The Nintendo Switch’s launch year has been nothing short of amazing, rewriting all the existing rules concerning what exactly a new console’s first year can be. In the past, the repertoires for new console have been hindered by a multitude of bewildering factors, including the haphazard implementation of undesirable gimmicks, the release of rushed launch exclusives that are about as engaging and enjoyable as a family vacation to a rural Minnesotan dairy farm, and a lack of meaningful and entertaining content any time after the initial two-to-three months of a console’s launch. The PS4 and Xbox One were plaguing by all of these aforementioned problems, as has nearly every console since the medium’s miraculous reincarnation in the mid-eighties. The PS4’s first-party launch line-up, in particular, was a sordid state of affairs, and it took until the release of Bloodborne in 2015, more than one year after the console’s initial release, for the platform to possess a single first-party exclusive of note.
However, somehow or other, Nintendo have managed to cast aside the first-year blues of a new console launch, providing early adopters of the Switch with a bedazzling cornucopia of juicy first-party titles that are nothing short of heavenly to behold. While consoles of the past have languishing in a quagmire of mediocrity in relation to first-party content during their first year on the market, the Switch has been able to deliver a breath of fresh air by providing some of the greatest games to ever grace the medium in its entirety. In fact, there are so many, both in terms of the traditional AAA trajectory as well as the indie market, that it is almost impossible to fashion them into some sort of list. However, after much deliberation and many sleepless nights, I have, somehow, been able to sift through the reams and reams of spectacular year one titles on the Switch to deliver to you, our cherished viewers, the five best games currently gracing the microchips and circuit boards of Nintendo’s latest hardware grand slam.
5) Stardew Valley
It would have been a travesty of universal proportions if I were discount Stardew Valley from this list. The charming, yet deceptively deep and complex farming RPG/simulator extravaganza has perhaps finally found its perfect home on the Switch. The pick-up and play nature of the game perfectly suits the portability of Nintendo’s hybrid console. Being able to chat up the lone singletons and harvest my ripe, juicy melons on the go is simply subline, and has never felt better. Quite frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to find another game on the Switch that offers as much bang for your buck as Stardew Valley.
4) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Or you would be if it wasn’t for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. While the red plumber flavoured kart racer did, in fact, originally grace the Fisher-Price iPad rip-off that was the Wii U, you would have to be criminally insane to leave it off this list, especially since the Switch version is superior in every way imaginable. Featuring brand-new additions such as the return of Double Item Boxes, a revamped Battle Mode, and the inclusion of all the previously released DLC packs, Mario kart 8 Deluxe is, quite simply, the best kart racer that money can buy. You’ll lose countess hours as you tear up the tarmac, sand, snow, and dirt as Mario and a whole host of friends, enemies and acquaintances from across the Nintendo universe.
3) Steamworld Dig 2
Steamworld Dig 2 is one of the best indie experiences in have played in the last couple of years. The original was a fantastic action-adventure platformer that enchanted all whom laid eyes upon it thanks to its charming visuals and fluid gameplay mechanics. Steamworld Dig 2, somehow, manages to eclipse its predecessor thanks to the introduction new gameplay systems, an expansive and enthralling story, a humungous new underground world to explore, and a host of mysterious secrets to discover. Steamworld Dig 2 represents the cream of the crop when it comes to indie games on the Switch, and is a must-own for all self-respecting Switch owners. Failure to do so will result in immediate termination and a unceremonious trip to the scrapyard. You have been warned.
2) Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey has no right to be a first-year title for a brand-new, experimental console. It’s just too good. By all rights, it should have taken Nintendo two or even three years to provide Switch gamers with a game of such unequivocal brilliance. However, Nintendo have bucked the trend and gifted to us what many would argue is a modern masterpiece of near-epic proportions. Featuring hundreds of imaginative and enthralling puzzles, beautiful kingdoms that resonate that classic Nintendo magic, and a new hat-themed companion in the form of the eponymous “Cappy”, Super Mario Odyssey lives up to Homer’s classical poetic epic by providing gamers with an extravaganza reminiscent of the Iliad itself – albeit with added butt stomps and less Trojans
1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Of course, they could no other contender for the coveted position of best current Nintendo Switch game than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Originally a day-one launch title for the console, Breath of the Wild is one of the most ground-breaking games to have graced the medium in the last decade, re-inventing the whole design philosophy behind the creation of open-world games. No other open-world game features such a dynamic and interactive map as Breath of the Wild. From the addition of climbing and cooking to the presence of survival mechanics and a stamina system, Breath of Wild does something that no other open-world game has been able to do – create a world that is a real, tangible part of the game as opposed to a pretty backdrop that simply exists to gaze upon lovingly. The world is a part of the game, deeply rooted into every system throughout the entire game. Problems regarding its cliché story and frustration equipment degradation aside, Breath of Wild is undoubtedly (it is, no contest) the most revolutionary game on, not only the Nintendo Switch, but within the entire industry as well.