If we’re talking impressive debut years for consoles, the Nintendo Switch is right up there. Since launching in 2017, it’s smashed records all over the world and is only just getting started. Most importantly, however, it proved the most cynical of naysayers wrong: Nintendo isn’t anywhere near finished as a company with some of its Switch exclusives being some of the best games of 2017. One dud console doesn’t undo decades of innovation and success.
Rumours and hope surrounded the Switch right up until its reveal – the feeling was that this was a make or break move for Nintendo. The Wii U, to be blunt, failed to inspire much confidence in the gaming public, which wasn’t helped by muddled marketing and a lack of true advancement from the Wii. So, when the Switch was announced as a true hybrid between console and handheld gaming, a statement was made.
Playable either through your TV via a dock or entirely handheld, the Switch may be underpowered compared to its peers, but something that the industry could learn in general is that you don’t need to see every inch of muck on a soldier’s face to be sold on a game. Thanks to a controller idea so simple that you have to wonder why nobody thought of it before, gamers could take their favourite Nintendo titles with them wherever they wanted it, but mainly so that they don’t need to keep re-reading the same old, worn Time magazine from 2009 while sat on the toilet.
As well as them always thinking outside of the box, people are drawn to Nintendo for their exclusives. For all the talk of Sony nailing the exclusives this generation, it’s always been Nintendo who have flourished with their enviable catalogue of IPs. Their newest console is off to a bright start on that front, so it’s time to sift through the best Switch exclusive games.
Bear in mind, just like other lists on this site, we’re excluding re-releases and remasters for the sake of variety. That means Pokken Tournament DX and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have to sit this one out. Just in case you’re wondering, though: DX would be 6th and Deluxe 3rd. And, sadly, it means we won’t have one more chance to wax lyrical about Breath of the Wild – it’s not technically a Switch exclusive as it’s also on the Wii U. We forgot too, don’t worry.
Every list has to start somewhere, but it’s hard to argue that 1-2-Switch shouldn’t be at the bottom here. While it has the same weird family fun that Nintendo have made a name out of, it’s hard to shift the feeling that this really should have been packed-in with the Switch, not unlike Wii Sports.
Whereas your aunt could find plenty of enjoyment in Sports, however, what with its promises to help you stay active, 1-2-Switch is just a strangle jumble of mini-games that make you look severely unwell when you play them. If you want to milk a cow, that’s fine, but do you really want to spend this much money for what is essentially a bunch of disparate demos? The range in quality is alarming, so for every mild distraction you will find at least a few fillers. If you absolutely must buy 1-2-Switch, make sure you have enough friends so that it’s worthwhile.
You either love or you hate puzzle games. I, personally, would rather die into the beautiful lakes seen in The Witness with large boulders tied to my ankle than actually play the thing, but I have all the time in the world for puzzlers with unique and fun twists. Snipperclips is one such game, asking you to pair up with a friend to cut you way to the solution.
The main objective is to cut your character down to fit the obstacles the game throws at you. While this might sound like some kind of Lovecraftian nightmare, the cutesy artstyle and upbeat tone mean that Snipperclips is anything but. One of the better party games on the market right now and arguably the Switch’s most underrated exclusive.
6. Kirby Star Allies
You know what you’re getting with any Kirby game. It’s not going to tax you mentally whatsoever and is going to mainly be a laidback adventure with some pink fluff. That’s exactly the case with Star Allies, Nintendo’s unlikeliest mascot’s first outing on the Switch.
While you can have some fun with Star Allies on your lonesome, it’s at its best when you’re teaming up via the game’s easy drop-in-drop-out co-op to wreak some light-hearted havoc. Thanks to its charming soundtrack, quaint visuals and just how much fun you can get out of it without putting much effort it, Kirby Star Allies might be the perfect opportunity for some bonding with the young ones on a Switch.
Arms didn’t really get the love it deserves. Perhaps it’s due to the lack of content or not all of its punches quite hitting their mark, but Arms remains one of Nintendo’s most interesting, entertaining experiments. It’s certainly one of the platform’s biggest examples of the dynamism allowed by its controllers.
For my money, the best way to embrace Arms is with a pair of Joy-Cons in your hands, swinging for the fences and screaming expletives like a crazed celtic warrior. It’s more than just wild punching, though: there’s a lot more tactical depth to Arms than you might first believe. The learning curve is a little steep and its playerbase may have dwindled significantly, but Arms is still worth playing.