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.
The Switch isn’t short of games that have already taken a bow, or several, on other hardware, but Skyrim might be the one that most deserves another look from both hardy Elder Scrolls adventurers and absolute beginners alike. Despite its age showing, with countless little cracks in its already fractured façade, it still delivers a palpable sense of space that few games before or since have managed. May its dancing northern lights never dim.
DOOM is one of the best first-person shooters we've ever played - an incredible game, flaws and all - and it's certainly the best in its class on Switch. There's a certain magical quality about having a game this good on the go. Its brilliant campaign is reason enough to pick it up, but DOOM's multiplayer also had the surprising ability to entertain us for months. Developer Panic Button had the good sense to build an invitation system into the game that is both functional and easy to use. Because of the small arenas, matches feel reminiscent of the halcyon days of first-person shooters, when Unreal Tournament reigned supreme. While it's perhaps not as polished as it is on other formats, having DOOM in portable form is a revelation, and Panic Button deserves high praise for porting over id Software's classic title so brilliantly.
Shovel Knight has always been excellent, but bundling these three chapters together and including new functionality increases the attractiveness of an already incredibly compelling package. These games are fantastic, and having the complete Shovel Knight experience in one spot, clocking in at around 15 hours of gameplay in our case, makes this a must-have for Switch owners - especially those that have so far failed to dig into this game and its add-ons.
Stardew Valley offers its players a chance to live a second life – one where you can forget the troubles of the real world and get excited over finding a particularly rare carrot. It is a truly magical experience; games can often be enjoyable but they don’t all manage to be as captivating as this. This is the sort of game that ideally requires a significant amount of time to be invested; the enjoyment doesn’t necessarily come from the day-to-day actions you perform, but rather from the general growth of pride, satisfaction, and sense of security as the days go by. Fans of games such as Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing will be right at home here and, for those who aren’t, there is a decent chance this game might just surprise you.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a massive, sprawling JRPG built by Monolith Soft, who developed the previous two entries and the Baten Kaitos games on the GameCube. The team also helped Nintendo design the world of Breath of the Wild, so there's no doubting the pedigree. You'll explore a massive open world made up of Titans – enormous living creatures that house entire civilisations on their bodies. Along the way you'll meet a wide variety of characters, solve a bunch of quests, and save the world. It's Monolith Soft doing what it does best, albeit without shaking off the occasional flaws of the series. This is another Xenoblade gem, though, and a must-have RPG.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has a massive standalone DLC, Torna: The Golden Country, that's also well worth playing through. It serves as a prequel to the events of 2, so you can play it before or after.
Splatoon 2 is just about everything you could ask for from a sequel. It builds on everything the original online team shooter set up and then some; almost every single major issue people had with the first game has been resolved, showing that Nintendo is genuinely listening and wants to deliver the absolute best experience possible. It maintains the freshness you’d expect and throws in countless big and small changes and additions, every one of them for the better. Anyone who says Nintendo can’t do online should be eating their words right now; Splatoon 2 is simply ink-redible.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers a huge amount of racing goodness right out of the box, and it's a polished version of a Wii U entry that was only a proper Battle Mode away from being top of class. Now that issue has been addressed, what we have is arguably the best Mario Kart release ever seen. It's the definitive Mario Kart 8 experience, content-rich and a delightful feast of comedic, cartoonish karting action. It's a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It's addictive and unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel.
Super Mario Odyssey represents a shift in direction for Mario. For about a decade we had exceptional but tightly structured 3D series entries, but this new arrival’s building blocks go back to Super Mario 64. It’s a very modern take on ‘sandbox Mario’ - Cappy and his abilities are key additions that freshen up the formula, and we have a sizeable and diverse set of lands to explore. In the second half and post-credits - in particular - it takes on a life of its own, showcasing incredible design and development flair. It’s also a wonderful showcase for the Switch, and would be a fabulous introduction to the wonders of Mario in three dimensions. For the veterans among us, meanwhile, it’s yet another special release to remind us of why Mario is still gaming’s number one.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a landmark release for its franchise and Nintendo. It's the first time that Nintendo truly took on the open-world genre in a current-generation sense; in arriving late to the party, though, it embraces some strengths from top-of-the-class games while also forging its own identity. This game is a revolution for the franchise, but the Legend of Zelda essence is still there - its soul remains. The end result is a captivating experience. This is in the running as the best game in the IP's history, and it is a leading contender in the broader open-world genre. Nintendo bravely took one of its biggest franchises in a new direction, and delivered a triumph.
Wow, the Switch really did have an amazing launch year. 2017 will be hard to top in the future, that's for sure. Do you disagree with this ranking? Time to get voting, then - remember, this is a fluid, ever-changing selection governed by each game's Nintendo Life user rating. Head to our library of Switch games for 2017 and see about getting your favourites on the list.
With so many Switch games from 2017, lots are going to fall through the cracks. What are your favourites that perhaps didn't make this top 50 (yet)? Share your thoughts below.