When you think of the Nintendo Switch, the first games that come to mind are probably the great first-party titles that the console has produced. Between Pokemon, Zelda, and Animal Crossing, the Switch has featured some of the biggest hits of this generation. However, it has also become home to some incredible indie games that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re after a great indie game for the Switch, here are our picks for the best of the bunch.
The best indie games for the Nintendo Switch – our top ten
Learning from the lessons offered by the PlayStation Vita’s strange niche in gaming history, the Nintendo Switch wasted no time making indie games welcome on the platform. Between the massive releases that grab headlines, these are the games that keep the console active and worth having. With the Nintendo eShop acting as a digital marketplace, there are almost too many indie games to sort through for the Switch, but we’ve dug through to find the best of the bunch.
When this indie game was released in 2018, very few people paid attention. It wasn’t until the 2020 pandemic drove everyone inside and toward online gaming that it found its audience. Since then, Among Us has become one of the most successful — and most meme-worthy — indie games on the Switch. Trying to figure out which of your friends is the killer before they are able to take you out is stressful and incredibly satisfying.
Cuphead might look like a classic Saturday morning cartoon, but its gameplay will certainly have you saying a few words you can’t say on TV. This brutal run-and-gun game requires lightning-quick reflexes and near-perfect timing to survive the huge number of obstacles on the screen. Each level is more devious than the next and will test your resolve to free your brother’s soul from the Devil. It is challenging but the satisfaction of finally beating that pesky level is worth the frustration.
It is easy to overlook the plot in Gris, as it seldom pushes itself to the forefront of the gameplay. The platforming and puzzles will occupy most of your time, but the way the world comes to life around it is a great reminder of how video games have the opportunity to be the most interactive of mediums. There is a beautiful exploration of the nature of grief and how it can be overcome along with the wonderful art design and music.
Fight. Die. Repeat. That’s the cycle of Hades, the award-winning rogue-like from Supergiant Games. Featuring an incredible cast of characters, gorgeous artwork, and challenging but rewarding gameplay, this is easily one of the best indie games for the Nintendo Switch. What sets this game apart from the other rogue-likes on the console is the engaging story, which pulls you in and compels you to push forward through each punishing run in the halls of Hades.
If you want a bit of a challenge from your indie games on the Switch, look no further than Hollow Knight. This 2D side-scroller is one of the best examples of the Metroidvania genre made in recent years. The boss fights are tough enough to make you pull your hair out, but the environment, music, and art will keep you coming back for more. This is a simple game but it is truly gorgeous at the same time.
Set in the appropriately titled Radlandia, OlliOlli World is one of the best skateboarding games you’ll ever play. It is full of colorful obstacles and strange characters as you flip, kick, and jump your way through multiple levels. Take your customized character out onto the rails and grind your way to the top of the leaderboards in this fantastic indie game for the Nintendo Switch.
There are plenty of retro-platformers on the Nintendo Switch, but none of them reach the heights of Shovel Knight. With large, sprawling levels, well-balanced combat, and a great cast of memorable characters, this game has the kind of charm most larger studios can only dream of. The pixel art looks great on the Switch, allowing players to pick the game up and take it with them when they just can’t bear to put it down.
This is one of the most successful indie games of all time, but the Switch feels like the perfect home for it. Stardew Valley is the ultimate relaxing game to play before bed or on the go, with short days that can be completed quickly to provide a natural stopping point. Alternatively, it is almost too easy to say “one more day” and stay up till the wee hours of the morning if you’re not careful. Life on the farm is never boring.
When it was released on the PC, Undertale quickly became one of the most celebrated games of all time. By the time it was ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2018, its reputation was near-legendary, and for good reason. With iconic music and characters, Undertale is ultimately a story of consequences, with different endings earned based on how you play through the game. You can play through Undertale a dozen times and it will still feel fresh.
Untitled Goose Game
If you love to be the bad guy in games, then Untitled Goose Game is for you. Travel through a quaint English village as a terrible goose, leaving chaos and tears in your wake. The puzzles in the game are wonderfully challenging but satisfying to finally solve, while the art style feels like a picture book coming to life. Untitled Goose Game lets you give into your most destructive instincts in the most adorable way.