List by Matt S.
Well, I have been saving this little list up. The thing is… I don’t have anything to write right now. There are some big reviews coming later in the week, but between COVID-19, the fact that a Monday here means a non-working Sunday in the main market in the world for news (America), and the come-down after some very big games releases last week, I just… haven’t got anything to write about today.
So I’m going to do a lazy list. The Nintendo Switch has become one of my most favoured consoles thanks to its ability to offer a near enough experience to the home console while also giving me the portability that I love. So I’ve played my Switch a lot over the years that it has been around… almost every day, really. Last year Nintendo added the ability to sort your Switch games by time played, so I’ve gone and done that, and here are the ten games I’ve played the most of since the console came out, in order from most played to tenth-most played; some of these will probably surprise you, I imagine.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (Read our review)
Given that a game of Civilization takes a couple of dozen hours to play through, and there’s dozens of different leaders and nations to play with, it’s no surprise that the game is a great time-sink. Perhaps the greatest time-sink of the last decade. It backs it up with quality, too. Once I start playing I find myself playing deep, deep into the night or the early morning, and for that reason I try to limit myself to playing on weekends (though I’m not always successful at that), simply because otherwise I’d never play anything else… and given I review games, that would be a problem. The fact that there’s a season pass that’s going to keep giving until mid next year all-but ensures that Civ VI will never be off the top of the list.
FM Touch 18 (Read our review)
All three of the Football Manager titles actually rank high in my “most played” list, and that’s mostly because they’re all such commitments to get anything out of. It’s a commitment that I willingly make every year, but back when FM Touch 2018 was on the Switch, there were relatively few other games to play, so I found myself investing a lot of time into this game. A lot. Especially since my way of playing FM is to take a team from the very lowest division and try and get them to win at the highest levels… and that just can’t be done quickly.
Hatsune Miku Project Diva Mega 39’s (Read our review)
Well, duh. It’s Hatsune Miku. If the presence of this game on the list is in any way surprising it’s because it’s not higher on the list, though to be fair it’s hard for a rhythm game to demand the kind of time commitment of running an empire from thousands of years BC to the atomic era. The fact that Mega 39’s gets close is testament to how good Miku looks in a bikini… I mean how good this game plays. Yes. Plays.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Read our review)
My most played JRPG on the Switch, in no small part because the “Three Houses” bit gives it away – I’ve played this through three times just to lead each of the respective houses to victory. It’s excellent in every way – wonderful characters and beautifully epic story combine with some of the best level and map designs in Fire Emblem history. The game also carefully balances the line between twintails fan service and something that a wide range of people can take seriously. I didn’t enjoy the downtime between levels as much as some, but then that downtime did add to the clock, and so here we are with Three Houses coming in at #4.
FIFA 18 (Read our review of the PS4 version)
If the presence of FM Touch 18 earlier wasn’t a giveaway, I actually really like football. I like most sports, actually (Super Mega Baseball 3 is actually just shy of this list itself), and the Switch doesn’t have many great hardcore sports simulations on it. FIFA 18, however, isn’t bad. I know it’s not a patch on what the home consoles have offered with the series, but it has been enough to scratch the itch for a football game on Switch. Especially since Konami seems to have no interest in a Switch version of PES.
Pinball FX 3 (Read our review)
Pinball is the kind of game that I like playing in short bursts when I’m looking to chill, and Pinball FX 3 has been a reliable buddy on my Switch for the longest time. It doesn’t have all the tables that the other consoles do, but it has enough of them. It’s also the perfect game for play on the go, since it works for public transport when you can’t risk passengers seeing you play… well, the things that I often end up playing on the Switch (especially since with JRPGs I always turn the swimsuit DLC on).
Armello (Read our review)
Aussie-developed Armello has been a favourite game of mine for what feels like forever now. It’s a digital board game about animal-warriors running around accumulating power so they can eventually take on the king, who is subject to a rot that is destroying the world and everything in it. It looks complex, but once you learn how to play is has the elegance of a well-made board game, while still containing plenty of variety and strategy to make it incredibly replayable. This is also one of the rare games that I am interested in playing online with people, and have had a great time of it.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Scarlet (Read our review)
Well, duh. It’s Marie Rose. If the presence of this game on the list is in any way surprising it’s because it’s not higher on the list, though to be fair it’s hard for a hyper-casual game of dress-ups, casino mini-games and basic beach volleyball to demand the kind of time commitment of running an empire from thousands of years BC to the atomic era. Nonetheless I have played this game a whole lot precisely because it is a relaxing way to turn the mind off and just enjoy a tropical getaway for a time… and I mean, Marie Rose really does look good in a bikini, and there are so many to buy her…
Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition (Read our review)
I tend to put Project Highrise down for some pretty lengthy periods of time, but when I pick it back up again, it hooks me in, and hard, all over again. It’s a Sim Tower-like, where you build up a tower of shopping districts, office space, residential apartments and hotel rooms, and need to balance the economy so that you’re providing all the services the increasingly-demanding tenants want, while also keeping the building financially liquid. It’s not the most amazing game to look at, in fairness, but its simulation loops are deeply compelling.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Read our review)
It’s such a massive game that you only really need to play it through once for it to end up high on any “most played” list – especially if you include the extra narrative “expansion” that Xenoblade Chronicles throws in there. This is such an exceedingly-good game that it’s one of the rare examples of a JRPG that deserves to be as long as it does, telling a story filled with complex thought, and backed up with a highly engaging, rich and nuanced combat system. The Switch is home to plenty of excellent JRPGs, but I’m not surprised that I’ve ended up playing this one more than almost any of them.
And now I’d like to open the floor to readers – pull up your list of ten most-played games on Switch and let us know what’s on there!
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @mattsainsb