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So you just picked up a Nintendo Switch, did ya? Congratulations! It's a real beauty of a console, with plenty on offer. The only problem? It can be a little daunting working out exactly where to start. There are, after all, so many games available for Nintendo's home console/handheld hybrid.
The biggest and best games of the current and last generation? Play 'em again - on the go. All the latest indie gems? You got 'em. First-party Nintendo exclusives? They're present and correct in spades, my good buddy. Truly, there's a little something for everyone on Switch.
Before you start to freak out over the sheer amount of choice on offer though, I have a handy little guide for you. Read on for 12 games that the GAMINGbible team feels every Switch owner should add to their library. Or not. Your Switch, your choice.
Yes, Minecraft has existed in some form since 2009. Yes, the block-building survival sim has been ported to pretty much every console imaginable at this point. So what makes the Switch version of this decade-old game so special? Portability.
The Switch's handheld functionality is something that helps all of its ports stand out, and Minecraft is no different. Being able to explore, create, and survive in a vast sandbox - alone or with friends - is always a joy. Being able to do it curled in bed, on the sofa with the TV on in the background, or on the train, brings a whole new joy to the adventure.
Ghost Town Games, 2018
In China, Overcooked 2 has the nickname "Divorce Kitchen". And frankly, that alone tells you more about Ghost Town Games' chaotic culinary co-op game than I ever could. If I'm being completely honest with you, I can't play this one with my wife for more than an hour at a time - that's how stressful I find this game.
That's not to say I don't love it, because it is a genuine blast. Building on its 2016 predecessor with new features, more complex recipes, and infinitely more unpredictable maps, Overcooked 2 will push even the strongest of relationships to the absolute limit. But you know... in a good way.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Nintendo EPD, 2017
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ultimate incarnation of Nintendo's popular kart racing franchise, and quite possibly one of the best multiplayer games of all time. The latest model is absolutely stuffed with content, featuring the most courses, modes, and characters of any Mario Kart game yet.
The gameplay itself is better, faster, and infinitely more accessible than it's ever been. Item balancing is near-perfect, and the super smooth online mode will keep you coming back for more long after all your friends abandon you for swearing too loudly and frequently. Hey, it happens.
Untitled Goose Game
House House, 2019
If you're looking for an easily digestible indie experience for Switch that won't break the bank, Untitled Goose Game is a solid option. One of the best games of 2019, UGG asks the ultimate question: what is it like to be a horrible goose that spends its days harassing a quiet english village?
The answer, it turns out, is pretty damn entertaining. Every ounce of UGG, every second of this stealth sandbox's runtime, is stuffed with charm and hilarity. If you've never taken control of a goose that can scare a little boy into tripping over in a puddle before stealing his glasses, let me tell you - it's a hell of a rush.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt RED/Saber Interactive, 2019
If you need proof of just how powerful the Switch is, look no further than this stunning port of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The most ambitious RPG of this generation, along with both of its massive expansions, has somehow been stuffed onto the handheld console with minimal compromise. It truly has to be seen to be believed.
While not quite as eye-poppingly cinematic as its PS4, PC and Xbox One counterparts, the Switch port is still undeniably The Witcher 3 everywhere that it matters. Which is to say, it's still one of the biggest, most immersive, beautifully written video games of all time. The perfect port for newcomers and returning fans alike.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Nintendo/Bandai Namco/Sora Ltd, 2018
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is, in a word, ridiculous. There is absolutely no way a game like this should exist, and yet exist it does. It defies all logic.
If previous entries in the multi-mascot fighting franchise were love letters to Nintendo, this one is a heartfelt epic poem written for the last four decades of gaming. Mario, Link, Samus and Pikachu are all present and correct, while the likes of Solid Snake, Banjo Kazooie and even bloody Bayonetta come along for the ride this time.
Everything from Pong and Pac-Man to Final Fantasy VII and Persona 5 are represented in some shape or form. With a truly mind-boggling 74 characters playable at launch and more added through DLC, the sheer amount of content on offer in Smash Bros. Ultimate puts it in a league of its own.
Depression. Alcoholism. PTSD. Making sure you're planting your blueberries to encourage the best possible yield. These are all issues that come up in the absorbing farming/life simulator Stardew Valley. It sounds unbelivably dumb on paper that a game about farming would attempt such a comination of subjects, but this is a game that genuinely pulls it off.
Arriving in a sleepy town with the relatively simple task of restoring your granddad's farm to its former glory, Stardew Valley's astonishing depth only reveals itself to players willing to put in the work. Get to know the town's many locals better, and the world opens itself up in a number of unexpected and fascinating ways.
Plus, you know, that core gameplay loop of planting crops and making muchos bucks is perfectly executed and dangerously engaging.
Luigi's Mansion 3
Next Level Games, 2019
Few games this year left me grinning quite as much as Luigi's Mansion 3. The green-capped hero's latest ghost-busting adventure is a beautifully-animated puzzler packed with invention and tons of fun little details that only add to the experience.
The amount of love and care that Next Level Games put into Luigi's Mansion 3 shines throughout every boss battle, every fiendish puzzle, and every masterfully-designed floor of the ghost-infested Last Resort Hotel. This is, quite possibly, the most charming game on Switch right now. Well worth your time.
Super Mario Maker 2
Nintendo EPD, 2019
Pssst. Hey, do you like Super Mario Bros.? Of course you do. Two-dimensional platforming doesn't get better than when it's with beloved Italian plumbers. What if I told you there was a game out there that offered access to literally millions of Super Mario Bros. levels? Wonderfully imaginative creations that range from standard platforming challenges, puzzle-based adventures, and even Metroidvanias?
What if I also you that in addition to a near-unlimited supply of Mario levels, you could also make your own, thanks to an incredibly intuitive yet surprisingly deep level-creation tool?
I'm sure you get where I'm going with this. If you like Mario - hell, if you like video games in general - you'll love Super Mario Maker 2. I promise.
Matt Makes Games, 2018
Developed by the indie team of Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, the gorgeous 2D platformer Celeste invites players to face their fears and overcome self-doubt in a life-affirming adventure that's all about climbing mountains - literal and otherwise.
Yes, it's a seriously tough game. Yes, you will die a lot. But the beauty of Celeste is that it's subtly and constantly teaching you to do better, to take a deep breath and pull off what you previously thought to be impossible. It never does this by lowering the difficulty (though you can, if you want), but by simply believing in you, the player.
Brutally challenging, utterly charming, and as close to platforming perfection as its possible to get, Celeste is a triumph from start to finish.
Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo EPD, 2017
Ever since Super Mario 64, Nintendo's 3D Mario outings have consistently found new ways to reinvent the platformer, and his latest adventure might just be the best yet. Super Mario Odyssey is a dizzyingly inventive, constantly surprising piece of work that more than deserves a place among Nintendo's very finest titles. Playing it is like having liquid joy poured directly in your eyes. Who wouldn't want that?
Before the credits roll after a delightfully bonkers final chapter, you will have seen more perfectly-executed ideas than most developers offer up over the course of an entire franchise. The sheer speed and confidence with which Nintendo throws new concepts at you in Odyssey is truly remarkable.
Whether you're hopping around on the moon as a frog or stomping around as a hulking T-Rex, Super Mario Odyssey is never boring, and it's certainly never predictable.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo EPD, 2017
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece. An epic adventure through an untamed world that constantly rewards curiosity and experimentation with so many truly magical moments that you could pour over 100 hours into the game and still not have seen everything.
As someone who's now poured in over 250 hours across three playthroughs, believe me when I say that.
If you want to climb all the way to the top of a mountain and then surf all the way back down on your shield, you can do that. If you want to attach balloons to an old crate and raise yourself high up into the air, you can. Tame and ride a skeletal horse? Go for it. Bake a cake using monster guts? If you want, weirdo.
Oh, and if you simply want to hunt down dungeons and fight evil, there's nothing from stopping you. This is still Zelda, after all. But where previous Zelda games blocked players from true freedom by gating their progress with items and story beats, Breath of the Wild simply shrugs its shoulders, throws the doors to Hyrule wide open, and lets us go nuts.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Nintendo EPD, 2020
Since the original publication of this article late last year, one game has come out that we absolutely had to include. You can read our full review of Animal Crossing: New Horizons right here.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again now for the benefit of those of you who've yet to succumb to its charms: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the game we all need right now. This delightful, zen island-life simulator might just be the most accessible Nintendo Switch game to date. Anyone, regardless of age or previous gaming experience, can get something out of this title, and that's been amazing to see over the past few weeks.
The open world adventuring of Zelda might leave you cold. The platforming escapades of Mario might well not be your cup of tea. But I've yet to meet a single soul who hasn't picked up New Horizons and been immediately smitten with its relaxing, methodical chore based gameplay.
Pulling weeds and picking fruit sounds like the kind of thing you'd usually have to pay me to do, but New Horizons has turned these chores into a goddamn privilege. I still don't know how, but it's been nearly a month and I can't stop coming back every day as I slowly turn my town into the glorious island paradise I know it's always been destined to be. Essential.
Featured Image Credit: Nintendo / House House
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