It’s taken a while, but the Nintendo Switch eShop is starting to rival the likes of the Xbox One and PS4 game stores. Thanks to the surprise sales success of Nintendo’s new hybrid console, everyone from indies to AAA publishers have been keen to get a slice of that tasty digital pie.
So, if you feel like you’re finally ready to play anything other than Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey, let us be your sherpa and guide you though this wonderful digital world.
With the Sewitch gaining new cult classics on almost a weekly basis we will be updatin this regularly. So, without further ado — here are our recommendations for the top Nintendo Switch eShop games to download and buy right now:
1. Into The Breach
Imagine if Pacific Rim and Advance Wars had a baby. Now imagine that baby was constantly trying to kill you — and you’re about halfway prepared for the mecha madness that you’ll find in Into The Breach. This addictive turn-based strategy blends the unforgiving difficulty you’d expect from a roguelike with the tense tile-based tactics of Fire Emblem. It’s a marriage of masochist mechanics that somehow manages to feel both infuriating and utterly compelling at the same time. If you’re after a completely enthralling gaming experience on the go, then look no further.
2. Bad North
In this intriguing little strategy game, you play the role of the ever-wise general of a small Viking army.
With three different types of units at your disposal — archers, infantry, and pikemen — it’s up to your tiny army to defend an equally small island from boatloads of angry invaders. It’s a pleasingly simple game to control, with players merely pointing and clicking where they want their troops to march to and then leaving the soldiers to do the heavy lifting.
With later levels seeing waves of enemies sail toward your little island from all directions, players can rotate their surroundings thanks to a 360-degree view of the action. The key to success is to place troops strategically, allowing the archers to rain down arrows on foes from above and cover your charging infantry from the impending rush of enemy soldiers.
With upgradable units and buildings to defend, Bad North is simple enough to immediately understand but has enough depth to keep you hooked.
3. Night In The Woods
Despite being a game starring beautifully drawn animals, Night In The Woods actually tells a wonderfully human story. Instead of the kind of frantic platforming you might expect from an indie sidescroller, this charming hand-drawn adventure trades hopping from moving obstacles for navigating depression and attempting to find your place in an ever-changing world. Don’t worry though, it’s actually far more fun than that sounds.
Thanks to some brilliant writing and the game’s eye-catching aesthetic, Night In The Woods is an experience that manages to tackle heavy themes without ever feeling like a drag to play.
This may not be a game for everyone, but like Hellblade and Life Is Strange before it, Night In The Woods is one of the rarest of things – a video game that isn’t afraid to embrace mental illness and help players through it.
4. Hollow Knight
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a 2D side-scroller like any other. Yet, once you dive in to Hollow Knight properly, it soon reveals itself to be one of the most atmospheric gaming experiences of recent memory. While this easily could have been just another Metroidvania, it’s simple yet satisfying controls and haunting visual and sound design make your journey through the once-mighty kingdom of Hallownest truly unforgettable.
Ignore this masterpiece at your own peril.
5. Stardew Valley
Price: $14.99/ £10.99
Stardew Valley launched for PC back in 2016, and has since gained status as a cult classic. It’s hard not to love it, with its surprisingly deep farming and social mechanics. It plays into the genre of farming simulator games defined by Harvest Moon, where how you interact with your neighbors, as well as with your farm, affects the outcome.
In the game, you the player inherit your grandfather’s farm, You are then tasks with rebuilding the land and making it fertile and happy with the bare minimum tools you start with. You collect more tools, build more structures, cultivate more crops — and maybe find some romance along the way as you restore Stardew Valley to its former agricultural greatness.
6. Enter The Gungeon
Don’t let its cutesy little pixel art aesthetic deceive you – this is one of the most deviously difficult games on Switch. Brought to you by indie darlings Devolver Digital, this action-packed rogue-like sees players blasting and rolling their way through randomly generated halls of enemies. Here, your goal seems fairly simple – make it through the maze like map and beat each level’s final boss without dying. As you’d expect from the notoriously tricky genre though, the developers definitely haven’t made it an easy ride. Playing like a mix of Binding of Issac and Dark Souls, Enter The Gungeon is not only brilliantly challenging but quite simply, its one of the best indie games of recent years.
It’s also one that’s made even better when you dare to tackle the Gungeon with a friend. With some brilliant tongue in cheek writing, wonderfully varied enemy design and more lightning-fast bullet dodging than you can shake an oversized gun at, this is one of the best blasters on Switch. You know what to do, it’s time to enter that gungeon.
7. Yoku’s Island Express
There are some bizarre combinations that just work. Cream cheese and Marmite. Danny Devito and Always Sunny In Philadephia. And now, you can add pinball and platforming to that list. This cutesy little adventure blends exploration with pinball in a way that simply has to be played to be understood. Long live the pinballformer. Yoku’s Island Express review here.
This game offers a genre that the developer is calling “rhythm violence” and after a few minutes with it — it’s not hard to see why. Combining the addictive rhythmic action of games like Guitar Hero with a dark and sweat-inducingly intense atmosphere, this hypnotic little game offers up that perfect little arcade fix on the move. It’s colourful, demanding and utterly addictive. If youre looking for something to test your reflexes ( and maybe your patience) on your daily commute, then look no further than this overlooked little gem.
9. Layers Of Fear: Legacy
If you’re after something a bit more adult to play on the go, then it’s time to rejoice — because the horror genre has finally crawled its way onto Nintendo’s new console. While for many, the headline addition for scares on Nintendo Switch may well be the recently released Outlast: Bundle Of Terror, it’s the arrival of the criminally overlooked Layers Of Fear on the hybrid system that’s had us hiding under the covers.
Instead of going for cheap jump scares and soaking the screen in blood and gore, Layers Of Fear lives up to its name by instead building up a brilliantly orchestrated and creepingly slow sense of tension.
Its also a game that runs flawlessly on Switch, looking crisp and feeling smooth whether you’re playing it docked or undocked. This little-known indie gem is not only a brilliant horror game in its own right, but this Switch remaster is one if the best third party efforts on the system. Avoid at your own peril.
10. Crossing Souls
Have you ever thought life would be better if it played out like an eighties movie? If so it looks like the latest game from Devolver Digital has answered your prayers, because that’s pretty much the hook of Crossing Souls. Sporting cool, Earthbound-inspired pixel art and beautifully drawn Saturday morning cartoon-style cinematics, this story-driven RPG see you playing as a gang of wonderfully stereotypical 80s kids who discover a mysterious artefact.
With nods to everything from ET to The Goonies, Crossing Souls left us grinning from ear to ear. Gameplay-wise, the setup is pretty simple. Players will spend most of their time talking to those around them and switching between characters in order to solve puzzles and beat certain enemies.
Yet, while it certainly played well, it was the brilliant writing in Crossing Souls that had us hoked. Thanks to some brilliantly 80s dialogue and an endearing cast of playable characters, we found ourselves taking the time to talk to every single pixelated person that we encountered. With a cool mechanic that sees players able to summon the past into our world, the story goes to some pretty crazy places, too.
11. Jotun: Valhalla Edition
Taking on Norse mythology before God of War made it cool, Jotun is another game that enjoyed success elsewhere before adventuring onto the Switch. The Icelandic voicing gives it some unique and rather beautiful style.
A Souls-like at heart (minus the stamina bar), you’ll wander around the frozen north taking on the various jotun (giants) armed with an axe, a touch of magic, and an evasion roll. The player character takes up a minuscule portion of the screen in Jotun compared to other action games, and this lends a deliberate sense of scale to your massive foes.
Jotun: Valhalla Edition has a new mode in which you take on harder versions bosses, one after another.
12. Sonic Mania
Price: $19.99/ £15.99
The best thing that fans of classic gaming could have ever hoped for came out this year in Sonic Mania. Sega kids from the 16-bit era rejoiced when word of a new Sonic was announced for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Steam. What makes this game so special on the Switch is how it is a perfect throwback to the Sega Genesis days while also bridging the gap to the long gone glory years of the Game Gear. This is the best Sonic has ever been on a handheld console.
If you grew up playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog games you will love the new game. It’s a brilliant follow-up to Sonic CD and a great game by itself. You speed through each level as the blue blur Sonic while fighting off the evil Dr. Eggman and his robot minions. It’s filled with tons of nods to the original games and is just as fun as any of its predecessors. It’s a Switch essential.
[Andrew Hawkins, FANDOM Contributor]
13.Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
One of the best recent shooters makes its way to your portable screen. The 2017 shooter that isn’t afraid to punch nazis (and a lot more) has just launched on the Switch with full motion aiming support for Joy-Con and Pro controllers.
You don’t need to have played the first of these Wolfenstein reboots to enjoy The New Colossus. All you need to know is this is a shooter that has a story but doesn’t take itself super seriously. As BJ Blazkowicz, you’ll take on an army of Nazis who’ve already taken over the United States in an alternative history.
The enemies and guns get quite inventive, and you can expect equal parts FPS action and humour.
14. Super Meat Boy
This is one of the best platformers to come out in the last decade. Super Meat Boy is perfect. It puts forward a few clever gameplay ideas, it messes with those ideas in interesting ways every new zone, and it captures that balanced, tough-but-fair gameplay that becomes super addictive when coupled with fast restarts.
As a boy without skin, you’ll slide up and down walls, avoid salt and whizzing chainsaws, and chase the evil Dr Fetus as he runs away with your kidnapped Bandage Girl. The level design is devious, and the soundtrack is fantastic all the way through.
The trailer above, while cute and retro, doesn’t really do it justice. It’s got a great style and really delivers on the depth. You’ll want to stick around after rescuing Bandage Girl. The later levels playing as her are the hardest and the best, and after all of that you have the Dark World versions of each level to look forward to!
Imagine playing a Zelda game where you only have 60 seconds to live. That, in a nutshell, is Devolver Digital’s Minit. Fortunately though, it’s more fun than it sounds, with this charming little adventure perfectly capturing that “ just one more go” compulsion. With Minit now finally playable on the go, there’s no better way to play this addictive little indie.