The Nintendo Switch is loaded with great AAA games this holiday season. In fact, over the next two weeks alone, we’ll be getting Skyrim, Doom, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Sonic Forces – and that’s not even counting stuff like Super Mario Odyssey and Fire Emblem Warriors, which is already available.
But there’s no denying that Nintendo’s indie scene is huge thus far. Over the last few months, we’ve seen a number of stellar games come out, and there are several others on the way, like Runner 3 and Freedom Planet 2, which will make the system shine brighter than ever in 2018.
So when you’re shopping around this holiday season, make sure to stock up some eShop points to purchase a few indie favorites for yourself and others. Here’s a rundown of seven great little games that you shouldn’t miss this holiday season. And best of all, they’re small, so they won’t stagger your memory card that much.
Halloween may be over, but there’s still room for survival horror thrills out there, and The Deep End Games’ Perception delivers them in spades. In the game, you portray Cassie, a blind woman who gets around the world using echolocation – a unique approach to a game such as this. Her goal is to explore a large mansion in Boston that’s filled with secrets – and not necessarily the best kind. This is easily one of the most inventive games you’ll find on the Switch, and ideal for both at-home sessions and in handheld mode. Just make sure you play with the lights off – that’s what the developer had in mind for the game’s creation.
This Metroid-esque adventure has already been released for a number of platforms – including the Wii U – so it’s about damn time that the Nintendo Switch got a turn. Axiom Verge is quite simply an essential Metroidvania style experience, as you blast your way through alien forces using a number of creative weapons, while at the same time exploring and find every little secret that this world has to offer. This is as fine a port as any of the game, and wonderful to play for the several hours that it lasts. Maybe even longer, depending if you find everything. Don’t miss it. (And check out The Mummy Demastered too – it’s a blast!)
The Switch doesn’t have any shortage of excellent party games – The Jackbox Party Pack 4 and Super Bomberman R immediately come to mind. But there’s something about Smiling Buddha Games’ hilarious Use Your Words, which is perfect for those of you looking for a crowd from streaming – or a good little living room session. In the game, you’ll make up answers for foreign movie clips and strange-ass pictures, then earn points by coming up with the best responses. It doesn’t offer much for the solo player experience, but if you’ve got friends with cell phones, these Words go a long way. (So do those Jackbox Party Pack games, by the way.)
This is an absolute must, even if you’re not used to a farming game. That’s because Stardew Valley has charm that simply cannot be denied, whether you’re fishing down on the dock or simply trying to make a better life for yourself. Better still, the Switch version of Stardew allows you to take your adventure with you on the go, whether you’re on a long road trip (we’ve all been on them) or relaxing at home after a stressful day at work. Stardew just provides that level of play that’s addictive, but not to the point of being overwhelming. It’s a welcome addition to your growing Switch game library.
Harmonix has been working on a number of music/rhythm games in the past, like its notable Rock Band series and cult classics like Amplitude (which would be great for Switch, team – hint hint). But Super Beat Sports marks a charming new direction for the team, taking its knowledge in the genre the extra mile by combining it with fun sports activities. The results are infectious, as you fend off cute alien invaders by following certain tunes. I would’ve preferred more licensed tunes to enter the fray, but this is just the sort of game that kids won’t get enough of – and some adults will enjoy it, too.
Easily one of the best sequels you’ll come across this year, SteamWorld Dig 2 is a real treat, even if you’ve never laid your hands on the original game. That’s because its gameplay is completely accessible, and a lot of fun, as you dig your way through wide-open levels, encountering dangers and overcoming enemies with your simplistic tool set. The graphics are a delight, coming straight out of the 16-bit era, and the music is really something too. If it’s a challenging, old-school platformer that will get you through the holiday doldrums, Image & Form’s game is something you’ll definitely, ahem, dig.
Finally, let’s discuss one of this year’s biggest surprise games, which blissfully combines the action of role-playing games (complete with side quests!) with the magic of classic 8-bit style golf. Golf Story is magnificent, with hours’ worth of gameplay through its main story, as well as plenty of golfing that can be done on the side. The gameplay is simple but wonderful, and the presentation really shines when it comes to capturing the nature of classic role-playing games. The side stuff is fun as well, including the ability to play disc golf if you’re up for it. This Story is well worth catching up on this holiday season. Check out our review!