Best Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games 2021 (And Beyond)

The Nintendo Switch’s library is about as diverse as it gets, encompassing everything from first-party exclusives such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild to indie hits like Stardew Valley.

This makes it one of the best platforms for playing party games with friends, challenging puzzle-platformers, and lengthy RPGs.

In this list, we’ll be highlighting the best upcoming Nintendo Switch games releasing in 2021 and beyond in order of release date.

If we forgot to include your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list with new games in the future.

Related:Best Nintendo Switch Games 2021The Best Nintendo Switch Controllers (2021 Reviews)Best Indie Nintendo Switch Games 2021

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Tarsier Studios’ Little Nightmares is a delightfully creepy puzzle-platformer and one of the standout indie horror games of 2018. The game ends with an interesting twist that we’re excited to see expanded upon in a sequel due out this year.

Published by Bandai Namco, Little Nightmares II got announced during Gamescon 2019, where a brief teaser was shown. The sequel will feature a new playable character named Mono, who’s also joined by Six, the protagonist from the original.

The two will work together to clear platforming challenges and solve puzzles in a variety of unsettling new environments. The second character will be AI-controlled by default, but Tarsier hopes to add local co-op before the game’s release. 

Joining the many Wii U titles that have found a second life on the Switch is Super Mario 3D World. Widely considered one of the best games in the Wii U’s catalog and a fantastic 3D platformer, the Switch version comes bundled with new content in the form of Bowser’s Fury.

The original saw Mario and friends traversing 3D environments and introduced us to new power-ups such as the Super Bell, which grants catlike abilities to the user. It’s unclear at this time what Bowser’s Fury entails but we’ll make sure to update this section once Nintendo shares more information.

In true Square Enix fashion, the company is planning to release a sequel to 2012’s Bravely Default even though one already exists called Bravely Second: End Layer. We’re just glad the company has opted from using their standard (and confusing) game naming system and is keeping things simple with Bravely Default II

The sequel will introduce players to a new world, story, and characters, namely the latest incarnation of the Heroes of Light, a team of courageous fighters who travel the world in search of four magical crystals. It’s developed by the original BD team and features music from the series’ composer, Revo.

While the Switch’s limited hardware capabilities mean we’ll probably never see Monster Hunter: World ported to the console, as always Capcom has a few tricks up their sleeves. Their solution is to release a standalone MH game designed exclusively for the Switch.

Monster Hunter Rise will see you battling massive monsters using various weapons, tools, and environmental traps alongside your ‘Palamute’ canine companion. The game will feature the seamless map design introduced in MHW along with expanded traversal, allowing you to scale cliffs and climb structures.

In addition to Rise, Switch owners will have a chance to pick up the sequel to Monster Hunter Stories, a cel-shaded RPG originally released for the 3DS in 2017. The spin-off differs from mainline MH games in that you don’t do any actual hunting.

Instead, Monster Hunter Stories 2 casts you as an inexperienced Monster Rider with dreams of taming and bonding with creatures throughout the world. While the game still doesn’t have a release date, there’s a good chance it’ll come out during the same window as Rise.

Bear and Breakfast is being touted as a laidback management game that tasks you with running a bed and breakfast for tourists. However, the twist is you’re actually a bear…because why not? Your duties include furnishing rooms, providing entertainment, and keeping your guests’ bellies full.

Each guest has a unique personality that affects their wants and needs and meeting their demands will earn you cash as well as attract new customers. When you’re not tending to the business, you’re free to explore the Wilderness and its many mysteries.

Fans of the hilariously-morbid Cyanide & Happiness webcomic series may be excited to learn that a point-and-click adventure game set within the same universe has been announced for the Switch.

Freakpocalypse will see you taking on the role of Coop “Go Away, Weirdo” McCarthy as he navigates bullies, prom date rejections, and every other obstacle high school throws his way. Including “Part 1” in the title suggests this will be the first of many C&H games done in this format.

Card Shark is an upcoming indie game that blends action-adventure storytelling with card mechanics. In it, you play as a hustler looking to cheat their way to the top of French society during the 18th century.

You’ll start out in local card parlours where you’ll get a crash course in fleecing opponents using different card techniques until eventually moving on to more high-stakes games among royalty. As things progress, you’ll have to be careful not to get caught cheating or risk losing your life.

Sporting a similar ‘retro-inspired’ art style to that of Undertale, She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal RPG about dreams and their connection to reality. In it, you play as Thalia, a comatose woman suffering from anxiety as she sets out to confront her demons and awaken once and for all.

Despite being a narrative-driven experience, the game also features a turn-based battling system that pits you against a host of nightmarish monsters. Thalia can recruit characters to join her party and strengthen her bond with each using a “Connection” system.

Any Switch owners who missed out on playing Unknown Worlds’ highly-addictive underwater survival game will have a chance to dive in next year when Subnautica releases for the handheld hybrid.

The game sees your spaceship crash-landing on an alien planet covered almost entirely in water. While searching for oxygen and food to keep you alive, you’ll encounter raw materials and sea creatures that can be used to upgrade tools, expand your base, and craft submersibles.

Indie developer Picogram has partnered with Rose City Games to publish Garden Story, a hybrid social sim/adventure RPG with farming sim mechanics. The game sees you controlling an adorable-looking grape named Concord who’s just been crowned village guardian.

Embracing his new title, Concord sets out to restore Grove Island to its former glory by identifying the source behind a mysterious Rot destroying the land. With help from his friends and neighbors, Concord will travel to new regions, solve puzzles, and care for the environment.

Throughout the story, you will get to know the many creatures that call Grove island home as they complete favors and create memories to fill Concord’s scrapbook with new skills.

Baldo is an upcoming action-adventure RPG with a visually-striking cel-shaded art style. It tells a charming story about a young boy meeting a diverse cast of weird and funny characters while traveling throughout magical lands. 

The game features an explorable open-world where you can discover new towns, enemies, hidden temples, weapons, and tools. Although Baldo doesn’t have a release date yet, it’s Zelda meets Ni No Kuni presentation already has us hooked.

All signs point towards Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga being a pivotal entry in the long-running Lego game franchise. The upcoming title plans on adapting all nine episodes of the Star Wars saga.

So far, we know the game will feature optional fully-voiced dialogue and allow players to complete any of the episodes in whichever order they choose.

Given the success of the original Lego Star Wars games and the rise in quality of more recent entries, we’re confident The Skywalker Saga will deliver an updated version of the best Lego series to date.

Cris Tales is a love letter to classic JRPGs that’s managed to pique our interest due to its gorgeous 2D visuals and clever implementation of time travel mechanics. The story revolves around an orphan named Crisbell, who becomes a time mage tasked with saving the world from calamity. 

While playing, you’ll be able to access past, present, and future versions of Crisbell’s world simultaneously while making decisions that affect each version of her world. Still no word on a release date but in the meantime, there’s a Cris Tales demo you can check out to get a feel. 

The first Axiom Verge proved to be a fantastic take on the classic Metroidvania formula and is regarded as one of the best 2D platformers on the Switch. It also stands out for having been created by one man, indie developer Thomas Happ, who has been hard at work designing a sequel.

Axiom Verge 2 will build upon the existing lore of the game’s universe while introducing new characters, powers, and gameplay mechanics. In the announcement trailer, we can make out a few new gadgets such as a boomerang, a spider drone, and one that turns matter into bursts of energy.

Sidebar Games’ Golf Story was one of the best indie sleeper hits of 2017, telling an uplifting story of a down-on-his-luck golfer who manages to turn his life around by going back to his childhood love of golf after 20 years. The studio is back with a sequel, this time expanding its efforts to include a wider variety of sports-based activities and mini-games.

Scheduled to release later this year, Sports Story maintains the 2D presentation of its predecessor while introducing new characters and locations, including a renowned tennis academy where your character will train, and a prestigious castle where you’ll get to meet the queen.

Mineko’s Night Market is an adorable adventure game inspired by Animal Crossing that features vibrant environments and more cats than one could ever dream of. You play as a curious girl getting used to her new home on a Japanese-inspired island at the base of Mount Fugu.

With an emphasis on the story and exploration, the game sees you trying to unravel the island’s many mysteries, including a mythological Sun Cat God named “Abe.” Gameplay revolves around completing daily tasks such as crafting items, breeding cats, and maintaining a shop.

Eastward proves it’s possible to have nostalgia for a game you haven’t even played, evoking memories of Saturday morning-cartoons and retro 16-bit video game soundtracks. This is further complemented by a striking pixel art style that makes for charming characters and amusing environments. 

The game is described as an action-adventure RPG and closely follows an unlikely pair as they embark on an emotional journey to uncover the truth behind their pasts and the universe. As you travel across the decaying cities of a post-apocalyptic world, you’ll encounter a colorful cast of strange creatures and humans with their own story to tell. 

Goichi “Suda51” Suda took to the stage during Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct to announce No More Heroes III, the next mainline entry in the hack n’ slash franchise in over ten years. While we still don’t have a specific release date, a report from Nintendolife suggests the game is about 35-40% complete.

NMH3 takes place nine years after NMH2 and two years after the events of Travis Strikes Again. It sees series’ protagonist Travis Touchdown returning to his hometown of Santa Destroy to defend the world from alien invaders led by an interplanetary terrorist.

The hack n’ slash game plans on fully utilizing the Switch’s Joy-Con motion control technology both inside and outside of combat.

There simply haven’t been enough new 3D platformers this generation, so we’re glad to see developer Robi Studios looking to fill the gap with Blue Fire. Even if the game isn’t expected to drop until early next year, the announcement trailer does a great job at setting up Blue Fire’s moody protagonist and impressive level variety. 

In it, you’ll explore the vast yet corrupted kingdom of Penumbra, home to all sorts of mystical creatures, some friendly, most not. Along the way, you’ll meet survivors, solve puzzles, track down collectibles, and gain mastery over the game’s traversal system. It’s reminiscent of 3D Zelda, and Super Mario titles with a bit of Hollow Knight’s edginess sprinkled on top. 

Sporting some serious Tony Hawk Pro Skater vibes, SkateBIRD (and yes, the bird is capitalized) is a chill arcade skateboarding game about “birds who try their best.” After selecting from one of many equally adorable birds, you’re transported to sandboxes packed with skatable objects.

Since you’re a tiny bird, environments are scaled accordingly, with bendable straws acting as grind rails and ramps, which are made out of cardboard. There are also a variety of items to unlock, such as cute articles of clothing for your bird and secret music tracks. 

One of Nintendo’s most iconic N64 titles will be making a return on the Switch at some point in the future. During a recent Pokémon presentation, the company announced that a remake of Pokémon Snap is currently in development at Bandai Namco Studios. 

Aptly named New Pokémon Snap, the remake will see players donning their cameras once again and visit new islands where Pokémon roam freely. You’ll be able to photograph Pokémon in their natural habitats and see them interact with one another in real-time.

Unlike the original, which only focused on the first generation of Pokémon, it seems New Pokémon Snap will feature cameos of creatures from every mainline game, including Pokémon Sword and Shield.

It’s been a while since we got any news about the third entry in PlatinumGames’ stylish hack n’ slash series Bayonetta. The game was announced at The Game Awards 2017, where a brief teaser set the tone for fans to get excited. Since then, we haven’t heard much.

While Nintendo and Platinum have both confirmed the game is coming along just fine, it’d be nice to see some gameplay footage or even a cinematic trailer to build up some hype. Considering it’s one of the most highly-anticipated Switch exclusives, we’re hoping 2021 is the year we finally get to play Bayonetta 3

Despite being one of the most anticipated Switch releases, there haven’t heard much news concerning Metroid Prime 4 since it was announced at E3 2017. This is expected from Nintendo, whose notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to their core franchises. 

However, in a surprising move, the company decided to pull back the curtains to let fans know the game is being delayed as production was shifted to Retro Studios. Additionally, veteran Metroid Prime producer Kensuke Tanabe is leading the project.

The Prime subseries is known for taking the classic Metroid formula in new directions by shifting to a first-person POV and exploring new forms of gameplay. 

Arguably one of the biggest surprises to come out of E3 2019 is Nintendo’s announcement that work on a sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild has already begun. The first game was praised for its detailed world, open-ended gameplay, and would go on to receive multiple awards including several “Game of the Year” honors.

Judging by the reveal trailer, the next entry will maintain BOTW‘s art style while sporting a much darker tone. At one point, we’re able to see Ganondorf’s reanimated corpse before the camera switches to an exterior shot where Hyrule Castle is seen rising into the air.

Fans have already begun comparing the sequel to Majora’s Mask, another heavy hitter in the Zelda series known for its darker themes and mature undertones.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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