Every now and then, a game comes along that captures our hearts and reminds us why we love the medium in the first place. Forager is the latest in a line of stellar independent games to grace the Switch, featuring wonderfully designed crafting mechanics, addictive progression systems and more charm than you can possibly handle.
If you’re after a unique experience, Wandersong completely has you covered. The singing mechanic works perfectly, and while it may feel a bit too easy at times, the combination of the visuals, writing, and various gameplay objectives across a generous seven-act structure make for an incredibly compelling platforming experience that you’d do well to check out.
MO:Astray is so confident in every facet, including its slick gameplay, well-implemented backstory, and stunningly atmospheric visuals. This is a grim, gory game, but one that retains a level of charm that could perhaps be likened to the Metroid franchise. There are so many wonderful surprises around every corner, whether it’s a new ability or a fearsomely intimidating boss battle. Don’t let MO:Astray fall under the radar; it’s a real treat and deserves to gain a place in your library.
Everhood is one of the most memorable games we've played in recent years. Its utterly bonkers plot and weird cast of characters is reason enough to check it out, but the instantly accessible rhythmic combat will keep you hooked from the very first battle to the epic final boss encounter. Some may be put off by the minimal visual design and deliberately vague sequence of events, but for those after something a bit different, Everhood delivers originality and unique gameplay in spades and absolutely deserves a place in your Switch library.
When it comes down to it, There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is a bit of a misnomer. There is certainly a game to be found here, and it's a ruddy good one. If you're not a fan of point-and-click style adventure games, then you may want to look elsewhere, but with an experience packed with ingenious puzzles and excellent self-aware jokes, this is one of the strongest examples of the genre in recent years. It's right up there with the best; don't miss out.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is one of the strongest Metroidvanias of 2021, and easily one of the best examples of the genre on Switch to date. It boasts excellent visuals throughout, with bursts of colour lighting up the otherwise dreary kingdom, and a wonderful soundtrack that we guarantee will live rent-free in your head for hours. All of this is held together by strong gameplay, with a particular focus on customisable load-outs via the spirit abilities. It's a tough game at times, and the minor frame rate dips hold it back from true greatness, but with a respectable playtime of roughly 15 hours this is an experience you'll be glad to try out.
Aeon Drive isn't quite up there with modern platforming classics like Celeste, but it's pretty darn close nevertheless. While its narrative won't win any awards, this is simply a supporting backdrop to the fantastic gameplay on offer. Bolstered by solid performance and minimal loading screens, racing through the levels feels exhilarating as you jump, slide, and teleport your way through the maze-like environments. With an online leaderboard to satisfy your competitive nature and added multiplayer to boot, Aeon Drive is a speedrunning triumph that absolutely deserves your attention.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is an absolute triumph. The narrative and dialogue, which is already wonderfully compelling on its own, has been given a massive boost thanks to the excellent voice acting introduced for the Final Cut. The gameplay features a host of branching paths for you to explore, and while the slow, methodical approach may turn a few people off, this is nevertheless one of the most well-told stories in any medium from the last few years. The performance issues at the time of writing slightly took the shine off things - and we hope they're ironed out soon via updates - but even with them present, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut stands as one of the best RPGs available on Switch.
Archvale is a triumphant bullet-hell/RPG genre mashup. Although you could argue its similarity to one or two recent releases, it trumps the competition with incredibly slick combat, simple and satisfying progression, and varied environments and enemies. The difficulty ramps up heavily as you progress to the later levels, so the inability to change difficulty on-the-fly may prove a bit of an issue for some players. Push through, however, and you'll find Archvale to be one of the most satisfying twin-stick games available right now.
Ultimately, Demon Turf: Neon Splash is a much better game than its predecessor thanks to the complete removal of the underwhelming combat. Not only that, but the experience feels more focused and streamlined without the requirement of a hub world or mandatory collectibles. This is Demon Turf at its best, and we sincerely hope to see more of the same in a true sequel later down the line.
It's hard to overstate our satisfaction with Portal: Companion Collection. Portal and Portal 2 felt incredibly fresh when they first released, and the years since have not diminished their immense impact. To now have two of the most unique and mind-bending puzzle games on a Nintendo console, and on-the-go if you choose, is a pure joy. If it weren't for the frequent load screens punctuating the experience, we'd have absolutely nothing to complain about here. The motion controls work like a dream, the games run at a near-rock-solid 60fps, and the writing remains as funny now as it did all those years ago. If you haven't played the Portal games before, this should be a no-brainer. If you have... well, just play them again.
When you consider its low price, Gravity Duck is a genuinely fun little game with a simple premise that works, and works well. It won’t last long, and you may want to pop some of your own tunes on whilst playing it, but taken on its own merits as an addictive little time sink, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Neo Cab has its fair share of awkward encounters as you explore the futuristic city of Los Ojos, but more often than not, these will develop into genuinely meaningful conversations that - despite the game’s limited graphical capabilities - make its citizens feel real.
Rabi-Ribi is a fantastic Metroidvania that injects a whole heap of originality into a genre that's arguably a bit overdone at this point. The bullet-hell boss battles are thrilling, the soundtrack is absolutely superb, and the RPG mechanics are really useful without being overwhelming. On the negative side, the storyline fails to excite, and we would have liked a bit more variety with the character design, but overall this is a great, 'feel good' game that deserves to be played if you're after a different flavour of Metroidvania.
Tangle Tower is an exemplary addition to the point-and-click genre, providing superb puzzles and very well written dialogue, backed up by some of the finest voiceover work in recent memory. A few of the character interactions may drag on a bit too long in places as you try and uncover every piece of evidence available to you, and there's little reason to play through the game multiple times. But to be honest, these are very minor gripes considering just how much fun we had in the company of Detectives Grimoire and Sally.