10 Switch Hidden Gems You Should Check Out

The Big Con review
The Big Con

With over 10,000 games currently available for the Nintendo Switch, a few things become clear. There’s a lot of garbage and shovelware to be found in the ol’ Nintendo eShop, but by the same token, there’s also a lot of underrated titles that deeply deserve more attention.

We couldn’t begin to list every single hidden gem for the Switch here, but we would like to shine a spotlight on a few Switch games that have everything from engaging stories and memorable characters to distinctive gameplay and unique surprises.

What they don’t have are enough fans, so let’s take a look at 10 hidden gems for the Nintendo Switch.

1. Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley

Snufkin
Snufkin

Developer: Hyper Games AS
Publisher: Raw Fury AB

It doesn’t get much cozier than Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley, which combines very light puzzling and stealth elements for a game that’s more of a narrative-driven adventure in the iconic Moominvalley than a deep gaming experience. That might be why the game has received mostly good reviews, but also a few complaints that the title left them wanting a lot more.

However, even as Melody of Moominvalley is a breezy playthrough that most kids or adults will enjoy and complete in a few hours at most, there’s a lot of immersive fun to be had here. Assuming the role of Snufkin, a wanderer, explorer, and philosopher, players will find that their friend Moomintroll is missing. Worse, the stunning Moominvalley itself has become infested with grotesque parks controlled by the well-meaning but destructive and arrogant Park Keeper. Snufkin will interact with a massive cast of quirky characters, all taken from the legendary novels by Tove Jansson, as he works to undo the damage and restore harmony and balance to the valley.

How do you achieve this? Through stealth missions that involve tearing down the parks, solving puzzles and fetch quests with your array of musical instruments, and by sometimes taking a moment to help someone in need. Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley has smooth gameplay, extremely charming dialog, and a larger message that’s as sincere as it is effective.

 

2. The Big Con

The Big Con
The Big Con

Developer: Mighty Yell Studios
Publisher: Skybound LLC

Released two years ago for the Switch with little fanfare, The Big Con just didn’t seem to reach many people. It has only two reviews on Metacritic, both of which are pretty complimentary overall. Did this coming-of-age narrative centered around 90s nostalgia and some casual puzzle and adventure game elements simply fall under the radar? That seems to be the case because this is an extremely amiable little game that you should take some time to check out.

The Big Con has you playing as Ali, doing whatever she can to get her mom’s video store out of debt. Dropping you into what feels like a lost episode of a forgotten 90s cartoon, the bright, distinctive graphics are obviously one of the big draws for this game. The Big Con wants its story and worldbuilding to evoke some fond memories of the decade, and it succeeds in this more often than not.

Simply put, The Big Con is a treat. We love Ali, and we love the people she meets and steals from. Yes, much of your time in this game will be spent pickpocketing people (in an affable way, obviously), engaging in larger quests that will introduce you to oddballs and visually striking locations, and doing whatever you can to fleece as many people as possible.

 

3. OTXO

OTXO
OTXO

Developer: Lateralis
Publisher: Super Rare Originals

OTXO hasn’t gotten its best reviews on the Switch by any means, so maybe that’s why a lot of people seem to be staying away. While we agree that this twin stick shooter from Lateralis is absolutely brutal, one of the most unforgiving examples of this genre that we’ve seen in quite some time, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game.

OTXO is a top-down roguelike title that’s set in a grimy, surreal world of black-and-white visuals and hardcore violence. Trapped in a bizarre mansion, you must bullet time your way through floor after floor of vicious bad guys. To be sure, if you’re looking for a good bloody time, OTXO is going to satisfy you. This is particularly true for anyone who loves Hotline Miami and has been looking for something that can fill the void.

While the game might be a bit niche, anyone seeking a game that’s simply gunfire and upgrading your abilities whenever possible is going to really enjoy what OTXO brings to the party.

 

4. The Legend of Tianding

The Legend Of Tianding
The Legend Of Tianding

Developer: Creative Games & Computer Graphics Corporation 
Publishers: Neon Doctrine, Another Indie Studio

There aren’t too many games set in turn-of-the-20th-century Taiwan, particularly ones that embrace bold comic art style graphics in a side-scrolling beat-em-up, so maybe The Legend of Tianding is just a bit too niche for its own good. If so, that’s a shame, because this is a game that anyone who enjoys comic book art and/or brawlers is going to have a really good time with.

Authentic backdrops do an excellent job of recreating Taipei for the game, giving you sights and sounds that simply don’t exist in quite this form anywhere else. It also doesn’t hurt the appeal of The Legend of Tianding that its battle mechanics, with players taking on the role of infamous outlaw Liao Tianding, are absolutely stellar. With a casual emphasis on exploration, players will traverse a range of stages, disarming hordes of enemies and using their weapons against them, before meeting up with the final stage boss for a showdown.

While none of that is groundbreaking, The Legend of Tianding gets its true originality from its story and characters, and from an approach to combat that comes down to utilizing just about everything under the sun as a weapon. This is one of the best beat-em-ups of the 2020s, and it stands just fine on its own alongside better-known titles like River City Girls and Sifu.

 

5. Chained Echoes

Chained Echoes
Chained Echoes

Developer: Matthias Linda
Publishers: DECK13 Spotlight

Chained Echoes is one of the least known recent JRPGs, despite a ton of reviews. This just doesn’t seem to be a game that people are talking about, and that’s a shame most of all for anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of classic JRPGs.

Everything about Chained Echoes is centered around reminding you of the best elements of its genre. Developer Matthias Linda began work on this game almost a decade ago, and it’s remarkable that this 30+ hour JRPG has one major force behind it. The graphics are suitable to the era of gaming it tries to recreate, but what really matters is how masterfully Chained Echoes develops its story and characters, with a unique progression system and a combat system that replenishes your HP and TP after every battle. It’s a fun game with a tough final act.

Chained Echoes brings plenty of strategy into not only battles, but in how you use your gear and the gemstones that can give you some impressive added abilities. You’re buying skills from special stones, as opposed to traditional leveling up, and that’s just one of the ways Chained Echoes feels as fresh as it does atmospherically nostalgic.

 

6. Fight’N Rage

Fight'N Rage
Fight’N Rage

Developer: Seba Games
Publisher: Blitworks

From the moment this game introduces itself by way of the image of an old arcade cabinet suddenly jolting to life, Fight’N Rage tells you exactly what to expect. There have been some fantastic retro-style brawlers released along the lifespan of the Switch, including Streets of Rage 4, Scott Pilgrim, and TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, and these games have arguably cast a pretty big shadow for other games to exist in. However, if you like all of those games, Fight’N Rage is jammed with features and creative touches from the best things to take away from 80s and 90s beat-em-up classics.

Fight’N Rage goes hard on the promise of significant replay value. There’s tons of visual appeal to these stages, unique character designs, branching paths, alternate endings, a tough arcade mode, and more. At the same time, Fight’N Rage knows it has to present its own unique depth in its gameplay and challenge. Both of those elements are well done here, with the game offering extraordinary potential within an array of simple basic attacks, grabs, ground and aerial arts, specials, and more.

Fight’N Rage is exceedingly easy to pick up and play, but there’s a lot more to it if you hang around. This game from Sebastian Garcia, who both designed and developed Fight’N Rage entirely by himself, goes to admirable lengths to ensure you will.

 

7. Bear & Breakfast

Bear and Breakfast
Bear and Breakfast

Developer: Gummy Cat
Publisher: Armor Games

Bear & Breakfast looks as whimsical as a Wes Anderson movie. It may just look a bit too cozy and cartoonish for some, with graphics that are bright and warm, a sweet protagonist in Hank, a bear who wants to open a bed and breakfast, and management tasks that never rise to the level of serious difficulty. But you’d be wrong to ignore Bear & Breakfast because at the surface, it may not look very deep. As you’re going to find, there’s a lot to like in this game that sees you building up your business through building, decorating, and managing your hotel properties from day to day.

The gameplay itself is more involved and engaging than some might suspect. Bear & Breakfast requires not only building and designing, but establishing relationships with the large cast of quirky characters you’ll meet along the way. Bear & Breakfast may feature likable characters like Hank, but its story has unexpected depth, blending whimsy with some occasional darker beats that serve to draw you in deeper to this world. That’s really where this game shines. The gameplay is breezy and decently varied, with fetch quests and a grab bag of management challenges, but the story and dialog are the real stars.

 

8. WrestleQuest

WrestleQuest
WrestleQuest

Developer: Mega Cat
Publisher: Skybound

Marrying RPG mechanics to the world of pro wrestling is an arrestingly intriguing idea. Done right, and it could be an essential play for both wrestling and RPG fans alike. WrestleQuest is a good-natured tribute to all things retro, and while not perfect, it deserves far more attention and reviews than the game has been getting so far. It’s astonishing that at time of writing, WrestleQuest has generated very little attention from critics.

Surprisingly wholesome, with the story being that a chest full of toys has become utterly obsessed with professional wrestling, WrestleQuest definitely requires some appreciation for one or both of its major parts. Playing as one of two toys dreaming of a successful pro wrestling career, it’s up to you to navigate a story that feels like Toy Story met with the aesthetics of 80s pro wrestling and 90s JRPGs. Timed inputs for even the most basic attacks can get a little frustrating, but the mechanics are easy enough to understand in a short amount of time. Just prepare yourself for a substantial difficulty spike near the middle point of the game, with turn-based combat making up the experience.

Again, while it might be a little niche, there’s a truly fun RPG experience with beautiful pixelated graphics waiting for the curious in WrestleQuest. It’s well worth a look.

 

9. Melatonin

Melatonin
Melatonin

Developer: Half Asleep
Publisher: Half Asleep

With Melatonin it’s up to you to understand the bizarre dreams of an insomniac. You’re going to do this through a pastel-toned rhythm game that may remind some of you of Rhythm Heaven in the best way possible. This is another example of a game on the Switch that promises a laidback experience without sacrificing gameplay that provides compelling challenge. Experienced players may find Melatonin a little easy, but even then the atmosphere and style of this game is so charming, you’ll just keep going. Everyone else may find the learning curve to be a bit steep, but there’s a lot here to convince you it’s worth playing further.

Melatonin has the premise and gameplay, but what about this landscape of dreams you’re meant to explore? Melatonin has some pretty surreal scenes and moments, with everything from pink skies to flying boxes of donuts, to dreams about shopping, money, work, and other facets of life. These visuals remain consistently fascinating across the different rhythm-based minigames you can expect to play.

While Melatonin doesn’t have much in the way of a story, its immersive pastel richness and gameplay covers up this weakness with ease. This game is a testament to the range of indie games and hidden gems you can find on the Nintendo Switch.

 

10. This Strange Realm of Mine

This Strange Realm Of Mine
This Strange Realm Of Mine

Developer: Doomster
Publisher: Doomster

This Strange Realm of Mine starts out simply enough as a seemingly straightforward first-person shooter. While this foundation of its gameplay doesn’t disappear, it soon becomes very apparent to you as you’re playing this release from Doomster that things are not as they seem.

Because guess what? As far as This Strange Realm of Mine is concerned, you’ve died. You’re dead, and you’ve wound up at a place known only as Tavern Limbo. It’s here that you’ll discover that you are at the corner of the physical point of actual death and what may or may not exist beyond simple tangible existence. It’s now your job to address the physical manifestations that now exist from the fears and doubts you carried to the grave.

It’s heady stuff, yeah, and the story only gets weirder from there. But that wouldn’t mean as much if the game didn’t have strong gameplay and graphics. Fighting monsters in the game is fun if not a little simple, but that’s fine. The emphasis here is on exploring the game’s themes of life, regret, loneliness and other philosophical subjects, and on helping various NPCs with their sad stories and personal trauma. This element in particular is where This Strange Realm of Mine becomes unlike anything you’ve played before.

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