It’s taken a while but the Nintendo Switch eShop is starting to rival the likes of the Xbox One and PS4 game stores – well, not quite but there are definitely some brilliant titles that absolutely shine on Ninty’s latest console.
Here are our recommendations for the top Nintendo Switch eShop games to download and buy right now:
1. Don’t Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition
The newest release on the eShop is modern classic survival game Don’t Starve. It’s all in the title, but it’s not as easy as its cutesy graphics would suggest.
Your cartoonish avatar is thrust into a Rust-like struggle for survival and must explore the surrounding woods to find food, avoid predators, and ultimately escape. Like most survival games, you’ll start with the absolute basics. Combining rocks and sticks for tools, trying to make fire, and daring to venture further and further outwards to find more valuable materials.
Don’t Starve is one that has gone from success to success on other platforms, and now it’s open to a whole new market of Switch owners.
2. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
If you’ve already played Shovel Knight then you deserve to treat yourself to this prequel, Specter of Torment. You take control of Specter Knight, who’s the servant to the Enchantress, in a brand new quest to recruit knights to create the Order of No Quarter.
3. I Am Setsuna
Following its incredibly successful release on Ps4 and PC in early 2016, I Am Setsuna is now coming to Switch, much to our delight. Inspired by Chrono Trigger, this is classic JRPG greatness and an homage to the classics of yesteryear.
4. Enter The Gungeon
Don’t let its cutesy little pixel art aesthetic deceive you – this is one of the most deviously difficult games on Switch. Brought to you by indie darlings Devolver Digital, this action-packed rogue-like sees players blasting and rolling their way through randomly generated halls of enemies. Here, your goal seems fairly simple – make it through the maze like map and beat each level’s final boss without dying. As you’d expect from the notoriously tricky genre though, the developers definitely haven’t made it an easy ride. Playing like a mix of Binding of Issac and Dark Souls, Enter The Gungeon is not only brilliantly challenging but quite simply, its one of the best indie games of recent years.
It’s also one that’s made even better when you dare to tackle the Gungeon with a friend. With some brilliantly tongue in cheek writing, wonderfully varied enemy design and more lightning-fast bullet dodging than you can shake an oversized gun at, this is one of the best blasters on Switch. You know what to do, it’s time to enter that gungeon.
5. Stardew Valley
Price: $14.99/ £10.99
Stardew Valley launched for PC back in 2016, and has since gained status as a cult classic. It’s hard not to love it, with its surprisingly deep farming and social mechanics. It plays into the genre of farming simulator games defined by Harvest Moon, where how you interact with your neighbors, as well as with your farm, affects the outcome.
In the game, you the player inherit your grandfather’s farm, You are then tasks with rebuilding the land and making it fertile and happy with the bare minimum tools you start with. You collect more tools, build more structures, cultivate more crops — and maybe find some romance along the way as you restore Stardew Valley to its former agricultural greatness.
6. Death Squared
Originally the product of a 48-hour gamemaking competition, Death Squared has been lovingly brought from prototype to full release. We’re all the richer for it — this is one of those puzzle games that seems like it was made specifically for the Switch, despite it being available first on other platforms.
The goal here is to manoeuvre your cubes around wicked obstacles and touch the finishing squares. This can be done solo — which is hard enough — but the real fun is in co-op. You’ll block lasers for each other, hit switches, and boost each other for height. Communication and puzzle solving is the key.
The Switch controllers, with their little joysticks, are perfect. There’s a separate mode for four players, which is fully fleshed out. You’ll want to play all of it.
7. Snake Pass
Snake Pass is an action-puzzler where you control a snake called Noodle as you explore a world called Harmony Foothills along with your feathered friend called Doodle. As is the case with videogames, someone is trying to end the world and it’s up to you to get everything back on track again. This is a puzzler that’s definitely worth picking up, particularly on the Switch, not just because it’s affordable, but because weaving your way around the colourful worlds successfully is as rewarding as it gets.
This game offers a genre that the developer is calling “rhythm violence”. You’re a little metallic beetle travelling at high speeds and you’ll need to avoid obstacles in time with some rather intense techno music. It’s colourful, brilliant and utterly addictive and definitely occasionally a mind warp.
[Andrew Hawkins, FANDOM Contributor]
9. Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition
This isn’t just another Minecraft port. Minecraft: Nintendo Switch edition comes with all the blocky world-building, skeleton bashing action you love in a beautifully portable package, but it also comes packaged with Super Mario Mash Up pack with tonnes of Mario inspired surprises that make this a really special Nintendo package.
10. Super Bomberman R
Ah, those classics, eh? This Bomberman has been given a facelift, and there are nifty new things like different elevations and boss fights, but the most important thing is you can jump into a multiplayer match and bomb the heck out of your friends.
The stakes are big this time. Like, “to restore peace in the universe” big. There’s a full, co-op capable story campaign in addition to the multiplayer mayhem. Jumping into an eight-player Bomberman match is one of the more hectic experiences you’ll have, and this has the classic grid with all of the on-board items you remember.
A newer addition in the same vein is Bombslinger, which is a more indie, pixel art take on the Bomberman formula. Certainly worth a look if you want to try out something different, but not too different. While being available on the eShop, Super Bomberman R is also priced as a full Switch game, whereas Bomblinger‘s price point is more in line with eShop-exclusive games.
10. Jotun: Valhalla Edition
Taking on Norse mythology before God of War made it cool, Jotun is another game that enjoyed success elsewhere before adventuring onto the Switch. The Icelandic voicing gives it some unique and rather beautiful style.
A Souls-like at heart (minus the stamina bar), you’ll wander around the frozen north taking on the various jotun (giants) armed with an axe, a touch of magic, and an evasion roll. The player character takes up a minuscule portion of the screen in Jotun compared to other action games, and this lends an deliberate sense of scale to your massive foes.
Jotun: Valhalla Edition has a new mode in which you take on harder versions bosses, one after another.
11. Sonic Mania
Price: $19.99/ £15.99
The best thing that fans of classic gaming could have ever hoped for came out this year in Sonic Mania. Sega kids from the 16-bit era rejoiced when word of a new Sonic was announced for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Steam. What makes this game so special on the Switch is how it is a perfect throwback to the Sega Genesis days while also bridging the gap to the long gone glory years of the Game Gear. This is the best Sonic has ever been on a handheld console.
If you grew up playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog games you will love the new game. It’s a brilliant follow-up to Sonic CD and a great game by itself. You speed through each level as the blue blur Sonic while fighting off the evil Dr. Eggman and his robot minions. It’s filled with tons of nods to the original games and is just as fun as any of its predecessors. It’s a Switch essential.
[Andrew Hawkins, FANDOM Contributor]
12. Battle Chef Brigade
Price: $19.99/ £17.99
This unique little game about a young woman fighting through the ranks of the Battle Chefs is one of a kind. Part Iron Chef, part role-playing game, Battle Chef Brigade boasts a colorful anime style that’s attention grabbing for even the least anime-inclined. Better yet: there’s plenty of cuties to check out in this title.
Published under the Adult Swim Games label, Battle Chef Brigade tasks players with hunting down fantastic beasts and besting them in battle — and then cooking them into elaborate, fancy meals with help of some match-three puzzles. These meals are scrutinized by judges who will determine your fate in the Battle Chef tournament. It sounds simple, but it’s an excellent challenge and a welcome addition to the Switch. Good luck, chefs!
13. Super Meat Boy
This is one of the best platformers to come out in the last decade. Super Meat Boy is perfect. It puts forward a few clever gameplay ideas, it messes with those ideas in interesting ways every new zone, and it captures that balanced, tough-but-fair gameplay that becomes super addictive when coupled with fast restarts.
As a boy without skin, you’ll slide up and down walls, avoid salt and whizzing chainsaws, and chase the evil Dr Fetus as he runs away with your kidnapped Bandage Girl. The level design is devious, and the soundtrack is fantastic all the way through.
The trailer above, while cute and retro, doesn’t really do it justice. It’s got a great style and really delivers on the depth. You’ll want to stick around after rescuing Bandage Girl. The later levels playing as her are the hardest and the best, and after all of that you have the Dark World versions of each level to look forward to!
14. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher
Price: $29.99/ £22.99
You’re a boy exploring a strange and beautiful island. Yonder focuses less on combat than the Zelda-like games that inspired it. Rather, you’ll spend your time “farming, crafting, cooking, fishing and brewing” in order to save this island from the evil murk that threatens it.
It’s a great option if you’re always loved the style of games like Zelda but could do without certain elements, like the swordplay and puzzle temples. Yonder is meant to be more of a relaxing, “easy fun” experience. But that doesn’t make it less enjoyable or memorable.
When it comes to video games, there are few experiences that rival the rush of a good boss fight. With these end of level behemoths demanding that players use everything the game has taught them up until that point, when done right, they can be a masterclass in tension and a brilliant test of skill. It seems like Furi developer The Game Bakers agrees with us there, because its latest is a game that strips away everything except those wonderfully brutal boss battles.
Tasked with escaping eternal torture and damnation, this anime-styled action game throws our poor unnamed protagonist into a series of increasingly tense one on one showdowns. Playing like a blend of hack and slash and bullet hell shooter, Furi is a game that demands that you learn on the fly… And by that we mean, learn by dying repeatedly.
In Furi, each boss fight is essentially a puzzle waiting to be solved. With bosses requiring surprisingly different strategies to beat, this certainly isn’t a game for the faint-hearted. It may not be a game for everyone, but Furi is a stylish and challenging experience that’s unlike anything else on the eShop.