eShop Selects December 2022
Image: Nintendo Life

Happy new year readers! Okay, so we're over a week into 2023 already — you might be moving on from last year, trying to look ahead to the best to come. But we just need to look back at 2022 one last time for the best eShop games in December.

Now, December is normally a quiet month for game releases — but Nintendo had to drop five short little indie showcase videos in its festive House of Indies series right before Christmas. Some of those had shadow drops in them which made our wallets feel even lighter than usual at this time of year. We're truly spoilt!

Before we jump into the best of December 2022, let's address one of those shadow drops, a game that many had been anticipating for a long time — Sports Story — which we said in our review that "there’s no denying that it feels like quite a letdown after years of waiting". Hopefully, that new patch has fixed some things up!

Well, with that out of the way, here are our eShop Selects for December!

Honourable Mentions

As a special late-holiday treat, we widened the field to include some of those 7/10s we gave out late in the year — which included a couple of those shadow drops. Our plan going forward is to largely stick to 8/10s, but this time, we wanted to highlight more games than usual. So, let's have a look at what just missed out on our top three:

3. Inscryption (Switch eShop)

There should be no surprises seeing this on the list. 2021's critical darling Inscryption is a deck-builder in disguise, a game that plays games with you. While you'll have to play cards in the game (within a game within a game), the meta, the horror, and the weirdness are what make Inscryption so special. You always know you're on for a wild ride when you play a Daniel Mullins game, and this one is no exception. It's delightfully clever, and it feels right at home on the Switch. it was well worth the year-long wait.

It got an 8/10 from us, which is a pretty darn good hand for a Switch port that came just over a year later.

2. Chained Echoes (Switch eShop)

One of the few modern-day indie J-inspired RPGs that we can confidently say feels like a SNES game, Chained Echoes is a blend of all of the best elements of some of the 16-bit classics while forging its own identity with modern conveniences, passion, and heart. The battle system is snappy and unique; the maps are large and a delight to explore; and you can ride mechs! There's a lot to love — and this was all developed largely by one person. Madness!

Chained Echoes got a 9/10 from us, which is well deserved. If you love classic JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and even PS1 favourites like Xenogears, give this a go.

1. Lil Gator Game (Switch eShop)

But, for the NL team at large, we were looking for something nice and cosy over the holiday period. Something that could warp us back to our childhoods, where our imagination could run wild and we could create our own adventures, run around, and dress up. Lil Gator Game is just that.

Short and sweet, while truly creative, Lil Gator Game is evocative of the best parts of our childhoods. It captures the warm, carefree nature we all felt when we were running around and having fun as littluns. And the lovely, cel-shaded visuals and autumnal landscapes match perfectly with the tone of the game.#

With an 8/10 from us and a hearty fanbase here at Nintendo Life Towers, Lil Gator Game is our to eShop Select of December 2022.

< Nintendo eShop Selects - November 2022

What was your favourite eShop game last month?

How we decide our eShop Selects top three: As we reach the end of every month, the Nintendo Life staff vote on their favourite titles from a list of games selected by the editorial team. To qualify for this list, these games must have been released as a digital-only Nintendo Switch eShop title in that particular month, and must have been reviewed on Nintendo Life; we select the qualifying games based on their review scores.

Staff are then asked to vote for three games that they think deserve to sit right at the very top of that list; first choice gets 3 points, second choice gets 2 points, and third choice gets 1 point. These votes are then tallied to create a top-three list, with the overall winner taking that month's top prize.