The Best Indie Games on the Nintendo Switch
Here’s the Nindies you need to know about.
The Nintendo Switch has become somewhat of an indie darling since its launch in 2017 with developers flocking to release their best titles on the system. Its portability makes it an easy home for the smaller games that suit the travelling gamer which makes the perfect platform for the greatest indies, old and new to call home.
Whether you’ve just had a new Switch for Christmas or have been button bashing on Nintendo’s latest system from the start here are the indie games you absolutely cannot miss on the console right now.
Ever dreamed of being a breakdancer but haven’t got the knees? Well, you might just be in luck as Floor Kids is a Switch exclusive breakdance battle game featuring unique freestyle gameplay, rhythm challenges and online multiplayer sessions against the best and brightest the world has to offer.
Revered for its striking, hand-drawn graphics and original soundtrack, Floor Kids is an excellent way to spend an afternoon on the sofa. Build up your crew, refine your dance moves and battle your way across a vibrant city from corner to club.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
There’s possibly no better place to play Yacht Club Games’ charming homage to Nintendo-era 2D, side-scrolling platformers than the Switch. Offering up a fresh slice of nostalgia with a polished, modern edge, Shovel Knight brought the classic Nintendo experience to a new generation.
The game was praised as a homage to the classics that inspired it whilst still delivering something new to the genre with its stark, colourful graphics and intuitive controls. It has gone on to sell upwards of two million copies and we’re sure it will only sell even more on the Switch.
Another cute platformer perfectly at home on Nintendo’s new console, Owlboy has very little to feel insecure about, although its protagonist Otus is in need of a self-confidence boost. In what is a fusion of gameplay styles including platformer and 2D shooter you’ll fight your way across a beautifully realised world in the hopes of finding your courage.
You’ll face up to personal demons, battle pirates threatening your hometown and possibly save the world with a little help from your friends in this challenging and emotional journey. It’s got just about everything a classic platform-adventure fan could want.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
Edmund McMillen’s seminal follow-up to Super Meat Boy has hit the Switch with a bang in its shiny, new Afterbirth+ format. The Binding of Isaac has been a huge name in the indie gaming sphere since release. Now Isaac’s dark humour, high replayability, smooth controls and hidden secrets have a home on one of the fastest-selling consoles in recent years.
The Zelda inspired top-down tear shooting roguelike has been consistently updated since release, with the Switch release only a few steps behinds its PC counterpart. That doesn’t slow it down any though it still has all the new items, characters, enemies, bosses, levels, modes, and daily runs associated with this iteration. It justs one of those indie games that has constantly improved over the course of its lifecycle and will take its place in the history books as one of the most influential games of its time.
Hotline Miami Collection
I’m sure Hotline Miami needs no introduction but is a welcome, if not slightly more adult-oriented, addition to Nintendo’s family-friendly console. This compilation of brings together both the firsts game and its gory sequel into one package.
This high-octane story of underworld drug lords, violence and mind control beats just as hard to its pulse-pounding soundtrack on Switch as it ever did on PC. If you’ve never had the pleasure of getting to grips with this ’80s inspired action title now is as good a time as any tackling both titles back to back.
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Set in the ever-expanding SteamWorld universe, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech fuses genres together to create a roleplaying card game where you craft your own decks and battle.
Leading a party of aspiring heroes through beautifully hand-drawn environments you must outwit your opponents through a complex battle system comprised of over 100 unique punch cards. Your reward is over folwing treasure chests of gold and the sweet chime of XP. Much in a similar vein to Slay the Spire this genre fusion proves to be a satisfying melding of styles that creates addictive gameplay.
The Switch is a great home for retro games, having titles like The Messenger available in hand-held form only adds to the nostalgia. Playing as a young ninja you propel yourself through a cursed world determined to destroy the demons that besiege your village.
Attempting secure your clan’s survival you must deliver an ancient scroll. This classic action platformer soon morphs into an expansive time-travelling adventure bringing the nostalgia of the past rapidly up to the modern-day.
Building on the legacy of games like Advance Wars, Wargroove brings strategy back to that classic Nintendo style as you wage war with your chosen Commander. Turn-based yet incredibly easy to pick-up and play Wargroove brings a much-needed dimension to the Nintendo Switch.
After war breaks out in the Kingdom of Cherrystone a young queen must flee to a new home with her enemies in hot pursuit. Working your way across a variety of colourful maps, Wargroove soon becoming deeply challenging. Cute sprites abound the highly customisable has a very distinct personality all its own whilst at the same time taping into the nostalgia of a simpler time.
Let’s start things strong with one of the best. ConcernedApe’s incredibly popular farming sim is a perfect fit for the portable system, allowing you to carry all those hours of fun around with you in the palm of your hand. Originally released on PC, Stardew Valley has seen somewhat of a rebirth since it was ported to Switch earning a great reception from Nintendo fans.
With plenty of interesting people to get to know, crops to grow and a dungeon-like mine to explore, Stardew Valley has something for everyone. The freedom it allows the player makes this little game a delightful place to while away the hours and while away the hours you will.
Celeste is a fast-paced, challenging platformer whose stark colours and cute pixels are perfectly at home on the Nintendo Switch. Add to this Celeste’s pick-up and play accessibility coupled with its, one more try, style of gameplay and you’ve got a match made in heaven. A game set on a freezing cold mountain should not be so heartwarming.
The sublime smoothness of the animation, art style and controls made the crunching difficulty much more bearable. Celeste follows tough platformers like Super Meat Boy and N++ and creates the most accessible, hard as ice platformer ever. In a gaming culture where accessibility is a dirty word to purists, or a compromise to help sellability, Celeste demonstrates how challenging games can be for everyone.
Golf Story’s charming personality make it a perfect fit for the system combing the game of golf with cute top-down RPG mechanics. You follow the story of a golfer, forced to give up all that he holds dear for one final shot at accomplishing his dream.
It’s quirky narrative only adds further charm to this two-sided story told on and off the course. If you’re into simple mechanics, lite-RPG’s and top-down golfing action this should be an essential pick for the candid Switch owner.
That’s what we think are the best Nintendo Switch games to get your hands on right now. There are plenty more great games you can get on the console though that we’ve covered in detail since the Switch’s release. A great place to start would be our best 20 indie games of the decade article. Many of the titles on that list are available on Switch.
With a deluge of indie games flooding onto the system with the promise of greener pastures it’s assured that we’ll see plenty more indie games coming to the console soon, so stay tuned for more coverage.