The totally official, completely unbiased top 100 Nintendo Switch games
February 05, 2022

And by "totally official" I mean, "hey, I've played over 100 Switch games. I should rank them and say something pithy about each one." And yes, I really do play this many 2D sidescrollers (I count 47, almost half!)... Since this system has a bunch of old games on it, my only rule here is that I had to have never played it before 2017. So stuff like the Mario All Stars collection or all the Megaman games are out, but everything else is fair game (yes, even *checks list* number 45). And I'm doing it countdown style to force you to scroll past a bunch of games you never heard of to get to, well, some games you've heard of.

100) Gems of War - It's a free to play match 3 game designed akin to Puzzle Quest. Unfortunately, that also makes it rather pointless. I played before my collection started building up, but now I'm done with it.

99) Bleed 2 - I'm still not big on duel analog controls. And not too big on boss rush games. I should really give this another chance.

98) Sparklite - What looked like an awesome Zelda clone turned into a boring roguelike that didn't use its roguelike functions wisely.

97) Teslagrad - Honestly, it probably shouldn't be this far down the list, but I'm mad at the game for 1) being not as fun as I had hoped, and 2) pulling the "you have to collect every one of the items you thought were optional in order to get the end boss" shenanigan. No thanks, not when I'm already annoyed with you Teslagrad.

96) Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz - Missing way too much of what made the first one great. Thankfully, the first one is now ported so I don't have to even think of this one anymore. Hooray!

95) Pikuniku - A game made more for being weird than being good. How much you enjoy it depends on how much you appreciate the weird.

94) Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom - A heresy to have this so low? Level design wasn't the best, puzzles were not fun, and the combat was unpleasant with many of the forms. I have no Wonder Boy nostalgia, so maybe that was part of it.

93) Xeodrifter - Really short and really, really basic. Not a bad game to check out, just don't go into it expecting much.

92) Letter Quest Remastered - Honestly, probably closer to a free Flash game then anything else, but it was sufficiently fun for what it was.

91) Cosmic Star Heroine - Given that I'm the only person in the world that didn't like Chrono Trigger, it's not surprising that I wasn't able to get in to yet another simplistic RPG.

90) Venture Kid - I played a lot of mediocre platformers on the NES and SNES, so I figured it was time to try some on the Switch. Turns out, yep, mediocre is still mediocre.

89) Ys VIII - I know a lot of people love this, but it is so incredibly bloated that I got frustrated and bored. The title music was pretty good though.

88) Hollow Knight - A heresy, I know. But I'm not a huge fan of the Dark Souls genre. While this game should, theoretically, be right up my alley, it was more imposing and frustrating than inviting. Perhaps I shall try again some day.

87) Slime San - Celeste lite. Not as good level design, a rather bleh artstyle, but decent enough platforming if you want more of it.

86) Pic a Pix Deluxe - The pixel art is pretty terrible and the presentation is very basic, but there is a ton of bang for your buck here. I still haven't bought a second picross game because there are just so many of them to play here.

85) Lapis x Labyrinth - An action based dungeon crawler with lots of different elements, but really just a button masher. It tries to hide it with a visual overload, but still it's just enh.

84) Blaster Master Zero - Fixes all the flaws of the original, but that just ends up highlighting new flaws. On the flip side, even after all these years it is still a cool concept. And the story kinda makes sense now!

83) Sonic Mania - Forgive me, Sega fans. But I have played so many Sonic games, and I can't seem to get into any of them. Even one heralded as the return to a classic form. Maybe I'll try again some day in my lack of spare time.

82) Ghostbusters - I just do not get the modern cinematic focused gaming design. If I can't even get into a sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time, how am I supposed to enjoy any of the other cinematic "masterpieces" out there?

81) Valfaris - It's got a lot of attitude, and is quite well made. Just not exactly my thing I guess. Not really into run and guns.

80) Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Way too repetitive and, unfortunately, brought the frustration back up to Castlevania levels. Sure, you can play on casual, but then it is way too easy. Isn't there a simple, happy medium?

79) Elliot Quest - Lacks a lot of the polish that later indie games have, which is a bit unfortunate because there aren't too many Zelda II clones out there.

78) Blossom Tales - A really, really stripped down Link to the Past clone. If it had been less stripped down, it could have been awesome.

77) Shantae Half Genie Hero - It's not that Shantae ever had a deep, complex level design, but combining the "return multiple times with upgrades to get new rewards" bit with straight linear action sets just didn't work perfectly.

76) Giga Wrecker Alt - Cool idea, using junk from the environment to manipulate puzzles. Flawed game, but still has some value.

75) Dadish - A really basic platformer unfortunately, but a good example of a really basic platformer. Fun for an hour or two, but ultimately forgettable after that.

74) The Messenger - It seemed cool at first, a fairly challenging ninja game without being butal, but it dragged on too long with a very lengthy fetch quest. They really should have tightened the experience up.

73) Legend of Mana - It's an incredibly fresh and ambitious game. And also an incredibly flawed and frustrating execution. Despite being a love it or hate it game, I ended up in the middle.

72) Downwell - It's really simple, and quite challenging, but it's a pretty cool idea (a roguelike platformer where you do nothing but fall). And it's cheap too.

71) Cat Quest - What you see is what you get. It's simple, but at least it's a fun simple.

70) Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - OK, I'm cheating on my "never played before" rule by putting it on this list. But still, I'm keeping it in just to show that putting a new coat of paint on an old game isn't good enough sometimes.

69) Darksiders - It has its moments, but doesn't reach the design of Zelda. Also, it was hard to play without laughing at it. Maybe that's part of the charm though.

68) Super Mario Maker 2 - Another one I would like more if I had time. Also, trying to make levels on a Switch or on TV is not cool. They should totally make a complementary PC program for the game, but I understand why they don't. Too bad...

67) Cyber Shadow - This is a really, really fun NES game that should rank a lot higher. But it is absolutely, brutally difficult. I couldn't finish it. That makes me sad.

66) Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - There's a lot of these mystery dungeon games out there, and I wanted to play one. I'm glad I did. But I would probably be more into it if I had more free time.

65) Toree 3D - Limited only by being super low budget and practically a demo rather than a full game. But it nails the important elements of 3D platforming, which is a rarity.

64) Hyper Light Drifter - Another game I wanted to like more than I actually did. But the challenge level was just a bit too high for me. Too bad, as it looked super cool.

63) Xenoblade DE - I tried, I really did. But man, it is just way way too long. I am so done with supermassive JRPGs. It was ok for what it was though.

62) River City Girls - It seems a solid beat-em-up. It's not a genre I play a ton of. I enjoyed it a bit, but can't judge it very well.

61) Shovel Knight - Maybe I played it too late. Maybe it was fantastic in the earlier indie sphere. Maybe people just liked the NES aesthetic. But it just struck me as a very above average platformer, not more exciting than many of the others I played.

60) Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk - Ah, the joys of weird anime plots. I don't think I can handle too many dungeon crawlers, but I think I picked a good one for my one foray into it.

59) Timespinner - On the surface, it looked like a really fun Symphony of the Night clone. It turned out to be just "ok". Compared to Metroid and Bloodstained and even Axiom Verge, it didn't grab me. Good to play through, but quickly forgotten.

58) Mighty Switch Force Collection - A bit repetitive (as expected from a collection) and some of the puzzles were a bit annoying requiring too much trial and error, but kinda neat as almost a rhythm-focused platformer.

57) Valkyria Chronicles - It plays identically to 4 (which should be a negative for 4, but I played that one first). And the story was pretty dumb. Still, the core gameplay was and still is solid, but I think the bloom was just off the rose when I finally got around to playing it.

56) Gato Roboto - Mini-Metroidvanias shouldn't exist; the exploration aspect is just too limited to work well. Still a decent action game ignoring that. Except I keep getting Styx stuck in my head.

55) Shantae: Risky's Revenge - For being a game that was originally DSiware, it's surprisingly good. Sure, it's on the short and easy side, but as a quick cup of Shantae I enjoyed it.

54) Knightin+ - I was hoping for a good NES Zelda clone when I bought this game. I didn't quite get it. But on its own as a cheap game, it was fun.

53) Baba Is You - Clever is Baba. Smart is Baba. Dumb is Me.

52) The Witcher III - It's probably the weakest "open world 3D game" I've played, probably because it focuses the most on being a story and the ridiculously bleak atmosphere. As someone not interested in either of those aspects, it made the game drag a bit.

51) Ys Origin - Not much more to it than being a fairly simple hack n slash, but that's all the game needs.

50) Rayman Legends - I like platformers, what can I say? It's a solid one, sometimes with some great flow to it.

49) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Bosses used a 3x3 rule - three phases with 3 hits each. Too long. And then one of the bosses was underwater? Not cool, Retro, not cool. I'm not a huge DK fan, but it's still pretty fun.

48) Mario Kart 8 - It'd probably rank way higher if I was still in high school or college, but I'm an old geezer who plays exclusively single player these days. But hey, it's the first one I've owned since the original. It's slightly improved from the SNES version, y'know?

47) Super Smash Brothers Ultimate - See Mario Kart. Except I've owned other Smash games too.

46) Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Blatantly derivative of Castlevania III, but at least it's not QUITE as brutally difficult as the NES game... I liked it a lot more than its sequel.

45) Doom (the original) - Sigh... yes, I never played it before. I was a Heretic guy. Don't shoot me. As an unbiased observer, I say it still holds up.

44) Into the Breach - Is it a tactical RPG? A rogue-like? A puzzle game? Some combination of all three. It's a really cool idea and can be quite addicting, although I think the endless nature of it hurts it a bit.

43) Luminous Avenger iX - It took a while to get used to an action platformer focusing on perpetual dashing, but I gotta give them props for making a rather stylish game.

42) Axiom Verge - Behold, a game that is sooo above average. I never wrote a review for it because I couldn't come up with a hook. It's fun, it's solidly designed, but it doesn't really stand out to me for some reason.

41) Celeste - Dumb story, dumb setup. But if you ignore that, the core platforming is very very good.

40) Assassin's Creed: Black Flag - Avast, me hearties! I have no real desire to play other AC games, but I still had fun with this one. Probably due to the pirate theme. I am a mariner, after all...

39) Mega Man 11 - It's a bit safe for a sequel, but I suppose it's also the first one in 10 years. Besides, "safe sequel" is about as Mega Man-ish as you can get!

38) BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! - Of course a game with two exclamation points in its title is exciting! But in all seriousness, it's a chill little puzzle game! Lots of cute levels! And boxes!

37) Touhou Luna Nights - a bullet hell Metroidvania, that's a first for me. Challenging yet doable with a lot of unique mechanics that blend together well. Also, you can toss chainsaws in the air.

36) Splasher - I had some issues with the controls, which normally is a killer for me, but the brutality yet fairness of the level design won me over.

35) Blaster Master Zero 2 - Most improved sequel on this list? Probably. It took 30 years, but I have a positive Blaster Master experience that doesn't come with caveats.

34) Luigi's Mansion 3 - There's no denying the artistry, and the puzzles are fairly fun. The formula does wear a bit thin though, but that's ok. Glad I played it, but don't really need a sequel anytime soon.

33) Pokemon Sword - I understand why people who play every single Pokemon game released might be annoyed at it, but my last one was Gen 4. So as a filthy casual, this was great fun, and the normal complaints meant nothing to me.

32) Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - There's a lot of creativity in the movement and skills you have, making this a way more fun and chaotic game than XCom. Yay for silliness!

31) Ori and the Blind Forest - Not really much of a Metroidvania to be honest. But the platforming segments are pretty sweet, and actually some of the hardest I've played in a game not meant to be about the actual challenge.

30) Blue Fire - What do you get when you combine 3D Mario, 3D Zelda, Hollow Knight, and Super Meat Boy? A pretty good game, it seems. If the jumping controls/camera were tightened up just a bit, this could be a classic. As it is, still a great 3D indie game.

29) Bomb Chicken - One action: bombs. Used simultaneously to gain elevation, attack enemies, and make your whole situation even more dangerous. It takes a while to get going, but once it does it's pretty crazy.

28) Mighty Gunvolt Burst - Some good classic Mega Man cloning here. And short enough to have fun replaying a few times too.

27) Shantae and the Seven Sirens - As much as I love Shantae's gameplay, it's starting to wear a bit thin. Let's hope the next one pushes the envelope more. Still, this game is sooo above average. It was also too easy, but I heard they rebalanced it. Gonna have to give it another go.

26) Sakuna: or Rice and Ruin - A totally unique experience, in a good way. I don't think either the sidescrolling action or the farming sim would be good enough on their own, but it works well when combined.

25) Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity - More of the same, which isn't a bad thing. At least I didn't spend 150 hours in this one like the original...

24) Trials of Mana - It's a 3D SNES game, and I mean that in a very positive way. So charming and videogamy, way better than the boring realism we seem to be inundated with.

23) Captain Toad Treasure Tracker - It's such a cute little idea, not very hard, but satisfying to play. I hope they make a sequel, because there's always room for more creativity here.

22) Pikmin 3 DX - Play on Hard! Nintendo lies about their difficulty. But the important thing is Pikmin is back, even if the main story mode is a bit short and basic.

21) Banner of the Maid - I think I'm just lumping all the tactical RPGs here since I can't decide on an order. But anime French Revolution Fire Emblem is better than it sounds!

20) Fire Emblem: Three Houses - A lot of bold choices made here. Some worked, others not so much. Still had fun with the battles.

19) Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Interesting artstyle, and the real-time segments mixed with turn based was an interesting idea. I wonder why it never gained any traction?

18) Super Mario Odyssey - Structure is bleh, but still a fair amount of creative platforming. One of these days I'll get my perfect 3D Mario...

17) Cuphead - Too much challenge normally is a turnoff for me, but the creativity here was more than enough to keep me going until I saw the end. I'm not gonna try expert mode though; this was hard enough!

16) New Super Mario Bros U DX - It's 2D Mario. Which means it's fun. Who cares about the art style?

15) Immortal: Fenyx Rising - Seriously, why does everyone go for M rated gray-and-brown boring realistic open world games when lighthearted colorful ones are more fun?

14) Marble it Up! - Ball rolling games are fun. This is the best one I've played since the original Super Monkey Ball.

13) Minit - Unfortunately it doesn't have the same impact on repeated replays, but the minute gimmick really focuses this minimalistic Zelda clone.

12) Dragon's Dogma - Not as expansive as Zelda, but some cool combat and generally imposing world makes it stand out.

11) Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury - I think more the Bowser's Fury than the main course. It's ALMOST a synthesis of all the best elements of its predecessors, just a bit too short and repetitive. But ignoring those quibbles, it's a blast. And 3D World ain't bad either.

10) Hyrule Warriors - Mindless, endless fun. Emphasis on mindless. And endless. And fun. I have no idea how people can buy dozens of Musous when a single one has this much stuff in it though.

9) Kamiko - A simplistic game, perhaps, but short and fun. I pick it up and beat it again every once in a while and still enjoy it. It's a mini- NES Zelda, which is so rare.

8) Astral Chain - Despite not generally being attracted to the "stylish action" genre or whatever, I had a lot of fun here, and even managed to show a tiny (very tiny) amount of skill by the end.

7) Octopath Traveler - It's got everything I ask for in a JRPG: strategic battles, customization, nonlinearity, and a distinct lack of focus on what would inevitably be a boring story.

6) Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - If I can't get my favorite Metroidvania on the system, at least I can get its blatant clone.

5) Shantae and the Pirate's Curse - Danceless Shantae is the best Shantae. Of the three modern Shantaes, I easily had the most fun with this.

4) Steamworld Dig 2 - For a game that doesn't excel in any one particular element, it sure manages to put all the pieces together in a way that makes it greater than the sum of its parts.

3) A Hat in Time - Move over Mario, I've got a new 3D platforming friend! Creative and fun to play, isn't that all you need in this genre? Also, cute as heck.

2) Metroid Dread - As great as an action-oriented Metroidvania can be. It's a masterclass in design, worthy of being the namesake of the genre.

And to absolutely no one's surprise...

1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - It took 30 years, but Nintendo finally got around to making a true sequel to my favorite game of all time. It's safe to say that jumping off the Great Plateau was and always will be the greatest gaming moment of my adult life. Pure, unadulerated exploration, just the way Zelda was meant to be.

100 games, and to think I was pretty much done with videogames around 2011 or so. Also, to think I used to hate handheld gaming. I have to say, between the zillion indie games I missed out on, the remarkable breath of fresh air that is Zelda, and the wonderful hybrid nature of the Switch when you are an adult and can't sit in front of a TV all day, this thing is great.

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honestgamer honestgamer - February 05, 2022 (12:36 PM)
This was a fantastic list with the right sort of "pithy" throughout. Thanks for sharing!
dagoss dagoss - February 07, 2022 (03:23 AM)
The fact that you can right a list of 100 games and there are some in here that I haven't heard of (and there are games I've played not in the list) just shows how freaking large the Switch library is.

Did you actually finish Octopath Traveler? I haven't picked it up in a few months now. I had 3 chapters left + the Gate of Finis, but every time I think I'm going to play it again, I nope out and do something else.
honestgamer honestgamer - February 14, 2022 (08:19 PM)
The Switch library includes more than 6000 games at this point, I believe. It is monstrously huge, and while there certainly is no shortage of duds, a lot of what's available is pretty good (though also available on other hardware, as is the way of things in 2022).
mariner mariner - February 15, 2022 (05:01 PM)
I finished Octopath, but noped out on the final post boss after a few different strategies failed miserably and I had no desire to grind... I understand why some people don't like the game, but personally, a "traditional" RPG bores me to tears (as my biggest gaming heresy, I found Crono Trigger to be a yawner). So the lack of an overarching story didn't bother me, but puzzly bosses and decent customization and ability to go anywhere helped a lot for me.

Oh, and my count of total games is 6800. Oddly enough, the list of games I have at least a moderate amount of interest in is right around 10%. I'll never actually get to the vast majority of them, which is crazy coming from the days when consoles had ~500 games total.
dagoss dagoss - February 16, 2022 (03:21 AM)
I wonder then if the Switch has the biggest library of any console. Honestly, it's overwhelming to look through and the eShop is kinda of a crapshoot to actually find stuff you want. Dekudeals helps a bit, but I'm sure there are some real gems buried in there. (Not like I have the time anyway)

Unfortunately for everyone, when the eShop on Switch inevitably dies, all those digital-only games will die too. Little hidden gems tend to bubble to the surface long after a console is dead, but that won't really happen with Switch.
honestgamer honestgamer - February 19, 2022 (10:50 AM)
We're probably a long way from that actually happening, though. The Switch is a monster success even compared to the ultimately successful 3DS, and its eventual successor will likely be backwards compatible (as is fairly common for Nintendo hardware). It likely will endure for itself for quite some time, as well, which means we're likely looking at another 10 years to snap up any Switch software that isn't removed prematurely due to licensing deals or studio closures/acquisitions or whatever. Wii U and 3DS digital stores shutting down sucks, but that's happening in part because their successor wasn't backwards compatible. I think right now it is still possible to acquire some DSi games, even, though obviously that condition won't persist for much longer.

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