The Switch has proved itself as a great console, offering players flexibility in how they choose to play games. While the portable nature of the Switch makes it perfect for nearly every genre, the growing library of indie titles making their way to the platform, affectionately called “Nindies”, has brought attention to a growing list of hidden gems that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
That’s why we’ve decided to highlight some of the best indie games currently on Switch. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this story with more games in the future.
Battle Chef Brigade
Battle Chef Brigade combines the action of side-scrolling brawlers with the strategy of tile-matching puzzle games to create a thrilling and addictive experience. Time is divided between exploring a forest where you slay creatures and obtain ingredients you then combine by solving puzzles in order to create a dish the judges will love. The voice-acting is great and the increasingly picky judges drive you to see the game’s main story through to the end and become a master chef.
Golf Story is a delightful adventure game that manages to blend the best parts of both role-playing and sports genres. Its pixel art style matches its retro golf game three-click system, in which the player clicks once to aim their shot, again to set their swing power, and once more to set their accuracy. While the game is reminiscent of classic titles like Mario Golf, it explores using golfing mechanics to solve challenges in new and interesting ways.
Inspired by the beloved Harvest Moon games, Stardew Valley offers players a relaxing, enjoyable experience managing a farm. Days are spent growing crops, gathering resources, crafting items, exploring mines and completing tasks for a cast of well-written NPCs, each with their own distinct personality. The game offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how you choose to spend your days, allowing you to focus on doing the activities you enjoy most.
While most 2D platformers place a priority on gameplay over storytelling, Celeste delivers strongly on both. You play as Madeline, whose goal is to climb a mysterious mountain in order to escape the problems she faces in her everyday life. Clearing each of the mountain’s challenging levels requires precise platforming, forcing you to plan when to jump or dash very carefully.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Including the original game, along with two additional campaigns: Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is definitively the best version of the 2D platformer you can find. The game features a slew of memorable heroes and villains as well as a deep combat system which utilizes a plethora of gadgets in the knight’s toolbox.
While The Messenger draws inspiration from side-scrolling action platformers like Ninja Gaiden, the game’s use of time-travel as both a story element and a mechanic creates a fresh perspective on a familiar style of game. With tight controls and interesting abilities you obtain by progressing, such as a grappling hook and the ability to glide, traversing through the game’s 8-bit and 16-bit environments feels amazing.
Moonlighter is a 2D action RPG with fantastic pixel art. The game follows a day/night cycle with days spent managing a shop and nights spent dungeon-crawling as you defeat creatures and obtain resources to either sell in your shop or use to upgrade your equipment. Moonlighter’s approach to balancing risk versus reward is enticing as delving deeper into dungeons leads to more materials but at the cost of possibly dying.
Steamworld Dig 2
Steamworld Dig 2 improves on the first game without compromising on the series’ core element: excellent digging. You’ll be gathering gems, defeating enemies, and digging yourself deeper and deeper into the mines until your lantern grows dim and you’re forced to come back to the surface. Upgrades and new abilities make progression feel measurable and the game’s addictive gameplay loop is extremely satisfying.
Donut County sees you as a raccoon controlling a sinkhole, maneuvering on the ground and sliding under objects in order to get them to fall inside the hole. Each chapter has you starting off small, with the hole’s radius increasing every time you consume another object. Donut County features a hilarious cast of characters with great dialogue that leaves a lasting impression long after you’ve completed its brief story.
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is an adventure game that emphasizes its narrative over gameplay. You play as a young woman named Mae, returning from college to your small town. While on the surface, things seem to have stayed the same, you soon realize there are secrets to uncover regarding the town’s mysterious history. The game does a wonderful job at exploring themes like mental illness and the struggle of middle and lower classes in America.
Oxenfree is another story-focused adventure game, with the addition of supernatural elements. You play as Alex, a teenage girl who’s taken a weekend trip with her friends to a nearby island. The game progresses by completing puzzles and making dialogue choices that affect Alex’s relationships with others and greatly impact the game’s story.
Inside is 2.5D puzzle platformer from creators of Limbo. The game has you take control of an unnamed boy, solving puzzles in an oddly quiet world whilst being pursued by zombie-like humans and vicious dogs. Just like with Limbo, Inside’s story is left up to your interpretation as the game never tries to explain itself, but rather simply exists in all its eerie glory.
Dead Cells is a fast-paced, 2D-roguelike with elements of metroidvania games. The player explores procedurally-generated dungeons, defeating enemies and discovering blueprints for new weapons before meeting an untimely death at the hands of any number of challenging foes. With each death, you’re brought back to the beginning of a dungeon, able to make incremental upgrades which allow you to delve deeper on your next run.
Sleep Tight is an arcade-style twin-stick shooter that takes childhood superstitions and turns them into a twisted reality. You play as a child who spends their days building and fortifying a base constructed mostly from pillows, replenishing ammo for your dart gun in preparation for what’s to come at night: an epic battle against waves of scary monsters. The game is run based and sees you trying to survive as many days as possible with each night’s battle tougher than the last.
Axiom Verge is a 2D Metroidvania game inspired by classic side-scrolling titles like Metroid, Contra, and Blaster Master. The game has you playing as Trace, a scientist who passes out after a crippling injury and wakes up in an ancient, high-tech world. While it has some great boss battles and secrets to discover, Axiom Verge shines in its different weapons and upgrades, featuring over 60 items and power-ups.
Iconoclasts is a 2D platformer with Metroidvania elements. You play as Robin, a mechanic whose wrench serves as both a tool for solving puzzles and a melee weapon. Aside from upgrading your tool with different abilities, throughout the game you are joined by allies who can help you in defeat bosses and solve more complex problems.
Floor Kids is a break-dancing rhythm game with a hand-drawn art style. It focuses on stringing together combos of moves in tune with the game’s music, drawing some inspiration from games like Guitar Hero. The game features characters to unlock, each with their own style, as well as an awesome soundtrack filled with booming, classic hip-hop influenced beats.
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell, roguelike which has you choosing one of four protagonists to explore the “Gungeon” in search of a gun powerful enough to destroy your past. Each of the characters have their own special abilities, like being able to lock pick chests or reload weapons faster. Partially inspired by the Souls games, players can perform dodge rolls which provide a window of invulnerability from enemy damage.
The Gardens Between
The Gardens Between is a puzzle game that makes you manipulate time in order to progress through its 20 stages. The game is unique in that you don’t control the main characters directly, two teens named Arina and Frendt, and instead move time backwards and forwards, using their abilities in tandem to move past obstacles. While the game is rather short, completing levels reveals more about the teens’ friendship, which tells an emotionally-gripping story.
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
The Sleeping King captures the nostalgia and charm of classic action-adventure games like A Link to the Past. You play as Lily, Knight of the Rose, on a quest to save the king after he’s been cast into a deep sleep by his evil brother. While the game features good combat, with Lily able to string together nice, simple combos, it truly shines in how it delivers its story, told from the perspective of a grandfather who’s reciting the fantastic tale for his grandchildren.