The Nintendo Switch has been garnering an excited user-base since its launch earlier this year, and for a number of good reasons. One of those reasons is how attractive the Switch is as a platform for ports, smaller games, and indie titles. But now that developers are rushing to create games for this new console, it's getting a little difficult to sort through all the current and upcoming indie titles to find the ones that are really worth your time.
But that's okay -- we've done the work for you and rounded up nearly a dozen of the best indie games that are on the system right now, along with some gems coming later down the line. It's a pretty diverse set of games that we'll be showing off here, so there's something on this list for every kind of Switch gamer.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3
Let's start this list off with something anyone can enjoy. Jackbox Party Pack 3 is the third installment in the Jackbox party game series and probably the best. It's a collection of multiplayer games meant to crack up their players -- some of which can host up to 8 players with only one controller, as long as they have something else to access the internet with.
All you need to play most of these games is a phone, tablet, or laptop of some kind, an internet connection for the Switch, and some creativity. All five of the packaged games are simple, quality games that require constant player input.
Here's the rundown of all 5 games you'll get in this Party Pack:
- Trivia Murder Party: Answer trivia questions in a life-or-death comedy parody of horror movie sequels.
- Fakin' It: Lie to your friends and try to shift guilt onto your teammates in order to save your own skin -- even if you're innocent.
- Guesspionage: A game of governmental surveillance that questions you about how many people do certain things, then makes you guess what percentage of people do/don't do these things.
- Tee K.O.: A delightful mess that has you create images and slogans for t-shirts, which are then randomly handed out to all players so they can try and make the best or funniest shirts from what they're given. If there's one shirt you really love, you can have it custom-made for purchase through the Jackbox website.
- Quiplash 2: Players are asked a variety of questions, write a punchline for each answer, and judge each other's answers to decide which is funniest. It's the perfect game for groups of friends with creative and dirty minds.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 is simply one of the best party games available right now, especially on the Switch. No matter what kind of audience you've got it's virtually guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
Odds are if you own a Switch, you've at least heard of Snipperclips. It was a launch title for the system that a lot of people bought just to have something to play -- which ultimately works out for everyone anyway, because the game is actually pretty great.
Snipperclips is a 1-4 player co-op puzzle game that involves playing as 2-4 paper characters who must work together to solve a series of logic and physics puzzles -- whether that puzzle be guiding a gerbil up a ramp, or dunking a basketball. Teamwork is key in this game, as you must literally use each other to succeed -- whether that be by using your partner as a platform, or overlapping your body with theirs and cutting them into whatever shape they need to be.
It's a great game both for people who want to work together, as well as people who just want to grief each other. There a number of competitive modes alongside the main 2-player campaign, such as basketball and a first-to-three battle mode. You can also just endlessly cut each other to ribbons and re-spawn infinitely in the main mode, which is just fun to do.
Snipperclips is accessible, genuinely head-scratching at times, packed with charm, and just all around a great way to spend an afternoon with friends.
GoNNER is a procedurally-generated 2D platformer where you jump around and shoot everything as the "altruistic" Ikk looking to find the perfect gift for his friend Sally the whale. It's a basic game, but executed very well -- and the gameplay is backed up by a variety of weapons, colorful and bombastic visuals, and an atmospheric yet blood-pumping soundtrack.
It's the kind of game you can play for five minutes or five hours if you want, which makes it a perfect fit for the pick-up-and-play nature of the Switch. It's also a surprisingly lengthy experience for the low price of $10. GoNNER is a trippy, fun, action-packed game with lots of bright colors and plinky-plonky sound effects, which all make it easy to recommend.
Thumper is unlike pretty much any other rhythm game out there, and describes itself much better than I think I ever could:
"Thumper is rhythm violence: classic rhythm action, blistering speed, and brutal physicality. You are a space beetle. Brave the hellish void and confront a maniacal giant head from the future."
This rhythm game has more than a dash of violence, as well as an oppressive, threatening, percussion-heavy soundtrack that goes hand-in-hand with the otherworldly and sometimes frightening visuals. It's a game that's all gameplay, while still managing to feel more like an experience of some sort than a conventional game. You should definitely look into Thumper if you'd like to play a rhythm game that breaks the mold of classic rock and energetic pop songs.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a remake of the original Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, but with more polished core gameplay, slightly tweaked mechanics, and the option to switch between the game's expressive hand-drawn style and the pixelated aesthetic of the original.
The Dragon's Trap shines through with its charming visuals, catchy soundtrack, and polished classic gameplay, making it a game that both fans of the original as well as newcomers can enjoy. If you enjoy a good platformer you're bound to like this one -- it's got multiple animal forms with different abilities to play around with, simple RPG elements with its different armor and weapons, and its general old-school charm.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a solid remake, a solid platformer, and an all-around good time that's easily worth the $20 price tag.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is the most recent entry in the Shantae series, as well as an excellent comedic Metroidvania-style platformer -- and it may also be best experienced on the Switch more than anywhere else.
This game is a great time no matter what platform you play it on. But of all the various options available, there are more reasons to buy the Switch port than any other. First off, it's a better portable version than the PlayStation Vita version due to the Switch's much bigger screen size, which truly becomes crucial at points when visibility is key.
The second major bonus to the Switch version of the game is its love of utilizing the controller's HD Rumble feature. WayForward was so excited to use the feature in the game that they marketed it as a selling point.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero for Nintendo Switch contains over 150 custom-made HD Rumble events! Feel the beat this summer! pic.twitter.com/kqjJP7YUqZ— WayForward (@WayForward) May 11, 2017
This port really takes full advantage of the Switch's exotic features, but never in a gimmicky way that interrupts the flow of gameplay. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero on the Switch is the best way to play an already great game.
The familiar yet fresh spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie that is Yooka-Laylee will be coming to Switch in the near future -- and it could not be on a more appropriate platform. Considering the classic Rareware Nintendo 64 roots that this game has, as well as the many dedicated platforming fans that exist among the Switch's audience, it's hard not to see Yooka-Laylee arriving on the Switch as a homecoming of sorts.
While the collect-a-thon style of gameplay may not be for everybody, Yooka-Laylee executes that style particularly well. While there are only five main worlds in addition to the hub-world, they are all creatively designed on top of being whimsically themed, and absolutely stuffed to the gills with different collectibles to find and tons of fun and varied ways to get them.
The Switch version also promises to be the most complete version of the game to date. The Switch version will launch with the "Spit 'n' Polish Update" already installed, which addresses a number of issues that some players took with the game. That means it's the ideal port for people who were on the fence about the game after hearing it's divided response and held off on trying it until now.
Yooka-Laylee was a good game already, but it will be better on the Switch.
Hollow Knight is a 2D Metroidvania-style platformer that tells the tale of the titular Hollow Knight, who must traverse an ancient series of all-but abandoned ruins of a once mighty civilization. It's among the more slowly paced Metroidvania games out there, but in the end this works in its favor, creating an expertly crafted gaming experience that owes a great deal of its inspiration to Dark Souls and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
The cutesy hand-drawn art-style and the insect-centric aesthetic help to emphasize a grand sense of scale and curious awe that the game's exploration sets up from the start. The average Metroidvania game will start you off with little and gradually reward your hard work with more tools and abilities -- but among games like these, Hollow Knight is an exemplary title.
Every single room feels like progress and every boss defeated is a triumph as you slowly but surely grow more and more powerful and unravel the story behind the crumbled kingdom around you. It's a game of many emotions as well -- often conveying much while saying very little, and manipulating the player's sense of security and tugging their heart-strings through its limited dialogue, music, and visuals.
Thimbleweed Park is the most recent adventure game from veteran game developer Ron Gilbert, best known for his involvement in LucasArts adventure games (including the first two games in the Monkey Island series and Maniac Mansion). Thimbleweed Park is a sort of spiritual successor to those games, sporting a pixelated retro-computer artstyle, the same user interface as most classic LucasArts point-and-click games, and several playable characters.
The gameplay is traditional point-and-click fare -- examine the environment, find an item, read the humorous text description, and then try and figure out what goes where as you follow the storylines of each individual character. You also have the ability to switch between the five playable characters at will during gameplay, which grants the player a lot of expedience in how they want to proceed with the story. Each character is vastly different in personality, which makes each of their stories entertaining for different reasons.
Thimbleweed Park is a high quality classic adventure game that will feel right at home on the Switch.
Battle Chef Brigade
I've already written a lot about the upcoming Battle Chef Brigade, so I'll do my best to not repeat myself. Battle Chef Brigade combines elements of Monster Hunter, Odin Sphere, and Bejeweled into one game, then frames it all with gorgeous hand-drawn animation that depicts a fantasy world cooking competition akin to Iron Chef.
The player is expected to go out into the field and slay beasts to collect magical plants and forage the best and freshest of ingredients. They must then cook them into a delicious meal by playing a match-two puzzle game, all while taking into account the judge's tastes and the time limit.
The game promises four different playable characters -- all of whom have different storylines that intersect with each other, as well as their own special abilities to utilize on the field. Battle Chef Brigade has one of the most appealing premises I've heard for a game in years. And based on what we've seen so far, it looks as thought it'll turn out to be quite the treat.
Fe is an oddly titled platform adventure game where you play as a small wolf-cub-like creature and sing to interact with a "living, breathing ecosystem".
It has a bright, cool color palette that's reminiscent of games like CreaVures or Ori and the Blind Forest, and appears to be based heavily in exploration. We don't know much about it yet -- but if the trailer is anything to go by, it looks as though it will be an interesting take on the adventure genre, and provide players with a new fantasy world to really fall in love with.
This game is definitely worth keeping an eye on if you're looking for more adventures to experience on your Nintendo Switch.
That wraps up our list! As much as we tried, we couldn't fit in every indie darling that we wanted to. But hopefully you've found at least one game that you can enjoy on your Nintendo Switch console.
Don't see an indie gem that you think deserves a spot on this list? Let us know down in the comments!