Among these beloved games are heavy hitters like Stardew Valley, Dead Cells, and Celeste, along with many lesser-known titles that benefit from the Switch’s portability.
In this list, we’ll highlight the best indie Nintendo Switch games to play in 2022, including the best multiplayer indie switch games and Switch exclusive indies.
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First up on our list is Potion Permit, a relaxing and colorful JRPG life sim with cozy characters and music.
In this game, you play as a chemist sent to a small idyllic village to help sure the mayor’s daughter of a mysterious illness.
However, upon arriving you quickly learn the residents of Moonbury aren’t too keen on modern medicine and will need some convincing to change their ways.
This includes making friends with every villager and helping improve their lives by talking to them, gathering items, and completing favors.
Umurangi Generation is a first-person photography exploration game dripping with style and character modeled after urban street culture.
In it, you play as a photojournalist tasked with documenting their city during a turbulent time in the near future.
Similar to games like Pokemon Snap, you’re scored based on how you capture your subject, though you have a lot more freedom to edit photos to achieve a desired look.
If you decide to pick up Umurangi, we recommend getting the Macro DLC as well, which addresses your character’s abysmal default movement speed by giving you rollerblades and other new features.
While dungeon crawlers are typically set in dark, fantasy-based worlds, Neon Abyss bucks that trend with a bright and colorful cyberpunk aesthetic.
This roguelite action-platformer sees you running and gunning your way through randomized dungeons as a member of ‘Grim Squad,’ a task force assembled by Hades himself.
As you progress through each level, you’ll receive random item drops that grant passive effects which can be stacked infinitely to create a wide variety of unique combinations.
Over time, new rooms, items, bosses, rules, and endings are introduced, making each run feel entirely distinct.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale
One of 2021’s most surprising indie hits, Chicory: A Colorful Tale is a 2D adventure game about a janitor dog named Pizza who discovers a magical paintbrush.
This artistic tool lets Pizza use brushstrokes and splashes of color to bring their cartoon world to life as they explore new areas, solve puzzles, and battle bosses.
The game tells a surprisingly emotional story that’s sure to tug on players’ heartstrings and offers a fresh perspective on what it means to be an artist.
Chicory is a great addition to the Switch’s library that will brighten up anyone’s day with its earnest storytelling and vibrant visuals.
Next up is Road 96, an indie first-person adventure game set during the summer of 1996 in the dystopian nation of Petria, where authoritarian rule and oppression have taken root.
In it, players take on the role of a young and inexperienced hitchhiker looking for a fresh start beyond Petria’s restrictive borders that forces them to rely on the kindness of strangers.
The game offers a seemingly infinite number of narrative scenarios based on procedurally generation locations, characters, and events that vary with each playthrough.
However, when you boil it all down, there are only really three ending types based on the player’s decision to vote in favor of democracy, rebellion, or ignore both choices and simply escape.
Cloudpunk sees you traveling across a vibrant cyberpunk metropolis while working for a semi-legal delivery service with a “don’t ask, don’t tell,” business motto.
While you spend most of the game inside a delivery hover-car, once you arrive at your destination, you’re required to go on foot to hand-deliver packages.
Your customers come from all walks of life but primarily consist of shady characters such as androids, hackers, rogue AIs, and more.
The game encourages you to discover secret locations and rewards you with cool items and world-building lore.
Spelunky 2 is a roguelike 2D platformer that maintains the devilish design of its predecessor while introducing new traps, enemies, secrets, and refinements.
This includes updated graphics, new environments, and reworked liquid physics that allow water and lava to drip and spread more realistically.
In it, you and your friends take on the role of adventurers tasked with traversing hazard-laden levels set on the moon.
The game uses procedural generation to remix parts of its world, allowing for excitingly unpredictable encounters during each run.
Supergiant is one of the best indie developers in the business and has consistently put out great games including Bastion, Transistor, Pyre, and their latest outing, Hades.
Like many of their previous games, Hades manages to make a familiar concept (roguelike dungeon-crawling) feel fresh and exciting through well-developed characters and sophisticated combat.
In it, you play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he sets out to escape an ever-shifting underworld guarded by powerful gods.
Each run sees you exploring a randomized map filled with obstacles and rewards that can help you advance to the next area.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Although Tetris hasn’t really changed much in the 30+ years it’s been around, developers constantly find new ways to iterate on the iconic puzzler.
The two that come to mind more recently are the Nintendo-exclusive Tetris 99 and Tetris Effect VR, the latter of which was adapted for PC and console as Tetris Effect: Connected.
The game utilizes different visual and auditory cues that correspond to your tetrominoes’ movement and placement in relation to music tracks that play in the background.
As you progress through challenges, so does the background music, evolving in tempo and rhythm as you reach tense moments where blocks rapidly descend onto your screen.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
While you may be inclined to believe that it’s just another run-of-the-mill visual novel dating sim with animal girls in tight-fitting school clothes, there’s a lot more going on in Doki Doki Literature Club.
As players delve deeper into the story, they’ll start to encounter increasingly dark and morbid storylines tied to getting to know each character’s intimate thoughts and fantasies.
There are three main endings to the story, including one that players can achieve early on by digging around in the game’s files.
In 2021, an expanded version titled Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! was released with visual upgrades, new music, images, and side stories to explore.
Fans of Animal Crossing will enjoy playing Cozy Grove, a 2D life sim that sees you camping on an ever-changing island haunted by friendly ghosts.
As a Spirit Scout, you’re tasked with exploring the island’s forest each day, searching for hidden secrets, fishing, and completing favors for the local spirits.
Objects you find can be crafted into decorations that help spruce up the island’s appearance and restore some much-needed color and joy.
Completing the main story will take you roughly 40 hours, and since the game is synced to real-world time, you’ll find yourself checking in on Cozy Grove daily.
Another life sim with a farming component is Littlewood, a 2D game that uses retro-inspired pixel art to create a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of the 8 and 16-bit eras.
In it, you play as a hero who loses their memory after defeating a Dark Wizard and restoring peace to the village of Littlewood.
The game tasks you with rebuilding Littlewood its former glory by venturing out into the vast world of Solemn to gather resources and recruit new residents.
As you explore Solemn’s magical forests, bustling fishing towns, and mysterious mining caves, you’ll encounter unique characters and take up hobbies like farming, fishing, merchanting, and more.
Stick Fight: The Game
Don’t be fooled by Stick Fight’s minimalist presentation, this is a brutal physics-based 2D fighter where death can come quickly if you’re not careful.
Inspired by the golden age of internet stick figure fighters, Stick Fight has 2 to 4 players battling in deadly environments with a massive arsenal of weapons at their disposal.
The game supports both online and local multiplayer and features 100 interactive levels in addition to a plethora of community-made stages.
We recommend this title to anyone who enjoys playing Smash Ultimate and wants to experience a different, less serious take on the platform fighter genre.
Astroneer offers a vibrant space sandbox to explore as you set out to colonize an alien planet.
The game features a unique crafting system that sees you creating a network of stations and power plants that can tether your character to provide oxygen as you explore the world.
What sets Astroneer apart from other base-building games is its Terrain Tool, which allows the wielder to bend the environment to their will.
Lastly, Astroneer is continually updated with new explorable planets, cosmetics, hazards, vehicles, and craftable items.
Islanders uses a limited color palette, sleek UI, and streamlined building mechanics to keep players relaxed as they build colorful little islands.
Free from any form of resource management, gameplay revolves around creating idyllic villages using procedurally generated structures that are added to the player’s inventory.
Placing certain combinations of objects near one another will trigger unique bonuses that factor into a final score.
Additionally, once communities have advanced past a certain stage, they’ll undergo visual and physical changes as cozy little villages become vast urban cities.
One of the best additions to the Switch library is Spiritfarer, a cozy indie management sim akin to Animal Crossing but with platforming elements and a semi-open-world.
You play as a young woman tasked with helping departed souls transition to the afterlife by cooking their meals and fulfilling their requests until they’re ready to move on.
Despite the game’s grim premise, it manages to cover a wide range of emotions throughout the many anthropomorphic animals that join your crew.
Spiritfarer passengers come from all walks of life and have unique strengths and weaknesses that tie in nicely to their role aboard your ship.
Axiom Verge 2
Axiom Verge 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to Thomas Happ’s Metroid-like 2D action-platformer and one of the best indie games on Nintendo Switch.
Like its predecessor, the game takes on a very Metroidesque tone that includes atmospheric sci-fi environments rendered in NES-inspired pixel art graphics.
As you progress, you’ll find new abilities that allow you to double back to previous sections to reveal hidden pathways housing stat boosts and other items that will aid you in defeating certain bosses.
While the story is directly tied to the original Axiom Verge, players shouldn’t have any issues keeping track of what’s going on since the game introduces a slew of new characters and a different setting.
Subnautica: Below Zero
After returning to the planet from the first game, your character discovers a new icy region on its surface and sets out to uncover all of its mysteries.
To make it out alive, you’ll have to rely on resources throughout the environment for crafting bases, submersibles, and weapons in addition to keeping your character fed and hydrated.
Similar to the original, Below Zero has a fairly open-ended structure that lets you set your own goals, whether exploring the deepest corners of the ocean, constructing bases, or simply advancing the story.
In Biped, two players work together to guide a pair of small robots that can only move one leg at a time.
This results in a host of cleverly designed puzzle-platforming levels that demand careful strategy and coordination to complete.
Ready for an added challenge? Biped offers optional coins for you and your teammate to collect throughout levels and use to unlock new hats for your robot buddies.
The game has a lighthearted tone that’s further complemented by low-stakes gameplay that encourages communication.
KeyWe is a co-op puzzle management game about a pair of Kiwi birds named Jeff and Debra that work inside a whimsical post office.
Taking control of either bird, players must work together to sort mail, type letters, ship parcels, and more in exchange for a rating at the end of each shift.
Tasks are completed by using jumping, flapping, pecking, and butt-slamming your way around uniquely designed levels filled with all sorts of interactive levers, bells, and buttons.
There are a ton of cute cosmetics to unlock using stamps you earn from meeting your quotas, and various mini-games keep the gameplay feeling fresh and exciting.
Your job is to catch slimes, bring them back to your ranch, and feed them various foods until they create ‘Plorts,’ which acts as the game’s main currency and method for upgrading your tools and farm.
Since there are many slime species to encounter, you can look forward to breeding different slimes and discovering new variations with unique characteristics.
Bear in mind, not all slimes get along with one another, so you’ll have to monitor their interactions and work to keep them separated and stop one breed from wiping out the rest of the population.
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Swedish indie developer Image & Form continues to impress us with every new game they put out.
They’re most well-known for the SteamWorld series of action-platformers and turn-based RPGs, including their most recent title, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech.
It sees you guiding a party of courageous heroes through a hand-drawn world and battling enemies using personalized decks of 100+ character-related cards.
There’s a tremendous amount of depth to card battles, with players able to carve out their own strategies as they explore a world that’s equal parts fantasy and steampunk aesthetic.
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is a 2D card-strategy roguelike in which players pick from one of several playable characters with unique starting conditions that affect their run.
The goal is to ascend a series of levels within a spire while encountering numerous enemies and rewards depending on the path taken.
Along the way, you’ll have a chance to rest up at campfires, buy and sell cards at shops, obtain new gear from chests, and gain other bonuses through choice-based encounters.
If you enjoy dungeon crawlers with deck-building elements, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy playing Slay the Spire and exploring each character’s playstyle.