The Nintendo Switch has become somewhat of an indie darling an has officially supplanted the PS Vita as the go-to handheld platform for developers. Its portability makes it the perfect home for smaller games that suit the traveling gamer. Some of the greatest indies, new and old, are now available on the Switch, most of them at a great price. In the first year of the Nintendo Switch’s existence games released in the eShop were often priced higher than their PC or console counterparts with many people calling it the “Switch Tax”. Now that the eShop has been flooded with hundreds of games competition for your dollars is fierce. There are now plenty of great games available on the Nintendo Switch that are a great value, let’s take a look at some of the best.
12. SteamWorld Dig
Developer – Image and Form Games
Price – $9.99
SteamWorld Dig is a platform action adventure with strong Metroidvanian gameplay influences. The game sees players take the role of Rusty, a lone mining steambot, as he arrives at an old mining town in great need. As you Dig your way through the old earth you’ll uncover riches as well as an ancient threat that lurks below.
The objective of the game is to dig through Tumbleton’s mine, which also involves solving puzzles and platforming to avoid traps and enemies. The player can upgrade the tools used for digging as progression is made in the game. Besides health, the player also needs coal for light, and water for special abilities. While the second entry in the series is a far better game, the original SteamWorld Dig is a great place to start for just $9.99.
11. Riptide GP: Renegade
Developer – Vector Unit
Price – $9.99
Riptide GP: Renegade is a fast-paced arcade racing game in the vein of Jet Moto and Hydro Thunder. This port of the fantastic mobile game puts you in the shoes of a hydrojet rider, framed and cast out from the Riptide GP league, forced to race illegally through city waterways, flooded ruins, and churning factory machinery in an effort to reclaim your reputation and your title. Play through the single-player career to unlock new vehicles, playable characters, and customization features as you take down bosses and build your crew.
The XP and BP upgrade system provide a great amount of replayability, coupled with online and local split-screen multiplayer there is a substantial amount of content for an arcade racer. While the game suffers from some framerate issues in handheld mode there’s a real sense of speed and excitement as you race through the flooded environments. Riptide GP: Renegade is a great little arcade racer available for a budget price.
10. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
Developer – Castle Pixel
Price – $14.99
If you’re a fan of the classic Legend of Zelda games you enjoy Blossom Tales. This classic 8-bit action-adventure has players taking control of Lily, Knight of the Rose! Slash your way through monster-infested dungeons to save the Kingdom of Blossom from eternal darkness. Along the way, you’ll collect unique weapons, spells, and more during your journey to take down powerful bosses and solve clever puzzles. The similarities to The Legend of Zelda are obvious but Blossom Tales takes the tried and tested formula and improves on it in many ways.
Refinements in inventory management, gorgeous visuals, and an excellent soundtrack and some inventive puzzles make this a must play on the Nintendo Switch. The game is well suited for handheld devices as players can tackle a dungeon or complete quests in 10-20 minute gaming sessions. With 15+ hours of gameplay, this unique experience is worth a look on the Switch.
Developer – Tribute Games
Price – $14.99
Indie developer Tribute Games brings the excellent roguelike action platformer Flinthook to the Nintendo Switch. Players use a grappling hook (think Bionic Commando) to traverse procedurally generated spaceships in search of treasure. The developer was inspired by other “rogue-lite” games such as Spelunky and Rogue Legacy and if that’s your cup of tea you love Flinthook.
You’ll play as Captain Flinthook, a masked space pirate who is also equipped with a plasma gun and the ability to slow time. The hook is used to traverse the environment as well as a weapon. With some satisfying gameplay and a beautiful pixel-based graphics, Flinhook is a challenging game that will keep you occupied for dozens of hours.
8. Stardew Valley
Developer – ConcernedApe
Price – $14.99
Stardew Valley is an indie farming simulation RPG that draws its inspiration from the Harvest Moon series. The adventure begins with your custom created protagonist working for the Joja corporation, in what seems to be a frustrating and unfulfilling career. Your character’s grandfather gives them a sealed envelope stating “There will come a day when you feel crushed by the burden of modern life” prompting your character to open the letter. The letter holds a deed from your grandfather to a farm in Stardew Valley; a place of purpose and the beginning of your journey.
There’s always something that requires your attention in Stardew Valley and you’ll have to maximize your time each time you sit down for a gameplay session. Stardew Valley is successful in combining resource management, farming simulation, and RPG elements into a package that is perfectly suited for the Nintendo Switch.
Developer – Treasure
Price – $14.99
One of the greatest shooters of all-time makes its way to Nintendo’s flagship handheld. Ikaruga is the spiritual sequel to 1998’s Radiant Silvergun and was originally released in Japanese arcades in December 2001. The game’s story follows a rebel pilot named Shinra as he battles an enemy nation using a specially designed fighter called the Ikaruga which can flip between two polarities, black and white.
This polarity mechanic is the game’s defining feature and the foundation for its stage and enemy design. All enemies and bullets in the game are either black or white. Bullets which are the same color as the player are absorbed while the others will kill the player. It’s a unique addition to the classic shmup formula that gives the game its own identity. The game also features both single-player and co-op modes as well as a vertical screen (tate mode) for the Nintendo Switch.
6. Golf Story
Developer – Sidebar Games
Price – $14.99
Golf Story is a unique experience that combines golf with a 16-bit role-playing game. The story plays out over 8 different courses and you’ll take control of a golfer who is forced to give up all that he holds dear for one last shot at accomplishing his dreams. It’s a charming little game with an interesting story that plays out in a fully realized 16-bit setting. The game is presented as a traditional role-playing game, with the combat being replaced with golfing.
Golf Story succeeds as an excellent golf game alone featuring all sorts of variables including a myriad of different clubs, slopes, wind speed, and terrain. Where the game really shines is its clever writing that really paints a picture of your down and out golfer. Yet another game that is well suited for a portable gaming device, Golf Story is a great game to play in 20-minute chunks.
5. Picross S
Developer – Jupiter
Price – $8.99
Picross has been a staple on Nintendo handhelds since the Gameboy days. Picross S is the natural evolution of the classic puzzler and features over 300 puzzles split across various modes that will keep you entertained for hours upon hours. For those who are not familiar with the concept of Picross, the goal of each puzzle is to identify what blocks on a grid should be filled out by using numerical values assigned to each row and column. Through the process of observing patterns and elimination, you’ll slowly uncover the grid unveiling a pixelated picture as part of a reward.
It’s a simple concept that requires brain power in the same way that a sudoku puzzle does. This highly addictive puzzle game will keep you coming back and repeating “just one more”. The game features a clean and simple aesthetic that is perfectly suited for this cerebral puzzle game.
Developer – Playdead
Price – $9.99
Originally released back in 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade, Limbo is a puzzle platforming game developed by independent studio Playdead. An atmospheric 2D side-scroller Limbo sees players take control of an unnamed boy and guide him through dangerous environments and traps as he searches for his sister. The puzzles within the game are designed to have the player fail before finding the correct solution something the developer called “trial and death”.
The game is almost entirely presented in black and white and uses ambient sounds to create an uneasy and eerie atmosphere that add to its simple aesthetic. Although almost ten years have passed since the game first released the folks at Playdead have brought the genre-defining experience to the Nintendo Switch where a whole new audience can experience its glory.
3. Lumines Remastered
Developer – Q Entertainment
Price – $14.99
Lumines is yet another fantastic puzzler that is now available on the Nintendo Switch at a reasonable price. The core objective of the game is to survive by rotating and aligning 2×2 blocks varying between two colors to form 2×2 squares of a single color which will be erased when the Time Line passes over them and adds to the score. The game is lost when the blocks reach the top of the playing field much like in Tetris.
Created by famed developer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Lumines combines the music based gameplay seen in his earlier effort, Rez with the puzzle game genre. It’s a formula that works well as the tempo of the given song affects how fast the block fall. Completing squares will give you both an audio and visual cue that adds to the already addictive puzzle gameplay. The game constantly changes the music and skins providing something new every few minutes.
2. Mega Man Legacy Collection
Developer – Capcom
Price – $14.99
The Mega Man series first got its start on the Nintendo Entertainment System and eventually became synonymous with Nintendo. Despite there currently being ten Mega Man games in the core series of classic platformers, the first six are the best. The Mega Man Legacy Collection combines all six into a fantastic package that is right a home on the Nintendo Switch. The games look and play great with several graphical filters, backgrounds, and options that add to the experience.
The 8-bit Mega Man games are known for their challenge, these games are not for the faint of heart. Thankfully, each game features the handy ability to reverse time – so if you’re new to the series and find yourself dying on a particular section a lot, you can simply hold down the L button to reverse time and start over without losing a life. It’s a great way to get familiar with the levels only to go back and attempt them without the aid. At $14.99 the Mega Man Legacy Collection is a fantastic deal for six of the greatest platforming games of all-time.
1. Hollow Knight
Developer – Team Cherry
Price – $15
Hollow Knight is side-scrolling action platformer that was critically acclaimed when it came out back in February of 2017 for the PC. The game flew under the radar for the average gamer and it wasn’t until it showed up on Nintendo Switch recently that it finally received the attention that it deserves. The game tells the story of a knight on a quest to uncover the secrets of the long-abandoned insect kingdom of Hallownest, whose depths draw in the adventurous and brave with promises of treasures and answers to ancient mysteries.
Hollow Knight was developed by a small team consisting of two main contributors as well as a number of others in support roles. What they’ve accomplished is simply astonishing. Hollow Knight is a wonderful platformer with tight controls, rewarding challenge, and gorgeous visuals. Throw in a surprisingly compelling story and interesting setting and you get the makings of a classic.