There’s an argument to be made that the Nintendo Switch is, in fact, the best console of the last decade — but is it the console of the generation? Which “generation” is it even going to be considered a part of ultimately? Of course, none of that matters. Nintendo has been doing its own thing for a long time. Nevertheless, the Nintendo Switch has been a great boon to independent game developers, giving smaller games the benefit of portability and a major platform. There are tons of “Nindies” out there that we love, but we’ve gone ahead and rounded up 10 of our favorites for you to check out. If you’ve finally exhausted gargantuan games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Fire Emblem: Three Houses, maybe support some independent artists and play these fantastic gems next.
You might have moved on to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which is great for all your life-sim needs, but if you like that relaxed style of game and haven’t played Stardew Valley, you’re in for a treat. Stardew Valley offers a charming farming simulation with rich graphics that ooze with pixelated charm, and its soundtrack sets the perfect mood for a hard day’s work in the field. Its sole developer, Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone, did a really magnificent job crafting a story you can actually care about, with characters that you’ll learn to love. If you’re looking for a deep experience that can last you dozens of hours, look no further.
Few games beat Hollow Knight when it comes to a polished but challenging Metroidvania experience. In this indie of epic proportions, you’ll take on the role of a brave tiny insect in a sprawling and dark world known as Hallownest. The beautifully drawn animations and wonderful soundtrack do an excellent job setting the tone for this rich exploration-based adventure. There are tons of replayability considering its complexity and customization options. It came out on other platforms first, but Hollow Knight on the Switch is packed with additional content, offering four expansions that are entirely free to download, including new bosses, enemies, and items.
Streets of Rage 4
It might have taken 26 years to get a new Streets of Rage game, but got it we did. Like its predecessors, this is a perfect side-scrolling beat ’em up. If you’ve never played the series before, you can still have a grand old time-fighting crime, but it’s the sense of nostalgia that shines here.
Untitled Goose Game
Another brief game that is hilarious—and you’ve probably already heard of—is Untitled Goose Game. If you somehow missed it, though, the short of it is you play as a goose. What does a goose do, you ask? It wreaks havoc. That’s about it. Each section gives you a to-do list of tasks to complete. Sometimes that task is to trip a small boy. Other times it is to open an umbrella in a store. Whatever it is, the game gives you plenty of freedom and creativity to achieve your goals. It’s slight, but it’s pitch-perfect for what it is.
There simply aren’t enough couch co-op games anymore, but the Switch is seeing to that. Overcooked! 2 (and the original Overcooked! for that matter) reminds us just how fun they can be, offering a hilarious and hectic local cooperative kitchen management experience that will have you shouting, “I NEED A CHICKEN!” It’s a relatively simple design but offers a wacky spin on traditional time management games by challenging you not only to create recipes correctly but deal with level-specific mechanics, including moving platforms, rats, ghosts, and more. It’s a great game to play with a partner or by yourself.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The Ori series has been called a masterpiece and is considered one of the best platformers of the last decade. If you still haven’t played them yet, now is a good time to pick them up on the Switch. The game has an amazing story with an immersive narrative to keep you involved. The beautiful artwork and soundtrack make the game enjoyable for hours on end. As the titular character of Ori, you get to face unique puzzles, bosses and gain cool abilities to navigate the world. The Will of the Wisp also has a new Spirit Trials mode where you can compete with others to speedrun various challenges throughout the game.
Cozy Grove’s story and gameplay are reminiscent of an Animal Crossing game, but the art style is similar to the hand-drawn landscapes of Don’t Starve. You play as a Spirit Scout camping on a haunted island. Your ultimate goal is to help the island’s spirit inhabitants while making friends along the way. There is a 40-hour campaign for players to get through with new quests and content becoming available every day for you to complete. The game is also synced to your console’s clock to create a more immersive experience.
Sky: Children of the Light
If you are familiar with games from Journey or Flower, then you will know what to expect from Sky. This amazing game from That Game Company features the same beautiful world, music, and characters we have come to expect. Players can fly through 7 expansive worlds to unravel a mystery in the game’s campaign. The game also features more extensive social gameplay than we have seen in previous That Game Company games. Players can team up and interact with others to explore the world, delve into dark realms, and collect treasure from around the game.
Is it any surprise that this game has appeared on this list? Since its initial release, Hades has soared in popularity and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Players take on the role of Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he tries to escape from the underworld in search of his mother. With each escape attempt, you will gain resources and allies to aid you against the neverending army of Shades between you and the surface. The overall gameplay of this hack and slash game makes every run unique and memorable.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts is a much a musical experience as it is a game. It bears a lot of similarities to the popular mobile game Lost in Harmony. The game features motorcycle chases, dance battles, and skate tracks to navigate through the unique dream world adventure. You play as a young woman with a broken heart racing through a dream highway. There isn’t a major overt story for players to keep up with aside from the basic premise. The main focus of the game is to pair an upbeat pop soundtrack with colorful and stimulating graphics.
There are tons of other excellent, independently made video game titles available for the Nintendo Switch that you should definitely check out, but for the time being, these are our top 10.