The Friday Ten: Celebrate the Nintendo Switch’s first birthday with these games

10 mins read

List by Matt S.

Can you believe that the Nintendo Switch is one year old? Only one year old? I genuinely can’t remember not having that console at hand; it gives me a home console experience while on the go, and that’s something really valuable to me. In just a short year, this has become my go-to console, and wherever possible I try and play my games on it.

Completely reversing its fortunes with the Wii U, and even 3DS (which was successful, but third parties were more hesitant to support) Nintendo has also been able to get a truly staggering number of developers to put games on the Switch. We’re used to three or four game releases per week on those older consoles. On the Switch, it’s as many as a dozen. And as great as that has been, it has had the side effect that there are some great games on the console that have flown under the radar or have been forgotten quickly.

So we could have done a top 10 Nintendo Switch games to date list. But that list would be all the usual suspects; Zelda, Mario, Lyn Warriors – I mean Fire Emblem Warriors. Instead we’re dong a list of ten hidden gems on the Switch you really ought to be playing.

Enjoy, and happy birthday, Switch!

Gorogoa (read our review)

Gorogoa surprised a fair few people when it released, I feel. As pretty as it looked (and it does look very… art gallery), it was, after all, a “puzzle game”, and people rarely get super excited for those. But the people that did play it quickly discovered that Gorogoa is one very elegant, creative, and clever puzzle game; one that will get you thinking, while at the same time feeling good about yourself. It is the perfect game to get yourself out of the real world for a while with, making it the perfect game to have on your Switch for that commute home.

Golf Story

Golf Story didn’t fly under the radar, exactly. It was the indie darling on the Switch when it released, and sat very high on the charts for quite some time. But it’s not on the charts now, and obviously people are still getting their first Switch consoles at the moment, so we’re recommending that they don’t overlook this one. If you like light hearted sports games, or really enjoyed Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance for the way it mixed an RPG narrative and golfing action, then you owe it to yourself to invest in Golf Story.

Kingdom: New Lands

The Switch doesn’t have too many simulators or strategy games on it just yet, but it does have a really, really good one in Kingdom: New Lands. This is a 2D simulation game that has you building up a village and defending it come night time from invading hordes of monsters… with those hordes getting a little more difficult every “night”. Coupled with absolutely stunning music and breathtaking pixel art, this is a game that, I suspect, many more people would enjoy if they gave it half a chance.

Tactical Mind (read our review)

This is a clever little minimalist board game, which is all about careful positioning of space, and efficient use of scarce resources. It’s a strategy game with only two different kinds of pieces, but the depth of strategy that it offers shouldn’t be underestimated; this game is more than capable of driving rings around you if you can’t adapt to its logic. Thankfully the process of “learning” the strategy behind Tactical Mind is a delight, and the game has one very cool presentation and soundtrack. For a little over the cost of a cup of coffee, it’s hard to look past this one.

The Men of Yoshiwara (read our review)

The Switch will become the home for visual novels. This isn’t even up for debate; people loved playing them on the PlayStation Vita, but with that console in its twilight, the Switch is the natural next step for developers and fans to look to. And for proof of how well it can work, we have The Men of Yoshiwara. A sexy otome game that takes place in Yoshiwara, a famed red light district in old Japan (but in this game flipped around so that it’s men that are the courtesans), this game drips with style, colour, and personality. The boys are pretty, too.

Chess Ultra (read our review)

Everyone needs a good Chess game on every one of their consoles. It’s a go-to game for when you’re in the mood for something deeply strategic and intellectually-engaging, but also classy and relaxing to play. And wow does Chess Ultra impress. It looks gorgeous, it has superb AI, and, given how easy it is to share around for some local multiplayer action, it’s also the perfect game to have on the Switch for a lunch break with a co-worker, or to tide away a long distance flight.

Yodanji (read our review)

When a roguelike remembers how brutally hard Rogue itself was, you get a game like Yodanji. Sitting underneath that most basic of retro-style visuals is a game so brutally hard that you’ll wonder how anyone actually stuck through games back in the day. But here’s the thing. With each failure you’ll start again, and again, and again. And before you know it you’re learning how to make progress through the game, the Japanese Yokai theme is really sinking in, and you’re having a hell of a time. That’s when you’ll realise that Yodanji is one of the greatest secrets hiding on the Switch eShop.

Shephy (read our review)

What happens when you take a card game, and make it really, really surreal. And, somehow, dark enough to give anyone a nihilistic nightmare? You get Shephy. This game looks like a friendly (and funny) riff on the Solitaire-style card games. But then you’ll start playing it, and hours later you’ll still be confused as heck about what the hell you’re actually playing. And you’ll be terrified that somewhere out there creative people actually thought this stuff up. And that’s why Shephy’s so delightful. It’s so utterly balls weird and odd and like nothing you’ve ever played before… and yet it’s also backed by a Solitaire-style card game that’s a lot of fun. There are few games more memorable than Shephy.

Steamworld Dig 2

The first Steamworld Dig was a really classy mix of platformer and the digging bits of Minecraft. Or a more “serious” version of that classic arcade franchise, Mr. Driller, if you perfect. It was great in its own right, but the bigger and better sequel feels much more like the realisation of everything that the development team had looked to achieve with its series. It’s a bigger, more interesting, more challenging, and more delightful game, and one of the most attractive and refined indie games that you’ll find on the Nintendo Switch. And it looks just delightful on the Switch’s screen.

Deemo (read our review)

Even though the Switch doesn’t yet have a Hatsune Miku game, it is rapidly cementing itself as one of the best consoles for rhythm games out there. Of all the rhythm games that are available, our pick goes with Deemo. In addition to having well over 200 music tracks to play, the game’s focus on the piano theme gives it a different and unique tone when compared to other rhythm games. This one is classy.

– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld

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