With Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa recently declaring that the Switch is at the midpoint of its life cycle, we've decided to pause and reflect on the console's finest titles so far. With the likes of Bayonetta 3, Breath of the Wild 2, and Metroid Prime 4 all set to arrive at some point, we're confident that this list will change shape in the future, but we'd still argue that every tile on this list shouldn't be missed by Switch owners. Here are ten of our favourites as of February 2021:
We're just going to come right out and say it: Mario Odyssey is the finest 3D adventure that we've been able to embark on as the mustachioed plumber. The 15 explorable kingdoms are oozing with charm: with one being a callback to Peach's Castle from Mario 64 and another taking place in a New York-inspired cityscape. And then there's Cappy, Mario's adorable new companion, who allows you to take the form of the many different enemies you'll encounter. Ever wonder what being a Bullet Bill might feel like? Well you can here, and this mechanic makes traversing the world around you ridiculously entertaining.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If there was ever a game that nailed the concept of timing, it would be Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This simple simulation title looked to the iconic world of Animal Crossing and delivered a Switch exclusive that excelled in multiplayer gameplay, in a time when the world was becoming more fractured than ever before. It's delightful island building gameplay not only perfectly suited players looking for an easy-to-love solo experience, but the introduction of Dodo Airlines and Switch Online meant that players all over the globe could experience a social environment without even leaving the comforts of their own home.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really is a Smash fan's dream, as it compiles together all the fighters that have previously appeared in the series. This fifth entry also comes with a fully-fledged Adventure Mode and hundreds of game-altering spirits that are themed after characters from your favourite video game franchises. There's also a stage creator too, where you can choose to get creative or download some of the wacky designs dreamt up by the community. The game is already excellent but it has continued to grow, as the likes of Banjo Kazooie, Joker, and Steve from Minecraft have joined the fight through paid DLC.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
When it launched at the start of the Switch's life cycle back in 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild set a brand new standard for open world games. It's sprawling version of Hyrule packed with unique biomes and plenty of dangerous, yet varied enemies delivered one of the greatest RPGs we've ever seen - not just on the Switch. The really special part about this game came in its impressive visuals and brilliantly designed physics system that all together delivered a Switch title that will undoubtedly be remembered and recognised as one of the greatest videogames of all time.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
This pair of titles may have attracted a fair amount of controversy with the whole Dexit Debacle, but fortunately they proved to be solid titles in their own right. We wouldn't say they were as groundbreaking for the series as Sun and Moon, but they still represented several steps forward for the franchise. These were the first mainline entries to appear on a home console, and they also flirted with having an open world structure within the Wild Area. The Great Britain inspired Galar region was one of the most stunning regions we've been able to explore yet, and we loved subtle changes introduced like having wild Pokémon roaming around the overworld.
Square Enix has developed some incredible JRPGs over its lifetime, but you could make the argument that the former Switch exclusive Octopath Traveller was the best of the bunch. This incredibly lengthy game featured eight characters, eight adventures, and eight roles to play, all over the delightful fictional realm known as Orsterra that mixed sprite-characters with a realistic 3D pixel environment. With an accessible, yet deep turn-based combat system this RPG is not only challenging but packed with mystery, as you look to explore the eight realms that constitute Orsterra itself.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Okay, so we might be cheating here by including this on the list as it originally debuted on the WiiU, but hear us out as we have a good reason for its inclusion. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at this point is pretty much synonymous with the Switch as it has found its way into the hands of more than a third of gamers on the platform. Tearing up the track with Mario and friends is massively addictive and its third-button action is accessible enough even for those who haven't even picked up a controller. As well as the excellent base game from the WiiU, this souped-up version also includes all the DLC tracks, as well as new characters from the Mario and the Splatoon series.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Few games offer value for money like Fire Emblem: Three Houses does. The game sees you play as a professor of a university known as the Officer's Academy, and it's up to you to decide, which of the three available factions that you want to side with. The story plays out differently when siding with each of these different groups, and due to this the game boasts a whopping 200 hours of content to chew through. In addition to this, the strategic turn-based combat that we've come to love from the series is well intact here and it's further enhanced by the deep bonds that you've built up with your students.
Luigi's Mansion 3
With Luigi's Mansion pretty much being the black sheep of the GameCube launch lineup, we'd wager that few people expected it to spawn a trilogy of its own, but that's exactly what happened. Luigi's Mansion 3 is the most ambitious entry into the series yet. It once again sees the cowardly Luigi set out to rescue Mario and friends, but he has a few more tricks up his sleeve this time around. Luigi can now create a clone of himself made of goo playfully known as Gooigi to slip through vents and bars, and this makes for some engaging puzzles. The game is also stuffed full of collectibles, and if you're a completionist like us, you'll find yourself vacuuming up every inch of its world to be able to uncover them all.
When this Platinum Games developed title first landed on Switch back in 2019, it was review bombed on Metacritic, due to its exclusivity status. If that's not an indication of how good this Switch exclusive title is we're not sure not sure what else is. Just like Bayonetta, Vanquish, and pretty much all other Platinum games, Astral Chain excels through its unique approach to combat. Its unique brand of hack and slash action sees you chain together many stunning combos by controlling two shackled together characters simultaneously. It's also easy on the eyes, as it boasts some of the most impressive cel-shaded graphics we've seen on the console.
With so many amazing titles already on the platform, it's hard to believe that we're only at the halfway point for the Nintendo Switch. We've got our fingers firmly crossed that the console's later years are equally as strong. If you liked this list, then be sure to check out the top 10s that we put together for both the PS4 and Xbox One.
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