A cross-genre breakdown of some of the best games to play on Switch that aren’t targeted at Ninty’s usual younger crowd.
Back when I first bought my Nintendo Switch, the question from other gamers was always the same: “Is it worth buying one?” My answer was simple: “Not yet, but by the end of 2017, it will be.” That wasn’t a terribly sage-like prediction. At launch, there weren’t really that many great games to play—unless you were a Zelda fanatic (and, in fairness, even as a casual Zelda fan, Breath of the Wild is fantastic)—and the slow release of games was fleshed out by some quality indie games that you’ve probably already played on other platforms.
Fast-forward to today, though, and it’s a different kettle of fish. When you’re done with the more kid-friendly Switch games—Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario + Rabbids, specifically—there are some titles that are more aimed at older players that are well worth playing on Switch. Grab a sufficiently big SD card (you’ll need it to play some of these, or all of them if you go crazy and get every single one), and have a look at my breakdown of 10 Switch games that prove this console isn’t just a bigger 3DS meant for younger gamers.
Confession time: I didn’t really get into L.A. Noire when it was first released. Today, I’m actually enjoying it a whole lot more in Switch form. It’s not just that the visuals, which were admittedly pretty special in their original form (mostly thanks to the facial animations), hold up really well. Unlike your usual ports, Rockstar has taken the opportunity to rejig some of the original features—most notably the interrogation mechanics, which are a whole lot clearer in terms of choice and outcome—in a way that negates some of my bigger issues with the original game. I also wasn’t expecting it to load as quickly as it does. This is definitely playing on Switch if you had similar gripes with the original launch, or never got around to playing it.
Sure, it might have a G rating, but NBA 2K18 on Switch is a solid purchase, whether you’re a casual NBA fan or just a gamer who’s craving a sports game to play on the go. Obviously, this applies to all Switch titles, but it cannot be understated how great it is to be able to play NBA 2K18 while you’re out and about. Considering the lack of oomph beneath the hood, the Switch version of NBA 2K18 runs surprisingly well. That said, it did take a pretty big patch to get everything running smoothly, but now that it’s updated, this is proof that you don’t need to cut corners on content to have a fully featured experience on Switch.
As a massive fan of the old-school point-and-click adventure games, particularly the LucasArts ones, I really shouldn’t have missed Thimbleweed Park when it released. I’m kind of glad I did, though, because I’m really enjoying playing it on Switch. It’s the kind of game I can play in docked mode with my girlfriend, passing the controller back and forth, or we can take advantage of touch controls in the handheld mode. The way it plays with a controller doesn’t frustrate me anywhere near as much as I thought it would, and this is such an awesome nostalgic hit that it’s impossible to not get into. The puzzles are satisfying, the dialogue is snappy, and the sense of humour is regularly laugh-out-loud funny.
This is the Police
The port hits just keep on coming with This is the Police. For those who never played it, This is the Police is as good on Switch as it is on any other platform (have I mentioned the bonus of being able to play on the go?). You’ll play through a game where you answer the question of what kind of retirement you want to have as an exiting Police Chief. You can choose to be remembered fondly or dip your fingers into some underhanded pies to ensure you have a comfortable retirement. It’s essentially a strategy management game with a sprinkling of RPG elements, but it’s a well-executed one, with a compelling undercurrent of juicy noir-ness (totally a word).
I can’t believe I missed this when it released on PC in early 2017. Crawl is a fantastic local multiplayer dungeon crawler that’s a tonne of fun. You can play solo, if you like, with AI controlling the little ghosties that haunt your every move through the dungeon. But the real fun is playing with and against your friends, either working as the hero of the story, or working as one of up to three ghouls all fighting to become the hero. As a ghost, you’ll work together for a time but, really, you’re all racing to score as much experience and sweet swag as possible. It’s simple but addictive fun with a fantastic hook, and it’s a solid party game.
Enter the Gungeon
Here’s another indie gem I regret missing when it was released on PC. Enter the Gungeon has been on PC for close to two years, but the Switch release is my preferred place to play it. Why? Well, it’s a twin-stick shooter, of course, and taming the mayhem of the bullet hell dungeons is a cinch with the Switch joysticks. The more hectic fights have the occasional fps drop, but dive into the options and flick to ‘Speed’ performance mode to maintain the frames and keep the fun quotient at an all-time high. Enter the Gungeon is one of those games that you can play in short bursts or get lost in during epic binge sessions.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
It seems a lot of gamers, critics and consumers alike, got stuck on the tacked-on Way of the Hado mode and slammed Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers because of it. Really, though, you’re buying Street Fighter II Ultra for, well, Ultra Street Fighter II: one of the best versions of the old-school Street Fighter games. On this front, The Final Challengers packs a delicious retro punch. I’d advise sticking to the newer visuals (even though you can play with old-school pixel-art graphics) because they are a great complement for the still-tight fistplay. Ignore the haters and, if you’re patient enough, nab it when it’s on special (because it’s pretty expensive), then use it to settle all disputes around the home, or when you’re out and about and armed with your Switch.
I still find it difficult to wrap my head around the reality that Doom is on Switch. Doom. And Wolfenstein II is coming this year, too, apparently. Madness! I honestly thought Doom was going to be a shadow of its former self on Switch, but while the visual fidelity has taken a hit, it actually plays incredibly well on Nintendo’s handheld console. In truth, I’ve had more fun playing it on Switch than I did on PC, and that just feels weird. The HD Rumble adds to the weightiness of the guns, and the appropriately subtle aim-assist means I can still hop around like an over-armed Energiser Bunny from hell.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Now you can play Skyrim while you poop. Oh, you want more than that? Fair enough. It may not have the new-gen sheen of the recently released Skyrim Special Edition, but the most important thing is it includes all the extra content. Considering the core game ate up more than 100 hours of my life (and I felt like I hadn’t come close to finishing everything I wanted to do), this is a very good thing to incentivise my return to the time-devouring world. The Zelda gear is pretty damn sweet, too. The only limiting factor, then, is the three-hour battery life when you’re playing Skyrim on the move. If you’re going to be playing in handheld mode for more than three hours, better invest in a compatible Switch charger.
Here’s another indie game that’s been out for a couple of years on PC but plays incredibly well on Switch. For now, this is the closest you can get to Dark Souls on the Switch (until later this year). With stylish-AF art design and a thumping electronica soundtrack, the stage is set for some epic boss battles. Because, really, that’s what Furi is all about: cut out the middling peon middle-men and get straight to the job of cutting off the powers that be. The controls are tight, and if you can ignore the occasional frame-rate drop (hopefully those are patched out soon), Furi makes for some furiously intense gameplay sessions.
Those are the 10 Switch games I’ve been playing of late. Let me know what else you’d add to the list in the comments section below.