Cast your minds back, if you will, deep into the mists of time, all the way back to 2018. Yes, it's only last year but a lot has happened since then, not least where Nintendo Switch is concerned! After a barnstorming opener which featured genre-defining winners like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, there were questions as to whether Nintendo could come close to matching the level of quality (and quantity) from Switch's launch year.
Of course, 2018 was the year Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would drop with practically every video game character in the known universe (that's only a mild exaggeration!) in attendance. Couple that with Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, Super Mario Party, Nintendo Labo and some choice Wii U ports and you could hardly call 2018 a slouch! On top of that, 2018 saw third party and indie developers really jump on board the Switch train, so you couldn't move for brilliant titles to play at home or on-the-go, as you'll see from the following list of the 50 best games from 2018.
We here at Nintendo Life Towers didn't rank these ones, though - this ranking is dictated by the user ratings associated with Switch games on Nintendo Life's database. This means that this list can change according to your ratings. If you've previously rated your Switch games (the ones released in 2018), just sit back and enjoy.
If, however, you've yet to give your personal score for some (or all) of the games below, clicking on each game's rating to cast your vote and affect the list.
Can't see your favourite? Head to our library of Switch games for 2018 and input your own ratings. A game needs a minimum of thirty ratings (we’ll up this to fifty as more ratings pour in) to become eligible, so it's entirely possible to influence the ranking and get your favourite games onto the list.
So, let's dive into the best Switch games from 2018 according to you lovely people...
Let’s face it – this has probably adorned your Switch dashboard at some point already, and with good reason. Epic delivered the full fat Fortnite (Battle Royale) experience on Nintendo's ‘homeheld’. While the omission of Save the World slightly disappointing, and you’re sure to notice the framerate difference if you’re coming from other consoles, performance-wise it’s steady and perfectly playable on Switch. Ultimately, that just-one-more-round feeling survives the transition intact - before you know it you’ll be eyeing the clock at 3:56 am thinking ‘hmm, that’s not a round number’. The heart-pounding suspense of making it to the final two may not be healthy, but it sure is addictive.
Kirby Star Allies is a fun, relaxing game that does a good job of showing off what makes the main Kirby series so great. The slow pace, diverse powers, beautiful environments, adorable enemy designs, and light difficulty ensure that this is an enjoyable ride from start to finish. But with that being said, there’s a lingering sense that the developer was a little too keen to play this one safe, and the lack of new ideas may come as a disappointment to series veterans. This is not the Super Mario Odyssey or The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild of the Kirby series, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad game. If you’ve never played a Kirby game before, this is a fantastic place to jump in, but if you’re a longtime fan, you may not be blown away.
We’re used to seeing Wii U games transfer to Switch, but for Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash to have moved across without a substantial makeover would have been disastrous. Mario Tennis Aces, wonderfully, is anything but that – it’s a superb arcade sports game that’s generous with its suite of player options and only occasionally guilty of being a little cheap in its Adventure Mode. The presentation is spot on, and the core tennis action is absorbing whether you’re trading simple strokes or firing off special shots. Some animations and voice overs are identical to Ultra Smash’s, but everything around them has been overhauled to quite splendid heights. This is something of a Switch Port Plus, then – not quite a whole new experience, but so improved as to be near unrecognisable.
Recent Mario Party games have had a somewhat sterile feel to them, but with Super Mario Party that simply isn’t the case. This isn’t a cash-grab with Mario's face on the front; this is a well-constructed and beautifully realised Mario Party game which takes the series right back to its roots, but without being a straightforward rehash. There are a few interesting ideas that feel a little bit underdeveloped, but on the whole Super Mario Party is a true return to form.
Nintendo Labo might seem like a gimmick - and it is, to a certain extent - but there’s far more to it than first meets the eye. It’s a collaborative concept as rewarding in its construction as it is in its final result (much like any LEGO build you’ve ever worked on), and one that utilises every facet of Switch’s DNA in a way only Nintendo could pull off. With the unbound potential of Toy-Con Garage at its heart, Nintendo Labo mixes the physical and digital so seamlessly that even its hefty price tag shouldn’t put you off.
SteamWorld Dig can proudly sit amongst those top-tier 'must-play' eShop titles. There is a small desert’s worth of charm packed into this game, with a beautifully high level of polish and sheen just oozing from its very core. We’d love to have more reasons to play it after its relatively short campaign, but if you’re looking to delve into the SteamWorld universe for the first time, this would be a great place to start. There's always SteamWorld Dig 2 when you've finished.
Despite a title that suggests it came out of a name generator, Battle Chasers: Nightwar forges a confident, colourful character of its own from formulaic ingredients. The approachable comic book style, plus a couple of neat mechanics that encourage experimentation, give it a freshness that belies the age-old systems at its core, and it doesn’t waste your time with filler. Depending on your skill, you’ll probably spend around 30 hours on the critical path – comparatively breezy in RPG terms – though there’s plenty of side content to occupy you beside the main quest, plus a trio of heroes you’ll probably shun on your first playthrough. Disappointing performance dips aside, it feels at home on Switch. Ultimately, it’s the same old story – numbers go up! – but here it’s shot through with an infectious exuberance and attention to detail that reinvigorates old tropes.
A roguelike at heart with a rhythm-game soul, Crypt Of The NecroDancer is a sublime experience that’s a must-play for fans of the genre(s). Its upbeat, uptempo take on dungeon crawling is infectious, and there’s enough content here to last even the savviest of spelunkers for many, many dance-fuelled dives into the depths — if you’ve never tangoed with the NecroDancer, this fully-featured Switch edition is the perfect way to jump in. For anybody who never played this but finished the Zelda spin-off Cadence of Hyrule and was left wanting more, what are you waiting for?
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a ruthlessly faithful recreation of some of the earliest successes in 3D platforming. Levels are slick, gorgeous to look at, and recreate the feel of the originals superbly. Newcomers to the series may be put off by the steep difficulty spikes and little to no explanation of some of the finer mechanics. All the fun and the foibles of the original three games are here, for better or for worse, and despite some odd design choices it still manages to be a really enjoyable retread of some old classics, warts and all. This is definitely worth a look if you're a fan of 3D platformers, but just as was the case back in the '90s, Crash isn't in quite the same league as Mario when it comes to playability, inventiveness and entertainment. If you're after a nostalgia trip, though, it's tough to beat.
As a free-to-play game, Paladins: Champions of the Realm is an easy sell. As exciting, tense and rewarding as Overwatch, it brings the cross-platform hero shooter to a new platform without sacrificing the moreish gameplay tenants that’s made it such a hit with both casual and pro gamers. There’s a definitive learning curve for those looking to play competitively, but it’s nonetheless one of the console’s best multiplayer shooters.