A few of the games on the Nintendo Switch have dominated the console over the last year, most notably, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Wonder made waves during every publication’s end-of-year awards. There are a lot of other great games on the Switch, and most of them are overlooked and can be purchased at a budget price, especially if you grab them during the holiday sale that is going through January 4th for most games. Here are 30 games that you might have missed that may be worth adding to your collection.
Read our list of the games you might have missed in 2022 while you are here! If you are feeling retro, check out our 2021 list as well.
Who Is It For? Nova Lands is a treasure for players who enjoy exploration and base-building within a sci-fi setting. Its engaging mix of survival elements with a focus on creativity and autonomy makes it an ideal pick for fans of games like Factorio. It’s fun, colorful, and surprisingly full of depth.
Who Is It For? Chaos Galaxy is a surprisingly deep strategy-based game, especially for those who have a soft spot for retro, pixel-art aesthetics. Players who enjoy intricate tactical battles and anime-inspired pixel art will likely fall for Chaos Galaxy. It suffers from a little RNG, but fans of games like Fire Emblem or even Civilization already know what to expect here.
Who Is It For? Fans of 2D platformers and rogue-lites may have already heard of Astral Ascent, but this post is a PSA for those who haven’t. This is easily one of the best games in its genre, belonging in the same tier, or just below greats like Hades or Hollow Knight. The variety in characters, settings, and ways to approach combat make Astral Ascent a must-play, even if the writing leaves a bit to be desired.
Who Is It For? Grammarian Ltd is recommended to people looking to improve their grammar or just want a fun educational game in general. We only recommend this game to fluent English readers, though. The language used in the briefs is not meant for English as a Second Language learners as it’s quite detailed. This would make a great game for high school and early college students if they want to expand their grammar knowledge. It’s neat, it’s different, and more importantly, it’s fun.
Who Is It For? The engaging but flawed deck-building RPG is a solid choice for fans of games like Slay The Spire. It’s not as polished and the difficulty is inconsistent throughout, but there are a few great ideas throughout this game. Gordian Quest certainly doesn’t replace Slay The Spire, but it might scratch that itch for someone who has played all of the alternatives.
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society
Who Is It For? Labyrinth of Galleria and its predecessor are made for fans of dungeon-crawling RPGs. It offers a modernized take on the genre focusing on dungeon exploration and party-building. The game also incorporates quality-of-life features to mitigate some of the tedious mechanics that the genre is known for while still making the experience punishing. The artwork features excellent character and monster designs with stylish UI and solid textures, but the story and characters leave a lot to be desired.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
Who Is It For? The Legend of Heroes isn’t exactly an unknown series to hardcore JRPG fans, and that’s who this is for. More specifically, this acts as a lovely farewell to the Trails storyline. Players should put in the investment and start playing this series, with Trails From Zero, being the best starting point on Switch. When players catch up, they will understand why this is one of the best JRPG series in the last two decades.
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly
Who Is It For? Unsurprisingly, the sequel to Coffee Talk will appeal to fans of the original game and visual novels in general. Coffee Talk 2 is heavy on interactive storytelling and character-driven narratives, with the occasional opportunity to experiment with a brew or recipe. With its relaxing ambiance and cozy atmosphere Coffee Talk 2 is the perfect game to cozy up to on a rainy day.
Who Is It For? Following the success of Pixel Cup Soccer in 2022, Charrua Soccer helps fill the void of quality soccer arcade games on the Nintendo Switch. So this came out just before 2023 started, but I didn’t get a chance to include it on last year’s list and it deserves mention. There are a surprising amount of features in Pixel Cup Soccer, including a career mode, tournaments, multiple leagues, and cooperative and competitive play with up to 8 players. The games themselves are incredibly satisfying, and if soccer fans can get past the admittedly polarizing visuals, they will find an excellent soccer game with all the depth and customization they could want here.
Little Witch Nobeta
Who Is It For? Little Witch Nobeta is here for fans of action-adventure games who enjoy challenging combat and exploration. With its anime and manga-inspired aesthetics it’s a nice little game for fans of vibrant graphics juxtaposed with a few dark themes. It’s not an excellent game, but the gameplay is solid throughout. The shooting mechanics hold up, giving this a sort of Souls-like vibe with shooting instead of swords. It’s fun, but again, don’t expect a blockbuster.
World Of Horror
Who Is It For? World of Horror is a fantastic choice for fans of horror, rogue-lites, and Japanese folklore It’s a narrative-driven, choice-based game that focuses on atmosphere and storytelling, but also has competent turn-based combat. The game’s unique art style which appears to be inspired by Junji Ito combined with the unsettling sound design makes this a shockingly great horror game.
God of Rock
Who Is It For? God of Rock is a rhythm game with many problems, but it’s still a neat rhythm game for music enthusiasts to try out. The game’s biggest fault is the presentation of the track, which scrolls horizontally instead of vertically. This makes getting into God of Rock difficult because of button mapping and the confusion that comes with it. Still, if players take the time to learn and get used to this clunky gem, they will find a truly unique competitive multiplayer experience. If anything, this is a solid building block for a potential sequel.
Sixtar Gate: STARTRAIL
Who Is It For? This is a rhythm game that’s easy to recommend to fans of the genre who want an anime spin. If players are into aesthetics, there is almost nothing to heavily critique. The music selection is diverse, the visuals are excellent, and the controls are tight. Multiple modes including a fully narrated story mode add to Sixtar Gate‘s replayability too. Fans of games like MUSYNX and Superbeat Xonic will feel right at home here.
Who Is It For? During my feature that spotlighted 38 games you might have missed in 2022, I mentioned Mothmen 1996 and said it is perfect for visual novel fans who love nostalgia. Varney Lake is the same. It is the second standalone game in the Pixelpulp series by LCB Game Studio and gives a nice coming-of-age story. It’s still atmospheric, has a gripping narrative, and features a few quality-of-life improvements over its predecessor. The final game of the trilogy has been delayed to 2024, but that just means you have more time to play these two gems.
Who Is It For? Crymachina is a nice little game for those who enjoy fast-paced, action-packed combat. Fans of anime and science fiction will be particularly drawn to the setting. This game takes a lot of what made Crystar decent and makes it good here. Some of the combat is still clunky, but the great setting and many ways to approach combat make this a great choice for fans of the genre.
Who Is It For? Fearmonium is a nice little Metroidvania with fun animated visuals. A glance will make players think of Cuphead, but the horror aesthetics give Fearmonium a unique vibe. It tackles mental health, which is rare in games like this, and the gameplay is a little more than competent. The writing does leave a lot to be desired, but this is a fine choice for those itching for a Metroidvania.
Who Is It For? Here is another janky team-based game of carrying out tasks for those who didn’t get their fill while playing Moving Out 2 earlier this year. In Manic Mechanics, up to four players take on the roles of car mechanics, repairing and building cars as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Of course, the controls are messy and the need to cooperate makes this much easier said than done. It’s not nearly as polished as the games by Team 17, but for anyone who needs more of these types of games, Manic Mechanics is at least worth checking out.
Who Is It For? Cozy farming simulators are still incredibly popular in 2023, but developers need to inject something different into their games to stand out. Paleo Pines does just that by putting in dinosaurs. Instead of farming with typical farm animals, players will take care of dinosaurs as they manage their new property, befriend the locales, and explore the wilderness. It’s missing a whole lot of polish though, so there are better options if players haven’t checked out the rest that the genre has to offer. Still, my four-year-old likes to watch it for the dinosaurs, so that’s enough for me.
Cook, Serve, Delicious
Who Is It For? Cook, Serve, Delicious is a game for players who like chaotic simulator games that rush them through cooking meals for customers. This one has just about everything that players would expect from the genre – A decent selection of foods, various upgrades, and a nice sense of progression. At a glance, it looks simple, but there is enough meat here to feed players for many hours if they dig this sort of game.
No Place Like Home
Who Is It For? Another cozy game? No Place Like Home is made for players who enjoy farming sims and are not too concerned about minor bugs and some parts of the game feeling unfinished. Look, it’s hard to find something as polished as Stardew Valley and that’s okay. If you aren’t up for starting your 10th save file on Stardew Valley and helping Abigail eat rocks again, I recommend trying some of the solid, but not perfect games in the genre. No Place Like Home has plenty of content and is worth exploring. The post-apocalyptic theme is a refreshing change of pace, even if the gameplay isn’t innovative.
Labyrinth of Zangetsu
Who Is It For? Players should consider playing Labyrinth of Zangetsu if they are fans of dungeon-crawler games and are looking for a challenging and entertaining experience. While the game may not offer anything particularly unique or groundbreaking within the genre, its appealing visuals and presentation provide a modern touch. The gameplay remains true to old-school dungeon-crawling mechanics, making it a solid choice for those who enjoy the highs of exploration and character progression. Labyrinth of Zangetsu serves as a budget-friendly option for dungeon-crawler enthusiasts until the sensational Etrian Odyssey games get a small discount on the Switch.
Who Is It For? Mugen Souls is for players who enjoy over-the-top and quirky JRPG experiences. It’s a little heavy on the fanservice, and fans of Disgaea should vibe with the aesthetics. Like most of the games on this list, Mugen Souls is quite flawed, and really will only appeal to a niche crowd. Still, if you are the type who likes fanservice, customization, and old-school turn-based combat, Mugen Souls will be your thing.
Who Is It For? Ghostpia: Season One is a visual novel that would appeal to players who enjoy somber and atmospheric experiences on the Nintendo Switch. The game’s glitchy VHS-style visuals and thoughtful story set it apart from its peers. The controls are intuitive, and the ability to rewind episodes adds a quality-of-life feature that also suits the narrative.
Who Is It For? I know I always throw a few visual novels and otome games into the mix every year, but this one is truly a standout. Anyone who is even remotely interested in the genre owes it to themselves to play Jack Jeanne, which is not only the best otome game that I’ve ever played, but it’s also one of the most well-written games period. It’s got romance, great characters, an interesting mystery, and fantastic music. If you are an otome fan, you have probably already heard of Jack Jeanne, but this a PSA for everyone else – Check it out.
Who Is It For? Horror fans who enjoy immersive storytelling, puzzle-solving, and 1980s vibes will dig Killer Frequency. The game puts you in the role of Forrest Nash, a fallen-from-grace DJ who receives 911 calls and tries to save residents from a killer. The voice actors kill it, the narrative is exciting, and the puzzles are engaging and done neatly. Player choices have real consequences, and the residents that they try to save can die. Killer Frequency is short but memorable, making it one of my favorite horror games of the year so far.
Who Is It For? It’s been a good year for horror games and it isn’t even spooky season yet. Homebody is a horror game for players who enjoy atmospheric, puzzle-solving horror games with a touch of Groundhog Day. The balance between hide-and-seek horror and puzzle-solving is well-executed, making it enjoyable for players who may typically find such games frustrating. You will die in it, but that’s part of the charm as you work your way through Homebody. It feels a lot like Clocktower or other retro horror games, so it’s another opportunity to get hit with nostalgia in a modern way.
Who Is It For? Okay, just one more for the horror fans. Murderous Muses is the latest FMV video game by D’Avekki Studios, one of the best studios in the FMV game. Cinema fans will especially enjoy Murderous Muses, which fully focuses on narrative and action. There are a few more puzzles in this title than usual, giving this D’Avekki Studios title more broad appeal than average.
Who Is It For? Despot’s Game is a turn-based strategy game for fans of auto battler games. There aren’t too many of these games that I know of on the Switch, so this is an opportunity to scratch a specific itch. The customization is expansive, giving players many different approaches while going through Despot’s Game short campaign. The multiplayer is fine and doesn’t steal the show in the way the engaging campaign does, but if players need more Despot’s Games in their lives, multiplayer will do the trick.
Puzzle Bubble EveryBubble!
Who Is It For? It’s like Tetris or Puyo Puyo with a touch of dexterity thrown in. Puzzle Bobble EveryBubble! is a colorful game for puzzle fans who want just a little more pop. Multiplayer comes in many forms, including 2 player competitive modes, 4 player local vs, and the option to play through the story mode with a friend, which is a first for the franchise. It’s not as robust as Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 when it comes to content, but Puzzle Bobble EveryBobble! is so unique that the gameplay alone will keep this game in your rotation for a long time.
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo
$39.99 on the eShop
Who Is It For? We are ending this list with one more game that will most appeal to visual novel fans, but this one also has enough twists and turns to make fans of AI: The Somnium Files and Ace Attorney turn their heads. It’s nearly a masterpiece, with great characters, visuals, and horror aesthetics. The 3D visuals are just neat, and Paranormasight does more than one thing throughout the game that will make the player go “Wow.”
And That’s It!
There you have it! What were your favorite games of 2023? Let us know in the comments below!
Read our list of the games you might have missed in 2022 while you are here! If you are feeling retro, check out our 2021 list as well.