Nintendo Life Most Anticipated Games 2020

2020 is long gone and it's time to leave the past behind and look to the future. We've seen some fantastic games come to Switch in the last few months — several of them released within a matter of weeks of their surprise announcement — but we've also seen some big names slip into 2021 for understandable reasons.

Below we've rounded up thirty of the biggest Switch games we're looking forward to in 2021. In no particular order (although vaguely chronological), they run the gamut from AAA first-party offerings to promising looking indies, plus a few big names that have been waiting in the wings for a while and stand a chance of breaking free this year (fingers crossed!).

Who can say exactly what the rest of 2021 holds for Nintendo and the Switch? A new hardware revision certainly isn't out of the question, but whatever happens the schedule is already looking tidy. We've had games like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game and Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy already, and with details about Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury new standalone mode, and an April launch announced for New Pokémon Snap, there's plenty to look forward to.

So, let's take a look at our most anticipated Switch games of 2021!

Blue Fire (Switch eShop)

Blue Fire (Switch eShop)Blue Fire (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Graffiti Games / Developer: Robi Studios
Release Date: 4th Feb 2021 (USA) / 4th Feb 2021 (UK/EU)

We had a hands-on demo of a PC build of Blue Fire back in September and came away impressed with this Zelda-style dungeon explorer with an emphasis on combat. Robi Studios has rescheduled the game from its original Summer 2020 release date to 4th February 2021, so we'd hope everything will be nicely optimised when we get our hands on the final Switch version.

Haven (Switch eShop)

Haven (Switch eShop)Haven (Switch eShop)
Publisher: The Game Bakers / Developer: The Game Bakers
Release Date: 4th Feb 2021 (USA) / 4th Feb 2021 (UK/EU)

A charming cross-platform release that's landing on Switch a little later than the competition, Haven is a lovely-looking RPG from The Game Bakers that throws real time combat, survival elements and flight into the mix with a couple of pairs of anti-grav boots. Gotta have the grav boots, no? It lands on Switch on 4th February 2021.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (Switch)

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (Switch)Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 12th Feb 2021 (USA) / 12th Feb 2021 (UK/EU)

The Wii U port we've all been waiting for, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury will offer a tweaked experience that expands on the original game with new content; a standalone mode for in the vein of Super Mario Odyssey's more expansive, open levels.

There's a dual pack of Cat Mario and Cat Peach amiibo incoming on the same day, plus a fetching new Switch SKU — the Mario Red & Blue Edition — so expect an overflow of cuteness when this arrives on 12th February 2021. Check out our hands-on impressions if you're eager for more info.

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Apex Legends (Switch eShop)

Apex Legends (Switch eShop)Apex Legends (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Release Date: 9th Mar 2021 (USA)

After a raft of release date rumours, EA and Respawn's free-to-play battle royale FPS Apex Legends will eventually find its way to Switch on 9th March 2021. It was supposed to land in Fall 2020, but as so many games did, it got pushed back. It'll come with cross-play, so you'll be able to play with your PlayStation and Xbox owning buddies. There'll also be a 'physical' release, too, and by 'physical' we mean the thing that all cart-lovers hope for: a code in a box. As a service game that's constantly updated, it's understandable that it's digital-only, of course, but they don't have to rub it in! Sigh.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Switch eShop)

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Switch eShop)Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment / Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: 2020 (USA) / 2020 (UK/EU)

Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity picked up the torch put down by Baldur’s Gate many moons ago, and both of those games are available to play on your favourite Nintendo hybrid handheld. Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire is coming soon and is set five years after the events of the previous game. It's been available on PS4 and Xbox One since January, although it had its own performance issues on thise consoles. Hopefully the extra time taken with the Switch port will iron out any significant issues. We expect this to arrive in Early 2021.

Persona 5 Strikers (Switch)

Persona 5 Strikers (Switch)Persona 5 Strikers (Switch)
Publisher: SEGA / Developer: P-Studio
Release Date: 23rd Feb 2021 (USA) / 23rd Feb 2021 (UK/EU)

When Joker was announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we all assumed that Persona 5 would be coming to Switch. After all, it released on the PlayStation 3, so Switch wouldn't struggle to run the game. However, while P5 got an updated release with Persona 5 Royal on PS4, there's still no sign of that acclaimed game heading Switchwards. Instead, Japan got a hack-and-slash Dynasty Warriors crossover in the form of Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers back in February 2020, and it's now finally scheduled for a western release on 23rd February 2021.

While it might not be the game we were hoping for, we've seen some excellent Warriors crossovers in the form of Fire Emblem Warriors and most recently Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. This has the potential to be an equally tasty mash up, so while we'll keep hoping for Atlus to bring Persona 5 proper to Nintendo's console, we're intrigued to see what Omega Force has in store. Love that Joker.

Bravely Default II (Switch)

Bravely Default II (Switch)Bravely Default II (Switch)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Team Asano
Release Date: 26th Feb 2021 (USA) / 26th Feb 2021 (UK/EU)

Unfortunately, this slipped from its original release date into 2021, but Square Enix's Bravely Default II is one to watch for fans of the 3DS originals, or anyone with a taste for traditional-style JRPG gameplay and turn-based combat. There's a demo available on the Switch eShop to whet your appetite for when the final game appears on 26th February 2021. Fingers crossed it doesn't slip.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (Switch)

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (Switch)Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (Switch)
Publisher: Marvelous (XSEED)
Release Date: 23rd Mar 2021 (USA) / 23rd Mar 2021 (UK/EU)

Story Of Seasons: Pioneers Of Olive Town will put you to work cultivating a farm just next to the titular port town and promises more customisation options and more freedom than ever before to live your best life, plus plenty more marriage candidates of course. You'll have your work cut out for you clearing space in the forest for your new abode and cultivating all the bountiful natural wonders nearby. Marvelous' next instalment in the Story of Seasons life/farm sim series is coming to Switch on 23rd March 2021.

Monster Hunter Rise (Switch)

Monster Hunter Rise (Switch)Monster Hunter Rise (Switch)
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: 26th Mar 2021 (USA)

Monster Hunter Rise has been described as "a brand new take on the Monster Hunter experience". Up to four players can team up and save Kamura village from the impending 'Rampage', harnessing the new Wirebug hunting tool and enlisting the help of Palicoes, and Palamutes, along the way. The 'Rise' in the title is apparently a reference to this entry's verticality, with the ability to traverse and climb rock faces and other terrain which will make the hunt all the more interesting. The game launches on Switch on 26th March 2021.

Balan Wonderworld (Switch)

Balan Wonderworld (Switch)Balan Wonderworld (Switch)
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 26th Mar 2021 (USA) / 26th Mar 2021 (UK/EU)

A 3D action platforming game for 1-2 players, Balan Wonderworld brings back warm memories of 3D SEGA games like Nights Into Dreams on the Saturn and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg on GameCube. That's probably because it's a new game from Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima, perhaps best known as the creators of one Sonic the Hedgehog and involved in both those other titles we just mentioned. The demo left us with mixed feelings, but we'll find out if that's representative of the game as a whole when this one comes to Switch (and other consoles) on 26th March 2021.

New Pokémon Snap (Switch)

New Pokémon Snap (Switch)New Pokémon Snap (Switch)
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Release Date: 30th Apr 2021 (USA) / 30th Apr 2021 (UK/EU)

First announced in 2020, New Pokémon Snap is coming to Switch on 30th April 2021. A follow-up to the Nintendo 64 original which had you snapping photos of Pokémon in the wild, this has been a long time coming for fans who remember grabbing furtive pics of Pikachu back when Nintendo games came on big, slab-like grey cartridges and not iddy-biddy postage stamps. We can't wait.