20. ARMS (Switch)
The core fighting mechanics of ARMS are easy to grasp - especially when you're using the pleasantly intuitive motion controls - but they showcase the kind of depth which rewards dedicated players. Mixing up light and charged punches with your dashes and leaps allows you to create an almost balletic style of play, but add in grabs, stuns and features unique to each stage and you've got a truly formidable foundation to build on. The lure of collecting Arms will keep you glued to your console even if you only choose to play solo, but ARMS also proves its worth online, and for those who want to take things to the next level, Ranked Matches provide the ideal means of proving your skill.
If you haven’t played Cave Story yet, you need to; it’s an essential title for any fan of Metroidvania style games. Its wonderful pacing, fantastic controls and charming visuals make it a must-have for fans of the genre, especially those that have yet to play it. If there was the equivalent of a required reading list for games, Cave Story+ would be on it.
One of modern gaming's true online multiplayer success stories, Rocket League is an essential addition to the Switch's striking library. The spirit of the game has been transferred perfectly, with the added benefit of portable play which opens up the chance to host local matches with your Switch owning mates wherever and whenever you fancy. Developer Panic Button has done an utterly fantastic job with this port, but technical wizardry aside, what really matters is that the core game is so addictive, so compelling, so enjoyable and – perhaps above all else – so deep. Don't let anyone tell you that Rocket League is simplistic or lacks longevity; the vibrant community that has grown up around Psyonix's masterpiece renders that viewpoint wholly incorrect. It rewards skilful play and perseverance, and new tactics and strategies seem to flow from each and every match you partake in. Only the occasional network niggle throws shade on this otherwise sublime release, but it's still an essential online experience.
Golf Story is a Switch exclusive RPG that borrows liberally from Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color. It's absolutely bonkers and you should be prepared to put your golf skills to use in a variety of contexts, including feeding hungry alligators and knocking things off high surfaces, plus winning the occasional round of pitch 'n' putt.
With a hilarious script and a wide variety of activities, it remains fresh throughout and will have you coming back for many hours in the Story mode alone; the multiplayer offers decent replayability, too. We would highly recommend Golf Story to anyone looking for something a little different. There’s a whole lot to love here, and if you’re a fan of RPGs or golf games, this is a must buy.
Sonic Mania is a true return to form for the mascot, in his 2D 'Classic' guise at least, and celebrates the glory days of the original games while also enhancing their qualities and taking on new ideas. From new areas, imaginative second acts and some delightful boss encounters, the development team poured a lot of passion and talent into the project. With new characters and modes added in the 'Plus' retail version (also available as DLC), some neat tweaks iron out some of the kinks present in the original release, but regardless of the version you pick up, it's of the best 2D platformers of recent memory.
SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is a fantastic port of a fantastic game, and it fits perfectly on the Switch. Deep, engaging gameplay and stylish presentation combine to make this one of the standout indie releases of the year; this is a great example of a well put-together title. If you are at all a fan of strategy games, or are just looking for a fun diversion to occupy your time for a couple of weeks, pick this up. It puts a neat twist on standard turn-based strategy gameplay, and stands as another fantastic entry in the SteamWorld series.
Axiom Verge on Switch is truly an outstanding port of an outstanding game, no more and no less. We would strongly urge those of you that missed this game on other platforms to pick it up here; this is the full Axiom Verge experience and it's available in a format that supports both handheld and home play. For those of you who have played it before on other platforms, it’s ultimately a question of just how much you love this game. This is the exact same, excellent game that you’ve played before, so whether or not you want to buy it again is personal choice. Regardless of which side you fall on, Axiom Verge is a fantastic example of how to do a Metroidvania right, and we couldn’t be more pleased with it.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a must have for Switch-owning fans of turn-based tactical games. More importantly, such is the style and depth on offer that it's also ideal for those that haven't played much of the genre, for whom 'X-COM' sounds like a silly acronym from a war movie. It introduces the concept in the best possible way, and then utilises its own ideas for what becomes a smart, surprising and - at times - deliciously challenging experience. Even if you don't actually like the Rabbids, this game - and its familiar Mario cast and setting - is so good that Ubisoft's mascots become likeable. Well, almost.
Disgaea 5 Complete offers an extraordinary volume of content, its own quirky approach to storytelling and a complex set of systems that complement each other well. There are so many terrific parts to the game, but they do get jumbled together somewhat. For Disgaea fans this game is worth a purchase, especially as it includes all DLC from the original and plays beautifully on the go. For strategy RPG fans we still give it a hearty recommendation, but with the proviso that it's more demanding and tougher to master than many of its genre contemporaries. If you're up for the challenge and time investment, and can tolerate its zany characters and settings, then it's well worth adding to your Nintendo Switch collection.
Despite its ‘Definitive Edition’ moniker, the vast majority of what you get in the Switch version of Rayman Legends has been seen in every other edition. The only truly new features here are a complete character roster for the first time and a tournament mode for its football mini-game. That’s not to say it's a bad game; that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s one of the best plumber-free platformers ever made, and its budget price means if you haven’t played it before, this is the perfect time to jump in.