The Nintendo Switch has been on the market since early 2017 and has amassed an impressive library of games in that time. Whether you’re new to Nintendo’s unique hybrid home/portable console or a proud owner since day one, here are 10 absolute must own titles available on the platform, writes Krishan Sharma.
Super Mario Odyssey
A little over two decades ago, Super Mario 64 set a benchmark for what a 3D platformer should be and with Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo takes that classic sandbox-style gameplay and tops it in almost every single way. Odyssey never forgets the plumber’s proud past but it also blazes a trail of its own with new gameplay ideas that make it feel fresh for a new generation while maintaining the old school charm and nostalgia for long time Mario fans.
Each of the cleverly designed kingdoms are fantastically dense with secrets and challenges that are guaranteed to keep you smiling from ear to ear as you explore every nook and cranny with near-flawless controls. Super Mario Odyssey’s unabashed sense of whimsy and charm is a refreshing breath of fresh air in today’s gritty and hyper realistic video game landscape.
To put it succinctly, Super Mario Odyssey is the finest 3D Mario game ever made and one of the main reasons to own a Nintendo Switch.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
While the Zelda series has always been held in high regard, it has largely followed the same basic formula for years. Breath of the Wild not only takes the 30-year old franchise in a bold new direction, it redefines what an open world game should be.
The game offers an unparalleled sense of freedom in a vast unexpected world designed to encourage player experimentation. As you play, the staggering amount of ways in which you can interact with the world of Hyrule naturally reveal themselves.60 hours in and I still manage to come across things I haven’t seen before.
Breath of the Wild is often regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, and it’s easy to see why. Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer to the series or a longtime fan, it is an absorbing experience that should not be missed.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is essentially a souped up version of Mario Kart 8 that originally debuted on Nintendo’s ill-fated console predecessor, the Wii U. But to dismiss the game as a mere cash grab would be doing the game a real disservice as the Switch version brings to the table new characters, new items and most crucially – battle mode.
Complete with eight custom arenas specifically designed for close quarters combat in addition to five different game types that cater to specific play styles, battle mode is where multiplayer really get its legs in Mario Kart.
From the kart-based deathmatch of Balloon Battle, cops and robbers style of play with Renegade Roundup to Shine Thief which requires great defense and good evasion skills, there’s something here for everyone. As far as more traditional arcade racing goes, all of the game’s gorgeously designed 48 tracks are available from the start.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the best arcade racers on the market and feels most at home on the Switch. The portable nature of the hardware means you can enjoy the multiplayer mayhem practically anywhere regardless of whether you’re on a flight or while waiting in a queue.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Captain Toad is a wonderfully-executed Wii U port of an unexpected spin-off starring Toad. Each level boasts expertly crafted self-contained stages, jam-packed with smart puzzles to solve and treasure to uncover.
It might lack replayability with the new multiplayer mode feeling largely tacked on and there’s really not much reason to come back to the game once you’ve found all of the gems in each level. There’s also not enough here to warrant repurchase if you already played the game on Wii U, but if you’re part of the majority who missed out on this charming and beautiful perspective puzzler the first time around, don’t hesitate in picking this one up.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is quite honestly the finest 2D platform game ever made. Its brutally tough difficulty and the Wii U’s small install base meant the game was criminally overlooked when it first made its debut four years ago.
Tropical Freeze was recently given a new life on the Switch and we couldn’t be happier as a game this good deserves a second chance. The addition of Funky Kong eases the difficulty, making a hard game more approachable to a wider audience of players while also making it fun to experiment with for veteran players.
However, the brilliance of the game can only truly be appreciated when you play through the levels with either of the game’s three main Kong characters – Donkey, Diddy and Dixie. The level of challenge on offer will conjure up alternating cries of agony and relief but barring the insane difficulty level of the game’s bonus stages, almost everything is fair and doable with enough focus and patience.
Levels are lovingly crafted and filled with details and set pieces, making the unique setting of each and every stage come alive. Complementing the 2D action is some of the best music you’re ever likely to hear in games.
The excruciatingly long load times of the Wii U version have been dramatically reduced and there’s also a resolution bump to make the visuals sharper when playing in TV mode.
In short: Tropical Freeze on the Nintendo Switch is the definitive version of an underappreciated classic. Don’t miss it.
Another one of Wii U’s overlooked gems, the Switch version arrives with few little enhancements, but the fact that we now get to experience one of the best hack and slash action games ever made in portable form, puts Bayonetta 2 on the list almost by default.
The game wows you at every twist and turn with its epic battles that more often than not defy gravity. The deep combat system is easy to pick up but difficult to master, making each encounter feel fresh.
With Platinum Games Bayonetta 3 on the horizon, there’s no better time to catch up with the series. Buying Bayonetta 2 on the Switch effectively nets you the original Bayonetta game as well. Now if we could only get Platinum’s other Wii U hidden gem, The Wonderful 101, over on to the Switch as well…
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Far from your usual Mario game, this rollercoaster ride of a turn-based strategy game merges Nintendo’s Mushroom Kingdom with Ubisoft’s wacky Rabbids and it all somehow just works. The story is delivered with great humour and offers a nice change of pace to the combat which demands a carefully-planned strategy to accomplish your goals.
Crucially, Mario Plus Rabbids draws in those who don’t typically play turn-based strategy games, making it the ideal entry point for anyone new to the genre while at the same time challenging enough to keep seasoned veterans engaged.
There’s a wealth of content here as well not to mention the recently released downloadable content (DLC) which brings a brand new story starring everyone’s favourite gorilla, Donkey Kong, into the mix.
With Nintendo seemingly uninterested in reviving its much loved F-Zero series, Fast RMX from Shin’en scratches that anti-gravity racing itch with a blisteringly fast racer heavily inspired by Nintendo’s long dormant franchise.
Whether you’re score chasing in single player mode or enjoying the frenetic thrill of multiplayer via splitscreen or online, Fast RMX won’t disappoint. A beautiful and well-built racer that also happens to offer plenty of value with its $30 price tag.
Sonic Mania Plus
Sonic Mania Plus is a throwback to Sonic’s 2D side scrolling roots of the 90s right down to the 16-bit looking visuals. Sonic Mania Plus is effectively a ‘best of’ compilation, putting together some of the most memorable Sonic levels into one package.
It’s not a complete retread of the familiar, however, there are new twists and additions to keep long-time fans on their toes. There’s even a brand new multiplayer mode that offers proper splitscreen play for up to four players.
While Sonic Mania Plus is an essential purchase for fans of the iconic blue hedgehog, the game is not going to win over new fans. In other words, if you couldn’t get into Sonic’s unique gameplay style before, then this game won’t change your mind.
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