also investing funny. West of Loathing takes the term slapstick to hilarious new meanings.
10) Darkest Dungeon
In Darkest Dungeon you explore the spookiest regions of an underground dungeon in a team of four, strong 2D characters. The art style in Darkest Dungeon is disturbing in the best way possible. The monster you face underground is truly unique in their darkness and grotesqueness. Altogether it is another enjoyable update of an old PS4 game.
11) Lumines Remastered
For those unfamiliar with Lumines Remaster, get ready for a treat. Lumines is a mixture of Guitar Hero and Tetris. The result is an impossibly addicting puzzle game with an equally infectious soundtrack to match it. The only downside is the multiplayer is still lacking on the title which is unfortunate. Still, it is worth the experience for the single player portion.
12) Attack on Titan 2
For the manga lovers out there, Attack on Titan 2 takes the grizzly art style and story from the television show and visual novels and transform it into a truly enjoyable slash and hack the game. As such, this game is not for the faint of heart; it is very bloody. In addition to a continuation of the story, this Nintendo Switch game also features new co-op modes so that you can play with a friend.
13) Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim
Those familiar with Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim knows it is one of the wealthiest rendered fantasy worlds ever imagined. Whether you are a spellcaster, warrior or archer, there are plenty of ways to experience the world of Skyrim. The combat system for Skyrim is impressive, but it is the graphics of the world around the character and stories that truly bring the game to life. Now you can experience the thrill of fighting dragons first person on your Nintendo Switch. Even though Skyrim is becoming an aging relic, it is still strangely relevant today.
14) Osteopath Traveler
Square Enix fans (the creators of Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, etc.) will be thrilled with this new turn-based RPG from the company. The richly rendered world adds a fantastic amount of depth to a supposedly 2D world. The gameplay, presentation, characters and musically are all beautiful — absolutely no complaints in that department. However, the story does feel reasonably short. And it does not have much replay value which is unfortunate.
15) Overcooked 2
We all know cooking can be a bit stressful. Overcooked is a co-op game series that takes that stress and places it into a cute 3D puzzle game. You and your team of chefs work hard to produce the food orders as they come in. This game is incredibly enjoyable to play with others — make sure you get ready for controlled chaos. Even if you lose (and there is a high probability that you will fail), it is still an incredibly enjoyable experience.
16) Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is one of the first independently made 2D rendered jumping game to take off really. The disgustingly cute character, common objective (rescue the girl), and impossibly hard gameplay made for a game that required precision and patience, as a rule, if you wanted to succeed. Now you can be challenged all over again on the Nintendo Switch. Not much new is added on the switch, but the game is still a big bag of fun.
17) Kirby Star Allies
This Kirby game is perhaps the most co-op based version of the loveable pink character franchise ever released. Along with Kirby's new element designated friends, he fights an addicting new adventure with engaging powers and combos. The creative ways of gameplay are the real shining star of this game. But, like all good games, it feels like it ends all too soon.
Nintendo Switch Gift Buying Guide
If you are buying a new Switch gift for someone a do not know which one would be most appealing to them, then try and think of what games they are drawn to. No one likes receiving a game they do not want. But it also is not very tactful to just ask someone what they want. We provided some of the popular genres that might be applicable for anyone looking for a good suggestion.
It is an excellent year to be a fan of 2D indie games. But there are plenty of new, exciting releases to choose from, from past years to the present. There were a lot of popular transfers and remastered games to choose from so you can go down nostalgia lane. We hope this list has been beneficial in helping you learn about the best Nintendo Switch games that 2019 has to offer.
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