We're now into May, which means the countdown to Summer - and, alright, E3 - continues; yet these are still Spring months for many, with the days gradually getting longer and warmer. A month ago we produced our Spring list of the biggest Nintendo Switch retail games due in 2017, and now it's time for our eShop equivalent.
It's an exciting list, too. With a number of intriguing developers on board Nintendo's been stacking up a range of titles due before 2018 rolls around, some that are exclusives and others that will put the Switch alongside console rivals.
In this list we've generally leaned towards exclusives - timed and otherwise - along with those games we think can have the biggest impact. Ten games are profiled and we've also selected ten honourable mentions; such is the breadth of games on the way, however, that some excellent titles have missed out entirely. You can, of course, be the champion of any games missing in the comments.
For reference even though it's coming to the eShop first we have left out Minecraft: Switch Edition, as it appeared in our retail list. Also, please remember we're focused on 2017 releases, so the likes of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - planned for 2018 - aren't eligible.
So, here are 20 games we think are worth looking out for on the Switch eShop.
Shakedown Hawaii - 2017
Planned to come to the Switch eShop first, this is the next title from Vblank Entertainment and a '16-bit' follow-up to the brilliant Retro City Rampage. Expect chaotic action, gorgeous retro-style visuals, and enough pop-culture gags to satisfy any child of the '90s. Also coming to the 3DS, we're looking forward to the mayhem this'll offer.
SteamWorld Dig 2 - Summer
Image & Form is quite rightly regarded as a developer of sure-fire hits due to the quality it's delivered in recent years. Though SteamWorld Heist is excellent, the experienced studio's big break came before that with the 3DS release of SteamWorld Dig, a clever and engrossing title in which you dig, explore and gradually improve your abilities. It's an excellent formula, and the sequel promises to be bigger, bolder and have lots of new items and features. The Switch will be the first platform to see this one, and it's certainly one to watch.
Runner3 - 2017
A rare beast in the modern age, this is a genuine exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, with no suggestion - so far - that it'll come to any other systems. Plenty enjoyed the style and quality of BIT.TRIP Presents: Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, so there's huge optimism that this will take that foundation and go further. As we learnt in our recent feature interview with Choice Provisions, the developer is keen to produce something special with this Switch title.
Flipping Death - 2017
Wii U eShop aficionados with the taste for quirky and comedic games may have a soft spot for Stick it to the Man, an enjoyable romp from Zoink! Games. This game certainly follows the same style and approach to its writing, seemingly a follow-on or spin-off from that previous title. We're fans of this studio's output so are keen to see how this one turns out - we spoke to the studio's CEO and Creative Director about this game recently.
Pocket Rumble - 'Coming Soon'
Originally expected in March, although this is seemingly on ice at present we're still eagerly awaiting its arrival; it's also 'console exclusive' to Switch, which means it may show up on PC in the future. This stylish fighting title draws inspiration from the Neo Geo Pocket era, aiming to deliver two-button controls but deep, involving mechanics.
RiME - 2017
This beautiful adventure title was once a PS4 exclusive but is now rolling out on all current-generation systems. Unfortunately the Switch version is coming later than others and looks set to cost more; while that's not ideal this is a game to be intrigued and excited about, with positive vibes around it ahead of its arrival. It'll be interesting to see how it shapes up when it lands on other platforms later this month.
The Escapists 2 - 2017
The original earned a passionate fanbase on PC and then made its name on Sony and Microsoft consoles, so the good news is that Nintendo fans can get involved in the sequel. Beyond its stylish visuals it'll bring humour and challenging gameplay as you seek to break out of prison in imaginative ways.
Overcooked: Special Edition - 2017
Another title that's developed a passionate following elsewhere, this is a comedic and chaotic take on running a restaurant as you dash around to satisfy customer orders. On Switch it'll utilise HD Rumble and include all of the previously released DLC, while the system will be ideal for jumping into local co-op.
Celeste - 2017
From the makers of the brilliant TowerFall Ascension, which is also getting a port on Switch, this looks like an incredibly challenging but satisfying action-platformer. The visual style is eye-catching, and if the controls are as solid as in TowerFall we're in for a treat with this one.
Stardew Valley - Summer
It's been a long wait for Nintendo gamers to get their hands on this hugely popular title, but the Switch should finally make it happen. This indie farming simulation role-playing game has captured hearts around the world, and Switch will be the first platform to get a new multiplayer mode when it launches.
- The Fall Part 2: Unbound
- NBA Playgrounds
- Space Dave!
- Enter the Gungeon
- Duck Game
- ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove
- Tumbleseed (out on 2nd May)
- Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
Want to know more about these honourable mentions? Check out this feature from early March which includes trailers for a number of these titles.
So there you have it, ten main titles and another ten 'honourable mentions' that we think highlight some of the best eShop games coming to Switch. To be fair some potential beauties haven't even made that list of 20, which has certainly given us a reminder of how many intriguing titles are already confirmed for the Switch eShop.
Let us know which games you're most looking forward to in the poll and comments below, and also remind us of anything blindingly obvious that we've missed!